Capture great sound in the first place, and spend less time "fixing it in the mix" with Ian Corbett’s Mic It! Microphones, Microphone Techniques, and Their Impact on the Final Mix. With his expert guidance, 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. Whether you only ever buy one microphone, are equipping a studio on a budget, or have a vast selection of great mics to use, you’ll learn to better use whatever tools you have. Mic It! gives you the background to design and discover your own solutions to record the best sound possible. The information in these pages will help you record great source tracks that can be easily developed into anything from ultra-clean mixes to huge, organic soundscapes.
Beginning with essential audio theory, then discussing the desirable characteristics of good sound and the elements of a good stereo recording, the book covers microphones, mono and stereo mic techniques, the effect of the recording space or room, and large classical and jazz ensemble recording. A variety of mic techniques for vocals and instruments (both individual and groups) are presented, ranging from vital knowledge that no novice should be without, to advanced techniques that more experienced engineers can explore to benefit and vary the sound of their recordings. Corbett explains large room vs. layer-by-layer small-room recording situations, presents the best techniques for each, and shares typical production challenges and their resolutions. The book 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, mixing, and avoid common recording and mixing mistakes.
Table of Contents
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
1.4 Power Relationships
1.5 Decibel Scales
1.6 Dynamic Range
1.7 Signal To Noise Ratio
1.9 Frequency Response
1.10 Waveforms, Fundamentals, And Harmonics
1.11 Wavelength, Velocity, Phase
1.12 Amplitude Summation
1.13 Human Hearing
1.14 Signal Flow And Audio Level Standards
1.15 Gain Structure
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 Compressed Audio Formats
2.5 Dynamic Range
2.6 What About Distortion?
2.7 What Is A Good Recording?
2.9 Non-Natural Sounds And Balances
2.10 What Are The Elements Of A Good Mix?
2.11 Frequency Balance
2.12 Clarity And Intelligibility
2.13 Musical Arrangement
2.14 The Stereo Image
2.15 Focus And Amplitude Balance
2.16 Processing And Effects
2.17 Song Structure And Orchestration
2.18 Making A Great Record
Chapter 3: About Microphones…..
3.1 The Microphone
3.2 End Address Or Side Address?
3.3 Directionality And Pickup Patterns
3.4 Dynamic Microphones
3.5 Condenser Microphones
3.6 Ribbon Microphones
3.7 Tube (Valve) Microphones
3.8 Other Microphone Technologies
3.9 Phantom Power
3.10 Proximity Effect
3.11 Frequency Response
3.12 Off-Axis Response
3.13 Flat Microphones VS Vocal Microphones
3.14 Low Frequency Response
3.15 Low Frequency Instrument Microphones
3.17 Self-Noise And Equivalent Noise Rating (ENR)
3.18 Signal To Noise Ratio
3.19 Maximum SPL
3.20 Dynamic Range
3.21 Transient Response
3.22 Pop Filters, Windscreens, And Dead Cats
3.23 Shock Mounts
3.24 Mic Preamps
3.25 What Mic To Use?
3.26 There’s More To It Than Specifications!
Chapter 4: EQ Basics
4.1 What Is EQ?
4.2 Last Resort, And Creative Mix Tool
4.3 Can You EQ Spill?
4.4 EQ Filter Types
4.5 Analog VS. Digital EQ
4.6 Additive VS. Subtractive EQ
4.7 The Fewer Filters The Better
4.8 How Much To EQ?
4.9 When To EQ?
4.10 Golden Rules Of EQ
Chapter 5: Stereo Imaging
5.1 The Stereo Soundstage
5.2 Phantom And Discrete Images
5.3 Image Width
5.4 Beyond The Loudspeakers
5.5 Depth Concepts
5.6 The Illusion Of Height
5.7 Static And Dynamic Panning
5.8 Image Symmetry
5.9 Use All Of The Soundstage!
5.10 How To Listen
5.10 Reality VS. Recording
Chapter 6: Stereo Microphone Arrays
6.1 Microphone Arrays
6.2 XY Coincident Pair Techniques
6.3 Blumlein Pair Technique
6.4 Near-Coincident Pair Techniques
6.5 Spaced Pair (AB) Techniques
6.6 MS (Middle-Side) Techniques
6.7 The Decca Tree
6.8 Binaural And Baffle Techniques
Chapter 7: The Effect Of Microphone Position
7.1 Art And Science
7.2 Distance and Tonal Qualities
7.3 "Zoom Factor"
