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Mic Pairing Techniques with Spire Studio

by Connor McCoy, iZotope Contributior April 2, 2019

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With Spire Studio, you can create a variety of mic pairings by plugging microphones into the back. In this blog, we’ll explore a few ways you can use Spire Studio for recording in different environments and situations.

First, listen to a sample track that was recorded using a combination of the built-in microphone and plugging directly into the two XLR inputs:

Recording with the internal microphone

Spire comes with a professional quality internal condenser microphone that can be used to record virtually any sound source. On the back of the device, there are two microphone inputs.

Note: by using Input 1, you disable the use of the internal microphone. So if you want to use an external microphone with the Spire Studio, make sure you use Input 2.

One option is to set up a room microphone (preferably an omnidirectional or a cardioid) in the middle or the corner of the room you’re recording in. This helps to create a natural, bigger room sound. Particularly with pianos and voices, this can create a really cool effect that you can mix in later to your liking.

When you’re singing, a really interesting technique you can use is to place a cardioid microphone above you, aimed down at the top of your head, while you sing into Spire Studio. This can result in some great vocal spreading that can make your climactic sections of your song sound wider.

Recording with the 2 XLR/TS inputs

The possibilities are endless when you really utilize the back two inputs in the Spire Studio. Because it offers phantom power, you’re able to use virtually any microphone pairing to capture beautiful stereo images that you can use in your recordings.

My favorite part about Spire Studio, personally, is the ability to record percussive timbres and samples anywhere I want: in the kitchen, in the backyard, at the park. I’ve always wanted to record nature sounds with high-quality microphones, and now I can.

I recommend getting a pair of directional condenser microphones, plugging them into the back of your Spire Studio, and capturing what you previously couldn’t by taking a few steps outside. Set them up equidistant from each other, and play around.  Each sound is going to have to be captured differently—some might need a closer placement in order to get the timbres recorded correctly, and some might benefit from having some distance between the source and the microphone.  

Spire Studio XLR/TS inputs

Want to capture gang vocals, but don’t want to be confined to the bedroom? Grab Spire Studio (and a couple of friends), find a reverberant space (inside or outside), and set up two omnidirectional microphones and stand in a circle or a semi-circle. Do a few takes, and mix them together to get vocals that you can be proud of. Check out this website for ideas on how to set up stereo mic techniques properly, so you don’t run into phasing problems!

If you’re a singer-songwriter and want to get a classic, professional recording, grab a condenser mic, plug it into Input 1, and place it facing just to the left of the soundhole on your guitar. This way, you get a balanced bass response without too much of the “boom.” Then, grab your favorite dynamic or condenser mic and plug it into Input 2 (don’t forget that pop filter)! Now you have two microphones wholly dedicated to your guitar and your voice respectively that you can mix to your liking afterward in your DAW.

These are just a few options for you to try when handling your Spire Studio. Its utility really shines when you find the mic pairing that works for you. Now pack up a few microphones, charge your Spire Studio, get in your car, and go record!

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