Audio Engineering 101: Microphones for Beginners | Scott Luu | Skillshare

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Audio Engineering 101: Microphones for Beginners

teacher avatar Scott Luu, Video Creator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Class Introduction


    • 2.

      Choosing the Right Microphone


    • 3.

      The Dynamic Microphone


    • 4.

      Dynamic Mic Technique


    • 5.

      The Large Diaphragm Condenser


    • 6.

      Boom Microphones


    • 7.

      Camera Mounted Mics


    • 8.

      Lavalier/Lapel Microphones


    • 9.

      Special Types of Microphones


    • 10.

      How to Approach Sound Treatment


    • 11.

      Choosing a Recording Device


    • 12.

      Using Your Recording Device


    • 13.

      Zoom F6 Rundown


    • 14.

      My Recording Set Up


    • 15.

      iPhone or iPad Recording: Use Any Microphone


    • 16.

      Conclusion & Summary


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About This Class

In this class, you'll learn about the different microphone types and the different situations each type is best in. You'll also learn about different audio recorders and sound treatment concepts that you can apply to enhance your recording experience. 

This class is for beginners who don't have any prior knowledge of microphones and the audio engineering world. It's also for those who are curious about the different types of microphones and recorders.

Note that this class will primarily serve as an overview of the equipment I mention and will not be an extensive tutorial on how to use any specific piece of equipment. 

Lessons will include topics on:

  • Dynamic Microphones
  • Large Diaphragm Condenser Mics
  • Small Diaphragm Condenser Mics
  • Shotgun Mics
  • Camera-Mounted Mics
  • Lavalier/Lapel Mics
  • Boundary Mics
  • Stereo Mics
  • Mic Technique for each type
  • Audio Recorders: Interfaces, Mixers, & Field Recorders
  • Recording Tips
  • Sound Treatment Concepts & Tips

By the end of the class, you will learn everything you need to optimize your audio recording experience.

Meet Your Teacher

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Scott Luu

Video Creator

Top Teacher

Hello, I'm Scott. I'm a video creator who loves teaching and creating random projects for fun. My favorite activities are playing the piano, creating videos, doing gymnastics, playing board games, and talking about movies/anime. Check out my courses to learn more about the various skills I've gained as I do more projects!

Since a lot of my courses are on Video Creation, here's a link to the list of my gear.

