Avid Technology | Fast Track Duo | MPR Sound Engineer Presents Methods For Great Recording of

MPR Sound Engineer Presents Methods For Great Recording of
 MPR Sound Engineer Presents Methods For Great Recording of Your Students Microphone Polar Patterns Cardioid The most common microphone pattern is a cardioid microphone. The cardioid family of
microphones are commonly used as vocal or speech microphones, since they are good at
rejecting sounds from other directions. In three dimensions, the cardioid is shaped like an apple
centred around the microphone which is the "stalk" of the apple. The cardioid response reduces
pickup from the side and rear, helping to avoid feedback from the monitors and rejects the sound
from the back of the room when used for recording.
Omnidirectional An omnidirectional (or nondirectional) microphone's response is generally considered to be a
perfect sphere in three dimensions. In the real world, this is not the case. As with directional
microphones, the polar pattern for an "omnidirectional" microphone is a function of frequency.
Omnidirectional microphones, can be considered the "purest" microphones in terms of low
coloration; they add very little to the original sound. Being pressure-sensitive they can also have
a very flat low-frequency response down to 20 Hz or below. Pressure-sensitive microphones also
respond much less to wind noise and plosives than directional microphones.
Figure 8 or Bi-directional
"Figure 8" or bi-directional microphones receive sound equally from both the front and back of
the element. Most ribbon microphones are of this pattern. In principle they do not respond to
sound pressure at all, only to the change in pressure between front and back; since sound arriving
from the side reaches front and back equally there is no difference in pressure and therefore no
sensitivity to sound from that direction. A figure 8 microphone is very useful when you have a
loud source on either of the microphone that you want rejected.
Microphones: Transducer Types Dynamic Microphones Dynamic microphones employ a diaphragm, a voice coil and a magnet. The voice coil is
surrounded by a magnetic field and is attached to the rear of the diaphragm. The motion of the
voice coil in this magnetic field generates the electrical signal corresponding to the picked up
Dynamic microphones have a relatively simple construction and are therefore economical and
rugged. The most common use for dynamic microphone are for handheld vocal microphone and
close mikes for drum and other very loud instruments. They can handle extremely high sound
pressure levels and are largely unaffected by extreme temperatures or humidity. Probably the
most common dynamic mikes are the Shure SM58 and SM57. They are not usually the best for
stereo miking.
Condenser Microphones Condenser microphones are based on an electrically-charged diaphragm/backplate assembly
which forms a sound sensitive capacitor. When the diaphragm is set in motion through sound,
the space between the diaphragm and the backplate is changing, and therefore the capacity of the
capacitor. This variation in spacing produces the electrical signal. All condenser microphones
need to be powered: either by batteries in the microphone or by phantom power which is 48 Vdc
+/- provided by a mixer or phantom supply unit. Condenser microphones are more sensitive and
can provide a smoother, more natural sound, particularly at higher frequencies
Ribbon Microphones A ribbon microphone is a type of dynamic microphone that uses a thin electrically conducting
ribbon placed between the poles of a magnet. Ribbon microphones are typically bidirectional
figure 8. The radio broadcast microphones of the 40’s and 50’s were ribbon microphones
typically RCA 44 and 77. Ribbon microphones pick up sounds from in front of the microphone
and from the rear but not the side (90 degree angle).
Stereo Recording Techniques:
The X-Y configuration takes two cardioid microphones and places them at 90 degree angles. The result is
that the mike on the left will pickup the right side of the room and the mike on the right will pickup the
left side of the room. This technique is good for solo instruments and very small ensembles. Due to the
lack of differences in time-of-arrival , the sonic characteristic of X-Y recordings is generally less "spacey"
and has less depth compared to recordings employing an AB setup.
The ORTF technique is named after the French television and radio commission who invented it. (Office
de Radiodiffusion-Television Francaise) This is a binaural mike technique which means it approximates
the distance of your ears. With the ORTF technique two cardioid microphones are placed at an angle of
110 degrees with 17cm or 7 inch spacing. This technique has better stereo separation than XY and works
on most ensembles. This technique is good for medium to large ensembles especially bands and
orchestras. The stereo spread is wider than XY but not as wide as AB.
Spaced Omni’s or AB
The AB configuration uses two omni directional microphones spaced from about 18" to 12 feet apart.
When the microphones are pointed at your source, the volume of the sound hitting the mikes is about the
same regardless of where the sound is coming from, but the time at which the sound arrives is different.
For example, a sound to the right of the mikes will hit the right mike first and then the left mike. When
this is played back, the listener can perceive this delay and use it to determine where the sound is coming
from. This technique is commonly used to record choirs and orchestras.
Microphones that are designed for recording
Low Priced Option: RODE NT5
Price $430 for the pair
The RODE NT5 is a condenser microphone with low noise specs and full frequency response.
The NT5 is ideal for recording acoustic instruments, drum overheads, cymbals and live
performances. The compact externally polarized microphone employs a 1/2 inch capsule.
