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What's wrong with this Tele 251 recording?
Old 20th October 2013
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syntheticrhyme View Post
I'm not liking it. Check out this recording using an SM7b. Sounds so much better

Well that recording benefits from the room, set up, if I could guess outboard gear and not the least having George Massenberg quarterback the session.

This as opposed to an impromptu recording with the Tele 251 where it's probably running straight into an MBox or something equally mediocre and self engineerd.

Still I like the Tele better as there is more sparkle and shimmer to my ears. I can hear the fabric of the voice, The SM7b always sounds like a really hi def dynamic mic to me. It misses the microtonal shading and resolution that the great condensers can capture. I can imagine how spectacular that session would have sounded with a 251 or a C12. heck even a u47 would do a better job imho. Still a very nice recording.
Old 20th October 2013
  #32
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Avast!'s Avatar
That section in her singing with 'subharmonics' is odd.

I had a pair of original Telefunken 251Es, super minty, and most of the time I tried them on (rock) vocals, they were TOO intense. The beautiful high end and the full low end were great, but the pushy mids made almost everyone's voice too dominating to listen to. I'd almost always find an easy better choice.

Damn were they great on instruments though. Put one or two in a room with a musician and hit record = gold.

I have a lot of mics, and have heard no other mic remotely like a Telefunken ElaM251E.


An engineer here had a Bock 251 at the same time. Not as similar as you'd really want; it seemed to be missing most of the magic on the top octaves. At the same time, it was way more usable on voice. Fraction of the price too, and not too precious to handle.
Old 20th October 2013
  #33
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcfromfl View Post
The vocal pathologies you refer to can sometimes be difficult to differentiate from "vocal fry" technique, but at any rate, these sounds are obvious, and quite apart from the electronic distortion in the audio sample. These "natural" sounds (whether intentionally-produced or not) occur approximately mid-range in the vocal frequencies, whereas this distortion is considerably higher -- and even above what the human voice can produce.
I've never heard of vocal fry (or using the false cords) make anything even remotely similar to what we're discussing here. She isn't singing in the sub chest-voice range, and vocal fry refers to the lowest part of a singer's register... unless I was taught and trained incorrectly, in which case there are a bunch of profs at a couple of universities and private teachers in need of re-education.
Old 20th October 2013
  #34
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[QUOTE=Ward Pike;9519787]So, one might surmise from this that you are suggesting to EQ out the character of her voice?


No I am not. What I am saying is, this is not a microphone problem.

I am hearing a singer on this recording who developed knots on her vocal chords. She probably overworked her voice quite a bit for a long time.

Off course I am not surprised she´s in demand, she is a great singer. But this might create a problem over time.

I am working with a singer currently who had exactly the same problem. She had it medically treated and it´s fine again. Her voice sounds purer now, if you want -less character- but according to herself, more like her natural voice the way she knew it all her life.

You can refer to this sound as character but to me in this case, it is an unfortunate addition and probably not helped by this microphone.

Maybe I´m all wrong, but I don´t think so.
Old 20th October 2013
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ward Pike View Post
I've never heard of vocal fry (or using the false cords) make anything even remotely similar to what we're discussing here.
I concur.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ward Pike View Post
She isn't singing in the sub chest-voice range, and vocal fry refers to the lowest part of a singer's register... unless I was taught and trained incorrectly, in which case there are a bunch of profs at a couple of universities and private teachers in need of re-education.
Vocal fry can be used to produce sounds across a spectrum of frequencies...occasionally in the lowest part of a singer's register, as you mention. However, the compression and "bubbling" of the vocal cords, at least in modern music, is sometimes used to produce a "growl" of higher harmonics, which is why I drew an analogy to the sounds that might be produced by the pathologies you mentioned near the frequencies I'm noting in the audio sample. I incorrectly assumed the frequency range you meant in your post when I spoke of vocal fry.

If you are familiar with David Lee Roth, he was well-known for a vocal fry that was quite high in pitch, that he used to nearly emulate a "second voice."

You may be hearing something else, but what I was trying to draw attention to are the distorted sounds of a much higher frequency, which are not naturally-produced -- either intentionally or not.
Old 20th October 2013
  #36
I wonder, what are all the silly plus and minus thumbs in this thread mean.


It's like a kindergarten.
Hear the "zing" = minus thumbs
Good mic = plus thumbs


This is really stupid !

