In a home recording situation it can be difficult to run between the control room and the recording room in order to capture the ideal vocal recording. Setting up an additional computer monitor along with a wireless keyboard and mouse helps to eliminate the trips to the control room. You will need a display card that can handle an additional video output and a cable that will reach to the next room. A Bluetooth keyboard and mouse will usually have a better wireless range than the type that uses a USB transmitter, but I have used the USB type to control my DAW (which is in the basement) while recording my piano (on the main floor in the living room. It is also possible to create a wireless link between a laptop and your main desktop computer. This will allow your laptop to remotely control your desktop. However, bringing a laptop near your vocal recording position will introduce noise that may bleed into the recording.
This monitor, keyboard and mouse combo will give you everything you need to stop takes, listen back in your headphones, rewind, find appropriate punch-in locations, start a new track or layer, adjust the headphone mix, mute tracks or perform other relevant engineering tasks without leaving the recording room. This is an important benefit because when recording any take (especially vocals) the most important element is capturing the correct feel/expression. It is difficult to maintain this feel when the artist in you is constantly interrupted by tasks that you need to perform as the engineer. The less time that is spent on these engineering tasks while tracking the better. I like to get everything tracked (even if the punch-ins are sloppy) and then clean up the edits later. This is a good rule to follow regardless of the method you use to track your vocals (several whole takes, multiple punch-ins or anything in between). If the moment is interrupted the performance will suffer.
You can get by with just a wireless mouse and keyboard, however, this limits the amount of things you can do from the recording room. While recording my piano (mentioned earlier) I used only a wireless keyboard and a set of headphones. The keyboard allowed me to start and stop both recording and playback. I could also scrub back and forward through the recording. I used my ears to find punch-in locations and my DAW (Studio One – but most are capable of this) preserved the original take under the punch-in. I had the option to move takes to different tracks, adjust start and end points of takes and perform other editing tasks latter on. I found this to be more effective than constantly running between the living room and the basement, but it takes some time to get used to working blindly like this.
Many home recording studios do not have separate rooms for recording instruments and vocals. My set-up is one large room (in my basement) with no dividing wall. I know I mention the piano, but that situation only exists because I cannot get my baby grand into my basement. In these cases it is important to track your vocals far enough away from your computer to avoid noise bleed. My room is rectangular. I have my control room setup on one end of the room with the reference monitors aiming down the length of the room (best way to setup in such a room). I track vocals on the other end of the room. In addition, I am able to manually control the speed on my computer’s cooling fans. This allows me to temporarily turn down the noise while tracking. My main computer monitor is large enough that I can see the vocal track from my singing position as long as I maximize its size in the multitrack window. I setup my wireless keyboard and mouse near my singing position and I am ready to go.
I hope that you find these tips helpful when recording your own vocals at home. Always remember why you started home recording in the first place. Hopefully you got into this because you thought it was fun. The little issues that arise along the way can sometimes rob you of the fun you use to experience. These tips and preparations may help to avoid that from happening.