Expert Sessions

Microphone is an integral part of every event and it’s right placement brings in quality output.

During public meetings one can place the microphone which suits the speakers need. When placing a microphone for live music band performance or during studio recording the position and the type of microphone being used is imperative in capturing optimal sound.

The position and type of mic used to capture sound differs with instruments and it is a subject matter to learn and to get practiced.

The final project of the 1 year diploma in sound engineering is live sound reinforcement and the students have to design and setup a sound system for a live music band performance in which the real music bands will performing.

Apart from the same, the students of the senior batch (students in the second semester of the diploma course) it is time for their expert session series in the academy. Industry experts who excel in the field of music, film or live sound visits the campus in the coming 3 to 4 months and spend valuable time with the students taking classes on various subjects and sharing their experience with them.

Back to the topic, in order to train the students on how to perfectly place the microphone during a live band performance or during a studio recording, an expert session has been organized in the academy which covered the topic as professional sound engineers do.

The 1 day session was handled by Sanu Dharan, an audio engineer from Trichur Kerala. Sanu Dharan is an experienced Live Sound Engineer as well as an expert in studio recording. During his career as a sound engineer, he has associated with Baiju Dharmajan (Music Composer) and Gino Banks (Musical Artist) for several projects.

The trainer has explained the techniques with the help of a drum-set, acoustic guitar and an electric guitar. As you know a drum set is a combination of several instruments and the same instrument has been leveraged to explain the topic in a better way as several microphones are placed in different positions to record the music.

Sanu Dharan has explained the drum recording by using 2 methods of microphone placement, XY method and Space to pair method.

Sharing details on microphone placement Sanudharan has pointed out that the techniques he discussed during the session are applicable both in live sound as well as in studio recording.

In the session which lasted around 3 hours he asked the students to ensure that not to apply EQ during the recording time and use your hearing sense to find where and when you are getting the best sound and place the microphone based on that.

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audio tips

KICK
The kick drum provides the pulse of the Song

Tips
1.    Can work very well as damping material
2.    A folded pillow case or bath towels tucked inside the drum in front of the beater can work well for damping
3.    For more attack on any drum, add a few dBat 8Khz
Mic Placement
1.    If the kick has a hold, place the mic just at the edte angled at 30 to 45 degrees of y axis aimed at the beater
2.    If the kick drum has no hole in the front head, place the mic about 3 to 4 inches infront of the drum at about the same level as the beater
3.    If the kick no front head, place the ic about halfway inside the drum shell, pointed at the beater

SNARE

Tips
1.    Snare SM57 has been the standard snare mic for years, so it is better to use it.
2.    For more crack sound, use a room mic or a snare mic.
3.    Add a dB or two at 10k to 12khz for a crisp sound
Mic Placement
1.    Place an SM57 on a boom stand and position it about 1 or 2 inch apart from the snare head
2.    The mic should be in an angled position pointed towards the center of the drum head
3.    Place the mic about 6 inches above the rim of the snare drum
4.    To get a clean snare tone, place a mic about 3 inches or from the bottom head and righ under the snare

Hi-HAT

Tips
1.    Avoid close miking to the end of cymbal to get air free air.
2.    Use condenser mic to get best hi-hat transients
3.    Place the mic on the far end of the hat, as far away from the crash cymbal as possible for maximum rejection
4.    If the hi-hat sound too thick or heavy, alternate 1.2 Khz by 2 or 3dB or move the mic away or more toward the edge of the top cymbal
Mic Placement
1.    Place a mic pointing straight down at the cymbal about halfway from the edge of the rim
2.    Position the mic about 4-6 inches above the hat and angle it toward the place where the drummer hits the hat
3.    Place a mic looking down the post of the hi-hat for an extra thick sound

TOMS

Tips
1.    Placing the mic too close to the drum head will increase the attack
2.    When miking multiple toms, try to keep all the tom mics facing in the same direction as much as possible to eliminate any possible phase issues between them
3.    When miking a very large kit with a lot of toms, miking each pair of toms may work better than miking each one individually.
4.    To get good tone and power, tune both top ad bottom heads properly.
Mic Placement
1.    Place the kick 2-3 inches of the head above the rim at 45 degree, looking down at the centre of the head to get most attack
2.    For more ring and less attach, point the mic closer to the rim
3.    Place a top mic about 4 inches over the top head and a bottom mic about the same distance away from the bottom head.

OVERHEAD MICS

Tips
1.    If the room is too live, move the overheads closer to the kit to reduce the amount of being picked up
2.    To get clean cymbal tone and to avoid ambient sound use high pass filter
Mic Placement
1.    To record the overall drum kit, position an x/y microphone pair about 2 feet over the drummer’s head, centered over the middle of the kit.
2.    For cymbal miking, position a mic from 2-3 inch feet above the outside cymbal on each side of the kit
3.    If the side cymbal is too quiet compared to the other cymbals, place a mic about 6 inches away from the middle of the cymbal.