How to Record Common Instruments

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How to Record Common Instruments - Covering most instruments found in the studio.

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  • 1.  
  • 2. Live Room A02 - ? A03 - ? A04 - ?
    • Sound waves reaching a microphone are transformed into an electric current .
    • 2. This current is sent to one of the three Wall Boxes in the Live room.
    • 3. The current reaches the Patch Bay where it ends until patched to the channel that relates to the mixing desk .
    Wall Box Patch Bay Mixing Desk and Computer 4. The Mixing Desk will start to hear the signal, it is here where the level is corrected for recording. 5. Using the computer software, will state what channels to listen to from the desk and record.
  • 3.
    • Dynamic Microphones
    • Based around the electromagnet principle. Very much like a speaker , but in reverse.
    • Dynamic microphone use a wire-coil and a magnet to create an audio signal.
    • Sound-waves hit the diaphragm , this connected to the moving wire-coil into (or around) the magnet producing an electric current .
    • “ Velocity Sensitive ” – determined by the speed of the sound-waves.
    • Polar Patterns can alter, but usually that of ‘ Cardioid ’ or ‘ Hyper-Cardioid ’ .
    Early example of a microphone, used in old phones Moving Coil wire Magnet Diaphragm
  • 4.
    • Small Diaphragm Dynamic
    • Vocals, Snare, Kick-Drum, hi-hat, guitar amplifiers
    SHURE SM57 + SM58, Sennhesiser MD441
    • Large Diaphragm Dynamic
    • Tom-Drums, kick-Drum, Amplifiers
    AKG D112, SHURE SM7, Sennhesiser MD421
    • Advantages of Dynamic Microphones:
    • Relatively cheap
    • Rugged (strong, durable)
    • Good for High SPL and Sudden SPL
    • Easily produced (maybe not so good for the customer?)
    • Resistant to Moisture
    • Disadvantages of Dynamic Microphones:
    • Normally tailored frequency response; i.e. Primarily for vocals (SM58)
    • Reduced of high frequencies
    • Generally FIXED Polar Patterns
    • Cab have a lack of clarity
  • 5.
    • Condenser Microphones
    • Condenser microphones, also known as a Capacitor or Electrostatic microphone.
    • Sound-waves change the spacing between a thin metallic membrane ( Diaphragm ) and the stationary back plate .
    • They require a power source, provided either via microphone outputs as Phantom Power (48v from desk) or from a small battery.
    • Power is necessary for establishing the capacitor plate voltage , and is also needed to power the microphone electronics.
    • The voltage across the resistor is amplified for performance or recording.
    Open Condenser Microphone Front Plate (Diaphragm) Power to charge the plate
  • 6.
    • Small Condenser Microphones
    • Snare, hi-hat, guitar amplifiers, possibly Live vocals
    • Large Condenser Microphones
    • Studio vocal, Tom-Drums, kick-Drum, ambient recordings
    RODE NT1, AKG 414, sE 3300A AKG C1000,RODE M3, AKG C451
    • Advantages of Condenser Microphones:
    • High Out-Put level
    • Excellent frequency response
    • Quite common to have Variable Polar Patterns
    • Disadvantages of Condenser Microphones:
    • Expensive
    • Requires external power source
    • Not resistant to moisture (new models are better)
  • 7.
    • Parts of the Drum Kit and Mic. positions:
    • - Bass/Kick Drum
    • - Snare
    • - Tom
    • - Floor Tom
    • - Hi-Hat
    • Crash cymbals
    • Ride Cymbal
    • - Over-Head Microphones
  • 8. Snare Kick Hi Hat
  • 9. Track No. Element of Drum Kit & Location of Microphone Model & Type of Microphone Panning Sound Aspect 1. Kick Drum – Inside drum, pointing at beater; also common to have a Ambient condenser placed further away. AKG D112 – Dynamic, good bass response & SPL. Centre Should have clear punch with little bleeding as possible. 2. Snare – Close to skin but not touching! Try to use mic. shadow to reduce bleeding from Hi-Hat. Shure SM57 or Sennheiser 421 - Centre/ slightly panned Beat sound around 300Hz, Crispness 5kHz 3. Hi-Hat –For clear sound mic off centre pointing down. Shure SM57 0r AKG C1000 Slightly panned Sparkle and sharpness around 8kHz 4. Toms – Close Micing, Shure drum mic.s Panned Fullness approx. 300/500 Hz 5. Floor Tom – Close Micing. Shure drum mic.s Panned Fullness approx. 300/500 Hz 6. Over Heads (x2) – Ambient recording. Techniques such as X&Y are common for stereo image.
    • Condenser Mics.
    • AKG 414
    • AKG C1000
    Left & Right to create space Clear image of drums and the space
  • 10.
    • 1. DI (Direct Input): – from the amplifier, FX pedal or straight from the guitar.
    • ___________
    • 2. Microphone : - this recording the amplifier used for the guitar.
    • A/ Close Mic : Microphone place close to the amplifier grill. Very punchy sound with strong output, just guitar no ambient of space.
    • - Dynamic microphones are best, that can withstand strong SPL.
    • SM57 – AKG D112 - Sennheiser 421
    • B/ Ambient Mic: Microphone place further away, will record the sound of the instrument within a space.
    - Condenser microphones are excellent for this, clean image across board frequencies. AKG 414
  • 11. 1. 2. 1. Position and Recording Technique: Shure SM57 - Close Mic , near the cone of the amp & off centre. Expected Sound: Dry sound of amp, no reverb or ambient from room. 2. Position and Recording Technique: - Close Mic , near the cone of the amp & Ambient Condenser Mic about 2 foot away. Expected Sound: Dry sound of amp, also sound of the reverb space where the amp is recorded.
