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Mic locker for film scoring overdubs
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asymonds
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#1
13th May 2012
Old 13th May 2012
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Mic locker for film scoring overdubs

So...I score indie features and TV programs, mostly sampled orchestral scores with overdubs of solo instruments. I haven't been that happy with the results from my basic recording setup, am planning to get a new preamp, probably the Millennia HV-3C, and am looking for mic locker recommendations to cover the following areas, in order of priority.

Woodwinds (classical and ethnic)
Strings (classical and ethnic)
Vocals (mostly female)
Acoustic guitar

I'm hoping to stick to a budget of $800 per mic, approximately. My initial thoughts are ribbon mic (Royer 101 / 121?) for woodwinds and strings, large-diaphragm condenser (One of the Blue mics?) for vocals, small-diaphragm condenser (Neumann KM184?) for acoustic guitar. Am I in the ballpark or way off with this approach?

I'm planning to rent the recommended mics and test them out myself, so I'm not going to hold anyone responsible for their suggestions. :-)

The room I'm recording in is 12 by 12 and has been treated with GIK bass traps, ceiling cloud, etc.
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13th May 2012
Old 13th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asymonds View Post
So...I score indie features and TV programs, mostly sampled orchestral scores with overdubs of solo instruments. I haven't been that happy with the results from my basic recording setup, am planning to get a new preamp, probably the Millennia HV-3C, and am looking for mic locker recommendations to cover the following areas, in order of priority.

Woodwinds (classical and ethnic)
Strings (classical and ethnic)
Vocals (mostly female)
Acoustic guitar

I'm hoping to stick to a budget of $800 per mic, approximately. My initial thoughts are ribbon mic (Royer 101 / 121?) for woodwinds and strings, large-diaphragm condenser (One of the Blue mics?) for vocals, small-diaphragm condenser (Neumann KM184?) for acoustic guitar. Am I in the ballpark or way off with this approach?

I'm planning to rent the recommended mics and test them out myself, so I'm not going to hold anyone responsible for their suggestions. :-)

The room I'm recording in is 12 by 12 and has been treated with GIK bass traps, ceiling cloud, etc.
I'd say there are two fundamental approaches to answering this question. The first assumes you are recording musicians in your space, not yourself.
In that case, rent a "no-brainer" mic for the instrument you are most confident to record. Spend half a day with that mic in your room, and then spend half a day in the best recording room you can access. This will tell you whether it's the mic or the room that you are fighting.

If you are unhappy with the results of recording yourself, hire an engineer, and have her or him spend some quality time listening to you in your room, and trying to mic you in your room. If the engineer cannot find a good place in your room for you and a mic (any mic), then no mic is going to solve your problem. On the other hand, if there clearly is a good sound to be heard in the room, then a proper mic (and mic placement) and a proper preamp (and gain staging) should be able to get it 100% of the time.

My experience has been that the source is the first 90% of the sound, the room is the 2nd 90%, the mic is the 3rd 90%, the preamp is the 4th 90%, and the D/A is the 5th 90%. The artist obviously has an effect on the first 90%, and the engineer's choices have an effect on the 9.999% remaining.
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13th May 2012
Old 13th May 2012
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For what it's worth, I think you're in the right ballpark for your mic suggestions (I do some scoring work with a similar small-padded room).

A Royer or AEA or Coles ribbon is a definite 'must have' for the tool box, and you might even want to consider a stereo ribbon. I adore my AEA R88 (I think that's the model) - a big stereo ribbon, but I use it mostly on drums.

The two things I don't see on your list are 1) an all-purpose multi-pattern condenser, like the Gefell UM70, AKG 414, etc, and 2) a stereo pair.

I've got a pair of Gefell M300's that are useful for guitars, drums, strings, etc. And a pair of 414's always comes in handy because of the pattern and filter choices -- I've used them on choirs, group vocals, pianos, or room mic (stereo or M/S).

The other wishlist item would be a great reverb, like the Bricasti (which I haven't sprung for... yet). The Lexicon plugins are great, and so is Altiverb. But scoring often relies on putting things in the right sonic environment, so if you're recording in a small room you're going to need excellent verb.
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14th May 2012
Old 14th May 2012
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Where are you located?
asymonds
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14th May 2012
Old 14th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clueless View Post
My experience has been that the source is the first 90% of the sound, the room is the 2nd 90%, the mic is the 3rd 90%, the preamp is the 4th 90%, and the D/A is the 5th 90%. The artist obviously has an effect on the first 90%, and the engineer's choices have an effect on the 9.999% remaining.
Thanks for taking the time to reply.