7.4 Off-Axis Response
7.5 Direct VS Reflected Sound
7.6 Floor Reflections – The Good, The Bad, And Boundary Mics
7.7 Distance and Stereo Arrays
7.8 Spill – Enemy Or Creative Tool?
7.9 Why Minor Changes In Mic Position Change The Sound So Much
7.10 Experimentation and Exploration
7.11 Practical Tips To Help Set Mic Position
Chapter 8: The Recording Room
8.1 Room Sound
8.2 Live Rooms
8.3 Dead Rooms
8.4 Room Size
8.5 Cubic Airspace
8.6 Standing Waves And Resonant Frequencies
8.7 Flutter Echo
8.8 Microphone Directionality And Room Considerations
8.9 Room Shape
8.12 The Purpose Of The Room
8.13 Acoustical "Home Remedies"
Chapter 9: Recording Vocals
9.1 Is It Really About The Mic?
9.2 Getting The Performance
9.3 Vocal Tracking Methods
9.4 Miking Individuals
9.5 Voice And Acoustic Guitar
9.6 Small Vocal Groups
9.7 Larger Vocal Groups
9.8 Gang Vocals
9.9 Vocal Processing Tips
9.10 Vocal EQ Frequencies
Chapter 10: Drum Miking
10.1 What Kind Of Sound Does The Project Call For?
10.2 How Many Mics Do You Really Need?
10.3 Kick Drum
10.4 Snare Drum
10.6 Tom Toms
10.7 Cymbals And Overheads
10.8 Room Mics
10.9 Rock Drums VS. Acoustic Jazz Drums
10.10 Drum EQ Frequencies
Chapter 11: Guitars, Basses, And Keyboards
11.1 The Role Of The Rhythm Section Instruments
11.2 Electric Guitar
11.3 Electric Bass, And DI Boxes
11.4 Acoustic (Upright) Bass
11.5 Acoustic Guitar
11.6 The Grand Piano
11.7 The Upright Piano
11.8 Electric Keyboards And Synthesizers
11.9 Leslie Speakers And The Hammond Organ
11.11 EQ Frequencies
Chapter 12: Strings, Winds, Brass And Percussion
12.1 Orchestral String Instruments
12.2 Horn Section Instruments
12.3 Other Wind And String Instruments
12.4 Percussion Instruments
12.5 EQ Frequencies
Chapter 13: Beyond The Basics
13.1 "Ear Candy"
13.2 Fixing Dull Or Small Sounding Tracks
13.3 Multi-Miking = Closer Miking
13.4 Distance Mics – Guitar And Bass Cabinets
13.5 Comb Filtering – Problems
13.6 Comb Filtering – Creative Tool
13.7 Double Tracking
13.8 Room Mics
Chapter 14: Setting Up The Studio
14.1 The Three Or Seven P’s
14.2 Bands – Small Room Recording
14.3 Bands – Large Room Recording
14.4 Iso-Rooms And Multi-Room Studios
14.5 Gobos And Sound Barriers
14.6 Drum Rooms
14.7 String Sections
14.8 Horn Sections
Chapter 15: Miking Large Ensembles
15.1 Orchestras And Large Instrumental Ensembles
15.2 Main Arrays
15.4 Woodwind Mics
15.5 Natural Reverb and Room Acoustics
15.6 Audience Mics
15.7 Spot Mics
15.8 To Time Align Or Not To Time Align?
15.9 Artificial Reverb
15.10 The Hollywood Sound
15.11 Large Choirs
15.12 Jazz Big Bands – Concert Seating
15.13 Jazz Big Bands – Studio Isolation Seating
Chapter 16: Putting It All Together
16.1 The Pre-Mix
16.2 The Monitor/Headphone Mix
16.3 Click Tracks
16.4 Knowing The Song
16.5 Don’t Give Everything Away At Once
16.6 Loudspeakers Or Headphones? Again…..
16.7 Recording For The Mix
16.8 Correct Problems Early (But Know When To Let Them Go)
16.9 "Polishing A Turd"
16.10 Exploration And Experimentation
Chapter 17: Tips From The Professionals…..
17.1 To Conclude…..
17.2 Lenise Bent
17.3 David V. R. Bowles
17.4 Kerry-Anne Kubisa
17.5 Web Maebe
17.6 Matt Ross-Spang
17.7 Mark Rubel
Dr. Ian Corbett is the coordinator of the Audio Engineering Program, and Professor of Music Technology and Audio Engineering at Kansas City Kansas Community College. He also owns and operates "off-beat-open-hats – recording and sound reinforcement" which specializes in servicing the needs of jazz and classical ensembles in the Kansas City area. Since 2004, he has been a member of the Audio Engineering Society's Education Committee, and has mentored, presented, and served on panels at local, regional, national, and international AES and other professional events. Ian has also authored articles on audio recording related subjects for Sound On Sound magazine.
Please visit our companion website for additional support materials.