Earlier this week I had the AMAZING opportunity to record different impulse responses (basically capturing the acoustics in an environment) in the sanctuary at the First Christian Church in Washington ,IA!
After 2 years of college I graduated with my bachelor degree in Recording Arts. After returning home I found a great opportunity to capture the impulse response of a sanctuary in a church that dates back to the late 1800’s.
Originally the the sanctuary had a dome for its ceiling which would create an “echo chamber” effect. In recent years, though, that echo chamber has been blocked off by a flat ceiling which is present today. What tickles my brain is who in the world would want to block such a beautifully-sound design?
Anyhow, the church’s acoustics still sound fantastic. Especially after running them through Waves IR-L Convolution Reverb plugin.
Here’s the steps I took to achieve a great sounding IR (Impulse Response) with an RE-20 microphone (which I don’t recommend using for this), pre-amp, and a DAW.
- BE AWARE THAT IF YOU WANT HIGH-QUALITY/TOP-NOTCH REVERBS YOU WILL NEED MULTIPLE MICROPHONES, NOT JUST ONE.
STEP 1: FIND A ROOM & CHOOSE A MIC
- This is the first and most important step. Finding a GREAT ROOM to capture the acoustics is going to determine the sound of your reverb. So whether you’re looking for a washed-out gymnasium or a beautifully-sound church sanctuary, be sure to know what type of room you are looking to capture beforehand.
- –> You’ll also want a CONDENSER or RIBBON microphone for this! Specifically an omni-directional microphone.
- The next part is choosing the right microphone! Go for a microphone that has a flat frequency response. Since we’ll want to record the room without any frequency imbalance, choosing a mic with a flat frequency response will give you the best chance of exact replication.
Here is an ideal place to capture an impulse response!
STEP 2: FIND THE MIC’S SWEET SPOT
- So you’ve got your sound running through the speakers and you can hear the microphone picking up the signal. Great! Now it’s time to find the sweet spot for the microphone. You can do this by having a friend clap while you position the mic. The sweet spot is a place where it sounds the absolute BEST so just keep walking around the room until you find a suitable spot.
- Generally, the microphone should be placed in a spot that is capturing a balanced image of the acoustic space around you. For example, try not to place the microphone in a corner or near a wall because you will find your IR sample lacking space and depth. Aim for the center of the room first and work your way around that.
STEP 3: RECORDING
- Once you’ve found the mic’s sweet spot, it’s time to record a transient sound (such as a clap or sound effect) as a mono audio channel. Have your friend clap really loud ONE time while you’re recording and that will be the file we use to import into Waves IR-L.
- One notable thing to mention is to give yourself about 3-5 seconds before and after you hit record/stop to avoid cutting off the recording too soon.
- –> After recording your sample be sure to go back in and top & tail the file. (Meaning trim the beginning to the first hit and trim the end so there’s no excess.)
- Whenever you’re ready! 1). Hit Record 2). Clap ONE time 3). Let the reverb ring out completely 4). Save! 5). Top & Tail!
- I recommend naming your file when you’re finished editing to something like: IR_Location_Date.wav
STEP 4: IMPORT AUDIO INTO WAVES IR-L
- You’re done! Now here comes the easy part. All we need to do is import our mono IR file into Waves IR-L!
- Open up a new auxiliary channel and send some audio to it. Then insert your Waves IR-L (m) reverb plugin. After opening the plugin you will see on the right side a button that says “Load” then select “Import Impulse Response from File…”
- Select your IR and if you’re in Logic Pro X you’ll need to select the R channel next to configuration and import it again.
- That’s the finished product! If you have any questions please let me know! 🙂