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Shouldn't the flattest mic be the best?
Old 22nd May 2017
  #31
Quote:
Originally Posted by shosty View Post
Isn't it preferable to get the sound you want at the source instead of using a flat mic and EQing in post?
That should always be the preferable option. Post production is a waste of time and energy.
Old 22nd May 2017
  #32
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In another current thread, a GS'er recounts tossing a pair of Earthworks mics onto a busy highway from a moving car. If those were included in the next shootout, they'd surely be the flattest. Does Sweetwater sell Earthworks?
Old 22nd May 2017
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shosty View Post
Isn't it preferable to get the sound you want at the source instead of using a flat mic and EQing in post?
Guess it depends on how 'orthodox' one wishes to be, and what soundscape we're working to achieve. With today's extremely synthetic soundworld, I see the source-sound approach as less useful.

Usually an instrument will be felt differently within a mix than it sounds IRL. To me, getting for example a guitar to sound 'as in the mix' already at the source, would mean trying to get the guitar to acoustically sound like it would've sounded like when soloed within a mix made through the more traditional methods. And then record it, through a non-altering mic.

Such a prospect would put me into a world with almost no "mental maps", just improvisational tentative attempts using whatever household tools and spontaneous ideas one can think of, to get the source to sound as the pre-concieved idea, before recording it like that. It would become time-consuming testing, and we risk 'forgetting' the sound you're after during the course of that process.

And with some instruments, and certainly with singers, where the sound pretty much cannot be changed at the source ... maybe tell the singer to smoke 10 cigars, empty bottle of Black Velvet, sleep just 2 hours that night, and come back in the morning

Guess it depends on how orthodox one wants to be, how much time we got, and who we're supposed to impress. If we want a group of instruments to sound like in the room, I'd use a decca tree or something similar and not EQ it much at all. But for more synthetic soundscapes (98% of popular music today and yesterday), refraining from utilizing the mic choice option and just use one type of flat mic, seems to me like cutting off a few fingers for a pianist.

Last edited by Sk106; 22nd May 2017 at 08:15 AM..
Old 22nd May 2017
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sk106 View Post
Guess it depends on how 'orthodox' one wishes to be, and what soundscape we're working to achieve. With today's extremely synthetic soundworld, I see the source-sound approach as less useful.

Usually an instrument will be felt differently within a mix than it sounds IRL. To me, getting for example a guitar to sound 'as in the mix' already at the source, would mean trying to get the guitar to acoustically sound like it would've sounded like when soloed within a mix made through the more traditional methods. And then record it, through a non-altering mic.

Such a prospect would put me into a world with almost no "mental maps", just improvisational tentative attempts using whatever household tools and spontaneous ideas one can think of, to get the source to sound as the pre-concieved idea, before recording it like that. It would become time-consuming testing, and we risk 'forgetting' the sound you're after during the course of that process.

And with some instruments, and certainly with singers, where the sound pretty much cannot be changed at the source ... maybe tell the singer to smoke 10 cigars, empty bottle of Black Velvet, sleep just 2 hours that night, and come back in the morning

Guess it depends on how orthodox one wants to be, how much time we got, and who we're supposed to impress. If we want a group of instruments to sound like in the room, I'd use a decca tree or something similar and not EQ it much at all. But for more synthetic soundscapes (98% of popular music today and yesterday), refraining from utilizing the mic choice option and just use one type of flat mic, seems to me like cutting off a few fingers for a pianist.
Yep, I hear what you are saying - how can you know what a particular guitar player will sound like in the context of the whole ahead of time? And each group is different. Obviously it would be very time consuming to keep re-recording with different mics to find the ones you didn't have to apply any EQ to. Time is money.

Got it.

I guess it would depend a lot on the style of music. You seem to be referring more to music that depends on processing and electronic manipulation. But let's take for instance classic rock that is more raw. It seems to me, as a guy looking in from the outside (I do classical mainly), that this style of music would do well with a "get it from the source as much as possible" approach and picking mics that compliment the voice, for example, would be a great way to go.

Also, isn't the Royer 121/SM57 for guitar cabs hailed by many to be a combo that needs very little or no EQ? I guess I've gotten the impression that one of the reasons this combo is so great is because you can get it right at the source - and I've heard some pretty big names make this claim.

Well, any way, I am a bit out of my territory here! haha
Old 23rd May 2017
  #35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
In another current thread, a GS'er recounts tossing a pair of Earthworks mics onto a busy highway from a moving car. If those were included in the next shootout, they'd surely be the flattest. Does Sweetwater sell Earthworks?
They'd only be flat if they were actually run over.
Old 23rd May 2017
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
They'd only be flat if they were actually run over.
I completely agree.
Old 11th June 2017
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyc View Post
I think a better description would be an accurate mic, not just flat frequency response, but also good time domain response, low distortion, low noise, etc.

