Southbound Beat Magazine

Keyword Site Search


  Current Issue | Issue 1 | Issue 2 | Issue 3 | CD Reviews | Interviews | ColumnsMusic News | Press Releases

ULTRAZINE October/02
By: Christian Lange

One of the critical issues in getting the right sound while recording your band involves your selection and placement of mics. There are three basic types of mics: dynamic, condenser, and ribbon.
Dynamic mics focus on the middle of the frequency spectrum. They are durable, inexpensive, can handle a lot of volume and are the mic of choice for drums, loud, gritty vocals and some electric guitars.
Condenser mics have a well rounded frequency response. They are a little more expensive but for certain things like most vocal styles, the bass, and acoustic instruments, they provide an accurate, clear sound and a very pleasant tone.
Ribbon mics are generally pricey (over $1,000) and are most popular for recording vocals when you're looking to capture a silky, vintage sound. They produce a subtle drop-off in high frequencies and are very fragile.
Computer based digital studios often have mic simulators that allow you to imitate the sound of an expensive pro mic with a less expensive one. Aside from these choices you can also select microphones with one of three polarity types: omni-directional, cardioid (directional) or figure-8 (bi-directional, ie, they pick up sound from the front and the back).

MIC PLACEMENT The topic of mic placement could easily fill a 300 page book. The following guidelines are a starting point. Through trial and re-trial you can determine the exact placements that work best for your particular sound.

VOCALS If your singer likes to scream into the mic, use a dynamic mic. The closer to the singer's mouth, the more you get a deep bass-heavy response. Good for some rock and blues. In most other cases, use a large diaphragm condenser mic to get a warm, full tone. To avoid sibilancies and plosives place the mic above or below the singer pointing away from the mouth or use a pop filter. A small diaphragm condenser mic would only be advisable to record a female soprano where you want to accentuate the high frequencies --a very bright sound.

ELECTRIC GUITAR Much like vocals, it's best to record an electric guitar in a relatively "dead" room --in other words more carpeting, less reflective surfaces. If you want a distorted rock sound use a dynamic mic. For a cleaner sound use a small diaphragm condenser mic. For a warm, full bodied sound try a large diaphragm condenser mic. Place mic 2-14 inches from cabinet pointing directly at the cone of one of the amp speakers. Experiment with distance and angle. Try adding a second mic 3 or 4 feet away to add an ambient dimension.

ELECTRIC BASS A fairly dead room will help to avoid the muddy sound which is easy to get when recording a bass. A large diaphragm condenser mic gives a pleasant warm quality. A single mic 2-14 inches away from the speaker works best. Try slight variations on the angle.

ACOUSTIC INSTRUMENTS Condenser mics 6-20 inches away about 3 inches below the center of the instrument work well. Point the mic towards the sound hole(s) and experiment angling more to the neck for a brighter sound and higher definition.

DRUMS To get a big drum sound, record in a pretty live room and use smaller drums (like an 18 in. kick, 10-14 in. toms, and 5 in. snare). Playing the cymbals softly allows you to raise the overall level of the drums in the mix. Stay away from dampeners to keep an open, clear tone.

KICK DRUM Take off outside head or cut a hole in it. Place dynamic mic 3 in. away from inside head and 2 in. off center.

SNARE DRUM A cardioid (directional) dynamic mic (like an SM57) placed about 2 in. away pointed directly at the head. Try to avoid any bleed from the hi-hats.

MOUNTED TOM-TOMS Ideally 2 cardioid dynamic mics, each about 2 in. above the head. If you use just one mic place it between them about 5 in. away from the heads.

FLOOR TOM-TOMS Can be miked individually or one in between them.

CYMBALS Small diaphragm condenser mic 6 in. above each cymbal or a single mic 2 ft. above all the cymbals.

WHOLE KIT Finally, to add an ambient sound, you should add a single (but preferably a pair) small diaphragm condenser mic two feet above the cymbals. If you use two position them in an X-Y formation, 6 ft. apart.

You can reach Christian Lange at Ultrared Multimedia your source for quality CD replication at affordable prices: Ultrared Multimedia

By: Seva (Soundcurrent Mastering)

To say "home studio" is so different than 20 years ago. Now you have 24bit digital gear, full automation, so many choices. How do you make the right ones? Stick it in your ear. If it doesn't sound right, it isn't. So when you record and mix, you follow your ear and intuition. To get ready for mastering, don't try to "pre-master", just make the mix as good as you can get it, with everything heard in balance, and the right EQ on each track (if any). Compressors on single tracks (like vocal or bass) is fine, but avoid compressors/limiters/finalizers on the stereo output. Bounce (render) your stereo mix to 24bit files. It doesn't matter if they're .WAV, AIF, or SDII, just keep it 24bits. Then make CDROMS of the 24bit files to send to mastering (and keep copies for yourself!). This way you have a very high resolution final mix, much better than bringing an audio CD to mastering. Good luck, and keep your ears clean and your intuition open. For more mix tips and prepping for mastering, you can check: Sound Current or writeSeva

If you need information regarding CD replication, prices, templates for packaging design, or have any other questions, please contact: Ultrared Muktimedia  Web site: Ultrared Multimedia 888-353-3472

This site is optimized for viewing in 800X600 resolution in IE Explorer 5.0 and higher
All Pictures, Logos, and Articles Are Registered and Copyrighted To Their Respective Owners

2002-2003 Southbound Beat Magazine - All rights reserved.