Recording vocals with only one half of the headphones

I’ve tried countless tricks while recording by myself. Often I thought that I was a bad singer, while it was actually about not hearing what I sung. I used to have to record a lot more to get the right takes, but with the combination of a proper headphone mix and using only one half of the headphones, I get things done with much less frustration. Of course I’ve tried both techniques separately, but neither seemed to produce the right results by themselves.

The monitor headphone mix

Because it is absolutely essential to hear your singing on top of everything else, a separate headphone mix will help you considerably.

Try this

  • Prepare a separate vocal recordings file with a backing track
    This gives you the freedom of creating the perfect headphone mix without interfering with the actual mix.
  • Insert a “recording gain” device on your recording channel
    This is particularly important if you’re monitoring your singing with only one ear. Switch the gain device off when you’re listening to the takes, so that that the recorded takes will blend better into the mix.

Use only one half of the headphones

For me it’s much easier to sing in tune, if I use only the other half of the headphones. With this technique, it’s very important to prepare the monitor headphone mix so that it can actually guide you while singing. I had to push the volume of the vocals a lot more than with both cans on. This will naturally depend on the song.

People always kept saying that my singing sounded better live than on record, and it’s probably because I could hear myself better.

The search for the best vocal recording methods continues! If you have any tips, please share!

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