The microphone is a super important and super fun thing. So the microphone is to the recording, probably what a catcher is to the pitcher, and so on.
As we all know, there are two types of signals, analog and digital, and unless we use MIDI recording, all instruments send analog signals. However, in today’s century of digital recording, which is not recorded on tape, mastering the stage of converting analog to digital determines most of the recording quality. Therefore, some famous microphones can be sold for as much as three or four thousand US dollars, and then let the human body realize that the recording is really played by rich people… No, it’s the importance of the microphone.
A professor who likes to describe recording in terms of war said that every song has four lines of defense against sound destruction from recording to completion, and we better hold on to the first line of defense, and the first line of defense is to choose the right microphone.
Since the microphone is so important, of course, you must first understand its characteristics before you can make a rational judgment! So today’s introduction is to determine the three components of microphone sound: Frequency response, Dynamic/Condenser, Pick-up Pattern. Sometimes we say that some microphones are “natural” to record certain instruments, or that it is often recommended to choose a certain microphone when recording something, which is to take these characteristics into account.
To understand how this thing affects sound, you first need to know what frequency is. Frequency is the number of times the same thing occurs in a certain amount of time, measured in Hz. In terms of sound, this frequency generally refers to the sound wave of the sound, and is roughly divided into: low frequency (20-80Hz), high and low frequency (80-500Hz), medium frequency (500-1800Hz), high frequency (1800-5000Hz), low intermediate frequency (5-9kHz), high frequency (9kHz-16kHz).
And each frequency band has its own sound characteristics, such as the low frequency is like the rumble of the engine operation, and the midrange is like a person talking. The point is that since everything that needs to be recorded has its own sound characteristics, we will use it as a criterion for selecting a microphone based on how it can reflect the desired sound frequency or its timbre.
Of course, you can say that these can be adjusted in the later EQ, but remember that the microphone is the first line of defense to capture sound, and it is better to solve the problem at the beginning than later.
The graph above shows the frequency response of the Shure SM 58. He basically told us 1. The frequency range he was able to record, and 2. Which part of him is more sensitive or not.
As you can see, the SM58 can record sound from about 50Hz to 15000Hz, and then basically the part that starts at the low mid-frequency is flat, but the response is more sensitive in the mid-high frequency (or in other words, the performance of that frequency is increased), and then the sensitivity is reduced in the low and high frequency places.
As you can see from this table, this SM58 is not suitable for recording drums because of poor performance at low frequencies. The SM58 is also not suitable for recording stringed instruments because the high frequency part does not perform well. So what is SM58 suitable for? His mid-frequency ~ mid-high frequency part is outstanding, which is most suitable for recording vocals, while also retaining great reductivity.
This is just the SM57, often referred to as a “can record anything” microphone, or a snare drum microphone. But what can be seen is that his reaction is basically the same as that of SM58, so why is SM58 not as common in recording studios as SM57? (Note, SM stands for Studio Microphone)
Well, in reality, the reason why this microphone is mostly used for stage performances is… He looks like a talking microphone.
The SM57’s slender design makes it more suitable for being placed in various positions, such as snare drums.
Of course, the SM58 increases a little more smoothly in the mid-high frequency than the SM57. These will become one of the considerations for microphone selection.
The above is the frequency response of the Rode NT1-A, which is also widely used in home recording or small studio microphones (not everyone buys expensive German brands), mainly used to record lead singers and guitars.
Why? First of all, the frequency response of this microphone is quite wide, and the frequencies that can be heard by the human ear can be received, but he pushes a little bit above the high and low frequencies and the high and high frequencies. This design makes the sound rich and bright, and it is also suitable for guitars, which are instruments with frequencies of about mid and high frequencies, increasing crispness.
The above is the introduction of the microphone first. In addition, everyone is familiar with the frequency range is very helpful for subsequent recordings, and it is also helpful for the sensitivity of their ears. After all, the microphone is the ear of the computer, and the sound engineer uses these principles to modify the sound that makes the ear feel good.
Next is how the microphone is driven. In fact, there are three kinds of microphones, one is Dynamic, one is Condenser, and the other is Ribbon.
It is a microphone that generates signals by vibrating with an aluminum tape. If you do have a chance to use him, just keep in mind that don’t use Phantom power, or your ribbon mic will burn out and you’ll have to spend a lot of money fixing him.
What is the most basic difference between Dynamic and condenser?
The first is Dynamic, Chinese turned into a dynamic coil, as the name suggests, he has a coil and magnet in it, and after receiving sound waves, it will tremor and tremble… converts sound waves into current signals.
