What's a typical way to mike a singer (lead vocalist) for a studio recording?
Reply: Get a CM-700 cardioid condenser mic or a large-diaphragm cardioid condenser mic of your choice. Place the mic at mouth height about 8 inches from the singer. Place a hoop-type pop filter between the singer and the mic. If the ceiling is low, nail a 3 ft x 3 ft piece of acoustic foam to the ceiling over the mic and singer.
It's common to use a compressor on the lead vocal to reduce its dynamic range. That way, the vocal does not get too loud or too soft relative to the instruments. Another common signal processor for the lead vocal is a de-esser, or a multi-band compressor set to compress only the frequencies above about 5kHz. This reduces excess sibilance ("s" and "sh" sounds).
I am recording a vocal and acoustic guitar into a DAT recorder. Will I need two mics? Which mics sound best for this application?
Reply: Here are some recommendations:
Vocal: Crown CM-200A aiming up at your mouth about 2 inches away. Be sure to put the foam windscreen on the mic to reduce breath pops. If this sounds too bassy, roll off the excess bass with your mixer (if you're using one).
Acoustic guitar: See the figure below. Try a Crown CM-700 aiming down at the spot midway between the sound hole and the point where the fingerboard joins the guitar body. If the guitar sounds too bassy, set the bass-tilt switch on the CM-700 to reduce the bass.
Another option for the acoustic guitar is to use a good pickup, or use a Crown GLM-100 miniature omni mic taped near the sound hole. Turn down the excess bass with your mixer if you use this method.
I'm recording a singing guitarist into my computer. I have a CM-200A on the vocal and a CM-700 on the guitar. The singer's voice sounds okay when I monitor just the vocal mic, but it sounds filtered or phasey when I mix in the guitar mic. What's going on?
Reply: The guitar mic is picking up some vocal leakage with a short delay. This causes phase interference (comb filtering or flanging) when the vocal mic and guitar mic are mixed to the same channel.
To get the vocal track in phase with its leakage on the guitar track, I've found this helpful:
1. Mix the two tracks at equal vocal levels (that is turn up the guitar track until the vocal leakage is as loud as the vocal track).
2. Reverse the polarity of the vocal track.
3. Nudge-delay the vocal track (slide it to the right) by less than a millisecond at a time until the vocal cancels out as much as possible. A 1 millisecond delay is typical.
4. Put the vocal track back in normal polarity. Set the guitar-track fader for a good mix. You should hear the vocal/guitar mix without much phase interference.
Other ways to reduce phase interference are:
*Record the guitar first, then overdub the vocal if the performer is comfortable doing that.
*Use just one mic about 1 foot away. Raise and lower the mic until you monitor a good balance between voice and guitar. If the guitar is very quiet, the mic might end up near the bottom edge of the guitar, aiming at the singer.