There is no doubt that both microphone choice and positioning influence the sound of an acoustic recording. Understanding the fundamentals of microphone placement will enable you to get the best sound from whatever instrument or vocal you are aiming to record.
There are a number of essential microphone placement techniques that will reliably capture the open and natural tonal balance of certain instruments such as recording an acoustic guitar with a single microphone or capturing the stereo image of drum overheads using XY. There are other techniques that are very useful for rejecting unwanted sound such as setting a microphone’s polar pattern to figure of 8.
In this article we’ve collated a number of tips, tricks, free video tutorials and premium video tutorials that we’ve published that show how to use microphones as well as a range of placement techniques in a variety of different recording applications.
We recommend that you take some time to watch a selection of these videos to help you better understand how to pick the right microphone for the job and how to position and use it appropriately.
We all have strong opinions about which mics sound best on particular sources, but in many cases there are more sounds happening around a mic other than the one you are trying to capture. Do you ever consider how the off axis response of mics colours the sound of these off axis sources?
Microphone placement is widely regarded as a key skill to develop in music production. If you ignore it or rush it you run the risk of chasing your tail in a mix and your music will most likely suffer. For those new to music production and recording mic placement can be a daunting skill to get your head around. That’s why we have produced a series of video tutorials on recording a variety of different instrument types typically recorded in full band lineups covering drums, bass, guitars and vocals across 7 videos you can watch today.
Try recording bass guitars through a bass amp if plug-in emulations aren’t cutting it for you. Bass amps are a great tool to use for stamping a low end signature and solid foundation in a production. Watch this video to learn how to get the most out of your next bass amp recording and to hear examples of 4 essential ways of capturing great tone from a bass amp.
In this free video tutorial, we are back at Woodworm Studios in Oxfordshire England, with Engineer, Producer and guitar sound expert Mike Exeter to learn about another really useful technique for recording electric guitars.
We asked our Facebook community “What are the most common mistakes beginners make when recording using a microphone?” We had over 150 responses and one of the stand-out comments was about which way round the microphone should be pointed, or the technical term, how to ‘address the microphone’. Take our just for fun quiz showing some well know and not so well known mics and tell us whether they are end-firing or side address?
A student ensemble featuring primarily traditional Chinese instrumentation came through Audrey’s studio recently. In this article, in her series on recording strings, Audrey shares both her pre-session research and covers microphone selection and placement for the guzheng, erhu, and pipa, with audio examples as well.
In this video from the Fix It In Under A Minute series, we show how to record an acoustic rhythm guitar part using an Audio Technica AT4047 large diaphragm condenser microphone.
I was asked by a friend just the other day why I set up my drum overhead mics the way I did. I explained my ideas and methodologies and he said “Haven’t you tried anything more conventional?” This article is the story of my experiments including audio examples for you to listen to and compare for yourself.
If you are new to recording then you have probably wondered how top engineers get the right mic position for vocals and instruments? Some might suggest there's a trick or a hack, there isn't, but we can guarantee there is one thing they do every time they put a mic up for recording.
Back in late 2017, I began a series of articles covering how to record various string instruments from ukulele to double bass and I promised to write about recording a harp someday. Today is that day!
Need big gang vocals for your track but you only have one vocalist? In this article learn about a trend called the Millennial Whoop, which appears to be taking over pop music and in a video tutorial we explain a production concept we refer to as “The Room Of People Singing Happy Birthday” and show you how to get gang vocal results just like you hear in the charts today, but with a single microphone and one vocalist. This is an especially cool production technique for home studio producers.
In a new format we are producing videos offering tips and solutions to common problems in under a minute. James explains the importance of those little knurled washers that should be on most conventional style microphone stands.
I’m sure like many of you, I was under the impression that “251” style valve condenser microphones were mainly used to record female vocals. John McBride of Blackbird Studios in Nashville is on the record as saying that an original Telefunken 251 is his “go-to” microphone when recording his wife Martina. But how does the new Warm Audio WA-251 stack up as an instrument mic. I invited composer and guitar player Paul Sundt back to the studio to record one of this tracks playing a couple of my acoustic guitars recorded using the WA-251.
Do you ever think there must be more to recording drums when you hear big name engineers talking through their choices when recording drums? There is absolutely nothing wrong with the “first call” mics which have been popular for decades. If they weren’t good people wouldn’t use them but they do occasionally strike me as a little unimaginative and sometimes a little pricy - Of course I’d try a vintage C24 if one were to hand but what about the more modest alternatives?
Here are some suggestions for mics I’ve used many times on drum recordings I’ve made and would definitely consider using as alternatives to the “usual suspects”:
In this, the third part of this new series, James Ivey of Production Expert and Dax Liniere of Puzzle Factory Sound Studios talk about the next stage of getting ready to record, choosing the microphones and mic preamps.
In this, the first part of this new series on De-Puzzling Drums, James Ivey of Production Expert and Dax Liniere of Puzzle Factory Sound Studios talk about the all important subject of tuning your drums ready for recording. Dax shows his methodology for tuning Snare drum and Tom Toms and talks us through so neat tips and tricks for getting a great natural drum sound.
However, you record audio you are not likely to get far without a microphone to capture the sound of whatever it is you are recording, whether it is a vocal, guitar, drums, instruments, sound effects or dialog. To help, we have consolidated 30 of our most recent microphone reviews in this article to enable you to see the differences between them and see how they could fit into your workflow. If you are considering a new microphone, for your studio or on location then check out these reviews...
Recording piano can be tricky. It’s a physically huge instrument with over 7000 moving parts, a fundamental frequency range from 27.5 Hz to 4186.009 Hz, plus harmonics that resonate well beyond this range. Starting your piano recording with a clear idea of how the piano should balance in the mix will go a long way in determining your recording setup.
Community member Audrey Martinovich has been an audio engineer since 2010. Since then she has switched to studio and on-location recording mostly. In part 1 of this series, Audrey outlined her setup and covered the acoustic guitar, cello and mandolin. In part 2 of the series, Audrey moves onto the ukulele, violin, double bass and harp.
Community member Audrey Martinovich has been an audio engineer since 2010. Since then she has switched to studio and on-location recording mostly. In part 1 of this series, Audrey will outline her setup and then look at the acoustic guitar, cello and mandolin with detailed photographs and plently of audio clips demonstrating the different mics and positions.
You can spend a lot of money on a microphone, a pre-amp, converters, compressors and EQs to try and get a different or better sound - but there’s a free way to transform your sound and anyone can do it.
Move your microphone.
In this video tutorial Production Expert team member Dan Cooper shows the controls on a VOX AC30 electric guitar amp. Dan demonstrates several microphone placement techniques that are useful for capturing different tones from an AC30 when recording.
In this video tutorial Pro Tools Expert team member Dan Cooper demonstrates how to setup microphones on an acoustic piano for studio recording.
Dan also talks about the importance of piano tuning and how to listen out for problem sounds from both the piano and performer. Later in the video Dan also shows you how to enhance the piano recording in the mix.
In this video tutorial Pro Tools Expert team member Dan Cooper demonstrates different microphone placement techniques that can be used to record an acoustic guitar. Dan covers the fundamentals in achieving a good sound from the guitar at source and shows how to set up mono, stereo, X-Y & mid-side microphone configurations.