The Audio Masterclass Professional Course in Microphones & Microphone Technique
Vocal microphone positioning
Changing the microphone position can make a big difference to vocals. Move in close for a very upfront, present sound. Or move the mic further away to capture some of the ambience of the room. Raising the microphone can avoid muddy chest resonance.
Acoustic guitar in mono
The acoustic guitar offers different sound textures when the microphone is placed close to the instrument. Often halfway between the top of the sound hole and the top of the body works well. But there are other interesting options.
Acoustic guitar in stereo
The acoustic guitar can really come alive when recorded in stereo, but this brings other problems such as a wandering stereo image if the player moves. There are however ways to minimize such issues.
The electric guitar can provide surprisingly different sound textures when the microphone is placed in different locations in front of the speaker.
This module explores the very many options for recording just a single drum. (Material on recording the full drum set is available elsewhere in Audio Masterclass). The module covers drum tuning and damping extensively with nearly a hundred video clips.
These are microphones that are positioned to capture as much of the ambience and reverberation of the room as possible and as little as possible of the direct sound of the instrument(s). Ambience microphones are a very useful alternative to artificial reverberation.
In many cases it is all too easy to make recordings that are too clean and too sterile, ending up being quite boring to listen to. Dirty stereo adds interest and texture.
Microphone preamplifier operation
Many microphone preamplifiers have controls for both gain and level. It is important to understand the interaction between these controls to get the best sound for your project.
MS, or mid-side, stereo is a method where one microphone captures the overall sound field, the other captures the difference between left and right. In many cases this can be better than conventional left-right stereo. But you have to know how the M and S signals should be decoded.
Pad and filter
Capacitor microphones commonly have a pad switch and a filter switch. This module explores the reasons for each and how and when they should be used.
Extreme microphone technique
It's easy just to use microphones in the way they are normally used. But sometimes it is possible to capture interesting sound textures by doing what would normally be the wrong thing.
Polar patterns and stereo configurations
Every engineer or producer should at least once in their career explore the polar pattern of their microphone and the response of basic stereo configurations. This module provides guidance and demonstrations.
The Audio Masterclass Professional Course in Microphones& Microphone Techniques
This course features video and audio material recorded in Abbey Road Studios 2 and 3.
- Female vocal microphone comparison featuring Chilli Gold
- Female vocal microphone comparison featuring Charlotte Roel
- Female vocal microphone comparison featuring Niccie Simpson
- Male vocal microphone comparison featuring Craig Neil
- Male vocal microphone comparison featuring Delon Brooks
- Male vocal microphone comparison featuring Clyde Meredith
- Male vocal microphone comparison featuring Guy Barzily
- Female vocal preamplifier comparison featuring Anna Neale
- Female vocal preamplifier comparison featuring Nicola Dines
- Acoustic guitar recording techniques featuring Mick Hutchings
- Electric guitar recording techniques featuring Mick Hutchings
- Drum recording techniques featuring Joe Clancy
- Piano recording techniques featuring Chris Franklin
- Microphone polar pattern demonstration
- Stereo configurations demonstration
The video material features the actual recording sessions in Abbey Road Studios 2 and 3. Also provided is all of the audio from the sessions in both 24-bit/96 kHz and 24-bit/44.1 kHz WAV formats.
The modules also provide detailed commentary on the microphones and preamplifiers used, and on the recording methods. Detailed commentary is also provided on the sound textures achieved, and how they relate to home and project studio recording techniques.
Practical assignment projects
The course also features twelve practical assignment projects which are assessed by Audio Masterclass leading to an Audio Masterclass certificate on successful completion of the course.
- Vocal microphone selection and positioning
- Acoustic guitar microphone technique in mono
- Acoustic guitar microphone technique in stereo
- Electric guitar microphone technique
- Ambience miking in mono and stereo
- Drum recording (full kit or single drum)
- 'Dirty stereo'
- Preamplifier operation
- MS (mid-side) recording and operation
- Microphone pad and filter
- Extreme microphone technique
- Polar patterns and stereo configurations
We realize that not all students will have sufficient equipment for all of the practical assignment projects. Therefore a certificate will be awarded on the basis of six assignments. Students are of course welcome to complete as many as they wish up to all twelve if they have the required equipment. Also, although the course is orientated towards conventional rock band instrumentation, students are able to modify the assignments to suit instruments they have available.
Equipment and software:
- Modern digital audio workstation software such as Pro Tools, Cubase, Logic Pro, Studio One, Digital Performer, Reaper, Ableton Live, or similar.
- Microphone equivalent to or better than the Shure SM57, two microphones preferred
- Audio interface with two or more microphone inputs and phantom power
- Headphone or loudspeaker monitoring
- As some of the assignments involve recording a guitar or drums, access to instruments and performers, who need only be of amateur standard, is required. The course is flexible and the student may substitute instruments that they have available.
This course is staged, meaning that each module must be completed before access to the next is available. Modules can be taken at one per week, or at any pace slower than that within the two-year enrollment period.
Please read the above paragraph carefully. We cannot allow any exceptions.
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