......freedom of opinion.

R.
Old 20th October 2013
  #37
Best idea is to use the Mic on a singer in your studio and report back here,
Old 20th October 2013
  #38
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Funny Cat's Avatar
Doc has a point BUT we are discussing a particular clip on a particular artist in this thread. I tend to agree with a few other posters who said there is nothing wrong with the mic or the singer. It's just not the right choice for this particular recording. Had this vocal been wrapped in a full production no one would ever notice that "zing". But here we have an a Capella so we are forced to notice whatever is causing that strange harmonic. Not trying to be inflammatory but I'm actually quite surprised that several posters here in the "high end" don't hear it. Maybe it just doesnt matter to some? Again, this is no knock against her voice or the mic.
Old 20th October 2013
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcfromfl View Post
Thanks all for your comments...but I'm blown away that only one of you thinks that something's at least wrong in the chain, if not the mic. I'm a professional singer, and the sound is not due to anything naturally from the vocal cords, etc. It's very electronic.
imagine, Ella Fitzgerald would have done the same to that poor mic ... then I assume you would have distortion.

I cant find anything wrong with the recording (beside the fact, that it mustnt be always "amazing grace" ...). its clear, nice, exactly the right amount of warmth and crispness.

if you will anything blame to naything, then you consider please, that this is a youtube-video. nowadays I find it somehow ridiculoud to judge a 9000$ mic via a youtube-video. does anybody of this youtube-reviews-and-shootout-watchers understand the difference to 24bit/44.1khz for example?
Old 20th October 2013
  #40
Gear Maniac
 

I'm with the guys who only hear a harmonic tone being produced by her voice, not the mic. I listened at the full resolution video through headphones, and the mic sounds great on her voice (except maybe for the low rumble noises and the last out of pitch note). Everything else sounded really good.
Old 20th October 2013
  #41
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kidvybes's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose7822 View Post
I'm with the guys who only hear a harmonic tone being produced by her voice, not the mic.
...I agree...fast forward just past the 6:00 mark in this video and listen to Lalah Hathaway deliberately sing harmonic "chords" with her voice (around 6:12)...IMHO, depending on the mic chosen, that tone she achieves may or may not translate, sonically speaking...it's not a fault in her voice, but rather a preference of just how any particular microphone replicates those tones...

Old 20th October 2013
  #42
Gear Maniac
 

^ Bad ass!!!
Old 20th October 2013
  #44
Gear Maniac
 

This was helpful to this discussion...thanks for posting. In this recording (despite the small pop filter), was an intense breathiness/airiness. I'm not sure that this was the right mic choice for the singer and song, but at least I think I'm satisfied that the Amazing Grace video was corrupted by something else in the signal chain. Perhaps the intense top-end was emphasized even further by incorrect choices in processing?
Old 20th October 2013
  #45
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Had this mic in my studio for a few weeks and really loved it. Had a tele u47 at the same time and that sounded great too, but actually preferred the 251 on many sources.

It's not a neutral sound. None of these kind of tube mics are; if you were going for natural I would say, think ribbon. It's a fat, warm sound that sounds awesome in any kind of big produced track. If you were doing something really acoustic and exposed sounding I would say, again, think ribbon.
Old 21st October 2013
  #46
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This reminds so much of when the vocals for Adele in "Rolling In The Deep" sounded so "zingy". It didnt matter though because at the end of the day it was such a great song that people will not notice it. Also reminds when George Ausgpurger said a big time engineer told him "You know whats the xecret? A good tune! Yeah check this out, I'll put it in the board and do whatever you what to it and you just cant kill it!"

IMHO unless youre Bruno Mars who actually has that zingy sound to his voice naturally which is why every mic will sound great on him, unless you have that, it just sounds terrible to me when the microphones zings up your voice alot.

To be honest I think people here are also just trying to justify that damn zingy sound on this vintage mic when had this been a freaking U87 AI it would had been brutally bad mouthed.

The M49 also has that zingy up on the top which annoys the crap out of me. The M49 does have a beautiful low end and low mids but damn up on top I just cant take it!

Prefer the U47, U67, C12, U87, and U87 AI over the 251 or M49.

