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Saturday, August 24, 2013

HOW MIC POSITIONING AFFECTS THE SOUND TRANSIENT


Hello and welcome to this week's article!
The topic we're going to talk about today is linked to the Transient article, to the microphoning articles and to the Reverb ones.

Let's make this example: we're on a room, and we have an acoustic instrument, for example the Wind Chimes on the picture.
The first thing we need to understand when we will record them is "will this instrument need to be upfront or in the background of our soundstage?".
According to the answer, we could position our microphone in a different way, especially if we have a good condenser one, very sensitive and capable of catching the details of the room reverb.
What is a Transient? It's the body of a sound.
As we have already seen in the article about transient shapers, transient it's the loudest and most characteristic section of a sound, therefore it is the first one to get ruined when increasing Compression or limiting.

To place a microphone closer or farther from the source will drastically change the transient of a sound: the closer we will put the mike, the more attack we will get, the sound will result more upfront and brighter, but with less body, while setting it in the other side of the room will make the loudest part of the tracked sound the boominess of the room; it will sound as we would hear it from that place: far, in the background.

Transient shaping plugins help us in recovering the attack and the "snap" from a sound recorded with a microphone set too far, or in putting in the background some instrument that is popping out too much in the mix, but this article is to remind you that if the microphonation of the instruments is done correctly, there won't probably be the necessity to use such corrections: the first and best sounding transient shaping tool is the microphone, and our understanding of what is going on in the room:

- how big the room is?

- Has the room had an acoustic treatment to reduce reverbs?

- Is the recorded sound sufficiently bright while mantaining body?

- Are there annoying resonances that needs to be eliminated?

Obviously these questions doesn't have an answer good for every situation and every instrument: some instruments (such as Strings) sounds better in an untreated room since they benefit from natural reverb, some others (drums) can be completely ruined if tracked in a big, untreated room.
Just don't rely only on the plugins to solve this problems, spend some more time in trying to fix them at the source and the whole record will benefit, guaranteed :)

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