Canadian Musician - September/October 2017 - Page 51

Polar/Pickup Patterns Cardioid microphones are perhaps the most ubiquitous, with Shure’s SM58 or SM57 being the most popular. They reject sound coming from the rear of the capsule, making them ideal for live settings where a stage monitor is playing back. Useful for close miking drums, as they will naturally reject what is behind them (namely cymbals). Supercardioid microphones have a narrower pickup when compared to cardioids and a greater rejection of ambient sound. A boom mic for capturing dialogue during film pro- duction is an example of this style of pickup pattern, with hypercardioid being a further iteration of this. A microphone with a figure eight polar pattern picks up the sound from the front of the microphone and from the rear but not the sides – typically a ribbon or large diaphragm microphone. Omnidirectional A polar (or pickup) pattern describes a microphone’s directionality. Omnidirectional microphones have equal output at all angles, meaning it picks up sound from all directions. They’re great for room microphones and group vocals and generally have a true/flat sound. Microphone Configurations • • • • • Mono: One microphone, directed anywhere that sounds great XY Stereo: Two microphones close together with capsules crossing at a 90 to 120 degree angle Stereo Pair: Two microphones at equal distance from each other and the sound source Blumlein Pair: Generally two figure eight microphones in an XY pattern. Mid-side Technique: Generally a figure eight and a cardioid work- ing in stereo. This often requires processing to get the phase aligned. Tips on Building Your Mic Collection In today’s marketplace, there is a huge variety of options when it comes to microphones, so where to begin when it comes to building a collection? A great stepping stone is to invest in a Shure SM58 and SM57, as these are perhaps the most ubiquitous microphones in the pro audio realm. • Consider your needs and know that quality is often better than quantity, as we generally track a single instrument at a time in our home studios • Don’t skimp on accessories, especially when purchasing a condenser mic. Shockmounts, pop filters, and reflection filters not only improve sound but also take the guesswork out of proper usage. Accessories • • • • Vocal mic on shockmount with pop filte r Pop Filter: To reduce plosives that cause boosts in low end on cer- tain consonants Shockmount: To decouple the microphone from the floor, im- proving low end response Reflection Filter: To help reduce room reflections (very handy for home recordists) XY mount: To simplify XY stereo miking • If you plan to track drums, I sug- gest a kick drum mic and two over- heads as a starting point. Research the Glyn Johns method (outlined in the Basic Microphone Techniques section) • Focus most on making the in- strument and performance sound their best. Kick drum and bass microphone C A C N A A N D A I D A I A N N M M U U S S I C I C I A I A N N • • 51