One of the best ways to improve at singing is to record yourself with some background music, this way you will know if you are singing in tune and correctly. Most singers tend to record themselves singing without any kind of background music, although this is also a good idea as you can focus on your singing and analyzing your singing technique. If you are a singer than sooner or later you will have to start recording yourself with background music.
You can record yourself with background music by using an app, karaoke songs, a good microphone, pop filter, soundproof foam, studio monitors, finding a good recording spot, using a recording software, adding the background music in post-production or by doing the recording live.
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If you are already at the point where you have found your voice and you are confident in your singing skills than it is time to step it up a bit. The first time you record yourself with the background music you will notice that you do not sound so clear or that you even sing out of tune a bit. This is normal for the first couple of times, adding background music will either slow or speed up your tempo.
Everybody has its own tempo of singing, and if you have been practicing singing without any background music than you have learned to use your own tempo. However, once you include background music you will find that the tempo of your singing is not the same as the tempo of the music. Some singers do adjust to the background music’s tempo relatively fast, while others struggle for some time.
If you cant keep up with the music’s tempo than you should pick another song that suits your singing style. Some singers who make covers on YouTube and other platforms do use background music, and most of them will change the beat or the tempo of the background music. Slight adjustments to the speed at which the background music is playing will have a massive impact so try to experiment a bit. If you want to create your own background music with a guitar then check out my recent article How to sing and play guitar at the same time? ( In 11 Steps ).
Use an app
There are literally hundreds of apps that allow you to either add the background music to your singing or to record yourself with background music. I have to be honest with you, I am not a fan of these apps, especially the free ones. Most of these free apps will put in additional beats and sound into the background music, which can not be heard with the naked ear. They do this so that they can claim the recording if you want to monetize it on some social media platform.
Just ask around some of the more successful singers who have used these apps and a lot of them had this problem, once they have uploaded to YouTube their video got instantly claimed and not by the owners of the actual song. Another big drawback to using apps for recording yourself with background music is that you will have to use your phone. The microphone of a phone is not meant for singing, in fact, it is the worst kind of microphone for singing.
Phone microphones tend to focus on picking up a normal speaking voice, and all of them struggle with picking up higher notes, most of them also add a distortion effect. You have probably have seen a lot of people on YouTube doing some cover song and holding their smartphone in their hands, most of them do this so that they can read the lyrics, but some of them use their phone to add filters to their voice, which basically changes up their voice so drastically that it’s no longer their real voice.
The best and easiest way to record yourself with background music is by using karaoke songs. There is a karaoke version for almost every song, and the best part about it is that it will help you keep the same singing beat as the music has. The best part about karaoke songs is that they do not have any lyrics, its just the songs background music. There are several apps and websites which offer karaoke songs with lyrics for free.
You can use these with confidence, just do not use your phone tor record yourself. Try to find a display that is large enough for you to see the lyrics clearly, it is extremely easy to stream the karaoke song from your smartphone to your tv. If you want to have the best quality of sound than do not use the speakers of the tv as thee are not the best ones for music.
Pick a good microphone
If your goal is to have a high fidelity sound in your recordings then you will have to use a high-quality microphone. You don’t need some expensive studio-quality microphone for this, any mid-range microphone will do as long as it is a condenser microphone. Condenser microphones are made for singers and they will be able to pick up the full spectrum of your voice. Cardioid condenser microphones are even better for singing than regular condenser microphones. If you want to know which microphones are good for recording your singing voice then check out my recent article Best recording microphone for singers ( Top 26 Microphones ).
Use a pop filter
Pop filters tend to be relatively cheap, but they will improve the quality of your recording significantly. While you are singing you will be breathing in and out fairly fast, during this transition your throat will make a pop sound, and the pop filter will be able to filter it out. This is especially important if you tend to have your lips close to the microphone, as all the humid air coming out of your lungs will end up getting inside of the microphone and once the moisture condenses, you can say goodbye to it.
Use soundproof foam
If you want to record yourself regularly than setting up a couple of soundproof foams is a must. You do not have to cover an entire wall with it, but the general area where you are making the recordings has to be covered with soundproof foam. If you are recording in an apartment than you should definitely cover the corner walls where you are recording as sound tends to bounce back and forth in apartment complexes.
Use studio monitors
Studio monitors can be expensive if you go with the more popular brands, although there are plenty of lesser-known brands that cost less and do compete with known brands when it comes to sound quality. Recording yourself with background music will only be as good as your studio monitors, even if you have a high-quality microphone but a low-quality monitor or speaker then your recording will sound fairly bad.
Find a good recording spot
You will have to find a good recording spot if you are recording yourself at home, most apartments tend to have fairly thin walls and a lot of notice goes right through them. Find the quietest room in your home, and pick one of its corners, this way you will limit the sound bouncing back and creating an echo effect in the microphone. Make sure that you can both see the display of the lyrics and it is also a good idea to keep an eye on the recording software while you are recording yourself.
Use a recording software
Once you have set up your microphone, studio monitors in the right place than it is time to think about the actual recording software. There are a lot of software with which you can record your singing some paid and some free, although just a couple of them are actually good for singing. My personal favorite recording software is Audacity, this software has everything you need to record yourself with background music and then some.
Audacity is free, and all you need is a USB microphone or an XLR to USB converter if you have a professional microphone. Just keep in mind that if you use an XLR to USB converter than the quality of the sound will suffer, basically, you will be better off with a simple condenser USB microphone. If your recording sounds strange than the most probable cause for it is you not hiring the higher notes correctly, for more information check out my recent article How to sing high notes? ( Top 15 Tips ).
Add the background music in post-production
Use a software that also plays the background music and records your voice. For this, you will have to experiment with the recording software a bit and not all of them can do this. Generally speaking, you will have to download the song without the vocals and import the song to the recording software. Once you hit record the software will start recording and playing the background music at the same time.
This is by far the superior method of recording your singing and the background music as well. You will notice that you will sound a lot cleaner and better, this is because your microphone will only focus on picking up your voice. If you have a high-quality microphone that filters out background noise than you are set to go, even if music is playing in the monitors your microphone will still not pick it up.
On the other hand, if you have trouble making your microphone not to pick up the background music than you have only one option which is to record yourself without the background music and then add the background music to your recording.
Do it live
If you are not technically inclined than the easest way to record yourself singing with background music is to do it live. This means that your microphone will do most of the work, picking up both your singing and the background music as well. The quality of the recording will not be the best, and it will mostly depend on your microphone and by the type of monitors you will be using. Background echo can also be an issue with some microphones.
Open up your recording software, open YouTube, and go to the song which you want the background music to be. First, hit record, and then hit play on the YouTube video, this way the recording software will record both your singing and the background music as well. Don’t worry about the first couple of seconds being recorded, you can easily cut this out in post-production. Make sure to take a couple of recordings, and change the tempo a bit until you find your sweet spot.
You can also use other platforms than YouTube to play the background music, and some have added functionality to them. The quality of the sound coming from YouTube is not the best as they tend to compress the sound in order to not be so resource-intensive on their servers. You can also change the tempo up a or down a bit of the music by changing the Playback settings on the YouTube video.
As you can see recording yourself with background music isn’t that difficult, the difficult part will be to make the recording actually sound good. After you have a couple of recordings make sure to experiment with the software for a bit, small changes can make a big impact, although avoid at all cost modifying your voice with something like Autotune. Don’t worry if the first couple of recordings will sound bad, the more you record yourself the better you will get.