Microphones that receive sound in this way have several characteristics:
First, he is insensitive. Because the current generated by vibrating the permanent magnet is relatively small, it is more difficult to receive relatively small sounds, depending on the ability of the front pole of the microphone, and the performance of high and low frequencies is not so ideal.
Second, he can pick up quite a large sound signal. Because he is very insensitive, it is especially suitable for very large volumes, such as drums and guitar amps.
Third, he is durable. Since he does not have a sophisticated electronic circuit, it is basically a pure physical movement to convert the medium of sound waves, so if you want to kill people invisibly, you can grab the SM57 next to you… Oops no, it means that if you accidentally drop him off the third floor, he may still be fine.
Fourth, he is relatively cheap. Because of his own characteristics, he has a low cost, simple and direct to use.
In short, Dynamic’s weaknesses are also his strengths, allowing him to be widely used in stage performances and studio drum kits, guitar, amps, etc. Some rock bands prefer this unpolished feature and insist on using it when recording vocals in the studio. Personally, I think that with a good front pole, Dynamic can also record quite good vocals.
The Condenser Mic is a condenser microphone, and as the name suggests, it needs to be powered by electricity. He has two energized membranes (Capsules) that generate current signals by changing the distance between the two metal sheets by the vibration of receiving sound.
First, he needs an external power supply, whether it’s a built-in battery or a mixer or Phantom power on pre-amp. To explain here, Phantom Power has nothing to do with four-wheel drive vehicles. He refers to an invisible power supply that is fed back into the microphone circuitry. Think of him as a socket for a microphone, if that’s easier to understand.
Second, he is sensitive. Because the sheet of metal is so light, it only takes a slight sound wave to shake him. The reception performance for each frequency is quite good.
Third, since he is sensitive, please be careful. A particularly large sound blasted him. Accidentally dropping the carpet can cause him permanent damage. So you see these condensor mics carefully stored in moisture-proof boxes filled with sponge pads, while Dynamic mics are casually thrown in holsters.
Fourth, he is relatively expensive. Because he has a lot of precision parts and a complex manufacturing process, even a condensor with no additional functions can be more expensive than a Dynamic microphone with reduced bass reception. Some Condensor mics are even more expensive than the anger of the gods.
Some would say Conderser is used for advanced recording. Honestly, you can’t argue with it entirely, after all, the need for money and maintenance is much higher than Dynamic. But when it comes to recording quality, I think it’s a matter of opinion. Keep in mind that all microphone features are designed so that you can choose the best matching microphone to use based on your situation. Suppose an EMO group comes to the studio today and roars, even if a large group gives you a lot of money, I think you probably won’t give him a condenser mic to sing… Probably such a concept.
The third component of the microphone is his pick-up pattern, which Chinese flip into directivity. Directivity is broadly divided into the following types:
How to see this picture, you have to first involve where the microphone is in front. The answer is simple, the side with the logo or the light is the front. Then it depends on whether the microphone is a front-address or a side-address. This simple translation is whether the microphone is received from the front (head) or from the side. This will affect how you position the microphone and the quality of the recording, you must be familiar with your microphone characteristics.
Most dynamic microphones are front-address microphones, so pointing the microphone’s head at the sound source maximizes its ability to pick up. Many large condenser microphones are side-address, so play the microphone straight and then point it directly at the sound source.
So, how to look at this kind of diagram?
Depending on the direction of his reception, draw a horizontal circle in flat or straight position, 0 degrees is directly in front of the direction of radio, and so on.
For example, today with a heart-shaped microphone, if someone speaks from behind, the sound is basically not received. What does this mean? That is to say, if he is placed in a very noisy environment, he will only focus on the voice in front of him. The SM58 is a classic Dynamic, Front address, cardioid microphone, which is why it’s perfect for use on stage. The lead singer can sing anywhere, and will not cause feedback because it is too noisy in other directions.
For example, if we have a meeting to record today, we can put an omnidirectional microphone in the middle of the table, and he will receive sound from each direction evenly.
Finally, I would like to make a special mention of the Shot gun microphone. This microphone is widely used in live movie broadcasting, why? Because he has a very strong polar orientation (he is also a condenser microphone). Yes, he receives more or less left and right sound from behind, but the front directivity is quite sensitive, so it is suitable for film field recording in various environments. Today, even if he can only receive the sound from a distance, he has a way to receive the sound of the place he is pointing to.
Okay, that’s the basic composition of a microphone. Higher microphones will have different functions and be produced with different sophistication. For friends who want to record and sing by themselves, it is recommended to start with a low-end condenser microphone, because he has high sensitivity to vocals and relatively good recording performance.
The above is the microphone introduction this time! By this point, you’ve learned all the basics of recording, and you should be ready to pick up an instrument or microphone and start your first recording!
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China Audio Network
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