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The Recording Engineer’s Handbook, Second Edition

Book Description

Working as a recording engineer presents challenges from every direction of your project. From using microphones to deciding on EQ settings, choosing outboard gear to understanding how, when and why to process your signal, the seemingly never-ending choices can be very confusing. Professional Audio's bestselling author Bobby Owsinski (The Mixing Engineer's Handbook, The Mastering Engineer's Handbook) takes you into the tracking process for all manner of instruments and vocals-- providing you with the knowledge and skill to make sense of the many choices you have in any given project. From acoustic to electronic instruments, mic placement to EQ settings, everything you need to know to capture professionally recorded audio tracks is in this guide.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. About the Author
  3. Introduction
    1. Meet the Engineers
  4. 1. How Microphones Work
    1. The Dynamic Microphone
      1. How it Works
    2. The Ribbon Microphone
    3. The Condenser Microphone
      1. Condenser Mic Fallacies
      2. Condenser Operational Hints
      3. Phantom Power
    4. Microphone Specifications
      1. Sensitivity
      2. Overload Characteristics
      3. Frequency Response
      4. Noise
      5. Polar Patterns (Directional Response)
        1. Omnidirectional
        2. Figure of Eight
        3. Cardioid
        4. Hypercardioid Microphones
      6. Proximity Effect
    5. Specialty Microphones
      1. Shotgun Microphones
      2. Lavaliere
      3. PZM
      4. Wireless
      5. Stereo Mics
      6. Parabolic
    6. Microphone Accessories
      1. Pop Filters
      2. Wind Screens
      3. Shock Mounts
  5. 2. Common Microphones
    1. Classic Microphones
      1. RCA 44–Style Ribbon Microphone
      2. RCA 77 Unidirectional Ribbons
      3. Neumann U 47
      4. Neumann U 47 FET
      5. Neumann U 67
      6. Neumann M 49/50
      7. Neumann KM 84 Series
      8. Neumann KM 54/56
      9. Neumann U 87
      10. AKG D 12/112
      11. AKG C 12/Telefunken Ela M 250/251
      12. AKG C 451
      13. AKG 414 Series
      14. Sony C-37A
      15. Schoeps M 221B
      16. STC/Coles 4038
      17. Shure SM57
      18. Sennheiser MD421
      19. Sennheiser MD441
      20. Beyer M160
      21. Electro-Voice RE20
    2. New Versions of the Classics
    3. The New Classics
      1. Audio-Technica AT4050/4033
      2. Heil PR 40
      3. Royer R-121
      4. Shure Beta 52
      5. Shure SM81
      6. Yamaha SKRM-100 Subkick
    4. Inexpensive Microphones
      1. Quality Control’s the Thing
      2. You can Never be Sure of the Sound
      3. The Weakness
      4. Some Good Choices
        1. Behringer B-1
        2. Cascade FAT HEAD
        3. MXL SP1/2001
        4. Oktava MK012
        5. Rode NT1-A
        6. sE Electronics sE2200A
        7. Studio Projects C1
    5. Meet Microphone Designer David Bock
  6. 3. Basic Recording Equipment
    1. The Microphone Preamplifier
      1. Why a Separate Mic Amp?
      2. Vintage Mic Pres
        1. Neve 1071/1083
        2. API 312/512
        3. Telefunken V72/V76
      3. Modern Mic Pres
        1. Great River
        2. Manley Labs
        3. Vintech
        4. Daking
        5. Universal Audio
        6. Hardy
        7. Millennia Media HV-3B
        8. GML
        9. Grace
    2. Mic Amp Setup
      1. Primary Controls
      2. Direct Injection
        1. Types
        2. Setup
        3. Amplifier Emulators
    3. Compressor/Limiters
      1. Primary Controls
      2. Compressor/Limiter Setup
        1. Teletronix LA-2A
        2. Universal Audio LA-3A
        3. UREI LA-4
        4. UREI 1176
  7. 4. DAW Recording
    1. Getting Sound into the Computer
      1. ADCS and DACS
      2. Latency
      3. Firewire Versus USB
    2. Headroom and Gain Staging
      1. Headroom
    3. Interview with Gannon Kashiwa: Digidesign’s Professional Products Market Manager
  8. 5. Basic Stereo Techniques
    1. Types of Stereo Miking
      1. Coincident Pair
        1. X/Y
        2. M-S
        3. Blumlein Array
        4. Stereo Mic
      2. Spaced Pair
      3. The Decca Tree
      4. Near-Coincident Pair
      5. Baffled-Omni Pair
  9. 6. Basic Multichannel Tracking
    1. Choosing the Right Mic
    2. The Secret to Getting Good Sounds
      1. Secrets of Mic Placement
        1. Placement Considerations
        2. The 3-to-1 Principle
      2. Checking Phase
      3. How to Check Polarity
      4. Checking Phase by Listening
      5. Checking Phase With an Oscilloscope Plug-In
      6. Checking Phase with a Phase Meter
  10. 7. Preparing the Drum Kit for Recording
    1. The Keys to a Great-Sounding Drum Kit
    2. The Snare
      1. Snare Construction
      2. The Snare Unit
      3. Tuning Tips
    3. Interview with the “Drum Doctor” Ross Garfield
  11. 8. Miking Individual Instruments
    1. Accordion
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    2. Audience or Crowd
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    3. Bagpipes
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    4. Banjo
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    5. Acoustic String Bass (or Upright Bass)
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    6. Electric Bass
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    7. Bassoon
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    8. Bongos
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    9. Bouzouki
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    10. Brass
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
      3. Trombone
      4. Tuba
      5. French Horn
    11. Choir or Ensemble (Vocal, Saxophone, or Other)
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    12. Clarinet
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    13. Claves
