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Postby deadly_habit » Wed Apr 07, 2010 1:51 am

Ok, so this is a topic that I'm sure comes up time to time on electronic music based forums, but since most people tend to do most things in the box and rely on samples or plug-ins rather than traditional recording techniques, recording their own samples, or creating their own distortion, reverb, delay etc with the simple use of a microphone(s). So without further ado lets get to it ladies and gents.

The Three Types of Microphones
Dynamic (Moving Coil)
Think of these as the basic mics you see in live applications or if you ever had an electronics kit as a kid the reverse speaker style. You have a diaphragm connected to a spooled coil of fine wire. This piece is placed over a magnet with a circular channel cut into it that the coil sits in. As sound waves move the diaphragm... well without getting into electrons and magnetic displacement yada yda yada (if wanted I can edit this to be uber technical) this is what translates the sound waves into electrons which can be sent through the preamp built into the mic to the other end of whatever you're plugging into. How often the diaphragm changes direction is what gives the frequency/pitch, how far it travels in a given instant determines how great the output signal will be (loudness)
Note that what makes the difference in dynamics is going to be the material the diaphragm is made out of, thickness, how it it is hinged (so it can move), the size and weight of the coil etc. EX: the Shure SM-57 and SM-58 are the same identical mic, just the SM-58 has a windscreen capsule over it making it ideal for vocals

Ribbon
The diaphragm on a ribbon mic is the conductor in this case breaking the lines of force in the magnetic field. It's called a ribbon because the diaphragm is a thin corrugated pieced of metal which is placed between two magnetic fields of opposite polarities. So as it vibrates the fields are broken and more of that technical voodoo of making sound waves into electrons happens. Well that's pretty simple you say... not quite. The downside to ribbon mics is that they need to have a very thin piece of metal in order to vibrate and long enough so that the vibrations can be detected enough to translate over well. What does that mean... drop it chances are you'll need to replace the ribbon. Push too much SPL through it, you'll probably need a new ribbon. Up until recently the one downside was the output level on ribbon mics, which has been addressed in more modern ribbons. Ribbon mics are more compliant, less mass, and for the most part have better transient response than a dynamic. The longer the ribbon, the better the low frequency response; the shorter, the better the high frequency response.

Condenser
Condensers may as well be called a capacitor for those of you familiar with electronics. This is also why with condenser mics you need to provide them with their own power source (phantom power aka +48v). Inside the mic you have a fixed rear plate and a thin front plate (the diaphragm), now here's where it gets kinda crazy. The thin movable plate is generally 3-10 micron (a human hair is generally 40 micron) thin piece of mylar that has been spattered with a spray of silver, gold, or nickel alloy to make it conductive. As the diaphragm moves that technical mumbo jumbo occurs to translate sound waves into electrons. Now without getting technical about the electronics even with the phantom power a condenser has a preamp very close to the capsule in order amplify the constant change in voltage across the resistor. In other words without the built in preamp in the mic itself the signal wouldn't be strong enough to be sent.


Next: Pickup Patterns
to be continued...
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Postby upstateface » Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:20 am

Wait, so what is this phantom power thing?
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Postby deadly_habit » Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:28 am

Pickup Patterns

I could go in depth with loads of text, but in this case i think pictures should do the best explanation.

Omnidirectional
Image

Bidirectional aka Figure Eight
Image

Cardioid
Image

Supercardioid
Image

Hypercardioid
Image

Shotgun
Image

Now if these charts seem greek to you pipe up and I'll add some more in.

Note: I'm going to add in below each pic in a bit what applications each pattern is good for. Also it seems i need to resize and change format on these images and host em myself
Last edited by deadly_habit on Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby deadly_habit » Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:30 am

upstateface wrote:Wait, so what is this phantom power thing?

a condenser mic needs a power source for it's internal preamp and to charge the capsule
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Postby upstateface » Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:36 am

deadly habit wrote:
upstateface wrote:Wait, so what is this phantom power thing?

a condenser mic needs a power source for it's internal preamp and to charge the capsule

Why would i want a condensed mic? I want full size.
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Postby deadly_habit » Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:37 am

upstateface wrote:
deadly habit wrote:
upstateface wrote:Wait, so what is this phantom power thing?

a condenser mic needs a power source for it's internal preamp and to charge the capsule

hur durr i'm a retard trying to be funny in an actual production related thread with nothing to bring to it

fixed that for ya
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Postby upstateface » Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:45 am

Word, You should list applications for each type of mic. THAT would be helpful.
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Postby back2onett » Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:47 am

this not in the production bible? if not it should be

and yeah some basic applications would be nice, maybe price range too
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Postby deadly_habit » Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:53 am

i'm getting there guys, it's been ages since i've written like essay/descriptive like this. there's def no way i'm gonna finish this in one night let alone a day
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Postby Assassin » Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:09 am

SE mics are brilliant. Used three so far, all have been good. Seriously cheap for the sound quality in the condensers.

Strangely enough I also rate sennheisers over shure, the shures create far too much feedback.

Anyone do any mid/side shit? it's honestly the future of stereo. Some really open sounds can be made.
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Postby thesarge » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:55 pm

Assassin wrote:SE mics are brilliant. Used three so far, all have been good. Seriously cheap for the sound quality in the condensers.

