Community Media/MARAA/Community Radio/Production/Studio Recording

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Condenser microphone

Three important points to remember. One is that it produces very high quality sound due to it being very sensitive.

Second is that it requires a power source, usually from a mixer or batteries.

Third is that these microphones are expensive and are usually used inside the studio, where they are carefully taken care of and are less prone to damage.

Dynamic microphone

Usually inexpensive, they are used for outside recording.

They are also usually moisture resistant.

Usually having a ribbon on the inside, these are tough microphones but are not the best recording devices when compared to condenser microphones.

SM-58 from Shure is one of the better known dynamic microphones.

Exercise: Try recording with both dynamic and condenser microphones, and compare differences. Discuss where each microphone can be used best.

Characteristics of Sound

Digital sound have some characteristics which are important to understand before you attempt to manipulate it. On most occasions, remember that although the sound you have on your recorder or computer is digital, the input is almost always analog. Therefore it is not the original sound, but a converted format of the source. Therefore try to ensure that the source is clean. The most common mistake is to assume that every kind of manipulation is possible using digital audio. If the disturbance is embedded in the original source of audio, then it is that much more work for you to clean up the audio. Digital audio is usually in the form of mono sound or stereo sound. Mono sound means that it is being reproduced in a single channel. The most common usage of mono sound is the voice you hear on the telephone. However, it is common to use stereo sound today in most cases. Stereo sound is sound being reproduced in two channels and is being used in most cases of FM broadcasts. However, it is not necessary to get into technical details of what are the differences between mono and stereo. The notable difference is when you have two speakers to play back the sound which is broadcast or recorded. It is a good practice to record sound on the computer using a stereo track, which makes the sound appear in two channels, left and right, which means for the left speaker and right speaker.

Path of Sound

To record in the studio, you need to understand how the sound travels within the studio, and the different hardware it encounters in that journey.

  • The source speaks first in to the microphone
  • From the microphone the sound travels all the way to the mixer, through the cables
  • It reaches the mixer, where the volume, treble, bass etc is controlled, and from there it travels to the computer via another cable.
  • Once it reaches the computer, it is registered on an external sound card, or on an in-built sound card, and then it goes on to the software.
  • On the software, the same sound is registered as a wave, which you can see on your screen.
  • Sound travels so quickly, that you are not aware of this journey, from the microphone to the computer, and this appears to be an instantaneous process.
  • From your computer, the sound travels back to either monitoring speakers or computer speakers, and it is converted to analog sound, which is audible to the human ear.