Full Title:Microphone Applications
Language of Instruction:English
Module Code:MUSC U7002
Credits: 7.5
Valid From:Semester 1 - 2009/10 ( September 2009 )
Module Delivered in 1 programme(s)
Module Description:This module aims to introduce the student firstly to the key technologies involved in the configuration of a basic record/playback system that starts at the microphone and finishes at the monitoring loudspeaker. All aspects of the electronic signal path are to be considered from both a practical and a theoretical perspective. And secondly to proper microphone selection and placement, exploring the impact of the recording space's acoustic characteristics. This will assist in progressing the student's ability to appreciate, through careful listening, the finer details of various microphone configurations and recording situations.
Learning Outcomes:
On successful completion of this module the learner should be able to
  1. Discuss the sonic, application and operational differences between dynamic, condenser and ribbon type microphones.
  2. Define and discuss the role of each element in a record/playback system.
  3. Apply the concepts of signal flow and the conventions of signal metering in the context of a operating a mixing console in record/playback mode.
  4. Implement a recording signal chain from microphone to recorder using best practice in the physical, electrical and engineering aspects of the arrangement to include optimum microphone pre-amp gain adjustment.
  5. Determine, the correct microphone selection and physical placement setups based on the sound source's spectral content, dynamic range, SPL, recording space acoustic characteristics and the presence of any other sound sources in the same recording space.
  6. Analyse the sonic differences between recordings of the same sound source using mono, multi-mono and stereo microphone placement techniques.

Module Content & Assessment

Indicative Content
Their basic function as part of the recording chain, the main types (moving coil, condenser and ribbon), how they work, typical cost, proper handling and set up procedures, sonic and operational differences and similarities.
Pre-amplifiers and basic mixers
Main function, feature sets, interfacing, setting up for optimum recording quality, different technology realisations, mixer/outboard microphone pre-amps. Mixer signal path architecture, feature sets, routing capabilities. metering: standard conventions, VU, PPM, realisations, Plasma, LCD, LED.
Recording systems
Analog, Digital, Multi-track, the main pros and cons of each type.
Monitoring systems
Headphones, near field, mid field, far field loudspeakers, SPL, active, passive.
Health and safety issues
Cable routing, rack placement, foot-fall clearance, computer screens and eye tension, posture, exposure to elevated sound pressure levels lifting heavy loads.
Signal Paths and basic fault finding
The record, monitor and communications paths, building a complete record/playback system. Isolating faults, cable interconnections, inputs and outputs, powering, diagrammatic plan of equipment interconnection.
Microphone placement
The impact of microphone placement relative to the sound source, SPL, proximity effect, off-axis response, microphone inherent noise levels and the acoustic space of the performance, impact of other sound sources. Polar response characteristics and the affect of sound source reflections, and movement.
The acoustics of the recording space
The proportion of direct to reflected sound as picked up by the microphone(s), recording the room sound, minimizing/maximising the influence of the room's acoustics on the recording.
Stereo/multi-mono recordings
A range of standard microphone configurations and polar pattern responses to enable stereo and multi-mono recordings.
Comparative evaluation pre and post recording
Familiarization with the sound source in the recording space, comparison with amplified sound from the microphone(s) prior to recording, comparison with the playback recorded sound.
Assessment Breakdown%
Course Work60.00%
End of Module Formal Examination40.00%

Full Time

Course Work
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Marks Out Of Pass Marks Assessment Date Duration
Practical/Skills Evaluation establish a specific recording signal path from source to recorder using best practice in microphone mounting, placement, cable interconnection and routing, gain setting and both headphone and loudspeaker monitoring. None 25.00 0 0 Week 6 0
Practical/Skills Evaluation Capture the recording of an acoustic instrument using mono, multi-mono and stereo microphone techniques using both dynamic and condenser type microphones. None 20.00 0 0 Week 12 0
Written Report A report in support of both practical recordings covering the main aspects of sound engineering and evaluation. 2 15.00 0 0 Week 14 0
No Project
No Practical
End of Module Formal Examination
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Marks Out Of Pass Marks Assessment Date Duration
Formal Exam End-of-Semester Final Examination 2 40.00 0 0 End-of-Semester 0

DKIT reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessment


Module Workload & Resources

Workload: Full Time
Workload Type Workload Description Hours Frequency Average Weekly Learner Workload
Lecture Main topic delivery. 1.00 Every Week 1.00
Practical Hands on experience operating and configuring the elements of the recording system. 3.00 Every Week 3.00
Directed Reading No Description 4.50 Every Week 4.50
Independent Study No Description 6.13 Every Week 6.13
Total Weekly Learner Workload 14.63
Total Weekly Contact Hours 4.00
This course has no Part Time workload.
Recommended Book Resources
  • D M Huber and R E Runstein 2009, Modern Recording Techniques, 7th Ed., Focal Press [ISBN: 9780240810690]
  • B Bartlett 2008, Practical Recording Techniques, 5th Ed., Focal Press [ISBN: 9780240811444]
  • G Ballou 2008, Handbook for Sound Engineers, 4th Ed., Focal Press [ISBN: 9780240809694]
  • J Hechtman 2008, Audio Wiring Guide, Elsevier Science & Technology Books [ISBN: 9780240520063]
  • J Eargle 2001, The Microphone Book, Focal Press [ISBN: 9780240804453]
  • T Lubin 2009, Getting Great Sounds: The Microphone Book, Hal Leonard [ISBN: HLMB003129]
  • B Owsinski 2009, The Recording Engineer’s Handbook, 2nd Ed., Delmar [ISBN: 9781598638677]
This module does not have any article/paper resources
Other Resources

Module Delivered in

Programme Code Programme Semester Delivery
DK_MMPAR_8 Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in the Production of Music and Audio 1 Mandatory