During the process of mixing a local group that I recorded, I found myself trying to track down, to no avail, the source of distortion on the vocal track. Plugins, gain, was it the mic I had used, was it the preamp, my converters? Well, yesterday, when the singer stopped by, I suddenly discovered the source! His voice distorted while speaking during normal conversation with no mics or electronics involved. I had never noticed this before, but after hearing the exact same thing from my monitors for many hours, I guess I was more perceptive to it.
This brings me to questions of practice employed by the members here. Do you purposefully spend some time conversing with your clients while listening for subtle vocal characteristics. Do you have them perform without any mics set up so you can evaluate their characteristics? How might your session change based on noted characteristics you hope to minimize?
I feel somewhat humbled and think I need to learn how to listen to human voice.