Nice recording – The key i


Nice recording – The key ingredients are good musicians, nice acoustics and apart from the equipment – the mist critical element – decent ears! What I hear so much are people using good equipment badly. You mustn’t assume that it’s the Earthworks mics that are soley responsible for the sound. In recordings in controlled environments then having some specialist microphones makes a difference – but swapping the earthworks for other quality microphones would have produced a different tonal result, but a very subtle one. The critical factor is knowing where to put them. The earthworks microphones are very specialist – and being omnis, need to be spaced, and with a sound source like this one, that is naturally balanced produce a much bigger sound because the space is pleasantly reflective and coloured. However, with spaced microphones time delays can be destructive, so he used his ears and experience to find the optimum location for them. This is not beginners technique at all. Using these mics can often result in really horrible sound if you don’t do it properly. If you want to read about mic technique for this kind of thing – look here

Simple it is not. For audio recordings of amplified instruments it all goes out of the window – totally different techniques. For my stereo natural acoustic recordings I love an old style dual head microphone. It has two capsules, each with omni, figure-8 and cardioid sitting one on top of each other, and they can swivel – so it’s essentially an X/Y format microphones, but with the other patterns can do other stereo techniques too. However, it’s a problem for video because it is big and heavy and pretty ugly. It has to be in the middle so gets in the way and looks horrible.

Video people get very intense with their talk about the visual elements, or the ins and outs of the video formats, but often they just assume the sound will work. I totally agree with the comments on AGC, and it’s the sound version of auto iris and focus. It can often produce something that works – but manual control is always better!

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