2nd Edition

Mic It! Microphones, Microphone Techniques, and Their Impact on the Final Mix

By Ian Corbett Copyright 2021
    440 Pages 185 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    440 Pages 185 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    440 Pages 185 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Also available as eBook on:

    Capture great sound in the first place and spend less time "fixing it in the mix" with Ian Corbett’s Mic It! With this updated and expanded second edition, you’ll quickly understand essential audio concepts as they relate to microphones and mic techniques and learn how to apply them to your recording situation. Mic It! gives you the background to explore, discover, and design your own solutions, enabling you to record great source tracks that can be developed into anything from ultra-clean mixes to massive, organic soundscapes.

    Beginning with essential audio theory and a discussion of the desirable characteristics of "good sound", Mic It! covers microphones, mono and stereo mic techniques, the effect of the recording space or room, and large classical and jazz ensemble recording. This second edition also features new chapters on immersive audio, immersive recording concepts, drum tuning, and recording techniques for audio for video. Mic It! provides in-depth information on how different mic techniques can be used, modified, and fine-tuned to capture not only the best sound, but the best sound for the mix, as well as how to approach and set up the recording session, prepare for mixing, and avoid common recording and mixing mistakes.

    • Train your ears with practical audio examples on the companion website.

    • Develop and test your knowledge as you learn, with concise, applicable exercises and examples that cover the concepts presented.

    • Record the best sound possible in any situation with Mic It!

    Corbett’s expert advice ranges from vital knowledge no novice should be without, to advanced techniques that more experienced engineers can explore to benefit and vary the sound of their recordings. Whether you only ever buy one microphone, are equipping a studio on a budget, or have a vast selection of great mics to use, with Mic It! you’ll learn how to make the most of the tools you have.

    Chapter 1: Audio Basics

    1.1 It’s Not Always About the Gear!

    1.2 What is Sound?

    1.3 The Decibel (dB)

    1.4 Power Relationships

    1.5 Decibel Scales

    1.6 Dynamic Range

    1.7 Signal-To-Noise Ratio

    1.8 Frequency vs Pitch

    1.9 Frequency Response

    1.10 Waveforms, Fundamentals, and Harmonics

    1.11 Wavelength, Velocity, Phase

    1.12 Amplitude Summation and Comb Filtering

    1.13 Human Hearing

    1.14 Signal Flow and Audio Level Standards

    1.15 Gain Structure and Recording Levels

    1.16 Analog Audio Connectors

    1.17 Digital Audio Connectors

    1.18 Digital Audio Basics

    Chapter 2: "Good Sound"

