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The microphone choice should be made so it compliments the sound of the instrument or amplifier if you want the recording to sound smooth with no peaks in the response. In this movie I am going to show you a few things to consider before you choose a mic for recording. There is no single mic that works on everything. Just because you have a great mic doesn't necessarily mean that it will be the best choice in all situations. Choose the mic for the right reasons. Just because a mic is considered an industry-standard choice for a particular application doesn't necessarily mean that it will work in your situation.
Likewise, just because your favorite engineer, player, or singer uses a particular mic doesn't mean that it will also work for you. There are so many variables that you can never count in anything other than your ears. Select the microphone that compliments the instrument or amp. If the sound of the instrument, vocal, or amplifier is edgy, or it has a lot of top end you wouldn't want to use a mic that emphasizes that frequency range, since it would sound even more out of balance frequency-wise. One the other hand, a mic that emphasizes the upper mid range a bit might make a mellower sounding instrument step out of the mix.
Choose the mic to help overcome some of the deficiencies of the sound of the instrument that you are recording. Consider the pickup pattern of the mic. A directional mic is not always the best choice for the sound that you are trying to capture. When you are not worried about leakage like during overdubs for instance, an omni or figure 8 pattern might result in a smoother all around recording with better sounding ambience providing a recording in a good sounding room. Consider the proximity effect, close or directional mic gets to the sound source, the more the bass response increases.
This isn't always desirable so either move the mic back from source a bit or change the pattern to omni. On the other hand, you can also use proximity effect to your advantage to increase the low end of the sound if needed. Large diaphragm condensers are not necessarily better than small diaphragm condensers. Contrary to popular belief, small diaphragm condenser microphones can reproduce lower frequencies better and are generally less colored off axis than large diaphragm mics. Large diaphragm mics aren't as noisy though. Remember, choose the mic on how it compliments the sound of the instrument that you are recording.
Don't be afraid to try something that's not considered in the industry-standard and be sure to make full use of the proximity effect if necessary. Finally, try different pickup patterns and see which best compliments the sound that you are recording.
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