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Sound Equipment Workshop. SFU Fraser Library Spring 2009. Agenda. Equipment List About MiniDisc and MiniDisc Models MiniDisc Recording Activity Microphone Categories and Polar Patterns Microphone Models Recording Sound Transferring Audio from MD to PC/MAC Sound Effects Library

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Sound equipment workshop

Sound Equipment Workshop

SFU Fraser Library

Spring 2009


  • Equipment List

  • About MiniDisc and MiniDisc Models

  • MiniDisc Recording Activity

  • Microphone Categories and Polar Patterns

  • Microphone Models

  • Recording Sound

  • Transferring Audio from MD to PC/MAC

  • Sound Effects Library

  • Hands-on recording tryout

  • Questions and Pack-up

Audio recording and sound effects tools
Audio Recording and Sound Effects Tools

  • Available from the SFU Surrey Library:

    • ~20 minidisk recorders including Sony MZ R37SP, MZ N707, and MZ-NF810

    • ~35 microphones including uni- and omni-directional, shotgun, clip-on

    • Book equipment up to 2 weeks in advance

    • Sound effects CD collection (a catalog is searchable/viewable online) – 2 hour booking

Sony mz r37sp
Sony MZ R37SP

  • Released in 2000

  • Battery only version (no A/C)

  • Record in mono or stereo.

Sony mz n707
Sony MZ-N707

  • Released in 2002

  • Battery (AA) or A/C power capable

  • SP/LP2/LP4 capable

  • Record in Mono or Stereo.

Sony mz nf810
Sony MZ-NF810

  • Released in 2003

  • Battery (Sony) or A/C capable

  • SP/LP2/LP4 capable

  • Record in Mono or Stereo

Minidisc md recording
MiniDisc (MD) Recording

  • What is MiniDisc and how is it unique?

    • High quality recording/re-recording

    • Up to 5 hours of audio on each minidisc

    • 16bit 44.1Khz

    • Recording from various sources: Microphone, audio systems, PC/MAC

    • Converted to Sony’s native ATRAC (Adaptive Transform Acoustic Coding) format

    • Compressed audio: using MDLP (Mini Disc Long Play) into ATRAC3 format

      • SP: ~ 80 minutes (data rate of 292Kb/s)

      • LP2: ~160min, independent channel compression (132Kb/s)

      • LP4: ~320min, joint-stereo compression (66Kb/s)

Minidisc recording cont d
MiniDisc Recording (cont’d)

  • Tracks can be split, moved, combined, or deleted easily.

  • Tracks and discs can be named.

  • Playback has skip prevention built in.

Microphone categories
Microphone Categories

  • Stand microphone, for use either on a table or a floor stand. The microphone is usually wired to an amplifier or recording device.

  • Handheld microphone, which can be wired or wireless. Handheld mics are often omni-directional.

  • Lapel microphone (also called a lavalier), either wired or wireless. Boom microphone, usually attached to a long pole, held overhead.

Common microphones polar patterns
Common Microphones Polar Patterns

  • What are they good for?

    • Omni-directional:

      • provides maximum ambient pickup

      • Low sensitivity to pops and clicks.

      • Can be hand-held, or used in a stand.

      • Function: Good for broad, or moving sound sources, and a variety of musical applications such as voice and acoustic instruments.

    • Bi-directional:

      • patterns are pointed outward at angles of approximately +/- 45-60 degrees from the front of the microphone

      • Normally used on stands.

      • Function: Ideal for bi-directional sounds, 2-sided interviews.

Common microphones polar patterns1
Common Microphones Polar Patterns

  • Unidirectional – Cardioid, Supercardioid, Hypercardioid, Shotgun:

    • Directional microphones that have a heart-shaped pattern and is less sensitive to sound arriving from sources at angles 90 degrees or greater away from its front.

    • Provides max. pick-up of a source coming from a single direction

    • Good rejection of room acoustics and background noise.

    • Better gain-before-feedback than omni mics in sound reinforcement uses.

    • Cardioid microphones can be hand-held or attached to stands. The more directional microphones often need hand-held control, to keep them on target to the sound source.

    • Function: Excellent for capturing warm directional sound such as the voice of an interview subject or as an overhead mic. The shotgun has the most side rejection and longest reach. It is often used in the film industry to isolate sound sources at a distance.

