Essential steps to maximize the quality of voice recordings

Capturing high-quality voice recordings is essential for various audio projects, whether it’s podcasts, voiceovers, or music production. Achieving optimal results involves a strategic approach that encompasses hardware settings, recording techniques and post-processing using plugins. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process to maximize the quality of your voice recordings.

This article complements our YouTube short video, where we outline the basic steps for improving voice recording quality. Here, we delve deeper into each step, providing more detail and reasoning behind the process.

1. Setting up your hardware and operating system

Begin by configuring your hardware and operating system settings for optimal recording quality. This includes selecting the appropriate sample rate and bit depth. A sample rate of 48000 Hz (48 kHz) and bit-rate of 24-bit are recommended. Higher sample and bit-rate settings ensure better audio fidelity but may require more system resources to produce and process.

Note: Your recording device, operating system, or drivers may impose limitations on the settings you can apply.

2. Configuring your digital audio workstation (DAW)

Ensure your DAW’s audio recording settings align with your previously selected sample rate and bit depth. Always maintain consistency in these settings. This eliminates discrepancies between your operating system and DAW, ensuring seamless recording, playback and rendering, without conversion losses and other issues.

3. Recording environment optimization

Minimizing noise of any kind is crucial for achieving high quality and professional sounding recordings. This starts by addressing the problems in the recording environment. Post-processing should always be done minimally and as a last resort to mitigate artifacts and noise related issues, so as to not affect the quality of the original sound.

Soundproofing Techniques:

Optimizing your recording environment involves soundproofing techniques to minimize external noise and ensure cleaner base recordings. Soundproofing methods include: installing acoustic panels or foam, sealing gaps and cracks in your door(s) and windows and using thick, heavy curtains or soundproofing curtains.

Isolating Techniques:

In addition to soundproofing, isolating the recording environment can further enhance the quality of your voice recordings. Isolating techniques include creating dedicated recording booths, using portable vocal booths or reflection filters and using noise-reducing materials like carpets and rugs.

For more detailed information on soundproofing and isolating techniques, stay tuned for our upcoming articles.

Gain settings:

Adjusting your gain is preferably done through a dedicated microphone interface such as a Scarlett Focusrite. Avoid and preferably disable synthetic microphone boosting through the operating system. Microphone boosting within the operating system (not gain or volume) might or might not be available for your device.

Test different gain settings within first the operating system, then the DAW and finally the microphone interface to identify and mitigate any noise or sound leaking issues. Slowly increase each until you get the desired level of gain. While testing the gain levels try to speak as loud as you would within the recording, and as quiet, to identify these optimal levels without risking audio clipping or over-amplifying existing hardware or environmental noise.

Note: Not all audio hardware is made equal. Ensure your issues are not due to low quality or malfunctioning equipment. Sound cables, bad wiring, lack of electrical grounding all are contributing factors as well.

4. Post-processing with VST plugins

Tip: While we use some paid VST plugins within FL Studio, there is software like Audacity which are free alternatives.

Now, let’s explore the post-processing stage by adding VST plugins. These will enhance the overall quality of the recordings.

1. Equalization: By applying an equalizer you can shape the frequency response of your recording. Removing frequencies below 50 Hz and above 20.000 Hz (20 kHz) eliminates unwanted noise that is out of reach for your own voice such as hardware static or heavy bass sounds from traffic. Adjust the EQ settings based on your voice’s characteristics to achieve a balanced and natural sound.

2. Denoising: Utilize denoising plugins such as RX Spectral Denoise to identify any remaining noise while preserving the integrity of the recording. This is where the silent part you’ve recorded comes in handy. The RX Spectral Denoise plugin has a “learn” option. Just select the recorded silence in your DAW, click the “learn” button and let it play. If you notice that the white noise is only in particular ranges of frequencies you can use the reduction curve to apply it more heavily in those regions.

Minimal application is recommended to maintain the original audio quality and avoid artefacts. Your ideal raw recording is completely silent except when you are speaking. This is usually impractical if not outright impossible, nevertheless enhancing the quality of the raw samples should always be your first priority. Post-processing should never be a substitute or bandage for problems within a raw sample. We should know, we once recorded in our bedrooms next to a very busy street with absolutely no sound proofing and the windows open, and proceeded to wonder why more plugins weren’t giving us the quality we were looking for.

3. De-essing: Address hissing issues with a de-esser plugin, which targets and reduces excessive hissing sounds (e.g., “s” and “sh” sounds) in the recording. This plugin effectively smooths out harsh frequencies without affecting the overall tonal balance, resulting in a more polished vocal performance.

4. Noise gating: Implement noise gating to suppress background noise during silent intervals, which is particularly beneficial for podcast-style recordings. By cutting off audio signals below a certain volume threshold, noise gating enhances the clarity and focus of the voice recording.

5. Effects: Experiment with various effects plugins, such as Nectar, to add depth and character to your voice recordings. These plugins offer a wide range of presets and parameters to customize vocal effects, including reverb, delay, modulation and saturation. Selecting appropriate effects enhances the overall sonic texture and emotional impact of the recording, creating a more engaging listening experience. Alternatively you can roll with your own set of plugins, such as another equalizer. Nectar has a great list of presets which could give you a great start to work from.

Note: Pay attention to the changes plugins like Nectar make before you move on to the next step.  

6. Compression: Use a compressor to control the dynamic range of the recording and ensure consistent volume levels. Compression helps smooth out peaks and valleys in the audio waveform, improving clarity while maintaining a natural vocal expression.

Bonus tip: Use a decent pair of headphones to ensure that any audio artifacts you may still hear are not coming from your speakers or the environment you are listening in. 

Importance of plugin order

The order in which you apply VST plugins during post-processing is crucial for achieving optimal results. Each plugin serves a specific purpose in shaping and enhancing the voice recording, and the sequence of operations significantly impacts the final outcome.

Starting with equalization allows you to address fundamental frequency balance and remove unwanted noise before proceeding to more targeted processes like denoising and de-essing. Applying effects plugins after noise reduction ensures that the desired sonic enhancements are applied to a clean and artifact-free base input. 

Compressing the audio at the final stage helps maintain a consistent volume level and further enhances the overall cohesiveness of the recording. By following this systematic approach, you can effectively address various aspects of vocal processing while preserving the integrity and quality of the original performance.

In conclusion, the strategic order of VST plugins plays a vital role in maximizing the quality of voice recordings by addressing specific aspects of processing in a structured manner. Understanding the function and sequence of each plugin allows for precise control over the audio signal, resulting in professional-grade recordings with enhanced clarity, presence, and impact.


By following these essential step-by-steps and leveraging the power of VST plugins, you can significantly enhance the quality of your voice recordings. Each stage of the process, from hardware setup to post-processing, plays a crucial role in achieving professional-grade audio results. Stay tuned for more in-depth articles on individual plugins and techniques to further refine your skills.

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One response to “Essential steps to maximize the quality of voice recordings”

  1. Kaastosti Avatar

    Just testing if this comment-section actually works as it’s supposed to 🙂

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