8 Steps To Recording Pro Vocals At Home On A Budget

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What If I Could Teach You A New Skill In An Afternoon & Help You Turn An Expensive Cost Into A Profitable Side Income?

Hi, I’m Randy Kalsi and I am a Singer Songwriter and Music Producer who works full time from my home studio and has helped literally hundreds of Independent Singer Songwriters set up their home recording studios remotely, with basic equipment and showed them how to record professional sounding vocals at home, which has not only saved a ton of money in studio costs but also helped them earn an extra side income from their new skills by showing them how to organically create a presence online and attract producers and songwriters who are willing to pay good money to Vocalists who can provide them with High Quality Vocals, which saves them time and effort.

In this Ebook, I am going to show you a step by step process of creating professional vocals at home, on a limited budget. I’ve also added a Bonus Section, where I talk about how you can setup yourself up online to start generating an income from what you have learned in this book.

Thank you for taking the time to read this ebook and remember, I was where you are and now I’m earning a great living, full time, making music…from my own home studio.

Here’s to making that dream come true for you too…

Randy Kalsi

The Bedroom

room setup

choosing the right room

There are two main things that we want to avoid when recording: 1. Background Noise
2. Room Reflections
The bedroom is usually the best choice:

– it is in the back of the house, where it is usually quieter, further away from the street and surrounding noise.

– it is already full of high density material that can absorb reflections (reverb) such as the bed, sofa, curtains, rug, even a bookshelf.

For example, if we look at the above photo. The Red ‘X’ marks the spot where you would stand, facing the door, with the bed behind you. The rug underneath you prevents unwanted reflections from the floor and the bed soaks in the reflections from the back wall. The curtains should be completely closed to prevent sound bouncing off the glass.

There will be a reflection filter attached to the mic stand (see recommended gear section) and will protect the mic from unwanted reflections infront of you coming from the front wall.

More often than not, most of us will be living with or near others, whether it’s a

partner, family, pets and even neighbours.
Important things to consider:
1. We don’t want anything except your voice being picked up by the microphone. 2. We don’t want to upset any neighbours.

3. You don’t want to be interrupted during the recording process, nor do you want to record your best take, only to find that the neighbours dog was barking in the background and it can’t be used.

Therefore the best time to record is when neighbours and partners are at work, when kids are at school or in bed and when the streets are quiet.

In order to be able to record high quality vocals at home, there are certain pieces of equipment that you must have. This doesn’t mean however that the equipment needs to be expensive, and you may already have some of it, if not all.

Recommended Equipment: (under $350)

1. Condenser Microphone 2. Audio Interface
3. Studio Headphones
4. Cables

5. Mic Stand
6. Reflection Filter 7. Pop Filter

* Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software program (Free Protools Subscription included)

Before we start getting into the technical stuff, I would like to talk to you about How the process of recording actually works:

It all begins with the condenser microphone, which has a large diaphragm inside it. As sound passes over the diaphragm, it vibrates, creating tiny amounts of voltage. This voltage travels through the cables into the audio interface. The audio interface has a pre-amp built into it that increases the voltage current to a level that can be interpreted by the interface. The audio interface then converts this electrical current into computer language (binary code) so that the computer can read it. The DAW then reads this information and records it. Upon playback, the binary code is sent back to the audio interface, which converts the information back into an audio signal, and then leaves the interface and comes out of the headphones.


1. Connect your Audio Interface to your Computer with a USB Cable (provided).
2. Follow the instructions on your computer to download and install the driver for

the audio interface.
3. Open your DAW and create an Audio Track
4. Set the Input of the Audio Track to Input 1
5. Connect you Condenser Microphone to Mic Input 1 using an XLR Cable and turn

on Phantom Power
6. Adjust the Mic Input Level on your Audio Interface until you see a signal coming

in to your Audio Track inside your DAW.
7. Connect your Headphones to the Audio Interface. You should be able to hear

yourself speaking in the microphone.
8.Set the microphone level using the Mic Input Level Knob so that the signal inside

the DAW peaks at around -6dB and averages around -12dB
9.Press Record inside your DAW and test your levels before committing to your


The “perfect take” is always what we are trying to achieve and it is usually made up of a mixture of different performances. For example, you record yourself singing 6 times and then pick the best parts of each performance and put them all together on a separate track as one final “perfect” performance. There are some important things to look out for when recording:

1. Timing 2. Pitch
3. Emotion

It is also important for you to warm your voice up before recording – I still always record the warm up takes, incase there are some golden parts in the performance that can be used.

Here is how I always recommend recording:

Two takes of the entire song as a warm up
One take of the entire song focusing only on timing
One take of the entire song focusing only on pitch
One take of the entire song focusing only on emotion
One take completely forgetting everything and just performing from the heart

What this process does is provide you with options. More often than not, your “best take” will be the final take, where you are singing from the heart. However, nobody is perfect and there will be parts of the performance that need improving. If there is a section where the timing feels off, you can go to the ‘timing take’ and replace that section. Same goes for the pitch take and the emotion take. By the end of the selection process, you should have one perfect performance take.

Once you have chosen all your takes and you have one final “comp” take that you are happy with, the next step is to clean up all the unwanted space in-between the words.

Often at times the mic picks up some background noise that our ears cant always hear and when you are singing, those sounds are covered up by your voice. However, when you are not singing, unwanted sounds and noise could pop out and be heard in the mix, making it sound unprofessional.

When editing, be sure to fade the beginnings and ends of each cut so that the transition is smooth and you don’t get any pops or clicks, which can be clearly audible if not taken care of.