See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Class Introduction: When it comes to recording audio, there are three crucial questions you need to ask yourself. Number one, what type of microphone should I use for this specific job? Number two, how can I adjust the environment and microphone placement to produce the best sound? Finally, number three, what type of audio recorder is the best for my situation? In this course, we're going to cover each of these questions so that you can ensure that you're recording the cleanest audio possible. My name is Scott and I'm a video creator on YouTube. I've done voice-overs for over four years now, recorded vocalists for cover songs, and I've worked on recording audio for film projects before. I've also reviewed various types of microphones on YouTube. But I'm here now to consolidate everything I've learned over the past four years into about an hour. If you're new to the audio world and want the upgrade your audio game, this class is perfect for you. If you have limited knowledge about microphones and want to learn more about all the different types, this class is also for you. In this class, I'll be tackling the three crucial questions in order. First, by covering the different types of microphones that are out there, then I'll give you tips on how to properly apply sound treatment to your space, and finally, we'll go over what the different types of audio recorders are and the different situations they shine best in. For the class project, come up with answers for the three crucial questions for your specific situation. You'll want to do this towards the end of the class after you've learned about the best and different use cases for the different types of microphones and recorders. Be sure to download the class project worksheet to have all the choices organized for you so all you'll need to do is circle your choices at the end. As a final step for this class project, record a before and after with the microphone that you have right now and then after applying at the answers for the three crucial questions. With all that said, let's jump into the world of microphones. 2. Choosing the Right Microphone: What type of microphone should you use for your specific type of situation? The next few lessons will be dedicated to answering this question that might seem trickier than you first imagine. If you're a beginner you might think I'll just buy an extremely high-quality microphone and use it for everything. While you can indeed fit a good microphone into a lot of different situations, you might find that certain microphone's are just better suited to certain tasks. The types of microphones that I'll be covering are mainly used for dialogue. They have one purpose and that's to capture the voice. Let's start by listing out the microphone categories and at their best use cases. Firstly, we have dynamic microphones which are best suited for podcasts and voiceovers in situations where you don't have room treatment. Next, we have the large diaphragm condenser mic. Their specialty is mainly capturing high detailed voiceovers, vocals, and can be great for ASMR. We then have boom microphones, which are best suited to talking head videos or for recording dialogue from actors. After that, we'll talk about camera mounted microphones, which are the best for vlogging. Then we have lavalier microphones, otherwise called the lapel mics. These microphones are versatile and great when you need to be far away from a camera. Lastly, there will be a special category of microphones that don't really fall into any of the previously mentioned ones and may have more non dialogue applications. Now that we have an overview of all the different types of microphones, in the next lessons I'll go over one type at a time and talk about their best use cases and also how best to use that specific microphone with proper microphone technique. Also covered the microphone I personally use for each type and recommend specific mics at different price points. Also, don't forget to download the worksheets for this class to get an organized view of the class structure, reminders of each lessons biggest points and the recommendations for each type of microphone. Let's kick things off with the microphone type that's best for podcasts. 3. The Dynamic Microphone: Dynamic microphones, a podcaster's best friend. Before I talk about why I love this microphone so much, let's outline how this lesson is going to go. First, you'll learn about the unique qualities of dynamic mics, then I'll go over the best use cases in terms of functionality. After that, I'll give you my recommendations. Lastly, I'll show you how to use proper microphone technique for this type of mic. What is a dynamic microphone and what makes it different? Before we can answer that question, you have to know what a microphone is. To put it simply, every microphone converts sound waves into voltage, which is then sent to a preamp that boost the signal to what we hear. Dynamic microphones perform this energy conversion through electromagnetism while condenser microphones use variable capacitance. This basically means two things. Firstly, that dynamic mics do not need a phantom power or voltage to operate and that most condenser mics will require some voltage to operate. Pretty much every microphone after this lesson will fall under the category of condenser microphones. Secondly, it means that dynamic mics can take a lot of signal due to their low sensitivity and higher gain threshold. Basically, there are a lot less sensitive compared to condenser mics. This brings us to one of the best use cases for dynamic mics podcasts. Thanks to the lower sensitivity, dynamic mics are able to reject unwanted sounds better than most other microphones hence why I'm using one right now. It's perfect for podcasts with multiple people in the same room. I've tried using dedicated condenser mics to record for people for a podcast before and the mic bleed is just way too overpowering. What is microphone bleed? Let me explain by using a demonstration. Basically mic bleed or crosstalk is when a microphone is picking up sound from an unintended source. If I was recording a podcast and that microphone was dedicated to a guest, I would be an unintended source. Right now you should be hearing what that sounds like having both microphones picking up one source. To further elaborate, imagine four different microphones with four different people. As I speak, my voice is picked up by not only my dedicated mic, but by three others as well. This means for every speaker you'll have four different audio files of the same speech, one that we want and three with mic bleed that we don't want. The primary reason that this happens is because of something called phasing. Due to the different distances that my voice is being picked up at. It's very hard to synchronize them completely together and make them sound good. That was the explanation. Thank you microphone. The more sensitive the microphone, the more unwanted sounds it's going to pick up, and the harder it is for the person who's going to edit these audio files. But because of dynamic mic is a lot better at rejecting unwanted sounds, which includes other speakers, this issue will be a lot less severe and even nonexistent depending on the specific dynamic mic you have. This property also makes dynamic mics great for streaming. At this point, you might be wondering why not use a dynamic mic for everything then? That brings us to a weakness of dynamic mics. That same quality that makes it great comes with a trade-off. A dynamic mic will not pick up as much detail as a condenser mic. That's why most professional voice-overs and voice actors use condenser mics to record. The only times I would use a dynamic mic over a condenser mic specifically for voice-over is if I have an untreated space that I can't do anything about or for convenience. Otherwise, if you do have a treated space or you can treat your space, I would pick a condenser mic to record vocals and voice-overs. But there are exceptions to everything. People have used dynamic mics like this one to record vocals and voice-over with great results. It's simply a matter of knowing the specific microphone and also knowing the type of sound that you want for your project. This brings me to recommendations. Meet my favorite dynamic mic, the Shure SM7B. It's an industry standard and is by far the most popular microphone amongst podcasters. The sound from this microphone is warm, soothing, and clear. The only downside is that it costs a fair amount as of this moment, and requires an audio interface that can provide clean gain. The recommended amount is 60 decibels of gain and most cheaper audio interfaces can only reach 52-55 decibels. I'll get into that more when we hit question number 3. But for now, just know that almost all dynamic mics require an audio recording device like an audio interface to work. The Shure MV7 is an exception to this rule because it can also connect via USB. It's the only exception I've seen so far, probably because it's a more modern dynamic mic. I personally like the sound of the Shure MV7. It's like a budget version of the short SM7B. If you're looking for an even cheaper mic, you can check out the Shure SM58. I've used the SM57 before based on recommendations of various YouTubers. But I found that using mics made for instruments tend to not sound as good. I'm also not a huge fan of my own voice on the Heil PR40 and road protester, both of which plenty of other podcasters and even my friends have used with great results. Just keep in mind that these recommendations are based on my own personal experience and most likely my own voice on that microphone. Your results may vary quite a bit. Next, let's talk about mic technique. 