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At the moment it’s focused on theoretical music production and guitar repair guides!

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Make sure to check out my site http://www.carlsworld.se and follow me on social media under the name @carsworldmusic.

/Carl

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Microphone placement “Piano” (3/5)

In this mini-series I’ll discuss the importance, or rather, the impact of microphone placement. There’s no right and wrong when working with microphones, as some seem to think. I’ll provide frequency illustrations with every example to easier grasp the changes that occur with every technique.

Some of the most unique and original recordings use unconventional microphone placements, which might have played a huge roll in the finalized recording. I will not discuss or show pictures of any popular microphone techniques. Instead I’ll provide audio files that show the drastic changes that occur when you adjust a microphone just a few centimeters.

This part covers a special way of recording piano, or rather a grand piano. I had the opportunity to record inside a massive church, alone using a field recorder. I placed the Zoom H4n recorder in different positions to see what difference the positioning would do in such a characteristic recording environment.

Recorder placed on top of the piano

By placing the recorder on top of the piano, the result has a bit of everything. The sound is very intimate, and by placing the microphone directly on the piano, you get plenty of mechanical and unwanted noises. Mechanical noises would be reduced if I had used a stand and kept some distance between the microphone and piano. The sound lacks definition and comes of as muffled and with too much low end. A way to improve definition would have been to open the top cover. The room acoustics are very present in this recording, and the sound is a good representation of what I, the player, heard while playing the piano.

Recorder placed on top of the piano, facing me and rotated 120 degrees.
1,5 seconds in to the recording, on top.

Recorder placed behind the piano

In this type of setting, the room has a huge influence on every action performed on the piano. When placing the microphone behind the piano, we also reduce the impact the room has on the recording by “boxing it in” and reducing the amount of reflection surfaces around the microphone. This gives the recording much more definition and reduces the excessive low end that was present in the previous recording. A negative aspect is that the sound in this recording is not a correct representation of the actual sound in the church, but a much more compact and clear sound without the excessive natural reverb. The sound also gets a “boxed in” character, due to change in the mid frequencies.

Recorder placed behind the piano, facing the piano, rotated 120 degrees.
1,5 seconds in to the recording, behind.

Recorder placed 4 m (13ft) away from the piano

This was a pure demonstration of the natural reverb in the church and my attempt to capture it. The distance removes definition and high end and results in a muddy sound filled with reverb. On the other hand, the tone is very pleasant and clean and would work well as a representation of what an audience would hear in a church. The church has the following dimensions: 15m high, 30 meters in lenght and 15m width. The walls were covered in either brick or wood, and the floor was polished rock. Few ornaments on the wall, meaning tons of reflective surfaces.

Recorder on a solid surface a few meters away from the piano, facing the long side of the building, rotated 120 degrees.
1,5 seconds in to the recording, far away.

Microphone Placement “Electric Guitar” (2/5)

In this mini-series I’ll discuss the importance, or rather, the impact of microphone placement. There’s no right and wrong when working with microphones, as some seem to think. I’ll provide frequency illustrations with every example to easier grasp the changes that occur with every technique.

Some of the most unique and original recordings use unconventional microphone placements, which might have played a huge roll in the finalized recording. I will not discuss or show pictures of any popular microphone techniques. Instead I’ll provide audio files and graphs that show the drastic changes that occur when you adjust a microphone just a few centimeters.

This part covers electric guitar. A SM57 microphone was used, and a AT2020 was used for the later examples. The guitar amplifier was a small and beaten up Fender Frontman 15W.

SM57 straight in to the cone.

SM57 ON AXIS

Probobly the most common way to record electric guitar through an amplifier. A very popular microphone, put at the axis position. The axis in this case is straight into the cone of the speaker. This placement gives you a raw, high end tone with high to medium low end. The more you angle the microphone, the more bass you get generally. This placement normally generates the least amount of unwanted low end frequencies.

SM57 ON axis. A nice frequency spread with a defined mid range.

SM57 OFF axis

Still a common method, but with a very different character. The high end gets toned down and the bass along with the mid frequencies get boosted. This was done at a 30% angle, a good mix between low end and mid.

SM57 OFF axis. The low end is taking over and the midrange is turned down.

SM57 OFF AT2020 ON *MONO

If we introduce a condenser microphone into the mix a lot of things change. Instead of a clear, raw and centered tone we get a bassy spread tone with almost a box-like feel. The “edge” of the sound disappears and this placement might not be the optimal one for a clean tone.

SM57 OFF AT2020 ON. The low end is way too pronounced and there’s a gap in the mid range.

SM57 ON AT2020 OFF *MONO

If we reverse the order and place the SM57 on axis, the tone gets sharper and more defined. We get a nice snappy tone, but still with a washed out low end sound that may be unwanted, due to the condenser microphone. It lacks character, but can still be used in some situations due to its blendable sound.

