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Digital Audio Principles

Miking vocals


From:

Digital Audio Principles

with Dave Schroeder

Video: Miking vocals

Okay, in this section we're going to look at setting up microphones and microphone placement for few common sound sources, or instruments. We'll mic up our vocal, we'll mic a guitar amp, and then we'll put a few mics on a drum set. And so just give you kind of a general idea of where to start when you're trying to mic these different sounds. There are a few rules that I kind of like to think of and tell people to go by when they start to think about microphone placement, and the first is that you have to listen to your sound source. So if you're using a guitar amp or you have an acoustic guitar or there's a singer, try and get around that sound source in the room it's in, and listen and move your head around in the environment and see how the sound changes based on where you are.
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  1. 50s
    1. Welcome
      50s
  2. 39m 10s
    1. What is sound?
      4m 15s
    2. Hertz and frequency response
      5m 34s
    3. Phase
      2m 39s
    4. Capturing audio
      3m 39s
    5. Sample rate
      6m 16s
    6. Bit depth
      9m 47s
    7. The waveform
      5m 3s
    8. Audio file formats
      1m 57s
  3. 7m 25s
    1. What is a digital audio workstation?
      2m 59s
    2. Typical DAW signal flow
      4m 26s
  4. 50m 33s
    1. What microphones do
      1m 57s
    2. Element types
      5m 0s
    3. Pickup patterns
      6m 51s
    4. Axis
      2m 52s
    5. Frequency response and the proximity effect
      5m 10s
    6. Phase issues
      1m 41s
    7. Microphone types
      8m 44s
    8. Miking vocals
      5m 39s
    9. Miking amplifiers
      2m 17s
    10. Miking drums
      10m 22s
  5. 16m 39s
    1. Cables and connectors overview
      2m 42s
    2. Balanced and unbalanced cables
      3m 19s
    3. Common cable types
      7m 13s
    4. Cable tips
      3m 25s
  6. 12m 16s
    1. What is an I/O device?
      1m 41s
    2. Analog to digital conversion
      3m 10s
    3. Tour of an audio interface
      4m 49s
    4. Interface considerations
      2m 36s
  7. 21m 5s
    1. What is a preamp?
      3m 21s
    2. Input levels
      5m 29s
    3. Padding
      2m 18s
    4. Phantom power
      2m 37s
    5. Phase reverse
      3m 4s
    6. Preamp demo
      4m 16s
  8. 12m 56s
    1. What is a mixer?
      5m 55s
    2. Input section
      1m 17s
    3. Channel strips
      3m 16s
    4. Master section
      2m 28s
  9. 18m 21s
    1. What is monitoring?
      2m 11s
    2. Speakers
      4m 47s
    3. Room considerations
      5m 43s
    4. Headphone types
      3m 50s
    5. Monitoring levels
      1m 50s
  10. 15m 23s
    1. What role do computers play?
      1m 36s
    2. Performance issues
      4m 11s
    3. Hard drives
      4m 38s
    4. Mechanical noise
      2m 10s
    5. Authorization
      2m 48s
  11. 6m 54s
    1. Planning for recording
      54s
    2. Doing a system check
      1m 26s
    3. Planning your inputs
      1m 42s
    4. The recording environment
      2m 52s
  12. 25m 52s
    1. Types of digital audio software
      38s
    2. Multi-track recorders/sequencers
      4m 56s
    3. Two-track recorders/waveform editors
      4m 55s
    4. Loop-based music production software
      5m 44s
    5. Plug-ins
      6m 56s
    6. Other varieties
      2m 43s
  13. 18m 59s
    1. Common components
      46s
    2. The transport
      2m 4s
    3. The toolbar
      3m 19s
    4. The Edit/Arrange window
      4m 42s
    5. The mixer
      5m 8s
    6. The file list
      3m 0s
  14. 19m 17s
    1. Setting up a session
      3m 30s
    2. Assigning inputs and getting signals
      3m 19s
    3. Input modes
      3m 28s
    4. Overdubbing and punching
      5m 14s
    5. Bouncing down
      3m 46s
  15. 19m 42s
    1. What is editing?
      1m 21s
    2. Waveforms
      2m 53s
    3. Making silent cuts and trims
      7m 1s
    4. Fades and automation
      8m 27s
  16. 1h 23m
    1. What are plug-ins?
      3m 0s
    2. Using plug-ins
      6m 11s
    3. EQs
      7m 4s
    4. Dynamics pt. 1: Compressors, limiters, expanders, and gates
      5m 40s
    5. Dynamics pt 2: Applying dynamic effects
      7m 2s
    6. Pitch shifting
      6m 14s
    7. Reverb
      9m 28s
    8. Echo and delay
      6m 23s
    9. Modulation effects: Phaser, flanger, and chorus
      9m 39s
    10. Sound tools pt. 1: About, gain, normalize
      7m 39s
    11. Sound tools pt. 2: Reverse and time compression/expansion
      6m 29s
    12. Sound tools pt. 3: Noise reducers, dither
      8m 11s
  17. 23m 43s
    1. What is MIDI?
      3m 6s
    2. Keyboard controllers
      1m 23s
    3. Computer-based virtual instruments
      1m 6s
    4. Control surfaces
      1m 6s
    5. Recording and editing MIDI
      12m 4s
    6. Virtual instruments
      4m 58s
  18. 27m 29s
    1. What is mixing?
      1m 54s
    2. Some common objectives
      3m 4s
    3. Some useful techniques
      5m 59s
    4. A quick mixing demo
      16m 32s
  19. 18m 48s
    1. What is mastering?
      2m 24s
    2. Sonic maximization
      9m 43s
    3. Final preparations and exporting
      6m 41s
  20. 13m 34s
    1. What is audio compression?
      2m 16s
    2. Popular formats
      2m 9s
    3. Bit rate, sample rate, and channels
      5m 42s
    4. Other adjustments and considerations
      3m 27s
  21. 15m 6s
    1. Essential gear
      7m 36s
    2. Voice recording setups
      1m 43s
    3. The voice production process
      5m 47s
  22. 10m 4s
    1. Analog vs. digital
      2m 48s
    2. Tube vs. solid state
      5m 6s
    3. The continual upgrade
      2m 10s
  23. 18s
    1. Goodbye
      18s