4. Dynamic Mic Technique: Mic technique for dynamic mics. Firstly, please understand that mic technique varies from microphone to microphone even of the same type. For instance, most microphones have something called the proximity effect. Basically, the closer you get to the microphone, the more bass frequencies that the microphone is going to pick up from your voice. However, the Electro Voice RE20 has a unique attribute, where the proximity effect is minimized. So you can talk super closely into that dynamic mic without worrying about the bass frequencies becoming too present. Another example would be the Heil PR 40. You have to talk extremely close to this microphone because the noise rejection on it is pretty darn strong. But if you use the same type of technique for the Rode Procaster, you experience some pretty bad sounding proximity effect. These examples are to remind you that even as I'm about to give you some general rules about mic technique, the best rule to follow is to try out your specific microphone at different distances and see which one you prefer the most. What you like and don't like will probably change in the future as your ear is able to develop and pick up more nuances of sound. With that said, let's talk about mic techniques. For podcasts, the general rule of thumb is to be as close as to your mic as possible without triggering any nasty proximity effects. This usually means about a fist size away from the microphone. The reason being is that you want to minimize mic bleed as much as possible. The louder the intended sources, the easier it is to clean up mic bleed later in post. As long as it's pointed towards your mouth, you should get some good results. In terms of angle and direction, you can try to point the microphone away from unwanted sources, or just point them directly at the intended sources mouth. For dynamic mics, make sure that you're talking to the top of the microphone and not the side of the microphone. Take note that some dynamic mics need pop filters. Luckily, the Shure SM7B's foam screen acts as a pretty good pop filter already, so it's not needed. But the Shure MV7, Heil PR40, Shure SM57 and especially the Rode Procaster require a pop filter. You can try to bypass this issue by angling the microphone so that the air of the B's and P's don't hit the microphone. But unless you're working with practice guests, I find that it doesn't really produce the best sound that way, but it's an option. So that is the rundown on dynamic microphones. It's a hefty subject that is also highly dependent on the specific mic. But you should now have a greater insight to whether or not this is the type of mic for your situation. Let's move on to the best type of microphones for voice-over. 5. The Large Diaphragm Condenser: The large diaphragm condenser microphone. It's the mic you'll usually see in music production, voice acting booths, and vocal recordings. Large diaphragm condenser mics have this unique ability to not only pick up sound with extreme clarity and detail, but to also shape it in a way that makes it feel bigger, warmer, and grand. The large diaphragm comes from the physical attribute of the capsule being one inch in diameter or larger. It's responsible for this unique sound. However, as mentioned before, if you don't have a well-treated room, these microphones can end up capturing unwanted sounds that are even hard to detect with your ears. Planes, the AC, the refrigerator, a fan in the different rooms, someone cooking upstairs, someone opening a door in the house, this thing literally picks up everything. Because these microphones are so sensitive, they are also more susceptible to reverb. Reverb is essentially the microphone picking up reflections from the surfaces of your environment, have a wall next to you? That's going to cause reverb, got a window nearby? That's an even greater source of reverb. What about the ground you stand on if it's not carpet, well, that's probably going to make your audio sound pretty terrible, as you can tell by now, this microphone requires a lot of extra attention when it comes to the environment you're recording in. I cover how to treat your space in a later lesson. But for now, let's assume that you have a treated space. What are the best use cases for these microphones? As mentioned before, they are voiceovers, vocal recordings, meaning singing, voice acting. They're also great for ASMR and recording instruments. You technically can use them for podcasts if you're planning on just making it a remote podcasts where you're alone and talking to your guests online. But again, if you're going to be recording with other people, this microphone will be capturing a whole lot of bleed from other speakers. As for my recommendations, I'll start off with the microphone that I own, which is the audio technical AT 4040. This microphone is one of the best for its price range, but will require an audio interface that can provide a phantom power. I'll only recommend interfaces with phantom power when we get to that lesson. You don't have to worry about that. The audio technical AT line is generally a great place to start if you're getting into this type of microphone. Another very popular microphone is the Blue Yeti microphone. It's the microphone that I started out with and provides good sound as long as you have a decently treated room. I personally have also tried out the Blue Yeti Snowball and the Blue Yeti Snowball ICE. There are okay microphones if you're just starting out. However, if you can save up for the Blue Yeti or audio technical microphone's, those would be better in terms of higher-end microphone's, the Neumann TLM 102, 103, and U87, by the top of the line, large diaphragm condenser mics that the pros use in the recording studios. As for my technique, pretty much all large diaphragm condenser mics require a pop filter. This is to protect from plosives due to the high sensitivity. Meaning the B's and P's sounds. A good company that sells pop filters is RYCOTE. Simply place it in front of the microphone with enough distance to diffuse those B's and P's. From there a lot of people just sing straight into their microphone. However, if the pop filter is not stopping the B's and P's and the plosives; you could angle yourself or just turn the microphone and angle that instead. Also, make sure to talk at the front of the microphone where the capsules surface is pointing. I've seen people talk at the top of the mic like how you would for a dynamic mic. It hurts my soul to see that. Large diaphragm condensers, talk at the front. Dynamic mics, talk at the top. Be sure to remember that. In terms of distance from your mouth to the microphone, it really depends on what you're going for. If you want to warm up your voice and make it sound basi, then you can take advantage of the proximity effect by going as close as to the pop filter as possible. However, for me I prefer a more natural sounds, so I tend to talk about 6-8 inches away from the microphone, which is still pretty close to the pop filter. But the distance that you talk away from the microphone is really up to you depending on what you hear and what your tastes are. As an extra tip, don't forget to try to keep your volume as consistent as possible. That's the rundown for large diaphragm condenser mics. They're extremely versatile and great sounding mics, but they do require that extra attention for them to really shine. 6. Boom Microphones: [MUSIC] Boom microphones, we'll be talking about two types, shotgun mics, and small diaphragm condenser mics. Boom mics are the movie industries' bread and butter when it comes to dialogue. Why exactly? Primarily because of their unique quality of rejecting sounds where they are not pointing. This brings us to a new concept, polar patterns. Every microphone has a polar pattern and they're usually similar for the same type of microphones. For instance, most dynamic mics are usually the cardioid polar pattern, which looks like this. Basically, this image represents the angles at which the capsule of the microphone picks up the most sound. For a cardioid polar pattern, which is heart-shaped, the mic will pickup the most sound from zero degrees, which is the direction that the capsule is facing, and as you start to angle away from the capsule, less and less sound will be picked up. Most large diaphragm condenser mics will also have a cardioid pickup pattern. The Blue Yeti microphone can actually change its polar pattern from cardioid to a bidirectional pattern where it picks up the backend front, and it can also change to omnidirectional, where it picks up sound equally from every direction. Most lavalier microphones are omnidirectional. As for boom microphones, they usually have a super-cardioid or hyper-cardioid polar pattern, which rejects more sounds on the sides compared to the cardioid polar pattern. Most shotgun mics will also have interference tubes at the side, which creates the shock and polar pattern. What this means is that a boom mic can be a distance away out of the frame of the shot and still capture dialogue clearly achieving a good signal to noise ratio. In the end, that is usually the goal, to make sure the voice is clearly heard, which is the signal, and to minimize the amount of unwanted sound, which is the noise. If you're in a situation where you don't want any microphones to be seen, then a boom mic might be the mic for you. However, that's not the only good use case of these microphones, these mics can be good voice over my x2 since they're meant for picking up natural sound for dialogue. Until this point, I've been talking about boom mics generally, but now let's talk about the specific differences between the two types. Firstly, shotgun mics, most shotgun mics have a pickup pattern that's more directional than small diaphragm condensers. They're primarily used for outdoor booming and are built to be more robust. However, a lot of people have used shotgun microphone's indoors with great results. As long as you treat your space properly and have good mic technique, you'll produce good results. It's just harder to have good mic technique for faraway shotgun microphones, on the other hand, small diaphragm condenser mics are usually more forgiving when you're slightly off angle. These are used more so for indoor booming and are particularly great at picking up sounds in a very accurate and natural way. This is a distinctive difference to large diaphragm condenser mics, that add that warmness and lushness at the low frequencies. Small diaphragm condensers are also really great instrument microphones. But I'll primarily recommend the ones that are best suited to dialogue since that's our focus. If your objective is to achieve the most natural sound possible, then a small diaphragm condensers are what, you're looking for. In terms of recommendations, I personally owned the Sennheiser MKH 50, which is primarily for indoor booming. In terms of the shotgun mic or the outdoor boom, I would recommend the Rode NTG3, which is an industry-standard that has been used by many indie films. Here are some of the other ones in different price ranges, but generally, Rode, and Sennheiser boom mics will offer great sound. Let's move on to Mic technique. For indoor use, I primarily use a basic microphone stand. Be sure to buy the correct thread size or thread adapters, and then secure the microphone on a shock mount or normal mounts. Most microphones come with it. Next, it's best practice to points the head of the microphone downwards and towards the chest area. Assuming you have a treated floor, putting it downwards will allow the ground to absorb most of the sound and reverb will be reduced. While you're testing the mic, ask your talents to sit as back and comfortably as possible, and then point the mic towards their chest area. By doing this, you give room for the talent to shift slightly forward or downward as the recording process continues. Depending on the speaker, a lot of the sound can come from the chest voice area. When it comes to shooting outdoors, make sure you're using a shock mount instead of a normal mount. The shock mount will absorb any vibrations from the ground if you're using a stand and also absorb any shaking from you if you're operating a boom pole. You'll also need a blimp wind cover or dead cat to block out wind. It's pretty much necessary if you're going to shoot outdoors unless you get really lucky and there's just no wind at all. In general, indoors or outdoors, the best distance to place the microphone is as closest to the subject as possible while still being out of frame, that offer the greatest signal-to-noise ratio. That covers shotgun mics, and small diaphragm condensers. 