Thursday, February 9, 2012

Microphone Placement: Assignment 1

Lab Assignment #1 - 1.30.12

This is group twos first lab and first assignment. We are working with the AKG414 condenser mic in cardioid.

First, we turned on the computer and started a new ProTools session.

I went to the cable room and grabbed 3 cables and a mic stand while Nick went and got the AKG414 with the shock mount and Collin manned the patch panel. Collin plugged the XLR cable into channel 1.

In the lab, Kevin plugged one patch cable into direct output 1 on row 9 and into the ProTools input channel 1. 2 patch cables are going from ProTools output channel 1and 2 to the 2 track input channel 1 and 2.

In the session labeled "group2_project1", we created a mono audio track with the input at A1. Next Michael and I set up the mic in the stand and once it was all locked in, I turned on phantom power on the board on channel 1, turned the fader up to unity gain, and the mic pre to 12:00.

Once Kevin record enabled the track, we started on my mic assignment experience. First, I recorded in front of the glass window/back door with the mic about a foot away from the glass and my mouth about 6 inches from the AKG 414 in cardioid. Next, I went outside, in between the two solid walls in the back and I could hear the sound reflecting off the two cement walls on my sides and how the sound traveling forward echoed out into the lot. Then, I went into the lecture room and the sound was very reverberant due to the high ceilings, but ultimately, the sound was slightly dulled and all over the place. Then, my personal favorite, against the curtains. I was about 6 inches away from the mic and the mic was practically against the curtains. The sound was totally absorbed into the curtains and it sounded like I was in a treated room. Next, I went out to the middle of the front room where the sound was so reverberant due to the cement walls around me and the brick floor below. Then, I used the mic in front of the cement wall next to the women's bathroom and the sound was muted and dull, not like the curtains though. I was 6 inches from the mic and about a foot from the wall. Then, I went into the bathroom and the sound was so nice and the echoes were really cool. Probably not the best for recording vocals unless you didn't want to but reverb on the track later. Lastly, I went back into the lecture hall and put the mic off-axis and, upon listening back, could tell that it was very quiet and sounded like the mic was pointing the wrong way...

The hardest part was remembering everything we learned in class and everything we took notes on. Mostly, it was hard to not just remember them, but to also apply them. For example, not forgetting about the phantom power being on to get signal or turning it off before you pull the plug. The coolest part was actually hearing how different each take actually sounded. I was pretty surprised when listening back how much each sound was affected by the surrounding areas. My favorite part was in front of the curtains because I liked how crisp the sound was, like I was in a vocal booth or something.

  • Window: Short, sharp reverberation from the glass window in front of me, but still a very raw sounding recording.
  • Lecture Hall: Still short sounding reverb, but when something was dropped in the background, you could hear how reverberant the room really is. At the time of recording, it sounded a lot more spacious.
  • Curtains: Still my favorite spot, very sharp with almost no reverb except the little amount that is from the back of me, but such a clean sound. Damn, this microphone is so amazing... 
  • Outside: More roomy of a sound. You can tell that the 2 walls on either side of my are reflecting the sound waves into the microphone but most of my voice is traveling into the woods. 
  • Front Room:  Very reverberant. At the time, it didn't sound sooo hall-like, but the even the sounds of Nadia's chair at least 8 ft. away from me are clear as day in the recording. Sound doesn't get absorbed very well in the front room.
  • Cement Wall: The sound immediately changes to a short, crisp sound again almost more so than the curtains because the back of the room isn't reflecting my voice at all. 
  • Bathroom:  I was in the middle of the bathroom facing the stalls (I forgot to mention that in the recording...) but it is soo reverberant in the bathroom. Maybe because of all the cement and tile, but the reflections are going in every direction. 
  • Off-Axis: The sound is very quiet, obviously because I'm not speaking directly at the mic, but this time I was facing the audience instead of the side of the room and you can hear the slight echoes in the room coming from the high ceilings and back walls. 

This was a really fun activity. It was our first assignment and group meeting basically and overall, we all worked together pretty well. We are still in the feeling out eachothers' personalities on a collaborative basis at this point, but since this was 2 weeks ago, I can say that we are a fantastic group and I couldn't be happier learning about how much we all think alike and different! 

Last night I was freaking out about having our songs done by Monday, but fortunately, after an hour of running through our last song, I am so much less stressed. Thanks group 2 for understanding my crazy weekend schedule and working with each other so perfectly and graciously! We rock as a team :)

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