Recording the most natural reproduction of sounds is not always a priority during vocal recordings – the intelligibility of words is much more important. Strengthening the frequency in the range of 2 – 4 kHz allows to increase the intelligibility of words, without increasing the volume of the path. Lower frequencies make the voice sound warmer, but its readability is also reduced, so limiting them can be a good way to improve the sound of the vocals.
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Recording of Instruments Overview
The drum kit is one of the most complex instruments to record. Although there are many different methods, some common techniques and rules should be known and applied. Since the various elements of the drum set have very different sounds, they should be considered as individual instruments or at least as small groups of a given type of instruments: bass drum, snare drum, volumes, plates and percussion instruments.
When placing the microphone, we should not only focus on finding the optimal sweet spot but also try to avoid picking up sounds from other instruments. Microphones with supercardioid characteristics work best in this application.
The sound energy of the bass drum is essentially focused in two areas: very low frequencies and “attack”. Typically, the microphone is placed inside the bass drum with the arm of the tripod placed a few or a dozen centimeters from the diaphragm with the pedal. The closer the microphone is to the diaphragm, the stronger the attack will be. Moving the microphone away from this membrane reduces the attack.
Placing the microphone closer to the edge allows you to get less bass sound, but more diverse. For the microphone microphones, dedicated microphones are recommended. Their frequency response and large dimensions are optimized for low-frequency bass drum. They are characterized by good characteristics in the low-frequency range, boosting the attack band, and above 6 kHz (about) frequencies are clearly cut off.
The snare drum is typically microformed from the top of the diaphragm, at the rim and at a distance of 2 – 7 cm above the diaphragm, using a dynamic microphone with cardioid or supercardioid characteristics. If we use a super cardioid microphone, we should be careful not to collect hi-hat sounds from the back.
Volumes can be microfiled using dynamic or capacitive microphones in the same way as a snare drum. The advantage of small gooseneck capacitive microphones is that they can be directly attached to the drum rim and there is no need for tripods. In addition, condenser microphones usually provide a better attack.
Overhead microphones are usually a stereo pair. They not only record sound stereo image, but also pick up sounds from all discs at a constant volume level. Condenser microphones with flat frequency response ensure precise reproduction of sounds in the upper band range. Microphones are placed above the drum set and are directed at the plates. The closer they are to the plates, the smaller the share of signals from the other instruments of the drum kit.
In many cases, overhead microphones also provide enough signal level and hi-hat sound, so you do not have to use a separate hi-hat hi-fi microphone. If necessary, placing a small condenser microphone away from the air blast that arises when the hi-hat is closed and 10 centimeters away from the discs should be a good place to find the right sound. The simpler method of drum percussion is applied to jazz sets and other applications where it is desired to obtain an open and natural sound.
This guide is based on pieces of information from Rob Mayzes Blog at https://www.musicianonamission.com/home-studio-setup/
It is common to use several microphones over the given drum sections. Also, one high-quality microphone placed at a distance and directed to the whole set can well collect the sound of the whole set with the appropriate participation of room acoustics. Additional microphones can be used to enhance the sound of specific or more commonly used instruments of the set (usually a snare drum and a bass drum).
A condenser microphone with a small membrane is most often used to microphonic an acoustic guitar – no less a microphone with a large membrane should also provide very good results. Directing the microphone directly to the resonant opening results in a bass, thumping and full sound. If the microphone is too close to the resonance opening, hand movements are heard and a sufficiently large distance should be maintained. Moving the microphone towards the neck will add harmonics and brightness of the sound, but also additional sounds of thresholds will appear.
Depending on individual preferences, this may be desirable but not common. The balanced sound ensures that the microphone is placed between the resonance opening and the tailpiece. Two microphones are needed to get a well-balanced and natural sound. One of them is directed to the resonance box and the other is directed to the neck (around the 12th fret). The microphone directed to the resonance box can be a microphone with a large membrane to ensure the best reproduction of low frequencies. Depending on the room acoustics, this microphone can also be placed one meter from the guitar.
Electric guitar / Electric bass
Although the microfiche of an electric or bass guitar does not mean placing the microphone directly at the instrument, but at the loudspeaker, it is always defined as the microfilming of the instrument. Before placing the microphone near the loudspeaker, we need to check exactly where the speakers are. Very often two or four loudspeakers are installed in the column.
By moving the microphone towards the edge of the speaker’s membrane we get a darker sound. In the central part of the loudspeaker, the sound is more balanced and has a larger “kick”. The proximity effect exposes the low frequencies when the directional microphone is placed very close to the loudspeaker. Moving the microphone away from the speaker reduces the bass, and the microphone also receives more room sounds.
A critical point in the microfiche of electric and bass guitars is the very high level of acoustic pressure, which is why dynamic microphones are the most often used for these applications. If we prefer a condenser microphone, we should check if it is able to receive high sound pressure levels.
Proper microfiling of the piano is very difficult. On the one hand, it is an instrument with a very large tonal range – with a frequency range from 27.5 to 4200 Hz and harmonic components up to 12000 Hz. On the other hand, there are innumerable ways to place microphones.
There are many articles and books that describe different ways to microfile the piano. This guide presents only a few basic rules. One common rule for the microforment of the piano is the type of microphone used. Typically, a condenser microphone with a small diaphragm is the best choice, and in the case of a desire to obtain a stereo sound image – a pair of such microphones. Low frequencies are on the left and high frequencies on the right, so the pianist can hear them. The lid should be open to ensure the best sound. Instead of using cardioid microphones, you can also experiment with omnidirectional microphones that usually sound more natural. It can contribute to better results.
The standard way to microfile the piano is to place microphones about 30 to 60 cm above the strings. One of them is directed to the bass strings and the other to the treble clefs. The closer the microphones are closer to the hammers, the stronger the attack sounds and the more clearly they sound. However, the sounds of the mechanics of the instrument – hammers and silencers – become louder. In any case, finding the optimal sweet spot and setting the microphones in it is the most important thing, because moving the microphone only a few centimeters can dramatically change the sound.
Earlier, instruments that are most often used during home recording are briefly described. In this short guide, it is not possible to explain in detail the microphone techniques for individual microphones. For the other instruments, the use of a condenser microphone with a small diaphragm is usually the best. It must be remembered that the position of the microphone in relation to specific instruments is very different and for this reason, testing and experimenting is one of the basic ways to achieve the sound we expect.
Recording the whole band means the need to have individual tracks and microphones for all instruments or voices. In order to obtain the best sound results, we should register paths one by one with