7. Camera Mounted Mics: [MUSIC] Camera microphones, these microphones are mounted right on top of your camera and pretty much live there for the rest of their lives. Camera mounted microphones are unique in that they are extremely simple to use and its purpose is to replace your in-camera microphone, so that you don't have to sync audio to video in posts or deal with two audio files. They also have a unique quality of moving with the camera, pointing at whatever your camera is pointing out. You can think of them as boom microphones that point towards you instead of down, since they have the same polar patterns that are usually the super cardioid or shotgun pattern. Again, this basically means that the pickup of the microphone, will change according to the angle it's pointing out. From the side, you'll probably hear me as well and then from the back, you might hear me a little bit better and then again from the side, you probably won't hear me as well. The best use case for these microphones is pretty obvious, vlogs. Most camera mounted microphones have a shock mount that will absorb any vibrations while you walk and talk to the camera at the same time. It also works very well for talking head videos where your lens allows you to be pretty close to the camera. If you want, you can buy an extension cord for the TRS connector and treat it exactly like a boom microphone. That is what I did for a lot of my talking head videos while starting off. Before you buy an extension, though, you need to learn about wire types. This is the first microphone that I've mentioned that uses a TRS or TRRS connector to connect directly to the camera. Every microphone types so far primarily used XLR wires. The primary differences between these two wires is that XLR wires are balanced, while most TRS and TRRS wires are unbalanced. To put it simply, a balanced connection will stop self noise caused by the wire, while an unbalanced connection will introduce noise depending on the quality and length of the wire. To clarify, the Blue Yeti microphone and the microphone that connects using USB will be unbalanced. This is pretty important because if you're recording professionally, the basic rule is to have the cleanest signal and the most silent noise possible, that's why most professional audio gear will always have balanced wires, in most cases, XLR wires. That is something to keep in mind as you're deciding which microphone fits your situation the best. Moving on to my recommendations, the two camera mikes that I have the most experience with are the Rode VideoMic Pro and the Deity V3 Pro. As a more budget option, the Rode VideoMic also provides pretty good sound, although not as good as the previous two I mentioned. But most cameras microphones will sound worlds better than the camera microphone that comes with the camera itself. It's for my technique, the general rule of thumb is to face the camera and also try to have the microphone as close to you as possible. The farther you get, the worse it's going to sound, primarily because more reverb is introduced. You might also want to buy a windscreen if you're going to take it outside because the foam usually doesn't do quite enough on a windy day. For the Deity V3 Pro and Rode VideoMic Pro, if you want to absolutely optimize the audio quality of these microphones, you can adjust the settings of your camera's audio level to be the lowest it can be. In my case, that's one, and then increase the gain of your camera microphone to the highest level. The reason that this increases the quality of your audio is because the camera's preamplifier is worse than the microphone preamplifier. The preamp is essentially what turns the super quiet electrical signal into what you hear. If you have a low-quality preamp, what's going to happen is more noise is introduced as you increase the audio signal. I will say that I don't always follow this optimization technique just because I've had audio clip on me before, which means that basically goes above zero decibels and sounds very distorted. It really depends on how controlled your environment is and your specific situation. There's the rundown on camera mounted microphones, just one more type of microphone to go. 8. Lavalier/Lapel Microphones: Lavalier microphones, also called lapel mics. They are the backup microphones to other microphones, but not always, the unique quality of lav mics is that there are truly set it and forget it type of microphone. I've actually had two occurrences where someone almost left the set with their microphone still attached to them. Luckily, once they touch their pockets, they realized that there's a lav unit in there. Lav mics are extremely versatile, they can be invisible if you want them to be, or just hang off people's shirts in a low-key manner. They're also quick and easy to set up. But the greatest unique quality that lav mics have is that you can basically have consistent and clean audio in an outer frame, anywhere in frame, and it'll still be the same type of audio, which is pretty cool. There's pretty much no other microphone that does this or has all these qualities in combination. Unfortunately, because of their size, they often don't produce the absolute best sound compared to the rest of the microphones mentioned before, and that is why they're usually the backup of microphones. However, getting into use cases now, they are good enough audio when it comes to vlogs and videos for YouTube, they're great for the tutorial type of videos where you're demonstrating things from a distance, and because of their size, they're very easy to travel with and can be far more low-key than other microphones. Another great use case for them are group action settings. Videos where you'll have multiple people interacting with each other in a non-static way. Those situations can benefit from using lav. That way you don't have to dedicate people to following around subjects with boom poles. They're also useful for talking head videos when you want the mic to be invisible. However, boom mics are generally better for that and that's why these are the backups for boom mics in those situations. However, if the boom mic ever fails, the lav mic is there to save the day. Despite all I'm saying here, I do want to make it clear that with the right editing skills and a good enough lav unit and lav mic, you can achieve a similar or better sound than a good boom mic. However, I do think that a good boom mic will always produce better sound than a good lav mic before any post-production happens. That said, here are some recommendations. Let's start off with the sennheiser M82. It's an omnidirectional lav mic that a lot of YouTubers use. I think it works great with deeper and base your voices. I also really like the part of Weiss lav mic that are pretty cheap. As for the super high-end, I own the Shure TwinPlex TL 47. But I'm going to be honest with you guys, the price difference is not worth the quality difference. I'd stick to buying the power to Weiss or sennheiser lav mic and saving that money to buy a really good lav unit, and in my opinion, one of the best level we're recording units is the Tentacle Sync E. It comes with a lav mic that's pretty good overall, but the best part is that the device can record in 32-bit float, which means your audio cannot clip at all. Let me explain. Most recorders are limited to recording in 24 or 16 bits. The number indicates what the bit depth of the file is, which is essentially another way of saying how much information can be stored in the file. The higher the number, the greater the amount of information can be stored in the file. But that also means that the file size will increase as well. Normally, if audio were to go above zero decibels while it's being recorded, that audio will become distorted and the information is gone. 24-bit or below, just can't store clipped information. But recording in 32-bit float expands what can be kept as information. So there's just no such thing as clipping. I can adjust the game as much as I want to, and I can see the levels right now, it's hitting between negative 12 and 6. Now I'm going to increase the recording gain, and you're going to hear what clipping sounds like. I'm sorry for what you're about to hear, but generally, this is not a very good sound, obviously. That's what clipping is. Now I'm going to change it back to 32-bit float. Now when we record, it really doesn't matter if we clip, the audio is going to be okay. You're not going to get any sort of warning. It doesn't really matter. It can be at the lowest setting as well, and 32-bit float will make it recoverable. That is the power of 32-bit float devices. They're pretty rare and pricey, but they're great to have. For the Tentacles Sync E, you can use their app to set up the 32-bit float option as I demonstrate it. It's seriously awesome. Also note that the Tentacle Sync E has a maximum voltage of 5 volts, while all the other lav units that I'm recommending only have 2.5 volts. This is not really a big deal unless you're using something like the Shure Twinplex or the higher-end lav mics, which require or are optimized with five volts. Most other lav mics that I mentioned only