Mic It! : Microphones, Microphone Techniques, and Their Impact on the Final Mix book cover
2nd Edition

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

  • An eBook is an enhanced VitalSource eBook with special features.
ISBN 9780367723736
Published December 30, 2020 by Routledge
440 Pages 185 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

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

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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.