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How to use a mic w/ fixed cardiod pattern correctly?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by jlister, Nov 16, 2008.

  1. jlister

    jlister Guest


    Mic: AT-2020
    Pre Amp: Studio Projects VTB1 Variable Tube Mic Preamp

    I own a AT2020 which has a fixed cardioid polar pattern. This was a inexpensive option for recording ac gtr and male vocals. I run the mic through the pre-amp using an XLR cable and then a balanced 1/4 inch cable into a Fantom G keyboard.

    Question: Is it normal to use different parts of the mic? For example when recording vocals the very top of the mic seems to produce over all a better capture of the sound. Versus recording an ac gtr the front of the mic captures the best sound. Is this normal?
    I ask this question because I lack the experience and I find when singing into the front of the mic it requires for me to sing really close to the mic but can distort easily or if I boost the pre and stand back I get too much room ambience.

    Question about room ambience:
    Obiviously, when boosting the pre amp the mic will magnify all sound. I understand that noise from enviromental factors need to kept out of the recording but even in the smallest closet you still hear the air circulating in the room. Knowing that each room has its own "color" or "ambience", should my goal be to have complete silence until capturing the sound or is it ok to have the "whirly" sound of the air circulating in the room?

  2. StephenMC

    StephenMC Guest

    Different cardioids have different off-axis coloration. I don't see why singing above the mic would give it more volume as the front of the mic is the most sensitive in a cardioid pattern. But if it works and sounds better, do it.

    Your goal is, really, what you want it to be. The White Stripes mic'ed keyboards with an LDC in omni four feet back sometimes. If you want an isolated vocal, use a cardioid, mic close, use a high-pass/low roll-off to counter proximity effect.

    Do you like the whirly sound? Does it fit with the song? It's only okay if that's what you want. If you're settling for it, if it's fine because it's the best you can do but you'd rather remove it, then mess with mic-placement/gain-staging and fix it.
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphones generally don't sound all that good when you are "off axis" to the diaphragm. You are so uninformed about this type of microphone do you also understand that you have a "side address" mounted capsule in this microphone? That is, the capsule does not follow the length of the body as a typical onstage rock-and-roll PA microphone does. So the microphone doesn't pick up properly from the end of the girl/grill screen but from the side front were the company's label & logo are proudly displayedededed....

    I'm sorry, I'm digitally glitching...wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  4. majormusic

    majormusic Guest

    I'm very experienced with these microphones.

    I struggled with it and developed the perfect sound.
    Flip it downwards, and stand exactly 6 inches away from the mic and tilt it towards you 1 inch.

    Good luck.
  5. hueseph

    hueseph Distinguished Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    "....flip it downward and......" .....Anyway. I think Remy nailed it. If you notice on one side of the mic it has printed in small silver letters "back". This should lead you to the conclusion that the other side is the "front". In other words the side that is opposite the back is the side which you should be pointing toward the source. It's a fixed pattern Cardioid mic. Which means it only has one side that you can use effectively. All other angles are off axis. That doesn't mean you can't use it off axis. It just means that anything not directly in front of the capsule will not be using the full efficiency of the mic. Sometimes that is favorable but not with all mics.
  6. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Fredericksburg, VA
    I'm seriously going to enjoy you...
    Please stick around.
  7. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Go Karts!
  8. hackenslash

    hackenslash Active Member

    Jun 9, 2008
    People's Republic Of Mancunia
    Too harsh? I would have gone further.

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