required 2.5 volts. Just make sure you check your recommended levels when buying your lav mic. My next recorder recommendation is the Zoom F2. This device is also 32-bit float and comes with an app. But the app is a lot clunkier and the lav mic that comes with it isn't as good as the rest I've mentioned. Finally, if the above options were too expensive, you can check out the Tascam DR-10L. It's not 32-bit float but has a great setting where you can record a backup file that's six or 12 decibels lower just in case you end up clipping. I also want to note that these lav recorders, as I'm calling them, are basically just audio recorders that can record anything that has a TRS connector and that includes camera mounts and microphones. Basically, that means these types of microphones also have access to 32-bit float. All right, moving on to mic technique. Most lav mics come with a clip, and the general rule still stays the same. Basically, you want to clip it to a place where it's closest to your subject's mouth as possible. How you place your mic is also highly dependent on whether or not you want it to be visible. If you're trying to hide the mic, try to place it around at their upper chest area, under a shirt, jacket, in between buttons, or anything that's close to their mouth that won't be seen. Sometimes when you hide it, you might notice a scratchy sound when your subject moves. You can avoid this by using safe adhesives to hold and prevent the mic from rubbing against clothing. If you don't care if your lav mic is shown, then you can hang it at the collar of your shirt or whatever is the outermost layer of clothing. All right. That's the rundown for lav mics. Next, we'll be talking about some special types of microphones that don't really fall into the categories we've mentioned so far. 9. Special Types of Microphones: Now that we've talked about all the main mics that are used for dialogue, let's talk about some microphones that are used for more special cases. At first, is the boundary mic. Boundary mics are condensers that are used to record multiple people sitting in the same space. Its foreign factor is flat so that it blends into the tables or surfaces and they normally have the cardioid or omnidirectional polar pattern. If you happen to have a lot of people surrounding, around table, like a conference meeting or a board game session, this microphone might suit your needs pretty well. The main benefit from this is that you can use one microphone to record multiple subjects but the downside is that this microphone by itself tends not to sound as good compared to dedicated microphones. Next, we have the stereo microphone. So far every mic we've covered are mono or dual mono recording microphones. What this means is that when you playback a mono file, the audio sounds like it's coming directly from the sensor. That's usually what we want for dialogue in regards to voice-over podcasts and interviews and so on. Then what dual-mono does is that it takes a mono file and duplicates it, outputting the same signal to the left and right of the speakers. But what if you want the sound to represent the location in which your subject is occupying? That's when you would go stereo. This is a more immersive way of capturing sound that can really bring to life outdoor settings, recording of live bands, and shots where you're really trying to capture the soundscape. The reason I place this in the special microphone category is that most dialog audio is going to be recorded in mono. Stereo mics are more so for capturing the soundscape of the environment. Next, we have interview microphones. These are essentially dynamic mics that are designed specifically to be handheld. I personally don't own this type of microphone, but I wanted to mention it just in case it fits your situation, the electro voice R U5 and the sanitizer MD 46 are safe recommendations. Lastly, we have mobile microphones. These are microphones that are essentially designed to attach straight to your phone, whether it's Apple or Android. I've tried using lavalier microphones with my old iPhone before, but I found that the convenience did not outweigh the fact that it was lower quality. Most phones have a pretty bad preamp. Quality control can be a nightmare if you're planning on using multiple. Of course, there are some good ones I've heard of like the Shure Motiv and the Rode Video Mic ME-L. But before you go and buy one, know that there are ways to make USB mics like the Blue Yeti mic, connect to your phone as well. You just need the right adapter depending on what phone you have. That was the rundown on extra types of microphones that may fit your situation better than the more conventional ones. 10. How to Approach Sound Treatment: [MUSIC] Sound treatment. We've now reached the second crucial question. How should you adjust your environment to get the best out of your microphone? No matter what kind of microphone you're using, a treated space will always make it sound better. The question is, how do you get started? Well, first, it's best that you understand how and why an untreated space makes your audio sound worse. Take this room that I'm in as an example. Firstly, the walls, ground, and ceiling are all made of hard material which strongly reflect sound waves. Secondly, there's nothing around me that can stop the sound I generate from creating standing waves. Standing waves are created when you have parallel surfaces facing each other. This allows sound waves to continuously bounce from one surface to the other and then back and forth until the energy dissipates. Lastly, the room that I'm in is actually an open space that's rather large. Larger rooms basically mean longer wait times before the sound reflects off the furthest surface and then comes back to the microphone, hence all the reverb. So the goal of sound treatment is to essentially control and manage the energy of sound and reverb. But don't be mistaken. The mission of sound treatment is not to eliminate reverb completely. That would be a very difficult and expensive task. A small amount of reverb is necessary for natural sound because we experience real life with sounds that practically always have reverb. The priority is to understand how it works and learn how to adjust it according to your tastes. So how can you manage reverb? Firstly, you need to understand what kind of surfaces are most susceptible to strong reflections. The general rule is hard surfaces such as metal, glass, and wood will reflect sound strongly, and soft surfaces such as clothing, carpet, and towels absorb sound. Secondly, you want to eliminate the possibility of standing waves occurring by creating angled and uneven surfaces. That's why having a good amount of furniture or stuff in your space can actually help with reverb. That's also why you see these foam squares with these ridges here. They create uneven surfaces on the wall to stop the standing waves. Finally, the size of the room also matters. If you have a larger room, you have more surfaces in that room that can reflect sound. It'll also takes longer for the sound to bounce off the furthest surface and then back to the microphone. If the space is large enough, you can essentially create an echo. The difference between echoes and reverb is that echoes have a distinct separation and are heard as two instances of the same sound. Reverb is more of a continuous sound. So unless you have a whole lot of money to spend on treating a very big room, it'll be a lot easier to work with a smaller one. Keep these three things in mind when you're inspecting places to record in. There's also a pretty cool online tool that tells you how many square feet of surfaces you should treat based on your room size. An easy way to apply this treatment is to use foam covers. You'll want to get a variety of sizes for it to work well, however, there's a great solution that I personally prefer that can help simplify a lot of the issues, and that's to use sound blankets or just regular blankets. There are different ways of setting them up depending on your recording situation. But for me, when I'm doing voice overs, I surround myself with these blankets. This essentially provides the same amount of damping as treating a room depending on how thick your blankets are and of course, the thicker the better. In other cases where you're recording a talking head video, or a scene for a short film, you can place the blankets as close as possible before it reaches in frame. That should help dampen the sound by a lot as well. Some other extra tools that you might find helpful are reflection filters. They won't save your audio if you're in a bad room, but they can help dampen the reflections coming from the back of the microphone. If you really want to get the best possible treatment without putting anything on your walls, then a portable vocal booth might be the best fit for you, although the best kinds are extremely expensive. The cheapest ones are essentially just preconstructed sound blankets, while the pricier ones are literal booths. Blankets are my personal favorite way of treating a space for recording. That is pretty much the rundown on how to get started with treating your space. All the equipment I use will be listed in the class worksheets, so don't forget to check that out. Also, don't forget that it takes both good sound treatment and good mic technique to achieve the optimal sound. 