    2.1 Recognizing Good Sound

    2.2 Sound Reproduction Formats

    2.3 Monitoring Options – Loudspeakers, Headphones, and Earbuds

    2.4 Mono Compatibility

    2.5 Compressed Audio Formats

    2.6 Dynamic Range

    2.7 What About Distortion?

    2.8 What Is a Good Recording?

    2.9 Accuracy

    2.10 Non-Natural Sounds and Balances

    2.11 What Are the Elements of a Good Mix?

    2.12 Frequency Balance

    2.13 Clarity and Intelligibility

    2.14 The Stereo Image

    2.15 Focus and Amplitude Balance

    2.16 Processing and Effects

    2.17 Musical Arrangement and Song Structure

    2.18 Making a Great Record

    Chapter 3: About Microphones, Part 1…

    3.1 The Microphone

    3.2 End Address or Side Address?

    3.3 Directionality and Pick-Up Patterns

    3.4 Dynamic Microphones

    3.5 Condenser (Capacitor) Microphones

    3.6 Single vs Dual Diaphragm Microphones

    3.7 Pressure and Pressure Gradient Transducers

    3.8 Ribbon Microphones

    3.9 Tube (Valve) Microphones

    3.10 Stereo Microphones

    3.11 Virtual Microphones

    3.12 Other Microphone Technologies

    Chapter 4: About Microphones, Part 2…

    4.1 Phantom Power

    4.2 Proximity Effect

    4.3 Frequency Response

    4.4 Off-Axis Response

    4.5 Flat Microphones vs Vocal Microphones

    4.6 Low Frequency Response

    4.7 Low Cut Filters

    4.8 Low Frequency Instrument Microphones

    4.9 Sensitivity

    4.10 Self-Noise and Equivalent Noise Rating (ENR)

    4.11 Signal-to-Noise Ratio

    4.12 Pads

    4.13 Maximum SPL

    4.14 Dynamic Range

    4.15 Transient Response

    4.16 Pop Filters, Windscreens, and Dead Cats

    4.17 Shock Mounts

    4.18 Mic Preamps

    4.19 What Mic to Use?

    4.20 There’s More to It Than Specifications!

    Chapter 5: EQ Basics

    5.1 What Is EQ?

    5.2 Last Resort, and Creative Mix Tool

    5.3 Can You EQ Spill?

    5.4 EQ Filters

    5.5 Analog vs Digital EQ

    5.6 Additive vs Subtractive EQ

    5.7 The Fewer Filters the Better

    5.8 How Much to EQ?

    5.9 When to EQ?

    5.10 Golden Rules of EQ

    Chapter 6: Stereo Imaging

    6.1 The Stereo Soundstage

    6.2 How to Listen

    6.3 Phantom and Discrete Images

    6.4 Image Width

    6.5 Beyond the Loudspeakers

    6.6 Depth Concepts

    6.7 The Illusion of Height

    6.8 Static and Dynamic Panning

    6.9 Image Symmetry

    6.10 Use All of the Soundstage!

    6.11 Reality vs Recording

    Chapter 7: Stereo Microphone Arrays

    7.1 Microphone Arrays

    7.2 XY Coincident Pair Techniques

    7.3 Blumlein Pair Technique

    7.4 Near-Coincident Pair Techniques

    7.5 Spaced Pair (AB) Techniques

    7.6 MS (Middle-Side) Techniques

    7.7 The Decca Tree

    7.8 Binaural and Baffle Techniques

    Chapter 8: Immersive Audio

    8.1 Surround and Immersive Audio

    8.2 Channel Panning and Object Based Audio

    8.3 The New Challenges of Immersive Audio

    8.4 Channel Based Microphone Techniques

    8.5 Binaural Techniques

    8.6 Introducing Ambisonics…

    Chapter 9: The Effect of Microphone Position

    9.1 Art and Science

    9.2 Distance and Tonal Qualities

    9.3 "Zoom Factor"

