Posts tagged: studio techniques

mics and isolation

By , 2009 September 28 1:10 pm

I’m backfilling some older information here…

So I started listening to some of the multitrack recordings I made during inworld performances. The intent was to mix them down to yield a couple of demos. in the process, I wanted to add some reverb to the tracks, in order to add some natural ambiance.

Upon working with these one of these tracks, I wanted to add quite a bit of reverb on the guitar, and not quite so much on the voice.  In doing so, I discovered that, in my guitar track, there was almost as much voice as guitar. Accordingly, by sending the guitar track to the reverb, I was also getting substantial reverb on the voice. Not good.

Fortunately, there is very little guitar leakage into my voice mic.

You may recall a while back, when I described how I chose my mics specifically to minimize this leakage problem. I guess I should have tested the setup to make sure.

The guitar mic I had been using was an AT4031. This is a small diaphragm condenser from Audio-Technica that was discontinued shortly after its introduction. It was supplanted by the AT4041. These are both cardioid pickup pattern mics, meaning they tend to pick up sound from the front, not so much from the sides, and very little from the rear. However, I guess the mic’s side rejection is not enough to overcome the volume of my voice.

Digging back through the mics at hand, I came up with my StudioProjects C4 mics. Last time I sent these back for repair (long story for another day), SP sent back a pair of additional prototype Hypercardioid capsules. These are also nice small diaphragm condenser mics, much like the AT4031. However, with the hypercardioid capsule attached, the leakage from my voice into the guitar mic is attenuated considerably.

I also tried a large diaphragm condenser, set to figure-8 pattern. The leakage in this case was almost non-existent. However, with the mic placed well for a good timbre on the guitar, I keep banging the mic with my picking hand.

I guess it is time to hunt down an end-address mic with a figure-8 pattern. If anyone makes such a thing.

Schtuff – hardware

By , 2009 August 19 5:08 pm

First published on MySpace on Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Well it’s been entirely *too* long since I entered anything here. Maybe I’ll talk about my equipment, in the hopes that it helps out some other musician.

Upon deciding to get involved in the SL music scene, I figured there was gonna be a lot to learn (true that). Accordingly, I consciously went for a stripped down rig. In this manner, I could concentrate on getting used to being in the metaverse without having to think about what my gear was doing.

Part of this decision was to strip down to guitar and voice initially.

So then I turned to my bone pile of equipment. I had two acoustic sound sources, so I naturally thought towards two mics – one for guitar and one for voice. I love the sound of stereo micing on the guitar, but that comes with its own set of compromises that I’ll get into some other time.

With two mics active, I needed to be careful about cross bleed – guitar in the vox mic, and vox in the guitar mic. This can lead to phase cancellation, leading to a ‘swimmy’ or ‘hollow’ sound. Based upon this, I decided each mic needed to be a cardioid (hyper or supercardioid would be even better). Omnis were right out because of cross bleed, and figure eights would pick up too much of my computer’s fan.

Digging in the currently unused mic pile, I came up with an Audio Technica AT4031 Small Diaphragm Condenser (SDC), and a Audio Technica AT4040 Large Diaphragm Condenser (LDC). Excellent! Neither are my favorite mics for either guitar or voice, but neither one sucks, either. I allocated the SDC to the guitar, and the LDC to voice.

Both these mics are plugged into a Mackie MS1202 mixer – also from the collection of seldom used stuff. This gives me usable preamps for the mics, along with rudimentary EQ (just bass and treble for each). I have voice panned hard left, and guitar panned hard right (more on this later…).

The stereo outputs of the mixer are fed into a Tascam US-122 USB-attached audio interface. This is in turn plugged into my computer.

I also drive a set of headphones from the US-122. This allows me to monitor the signal at the last possible link in the chain that does not exhibit latency.

The US-122 also includes mic preamps. I could have eliminated the mixer, and plugged the mics directly into the US-122. However, the mixer gives me several benefits. First and foremost, it has handy knobs for all functions. The US-122 has gain knobs, but the size and shape aren’t freindly to my fingers. Plus, no EQ, no auxes (unused currently, but they will be soon), and fixed pan (hard right & left).

Most importantly, however, the mixer includes a pair of 12-segment meters, which allow me to keep a handle on my signal. In this manner, I can send a good strong signal inworld, with no fear of distortion issues. I have calibrated my levels throughout my entire signal chain (including the software) so that everything runs out of headroom at the same level. As all components clip at the same point, the meters on the mixer allow me to keep tabs on the headroom throughout the entire system.

Well, lessee… staying focused on the hardware at this point, that’s about it. No, wait. A good sturdy mic stand. In my case, an Atlas MS-20 with a K&M boom. Also both from my bone pile. And something I actually purchased for this gig – an Atlas CO-1B swivel adapter clamp. This allows me to clamp another boom onto the shaft about halfway up the mic stand. This way, I have 2 mics on one stand.

That’s it except one last accessory – a small bit of pantyhose stretched over a coat hanger bent into a 4″ circle. This sits between my mouth and the AT4040 mic, and acts as a pop filter – stopping the sound from popping on “B” and “P” consonants.

Now having documented all this, it’ll likely change drastically over the next few gigs. I’m comfortable enough inworld running the UI, that I feel I can get more complicated with the gear. When I change, I’ll let you know. And, we’ll talk about software another day, too.

- peace out
8:55 AM

Panorama Theme by Themocracy