I've recorded some pretty decent musicians, so I can't blame them. :-)

Room-wise, I think it is what it is. There's not much I can do about that. The only thing I can control and work on is the quality of my equipment and my engineering skills.
asymonds
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14th May 2012
Old 14th May 2012
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Originally Posted by toneguru View Post
Where are you located?
LA.
#7
14th May 2012
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LA, cool.

Do you have any use for a trio of Blue M50 tube omni's? Or a TLM170 or Royer SF24?

BTW, that quote above from clueless makes a lot of sense.

I would add that in my experience, everything makes a difference and day to day I never know exactly where the greatest impact is going to come from.
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asymonds
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15th May 2012
Old 15th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timtoonz View Post
For what it's worth, I think you're in the right ballpark for your mic suggestions (I do some scoring work with a similar small-padded room).

[snip]

The two things I don't see on your list are 1) an all-purpose multi-pattern condenser, like the Gefell UM70, AKG 414, etc, and 2) a stereo pair.
Good point about the all-purpose multi-pattern condenser!

Not sure about the stereo pair, mainly because I'm recording solo instruments. Is it a concern how much room recording in stereo would pick up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by timtoonz View Post

[snip]

The other wishlist item would be a great reverb, like the Bricasti (which I haven't sprung for... yet). The Lexicon plugins are great, and so is Altiverb. But scoring often relies on putting things in the right sonic environment, so if you're recording in a small room you're going to need excellent verb.
I bought the Bricasti M7 a few months ago. Best $3.5k I've ever spent!
asymonds
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15th May 2012
Old 15th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toneguru View Post
LA, cool.

Do you have any use for a trio of Blue M50 tube omni's? Or a TLM170 or Royer SF24?
PM'd you.
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15th May 2012
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As to a small diameter condenser I'd suggest looking for a used Schoeps cmc64. A very versatile mic that I find far more useful than a Neumann km184.
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15th May 2012
Old 15th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asymonds View Post
Is it a concern how much room recording in stereo would pick up?
Hard to say without knowing exactly what kind of room you have. My room is small, but big enough to record a drum kit- for example. Or, on a few occasion, 3 or 4 singers (standing shoulder to shoulder). I could see some folks even wanting to get a stereo image of a single cello - anything with a wider sound field. And some engineers use stereo pairs on acoustic guitars, violins, etc.

And then you have wizards like Bruce Swedien who - as I recall - records pretty much EVERYTHING in stereo!

Anyhoo, I think it's useful to have at least one good stereo solution ready to go -- but you may be able to get by just fine without it for a good long time.

And congrats on the Bricasti! I've not had the pleasure of hearing one in person yet (which probably explains why I haven't bought one).

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15th May 2012
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I'd maybe thing about trying to find an AKG 414 B-ULS - you can usually get them for less than $800.

The school I went to had a pair of them and I ended up using them on lots of film scoring sessions I did - for strings, acoustic guitars, drum overheads, and piano. I like them a lot

-MIke
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15th May 2012
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A stereo pair of Shure sm81's, AKG C451's or Oktava MK-012's would not set you back a whole lot, but may be very useful when you do need a stereo pair.
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15th May 2012
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km184s are a great bet for acoustics, strings, overheads and a slew of other instruments (very versatile!)

I also have a pair of Se Electronics Z5600aIIs... they are freaking great (especially for the money) -- Great on female vocals and very awesome as room mics. Not a super colored tube mic and has the large amount of polar patterns. Even the SE ribbons could be worth a look!

and really i can't agree more with the c414 post... when i am not sure what to track something with, it probably won't suck through with a 414

Also the Cascade Ribbon mics are crazy cheap and very solid as well (fathead is in the same range)
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15th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clueless View Post
I'd say there are two fundamental approaches to answering this question. The first assumes you are recording musicians in your space, not yourself.
In that case, rent a "no-brainer" mic for the instrument you are most confident to record. Spend half a day with that mic in your room, and then spend half a day in the best recording room you can access. This will tell you whether it's the mic or the room that you are fighting.

If you are unhappy with the results of recording yourself, hire an engineer, and have her or him spend some quality time listening to you in your room, and trying to mic you in your room. If the engineer cannot find a good place in your room for you and a mic (any mic), then no mic is going to solve your problem. On the other hand, if there clearly is a good sound to be heard in the room, then a proper mic (and mic placement) and a proper preamp (and gain staging) should be able to get it 100% of the time.

My experience has been that the source is the first 90% of the sound, the room is the 2nd 90%, the mic is the 3rd 90%, the preamp is the 4th 90%, and the D/A is the 5th 90%. The artist obviously has an effect on the first 90%, and the engineer's choices have an effect on the 9.999% remaining.
What about the last 0.001%?
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