    9.4 Off-Axis Response

    9.5 Direct vs Reflected Sound

    9.6 Comb Filtering Problems

    9.7 Floor Reflections – the Good, the Bad, and Boundary Mics

    9.8 Stereo Arrays and Distance

    9.9 Spill – Enemy or Creative Tool?

    9.10 Mic Position Practicalities

    9.11 Multi-Miking

    9.12 Experimentation and Exploration

    9.13 Practical Tips to Help Set Mic Position

    Chapter 10: The Recording Room

    10.1 Room Sound

    10.2 Live Rooms

    10.3 Dead Rooms

    10.4 Room Size

    10.5 Cubic Airspace

    10.6 Standing Waves and Resonant Frequencies

    10.7 Flutter Echo

    10.8 Microphone Directionality and Room Considerations

    10.9 Room Shape

    10.10 Absorption

    10.11 Diffusion

    10.12 The Purpose of the Room

    10.13 The Single Room Home Studio

    10.14 Acoustical "Home Remedies"

    10.15 Monitor Calibration Software?

    Chapter 11: Recording Vocals

    11.1 Is it Really About the Mic?

    11.2 Getting "the" Performance

    11.3 Vocal Tracking Methods

    11.4 Miking Individuals

    11.5 Voice and Acoustic Guitar

    11.6 Small Vocal Groups

    11.7 Larger Contemporary Vocal Groups

    11.8 Gang Vocals

    11.9 Vocal Recording Tips

    11.10 Vocal EQ Frequencies

    Chapter 12: Drum Miking

    12.1 What Kind of Sound Does the Project Call For?

    12.2 How Many Mics Do You Really Need?

    12.3 Kick Drums

    12.4 Snare Drums

    12.5 Hi-Hats

    12.6 Tom Toms

    12.7 Cymbals and Overheads

    12.8 Room Mics

    12.9 Rock Drums vs Acoustic Jazz Drums

    12.10 Drum EQ Frequencies

    Chapter 13: Drum Tuning

    13.1 Why Learn to Tune Drums?

    13.2 Fundamental vs Lug Frequencies

    13.3 Drums and Tuning Concepts

    13.4 Kick Drum Tuning

    13.5 Snare Drum Tuning

    13.6 Tom Tom Tuning

    13.7 Fixing Rings and Resonances

    13.8 Tuning Devices and Apps

    Chapter 14: Guitars, Basses, and Keyboards

    14.1 The Role of the Rhythm Section

    14.2 Electric Guitar

    14.3 Creative Comb Filtering

    14.4 Direct Boxes

    14.5 Reamping

    14.6 Amp and Pedal Simulation

    14.7 Electric Bass

    14.8 More on Guitar and Bass Cabs

    14.9 Acoustic (Upright) Bass

    14.10 Acoustic Guitar

    14.11 Grand Piano

    14.12 Upright Piano

    14.13 Electric Keyboards and Synthesizers

    14.14 Leslie Speakers and the Hammond Organ

    14.15 Accordions

    14.16 EQ Frequencies

    Chapter 15: Strings, Winds, Brass, and Percussion

    15.1 Orchestral String Instruments

    15.2 Horn Section Instruments

    15.3 Other Wind and String Instruments

    15.4 Percussion Instruments

    15.5 EQ Frequencies

    Chapter 16: Setting Up the Studio

    16.1 The Three or Seven P’s

    16.2 Bands – Small Room Recording

    16.3 Bands – Large Room Recording

    16.4 Iso-Rooms and Multi-Room Studios

    16.5 Gobos and Sound Barriers

    16.6 Drum Rooms and Drum Screens

    16.7 String Sections

    16.8 Horn Sections

    Chapter 17: Miking Large Ensembles

    17.1 Orchestras and Large Instrumental Ensembles

    17.2 Main Arrays

    17.3 Outriggers

    17.4 Woodwind Mics

    17.5 Natural Reverb and Room Acoustics

    17.6 Audience Mics

    17.7 Spot Mics

    17.8 To Time Align or Not to Time Align?

    17.9 Artificial Reverb

    17.10 The Hollywood Sound

    17.11 Large Choirs

    17.12 Jazz Big Bands – Concert Seating

    17.13 Jazz Big Bands – Studio Isolation Seating

    Chapter 18: Putting It All Together

    18.1 Recording for the Mix

    18.2 Ear Candy

    18.3 Pre-Production

    18.4 The Pre-Mix

    18.5 The Headphone Mix

    18.6 Click Tracks

    18.7 Knowing the Song

    18.8 Don’t Give Everything Away at Once

    18.9 Correct Problems Early (But Know When to Let Them Go)

    18.10 Fixing Dull or Small Sounding Tracks

    18.11 "Polishing a Turd"

    18.12 Exploration and Experimentation

    Chapter 19: Audio for Video

    19.1 Why Audio for Video?

    19.2 Types of Audio

    19.3 Recording Systems

    19.4 Synchronization

    19.5 Shotgun Microphones

    19.6 Blimps

    19.7 Boompoles and Pistol Grips

    19.8 Lavalier Microphones

    19.9 Voice-Overs and Dialog Replacement

    19.10 Isolation and Restoration Software

    19.11 Sound Effect Recording

    Chapter 20: Tips From the Professionals…

    20.1 To Conclude…

    20.2 Lenise Bent

    20.3 David V. R. Bowles

    20.4 Joel Hamilton

    20.5 Kerry-Anne Kubisa

    20.6 Wes "Wesonator" Maebe

    20.7 Matt Ross-Spang

    20.8 Mark Rubel

    20.9 Catherine Vericolli

    20.10 Paul "Willie Green" Womack


    Ian Corbett is the Coordinator of Audio Engineering at Kansas City Kansas Community College. He also owns and operates off-beat-open-hats LLC recording and sound reinforcement. He is a frequent presenter at conferences and universities around the world, and currently a regional Vice-President of the Audio Engineering Society. He has experience in a wide variety of audio fields, including location recording, sound reinforcement, studio recording, theatre, television and radio.