Microphone and Recording Project

Summary

During this project, group and I all took turns on the producer, recorder, and file manager roles.  I found multiple different microphones, with different colors, and effects to the human voice. I had to go into my schools sound room and audition my voice with about 8 microphones, then I took those recordings and put them in Garageband. Cleaned them up and spaced them out. After I finished I looked up the Rode Procaster the microphone that best colored my voice and researched it. Uploaded everything to either Soundcloud or Flickr and embedded it into my blog.

Microphone Audition Podcast

microphone auditions.

My Favorite Microphone Specifications (PLACE MIC. NAME LATER)

Rode Procaster 

Acoustic Principle Dynamic
Polar Pattern Cardioid
Address Type End
Frequency Range 75Hz – 18kHz
Output Impedance 320Ω
Sensitivity -56.0dB re 1 Volt/Pascal (1.60mV @ 94 dB SPL) +/- 2 dB @ 1kHz
Weight 745.00gm
Dimensions 214.00mmH x 53.00mmW x 53.00mmD
Output XLR Output

 

Terms and Concepts

  • Microphones
    • Dynamic- The sound waves from a sound source move a diaphragm that transmits signals. Can’t pick up high frequencies very well. Very durable. Less feedback.
    • Condenser- Called so because collecting electricity was though as “condensing” it. Has a electric current (amplifier) ready to receive any sounds that hit the diaphragm right away, which makes it able to pick up higher frequencies. Lighter Diaphragm.
      • Think of  spastic person that is always ready for something to happen (C) vs a half asleep person that you need to yell at to wake up (D)
  • Polar patterns
    • Omni- Sounds are picked up equally from all directions. Used mostly when sound is being recorded, and not for live situations. You don’t want a lot of background noise because the mic will pick up everything.
    • Cardioid- Unidirectional. Sound is only picked up from one direction. More sensitive to sound coming from the front, less from the sides, and none from the rear. Hyper cardioid is even less sensitive to the sides and a little sensitive to the rear. Loud stages or weak singers. For cardioid, place monitor(s) behind the mic. For hyper, place slightly to the side.
    • Bi-directional- Most sensitive to sounds coming front the front and the rear. Less sensitive to sounds at the sides.
  • Transduction- Converting sound energy into an electrical signal or an electrical signal into sound energy.
  • Voltage- The sensitivity
  • Phantom power- The power from the mixer or recorder for a condenser microphone. Between 12 and 48 volts DC.
  • Sensitivity- Output level. Voltage of output signal when exposed to a certain sound level. Can be expressed as decibels below one volt. Most microphone signals are less than one volt so a negative number is used (-50dBV). Higher number means microphone is more sensitive (-30dBV) and a lower number means a less sensitive microphone (-70dBV). This number is meaningless unless you know what sound pressure level (SPL) it was tested with. Most are tested at 94dB/1 Pa.
  • Frequency Response- The range of sound a microphone can reproduce and how sensitive the mic is at certain distance. Flat response, equally sensitive to all frequencies. Shaped response, more sensitive to some frequency ranges, adds clarity to vocals. When made less sensitive to low frequencies, picks up less background noise. Some microphones let you adjust frequency response.
  • Transient- An abrupt change in level. Like a cymbal’s crash or a singer’s T’s or CH’s.
  • Placement- If the sound source (mainly vocals) is farther away (3-4 ft), the voice is still clear but you get more room noise, which may be good if you want reverberation. Move the sound source even further to get more reverberation. About half a foot away from the mic, is the normal place for a vocalist. You get less room noise and the voice sounds even clearer. Picks up subtle changes in the voice. Moving the sound source to right in front of the microphone will increase the bass (proximity effect), as well as giving the voice a more intimate feel. A pop filter will be needed to prevent some words from “popping”. Like the singer’s P’s.
  • Proximity effect- The increase in bass when a sound source is moved closer to the microphone.
  • Output- More sensitive mics have higher voltage than less sensitive mics.
  • Characteristics- Sensitivity, Frequency Response, Output, Maximum sound pressure level.
  • Noise rating- The signal (sound source) to noise ratio measured in decibels (dB). Noise is any sound in the background you don’t want. Electricity vibrates at 60dB so you want the ratio of the signal and noise to be higher than that. Preferably 90dB or higher.
  • Hardware
    • Clips- Holds the microphone to the stand
    • Stands- Holds up the microphone so the speaker doesn’t have to hold it. Height can be adjusted.
    • Windscreen- Reduces breathing and wind noises
    • Direct Box- Connected to the mixer. Balances various outputs an inputs from the microphone and the mixer.

What I Learned

I learned that there are many different types of microphones, condensers, dynamic microphones, and even cardioids. Each microphone adds its own variety of color to a voice. Some are used for miking instruments, some are for podcasts, and some are for vocals. Either if they are expensive or inexpensive they all have their own touch. I had a difficult time trying to add a track to my garageband, I asked my fellow peers and got help right away

 

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