What Equipment Do Audio Producers Use for Vocalists?

Recording equipment

Interested in becoming a vocalist or working with vocalists as an audio producer? There are some must have items every audio producer will need to keep their talent’s voice sounding its best. Some of the items include a good microphone and microphone stand, vocalist software, a sound-proof booth, and additional accessories to improve the sound of the voice.


Microphones are an essential piece of equipment that every audio producer needs to learn how to use. The main microphone types include condenser, dynamic, USB and ribbon. Each has a different purpose and can create a unique sound.

Condenser Microphones

A condenser microphone can capture a large frequency range and has the ability to reproduce the full spectrum of a voice. They have a louder output and may be more sensitive to loud sounds. There are two different kinds of condenser microphones: large-diaphragm microphones and small-diaphragm microphones.  The large version offers a deep sound, whereas the small version offers a wide-frequency and good transient response.

Dynamic Microphones

Dynamic microphones are sturdier than condenser microphones in physical makeup, with one example being that they’re resistant to moisture. Dynamic microphones are a great option for situations where movement is necessary, as they don’t require their own power supply. However, the sound quality is not as accurate as a condenser microphone at recording sounds at higher frequencies.

USB Microphones

Universal Serial Bus (USB) microphones are quickly becoming a major part of the audio equipment found in recording studios. USB mics are able to process and digitize the audio within the microphone itself rather than after it passes through to an analog-to-digital converter. A USB microphone also has knobs built in to control the gain levels of the audio.  Many high-end models come with pop filters to help limit the amount of external noise that can add unwanted elements to whatever sound is being recorded. In addition, most USB microphones are “plug and play,” which means that they can be utilized immediately once plugged into a computer or mixing board.

Ribbon Microphones

Ribbon microphones are used within recording studios and often used in conjunction with condenser microphones. They produce sounds that are warmer and darker, not necessarily used when the desired sound needs crispness.

Vocal Software

Audio producers use many different types of software in the process of making music. They include music editing, recording, mixing and mastering software. For vocalists in particular, an audio producer will use software like Melodyne. This is a program that allows producers to correct pitch and edit a voice in many different ways.


Autotune is an app that corrects pitch. Engineers use it subtly during live shows to keep the vocals clear and in key. It can also be used as an obvious effect, creating a computerized vocal sound. Autotune can remove minor flaws in a vocal line or can add an effect to make the sound unique.

Sound-Proof Booth

It can be noisy in a recording studio, with people talking in the main studio, traffic outside and other outdoor noises. To keep it quiet while a vocalist is recording vocals, the vocalist will typically stand in a sound-proof booth inside the music studio to keep the noise from affecting the vocal tracks. If an audio producer doesn’t have a high-end music studio and wants to sound-proof, they can use door weather stripping, wall hangers with a hard surface to reflect and amplify sounds, window treatments that keep outdoor noise from getting in and bookcases. All of these sound proofing ideas will help dampen sound.

Audio Producer Accessories

Pop Filter

When someone sings, they push air from their mouth towards the microphone. The pop filter helps reduce the air movement from hitting the microphones diaphragm creating low frequency pops.

Monitor Headphones

While a vocalist is recording, they often wear monitor headphones to not only hear the sound accurately but to hear an altered or modified sound that helps the audio producer better record vocals. Ultimately, this helps the audio producer separate the vocals from the sound. This also allows the microphone from picking up only the sound of the voice, without hearing the song in the headphones.

Vocal Effect Processing

There are many types of processors used to create more interest within a vocal performance. Things such as reverb, to make a voice sound like it’s in difference acoustic environment. Various types of chorusing and harmonizing effects to create doubling and layered harmony sounds. Saturation and distortion can be used to make a voice sound more exciting or aggressive.

Preserving Voice

There are many techniques singers use to maintain healthy vocal chords. Techniques used for warm ups and used to maintain a voice during long recording sessions. Some of those include scale warm ups, drinking room temperature water, tea or mixing honey with water.

Final Thoughts

All vocalists and audio producers need the help of different items to make the vocal tracks sound good, and help vocalists keep their vocals sounding harmonious. Whether you are a beginner or advanced vocalist, there are many different microphones, software and accessories that will help you sing your best.

Audio Production Program

The Audio Production and Engineering Program  at the Institute of Production and Recording is an occupational degree program designed to train producer engineers who are entrepreneurs, musically and technically creative, and proficient in modern recording technology and technique. Throughout the program, students are involved in hands-on exercises and real-world studio projects that enable them to apply their knowledge and refine their skills.

At the end of the Audio Production and Engineering program, each student presents a portfolio — a selection of his or her best work to date. This serves as a demo reel for potential employers and clients — an audio resume with professional content that highlights the graduate’s talent and skill.

Contact us today to learn more about the audio production programs and starting a rewarding career.