[LAU] Microphone advice

David Kastrup dak at gnu.org
Mon May 21 13:08:56 CEST 2018

ralf.mardorf at alice-dsl.net (Ralf Mardorf) writes:

> On Sun, 20 May 2018 11:24:42 +0200, David Kastrup wrote:
>>It's actually also nice to have when recording guitar only since you
>>can then mask out breathing noise.
> In my 51 years on this planet breathing noise while recording an
> acoustic guitar only, was just one time an issue, but it was such an
> extraordinary experience, that I still remember it. I was around 17
> years old and we recorded another guitarist at the video studio of
> the Universit├Ąt Gesamthochschule Essen. Since then, I never experienced
> this issue again. It's really seldom that guitarists are breathing that
> loud, that recording the guitar is more or less impossible to do,
> without recording the breathing noise, too.

I may have been extrapolating from recording accordion here: the problem
with accordion is that when you are getting short of air, the instrument
is extended pretty much in your arms and then you switch direction at a
moment of silence.  This involves considerable arm force (depending on
the exact instrument being used) and is sort of naturally linked with
your breathing.  Particularly in that overextending phase you are prone
to holding your breath.  So when you switch directions, you capture a
moment of silence not untypically connected to a restart of human

In this case it warranted letting a cardioid point _downwards_ at the
treble section of the accordion rather than _upwards_ at a similar
angle, considerably lessening the impact of breathing noise.  In
contrast, the bass side was not prone to breathing noise problems (an
omnidirectional pointed at the floor with a case right behind it as a
bass capture).

Video where one can see that microphone arrangement (warrants a good
headphone, by the way, because this recording really wants an adequate
bass reproduction):


A hypercardioid would have been better for noise suppression but aiming
it in a manner where it would have given a reasonably balanced response
across the relevant range would have been harder.

David Kastrup

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