Details include a heavy-duty cast metal body with a satin nickel finish and a cardioid polar
pattern. The NT5 requires phantom power and includes a WS5 custom windscreen, RM5
stand mount and the ZP1 zip pouch. The NT5 matched pairs come supplied in a custom
carry case with windshields and mounts. Price $430.00 for the pair
Stereo XY Microphone RODE NT4
Price $530
The RODE NT4 is an X/Y stereo 1/2-inch condenser microphone. The NT4 microphone solves
the problem of stereo recording by eliminating the need to purchase matched pairs and the
associated complex set-up bars and adaptors to get professional results. With a fixed 90
Degree X/Y configuration and perfectly matched stereo condenser capsules, the NT4 lets
you record any source in stereo. Offering selectable battery or phantom power operation
with power indicator light. NT4 comes supplied in a custom carry case with a windshield,
XLR to mini-jack and dual XLR cables for balanced input connection. Price $530.00
Medium Priced Option:
Shure KSM141
Price $400.00 each
Designed for studio use, yet rugged enough for live applications, the Shure KSM141 small
diaphragm end-addressed condenser microphone can withstand extremely high sound
pressure levels (SPL). Its low self-noise and extended frequency response makes it ideal for
recording musical instruments. It also features a rotating collar, allowing easy switching
between a highly consistent cardioid or true omnidirectional polar pattern for smooth and
extremely focused sound reproduction.
High Priced Options:
Neumann KM184 –KM183 Price about $900 each
The KM 184 (cardioid) and KM183 (omni) have become the studio standard for high-quality
miniature microphones. The KM184 features incredibly detailed sound in a low-profile
microphone. It excels as a spot microphone for instruments and is known worldwide for use
with acoustic guitar. The mic can also be used in pairs as overheads or for ambient room
recordings. The Neumann KM183 microphone is an omni-directional, pressure condenser
microphone. Transformerless circuitry and balanced output result in high output gain with a
very low noise floor. Price about $900 each
Microphone Placement
When placing a stereo pair, it's important to realize that the best place for the mikes may not be
the best seat in the house. There are several reasons for this, but the most important is that, even
in the front row, there are often things in between the sound source and the microphones that get
in the way of the sound. Another problem with placing the mikes at the best seat is that
microphones are simply not as good at separating out the various instruments and echoes as
human ears are. Try placing the mikes closer to the source than you would normally want to sit
to improve the clarity of the instruments. I like to place the microphones about 10 to 12 feet off
the ground for a starting point and about 4 feet back from the ensemble. A good rule of thumb is:
if you can see the sound source you can also hear it. If you want to hear more of the back of the
ensemble raise the microphones if you want to hear more of the front of the ensemble lower the
microphones. Many recording engineers like to listen with headphones while they adjust the
mike placement until they find the right balance. Using your ears, you can often find a "sweet
spot" where everything sounds just right.
Digital Audio Recorders:
Zoom H4n Handy Recorder
Low Priced Option: Price about $250.00
24-bit/96kHz Digital 4-track Recorder with 2 Built-in Microphones, XLR and hi-Z Inputs, 50
Onboard DSP Effects, Time-stamping, and Included 2GB SD Card.
Zoom H4n Handheld Multitrack Recorder Features:
Built-in X/Y stereo mics record at either 90° or 120°
Four channel simultaneous recording using built-in and external mics
Large 1.9-Inch LCD screen and improved user interface for easy operation
24bit/96kHz Linear PCM recording for pristine recording
MP3 recording for increased recording time
Built-in reference speaker to check recordings
Broadcast Wave Format (BWF) compatible time stamp and track marker
Records on SD/SDHC media of up to 32GB for maximum recording time
Auto-record and pre-record feature so you never miss a moment
10 hours of continuous battery life
Built-in mounting joint for tripod and mic stand mounting
USB 2.0 port for faster file transfer
XLR inputs with phantom power allow recording with any mic
Supports plug-in power type external mics
Hi-Z Inputs for recording guitar and bass
USB audio interface capability
Low-cut filter to reduce noise
Includes 1 GB SD card, wind screen, mic clip adapter, AC adapter, USB cable,
protective case and Cubase LE recording software
Optional remote control (RC4) available
Tascam DR-100MKII
Medium Priced Option:
Price: $250 to 300
Tascam's DR-100MKII features four built-in microphones, two cardioid and two omnidirectional, for
great sounding recordings. A pair of XLR microphone inputs with phantom power with professional
grade condenser microphones, and line in and out connectors are also provided. The markII version adds
balanced line ins, S/PDIF digital inputs, locking connectors and more. Price $250- 300
Sound Devices 702
High Priced Option: Price: $2000
Portable High-resolution Field Recorder
The 2-channel 702 is a file-based digital audio recorder. The compact device records and plays
back audio to cost-effective, removable Compact Flash cards, making field recording simple and
fast. It writes and reads uncompressed PCM audio at 16 or 24 bits with sampling rates between
32kHz and 192kHz. Compressed (MP3) audio playback is also supported.
Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) Software
Price: Free The software has a large following, but a bit of a learning curve to use all its features. AVID ProTools:
Pro Tools Express and ProTools 11 Software
Pro Tools is considered the industry standard. The software is very easy to learn and a lot of major
recording studio use it and could take sessions made at your school and open them in their studios.
AVID makes many audio interfaces for recording directly into a computer. The following interfaces are
the most cost effective.
Fast Track Duo
Price $200 to 250
Fast Track Duo comes with everything you need to turn your Mac, PC, into a portable, easy-to-use
songwriting and audio recording system. Featuring dual mic preamps/instrument inputs, line-level
inputs, and Pro Tools Express software, the studio-grade Duo enables you to sound your best,
providing an easy entry into Pro Tools, the music industry standard.
Price: $200 to 250
Price $500
Record, edit, and mix performances with the Mbox audio interface. The Mbox has Pro Tools Express
software included at no additional charge. You can easily connect mics, instruments, monitors, and other
analog, digital, and/or MIDI gear with your computer to capture and create studio-quality productions
Price: $500
Recording on an ipad and Macintosh Computer
Duet for iPad and MacIntosh
A Professional stereo audio interface for iPad and Mac Price: $649.00 www.apogeedigital.com
Apogee Duet is an audio interface, headphone amp and MIDI interface making it easy to create
recordings anywhere on your iPod touch, iPhone, iPad or Mac.
Charges iOS device.
Duet charges the iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad when
connected so your work is not interrupted.
Stereo inputs.
2 analog inputs with world-class mic preamps and
selectable 48v phantom power for connecting
microphones, instruments or line-level devices.
Works with iOS and Mac.
Direct connection with Lightning or 30-pin iOS
devices (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad) and USB
connection to Mac.
By WaveMachine Labs, Inc. Price $49.00
Auria - the 48-track digital audio recording system for iPad.
Auria is a 48-track digital recording system designed from the ground up for the iPad. With
professional-level features like AAF import/export, and optional third-party plugin support from
names like PSPaudioware, Overloud, Fab Filter and Drumagog, Auria clearly sets a new
standard for mobile recording.
• 48 tracks of simultaneous playback of stereo or mono files. (24 tracks on iPad 1)
• Up to 24 tracks of simultaneous recording when used with compatible USB audio interfaces
(Camera Connection Kit required)
• 24-bit recording
• Vintage-inspired ChannelStrip on every channel by PSPAudioware includes Expander,
Multiband EQ and Compressor
• 64 bit double-precision floating point mixing engine
• Supports sample rates of 44.1KHz, 48KHz and 96KHz, at 24 bits (iPad 1 only 44.1KHz and
• AAF import and export allows transferring complete sessions between popular DAWs like
Logic, Pro Tools, Nuendo, Samplitude and others
• Convolution reverb plugin with included IR library by MoReVoX
• ClassicVerb reverb plugin included
• 8 Assignable subgroups and 2 aux sends
• Time Stretching using Dirac 3 Pro technology
• Real-time audio scrubbing
• Tempo sync and side chain support for plug-ins
• Powerful waveform editor with features like cut/copy/paste, crossfade, duplicate, separate,
gain, normalize, dc offset, reverse, and more
• Flexible snapping tools allow snapping to events, cursor, bars, beats and more
• DropBox, SoundCloud and Audio Copy/Paste support
• Inter-app Audio support (IAA)
• Track freeze for minimizing CPU usage
• Full automation support on all controls with graphical editing
• True 100mm faders when used in Portrait Mode
• Optional video import feature allows sample accurate sync of video to an Auria project
• Timeline ruler options include minutes:seconds, bars:beats, samples and SMPTE time
• Auto-punch mode
• WIST support for wireless syncing of other compatible music apps
• AuriaLink allows two iPads running Auria to play and record in sync, allowing for 96 tracks of
playback and 48 tracks of recording
• Adjustable metering modes, including pre or post fader, RMS and peak
iPad 2 or later recommended
Compatible with all iPad models (iPad 1 has only 24 tracks, 44.1KHz and 48 KHz)
iOS 5.0 or later
USB audio interfaces require Camera Connection Kit
Microphone Stands and other misc. items:
Impact Light Stand, Black - 13' (4m) Price $53.00 www.impactstudiolighting.com
This Impact Light Stand is a black anodized heavy duty aluminum light stand that
extends to a height of 13 feet. (Lower quality parts)
Manfrotto 1004BAC Master Stand (Black) Price $115.00 www.manfrotto.com
The lightweight construction and compact-size of these stands make them a practical tool
for your microphone or portable recorder needs. It extends to a height of 12 feet.
(Medium quality parts)
On Stage MY500 Stereo Microphone Bar
price $10.00 http://onstagestands.com
The On Stage MY500 stereo microphone bar is made ideal for multiple microphone
applications in both live and studio recording settings! Microphone bar fits most standard
stands, booms and microphone clips and features brass 5/8 inch - 27 insert threads.
On Stage MA200 5/8-Inch Male to 3/8-Inch Female Mic Screw Adapter $2.00
Zoom MA2
Mic Stand adapter for the Zoom H4n
Price $10.00
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