The Basic Microphone Technology

- Oct 17, 2018-

Microphone technology can be roughly divided into four categories: close-range pickup, long-distance pickup, key pickup, and environmental pickup.

Close-up pickup is the most common type of pickup in the studio.

Close-range pickup is to place the microphone very close to the sound source, usually 2.5-60 cm away. Near pickup can make the sound source to be recorded relatively free from external noise (leakage), such as other instrument sounds. Near pickups also provide a close-knit "front" sound most commonly used in multi-instrumental music.

1. Close-range pickup

In general, near-sounding uses a directional microphone, such as a cardioid, supercardioid or telecentric type, with the microphone slightly angled near the vocalization point. For example, the close-up of the guitar speaker is to place the microphone about 2.5 cm away from the speaker stand, so that the microphone is between the edge of the horn and the center, and the center is tilted slightly. The small pickup is to place the microphone at 7.6 cm from the speaker. This is a typical pickup. However, every time you want to move the microphone around the sound source, try it out to detect where the microphone is placed.

2. Long-distance pickup

Long-distance pickup is the placement of one or more microphones 60-90 cm from the sound source. Long-distance pickup is often used when recording multiple instruments at a time, such as a string part or a chorus chorus. Long-distance pickup allows these groups to be recorded as a single unit, eliminating the need for a single microphone to achieve a balanced natural sound. Long-distance recording can also record the sound of the room (environment), preferably in a sound-sounding room such as a recording studio or church.

A better microphone position needs to be found through actual operation. In general, when using a microphone, it is necessary to put it in the middle such as placed in front of a group of singers about 1.5 meters. When using two microphones, place the microphones at the same distance from the center, about 1.2 meters apart. However, when picking up sounds at a long distance, it is necessary to put a side to listen to the effect and find a better point. This is especially important.

3. Key pickup

Key pickup is combined with long-distance pickup. Additional pickups are made for a particular part of a group of instruments. For example, you might want to place a microphone in front of a soloist in an orchestra. However, you must place the microphone close enough to pick up the solo sound, not too close. When the soloist stops playing, it does not affect the sound balance of the band. Usually, the microphones that focus on the pickup are placed a little further. Of course, it is still necessary to finalize the placement distance through actual operations.

Key pickups can also be used in single instrument pickups. For example, placing one microphone at the bottom of the sound hole and another microphone on the soundboard, you might get the sound of a better traditional guitar. You can also consider placing a third microphone directly in front of the plucking string to mix a little plucking noise to increase the real effect of the recording, especially when recording only one guitar instrument.

4. Environmental pickup

The main function of environmental pickup is to preserve the indoor sound of natural reverberation and special recording environment. Other than that, it is similar to long-distance pickup. It is especially important to use the environment to pick up sounds during live recordings. Because of the environmental effects picked up by these mics, your audience can experience the feeling of live performance.

Ambient pickup is usually a pair of microphones. With a heart or non-directional type, place the microphone on either side of the front of the stage, close to the soundboard.



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