We would like to offer a few basic tips on using microphones to record
ambient music or environmental sounds. These are organized by microphone type
and technique. We also have pictures & details of the most common microphone set-ups.
- Shotgun Microphone techniques :
Best suited to recording PA systems where a sense of space is not required
AND not listened for. Here the mics are "aimed" at the center of the PA
stacks. When used with a center channel Omnidirectional microphone these
microphones will produce a very up front sound with a more natural sense of
space and crowd response allowing for a more relaxed listening experience.
- Crossed Figure of Eight Microphone Technique:
Best suited to small acoustic groups like recording chamber music or
ambient sound where accurate bottom two octave information is not needed.
- Hypercardioid Microphone Techniques :
Best suited to poor acoustic environments like Hockey or Basketball arenas
used for music events. Also usable to alter the sense of perspective, ie to
move the listener closer to the sound source. X-Y Hypercardioids with an
Omnidirectional center channel offer a good basic setup that can be adjusted
to suit the acoustics of the venue by altering the level of the center
microphone. This level can range from nearly off at -20 dB to a very high
-9 dB out of doors.
- Cardioid Microphone Techniques :
Best suited to good acoustic environments, up close in doors or any outdoor
application were it is desirable to develop an accurate sense of perspective.
Use these mics at 80 degrees in poorer settings and all the way out to 130
degrees outdoors. The wider stereo pickup pattern will provide a more natural
sense of space and more extended low frequency response. This microphone does
not lend itself to mixing with anything other than accent microphones. These
should be spaced Omnidirectional mics and mixed in very low or aligned with
an oscilloscope. We feel this is true due to the very impressive sense of
depth Cardioids develop when the signal is not degraded with ANY out of phase
We would like to point out that there is no right or wrong way to do things
when it comes to sound. Above all else we advise that you TRUST YOUR EARS,
when making these decisions. If it makes you happy, it is a good technique.
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