Live Sound / Live Music
Course 7: Microphones

In most cases, the signal flow starts with the microphone, whether it’s placed in front of a singer, an instrument, or an amp. And just as there are several different connectors and cables to handle specific slows, microphones come in a variety of models and construction. In course 7 you’ll learn about the differences, the makeup of different microphones, and how their positioning can make or break a recording.

Microphones came into existence nearly 150 years ago and they’ve never stopped trying to improve the quality of sound transmission. Carbon mics were found in every radio station across the country a century ago and condenser mics, electromagnetic moving coils, and ribbon microphones followed. You’ll learn how these types of microphones have been improved over the past eight decades.

You’ll learn about microphone specifications, frequency response, polar patterns (omnidirectional, cardioid, bidirectional), signal-to-noise ratio, and more. Each component you add to the signal flow will add its own noise and you’ll learn how to reduce those noise levels starting with the mics.

Course 7 will also look at some of the most popular mics today, their configurations, and when to use certain mics in certain situations–a mic used in a studio setting will be different from what you’d use on stage during a live performance. At the end of this course, you will have two mixing assignments as well as a quiz, blog entry, and prep for the next course.