1) Warm Up The Vocals
Make sure the singer has had time to warm up through their typical vocal exercises, but also make sure they are warm up on the song they are about to perform. Remember, the vocal performance is the one that makes or breaks a record. This song needs a GREAT PERFORMANCE. If they are not comfortable, warm up, and excited … The performance, and resulting vocal recording will be usually suffer. More about facilitating the right environment in tip # 9.
In addition a regiment of lip trills, tongue trills, and preferred vocal exercises, i find some physical exercise and light cardio tunes me up, gets the blood flowing, gets me in touch with my breathing, and just makes me feel great before i sing .
2) Vocal Mic Selection
Because Ribbon Mics are rarely used, the 2 main options are between dynamic and condenser mics. Of course, you may only have 1 or 2 mics, so the options may narrow down even further. (Note: you can usually rent mics from nearby commercial studios, if your mic locker is missing)
The choice between dynamic and condenser is a significant one, and should be the first consideration of mic selection. Realize that you'll have suggestions, and you should make them, but it is a singers preference. If the singer prefers the feeling of holding a mic while performing then you should accommodate them and allow them to use a dynamic microphone vs. pushing the condenser.
If after we've determined that a condenser is the mic for the job, the next step is selecting the microphone that is going to best capture, supplement, and help define the singers vocal style and tone.
Since condenser microphones can have such varying personality and characteristics, intimate knowledge of each mic available for the project, and an understanding of the vocal type will pay off. This is the experience factor, and can not be gained by any thing other than experimenting with many mics and many singers.
The art of good mic selection is more of an intuition that gets built up over time, and can not really be quantified or considered an exact science by any means.
3) Mic Placement
-found the best spot in the room. Experiment. Test the sounds from different spots in the room. You do not really want to be close to any wall, nor do you want to be in the exact center which is pending to standing waves and phase issues … But move the mic around until you find that sweet spot.
KEEP IT AWAY FROM REFLECTIVE SURFACES!
Just as you've tested the room to find the best spot, adjust the stand, mic position, and the angle, to align and lock in the best overall mic placement you can get. Generally aim the mic somewhere between the tip of the nose and bottom of chin. But maybe it sounds great just below the chin, your ears are the judge!
Remember that mic placement is to tracking what mic technique is to the quality of the singers voice. It's the engineers job to capture the best possible performance at the source, and mic placement (along with just not screwing your levels up) is one of the things that is going to impact the quality of the raw track. You can not polish a torn, so do your best to get it right at the source.
Use a Pop Filter. This will help control plosives, and regulate the distance between the singers mouth and the microphone. General Proximity = 6-8 “. You want to the singers mouth to be as close to the mic as you can without sounding muddy, but not too far away as to pick up unwanted noises.
Once you've gotten the right spot, pop filter distance, and have found the ideal axis, place a piece of tape on the floor for the singer to reference and know where to stand. From there, they will remember that way they were standing when it was sounding perfect, and will naturally be able to find that place again.