Dana Andreea Nigrim


Lessons on line - Technical specs

HARDWARE - Microphones, Audio Cards and Interfaces, Preamplifiers, Mixers

Convenient for the lessons on line would be a USB microphone (Samson, M-Audio, Apogee, AKG, sE Electronics) which can be plugged directly into your computer and thus immediately ready for work. If you already have a XLR dynamic or condensor microphone alone this could also be plugged directly into your computer with a USB adapter as X2u from Shure.

Beside their technical differences (moving coil vs. polarized capacitor) microphones' utilization depends on the result they provide : dynamic mics (the most used in radio studios is EV R20, and most stages in the world are provided with Shure SM58 mics) have a ''here and now'' quality, their tone is dense, without resonance, strong (if paired with a good pre-amp) and tend to sound ''boxy'' (Shure B7 preferred by rocks singers needs a lot of gain); on the other hand, condenser mics have more overtones, resonance, an ''airy'' quality, some of them (not of the best quality) tend to sound fragile, even a little bit ''hollow'' if not paired with a good pre-amp. Microphones' usage depends on the repertory: for jazz or pop recordings a good dynamic mic (Beyerdynamic M99 or Heil PR-40) would be appropriate, but a Neumann condenser like TLM 49, specially designed for voice, would for sure not dissapoint, mostly due to its rich low register, which contributes to its 'neumannesque', unique, sound. On the other hand, a dynamic mic would not be appropriate to record opera singers or a Chopin's Nocturne for instance.

A versatile condensor microphone can serve for recording every audio source as these enthuziast artists from PomplamooseMusic prove very well, in which the Neumann TLM 103 is used for instruments and voice alike.

There are plenty of less expensive condensor mics to choose from provided by brands as Audio-Technica, Rode, ADK, MXL, CAD, which can insure the quality you need.

Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphones (LDC) are more appropriate for voice or large ensemble recordings; Small-Diaphragm Condenser Microphones (SDC) are rather useful for instrumental recordings (spotting in close position the intimate color of the instrument); nevertheless, well-known Sound Engineering Schools (ORTF, NOS) use small condensers (cardioids) in different positions for stereo recording large ensembles too. Small condensers or ribbons can also be used for stereo recordings in Blumlein setting.

There are no universal recepieces for the usage of microphones but for a standard combination of voice and an instrument as guitare, one should use a LCD for voice and a SDC for guitare and not viceversa, or a LCD or dynamic mic for voice and a ribbon for guitare. The recording of a complex instrument as piano can be sometimes more complicated as it seems, depending of the caracteristics of the piano: if its sound is rather 'open', then for its high register a SDC as Oktava MK-012 with a softer sound would be more appropriate, if its sound is rather 'covered', then a brighter SDC as Neumann KM 184 would be more useful. Ribbons can be sometimes a good solution for piano recordings; after decades of condenser microphones domination, ribbons' qualities have been re-evaluated . One must keep in mind that they are very sensitive to shocks, not to sing too close into them, and store them in vertical position. There is a large variety of brands to choose from, between more expensive as Royer, Coles, AEA, more accessible as Cascade or Avantone, or affordable as Apex, Superlux and T.Bone.

For demos/recordings (especialy instrumental) using an audio interface that can receive several XLR microphones is recommended; this can be either internal, as an audio card: M-Audio Delta, Lynx, RME, or external, connected to the computer either through USB: Presonus, Focusrite, Apogee, Tascam, Avid, RME, through Firewire: Presonus, RME, or through Thunderbolt: UAD.

Most of audiointerfaces have integrated pre-amplifiers for their channels; for prefessional recordings discrete preamplifiers are recommended (from a wide variety of brands). A good pre-amp as Sytek mpx-4aii or AER TRP (specially designed for ribbon mics that require most of gain) will not produce any hiss even to maximum gain. The first preamp can handle 4 mics and is one of the best quality/cost preamps in my opinion, and the second 2 has entries, for ribbon mics only (that is, without 48V phantom power). Preamps for one mic, as those from 500 Series, can include equalizers and more refined controles and thus can be explored for their very divers possibilites. Mixers can also include preamps and equalizers; Mackie 402-VLZ3 for two mics and instruments could be an interesting option to start with.

Choices for hardware music are vast, sites selling such equipment, as FrontEndAudio, Sweetwater or Thomann (depending on your location and currency) can offer many suggestions.

SOFTWARE - Digital Audio Workstations, VST Pianos

We can use your own recordings as a learning tool in our lessons which we can analyse and work on them. For this you will need a recording software as: Audacity which is free, or Studio One from Presonus, Reaper, Mixcraft from Acoustica, Logic from Apple, Soundforge from Sony, Cubase from Steinberg, Sonar from Cakewalk, Ableton, Digital Performer from Motu, Reason from Propellerheads, or ProTools from Avid, which are complex Daws but also offer lite versions bundled in various packages.

Direct audio recordings (as Wave files) are possible with these DAWs from a digital piano connected to the XLR/TRS entries of an audio interface. On the other hand, through the MIDI connections of an audio interface you can make MIDI recordings using a wide variety of virtual pianos from brands as Native Instruments, Magix, Pianoteq, EastWest Quantum Leap, Synthogy, Galaxy, Blüthner Digital, Garritan, Reason, IKMultimedia, etc.

Not all audio cards have MIDI connections; Delta series cards from M-Audio, which connected through a break out box to a digital piano provides excellent audio quality, do not have MIDI connections, but the company also built the special USB MIDI device Uno that fulfils this requirement.

Once you have everything set up, you can e-mail me so that we can schedule a first meeting. If interested, then your following lessons can be paid directly into my secured PayPal account. - Previous Page