So an accurate mic could be the best choice, provided you actually want an accurate picture of the source.
I just read an interesting take on "accurate" vs. "colored" here:

The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
Old 12th June 2017
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmuth View Post
I just read an interesting take on "accurate" vs. "colored" here:

The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
If you've ever used a high-quality measurement omnidirectional microphone, you would realise that they don't sound bad, or good – they just sound like the source. You can use several of several brands, and they do sound rather interchangeable.

It's when you get directional mics that the game changes.

Also, the second post on that thread, even though it is by a revered user, is completely wrong. It's adding the ear part of the equation to the microphone system, which sounds like it makes sense, until you realise that the sound can't be pumped into your brain directly, and will therefore always go through your ear anyway.

The ultimate subjective test to accuracy (which unfortunately has to involve a speaker as well) is to record a sound that is close to a point-source like a voice or violin set in position A, with the mic in position B.

You then play back the sound with a speaker in position B and compare with the original source. This is where this test is usually done incorrectly; if you put the speaker in position A, you're duplicating the amount of reverberation that is received by your ears by virtue of having recorded it and playing it back again.

Having done this with voice before behind a thin curtain, it's actually quite sobering to struggle to discern the difference between real and recorded sound.

We're actually quite close technologically to "perfect mics"; the problem is that a "perfect" mic is omni, and we don't like that for recording. And, of course, the fact that speakers distort the sound a lot more than omni microphones do.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Fuston View Post
There are lots of mics that have amazingly flat frequency response plots. And yet, I rarely see them mentioned when we discuss best vocal mics.

Wouldn't having the flattest, most uncolored, recording of a vocal make the best starting point? To that you could add EQ, compression, coloration to taste.

Why don't you reach for a flat vocal mic?
I'd have no problems recording any vocalist with one essentially flat mic, and adding normal processing in post if needed, including EQ.

Tim
Old 2 weeks ago
  #40
Unless you're doing a live mix for SR or broadcast, or doing a live-to-two recording, it's just common practice now to kick all creative decisions as far down the road as possible (usually all the way down to the final mixing). I don't agree with this philosophy, but it is the common practice. So a recording engineer's job is less to get the "final" sound recorded than to get a good malleable sound recorded. Basically, the tracking philosophy is "do no harm" rather than "get it great".

One of the reasons I prefer doing location recording and acoustic styles is that there's more focus on coming to the recording session with a clear vision, and making some damned decisions during the process.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #41
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Some might call it a failure to commit. Others might see it as the opposite: foolishly committing to the same one mic, no matter who the vocalist.

Regardless of our particular preferences, modern DAW's allow us to defer decisions until later. They dont force it on us. In the past, making early decisions was forced on us whether we liked it or not.

Tim
Old 2 weeks ago
  #42
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There's much more to the sound of audio gear than simply frequency response, especially with microphones.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psykostx View Post
There's much more to the sound of audio gear than simply frequency response, especially with microphones.
Sure there is but microphone frequency response (presumably on axis here) is the topic of this thread.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timtape View Post
Sure there is but microphone frequency response (presumably on axis here) is the topic of this thread.
The question was "shouldn't the flattest be the best?" And my answer was relevant to that question. To be clear, my answer is NO.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psykostx View Post
The question was "shouldn't the flattest be the best?" And my answer was relevant to that question. To be clear, my answer is NO.
My answer would be "not necessarily" but I'd happily use a flat mic to record any vocalist.
Old 1 week ago
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timtape View Post
My answer would be "not necessarily" but I'd happily use a flat mic to record any vocalist.
True. I would say a definite "no" to "shouldn't a flat mic be the best" but "depends" to "could a flat mic be used for any vocalist".
Old 1 week ago
  #47
i don't think so - people spend thousands on old mics that do specific things a certain way. not a one size fits all mic. the reason is, humans love "color". if you could redo all the classic albums with a flat mic instead of whatever they used, would you really want to? better yet, would it have even made a difference, if the singer was good enough?
Old 1 week ago
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godson View Post
i don't think so - people spend thousands on old mics that do specific things a certain way. not a one size fits all mic. the reason is, humans love "color". if you could redo all the classic albums with a flat mic instead of whatever they used, would you really want to? better yet, would it have even made a difference, if the singer was good enough?
This is a self-fulfilling prophecy. People like what they're used to. When people started hearing recordings, they thought it sounded sterile, unnatural, and terrible.

When crooners started singing close to a Neumann U47 recorded to tape, people said it sounded terrible and they couldn't sing, and were faking a voice through trickery.

