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Friday, February 10, 2006

Microphones and Mic Technique

Direct link to the show (18.2 mb mp3 23 minutes).
  • Welcome and welcome back - thanks for taking a few minutes of your day to listen to the Fundamental of Digital Audio
  • A few follow up points from last week's podcast
  • Another company to check out for usb and firewire audio interfaces is MAudio prices start at about $100.
  • Edirol UA1 EX is really for giving mixers a usb interface. It doesn't have some of the features the other usb/firewire interfaces have like phantom power, xlr inputs for higher quality mics. Not even sure it has a preamp


  • Microphones
  • Use this as a starting point for research not your entire research. I've only used 1 mic in the group I wil mention in the next finutes
  • Dynamic vs. Condenser
    • Dynamic
      • more durable
      • don't need phantom power
    • Condenser
      • more fragile
      • need phantom power (external power) most mixer and usb/firewire interfaces provide this - but don't take my word for it - check with your delaer or RTFM

  • Directional or Cardiod vs Omnidirectional
    • Directional or Cardiod - pics up the sound directly in front of the mic. Denser, more bassy sound
    • Omnidirectional - picks up sound from all around the mic. Multiple people. Sound is more spread out and more treble emphasis

  • Go to http://www.transom.org/tools/recording_interviewing/200508.mic_shootout.html. They have 18 mic samples with a bassy male voice, a female voice and another male voice. These include mics under $100 to $500-600 to over $2000. See if you can tell a big difference. If not, go for one of the less expensive ones. At the bottom of the samples you can view the key with the mics listed.
  • A few safe choices for the budget conscious
    • Shure SM-57, Shure SM-58 $90 and $100. Durale dynmaic mics that are tried and true
    • Studio Projects B1 $79 Condenser - heavy on bass
    • Kel HM-1 $100
    • Heil PR-30, PR-40 http://www.heilsound.com/proline/pr-30.htm $289 and $325 being used by Leo Laprte, Paul Fiagiani and others
    • Wireless Sennheiser EW122-G about $500. Great quality. Defualt settings too hot check out tutorial at: http://www.dvestore.com/theatre/index.html


  • Mic technique
    • Check your input level. Try to get your peaks (loudest to between -6 to -3db) below 0 db for sure
    • Spend some time and find the sweet spot. Play around. The sweet spot on mine seems to be about 8incehes from the mic pointing my mouth slightly to the left
    • Avoid plosive "popping Ps"
    • Closer - more bass
    • Control peaks/louds parts in one of three ways:
      • Hardware limiter/compressor - requires external unti more complex but probably most efective. Limiter cuts off louder sound before or at 0 db to avoide clipping/distortion. Compression pushes down on louder parts and can optionally boost the average levels.
      • Software limiter/compressor - no extra equipment many software apps even audacity have some ability to limit and compress. Garage band can do this. require a lot of cpu power so you need a realtively fast machine and lots of ram
      • Low tech move farther away during lounder parts. Email exchange with singer


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