    • Remember…
    • Mic Type
    • Position
    • Think about what you would hear.
  • 12. 3. 4. 3. Position and Recording Technique: Close Mic , near the cone of the amp & Condenser Mic behind about 1 foot away facing down. Expected Sound: Dry sound of amp, no reverb or ambient from room. Also slight ambience of space and sound waves from the back. 4. Position and Recording Technique: Shure SM58 Close Mic , near the cone centre of the amp & Shure SM57 Close Mic. Off centre. Expected Sound: Dry sound of amp, no reverb or ambient from room. Mic near the edge will be slightly lower in frequency. - Closer to the center will give you more high-end while moving out will give you more mid-range . If you put the microphone really close to the amp, you will get more bass due to proximity effect .
  • 13. - Normally when recording acoustic guitar every aspect is captured using microphones. Microphones at different points around the guitar’ s body will have very different sounds and characteristics. So the balance is between selecting the points you want, the sound you want and using microphones that best portray this sound.  
    • Condenser mic. with a good high-end response to capture the wide frequency range . Aim to capture the sound off the strings and the wood body. It is best to position the mic about 6 inches from the body pointed towards the join of the neck and body, know in the industry as the ‘Sweet-spot’ .
    • AKG 414 - sE mic.s
    • AKG C1000 (body)
  • 14.
    • ‘ X & Y ’ – Crossed Pair:
    • Two directional ( Cardioid ) microphones, with grilles almost touching and diaphragms angled apart , typically placed at 90 ° apart.
    • A stereo effect is achieved through differences in sound pressure level between the two microphones. Because the sound arrives at both microphones almost together, the sonic characteristic of X-Y recordings has less sense of space and depth when compared to others.
    • Sound in centre produce same signal in each microphone.
  • 15.
    • When vocalists sing, there is a tendency for the plosive sounds ( B ’s and P ’s) to cause a popping sound because a rush of air hits the diaphragm of the microphone. To avoid this, a mesh of material will break up the rush of air, but still let the microphone pick-up the wanted sound: Pop Shield .
    • - Generally in professional studios, large-diaphragm condensers are used, as they have a refined sound with a wide dynamic range and extended frequency response .
    • - The Vocalist should NOT hold the microphone, as it will create low frequency rumble. A microphone stand and ‘ Shockmount ’ will reduce this.
    • Want to reduce the amount of room reflections
  • 16. Important Words to Remember: Tempo: If the Time Signature indicates how many beats are in a bar and how these are grouped together; Tempo is the speed of the beats throughout the song. Click Track: Fabricated metronome allowing an artist to keep in time when recording; later removed for the mix. Bleeding: Also known as ‘ Over-Spill’ , when sounds from other instruments are received through different microphones and heard on different tracks in the mix. SPL - Sound Pressure Level : The strength of a sound, how much energy is used to create that sound. Clipping: When the volume of the instrument/track is to high for the system recording this creates distortion. May however be by the microphone that is recording of a high SPL for its normal use. Pan - Panorama : where a sound/instrument may be placed within the sound field: Phantom Centre . Balance: Engineer ’s term referring to the mix, normally meaning the volume levels of instruments and vocals in relation to each other; however could be the EQ or Panning .
  • 17.   Cab/Amp: Another name for guitar amplifier, Cab normally the sections with just speakers. Amp Modelling : Digital diverse that can simulate the sounds for recording real guitar amplifiers. Cone: Another name for speaker within amplifier. Line-Out: Using a specific jack-socket to carry a signal, could be from an amp or FX unit, this is normally recorded DI. Phase Reverse: When two signals are in direct Phase they have the affect of cancelling each other out, t hey interfere with each other and their amplitudes are summed to create a new composite wave. Phase Reverse puts the waveform cycles   Stereo Recording: Using two or more microphones to record. This is normally to better at capturing the acoustics within a space due to time delay in each mic, or panning as a sound may move.    
  • 18.
    • Room Reflections: This what given a room/space it ’ s acoustic characterises, for example a Large hall will sound very different than a small bedroom.
    • Sound will bounce around the room, so the larger the space the longer before you hear the sound of the return reflection: Reverb !
    • Surfaces within the space will also greatly affect the nature of the sound, these could heighten the amount of reflections (stone, glass, marble), or stop them altogether (sound proofing).
    • Proximity Effect: The proximity effect is an increase in bass or low frequency when a sound source is close to a microphone. You may occasionally see proximity effect referred to as " bass tip-up. ”
    • DI: This means recording straight out of the instrument or from the amplifier.
    • There is NO room reverb or ambient . This is useful if you would like to add this later in Post-production (Mixing).
    • Polar Response: This shows how a microphone responds to different frequencies around 360 degrees. This will state what type of Polar pattern .
    • Frequency Response: This shows the dB level of the microphones across the human frequency range (20Hz – 20KHz). What the microphone ca record across different frequencies.
  • 19.   Pop Shield: When vocalists sing, there is a tendency for the plosive sounds ( B ’ s and P ’ s) to cause a popping sound because a rush of air hits the diaphragm of the microphone. To avoid this, a mesh of material will break up the rush of air, but still let the microphone pick up the wanted sound: Pop Shield . Shock Mount: Attachment that connects to microphone stand that allows the microphone to be held, main purpose is to reduce vibrations. Headphone Mix: Specific mix sent to the person recording through their headphones so that is not heard on the recording. Double Tracking: Modern recording is built from adding different levels of sounds during recording, for example will start with the drums and then bass and so on.