In this project I was tasked with creating a mic audition podcast where I sampled eight different microphines to see how each sounds and to see which one I liked most.
Microphone Audition podcast
My Favorite microphone Specifications
- is a cardioid dynamic microphone
- most widely know vocal mic in the world
- celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016
Terms And Concepts
Dynamic Mic. – In a dynamic microphone a thin diaphragm is connected to a coil of wire called a voice coil which is precisely suspended over a powerful magnet.
Condenser Mic. -Instead of using a coil, ribbon microphones use a small strand of very thin 2 microns thick aluminum ribbon.
Omni pattern – Responsive in all directions, sometimes picking up unwanted sound.
Cardioid pattern – Condensers use two charged plates, one fixed and one which can move acting like a diaphragm.
Bi-directional pattern – Most sensitive to sounds coming front the front and the rear. Less sensitive to sounds at the sides.
Transduction – Converting sound energy into an electrical signal or an electrical signal into sound energy.
Voltage – The sensitivity.
Phantom Power – +48v of energy sent down the microphone cable to a condenser microphone from the audio recording or mixing board.
Sensitivity – Output level. Voltage of output signal when exposed to a certain sound level. Can be expressed as decibels below one volt. Most microphone signals are less than one volt so a negative number is used (-50dBV). Higher number means microphone is more sensitive (-30dBV) and a lower number means a less sensitive microphone (-70dBV). This number is meaningless unless you know what sound pressure level (SPL) it was tested with. Most are tested at 94dB/1 Pa.
Frequency Response – The range of sound a microphone can reproduce and how sensitive the mic is at certain distance. Flat response, equally sensitive to all frequencies. Shaped response, more sensitive to some frequency ranges, adds clarity to vocals. When made less sensitive to low frequencies, picks up less background noise. Some microphones let you adjust frequency response.
Transient – An abrupt change in level. Like a cymbal’s crash or a singer’s T’s or CH’s.
Placement – If the sound source (mainly vocals) is farther away (3-4 ft), the voice is still clear but you get more room noise, which may be good if you want reverberation. Move the sound source even further to get more reverberation. About half a foot away from the mic, is the normal place for a vocalist. You get less room noise and the voice sounds even clearer. Picks up subtle changes in the voice. Moving the sound source to right in front of the microphone will increase the bass (proximity effect), as well as giving the voice a more intimate feel. A pop filter will be needed to prevent some words from “popping”. Like the singer’s P’s.
Proximity Effect – The increase in bass when a sound source is moved closer to the microphone.
Output – More sensitive mics have higher voltage than less sensitive mics.
Characteristics – Sensitivity, Frequency Response, Output, Maximum sound pressure level.
Noise Rating – The signal (sound source) to noise ratio measured in decibels (dB). Noise is any sound in the background you don’t want. Electricity vibrates at 60dB so you want the ratio of the signal and noise to be higher than that. Preferably 90dB or higher.
Mic. Clip – Holds the microphone to the stand
Mic. Stand – Holds up the microphone so the speaker doesn’t have to hold it. Height can be adjusted.
Windscreen/Pop Filter – Reduces breathing and wind noises
Direct Box – Connected to the mixer. Balances various outputs an inputs from the microphone and the mixer.
What I Learned
the main thing that I learned in this project was how each microphone that I auditioned sounded and also which one that I liked the best. Along with this I also gained some sense of how each different microphone can be used for different task and that gave me some ideas for future projects.