Beginner singers are often confused as to why they sound so different on each of their recordings. This is a very common problem for beginner singers and some have a very difficult time either trying to explain to themselves why they do not sound good on recordings or they blame it on the song. Although most beginner singers get stuck at this point, there are a lot of reasons why they do not sound good when recorded, oftentimes it is not just one cause but most likely sever causes which hinder their voice quality once it is recorded.
Your singing sounds awful recorded because you are not used to hearing your voice, you are dehydrated, you are singing from the throat and not from the diaphragm, you have bad recording microphone, don’t have pop filter, you have bad recording software, you are recoding in the wrong places, you are singing out of tune, you are not having a good posture and because you picked the wrong song.
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In today’s world, it is way too easy to simply download a singing app and to modify your voice so it sounds better. However, if you are a serious singer who actually dreams of a career in singing then this is one of the worst things you can do as a beginner singer. The problem is that once you get used to your recorded voice to being modified by autotune like software you will have an extremely hard time facing the reality that you are in fact not that good when you are singing live.
This is why you will see a lot of people with absolutely no singing talent go to singing auditions and they simply get wrecked by the staff. Not only they are delusional singers who do rely on software to make them sound good but they are absolutely convinced that they actually have a good voice until they start singing live. Although this is typical to our modern way of life, as most people stay on social media for fake internet points and they will do anything to get them, including modifying their voice and photoshopping their images.
Imagine the scenario where you meat a pretty girl from Instagram in reality and you notice that the girl in the pictures from Instagram doesn’t even exist as it is all fake. This is the same for people who rely on software to get a better singing voice than delude themselves that they are actually good.
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You are not used to hearing your voice
It is normal when you first listen to your recorded voice to find it weird or even awful. Most beginner singers focus on practicing and once they start recording their singing they find it awful simply due to the fact that they are not used to listening to their own voice. This is also true even if you are not singing, while most people are used to hear their own voice trough messaging apps they rarely listen to their voice recoded with an actual microphone.
If you find your voice awkward or even awful at first you will have to give it some time, listen to your recordings a couple of times every day. In one week this awkward feeling when you listen to yourself will go away and only then you should start focusing on the other aspects of why you sound awful on recordings.
You are dehydrated
Hydration plays a big part for singing, while you are singing you probably do not notice how detrimental the effects of dehydration is but once you listen to your recoding you will find that your voice is awful. If you want to know which types of drinks are best for your recoded voice, check out my recent article Best drink for singing voice. When it comes to hydration it is vital that you take small sips often, rather than drinking a lot of water in a go.
You are singing from the throat and not from the diaphragm
One of the biggest mistakes which will make your singing voice sound awful is that you are singing from your throat, rather than from your diaphragm. If you are serious about singing you must learn how to sing from the diaphragm. While you might even not notice that you are not singing from the diaphragm as a beginner singer you will definitely notice the detrimental effects of singing from the throat on your recordings.
If you want to know how much of a difference is singing from the troat and from the diaphragm is, then check out my recent article Singing from diaphragm vs throat.
Bad recording microphone
One of the main reasons why your singing sounds awful when recorded is that you are not using a high-quality microphone. Most people use whatever they have on hand to record their singing, oftentimes they use their mobile phone to record their songs which are not made for singers and will definitely make you sound weird and awkward. If you are one of those singers who do record themselves on their phones do not worry and simply try a more professional microphone.
Professional microphones do cost a lot of money, however generally speaking they do come with specialized software which does a lot of things when it comes to improving the quality of your recorded singing. While most will not actually change your voice, they will cut out background noise and even help you with the pitch. If you find it that you singing still sounds awful when you are recorded it probably means that you will need to step your singing game on and practice to get better.
Not all microphones made for singers are good for every singer, some focus more on recording the higher notes clearly while others focus on recording deeper voices clearly. There is no point for me in saying which microphone is the best, while it would be good for me, odds are that your voice is not well suited for the same microphone. As a beginner singer, you should identify your vocal type and range, only after that go and search a microphone which in fact will benefit and enhance your voice once it is recorded.
