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MICROPHONE
TECHNIQUES FOR MUSIC

RECORDING

STUDIO

$10.95

I N D E X

MICROPHONE
TECHNIQUES FOR MUSIC

RECORDING

STUDIO

INTRODUCTION

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MICROPHONE TECHNIQUES MICROPHONE PLACEMENT

MICROPHONE CHARACTERISTICS . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20INSTRUMENT CHARACTERISTICS ACOUSTIC CHARACTERISTICS . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

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MICROPHONE SELECTION GUIDE GLOSSARY APPENDIX

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R E C O R D I N G

MICROPHONE
TECHNIQUES FOR MUSIC

RECORDING
IntroductionThe selection and placement of microphones can have a major influence on the sound of an acoustic recording. It is a common view in the recording industry that the music played by a skilled musician with a quality instrument properly miked can be sent directly to the recorder with little or no modification. This simple approach can often sound better than an instrument that has been reshaped by amultitude of signal processing gear. In this guide, Shure Application Engineers describe particular microphone techniques and placement: techniques to pick up a natural tonal balance, techniques to help reject unwanted sounds, and even techniques to create special effects. Following this, some fundamentals of microphones, instruments, and acoustics are presented.
SECTION ONE

STUDIO

MicrophoneTechniques
Here is a very basic, general procedure to keep in mind when miking something that makes sound: 1) Use a microphone with a frequency response that is suited to the frequency range of the sound, if possible, or filter out frequencies above and/or below the highest and lowest frequencies of the sound. 2) Place the microphone at various distances and positions until you find a spot whereyou hear from the studio monitors the desired tonal balance and the desired amount of room acoustics. If you don’t like it, try another position, try another microphone, try isolating the instrument further, or change the sound of the instrument itself. For example, replacing worn out strings will change the sound of a guitar. 3) Often you will encounter poor room acoustics, or pickup of unwantedsounds. In these cases, place the microphone very close to the loudest part of the instrument or isolate the instrument. Again, experiment with microphone choice, placement and isolation, to minimize the undesirable and accentuate the desirable direct and ambient acoustics. Microphone technique is largely a matter of personal taste. Whatever method sounds right for the particular sound,instrument, musician, and song is right. There is no one ideal way to place a microphone. There is also no one ideal microphone to use on any particular instrument. Choose and place the microphone to get the sound you want. We recommend experimenting with all sorts of microphones and positions until you create your desired sound. However, the desired sound can often be achieved more quickly byunderstanding basic microphone characteristics, sound-radiation properties of musical instruments, and basic room acoustics.
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S T U D I O

S T U D I O

MICROPHONE
TECHNIQUES FOR MUSIC

RECORDING
Vocal Microphone Techniques
Individual Vocals Microphones with various polar patterns can be used in vocal recording techniques. Consider recording a choral group or vocal ensemble. Having the vocalistscircle around an omnidirectional mic allows well trained singers to perform as they would live: creating a blend of voices by changing their individual singing levels and timbres. Two cardioid mics, positioned back to back could be used for this same application. An omnidirectional mic may be used for a single vocalist as well. If the singer is in a room with ambience and reverb that add to the...
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