Sound Radiation, Recording, and Environment

  • Jonas BraaschEmail author
Part of the Current Research in Systematic Musicology book series (CRSM, volume 6)


Recording a wind instrument can pose a real challenge, and audio engineers have debated for many years how to best capture the essence of an instrument using one or two closely positioned microphones. The problem is that a wind instrument radiates sound in every single direction, and it has a unique sound character in each of these directions. The best microphone placement is usually determined by considering the following aspects: Firstly, the microphone should be placed in a position where the sound-pressure levels of the individual notes are balanced throughout the tonal range of the instrument. Secondly, the sound engineer should aim to find a point that represents a balanced frequency spectrum in general. For example, this spot should preserve the right mix between the low and high-frequency components of the instrument, while keeping this balance stable across the tonal range of the instrument. Thirdly, the microphone should be positioned to reject unwanted sounds in the recording optimally. For example, when recording the saxophone rim flute, one should avoid recording the direct breathing hiss produced by the jet stream. When recording the instrument in the context of an ensemble, the microphone should be placed so as to isolate the wind instrument from other instruments.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cognitive and Immersive Systems Laboratory, School of ArchitectureRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA

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