11. Choosing a Recording Device: [MUSIC] Before we get started if you already decided that your microphone of choice is a Lavalier mic or camera mountain mic, then these devices right now that I'm about to mention are not going to be necessary for you. The devices I'll be covering are primarily for microphones that use an XLR connection. We've reached the final piece of the puzzle. The third crucial question, what type of audio recording device should I use for my situation? There's a lot of different types of audio recording devices out there, but the relevant ones we'll look at are field recorders, mixers, and audio interfaces. Let's start with the differences between these. First up, audio interfaces. These devices serve as an intermediary between your computer and microphone. Audio interfaces contain a preamp, which, as mentioned before, is used to turn the silent electrical signal into what you hear on your computer or monitor speakers. A bad preamp can cause a lot of noise in the final output so just be wary of very cheap audio interfaces. This matter is quite a lot more when you have a gain hungry microphone, like the Shure SM7B. But I'll mention my recommendations later. Moving along, a mixer is essentially the same thing as an audio interface but with a lot more onboard controls that can help you adjust and answer the audio in real time. They're usually used for broadcasting live. Most of the time there's a dedicated person handling it while the recording is happening. I personally find audio interfaces more appealing just because of the smaller form factor, and you can technically do what a mixture does using a mixing software or a digital control panel. The downsides of this is that it can be a burden on your computer. If you're streaming at the same time and you don't have a strong computer, a mixer may potentially be a better option for you. Next, we have my personal favorite, field recorders. These are very similar to audio interfaces and can even act as audio interfaces, but they have the option to record on their own without the need of a computer. This allows for greater flexibility in where you want to record, and it's the device that most boom operators carry while they record, thanks to the small form factor. Which one should you buy? It's basically up to you what suits your needs the most and what budget you have. For live podcasts and streams, a mixer might be the right choice. But you can make an audio interface and field recorder work quite well. If you're mostly using audio for shoots where you're operating a boom microphone, you most likely want to go for a field recorder. If you're mainly recording voice-overs, you pretty much only need a regular audio interface. With that said, let's take a look at how to operate these devices in the next lesson. That may also help inform you which one is right for you. 12. Using Your Recording Device: The regardless of what type of recording device you're using, the principles and steps to recording good audio and optimizing the settings are mostly the same. Let me first mention the outlier , 32-bit float recorders. As I mentioned before in the level ear microphone lesson, there are recording devices that will capture audio without ever clipping. I personally own one of these devices and it's called the Zoom F6. It's an amazing device that allows you to have peace of mind while capturing audio from multiple sources from people that may vary their speech volume by a ton during a conversation. It means all the bursts of laughters and over-excited speech won't ever clip again. Unfortunately, the 32-bit flow only works as an end device recording. Basically, if you're using the Zoom F6 as an audio interface connected to your computer, it can't record in 32-bit float. You can still of course record in 24 and then record 32-bit float on the Zoom F6 at the same time as a backup. That's still pretty awesome. Another great thing about the Zoom F6 is that it has enough gain to work with the short SM7B without the need of anything like a cloud lifter or extra pre-amp. I'll include a slot in my worksheets that indicates whether or not the auto interface I recommend has enough gain for the short SM7B. I just wanted to highlight this outlier before beginning because it might be the device that you're looking for. When operating any type of recorder, the first thing I do is to check what kind of microphone you're using. If you're using a condenser mic, then you'll want to make sure that you're recording device supports 48 votes offensive power, most condenser mics require phantom power to work. If you're using a dynamic mic, then make sure to turn off the phantom power for it to work properly. Most audio interfaces and field recorders have phantom power available to you quite readily. Once you have your audio interface or device with you, plug in the XLR wires to the microphone and to any of the channels in your device. If it requires phantom power, turn it on on that channel. Next, you want to increase the gain or trim of that particular channel. Depending on what type of microphone you're using, the amount of gain or trim you need will vary. The best way to know that you're recording at a good level is it perform a mic check. For field recorders, you should be able to see the levels on a screen. You want the highest point or the peak of the audio to hit no higher than negative 12 decibels. However, if you're streaming, you might want to go for negative six decibels instead. Otherwise, negative 12 decibels is a safe upper limit. If you're using an audio interface, you'll need to open a digital audio workstation like Adobe Audition or Audacity and make sure that the input is set to your audio interface in the settings. Once you connect it, you should be able to record and look at the levels on a meter and adjust the gain so that the peaks are in-between negative 18 and negative 12 decibels. Also, be sure to move any devices with radio waves like your phone away from the audio interface. If placed too closely, it will cause RF interference and you'll get some BP noises. You can also buy higher-quality XLR cables in order to minimize RF interference. However, as long as you're careful with your devices, normal cables should be fine. From there, you're pretty much ready to record voice-overs or solo recordings. However, if you're recording multiple people with dedicated mics, then you'll want to connect each microphone to an input in the audio interface and make sure to turn on or off phantom power in each of those channels, depending on the microphone. Then you'll want to make sure to adjust the gain for each person's Mike as well. I find that doing a mic check for each individual person while everyone else is quiet is the best method. In Adobe Audition, you can record multiple people by arming each track and then changing the inputs to match the individual mics and then just hit record. Otherwise, if you're using a field recorder or you can just simply hit the record button right away. That's pretty much all there is to it. In terms of recommendations for audio interfaces, I personally own the scarlet focus for a good while and it's produced good results. It's not quite enough gain to use cleanly with the shore SM7B, but for most other microphones, it works fine. If you're looking for the gold standard for Apple devices, then the Apollo Twin x is a great audio interface. For field recorders, the Zoom H6 has served me very well in the past and can definitely do the same for you. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite have enough gain for the shore SM7B, however, I have used it with the shore SM7B. As long as you know how to apply noise reduction, honestly, you'll still get good results with the shore SM7B. In the Zoom F6 is the newest one I use with the 32-bit float, and it's a pretty big upgrade compared to the Zoom H6. As for mixers, I've heard good things about the Zoom live track. Honestly, if I already just go back and just choose one of these interfaces, I would go with the Zoom F6. Mainly because of the 32-bit flow. I've heard recordings go south when I started out because the mic check passed before we started recording and during the recording, a talent shifted a lot closer to the microphone and their audio file ended up being mostly clipped. Clipped audio can be pretty hard to salvage depending on how bad it is. That wouldn't have happened if I had this 32-bit float recorder. Of course, in the end, it's up to you to decide what fits your needs and what your budget is. 13. Zoom F6 Rundown: I've talked a lot about to the Zoom F6 and I recommended it as the recording device that I would get if I only had to pick one. With the same thing like that I feel like I have to give you guys a quick rundown on this device. If you don't plan on getting or have the Zoom F6, you might still find this lesson useful in improving your intuition with navigating other field recorders, since many of them have similar settings that you can change. Let's start off talking about power sources. The Zoom F6 can run off of three different sources, and they are AC power using the USB-C port, the backside L battery, and the bottom slot that contains a four double A batteries. The order that I just listed them in is the priority order in which the device uses power. If you have power connected to the USB-C port, through an outlet or a computer you can see that at the top right-hand corner, the battery indicates that this is the power source. If you were to unplug the USB cord and you have an L battery connected to the back, you can see that the power source, which is to that battery, spelling out EXT, that stands for external battery. Finally, if you remove that, it'll switch to the four double A batteries. Most field recorders also operate under similar principles with the USB power and batteries. I mentioned power sources first because it's pretty important to make sure that you don't accidentally run out of power made recording. It's happened to me twice before and it's not a good experience. Now I'm extremely prepared with all three types of power sources ready to go. Let's move on to how to operate the device. After you turn on the Zoom F6, you can follow this standard steps of plugging in your microphone into whichever input you want, and then arming that particular track by turning the fader knob, it will light up red to let you know that it's been armed and ready to record. You also only see levels being displayed on that track if that track is armed, since we're recording in 32-bit float at the moment, you don't actually need to worry about setting gain or trim. However, for the fader knob, you can increase it until you reach peaks around 12. From there, you can record by pressing the button with the red dot and stop the recording by using the square button on the left. Now let's talk about how you can change the settings to make sure that you're recording in 32-bit float. Click on the button with three lines on the top-left, that'll bring you to the menu. From there, use the arrow buttons to navigate to REC and click the check mark button. From there, you'll see mode, which I currently have set to 32-bit float. Click into that and you'll find different bit rates at which you can record in. As mentioned before, the normal bit rate for most recorders is 24-bit. The cool thing about this device is that you can actually record in 32-bit float as well as 24-bit at the same time. Why would you want to do this? Well, it's the only way that you can record a 32-bit float into your Zoom F6 device while also using it as an audio interface for your computer and recording in something like Adobe Audition. Let me clarify by showing you, I'll