Assessment 2 – Stereo Microphone Technique
The specific musical goal of this assessment is to capture the authentic sound of a pitched acoustic instrument, acoustic ensemble or solo voice and recreate the illusion (ambience) of a concert hall or venue.
As with assessment 1, provide 3 professional reference tracks.
From the variety of ‘classic’ stereo microphone techniques covered in class, use AB, MS, Decca Tree and two other techniques *
* techniques likely to be covered – AB, XY, NOS, Blumlein Pair, ORTF, MS, Decca Tree, Phased Array
1. Make 5 short recordings, using your chosen stereo techniques of 15 – 30 seconds of the same instrument, ensemble or voice – playing precisely the same music in each instance to demonstrate the result of varying microphone techniques in best achieving the musical goal.
2. Identify the stereo technique used in each recording with a voice over ‘announcement’.
NB: These types of recordings need to capture the finest detail, so sampling rates of 96 KHz or 192 KHz are not uncommon – please use one of these rates for this assessment (before making the sample rate conversion to 44.1 KHz to burn the CD).
Use Eq, compression and Reverb as transparently as possible to achieve the most ‘natural’ sound.
Be careful to preserve the natural dynamic of the performance by not over-limiting the master fader.
For mastering, either at the time of the bounce down or as a secondary process:
limit your output level to peak below 0 dB – typically -0.2 / -0.3 or -1 dB if you’re paying attention to the ‘Mastered for iTunes‘ recommendations
As you will submit an audio CD, please be careful to bounce down and dither your projects from 24 bit to 16 bit wav and burn the CD from wav files (rather than mp3 or m4a).
Assessment 2 = tracks 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 on your CD.
1. Support your recordings with diagrams / photographs of the set up specifying the techniques employed, the microphone angles (to one another) and both their distance apart and from the source. In the case of MS, provide a screenshot of the setup in the ʻMixʼ window used as your MS matrix.
This information can be in a table or bullet point format:
- mic name
- type (dynamic/condenser)
- polarity ie. omni/cardioid/fig 8
- name of technique (eg. XY, MS…)
- mics spaced or coincident
- angle of mics to one another eg. XY is 90˚
- distant apart if spaced
- distance from source
2. Embed the 3 reference tracks you’ve listened to in guiding your production choices.
3. give a brief evaluation of your recording and mixing time with a constructively critical focus on what you (and your ‘team’) might do differently to improve both your experience and outcome in future.
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