Mastering the Mic: A Guide to Setting up a Template and Recording Rap and Singer Vocals

Mastering the Mic: A Guide to Setting up a Template and Recording Rap and Singer Vocals


Capturing high-quality vocals is crucial in creating captivating rap and singing performances in music production. Having a well-organized template and understanding the recording process can greatly improve your workflow and help you achieve professional results, whether you're a seasoned producer or just starting. In this blog, we will walk you through the process of creating a template and recording rap and singer vocals, giving you the tools and knowledge you need to take your vocal recordings to the next level.

Step 1: Adding a New Session

To get started, launch your recording software and a new session. Give it a name before moving on to the next step.

Step 2: Creating Tracks

In this guide, we'll assume you're working with a two-track setup, with one track for the instrumental beat and the other for vocals. Begin by recording a stereo audio track of the beat. Then, for the lead and background vocals, make two mono audio tracks. Create four auxiliary tracks for buses as well as a stereo master fader for the final mix.

Step 3: Color Coordination and Track Naming

Give each track a proper name to help you organize your session. For example, label the first track "Beat," the second "Rec" for recording, the third "Lead Vox" for lead vocals, and the fourth "BG Vox" for background vocals. Continue naming the other tracks in the same manner. Assign different colors to the tracks to make things more visible. You can, for example, make the recording track red.

Step 4: Applying Compressors

To ensure a consistent sound, apply a compressor to each vocal track. The API 2500 compressor comes highly recommended and has a fantastic lead vocal preset. Simply, drag and drop the compressor onto each vocal track to activate it.

Step 5: Auto-Tune

Add an auto-tune plugin to one of the mono-vocal tracks for those who enjoy the popular auto-tune effect. Make sure the Antares Auto-Tune EFX plugin is set to mono. Drag the plugin onto the desired track.

Step 6: Adjusting Background Vocals

Adjust the volume of background vocals to around 3 dB to distinguish them from the lead vocals. Alternatively, you can achieve a similar effect using the API 2500 compressor's backing vocals preset.

Step 7: Setting Up the Vocal Bus Chain

Begin by inserting an equalizer plugin into the vocal bus track. The API 550B is an excellent choice. Then, to control sibilant sounds, add a de-esser. Then, incorporate the C4 multi-band processor, starting with the preset "Penso Vocal" for a solid foundation. Finally, add the GW Greg Wells Voice Centric plugin, which combines saturation, compression, delay, doubler, and reverb.

Step 8: Adding Delay and Reverb

Add a delay plugin to your vocals to give them depth and space. The H-Delay plugin, set to a quarter-note delay, is recommended. Then, using the R-Verb plugin or another of your choice, add reverb. Adjust the settings based on the desired sound and the artist's vocal characteristics.

Step 9: Sends for Reverb and Delay

Create a send from the vocals to the reverb bus for more reverb control. Create a send from the background vocals or ad-libs to the delay bus in the same way. To achieve the desired effect, adjust the send levels.

Step 10: Routing

Send the instrumental track to the mix bus to ensure proper routing. To the vocal bus, send the lead and background vocal tracks. Send the vocal chain tracks (including delay and reverb) to the mix bus as well. This ensures that all elements are correctly routed for the final mix.

Step 11: Importing the Beat

Rather than dragging and dropping, import the instrumental beat into your session. This prevents any unintended pitch or tempo changes. To leave headroom for recording and mixing, reduce the volume of the beaten track to around 7 dB.


There you have it! You've created a template for recording rap and singer vocals. You're ready to capture high-quality vocal performances and create amazing mixes with the proper track organization, signal chains, and routing.

Remember that these are only guidelines, and you can always customize and experiment with different plugins, settings, and techniques to achieve the desired sound for your project. Have fun recording and mixing, and let your imagination run wild!

Stay tuned for more tips and tutorials from MIX Recording Studio. Keep creating and making great music until then. 

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