Photo by lrargerich

Photo by lrargerich

In the recent shoot-out I did between the Shure SM7B and SM58, I discussed some of the reasons why you would use a dynamic microphone for lead vocals as opposed to a condenser.

One of the main reasons is that dynamics tend to pick up less of your room, so if you have a noisy room or just an acoustically bad-sounding room, a dynamic microphone might allow you to still record a decent vocal.

That said, sometimes a condenser microphone simply sounds better.

The next obvious step would be to do everything you can to minimize the amount of room the microphone picks up. The first thing people usually try is to throw the vocalist and microphone into a nearby closet. Problem solved, right? No more room!

Eh…this will usually introduce more problems than solutions. One of the main problems with most home studio rooms is that they are rectangular, chock full of right angles, corners, and parallel surfaces, which cause all sorts of room nodes, standing waves, bass build-up, etc.

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SM7B-and-SM58Thanks to everybody for listening to the mic shoot-out I posted on Thursday between the Shure SM7B and SM58.

A lot of people joined in the discussion, and things got pretty interesting! There were several comments here on the blog. Also, I published a link to the post over at Harmony Central, which got a few responses.

However, the biggest discussion is happening over at Gearslutz. Somebody posted a link to the shoot-out there, and a lot of folks joined in the discussion. Be sure to check them out. Pretty interesting reading.

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This episode of Ask Joe is a bit on the long side, but Chris asked some really good questions, and I think a lot of readers have the same sort of questions, so here we go!

Chris wrote:
Joe,

First, great website. I’ve been dabbling in home recording for a few years now, and this is by far the most user-friendly and intuitive user-generated website I’ve seen. It’s a great service, and I really appreciate it.

As I indicated, I’ve been “dabbling” in home recording for a few years. I initially got into it to make hip hop beats (a phase I went through) and to record basic guitar/vocal demos. Here’s my current rig:

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SM58-and-SM7BIf you’ve been involved with audio for any length of time, there’s a good chance you’ve used a Shure SM58. It’s the workhorse of the live sound world, and it’s not a bad mic. But how does it sound in the studio?

Typically, when you think about recording vocals in a studio, you picture the singer in front of a nice large-diaphragm condenser microphone. Condenser mics are great, but is it ever appropriate to use a dynamic mic to record vocals?

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Yesterday I went through the first four track types in Pro Tools – audio, MIDI, instrument, and aux tracks. Today I want to delve into the mysterious master track, or master fader track.

Metering

In a typical Pro Tools session, you’ve got a bunch of audio tracks, a few instrument/MIDI tracks, and a couple aux tracks. The outputs of all these tracks are typically set to “Analog 1-2,” the main stereo outputs of your interface.

Internally, Pro Tools takes all these individual audio signals and combines them into a single pair of outputs. This is called summing.

When all of these tracks are combined, it’s very easy to clip the mix bus. None of the tracks have to even be close to setting off the clip light, but when they’re all summed together, there’s a good chance that clipping is happening underneath the hood.

How do we monitor this? The answer is the master fader.

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Track Types in Pro ToolsQuick quiz: How many track types are there in Pro Tools?

Anyone? The correct answer is five. Surprising, huh? For some reason I had this idea in my head that there were more, but as it turns out, you only need five types of tracks to do pretty much anything in Pro Tools – Audio, MIDI, Instrument, Aux, and Master.

I think it’s a good idea to go over each track type, since there tends to be confusion among newer Pro Tools users as to how each track type is to be utilized
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