Omni directional mic
Omni-directional Mic

  • Audio-Technica ATM10a

    • Frequency Response: 20 - 18,000 Hz

    • Sensitivity: phantom -44 dB, battery -45 dB

  • Ideal for group vocals, strings, cymbal overheads, acoustic guitar and piano

  • Omni pattern provides maximum ambient pickup

  • Extremely smooth, extended response on- and off-axis

  • Low sensitivity to popping and overload

  • Operates on battery or phantom power

X y stereo mic
X/Y Stereo Mic

  • Audio-Technica AT822

    • Frequency Response: 30 - 20,000 Hz

    • Sensitivity: -45 dB

  • Ideal for DAT recording as well as television, FM and field applications

  • Compact, lightweight design is perfect for camera-mount use

  • Closely-matched elements provide the spatial impact and realism of a live sound field

  • Battery operation only

Cardioid mic
Cardioid Mic

  • Audio-Technica ATM31a

    • Frequency Response 30 - 20,000 Hz

    • Sensitivity: phantom -44 dB, battery -45 dB

  • Ideal for close-up vocals, overheads, piano and strings

  • Sound is similar to far more expensive studio microphones

  • Low-mass diaphragm ensures minimum distortion

  • Cardioid pattern provides added warmth when used close up

  • Operates on battery or phantom power

Mini cardioid mic lavalier mic
Mini Cardioid Mic (Lavalier Mic)

  • Audio-Technica AT831b

    • Frequency Response: 40 - 20,000 Hz

    • Sensitivity: phantom -44 dB, battery -45 dB  

  • Clip-on lavalier mic also ideal for interviews, and also effective in acoustic guitar applications.

  • Provides crisp, full-sounding voice and instrument pickup.

  • Operates on battery or phantom power.

  • 6' (1.8 m) cable permanently attached between microphone and power module.

Unidirectional shot gun mic
Unidirectional (Shot-gun) Mic

  • Audio-Technica ATR55

    • Frequency Response: 70 - 18,000 Hz

    • Sensitivity: -56 dB

  • Designed especially for use with video cameras

  • Two range settings: "Normal" for close- to medium-distance recording; "Tele" for long-distance pickup

  • Permanently-attached 3' (0.9 m) cable terminated with a 3.5 mm mini-plug

  • NOTE: This is a mono microphone that needs to be connected to an MD recorder with a stereo adapter. Otherwise, the MD recorder must be switched to mono-mode.

Md recorder controls
MD Recorder Controls

  • There are no ON/OFF buttons.

  • The HOLD button, prevents changing settings by mistake.

  • The END SEARCH button prevents recording over existing material.

  • The MZ-NF810 and MZ-N707 have a 5-way controller with an ENTER button in the midddle for menu navigation.

  • The MZ-R37SP has arrow buttons on its face, with a separate ENTER button for menu navigation.

Md recorder display window nf 810
MD Recorder Display Window (NF-810)

  • Indicates time shown is REMAINING (- for track, with R for disc)

  • 2. Time display 3. Battery level 4. animated icon shows disc in use

  • 5. Syncro-recording indication 6. Recording indicator (flashes for pause)

7. LP2, LP4, MONO indicator 8. Level meter 9. text info display

10. Play mode indicator (shuffle, repeat, programmed, etc.)

11. Sound mode indication (virtual-surround or equalizer presets)

Making a quick md recording 1 inserting md media
Making a Quick MD Recording 1) Inserting MD Media

Insert a minidisc with the label side facing front, press the lid down to close.

Slide catch to open the lid.

Make sure that the record-protect tab is closed

2 plug in the microphone cable
2) Plug in the microphone cable

The mini plug to the red

jack on the recorder.

The female XLR connector

to the base of the microphone.

3 set the md recorder into record mode
3) Set the MD recorder into RECORD mode

Push and slide the red

REC button, and release.

4) Create your sound

Talk into the microphone

as you hold it a maximum

of 6 inches from your mouth.

5 stop the recording
5) Stop the recording

Press the stop button

when you are done.

6) Check your recording

Plug the headset cable into the black mini jack on the recorder

Navigate back to your track

by pressing the arrow keys.

Put on the headset, and listen to your track by pressing the PLAY button on the recorder

Recording tips
Recording Tips

  • For capturing most sound effects, it’s best to use a Cardioid or Uni-directional mic

  • Battery-powered or condenser type microphones are more sensitive than dynamic microphones.

  • Always use a set of headphones for monitoring recording, don’t automatically trust the metering display.

  • Listen for hiss/distortions/levels and adjust recording equipment settings as necessary and/or change your mic!

  • Record away from electronic equipment and fluorescent lighting

  • Use manual recording levels when needed.

  • MDLP mode recordings will only work on MDLP-capable devices, so stick to SP unless LP is absolutely necessary

    • LP mode also diminishes sampling quality, leaving you less sound to edit

Making the connection
Making the Connection

  • You must use a 1/8” (a.k.a. mini-jack or 3.5 mm) audio plug cable, included with recorder.

  • Connect one end to the 1/8” headset jack on the minidisc recorder.

Activity making the connection
ACTIVITY: Making the connection

If you are using a PC, insert one mini plug into the blue LINE INPUT jack on the back of the computer tower

If you are using an iMac (back) or eMac (side), insert one mini plug into the LINE INPUT jack.

  • Now, load your audio recording/playback software.

    • On campus, Adobe Audition or Audacity on PC, Audacity or Soundtrack on Mac

Sound effects library
Sound Effects Library

  • database of sound tracks on CDs

  • search by keyword or CD series

  • The SFU Library does not have every CD produced by this company but it has most