Following the directions for the material to be included on an audition tape is imperative. Material should be in the sequence requested and time limitations should be respected.

When selecting microphones, the kind with the ball type windscreen built-in should be avoided. Usually this kind of microphone is designed with an upward sloping frequency response or a response "bump" to accentuate vocals. This design quality tends to emphasize the upper partials on band instruments often resulting in a thinner or more strident than desirable recorded sound. A matched pair of cardioid microphones should be used if possible. Even for a soloist, stereo technique should be used correctly.

Microphone technique greatly affects the sound of a tape both musically and technically. Musically speaking, you will have to make judgments at the time you are recording with your ears as your guide instead of constantly watching the VU meters. Technically, I strongly recommend the use of X-Y microphone placement for phase coherency. Phase cancellation can greatly reduce the "body" to the sound of a recording. X-Y locates the microphones next to each other, forming a coincident pair. Placement of the pair in relation to the performer should be determined by your ears evaluating the sound of some taped examples. Wind players should not blow directly into or on axis to the microphones. The microphones should be a few feet in front of the performer and raised to a height that will result in an angle of 30 to 60 degrees when aimed at the performer or his instrument.

How far microphones will be placed from the performer will be greatly determined by the room in which the playing is taking place. It is desirable to stand (or sit) on a hard surface. Sitting on a rug in a very reverberating room is a poor recording situation. Locate the microphones as described earlier and record some music. Your recording will demonstrate the relationship of room sound (reverb/echo) and direct sound of the player. Relocate the microphones if needed to establish a balance in the character of the recorded sound. Remember, this is an audition tape - too much reverb will disguise the detail of the performance thus making it difficult to judge the performer fairly.

Using the technical information in this article and following the audition instructions will provide the person evaluation a group of audition tapes with an accurate representation of the performer's ability.

Making an Audition Tape