Below is an example of a well edited vocal track:

Once the entire vocal take is cleaned and edited, the next step is to work on the pitch and timing of

the vocals.

In today’s modern world, everyone is used to hearing a flawless vocal performance in recordings, so we need to make sure that every word is both on pitch and in time, without it sounding robotic or unnatural (unless it is intended to sound processed).

Even the best vocalists in the world need timing and pitch correction, its just the way of the todays demanding industry.

The Pitch Correction plugin I recommend is Melodyne. Below is a link to a Melodyne tutorial, which shows you exactly how to use the plugin.

Sound is made up of frequencies. The human ear can hear between 20Hz and 20,000Hz (or 20kHz). EQ can help shape the sound within the frequency spectrum, picking out certain frequencies and either boosting them or cutting them.

EQ is usually applied for 2 reasons:

1. To remove unwanted low end rumble & frequencies picked up by the microphone 2. To shape the sound of the vocal (for example make it brighter)

Below is an example of common eq moves I make almost every time. There are no hard and fast rules and every single situation requires its own decision making. However, I do find myself making the following moves almost every time:

1. Cutting below 120Hz

This removes any low end rumble and noise picked up by the microphone from the room. This also makes space for the bass and kick that usually lives in this part of the frequency spectrum.

2. Small Cut around 400Hz
I usually remove between 2-3dB of this frequency area that usually causes a bit of boxiness in the vocals and results in a cleaner sounding vocal.

3. Small boost around 2-4kHz

This is the area where the fundamental frequencies live for the Vocals and boosting in this region helps the Vocal stand out in the mix amongst all other instruments.

4. High Shelf Boost around 10kHz

The High Shelf is a boost that covers the entire frequency spectrum above (in this case), 10kHz. This eq move helps give the vocal some air and expensive sounding sheen.

A brief understanding of compression – it was invented to help control the dynamics of audio signals and prevent them from distorting and becoming inaudible.

In the modern world, we use compression to tame the dynamics of all types of audio signals, whether its vocals, guitars, drums and any other instrument.

When we sing, there are quiet parts and loud parts in our performance. There are also quiet and loud words within those quiet and loud parts. When the vocals are put inside a music track, there will be moments where the vocals are too loud in the mix and moments where they are too quiet and cannot be heard. This is where compression comes in and helps tame the dynamics, making the louder parts quieter and the quieter parts louder, giving a much more even performance and making it possible to hear each word of each line clearly.

1. Input Level – Level of audio coming into the compressor
2. Output Level – Level of audio leaving the compressor
3. Threshold – The level at which the compressor starts working
4. Ratio – The amount of compression that occurs above the threshold
5. Attack – How quickly/slowly the compressor reacts to the signal coming in 6. Release – How quickly/slowly the compressor releases the signal
7. Make Up Gain – Adding level to the compressed signal
8. Compression Meter – Shows the amount of compression occuring

Setting a Compressor:

1. Set the Ratio at 4:1. This means that every time the audio signal goes above the threshold (which we will set in a minute) the compressor will reduce the amount that it goes above the threshold by 4:1. So…lets say the audio signal goes 4dB above the threshold, the compressor will turn the audio signal down to 1dB, reducing it by 3dB.

2. Set the Attack/Release. We want a relatively fast attack and release so that it is catching the peaks of the audio signal. 10ms of attack is where I usually set it and put the release time on auto (or at the factory setting if there is no auto button).

3. Set the Threshold. The threshold is the point at which the compression starts to work. Lets say the audio signal is averaging around -12dB and peaking around -6dB. You need to pull the threshold down by turning the knob to the left until you start seeing around 5-6dB of reduction in the meter. This is a good amount of compression and will tame the peaks of the audio signal. If you feel your vocal needs more compression, add another compressor after it with the exact same settings and you will achieve your desired result.

4. Set the Makeup Gain. Usually when you compress a signal, the overall level of the output is usually lower than the original input. The make up gain knob helps add more level to the compressed signal bringing it back to its original level. It is super important to make sure that the level coming into the compressor is the same as the level going out of the compressor. You can test it by switching the plugin on and off, checking the level difference with your ears.


The benefits of learning these new skills is not only financial. There is huge satisfaction in knowing you are now a professional recording artist. This will give you confidence as an artist and empower to you continue down the road of success, in every aspect of your life.


We all know how expensive it is to have our songs recorded and produced to a professional standard. For recording alone it can add up to $500 per song, let alone the production which will set you back another $1500 at least.

By learning these new skills, not only will you never have to pay again for recording studio costs, you can actually leverage your new talent – producers will hire you as a pro vocalist and/or songwriter and Artists will hire you to record them. Then, from this extra income you make, you can put that towards getting your songs produced and all of a sudden, it doesn’t cost you anything at all to have your songs created to a professional standard. Thats a saving of at least $2000 per song!

On the next page I will show you some examples of how you can earn an income from your news kills.

Some Examples of Income Streams
1. Song Licensing – License your songs to TV Shows and Movies
2. Local Artists & Friends – Record local artists and friends in your home studio

3. Music Producers – offer your services as a freelance professional vocalist
4. Setup a Niche Service – e.g. custom made songs for weddings and birthday parties

Tips on Getting Clients Straight Away

1. Create a website – simple landing page with your services and portfolio

2. Optimise your FB Profile – setup your personal page to show that you are a professional recording artist and display your services and portfolio – when you engage with people online, they will click on your profile and see what you do

3. Use FB groups to engage – engage with prospective clients in facebook groups, where you can find and meet producers in need of your services

4. Make Profiles on Freelance websites – open up an account on sites such as soundbetter.com, where you can create a profile and start connecting with producers who are in need your services.