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Friday, February 26, 2010

Vocal Microphone placement & Selecting your mic

Here i will discuss microphone placement techniques, This is a blog for computer music production, But vocals can always be cool. (As long as you don't kill auto-tune).

Microphones , for a recording engineer can be a task. The choice and use of
certain mics for recording vocals have a great influence over the detail of the sonic
picture the the producer wants to create.
Lead vocal recording is probably the most subjective and most variable area when it comes to microphone choice and placement. Vocal mics garner the most fame and notoriety because they play a huge part of the in the creation and realization of the ultimate vocal performance.

Because of their mystique and their unique sound, vintage condenser microphones have
gained tremendous respect.

A number of vintage condensers are worth a mention. The German-made Neumann condenser microphones remain widely popularized. The most popular Neumanns include the transistorized U87 and the earlier U67 and U47 tube microphones mostly used today.

The esoteric M49 and M50 are quite good for lead vocals , and Neumann's M149 tube model is a new, modern mic with the vintage heritage of the M49.

AKG from Austria is also very popular among producers.

Other good choices from AKG are: the C12A, C-414EB P48 or the C-414T LII.

However, it is not to say only condensers should be used for vocal recording. In certain circums tances , there is nothing like the immediacy and impact that the right dynamic microphone can impart to a lead vocalist's sound.

The Shure SM57 is my favorite mic though it is generally used for the miking of instruments.
Though I think the most widely used and best selling mike would be the Shure Sm58.
I have played countless gigs with a Shure Sm58 set up.

Vocal Mic Placement

Mic placement - particularly when using sensitive condensers - directly affects every aspect of the singer's sound and performance.

While there are no hard rules , ideally the singer needs to sing directly, i.e. on level with the
diaphragm of the mic.
Distance to the mic is extremely important because our ears relate distance to the intimacy
with the singer's voice and emotion: closer distances equate to a more intimate sound.

Off-level singing or changing distance causes a degradation in quality but is all part of "working the mic,"
which is part of a singer's on-mic sound. Experienced singers use these physics to enhance or colour the good and bad areas of their voice. A good singer will use slight distance changes for dramatic punctuation.

Working very close to the mic nearly always necessitates the use of a "pop filter" of some type to attenuate air blasts from the mouth. (A piece of cardboard in the way can do wonders too).

All cardioid microphones exhibit the "proximity" effect which boosts low frequencies
as the singer gets closer to the diaphragm. Singers can use this effect to achieve a larger, fatter tone.

In general, a good starting point mic placement is slightly higher than the vocalists mouth.
The mic is then aimed downward at the mouth with the exact distance at the singer's and producer's option.

Just don't use this info on the next "Top 10" phone ringtone tune i'll have to listen to on the bus.

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