Tracking Vocals: Microphones, Plugins & Processors

Unless you are crafting purely instrumental music, a song’s success rests on its vocal performance. The lead vocal can be bold, forward, and dry, or a breathy, distant whisper that draws you in. As a recording engineer, you choose the best microphone and preamp to capture the singer and pick the right tools to present it in the mix––tuning, compression, reverb, final levels, etc.

Welcome to the May issue of RECORDING, which focuses on making the best vocal recordings possible!


We have 15 new product reviews this month. Starting with microphones, we have the stunning V24 Stereo Tube Condenser Microphone from Vanguard Audio Labs. Next, we get to know the Crème Tube Condenser Microphone from Monheim Microphones. On the ribbon mic front, we have the Ohma Ribbon Mic, which you can customize for your look, sound and style. Also available in various colors, we have the highly affordable NT1 Signature Series Condenser from RØDE. To keep your voice perfectly in the “zone,” we take a look at the just-released LEWITT RAY and the also hot off the workbench TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik Alchemy Series TF17––the company’s second large diaphragm solid-state condenser. Then we also “kick” things up with the just launched DM6 kick drum mic from Earthworks.

Channel strips are a great way to get great-sounding vocals. For this issue, we look at the newly updated TCS-II Channel Strip from API and the just-released Channel One Mk3 and TrackOne Mk3 from SPL.

To route your signals effortlessly, we check out the latest advances in digital patching from FLOCK Audio with its PATCH Series and PATCH APP DX.

In this issue’s Plugin Outlet, we check out the new bloom adaptive tone shaper from Oeksound. Staying “in-the-box,” we have a pair of soft synths to accompany your great vocal takes as we play with the new Session Organ EKX from Toontrack and Atoms from Baby Audio. We control them with the new Keystage Poly AT MIDI keyboard from Korg.


Producer Mark Hornsby brings us our interview this month as he goes Inside The Studio with GRAMMY Award-nominated, Dove Award-winning singer-songwriter, arranger, keyboardist and producer Michael Omartian (Cristopher Cross, Amy Grant, Steely Dan, Clint Black, Michael Bolton, Whitney Houston and many more). [GET IT HERE]


This month, we welcome author and Diamond, Grammy-nominated producer Jenso Plymouth (Chris Brown, Young Thug, and Gunna), who shares insights on the modern vocal production process from tracking to tuning, editing and effects with advice from some of his friends, noted engineers Simone Torres, Drew Sliger, Patrizio “Teezio” Pigliapoco and Shaan Singh. [GET IT HERE]

Joe Albano continues his walkthrough of popular recording processors and processes in Studio 101 with the fisrt of a two-part look at classic delay-based effects. [GET IT HERE] Giles Reaves shares his thoughts and observations on the vocal recording process in RECORDING’s Field Notes with a great selection of tracking and comping tips [GET IT HERE]; Dave Martin is back with his insight in Readers’ Tracks, with a track from Conor & The Wild Hunt, and Dave also heads up our Fade Out with his tips on “Talking To the Talent.

The May Issue of RECORDING Magazine is the perfect place to make your voice heard!