When 80s digital reverbs started becoming available, people said that digital reverbs sounded horrible and unnatural and that people were faking a voice through trickery.

The thing is, when the U47 and C12 came out, the designers were trying to make them flat and accurate, and the top end boost was created for recording things that were far away, and to fight tape hiss and its inherent treble attenuation. Because there was a lot of that.

Large diaphragm condensers were used instead of small diaphragms, because of preamp hiss, not because it was better. Small-diaphragm condensers were quite noisy half a century ago.

We're so used to these things, that we repeat them like a mantra. But large diaphragm valve mics through tape sound like a very odd version of reality. You can Stockholm-syndrome like it, like one would like a Strat through a Twin Reverb with the spring reverb turned up: it sounds like home to people, but it's not inherently a "better" sound.

Considering that high-end digital doesn't have the treble drop-off or the distortion of tape, or the smearing of cheap or old digital converters, it stands to reason that a linear, accurate-sounding microphone would be a good start.
Old 1 week ago
  #49
Quote:
Originally Posted by DistortingJack View Post
This is a self-fulfilling prophecy. People like what they're used to. When people started hearing recordings, they thought it sounded sterile, unnatural, and terrible.

When crooners started singing close to a Neumann U47 recorded to tape, people said it sounded terrible and they couldn't sing, and were faking a voice through trickery.

When 80s digital reverbs started becoming available, people said that digital reverbs sounded horrible and unnatural and that people were faking a voice through trickery.

The thing is, when the U47 and C12 came out, the designers were trying to make them flat and accurate, and the top end boost was created for recording things that were far away, and to fight tape hiss and its inherent treble attenuation. Because there was a lot of that.

Large diaphragm condensers were used instead of small diaphragms, because of preamp hiss, not because it was better. Small-diaphragm condensers were quite noisy half a century ago.

We're so used to these things, that we repeat them like a mantra. But large diaphragm valve mics through tape sound like a very odd version of reality. You can Stockholm-syndrome like it, like one would like a Strat through a Twin Reverb with the spring reverb turned up: it sounds like home to people, but it's not inherently a "better" sound.

Considering that high-end digital doesn't have the treble drop-off or the distortion of tape, or the smearing of cheap or old digital converters, it stands to reason that a linear, accurate-sounding microphone would be a good start.
well said! on the other hand, people spend hundreds on DAWs and "tape emulation plugins" to make their pristine recordings sound noisy and "warm" again, so what's the truth? i think people always wanted to ability to choose and have the best of both worlds - the aesthetics and humanity of that era, without the expensive, heavy and ugly equipment they needed to achieve that sound, and the speed, flexibility and affordability of digital tech and microphones that could be as flat as possible. that said, isn't it cool, when you find THE ONE mic that was "made for you"? out of all the options we have these days, getting the one mic that, while limited to ANYbody else, is perfect for YOU?
Old 1 week ago
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godson View Post
well said! on the other hand, people spend hundreds on DAWs and "tape emulation plugins" to make their pristine recordings sound noisy and "warm" again, so what's the truth? i think people always wanted to ability to choose and have the best of both worlds - the aesthetics and humanity of that era, without the expensive, heavy and ugly equipment they needed to achieve that sound, and the speed, flexibility and affordability of digital tech and microphones that could be as flat as possible. that said, isn't it cool, when you find THE ONE mic that was "made for you"? out of all the options we have these days, getting the one mic that, while limited to ANYbody else, is perfect for YOU?
Well, if you want something to sound like tape, that's something you're adding for effect. It's not the natural sound of a mix, or of anything. Doesn't it make sense to add an effect the way you would any other effect?

You can indeed use microphones for effect. But if I had a single microphone for all my vocal duties (or anything else for that matter) I would consider an accurate microphone with a flat tonality.

Even more so because I've realised I like that sound, that crisp, clear, smooth sound of a high-quality, linear-response small-diaphragm condenser, and because the cruddy sibilance of most microphones (either metallic or mushy, sometimes even both) irks me to no end on most records.
Old 1 week ago
  #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
For music, tube + transformer is the recipe, but it's the transformer that really matters. Whenever someone from the outside world sends me a VO or vocal recorded with a transformerless mic other than a 416, it's a struggle for me to make it cut through and still sound nice. Assuming it sounded nice in the first place.
Yes- it's the transformer. TLM style mics don't have the pop/presence/cut (whatever) of a quality transformer design. An online shootout won't necessarily reveal this, thus comparing U87's to ksm32's or NT1a's or Aston's, via online clips is No Bueno.
Old 5 days ago
  #52
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I want it to sound before it hits the AD.

Great doesn't always = flat. That's why we have different flavors of preamp, right?
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