SM57 ON AT2020 OFF. Uneven frequence response but with an OK midrange, bass is too strong.

AT2020 close OFF axis

A condenser microphone placed 10cm away from the amplifier, off axis. An oldschool sound with a cut off high end. A bit box-sounding due to excess mid frequencies, but still a vintage and snappy sound. This placement would work great in blues sessions and in sessions that are looking for a vintage sound that can stand on its own.

AT2020 OFF. Lots of character, but uneven reponse.

Microphone placement “Acoustic Guitar” (1/5)

In this mini-series I’ll discuss the importance, or rather, the impact of microphone placement. There’s no right and wrong when working with microphones, as some seem to think. I’ll provide frequency illustrations with every example to easier grasp the changes that occur with every technique.

Some of the most unique and original recordings use unconventional microphone placements, which might have played a huge roll in the finalised recording. I will not discuss or show pictures of any popular microphone techniques. Instead I’ll provide audio files that show the drastic changes that occur when you adjust a microphone just a few centimeters.

The first example is with acoustic guitar. A condenser microphone was used for the acoustic guitar and an Ibanez AW40 Steel String guitar was used to provide the examples.

Microphone at the 12th fret 

For some people, this is the “right” way to record acoustic guitar. By placing the microphone at the 12th fret, you eliminate any additional bass that would have been present if the microphone had been placed closer to the sound hole (the hole of the acoustic guitar). Also, by placing the microphone closer to the head, you get a clearer and crisp tone that has a lot of middle range to it.

Frequency display at the 12th fret.

Microphone at the sound hole

By placing the microphone at the sound hole, you will immediately get a higher volume. The other thing you notice is that the sound is way fatter and filled with low end. The characteristics of an acoustic guitar just aren’t there in the same way as they were in at the 12th fret. In a way they get stuck in the muddy low end caused by the short distance of the sound hole. You could EQ away the lower end, but it’s very difficult to get that lively crisp tone that you get at the 12th fret.

Frequency display at the sound hole

Microphones at both positions

Here’s where it gets interesting. In this example there are two microphones, one at the 12th fret and one at the sound hole. It’s in stereo instead of mono, and they are both panned hard L/R. Looking at the frequency curve, both characteristics are there. It’s the muddy low end, and the crisp midrange at around 1k. Together they work better, but the bass is still an issue as it takes over too much of the sound.

Frequency display when using both positions.

Thanks for reading!

Shows, projects in early 2017…

A lot has happened in 2017. I’ve started studying to become an acoustic engineer which has been a lot of fun. A long with a technician job it’s been hard to keep the blog and page updated.

Been deep into microphones and what small adjustments do to certain frequencies and volumes. Below is an example of a full rotation of an AT2020 microphone.

Straight into the microphone

180 degree rotation

Before recording in any room it’s a good idea to measure the natural reverb of the room. Been using a Linux program called Room EQ WIZARD and a measuring microphone from Behringer to get some solid reverb times from certain rooms.

Reverb times of a balloon being popped inside a church

 

Had the honor to be the sound technician for well-known swedish rapper Mwuana. A lot of fun, and one of my first rap gigs. Hardest part was to stay in the yellow and to really make the lyrics come through. It’s easy to get the sound right at soundcheck but when the place starts to fill up, a lot of frequences get absorbed by the audience. Things might sound OK somewhere in the crowd but at the back it’s a totally different sound.

Soundcheck, one male singer and one DJ straight into the mixer

250 people, hard to keep the levels and had to adjust a lot during show

Moved into a new studio place and just started to measure up the room acoustics. Starting out simple with just measured out 4 on each walls to reduce standing waves and flutter echo.

/Carl

 

Gigs, work and projects late 2016!

Fall/Winter has been filled with lots of projects and new beginnings!

Several sound engineering gigs, cover band rehearsal and upcoming gigs and also some computer engineering work. Hoping 2017 will be as fun and rewarding as 2016 🙂

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Alice Boteus live at Blekingska Nationen
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Rehearsal with band “Hearts club band”
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Computer service and repair
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Magic Potion live at Blekingska Nationen
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Ibanez AS-73

Ny termin, nya gitarrlektioner!

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Vill du bli snabbare, säkrare och bättre som gitarrist?

Vill du komma in på spetsutbildning men känner att du saknar musikteorin och kunskapen som behövs?

Ny termin och nya lektioner! Jag har jobbat som gitarrlärare i över 5 år och har hjälp ett flertal elever komma in på sina program och att nå sina mål. Tillsammans lägger vi upp en plan för att just du ska lyckas!

Är du intresserad? Hör av dig till info@carlsworld.se!