People and Songs No.1 / January-February/ 2008

Small tricks of sound recording

Recoding guitar and voice at first seem to be an easy task, but, nevertheless, it has its own specific features and details. Songs composed and performed by amateur singers and composers are quite different in their mood and it is very important to choose the right type of microphone and its settings to transmit that or another mood. An important part of these songs is text.

One should pay his/her attention to condenser microphone with membrane of large diameter to make transmittal of voice tone color more natural. These are parameters of Oktava MK-319 microphone.


It is used in professional studios, as well as at home, as its price is affordable even for a beginning performer, and its quality is similar to that of foreign analogues.

Optimum distance from performer to microphone is 25 cm (its better to place it at nose height pointing to the mouth). If you put it closer, youll have close zone effect, i.e. emphasizing of low frequencies. Such effect can be used to make voice sound warm.

MK-319 receives signal only from the front side (cardioid pattern). Therefore, it receives maximum useful signal and practically omits acoustics of the premise. A pop-filter (device from cloth stretched over rim required to avoid blowouts and other performers defects) is often used to record vocal.

For higher voices (female or childrens) Oktava MK-220 microphone will suit well. Despite of MK-319, this model is multi-diaphragm, i.e. it can change its polar pattern with the help of a switch at rear side of the microphone. Due to this specific feature this model can be used in various combinations with other microphones.

Apart from vocal recording, MK-220 is good for recording winds, as well as acoustic guitar. No bard song is performed without accompaniment? Having selected a proper microphone for voice, accompaniment should sound respectively. Of course, sound of guitar depends, first of all, from the performers manner, mood of the song and quality of instrument. Every instrument is as individual as voice of the performer and that is why a single solution is not possible. Based on long-term experience of sound directors it is obvious that it is better to record acoustic guitar via microphone, rather than via electrical adapter units. Looking for individual sounding of your guitar you can experiment with other types of microphones with a smaller diaphragm. Smaller diaphragm makes the sound bright and clear.


To reach these sound shades you will need Oktava MK-012 and Oktava MK-103 microphones, but do not expect for velvet bottoms from them.

Condenser Microphone MK-012

For deeper sounding of instruments the stereo pairs are used instead of a microphone, i.e. two identical microphones. One of the most widely used ways of microphone setting is directing it to the middle of sounding board, between connection point of the neck and body and resonating hole. Avoid directing microphone directly to the hole, as it will make tone color of the instrument resonant. Be ready to search for the sound you want to get from your guitar. The closer you set a microphone, the more performer noises are caught, e.g. touching strings with a pick or nails, friction of left hand while shifting stops. Some sound directors try to get rid of such interferences, but noise is not a distortion, vice versa it completes the full picture of performance and, of course, performers idea.

Make experiments, try and search for interesting solutions.

Creative success to you!

Vasiliy Sidorenko

Deputy Chief Sound Director of P. Slobodkin Moscow Theater and Music Center