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One of the most common and fundamental instrument of use in the music and media industries is the microphone. The selection of the type and techniques of use of the microphone can greatly affect the quality of results obtained from recording session (Rumsey and McCormick, 2008). It affects the quality of vocal sounds, acoustic recordings, and notation sounds in recording and the result of the mixture of these aspects. This paper will discuss the choice of microphone depending on types, usage, and qualities, the techniques of their usage, and effective environment of use.
Selecting a Microphone
In recording, one of the first vital aspects to consider is the type of microphones to use. In order to achieve this it is important to understand functions of different types of microphones. All microphones function using a vibrating diaphragm that responds to air pressure differences (Huber and Robert, 2005). In simpler and more general terms, the vibrations generated are then converted into sounds through electric signals.
Types of Microphones
The ribbon, the dynamic and the condenser are the main three types of microphones that one can choose from when making a recording. The dynamic microphone is used for the achievement of up-close sound making, suitable for guitars, for example. It can cope with the higher sounds of such close connection as they are mid range. There is a need for this microphone if you would like to achieve a closer and detailed recording of the sound desired.
The condenser microphone is also known as the capacitor microphone. This type of microphone exhibits high sensitivity to changes in sound pressure. The difference of this type of microphone from the dynamic one is that it exhibits a greater dynamic range. The unique aspect of having a high dynamic range makes this microphone the first choice for the recording of vocal sounds. In order to function the capacitor microphone uses a phantom power as a power source (Rumsey and McCormick, 2008). The microphone applies the use of an inbuilt polarized capsule and amplifiers that require their own power supply sources. However, the wide dynamic range of the microphone prevents it from being the ideal choice for moving around, as it tends to pick up more of external sounds in the environment.
In achieving the advantages of both the dynamic and the condenser microphones at a balanced state, the ribbon microphone comes into picture. Unlike the dynamic microphone, the ribbon microphone is one that depicts sensitivity to SLP and lacks the higher end hyper range of the dynamic microphone. However, the ribbon microphone does not work well in conditions that involve a lot of moving around or being thrown from one end to another. The microphone also has a smaller range amplifier leading to a lower output level. In most cases sounds are reinforced using an added amplifier. This is mostly the choice for studio vocal sound recordings.
Techniques of Using a Microphone
When using a microphone in recording, it is best to use the one which frequency matches the frequency range of the sound it is being matched with. This is important to ensure that the voice appears audible throughout all sound ranges being used, and at the same time that it does not appear way above the sound frequency subjecting the sounds to dormancy. In the position where it is possible, the sound frequency range should be filtered out. This would provide for an automatic regulator of the voice and sound frequencies during the recording.
The placement of the microphone is aanother important aspect in recording using a microphone. This relates to the distance at which the microphone is placed in respect to the person recording. The microphone should be moved across different distance and position ranges to achieve a position where it is possible for the recorder to hear the studio monitors, and the desired level of room acoustics and tonal balance. This important technique that aids in ensuring one can achieve the correct tonation, sound variations, and volumes will match with the tonal and acoustic levels of the recording room.
In achieving the best microphone recording, it is important to ensure that the microphone is focused on the intended sound and elimination of any external sounds or challenging aspects. In cases where the microphone may experience poor acoustics in the room or picking up some external unwanted sounds, the microphone should be moved closer and be focused on the recorder. This will block the range limits at which the microphone is able to pick different sounds thus leaving only the desired sound to be heard. Experimentation with the placement, direction, distance, and capture ranges of the microphone to the recording is one of the most vital aspects of ensuring for quality recording (Huber and Robert, 2005). Furthermore, it is sometimes vital to check the hardware and technical quality of the microphone and supportive instruments. This involves aspects such as replacing worn out parts and connection errors, amongst others. The more efficient the microphone and supporting instruments are, the better the quality of recording that will be achieved.
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When using any microphone, the purpose is to obtain quality recording of the desired sounds. This requires ensuring the environment is lacking distracters such as external sounds. It should be free from external sounds, such as wind. The microphone should focus on the amplification of the desired sound. This is achieved through arrangement of the set and elimination of externalities.