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A Recording Control Room

12. The Recording Chain

We have looked at the way microphones work in some detail, and sat in on a typical recording session. Now it’s time to see what electronics and processes the music is going to go through as it travels its way to the listener.

11. The Recording Session: Getting the perfect take

Our session is well underway now and everyone knows their part. The goal now is to get the perfect rendition of the song.

A recording session

Perhaps the most important decision of all is choosing the right music to record. Many artists compose their own music, but some do not and rely on other songwriters, collaborators, or composers to provide material. In our example, the artist writes songs, and has been doing so for a while and has many compositions to consider. Who makes the decision on what songs to record?

Last time we talked about the three basic types of microphones, based on their method of operation (the dynamic, ribbon, and condenser microphones). This time we will look at the directional patterns of microphones and how they influence the sound of a recording.

Omnidirectional Microphones

AEA 44CX Ribbon Microphone

8. Microphone Characteristics

There are hundreds of professional microphones to choose from, and all have different characteristics and each model sounds different. We can divide these microphones into three basic operating principles, and look at the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Our discussion so far has looked at the recording process as it occurs in a recording studio. But, with rare exceptions, studios are not large enough nor acoustically suitable for recording a symphony orchestra.

Consequently, most classical recordings are done “on location,” which might be a concert hall or other large venue with suitable characteristics. Music that was composed to be performed in a concert hall should logically be recorded in that environment.

Written by Doug Fearn, founder D.W. Fearn

This article is Part 6 of Doug's continuing series of what it takes to get a great recording.  Microphones 2 is an extensive description of microphone placement and challenges faced during an acoustic music setup.

Microphones 1

We have a properly-constructed and acoustically-treated studio and it’s time to record some music. We will start with a very simple performance: a singer playing acoustic guitar.

Our first task is to determine where to place the performer in the room. This can be more complex than it might first appear, because many factors need to be considered. Some are technical, some are artistic decisions, and some are psychological.

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