Monday, October 31, 2016

Microphones: From Sound to Signal

One of the first steps in creating high quality recordings is selecting the microphone that best compliments the instrument you are recording. Though many different types of microphones exist, the two most commonly used in a recording studios are dynamic and condenser microphones.

Dynamic Microphones

Due to their rugged design and ability to withstand high sound pressure levels, dynamic microphones have many uses in a home studios. Dynamic microphones are very versatile, and can be used to record anything from loud guitar amps to the snap of a snare drum.

Dynamic microphones use electromagnetic induction to create a signal. The microphone contains a small diaphragm attached to a coil of wire. The diaphragm and coil is surrounded by a magnet. As the sound causes the diaphragm to vibrate, the coil moves in a magnetic field, creating a current.
Though dynamic microphones are very useful in a home studio, the mass of the moving coil inside of them makes them less sensitive to high frequencies than condenser microphones.

If you're looking for a good quality dynamic microphone for the home studio, we recommend the Shure SM57. This microphone is extremely durable and is used in anything from electric guitar recording to snare drums.

Condenser Microphones

Another common type of microphone you will come across in the home studio is a condenser microphone. Though condenser microphones are generally more expensive and delicate, they do have better frequency and transient response. It's important to note however that condenser microphones require power, which is usually supplied through 48 V phantom power located on a mixer or a preamp.

Condenser microphones pick up sound using a capacitor. In a capacitor, there are two plates with a voltage between them. The front plate acts as a diaphragm while the back plate remains in place. A current is created when the front plate moves towards and away from the back plate.

Large Diaphragm Condensers

Large diaphragm condenser microphones are very useful in a home studio. Though most commonly used to record vocals, they can be used to record almost any instrument. Large diaphragm condensers are much more sensitive than small diaphragm condensers making them ideal for recording quiet instruments.

The Audio-Technica AT2020 is a commonly used large diaphragm condenser microphone with a clear tone that can be used on vocals, guitar amps, acoustic guitars, and many other instruments. It captures a very balanced tone and is very sensitive.

Small Diaphragm Condensers

A different type of the condenser microphone is the small diaphragm condenser. Due to their small diaphragm, they have better transient and frequency response than large diaphragm condensers. This makes the microphones great for recording acoustic guitars and drum cymbals.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Your Home Recording - The Freedom to Capture Your Own Music

The ability to record professional sounding music at home is something musicians have been trying to achieve for decades. Previously, it was only possible for signed musicians or those willing to spend a lot of money to record their own music; today, the playing field has been leveled.

Musicians today have the ability to record an entire band's album with nothing more than their instruments, a few microphones, and a computer capable of running music recording software. Though it is possible to create professional sounding recordings from your own home, it's important to know a few tips and tricks to get the most out of your equipment and create high quality music.