Music Tech: Microphones and recording techniques

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Microphones, Polar patterns and mic positioing
Microphones
Polar Patterns
The polar pattern of a microphone is the sensitivity to sound relative to the
direction or angle from which the sound arrives, or easier worded how well the
microphone "hears" sound from different directions. The most common types of
directionality are: Omnidirectional, Cardioid and Supercardioid
Cardioid- A cardioid microphone has the most sensitivity at the front and is
least sensitive at the back. It isolates from unwanted ambient sound and is
much more resistant to feedback than omnidirectional microphones. That
makes a cardioid microphone particularly suitable for loud stages.
Supercardioid- Supercardioid microphones offer a narrower pickup than
cardioids and a greater rejection of ambient sound. But they also have some
pickup directly at the rear. Hence it is important to place monitor speakers
correctly. Supercardioids are most suitable when single sound sources need to
be picked up in loud environments. They are the most resistant to feedback.
Omnidirectional-The omnidirectional microphone has equal output or
sensitivity at all angles, this means it picks up sound from all directions.
Therefore the microphone has not to be aimed in a certain direction, which is
helpful especially with lavalier microphones. A disadvantage is that an omni
cannot be aimed away from undesired sources such as PA speakers, which may
cause feedback

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Bidirectional (Figure of eight)- A microphone with a figure of eight polar
pattern picks up the sound from in front of the microphone and from the rear
but not the side (90 degree angle). Microphones with this Figure of Eight polar
pattern are typically ribbon or Large Diaphragm Microphones.
Condenser and Dynamic microphones
Dynamic-Dynamic microphones are versatile and ideal for general-purpose
use. They use a simple design with few moving parts.…read more

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When the diaphragm vibrates in response to incoming sound waves,
the coil moves backwards and forwards past the magnet. This creates a current
in the coil, which is channeled from the microphone along wires.
Condenser-A condenser microphone is fragile and more sensitive to sound.
The pick up higher pitched and more detailed sounds but cannot withstand
high sounds. They are good at picking up really quiet sounds. Condenser
microphones require power from a battery or external source.…read more

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Bass- DI box or dynamic mic
Acoustic guitar-condenser mic
Voice-condenser mic
Positioning Mics for each instrument
Drums
Overheads need to both be the same distance away from the snare
It is best to mic up the top and bottom of the snare to create a better
sound that can be mixed more easily to create the desired sound
Tambourine
One microphone placed 6 to 12 inches from instrument
Recorded with a condenser mic
Tambourine should be placed at the front of the mic but at…read more

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The congas can have a mic on the skin or under the congas to create a
different sound
A dynamic mic is best
When micing the skin, get the mic as close as you can without it
touching
Acoustic guitar
1.…read more

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Dynamic mic
The most common approach is to close-mic an individual speaker.
Place the mic off center to an angle for general recording
Electric Guitar
Microphone Placement Tonal Comments
Balance
1.) 4 inches from grille cloth at Natural, Small microphone desk stand may be used if loudspeaker
center of speaker cone well-balanced is close to floor.
2.) 1 inch from grille cloth at center Bassy Minimizes feedback and leakage.
of speaker cone
3.…read more

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Use a condenser mic
If the singer is in a room with ambience and reverb that add to the
desired effect, the omnidirectional mic will capture the room sound as
well as the singer's direct voice. By changing the distance of the vocalist
to the microphone, you can adjust the balance of the direct voice to the
ambience.…read more

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Upright piano
Microphone Placement Tonal Comments
Balance
1.) Just over open top, above treble strings Natural (but lacks Good placement when only one
deep bass), picks microphone is used.
up hammer attack
2.) Just over open top, above bass strings Slightly full or Mike bass and treble strings for
tubby, picks up stereo.
hammer attack
3.) Inside top near the bass and treble stings Natural, picks up Minimizes feedback and leakage. Use
hammer attack two microphones for stereo.
4.…read more

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Microphone Placement Tonal Comments
Balance
1.) 12 inches above middle strings, 8 Natural, Less pickup of ambience and leakage than 3 feet out
inches horizontally from hammers with lid well-balance front. Move microphone(s) farther from hammers to
off or at full stick d reduce attack and mechanical noises. Good
coincident-stereo placement.
2.) 8 inches above treble strings, as above Natural, Place one microphone over bass strings and one over
(see left image below) well-balanc treble strings for stereo.…read more

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Two surface-mount microphones Bright, Excellent isolation. Moving "low" mic away from
positioned on the closed lid, under the well-balanc keyboard six inches provides truer reproduction of
edge at its keyboard edge, approximately ed, strong the bass strings while reducing damper noise. By
2/3 of the distance from middle A to each attack splaying these two mics outward slightly, the
end of the keyboard overlap in the middle registers can be minimized.
9.) Surface-mount microphone placed Full, natural Excellent isolation.…read more

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