The figure-of-8 polar pattern of most ribbon mics allows users to capture quality sound with either the front or back side of the microphone, which is an advantageous feature for recording live harmonies. By positioning two or more vocalists on opposite sides of the mic, one can take advantage of the wide area of acceptance and superb off-axis response of AEA ribbon mics to capture natural, organic vocal harmonies.
Where to Start
When recording two vocalists, position each vocalist opposite each other and equidistant from the mic. Begin with 1 foot of distance and adjust further based on the volume of each vocalist’s performance. Since both vocal performances will record to the same track, ensure the mix is ideal before pressing record, since no further volume adjustments can be made to the independent vocal performances.
Mind the Null
Be aware of the null areas of the microphone where no sound is captured. Familiarity with the null areas and acceptance areas of a given microphone will ensure that the desired source is recorded and the undesired source is rejected.
Example video featuring Short and Sweet
The video below features the harmonious duo, Short & Sweet, comprising Liz Beebe and Z. Lupetin of The Dustbowl Revival, as they perform an original track, ‘Let It Go’, into an R84A and N22. Their performance is reminiscent of classic methods of vocal harmony recording in which two or more vocalists surround one mic to track organic, live harmonies. The active R84A supplies rich warmth to the vocals as the N22 provides detail and clarity to the finger-picked guitar and rhythmic finger-snapping.