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COURSE DETAILS: Enhancement content

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Enhancement content for enrolled Audio Masterclass students (Downloadable content - DVD-ROM artwork available in course)

MODULE 1:
The Joe Clancy Drum Recordings

To make The Joe Clancy Drum Recordings, we went to Abbey Road Studio 3. Abbey Road Studios in London is where The Beatles made many of their famous recordings and is one of the very best studio complexes in the world.

We started with a single mic (a classic vintage tube Neumann U47) in front of the kit, like they used in the 1950s and 1960s. Then we went to a two-mic set up, then the classic four-mic 'Glyn Johns' technique.

Finally we put a mic on each separate drum, a mic on the hihat, and set up two overheads for the cymbals and overall sound. This is now the way it is normally done professionally.

In this course module, you can hear the key differences between the various microphone techniques tested, and decide which technique is right for you.

MODULE 2:
The Chilli Gold Microphone Test

The Chilli Gold Microphone Microphone Test was also recorded in Abbey Road Studio 3. We made this set to demonstrate some of the most highly respected microphones in the world, and to compare the differences in their sound on vocals.

The test includes two examples of the Neumann U47 vintage vacuum tube mic, which many pros consider to be the best vocal microphone in the world. We also tested two examples of the equally classic AKG C12, and a modern replica, the AKG C12VR.

Also included are the ultra-accurate Bruel & Kjaer 4011, the classic Neumann U87 and modern Neumann U87 Ai, and finally the classic Neumann U47 in its FET version. (The course will show you what an FET - Field Effect Transistor - is, and why it has a different sound to a vacuum tube.)

MODULE 3:
Acoustic Guitar Recording Techniques

The acoustic guitar can be a surprisingly difficult instrument to record well. Indeed there are many released recordings where the acoustic guitar really doesn't sound too good.

The key to getting the best out of the acoustic guitar is to choose the best position for the microphone or microphones. So in Acoustic Guitar Recording Techniques we positioned microphones in just about every possible place.

You can load individual files of each microphone into your digital audio workstation and compare them directly. And since it's often a good idea to record acoustic guitar in stereo, you can experiment with different combinations of microphones and see what they sound like.

After listening to and viewing this course module, you will know exactly how to approach the next acoustic guitar you come across.

MODULE 4:
The Anna Neale Microphone Preamplifier Test

The topic of microphone preamplifiers is a hot one at the moment. There are people around who will tell you that you can't make a professional recording unless you use a preamp that costs thousands of dollars.

Well this is entirely untrue. In fact the Audio Masterclass Music Production and Sound Engineering Course is all about showing you how to make top quality PRO recordings using basic equipment and software. It's your knowledge and skills that are most important.

The Anna Neale Mic Preamp Test, recorded in Abbey Road Studio 3 compares five preamps - the high-end Avalon M5 (expensive!), the classic Neve 1073, the cost-effective Focusrite Octopre LE and the vacuum tube Universal Audio Solo/610 and Behringer MIC100 (which you can buy for less than $30).

In this test you will hear the difference between one of the most expensive preamps in the world and one of the cheapest. You will also hear the difference between transistor and vacuum tube preamps, so that you can make up your own mind on which type of preamp is right for you.

MODULE 5:
Microphone Polar Patterns and Stereo Configurations

This course module demonstrates a project that every engineer and producer should try, at least once in their career.

In Microphone Polar Patterns and Stereo Configurations recorded in Abbey Road Studio 2, we demonstrate the polar responses of microphones of different pickup patterns. Most people only ever read about it, but you will hear the differences in crystal clarity.

The set also contains examples of four different two-microphone stereo set ups and compares their directional properties.

And guess what... we will invite you to reproduce this test as one of your Practical Assignment Projects. As we said, every engineer and producer should try it at least once!

MODULE 6:
Electric Guitar Recording Techniques

You could record an electric guitar by plugging it straight into your digital audio workstation. But the sound will be so thin and weak that it will be unusable. There are preamps on the market that will fatten up the sound and make it stronger, but the very best way to record electric guitar is through an amplifier and loudspeaker, using a microphone.

The positioning of the microphone is more important than you might think, and that is exactly what is demonstrated in Electric Guitar Recording Techniques, recorded in Abbey Road Studio 3. We show you a range of positions so that you can decide for yourself which is best.

We also try out different microphones to show you how different they sound. There is also an amazing unusual stereo recording technique that you won't believe until you hear it.

Like all our audio and video Multimedia Sets™, Electric Guitar Recording Techniques contains individual audio files that you can load into your digital audio workstation, and session videos that you can view on your computer.

MODULE 7:
The Charlotte Roel Microphone Test

The Charlotte Roel Microphone Test was recorded in Abbey Road Studio 3. We pitted some of the best vintage microphones in the world against a selection of modern mics.

One of the modern microphones is the amazing Telefunken ELA M12F, which is a recreation of the AKG C12. You can hear it compared directly against a real vintage C12.

We also included some cheaper mics. You will hear for yourself that the cheaper models stand up pretty well against the competition.

You can get great results from low-cost microphones these days, and this course module will show you exactly what you are missing if you can't get to use a classic vintage mic. Once you are in possession of that important knowledge you can fine tune your recordings so that you can compete with the best.

