Tech Tuesday—How To Record Vocals Using Mic Preamp Distortion

How To Record Vocals



The last time, we talked about distorting Mic PreAmps using a Direct Box and Electric Guitar. We got some cool guitar sounds. Today, we’ll focus on other sources, mainly vocals. Distorted vocals, done right, can add a super cool effect to your sound.

Gain staging remains an important part of the process when using microphones as it does with guitars. Set your output at Unity Gain, which on the Brent Averil 1073 is 10. On the console, that’s zero on the send fader. Unity Gain means “no change.” You want to adjust the amplification of the mic on a preamp and leave output set at Unity, for the best gain staging and clarity. Now, let’s start to distort and play with different levels. Set your preamp at 50db and really dig in to see if your vocal clips and keep making adjustments to your output gain to prevent the signal from overdriving the DAW or tape machine. To avoid that, you’ll pull the channel fader back so that the input of your recording device isn’t clipping. Keep making adjustments this way until you have the level of distortion you are looking for without clipping on your DAW or tape machine. Look for his extra tip on how to get really “screamo!”

These same techniques are applied using an SSL Mic Pre, making adjustments to turn up the distortion without clipping your recorder.

Experiment with it! You can get a lot of cool textures. Remember, PreAmp is after the mic and before tape so be sure you like it before you record it. As always, the mic preamp you use may distort in a cool way or it may not. You can always try a different one! But have fun with it, experiment and you can come up with some cool sounds.

If you found this video helpful then don’t forget to check out other Dark Horse Institute Tech Tuesday videos for more tips and tricks on mastering your music production skills. Interested in How to choose the right preamp for bass, kick, snare and vocal? ? We will show you how in minutes!

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