Professional Sound - Indepth

Keys To Getting A Good Vocal Sound

Professional Sound - October 20132 Rich Chycki has produced, mixed, and engineered some of the greatest vocalists in the world, including Geddy Lee, Steven Tyler, and Mick Jagger. With that in mind, PS asked Chycki about his fundamentals for getting a great vocal sound. Here’s what he said…

Microphone Selection

Picking microphones for your artist is something you’ll have to do strictly from experience. What I have found is helpful is to line up and audition some different styles of microphones.


Next, we go into preamp land. Personally, I have a tendency to use Millennias. I’ve used the STT-1 for a long time as well as the Millennia HV-35. I’ve also used the Martech MSS-10. All of them have really fantastic head room, sound really clean, and if I want some hair on a mix or on a vocalist, I’ll use a Shure SM7B Dynamic and maybe put it into a [Neve] 1073. I don’t use a lot of EQ when I’m tracking vocalists, but I do roll off bottom end for rumble and to minimize plosives.


I’m a [Universal Audio] LA2 or an 1176 kind of guy. For tracking, I use a fairly fast attack and moderate release because I like to commit my compression. I’ll commit a fair chunk of compression but I won’t go over the line. I want a consistent recording with good attitude, but I don’t want to corner myself where we get the “drowning vocalist,” where there’s so much compression that the breathing is at the same level as the vocal.

Level to DAW; nominal. I don’t peg it and that’s
how I get a good vocal sound. So enjoy and keep

Rich Chycki has 38 gold and platinum records to his name as a mixer, engineer, and producer for some of the biggest names in music. He is best known for his work with Rush as well as Aerosmith, Mick Jagger, Pink, Dream Theater, Seal, P. Diddy, and more. For more information, visit

Author image
About Andrew King
Andrew King is the Editor-in-Chief at Professional Sound. He is also a co-host of Canadian Musician Radio and NWC Webinars’ series of free music and entertainment industry webinars.
You've successfully subscribed to Professional Sound - Indepth
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to Professional Sound - Indepth
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.