If you as a singer are looking for a good microphone you will see a lot of fairly expensive microphones, my recommendation is to get a condenser microphone as these are specially made for singers and your singing voice will actually sound a lot better once recorded.
No pop filter
As a singer you will definitely need a good pop filter, this is the small membrane placed in front of the microphone which removes all the popping sounds which you make while singing. You as a singer will produce these sounds once you are singing, and while you are breathing. It is extremely detrimental for a singer not to use a pop filter as you will sound extremely weird on recordings. Oftentimes one of the mistakes which beginner singers make is that they stay way to close to the pop filter, while you are singing you are exhaling a lot of water outside and if yous stay to close to the pop filter then this will become wet and moist.
If you notice that the pop filter is wet then you will either have to change it to a dry on or let it dry. Once the pop filter is wet it will start to vibrate and it will not be able to filter out the popping sounds, in fact, it will enhance them and add a weird vibrating sound effect to your recordings.
Bad recording software
There are a lot of softwares which do allow you to record your singing, however, most of them are not made for singers rather than for streamers or for people who speak in public. Softwares that are made for streamers are not good as the software has a dual purpose, to record the voice of the streamer and to record the sounds of the actual game which are streaming. If you as a singer will try out one of these streaming softwres you will find that your voice quality while recorded is awful and there is a lot of background noise also being recorded.
If you are searching for a good recording software you will probably see a lot of free apps on your phone which all claim to be the best. If you are serious about singing my recommendation is to avoid these as much as you can. Not only because these free apps only work on your phone, which doesn’t have the best microphone for recording your singing, but also because they will modify your voice to sound actually better than it really is.
My recommendation is that once you have identified your voice type and have already purchased a good microphone to take a look at the people who are actually using them simply search for the recording software which they are using.
You are recoding in the wrong places
A lot of beginner singers record themselves where ever they feel the most comfortable, however most surrounds are not well suited for recoding your singing and you will sound awful in these recordings even if you are a talented singer. Once you have got a good microphone, pop filters, and a recoding software it is imperative to think where you will actually record your singing as this will also impact the quality of your voice.
Now I am not saying that you should build yourself a soundproof room, however with a couple of sound-absorbing material will be extremely beneficial for the quality of your recordings. You can get these extremely cheap at any mall, just get some glue and stick it on the wall right next to where your microphone is. As for how many of these sound-absorbing materials you need, you will have to figure it out or take advice from some sound engineering forums or sites.
You are singing out of tune
One of the reasons why you sound awful on recordings is probably because you are singing out of tune. While you are singing you are probably thinking that this will be an amazing recording, and once you listen to it you will have to face the reality that you are singing out of tune. However singing out of tune doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a bad singer, it simply means that you will have to practice a lot more to sing in tune.
If you are a beginner singer than my recommendation is to read my recent article How to sing for beginners step by step, this way you will learn how to sing in tune correctly.
You are not having a good posture
Posture has a lot of importance when it comes to the quality fo your voice if you are laying down on your bed and record yourself like that you will find that your voice sounds probably awful. The main reason is that you do not let your diaphragm and lungs to work and to produce a high-quality sound. If you are recording your singing it is vital that you stand upright and relax, too much tension in your body will also hinder the quality of your voice.
You picked the wrong song
If you are a beginner singer, sooner or later you will learn and know your limits. If you try recording yourself by singing a song that isn’t well suited to your voice than you probably will sound awful. You need to experiment until you find your true voice, and your true voice needs to sound good both when singing live or when listening to your own recordings.
There could be a lot of reasons why you singing sounds awful recorded, however, you should start a process of elimination before you judge yourself too harshly. Odds are that one or more of the above things are either set up wrong or missing completely, in this case, you will have to find some ways to fine-tune the instruments and other things that affect your singing quality. If you have checked and eliminated all of the above-listed things and you still sound awful, in this case, odds are that you will have to practice a lot more. Cheer up, with enough practice anything can be done!