Drum Mic Showdown

p810-fig1-3We took three drum mic packages into the studio for a live showdown.
Although most engineers will tell you they select microphones based on the type of instrument or the tonal quality of a particular instrument, we all have a trusted set of “go to” mics when it comes to recording drums. In the last few years, many microphone manufacturers have grouped sets of drum mics into affordable, easy-to-use packages for both the studio and live performances. This month we put three sets of drum mic packages through their paces to test what kind of performance you can expect. Read more…

Pro Studio: Vocal Mics in the Studio

Fast Forward’s Pro Studio guru puts four mics through their paces

One of the key elements in any popular song is the vocal performance, and an essential part of capturing a vocal performance accurately is the microphone used in the recording. Top recording engineers know how important it is to match each singer’s particular vocal qualities and timbre to the microphone that will best capture the power and subtleties of that voice. This month, Fast Forward brought four high-quality vocal microphones (i.e. list price of $1,000 or more) into the studio and ran each through its paces, recording male and female vocal tracks and some narration. By the end of the session, you’ll have a good idea of which of these mics may be worth the investment for your home recording studio and what you might want to look for in studios near you. The four contenders include: the Kiwi, from BLUE Microphones; the TLM 103 from Neumann; the Black Hole BH-2 from JZ Mics; and the KSM 44 from Shure. I invited my colleague Jeff Crawford, a local producer and engineer over to provide a second set of ears for the evaluation. Two singers were asked to help with the testing, each one bringing a backing track of a song that they were familiar with to use for the test session. Read more…

The Beginner’s Guide to Microphones

Audiotuts+ has put together a simple, helpful guide on microphone basics. This is a quick read of the fundamentals and will help you understand the different types of microphones, how polar patterns describe the way a microphone picks up sound, and what other factors you should consider before purchasing new equipment.

At their most basic, microphones are transducers. A transducer is an electrical device that converts energy from one form to another. In this case, the transducer is turning sound — acoustical energy — into an audio signal — electrical energy. Read more…

Acoustic Guitar Recording – The Basics

If you’re doing home recording, one of the main instruments you may be using for accompaniment is the acoustic guitar. Learning the basics of acoustic guitar recording requires time to experiment a bit to find your instrument’s sweet spots for micing, and also understanding some essentials with regard to your guitar and recording environment. We’ll use the most popular dynamic mics that many musicians rely on for gigs, the venerable Shure SM-57 and 58, to show how to get a good recorded sound from your acoustic guitar. We’ll also recommend two affordable condenser mics that can help you take your guitar’s sound to the next level. Read more…

When It Pays To Have a Home Recording Rig

The Boss BR 600 delivers a powerful all-in-one recording station that is ideal for guitarists.Talk with any musician who writes and performs his or her own music and chances are that one of the things near the top of their “to do” list is to regularly record their songs. There’s no better way to improve your performing and writing chops than to routinely record and critique your own music. So when does it make sense to invest in buying and learning how to use a home recording rig and when does it make sense to shop around and use a professional studio? Read more…

How to Record Vocals in a Bedroom

Don’t have a dedicated recording studio? Recording in your house? Check out these tips and tricks from Audiotuts+ to get the most out of your sound in an imperfect setting.

The number one factor in vocal recording is the room. You might’ve thought it was the mic you’re using or the pre-amp you’re running it through, but the truth is if you’ve got a U87 and an Avalon but the room you’re recording in is crap, you won’t be much farther ahead than a guy using a Behringer mic through an Mbox.

You could buy one of those (often rather expensive) reflection shields that attach to the stand and sit behind the microphone, and this will do you some good, particularly if your mic is omnidirectional. However, most common vocal microphones for both home and studio users are cardioid, so the shield will still help to an extent but the majority of problem reflections will come from the front — that is, the surfaces behind the vocalist’s head.

Click here to read the entire article on Audiotuts+.