Strangely enough I also rate sennheisers over shure, the shures create far too much feedback.

Anyone do any mid/side shit? it's honestly the future of stereo. Some really open sounds can be made.


Although I tend to chose sennheisers over shures as well, feedback has NOTHING to do with brand name and has everything to do frequency response of the individual mic as well as the speaker it is feeding back through.

Agree with you on M/S though, not only can you record sounds using it, but it's also a great way of dissecting your mix while in the mastering phase, for example, you can see how much low freq. content is going into your sides, when it really should just be in the center.
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Postby Depone » Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:15 pm

Ive got loda of stuff on this written for uni. will post it up if i can be arsed!
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Postby Disco Nutter » Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:19 pm

Needs moar geekiness in it! Go on! :w:

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Postby Sharmaji » Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:48 pm

i use mid-side all the time for mastering work, but can't be assed to do it in recording any more.

i'm sure deadly will cover this in depth but the truth is there's no hard-and-fast rules for applications. in terms of capturing sounds, picking mic's will have as much of an effect on altering the sound as swapping out the source will. thus, if you're mic'ing, say, bongos-- a cardiod dynamic will give you one sound, a hyper will give you another, a condenser in omni will give you yet another... goes on down the line for ribbons, large-diaphraghm condenser in cardiod, small-diaphragm condenser, etc.

to say nothing of impedance matching w/ the mic pre, etc...

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Postby FSTZ » Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:57 pm

Sharmaji wrote:wicked material deadly-- share the wealth!


agree...

good fast read and a sweet little refresher course in polar patterns
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Postby tundra » Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:21 pm

Common applications:

If you're...

    Trying to mic a kick drum: Think dynamic. Audix D6, Shure Beta 52, AKG D112/D12. Also look at the Yamah SubKick (or just make your own). Try putting a dynamic on the inside and a condensor a few feet back from the kick.
    Trying to mic a snare: Shure SM57 or Audix i5. Mike the top (batter), bottom (snare side), and maybe even the sides.
    Trying to mic toms: Dynamic! Sennheiser MD421 sounds great on rack/floor toms. Otherwise, try an AKG D40.
    Trying to mic hi-hats, rides: Small cap condensor. The AKG Perception line is a good starting point.
    Trying to record drum overheads: Large or small cap condensor. Once again, check out the AKG Perception stuff or even the Shure SM27. The Audio Technica AT20 series is nice, too.
    Trying to mic a guitar cab: Dynamic. Shure SM57, Sennheiser e609, Audix i5. Try a large cap condensor, too. AKG Perception, Audio Technica AT20 series. Move the mics around on the cab, too.
    Trying to mic a bass cab: Dynamic. Look at the kick drum mic selections and go from there. You can also use a 57 or any other dynamic instrument to mic a bass cab, too.
    Trying to record vocals: Large cap condensor! Unless you're working live, you should be picking up something like the Blue Bluebird, or any of the other large caps I talked about above.
    Trying to record horns: Large cap condensor.
    Trying to record hand percussion (congas, etc): Dynamic or small cap condensor!

All the mics listed above are very common. Get them at your local big box music retailer.

Also, remember this: when you're recording anything with an amp (guitar, bass, keys), it's usually a good idea to get a bone-dry signal by recording a DI'd signal, too. That way you can have a couple of different sounds from the same instrument.
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Postby nitz » Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:23 pm

My days i remember when i did this a long time ago... It just such a hassle to learn i must say, but without in you can't record! you need to your microphone placement peep!

Big up DH, for refreshing my knowledge
:z:

All you need is some SM's 57/58's, a NT1 Rode, a pair for C451B, and a D12 and C214, and your set to go with most of recording you will ever record... oo yeah and some sort of big fat rug!!
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Postby djake » Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:52 pm

i got a whole booklet thing from college on mics, if i had a scanner id scan it for you all...but i dont :(
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Postby Assassin » Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:50 pm

thesarge wrote:
Assassin wrote:SE mics are brilliant. Used three so far, all have been good. Seriously cheap for the sound quality in the condensers.

Strangely enough I also rate sennheisers over shure, the shures create far too much feedback.

Anyone do any mid/side shit? it's honestly the future of stereo. Some really open sounds can be made.


Although I tend to chose sennheisers over shures as well, feedback has NOTHING to do with brand name and has everything to do frequency response of the individual mic as well as the speaker it is feeding back through.

Agree with you on M/S though, not only can you record sounds using it, but it's also a great way of dissecting your mix while in the mastering phase, for example, you can see how much low freq. content is going into your sides, when it really should just be in the center.


I think shures build quality is slowly reducing, I've used older shures and they not only sound better but feedback less. But as you said it's about frequency.

I use m/s alot because it sound good for effects too. I don't tend to master myself because I'm shit at it, but it is useful for frequency splitting, I normal split <80hz-100hz from the rest of the track and make it completely mono. It's good to slightly widen the sparkle at 14k>. do you use it for anything else? Or should I start a new thread?
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Postby Assassin » Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:57 pm

D112/D12 or GTFO.

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