choose dual mode, 24 and 32-bit float recording. I click on float and then navigate to system and then USB. From there, I choose AIF with record, which means audio interface with recording. When you set this to on, you'll notice that a fair amount of options become grayed out. This mode can sometimes be a little limiting, but the great thing about it is that you can now connect your Zoom F6 to the computer and you'll see the F-Series as a hardware option. Be sure to change the mapping to the correct track number as well if you're recording a mono track like I'm. For me, it's track number 4. From here I can record onto the Zoom F6 by pressing the Record button and then pressing record on addition. Normally for the Zoom F6, all I did was use it as an interface. But it gives me a lot of peace of mind to know that the F6 is recording a 32-bit float version of my audio in case something goes wrong in Adobe Audition on my computer. Let's actually turn off AIF with record and go to audio interface. From here you can either select stereo mix, which mixes all the channels into one stereo file, or a multi-track, which you'd want to use for recording each individual input as a separate audio file. I usually choose stereo mix if I'm just recording by myself or just recording one person. Then I use multi-track when I record a podcast session with my friends. You can tell that it's different now because it has a different name of H and F series. This method is the way that most other field recorders enter audio interface mode. But just note that this audio interface mode can only record 24-bit into your computer. In other words, you can only record in 32-bit float into the SD card of the Zoom F6 and not your computer. Hopefully that was all clear. But while we're in the 24-bit mode or the dual mode, you need to set trim levels, which is another word for gain. To do this, press the check mark button to navigate between tracks. Let's navigate down to source with the arrow buttons and select it with the check mark button. The top option means it's a mic input and that it has no fans and power. If you're using a dynamic mic, this is the option you would choose. The mic with the PH in parentheses means phantom power. You will select this if your microphone requires phantom power, you can go back by pressing the three lines button, and then you can adjust the trim. As mentioned before, the Shure SM7B requires about 60 decibels of gain or trim. The Zoom F6 device can reach this. However right now I'm using the Shure MV7. I'm going to adjust for that microphone and try to get the peaks around negative 12-18 decibels. You can also set up a high-pass filter and limiter if you want to. But I generally do those steps in the editing phase. Let's go back to the monitor view. The fader knobs in this case only affect the final stereo output. Because I left it at above zero decibels, you can see that the levels of the stereo output are higher than the single mono channel on Track 4. But if I return it to zero decibels, it'll match Track 4 's input level. Each tracks input is determined by its trim or gain in these modes and not the fader knob. Make sure you understand that distinction between these modes and the 32-bit float mode. Basically, the 32-bit float mode doesn't require you to set the trim or gain at all. This mode does. That is pretty much all you need to know to get started with recording using the Zoom F6. Let's exit audio interface mode now and talk about one final important step. Assuming that you're recording into the device and not just using it as an audio interface, you will need to format your SD card eventually. After importing your audio files and making sure they're all good, you can format the card after inserting it back into the Zoom F6 and then hitting the button with the three lines, navigating to system, SD card, format and then execute. Just know that because you're deleting the audio files in the SD card on your computer, the storage that the audio files took up is still being occupied. To free it up, you have to format your card. It's important to do this so that your card doesn't fill up midway through a recording session. There's a lot more to the Zoom F6, but this lesson should help you get started using it for the purposes of recording dialog audio and give you a more intuitive feel on how to navigate a recording device in general. 14. My Recording Set Up: Now that you understand the different types of microphones and audio recorders, I'll cover my personal setup for a large majority of my recordings, which is right here at this desk. Let's start with everything essential to recording first, and then I'll cover pretty much everything else that I find helpful. First off, the microphone. I use the Shure SM7B as my primary microphone these days. As I mentioned before, it's a solid and very popular dynamic mic, and I've chosen specifically a dynamic mic because of a couple of reasons. Firstly, I live with other people and a dynamic mic makes it a lot easier to reject unwanted sounds that they're making in the house. Secondly, the space that I'm in is actually a living room. There's a lot of hard surfaces around me and it's pretty spacious, so it's not the best place to be recording a sensitive microphone like a large diaphragm condenser. That's another reason I've chosen a dynamic mic. Lastly, I simply just like my voice with the Shure SM7B, and I think that the Shure SM7B looks pretty good. You can see that the microphone is mounted to a boom arm, which is called the Rode PSA1. This arm is sturdy, flexible and much better than the cheaper ones on Amazon in my opinion. There's basically two units that come with it, the desk mountain base, and then the arm itself. The base will require a flat surface at the top and the bottom of the desk, from there, you need to tighten the bottom plate by spinning it until it's secure. Then you just slot in the arm and mount your microphone at the very end of the arm. The XLR wire travels nicely on top of the boom arm and the Velcro straps that come with it help keep them in place, keeping things neat. That is the Rode PSA1 with the Shure SM7B. Next is the audio interface. The one that I use is the Apollo Twin X DUO. This audio interface is known to have really clean preamps and enough gain for the Shure SM7B without needing something like a cloudlifter. After downloading all the software for the Apollo device, to use it, just plug-in the XLR cable into the first microphone input. Connect the correct wire to the computer, which in my case, that's a thunderbolt three cable. Unfortunately, a regular USB-C cable doesn't work. Finally, change the gain of your microphone. As an extra step, if you're talking to others in Zoom or doing screen recordings, it's very important that you open up the console and mute your input channel. In my case, that's analog 1. If you don't do this, you'll basically be sending two instances of your input signal to the people you're talking to on the Zoom meeting or QuickTime, if your screen recording and your audio will basically sound like it's been hit with a big dose of phasing, and it sounds very similar to mic lead, which really doesn't sound good. It was a headache to figure this out when I first got the Apollo Twin, so be sure to keep it in mind if you're planning on using this device. I do want to mention that I previously used the Zoom F6 as an audio interface for awhile, and before that, it was the Zoom H6. Both of these devices served my purposes well at the time. If your purpose is just to record audio, then I highly recommend them. However, my needs have gone beyond just recording audio and have been heading towards the music world, and that's why I wanted an interface that can both handle the Shure SM7B, while also being able to output two monitor speakers. The Zoom H6 and F6 don't actually have a left-right monitor output, although you can technically connect a left-right monitor output by getting a splitter and some adapters, but I personally like a cleaner system that's designed to do what I want, that's why I went with the Apollo Twin. Let's go ahead and move on to other equipment on my desk that supplements the audio recording and editing process. Starting with what I just mentioned, monitor speakers, I personally have a pair of Yamaha HS8s, one black and one white, that's just for personal aesthetic purposes, and I chose these specific monitors because my friend who is a producer recommended them and they have a very neutral output. To explain, normally, cheaper monitor speakers and cheaper headphones tend to color the audio of whatever you're playing. This means that if you're listening on those cheaper devices, you won't get an authentic representation of how the audio actually sounds. But with the Yamaha HS8s, that's not an issue, and that's why I chose them. In terms of the setup, I have some RA foam pads that are underneath the speakers to absorb the vibrations. Without them, the speakers would be causing my desk to vibrate. Then underneath the foam pads, I have the Gator framework desk mounts. I decided on these desk mounts because it was the easiest way to set up these speakers with a standing desk that changes height. Fortunately everything combined places the studio monitors at a good height for me. Next, I'll talk about the standing desk that I use, which is from Uplift. I chose to buy the smallest size, which is 42 inches horizontally and then 30 inches in depth. However, I think it would have been more helpful to have gotten a slightly bigger desk at 48 inches by 30 inches. Since ideally, your studio monitors form an equilateral triangle with your head, that's about three feet each side. However, it's not exactly a hard set rule and will be highly dependent on the space that you're in, so at the moment, 2.5 feet works okay for me. Still, I didn't exactly by this desk with the studio monitors in mind, so the extra space is definitely something that I could have used. With the setup, I have a system where I can use the studio monitors whenever I'm using logic or whenever I'm producing music. It helps with listening to all the low and high frequencies very clearly, so the studio monitors can also be used for editing dialogue audio. However, you can also achieve something similar with a good pair of headphones. I personally owned the Audio-Technica ATH-M50Xs. They come in handy one, I can't listen on my speakers for whatever reason, but I personally prefer monitor speakers over headphones. Finally, the computer I use is a 16-inch MacBook Pro from 2019. It's the base model and has worked well enough for me for these past years. I also have a computer stand that's wide enough to fit the Apollo Twin underneath it to save space on my desk. I also have a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to make this whole recording experience more streamlined. It's also a lot better for your posture and your neck to look at a screen that's straight ahead. Pretty much when I want to record something, all I do is turn on my Apollo Twin, which is already connected to my laptop, and then I adjust the Shure SM7B, and then open Adobe Audition. From there, you can basically just follow the steps I outlined in my Adobe Audition class on Skillshare. Be sure to check out that class if you want to learn how to record an enhanced dialog audio using Adobe Audition. Also as a bonus, I can also record at my desk while standing like this, which is pretty awesome. That's all the equipment on my desk, essential and supplementary. I hope this can give you some ideas of the possibilities of how you'd like to set up your space. 