Best mic setup

Hi everybody,

I’m on the move to record some vocals with my brand new Shure SM58 and Cubase.
I’ve tried several times but I’m not satisfied with the recordings: I’m not able to melt efficently the sung words together with the rest of the music.
To be more precise, It seems to me that the vocals are too “apart” from the song.
I’ve used compressor and then limiter. Is there a particular setup I have to create for better mixing? What kind of setup do you use?
Many thanks to all of you


If you want something to sit in the mix, you need to process it so there are common sonic elements like running the vox into a reverb that is being used for something else. Group/effect channels work good for this. The EQ of the vox may also be standing it out. If there are guitars, boost some high end to them to help mask the voice or cut some of the high freqs of the voice.

Lots of ways… Pull down the vox fader. Compress the heck out of it, dump it into a reverb… that will send it to the back. Narrow it… pan it off centre.

You can also work on groups of instruments and make them sound denser using a compressor. If you compress electric guitars for instance, compressing kinda hard, it will create a larger “wall of sound” to sit with the vocals.

The BEST thing you can do is to determine why the vocals are not sitting in the mix. If you figure that out, you can make them sit. Note the qualities ogf the mix without the vocals and note the qualities of the vocals alone. Write things down and learn why.

All techniques to achieve something are based on the entire mix and that there will be the guide to determine what needs to be done to achieve a certain thing. Ambient music requires different things than punk rock than acoustic folk than rap than etc… see what I mean?

If I were you I’d just post a sample or two and let the guys, like Tom, make some specific suggestions

One technique ( employed on countless hits ), as well as the otehrs mentioned above is to mix into compression. When you mix into compression a lead instrument ( vocals or otherwise ) pushes the rest down slightly. This allows you to have a decent level of the lead without it jumping out on top and being unbalanced.

You only need 2 or 3 dB of compression. anymore and the whole thing might sound too squashed. experiement :slight_smile:

Aloha sanric,

All the above tips are wonderful. These guys are speaking from experience.

But not to forget the 800 lb gorilla in the room.

All sound (good and bad) starts with the source.

Perhaps the vocal and the music just are not suited to each other.

Maybe the singer is just bad. (not in a good way)

If either is the case, no amount of tech will make it better.

Only you can make that final determination.

Knowing when to ‘top’ and when to ‘stop’ is also an art form.

My advice is to try some of the above tips and If it is still not workin,…
time for the next song.


What I often do…
I never mix any part of music until I record singer. Every voice is different and has different frequencies that need boost or reduce. Sometimes it is more natural to record singer and leave it with zero eq. Then I reopen my project and start all over again to mix around this specific voice.
For example: In my current project I could not get this voice sit in my mix. Turns out that bass guitar has some disturbing frequences around 400 Hz that will fight over their place with main vocal. So instead of raising vocal’s 400 Hz I needed a narrow cut in bass guitar and everything seemed better.
My point was that mixing- It is all about experience and testing. When song isn’t sitting in mix the problem often is either bad arrangement, wrong instrument/ sound choice or both- this is where hours and days (and months and years ) of mixing matter. You can add all the reverb in the world to your mix but when your arrangement is killing frequences the vocal needs you end up in a muddy hell. So use freq analyzator and your ears to determine what exactly is killing vocal. Try to mix around the vocal and kill instruments or cut with narrow eq all that fights with your voice.
Recording tehnique is also important. You will get the best mix when you can get your instruments and vocals recorded so precise that you need no eq or any effect at all to hear it sounding right. Every effect and eq adds a little amount of distortion and hum into your mix. Every inch matters especially with dynamic mirophone. With some voice you need to speak right into mic and with some people it works if they sing few inches above. The purpose is one and only- to get as clean and balanced recording as possible.
Hope some of this helps,