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Digital Audio Principles
7h 57m Appropriate for all Mar 02, 2007

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Whether one is producing music, podcasts, game sounds, or film sound effects, Digital Audio Principles provides the tips and techniques that will make the project a success. Author Dave Schroeder explains the basics of digital audio production techniques and covers the essential hardware and software. He also discusses sound theory, frequency response, the range of human hearing, and dynamic range.

Subjects:
Audio + Music Audio Foundations Acoustics Microphones
Author:
Dave Schroeder

Miking vocals

Okay, in this section we're going to look at setting up microphones and microphone placement for few common sound sources, or instruments. We'll mic up our vocal, we'll mic a guitar amp, and then we'll put a few mics on a drum set. And so just give you kind of a general idea of where to start when you're trying to mic these different sounds. There are a few rules that I kind of like to think of and tell people to go by when they start to think about microphone placement, and the first is that you have to listen to your sound source. So if you're using a guitar amp or you have an acoustic guitar or there's a singer, try and get around that sound source in the room it's in, and listen and move your head around in the environment and see how the sound changes based on where you are.

If you get to know that sound you'll make better choices about where to put the microphone and what microphone to use. But the second rule is that there really aren't any other rules, or magic tricks. You know these placements I'm going to show you, these are just starting points of, put the microphone here to start, try this kind of microphone to start. But you have to experiment, and different amplifiers, different drum sets, different microphones all have different characteristics. So you don't just set it up and go. You always kind of have to set it up, listen and make some decisions, and that leads us kind of like to the third rule, and that's to trust your ears.

Ironic that it's a rule when there are no rules, but let's call it more like advice. But trust your ears and experiment. Move microphones around, listen to how things sound from different locations, and also if you have more than one microphone don't be afraid-- actually I encourage that you AB them, which means set two microphones up on the same sound source. Plug them into your board, record them, listen to them, play them back, and see how the different types of microphones pick up the same sound source differently. This will make you familiar with how your microphones work, and that will really help in the long run.

It will make you make decisions quicker and kind of more informed, in a more informed way when you're setting them up for other projects. So first we are going to talk about vocals. Okay, here I have a large diaphragm condenser microphone, which I'm going to use to record vocals. The diaphragm is about here. It picks up in a Cardioid pattern. That's the way I have it set for me right now, picking up around this way. So initially when you first set this up, you want that diaphragm to be at about the height of your mouth. Just for starters. Then you want to place yourself, or the singer, about 6-8 inches from the screen of the microphone or where the diaphragm is. So you start with that.

Get your level, set things, start to record. If you're getting plosives like the P's and the B's that pop, grab a windscreen which is that, nylon around a hoop, and you can place it about two inches, right about here, like that, in front of the microphone. You don't want to place it right up against it. You want to give it a little bit of room between there, at least one inch between the microphone and the pop screen --and sometimes they call them a popper stopper. So that's the first thing you want to do. Then set your levels again.

It might be a little bit quieter, but hopefully it will just have taken care of the plosives, the P's and the B's. The next thing you want to do is listen to the sound, or the singer. If you want to get a little bit more bass out of that voice, if you wanted to use that, you can have them actually move closer. Shorten the distance to take advantage of the proximity effect, which essentially means it will be picking up more bass frequencies. So they'll kind of get a smoother, bassier tone. If you don't want that, if they're too bassy, you can actually back them off and have them stand farther back from the microphone.

The other thing you can do, if you don't like some of the tones. Sometimes the things are too bright, or you hear little bit too much like the wetness, the lips are little bit too much smacking, you can actually change the axis, or the angle of the direction of the microphone, to the sound source to my mouth. So you could turn the microphone itself off axis a little bit, so it's picking up in this direction, and now I'm addressing it from the side. That will actually reduce some of the bright stuff. If you hear lot of that kind of wet mouth lip smacking stuff, that will help. You'll also lose a little bit of, you know, some of the nicer frequencies too.

So it's a bit of a trade-off but that's a way to kind of make something that's kind of bright and nasty, a little bit smoother. Also if the voice is really nasally, you can move the microphone itself up, which would be kind of like this, above kind of the nose line, and that will reduce some of the nasal sound of the voice. And those are, more or less, the tricks you can use when it comes to vocal microphones. The other thing if you're going to use vocals live, I have a microphone here that I would use, which is the SM58, and if you're doing live vocals or you can use this to record as well. It won't pick things up as well.

If you've got a punk rock singer, use this microphone instead of the condenser, who like, if they like to scream a lot, or yell, and sometimes if you have rappers doing a lot of kind of plosive, pop, pop, pop stuff, a microphone like this will work well too, because it takes, it handles those louder sounds better, hence those types of vocals are louder. By though you want it, same situation, pointed it more or less right at your mouth and again, you can do those same things, kind of, to change the tonality with the axis. Aim it above for little but less nasal stuff.

The main thing is to get it, on in the live situation, is to be close as you can, sometimes you'll have people right on it. Really an inch or two is ideal. But in live people are moving and so that's going to vary, but just try and get people close. You don't, you just can't usually sing from this far away. If you have a guitar sometimes you have to, but lean in if you can. So that does it for vocals. Now let's talk about miking up a guitar.

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