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Count the mics...

Member for

21 years 2 months
Flames invited.

Just wondering how many folks here use the minimum number of microphones necessary when recording gigs. With the large number of channels available multi-tracking the temptation must be there to add just a few more mics.
With the advances in microphone technology I'm still amazed at the large number of mics used on some recordings.
Isn't it still the general thinking and ideal to use the minimum necessary?

Comments

Member for

20 years 8 months

RecorderMan Wed, 07/03/2002 - 11:47
Originally posted by MikeG:

Isn't it still the general thinking and ideal to use the minimum neccessary?[/QB]
That's the best way to learn, I believe. And in most cases probably the best way to record.

BUT, for modern, super-hyped-steroids recording , it is usually the ticket to use lots of mics. The problems with phasing multiply, but these can be dealt with, and used to the benefit of the recording. The Metallica "Black" Album, with "Enter Sandman" and "the Unforgiven" being example's of this style of recording (when this style(multi-mic'd set ups) was probably at the height of it's art).

I for one like to do things both ways...lot's of mics, AND only a few mics. Depends on the budget, time allowed, gear available, task and direction at hand, ect.

Member for

21 years 2 months

Guest Thu, 07/04/2002 - 00:27
Like a number of other factors, using less mics can be a sign of growing maturity and confidence in an engineer. In the beginning, I know I certainly fell prey to the "better have another mic over here just in case" syndrome. And, of course, sometimes I was glad i did.

But after a while you begin to trust your instincts more. You don't feel as compelled to audition EVERY single mic and preamp combination before recording the lead vocal ("okay, now give me that line again, only this time we'll try it through a D112 into a DMP2 with the Funk Logic Palindrometer bypassed...").

It's a lot like the mic bleed issue. In the beginning, a lot of us are super paranoid about bleed, and worry about how to eke out a couple of extra dB's of isolation. It's so funny to go to some of the home recording sites and repeatedly read questions like "how can I prevent bleed between mics on a drum kit?" or even better: "should I record all the musicians at once, or do them one at a time?"

The funniest part is every once in a while someone will post "I accidently recorded everyone in the same room the other day - everybody bleeding into everyone's mics - and you know what... it sounded so much better than my other tracks! What can I do to fix it?"

Sorry, I got off topic a bit I guess!

Member for

19 years 7 months

sdevino Thu, 07/04/2002 - 09:44
As others have already mentioned, sometimes budget is a factor. When we are recording the local High School Band of the week or a cover band just looking for an inexpensive demo, we definitely go with far fewer mics. This is a way of making the required "live mix to 2 track" go a lot easier.

It is rare though that I can get the same sound with a single SM57 in front of a single guitar cab as I can get with dual cabs 2 close mics and a real nice condensor a couple of feet away which is then triple tracked.

The single mic sounds great but won't have the balls that the 2nd setup has. But single mic is all thats needed for a cover demo or low budget HS BOTW CD.

On drums I use 4 mics max on demos but as many as 12 on a power rock radio ready track. For Blues or Jazz I will almost always stick with the 4 mic setup and add a mic here or there as needed.

Member for

20 years 8 months

RecorderMan Fri, 07/05/2002 - 12:28
Originally posted by sdevino:

The single mic sounds great but won't have the balls that the 2nd setup has. But single mic is all thats needed for a cover demo or low budget HS BOTW CD."

exactly. in super-pro land, more mics (very , very meticulously placed) act as "eq". For example:
Three mics on a snare, Top: 57 and a 451 w/pad taped to the 57. Bottom 57 (phase inverted relative to top mics). Adding the 451 gets you top, differently (and some times better) than adding eq to the 57. Also,,,when you do this: Before taping the 451 to the 57 place them next to each other (parallel) and flip the phase on the 451 channel. Listen with headphones and talk in to the two mics. slide the 451 so that there in phase...you'll know this when you find the spot where your voice gets the most cancellation. You'll find that the top of the 57 & 451 capsules are not at the same hiegtht anymore (like most I've seen this way are) and are in phase. so when you add them together you get more or less top with your '57 , but don't screw with the mids.

On drums I use 4 mics max on demos but as many as 12 on a power rock radio ready track. For Blues or Jazz I will almost always stick with the 4 mic setup and add a mic here or there as needed.
I myself use less mics now, but sometimes for the steriods sounds you need more...that's just how it is.

Member for

19 years 7 months

sdevino Fri, 07/05/2002 - 13:13
While we are on the topic of drum mics. It is not an automatic that the mic on the bottom of the snare needs phase reversal. Yoiu should use your ears and decide which way sounds best. If you are using a SM57 on the top and a condensor on the bottom there is a good chance that that it will sound better without reversing the bottom mic. This is because the SM57 basically misses the initial hit and rebounds strongly in the opposite direction, creating a signature that is almost 180 degrees out from what is really happening.

Just listen and pick the phase that sounds best.

Member for

20 years 8 months

RecorderMan Mon, 07/08/2002 - 11:16
Originally posted by sdevino:
[QB It is not an automatic that the mic on the bottom of the snare needs phase reversal.
Just listen and pick the phase that sounds best.[/QB]
very true....I'll go one step further. You need to check all of your mics against each other. If your placements aren't right, it could be any mumber of them that are out of phase to varying degrees. I usually make my kick (after checking polarity of it's mic(s) ) as my referrence...sinply because phase more often than not is percieved as taking the bottom out of stuff. I start by checking my other mic's against the kick, making changes in placement amd polarity as the sound dictates.

Member for

20 years 8 months

RecorderMan Fri, 07/12/2002 - 14:40
Originally posted by Doc@BeefyTreats.com:
Just a point of clarification about you last post, RecorderMan. Do you have the drummer smack the kick drum while ref'ing other mics to the kick mic? I am going to start doing this- usually I ref to the snare, but I appreciate your point about the low end. Great thread here. Cheers, Doc.
Yes. sometimes. Usually I jsut have them play the song, or patterns, I can usually do it with that. Don't forget that snare either. Or the Toms, ect. You shuold be able to get everything right.
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