Sydney Recording Studios Microphone Technique

Sydney Recording Studios and microphone technique are important for achieving an optimal vocal recording. In our last article we looked at all the various pieces of gear in your signal chain aka channel strip. I this article we will focus on microphone technique and vocal tracking.

What issues can arise in home Sydney Recording Studios?

You may recall that we suggested you purchase a condenser microphone. This would be your main studio vocal microphone. These microphones are very clear and sensitive. All the detail and nuisances of the vocal recording is captured. There can be some drawbacks to this level of sensitivity. Sometimes external noise and unwanted sound can creep into the recording. Sometimes the microphone picks up too many harsh sibilant frequencies. Let’s take a look at how home Sydney Recording Studios can fix these issues.

Sibilance in Home Sydney Recording Studios

Sibilance is what we use to refer to harsh high frequencies. More specifically, in vocal recording, the term refers to loud ‘s’ or ‘ch’ sounds. When the tip of the tongue is close to the roof of the mouth air will rush past at high velocity. Our ‘s’ sounds originate here. If those sibilant sounds become too loud it can be unpleasant to listen to a recording. In fact, untreated sibilant sounds are a give away that the recording is not professional.
These harsh frequencies are deflected downward from the roof of the mouth at an angle. When you place your microphone lower relative to the mouth you will notice the volume of these frequencies increasing. Conversely, if you raise the microphone higher, and up past nearer to the nose, you will notice the sibilance decreasing in volume. It’s a balancing act because as you move away from the chest the sound becomes less warm, but less harsh, too. The opposite is true when you move downward. Experiment with moving the microphone up and down the vertical axis to achieve a good balance for your vocal recording.
There are devices called pop filters that are very useful for controlling sibilance.

The Proximity Effect

The proximity effect is where the bass frequencies of a signal increase the closer we get to a source. In regards to a vocal, when we move closer to the mouth we will notice is become more warm. The detail in the voice, including the harsh sibilant frequencies, will also increase in volume. Once again, it’s a matter of taste in terms of where you would like the position of the vocal relative to the microphone. If you keep in mind how to adjust the frequency response as a function of position you will be required to do less after you have recorded the vocal. That’s the sign of a wise engineer.

Deadening a Home Sydney Recording Studios

Reducing the acoustic activity inside your vocal recording space is another important move. If you record in an acoustically active room then it is difficult to put other effects on the vocal after it has been recorded. The vocal will sound washy and less defined as a recording. Our suggestion is find a small space and line the walls will some kind of material that will reduce reverberation. Hard and rigid surfaces tend to promote acoustic activity. Do the opposite to minimise your vocal recording space and capture a cleaner sound. There are devices that you can purchase that will help you achieve a less acoustically active recording.

Reduce External Noises from Penetrating into your Home Sydney Recording Studios

This is by far the most difficult to achieve in a vocal recording. Finding a space that is sonically isolated from the rest of the world is tough. Most studios need to build their own acoustically isolated spaces. This takes patience and time. The rule of thumb is that the more mass you add to a wall, or sonic barrier, the more acoustically isolated it will be. A solid piece of lead will stop sound better that a soft mattress. A mattress will acoustically deaden the space better. These are two different things that people often mix up when treating there space. Reducing sound penetration and increasing sonic isolation involves adding mass to the walls. This is why it so expensive. Mass costs money.
By recording in an acoustically isolated space no unwanted sound will be entering the recording. This will make for a clean and untainted recording.