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    14. Conga
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    15. Cowbell
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    16. Didgeridoo
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    17. Djembe
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    18. Dobro
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    19. The Drum Kit
      1. Considerations
      2. Single-Mic Setup
      3. Two-Mic Setup
      4. Three-Mic Setup
      5. Four-Mic Setup
    20. Kick (Bass Drum)
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    21. Kick Tunnel
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    22. Subkick
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    23. Snare
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    24. Brushes
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    25. Hi-Hat
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    26. Toms
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    27. Overheads
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    28. Room
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    29. 1960s Beatles Sound
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    30. 1970s Drum Sound
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    31. The Reggae Drum Sound
    32. Dulcimer
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    33. Fiddle
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    34. Flute
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    35. French Horn
    36. Acoustic Guitar
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
      3. Guitar Tricks
    37. Nylon- or Gut-String Guitar
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    38. Electric Guitar
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    39. Glockenspiel (Also Known As Glock or Orchestral Bells)
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    40. Gong
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    41. Hand Claps
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    42. Harmonica
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    43. Harp
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    44. Indian Instruments
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    45. Koto
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    46. Leslie Speaker
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    47. Mandolin
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    48. Marimba
    49. Mouth Harp (Also Called Jew’s Harp or Jaw Harp)
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    50. Piano
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    51. Upright Piano
    52. Piccolo
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    53. Recorder
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    54. Saxophone
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    55. Shaker
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    56. Steel Drums (Also Known As Steel Pans or Pan Drums)
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    57. Stick (Chapman Stick)
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    58. String Section
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    59. Synthesizer (Or Any Kind of Electric Keyboard)
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    60. Tambourine
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    61. Timbale
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    62. Timpani (Also Known As Kettle Drum)
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    63. Triangle
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    64. Trombone
    65. Trumpet
    66. Tuba
    67. Vibes (or Vibraphone)
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    68. Vocals
      1. Considerations
      2. The Hanging Microphone
      3. Placement
    69. Background Vocals
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    70. Voiceovers
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
    71. Whistling
      1. Considerations
      2. Placement
  12. 9. The Recording Session
    1. Preparing for the Session (By Al Schmitt)
    2. Headphones and the Cue Mix
      1. Tips for Great Headphones
      2. Tricks for Loud Headphones
    3. Personal Headphone Mixes
    4. The Click Track
      1. Making the Click cut Through the Mix
      2. Preventing Click Bleed
      3. When a Click Won’t Work
    5. Getting the Most from a Vocalist
    6. Recording Basic Tracks
      1. Where to Place the Players in the Room
    7. How Long Should It Take?
    8. Recording without Headphones (By Fletcher)
    9. Leakage
    10. The Assistant Engineer
      1. Attributes of a Great Assistant Engineer (By Al Schmitt)
  13. 10. Surround Miking Techniques
    1. Multi-Miking in Surround
      1. OCT Surround
      2. IRT Cross
      3. Hamasaki Square
      4. Double M-S
    2. Drum Surround Multi-Miking
      1. Multi-Mic #1
      2. Alternate to Multi-Mic #1
      3. Multi-Mic #2
      4. Multi-Mic #3
      5. The Halo
  14. 11. Surround Microphones
    1. The Holophone Surround Microphone System
    2. The Schoeps KFM 360
    3. SoundField MKV Microphone and Model 451 5.1 Decoder
    4. B Format
    5. The SoundField 451 5.1 Decoder
    6. SPL/Brauner Atmos 5.1 Surround Microphone System
  15. 12. Final Recording Checklist
    1. General Checklist
    2. Checklist for Drums (in Addition to the Above)
    3. Microphone Selection Checklist
    4. If the Sound Is Distorted Checklist
    5. Checklist for Overdubs
    6. Vocal Recording Checklist
    7. If All Else Fails
  16. 13. Chuck Ainlay
  17. 14. Steve Albini
  18. 15. Michael Beinhorn
  19. 16. Michael Bishop
  20. 17. Bruce Botnick
  21. 18. Ed Cherney
  22. 19. Wyn Davis
  23. 20. Frank Filipetti
  24. 21. Jerry Hey
  25. 22. Eddie Kramer
  26. 23. Mark Linett
  27. 24. Mack
  28. 25. Al Schmitt
  29. Glossary