Today, at January 30, 2012, approx from 1:30PM until 4PM, I and my friends went karaoke on building lab (Engineering Physics department – ITB). FYI I and my other friend are from Computational Material Design laboratory, we were accompanying RanKurogane karaoke and to learn how to mix songs together. Building physics is one of our field, and we have semi-anechoic chamber in our campus department. I and RanKu have played here once to play with the mixer and a big condenser microphone and sang MELT (VOCALOID). But now we only used Yamaha USB Mixing Studio MW10c and condenser microphone for engineering physics lab 4 without amplifier.

lab's semianechoic chamber and the mixer

At first, the installation went far from smooth. The embedded microphone and the condenser microphone were overlapped and we had to set up the whole sound input for over 30 minutes until Adobe Audition only detected the condenser microphone and not the embedded one. We finally found the culprit and everything went smooth – maybe. I don’t know what song she sang, but the song’s pitch is very high I got goosebumps at once. Now I’ll just wait for her mixing the song.

Mixing is not an easy task, though. You have to put all your concentration on listening and blending the song and the instrument. The good sound system are also necessary to get the best result: from the selection on microphone, either condenser type or dynamic type, the sound-card setting, mixer and set up equalizer, and noise reduction from surrounding. Semi-anechoic chamber is a perfect place to sing: it is a room covered with sound absorber – which means it muffled the sounds with certain frequencies and decreases the reverberation time – and just a little transmission can go through this room. We can’t hear any sounds outside nor outside can hear us screaming here.

In songs, reverberation time is essential to make the song more ‘lively’. Yeah, it doesn’t mean singing in semi-anechoic / anechoic chamber will give good result – it will become very flat and plain. But by recording in a room with small reverberation time, we can reduce the noise and can add the reverberation time digitally later. Adobe Audition and some software have features to reduce the background noise by taking a sample of noise signal in the music and another useful feature to add the reverberation time as well as arranging the SPL (sound pressure level). The final result of the mixed song is still heavily up to the mixer hands; perhaps I can say it is an “art of mixing”.