D8 Skills #5 | Microphone Selection
Kick Drum - AKG D112: This is a dynamic microphone with a cardioid polar pattern, and an audio frequency bandwidth of 20Hz-17kHz. It also has an ideal frequency response for a kick drum as it boosts the bass, leaves the mids, and boosts the highs. You want the bass to be boosted because that’s where you feel the thump of a kick and you want the highs to be boosted because that’s where the audible transient lies for that punch. The mids can sometimes muddy up the kick so it’s good that these are left. This microphone also has a very high maximum SPL (Sound Pressure Level) which is ideal for use on a kick drum because the microphone is positioned right inside the drum meaning it’ll be very loud: it can handle 160dB SPL without distorting. They’ll also be that shock of air coming at the mic from the batter head.
Snare - Shure SM57: This is a dynamic microphone with a cardioid polar pattern, and a frequency response of 40-15000Hz. Its frequency response is perfect for a snare, as the bottom end rolls off from 200Hz to compensate for proximity effect as the mic is positioned very close to the drum, and the highs have a boost at around 6kHz which adds a nice presence to the snare. Proximity effect is the increase of bass frequencies as a directional microphone comes closer to the sound source.
Over-head - Samson CO2: This is a small-diagram condenser microphone “designed to capture every nuance and characteristic” (Samson Unknown Date) of the sound, with a cardioid polar pattern to capture what’s in front of the mic and to minimise pick up from the sides and back. We have chosen to use a condenser microphone for the overhead because it is a lot more sensitive than dynamics, so is ideal for capturing the the drum kit as a whole, positioned a little far back from the kit (not right up against a particular part of the drum like the other dynamic mics). They have a flat frequency response with a slight boost at around 9000Hz which is ideal for the overhead as they’re responsible for capturing the cymbals, hi-hat and ride which all have important high frequency content in them.
Guitar Amps - Shure SM57: As well as on the snare drum, we will use the SM57 on the guitar amps. We will position them on-axis rather that off-axis to capture the full frequency spectrum of the sound. Again, the SM57 compensates for proximity effect which is ideal because the microphone will be positioned very close to the guitar amp.
Vocals - Shure SM58: This is the same microphone as the SM57 howver with a spit shield on top. We chose to use a dynamcic microphone instead of a condenser for the vocals because a condenser would have picked up all the bleed from the rest of the band (there would have been a lot of bleed). To reduce even more bleed, the singer will sing very close to the microphone. The SM57 is ideal for this as the bottom end rolls off from 200Hz to compensate for proximity effect.
Bass Guitar - DI Box: We will use a DI (Direct Injection) box to capture the sound of the bass guitar instead of miking the amp. We chose to do this to achieve a much cleaner sound. If we were to use a microphone, all the other instruments on stage would be picked up in the microphone which is unnecessary.