Mic It!: Microphones, Microphone Techniques, and Their Impact on the Final Mix (Paperback) book cover

Mic It!

Microphones, Microphone Techniques, and Their Impact on the Final Mix

By Ian Corbett

© 2015 – Focal Press

358 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780415823777
pub: 2014-10-20
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203549780
pub: 2014-10-10
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About the Book

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

1.8 Frequency

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?

2.8 Accuracy

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

3.16 Sensitivity

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

8.10 Absorption

8.11 Diffusion

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

10.5 Hi-Hat

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

11.10 Accordions

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

15.3 Outriggers

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

About the Author

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.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / Recording & Reproduction