Vocals are obviously an absolutely essential component to the recording of a song. While other components may get by to a certain extent with hiding in the background, the same should never be allowed to happen with the vocals, which should be front and center of the recording. All of which explains why getting the best, most balanced vocal space is so important.
Reverb and delay are the tools recording artists use to bring the vocals further forward (delay) or more to the back (reverb,) thereby creating the perfect space around the words. Whereas delay precisely repeats instrumentation, reverb tends to create a curtain of sound behind the singer’s lyrics. Oftentimes, the better tool choice depends on the song genre.
- The use of reverb in a recording studio tends to add a wash of sound behind the singer’s lyrics.
- Picking the right amount of reverb or delay is what gives a recording a sufficient amount if space around the vocals.
- Vocal delay is the more usual recording technique choice for very “poppy,” fast-paced songs that would be muddied by the sound curtain of the reverb method.
“You don’t want the vocals to be dry as a bone, but you don’t want them swimming around in the background either.”