MODULE 8:
Four Exotic Microphones on Acoustic Guitar

In Four Exotic Microphones on Acoustic Guitar we put four great mics on a great guitar - the Martin OM-21.

The Telefunken ELA M12F is a modern recreation of the vintage classic tube AKG C12. It costs nearly $6000 so you definitely need to hear it.

We also include the CAD M9 and Golden Age Project TC1, which sell for less than $300. Can they compete with a much more expensive microphone? We also include the Golden Age Project R1 Active ribbon microphone, which has a distinctly different quality of sound.

As well as testing different microphones, we also test different mic positions. You can see and hear in the videos how small differences in position can make great changes in tonal quality.

MODULE 9:
Piano Recording Techniques

The piano is quite a straightforward instrument to record. And you can often get to test it out before the pianist arrives!

However, there are so many possible places you can put the microphones, it can be a challenge to decide exactly where.

Piano Recording Techniques features ace pianist Chris Franklin playing the Steinway grand piano in Abbey Road Studio 3. We surrounded the piano with microphones at all possible angles and recorded the result into individual files.

So in this course module you can listen to each microphone individually - every position sounds very different - and you can combine them into stereo any way you like.

When you have worked out the combination you like best, you will know exactly how to record the next piano you come across.

MODULE 10:
The Craig Neil Microphone Test

We picked some amazing classic mics for The Craig Neil Microphone Test, recorded in Abbey Road Studio 2. Craig is an amazing jazz singer and he really puts these mics through their paces.

We tested the $6000 AEA A440 ribbon mic, and the classic mic it was inspired by, the RCA 44BX. We also included the equally classic STC 4038 ribbon, which you can still buy under the Coles brand.

We couldn't resist throwing in what many engineers consider to be the ultimate vocal mic, the Neumann U47, and its closest rival, the AKG C12. Add the $6000 Violet Flamingo, and four other great mics and you have a truly fascinating comparison session.

Like all of our audio and video Multimedia Sets™, we include individual audio files for you to load into your digital audio workstation, and session videos that you can view on your computer.

MODULE 11:
The Nicola Dines Microphone and Preamplifier Test

Three microphones and two preamplifiers, that's what you will hear and see in The Nicola Dines Microphone and Preamplifier Test, recorded at Abbey Road Studio 2.

The object of this test is to see how different combinations of preamp and microphone sound, and you will hear that very clearly.

But there is another interesting feature. Preamps often have both gain and level controls. Both control how loud the signal is, but how should you set them?

Well this course module includes recordings of both preamps in settings with gain-high/level-low and gain-low/level-high. You can hear clearly what the differences sound like.

And of course, you can view the session videos on your computer.

MODULE 12:
Four Classic Compressors Compared on Female Vocal

The compressors featured in Four Classic Compressors Compared on Female Vocal are simply amazing. If you wanted to own a high-end recording studio, catering to the very best talent in the industry, you would have to have all four of these. It would be expected. They are incredibly expensive to buy of course.

These compressors work in different ways, so you can expect them to sound different. Their methods of operation are covered in Module 5 of your course.

We took a vocal from The Chilli Gold Microphone Test and put it through each compressor in turn. Not only that, but we tested three different strengths of compression for each, so you can clearly hear what these amazing beasts can do.

But you don't need to spend the money that would be necessary to buy compressors like these. The Audio Masterclass Music Production and Sound Engineering Course will show you how you can get great compression on a home studio budget.

Enhancement Content

Course Code 9000 is enhancement content, which is normally an additional-cost option for Audio Masterclass students but can be bought separately.

The course is primarily based on video material recorded by Audio Masterclass in Abbey Road Studios 2 & 3. All audio material is recorded in full 96 kHz/24-bit Studio Master quality and is available for download to audition closely in your digital audio workstation, on your studio monitors.

In Abbey Road Studio 2 we recorded three male vocalists through a selection of ten microphones each. Abbey Road Studios has an absolutely amazing microphone collection, and in this course you will hear the best. Not only that, you will also hear affordable microphones recorded in the Abbey Road acoustic through their Neve and SSL mixing consoles.

Also in Abbey Road Studio 2, we recorded one female vocalist through a selection of ten microphones. A different female vocalist compares three microphones through two preamplifiers - vacuum-tube and transistor in twelve combinations of equipment and settings.

Moving to Abbey Road Studio 3, we recorded two further female vocalists through nine microphones each, ranging from the low-cost Shure SM57 all the way to two examples each of possibly the best microphones in the world - the AKG C12 and Neumann U47.

Following the vocalists, we recorded a full drum set using four different techniques including single-mic, the two-mic 'Recorderman' method, the four-mic Glyn Johns method, and the modern method of one mic per drum, hihat, and two overheads.

Next came ace guitarist Mick Hutchings who performed on acoustic guitar while we recorded in almost every microphone position possible. Mick moved on to electric guitar where we demonstrate microphone positions and microphone types, including an intriguing mid-side ambience mic.

Finally we recorded Abbey Road's Steinway grand piano using just about every microphone position possible, including ambience mics.

All of the sessions are available in video. All of the audio recordings are available as individual files for download.

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