15. iPhone or iPad Recording: Use Any Microphone: Let's cover the question, how do I record high-quality audio directly into my iPhone or iPad? There's a couple ways that you can do this. First off, if you have a USB microphone like the Blue Yeti or Shure MV7, you can buy an Apple USB to lightning adapter, to connect it to your iPhone or older generation iPad. However, I want to cover how you can use any professional XLR microphone to record high-quality audio into your iPhone or iPad directly. For this, we'll still need the adapter, but we'll also need a compatible audio interface. I'm specifically going to show you guys how to use the Zoom H6 and the Zoom F6 to do this. They'll have slightly different setups. Also, note that all the equipment that I mentioned in this lesson will be in the class worksheet. Before we begin, why would you want to do this? Well, for me, I've been getting into recording my piano playing and uploading it onto TikTok or YouTube Shorts, so it's more convenient for me to just record good quality audio directly into my phone, rather than recording it on the Zoom H6 or F6 itself and then syncing it later in post. Basically, the simple answer for me is, it's for the convenience. However, there are situations where you might want to record high-quality audio directly into your iPhone, for instance, streaming and whenever you're traveling. Whatever the reason is, here's how you do it. Right now I have my iPhone on a monopod which is pretty useful since it doesn't take up too much space and you can easily attach a phone mount to hold your phone. With these two pieces, I can adjust my phone to record at different heights and angles, and it's easy to insert the lightning adapter. For the first setup, I'll use the Zoom H6, which is currently connected to the stereo mic attachment on the top, and it's held by a different, more stable monopod. The first step is to plug in the micro USB wire into the Zoom H6 and then attach it to the adapter, which then connects to the iPhone. At this stage, I open the camera app on my iPhone and set it to video mode. Only after it's in the camera mode, do I turn on the Zoom H6. A prompt will come up if all the connections are working correctly. If it doesn't pop up, make sure that you check that nothing is loose. A weird trick that I find also works for me is flipping the side of the lightning connector when it doesn't work. Then after that, I reset the camera app. Once you do have it connected correctly and the Zoom H6 is on with the prompt, I select Audio Interface mode and then select Stereo Mix, and then I select iPad. From here, I make sure that I do the usual routine of checking levels, arming the right tracks, and so on. After that, it's pretty much ready to go. You can record on your iPhone and if you did it correctly, you'll hear nothing on playback from your iPhone because it's currently connected to the Zoom H6 as an audio interface. It's actually being played through the Zoom H6. In order to hear it better, I connected a speaker to it, but just be careful of feedback where the speaker generates sound that's being picked up by the Zoom H6 itself, which then plays the sound, and the process loops to create a screechy sound that grows louder and louder. You can avoid this by disarming the track before listening back and turning off the speaker after listening to the playback. Just make sure to arm the track again before you record. It's a bit of a juggle, but it's not too hard once you get used to it. Note that you can basically use any microphone that you want and place them wherever you want depending on the length of your XLR wires. I'm just keeping things simple and sticking with the base kit of the Zoom H6 for now. If you're going to use a USB microphone, all you have to do is connect the microphone to the Apple adapter and then connect it to your phone. Now, you'll be recording using the USB mic. In order to confirm this 100 percent, all you got to do is tap on the microphone and tap on the iPhone. Stop the recording, and then watch the playback. You'll be able to tell which microphone that you're using, the USB mic or the iPhone mic, depending on which tap is louder. Let's move on to talking about the iPad. If you have an older generation iPad that uses a lightning connector, just follow the same steps as you did for the iPhone, and it should work. Otherwise, if you have a newer generation iPad, like the iPad Pro with a USB-C connector, then all you need is a wire that has a micro USB connection on one end and a USB-C on the other. You could also use a converter with the other wire, but I prefer having a single wire because the more adapters you introduce, the greater the chances something will be loose or end up failing. But from there, you just follow the steps as you did with recording on your iPhone, and you're good to go. Also note that once you turn off the Zoom H6 or disconnect the wire which automatically turns it off, make sure that you close your camera app before you record again. If you don't and record right after that, you'll find that there are issues with the audio. Your audio is going to sound like this. Now, let's talk about the Zoom F6. The Zoom F6 is different in that it doesn't automatically prompt you to go into the audio interface mode when you have it connected to your phone. Instead, turn on the Zoom F6, go into Audio Interface mode, hit the same Stereo Mix with iPad option, and then connect it to your phone afterwards. It's a different order of operation. In order to know that you did it correctly, you'll need to do a recording test. If you are recording video on your phone, you can do a tap test with the phone, and then another tap test with the mic connected to the Zoom F6, and then watch the playback. If audio is playing through your phone, then you know that you did something wrong because it should be playing through the Zoom F6 instead. Again, you'll need to connect a speaker to hear it. If the tap test is successful and you can hear the taps from the microphone that you want, then you know everything is working. Another difference is that each input in the Zoom F6 will naturally be set to mono channels. This was different from the Zoom H6 where channels 1 and 2 were actually acting as a left-right channel mix, while three and four were mono. If you want to record in stereo for the Zoom F6, which in my case, I do since it's for piano, then you want to create a left-right stereo link. To do this, press the three-line button, navigate to input, hit the check mark, then navigate to link settings. Hit the check mark again, and then again to enter input link. From here, you'll see that everything is currently set to mono. But what I'm going to do is turn channels 3 and 4 into a left-right stereo link. It'll go blue and from there it's ready to go. Now if you arm channel 4 by itself, by turning up the fader, nothing will happen. You have to arm channel 3 instead to activate both of them. By doing a tap test, you can tell that input 3 is the left and input 4 is the right channel. Finally, to record into a new generation iPad Pro, all you need to do is make sure you're in the same audio interface mode, and then just connect the USB-C ports. That is pretty much how you record professional audio into your iPhone or iPad with the Zoom F6 or Zoom H6. My main reason for doing this is to record short videos for TikTok or YouTube Shorts, but this method can be generalized to a lot of use cases. Hopefully, you find this method useful. 16. Conclusion & Summary: Congratulations to making it to the end of this class. Here's a summary of everything that you've learned. Firstly, I introduce the three crucial questions you need to ask yourself to optimize your audio recordings. Number 1, what type of microphone should I use for this specific job? Number 2, how can I adjust the environment and microphone placement to produce the best sound? Finally, number 3, do I have my audio recorder of choice optimized? For the first question, the choices I covered were dynamic mics, large diaphragm condensers, boom microphones, which basically contains two categories of shotgun microphones and small diaphragm condenser mics. Then we talked about camera mounted microphones, lavaliere microphones, boundary microphone, stereo mix, handheld mics, and mobile mics. That's a lot of types of microphones. For the second question, I went over the principles behind reverb and how you can treat your room to manage it. I also went over microphone technique for each microphone type when they were introduced. For the last question, I went over the different types of audio recorders, audio interfaces, mixers and field recorders. I went over why you might pick one over the other? Finally, I want to thank you for making it to the end of this course. It's been fun getting to nerd out about the world of microphone's with you. If you learn something or enjoyed the class, I'd really appreciate it if you gave this course a review and also consider following me on Skillshare. I'm looking forward to making more classes and I hope you guys can be a part of it. Until then, I hope you were able to finish the class project of answering the three crucial questions, as well as recording a before and after. Don't forget that audio editing is also an important part of the process to achieving great sounding audio. I have classes on Skillshare, on audio editing, if you want to check them out. Best of luck with your projects, I'll see you guys in the next one.