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Close Miking Vs. Room Miking

 
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ingeneri



Joined: 03 Nov 2005
Posts: 441

PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 10:07 am    Post subject: Close Miking Vs. Room Miking Reply with quote



Last edited by ingeneri on Sat May 29, 2010 11:09 am; edited 1 time in total
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Gorecki
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Joined: 06 Oct 2005
Posts: 62518
Location: Davis, CA

PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 3:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Close Miking Vs. Room Miking Reply with quote

Quote:
Thought I'd ask about people's preferences. I just read an article about Keith Jarrett using room mikes because he likes having the ambience. There was also an interesting interview with Orin Keepnews about what it was like when studios switched to close miking and how that affected how musicians thought in the studio.

Obviously most people are working with a home studio, but I was wondering if anyone had experimented with the older technique.


When it comes down to it, room mic's especially for piano can be quite wonderful.....if the room is worth recording! Piano is an instrument intended to be environmental. The room itself is part of the instrument. Like large symphony, the room can make or break the recording, regardless of the mic's used. It's also the same for small jazz combo's, the room live can make or break the overall collective sound.

The way to take control of the sound is to eliminate the room entirely and manufacture it through signal processing. Some come out better than others but especially in a home environment, it's much cheaper to emulate a room than it is to build one. Wink
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ron45



Joined: 18 Sep 2007
Posts: 19
Location: New Mexico

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2008 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gorecki nailed it. The room makes all the difference. Also with drums and other instruments as well, they are often also close mic'd and the two are then mixed together to get the sound you want. The room mic has to be far enough a way from the close mics not to cause phase cancelation. I think thats more than 3 feet. There is often a special mic used for this, it sits in a little plastic corner thing but I can't find it's name right now.

Ron
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dewey decibel



Joined: 15 Feb 2006
Posts: 1677

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you talking about recording a single instrument or an entire group?

If you're taking about a group the main issue is when you close mic you have more control later on. With room micing it needs to sound good from the get go. It's much harder to fix things later on with room micing, and you're not going to be able to punch in things later (due to bleed on the other mics).

Now with jazz the punch in thing shouldn't be a problem as you're probably trying to cut everything live (although you maybe surprised at some of the classic records that have punches). And with good players you should't have to do a lot on mix down as they should pretty much be mixing themselves- the goal is to simply get what happens naturally on tape. But even then it can really help to have things direct mic'd as well. Sometimes you'll want to reinforce certain sounds that won't come across as well with a room mic (kick drum, bass) to give them more punch. Sometimes you'll want to boost an instrument a bit for a solo. That sort of thing.

I could go on and on. Generally in terms of micing, distance equals depth. It's nice to get some air between the instrument and the mic. That's where you get some complexity happening as the sounds are bouncing back and forth. With some instruments you're micing direct and at a distance and then blending or mixing them for certain effects (drums come to mind). With guitar it's a popular technique as well. If you're new to micing guitar you'll hear a lot about using a close mic'd SM-57, which has been used with great success on countless recordings, but it's not going to be my first choice. It can be good for certain overdriven/distorted sounds, but for clean guitar I much prefer something like a large diaphragm condenser 6" to 1' t away from the grille. For one thing, it's much less sensitive to mic placement than a close up SM-57 (which you may have to play around with for an hour to get placed just right), and second it captures the sound of a clean amp so much better. It's a more natural, dynamic sounding setup. Another choice would be a ribbon mic placed about the same way. Often with guitar you'll have something like a 57 close, a ribbon 1' back, and then both sounds are blended on mix down. That's nice as you get the punch of the 57, but I don't find it necessary for jazz guitar sounds.

So I'm rambling. Like Ron said anytime you're using multiple mics on a single source (or if there's bleed) you'll need to worry about phase issues. Lot's of info on the net about that. There's also several different ways to set up room mics. But generally it's like Gorecki said- if the room sounds good, it'll sound good. The room becomes part of the instrument. I prefer room micing both as a player and a listener, but I like bleed. To me that's why things so real. If you look at most engineering techniques and effects that are used post recording most of them are done to replicate what happens naturally when everything is recorded in one room at the same time.
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ingeneri



Joined: 03 Nov 2005
Posts: 441

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Last edited by ingeneri on Sat May 29, 2010 11:10 am; edited 1 time in total
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JakeJew



Joined: 30 Jul 2005
Posts: 2190
Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dewey decibel wrote:
(although you maybe surprised at some of the classic records that have punches). .


Boss guitar, anyone?
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dewey decibel



Joined: 15 Feb 2006
Posts: 1677

PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ingeneri wrote:
Dewey,

Thanks for the great post. I've always gone the SM-57 route in my limited recording experience. Combining multiple mikes would be a fun experiment the next time I get the chance.

Regarding the sound of the room, I always find it amazing that the early Van Gelder recordings were done in a living room.



Even though it's rock, Led Zeppelin is a good group to listen to concerning the way mixing in a room mic can sound on a guitar cabinet. Jimmy Page was way into playing around with those kinds of things.

Also, I'd highly recommend going for the large diaphragm condenser route for clean guitars. The best jazz sound I ever got on tape was with a Neumann U-87, but that's a very expensive mic. I was recently in the studio for my soul band and we got a great sound with an Octava MK319 which is a relatively cheap mic. But having a decent channel strip helps a lot too. Wink
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