I'm sorry I CANNOT STAND A ZINGY TONE MIC!
Old 21st October 2013
  #47
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Maybe if you add a Tube Tech CL1B on the vocal chain it can smooth out that harsh zingy tone.
Old 21st October 2013
  #48
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand View Post
It's very revealing to me to read peoples opinions about what they hear.

---snip happens---

The cool thing about these kinds of mics is that they tend to output sound that sits well in a mix. That being said, I wouldn't keep this particular take for this singer. I'd tell her to keep on axis. As far as the mic sound goes, it sounds fine to me, if you like that kind of sound. Many modern mics don't sound as thick, which is probably why this one sounds comparatively dull to someone that isn't familiar with old-school circuit sounds.

This kind of stuff absolutely amazes me... there is NO CONTEXT!! You have no idea what she sounded like in the room. Does she have a "dull" voice or a "bright" voice? Is her voice very forward in the midrange or is it kind of even throughout? Like Ward was wondering earlier in this thread... has she had surgery?

Without hearing her -- in that room -- and without hearing HER voice in context with other music [oh hell, I dunno... like something YOU (the listener who just watched a video that was delivered with the lowest form of MP-3 audio) recorded... and are currently working on] there is no way in hell to form an opinion about ANY of the tools employed in the chain.

No way in hell.

No way in heaven.

No way in this or any other world.

If you need to do a microphone evaluation, like say you're serious about adding some additional tools to your arsenal -- get one into your room and run it through its paces on work that is actually being produced.

It is not possible to put together a "learned" opinion of a tool until you have direct experience with that tool... at that point the tool either works for you, or it doesn't. If it does -- great... if it doesn't... then at least you know what it is you did and / or did not like about the tool rather than a YouTube quasi-advertisement cloaked as a "test" that has less than zero point of contextual reference.

Sorry to intrude on this lovely discussion with a small voice of reason... I'll try not to do it again.

You are now returned to your regularly scheduled pogrom.

Peace
Old 21st October 2013
  #49
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Mike O's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adonis Martine View Post

The M49 also has that zingy up on the top which annoys the crap out of me. The M49 does have a beautiful low end and low mids but damn up on top I just cant take it!


Different ears for different folks!
Old 21st October 2013
  #50
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
It is not possible to put together a "learned" opinion of a tool until you have direct experience with that tool... at that point the tool either works for you, or it doesn't. If it does -- great... if it doesn't... then at least you know what it is you did and / or did not like about the tool rather than a YouTube quasi-advertisement cloaked as a "test" that has less than zero point of contextual reference.
Thanks for your input, Fletcher. You are in probably a better position than the rest of us to comment here.

I just wanted to point out that I think everyone here on this board recognizes that YouTube is low-res. With that understood, what I'm hearing, at least, is significant enough to be something from the original recording and not an artifact of mp3 compression or codec. And yes, there is no context, as you mention. But that was the point of this thread, to discuss what is most likely going on with this signal, and, as it turned out, opinions yea or nay on the preferences of this particular sound.

If something like this is "out there" that unfairly represents the 251, then it is certainly appropriate to have a discussion to set matters straight!
Old 21st October 2013
  #51
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Fletcher's Avatar
Fair enough... at the end of the day all kinds of people post all kinds of useless ****e on the internet to try to show how tools will "respond"... some of the folks doing these videos couldn't actually engineer their way out of a wet paper bag... but they do them for reasons that are either to boost their ego [look how cool I am] or for commercial reasons [buy this tool from me because I posted a You Tube video]... which doesn't make the videos any less ****ty or irrelevant it just makes them there.

There is no substitute for direct experience... though in this lovely digital world of ours there are lots of people that think "free porn" is just as good as a "classy hooker". I'm not from that school [I prefer hookers to videos of other's experience... but I'm weird that way].

Peace
Old 22nd October 2013
  #52
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
F

There is no substitute for direct experience... though in this lovely digital world of ours there are lots of people that think "free porn" is just as good as a "classy hooker". I'm not from that school [I prefer hookers to videos of other's experience... but I'm weird that way].

Peace
Fletcher, you´re preference maybe oldschool, but in the presence of multi drug resisting STD´s and even TBC it may be something that wants to be reviewed.
The "classy" definition may lure one in thinking those germs are willing to oblige to that distinction. Doubtful, one may end up with an unwanted direct experience.
(this does´nt mean to say I prefer porn to the real thing)

By the way, I miss your place. It was the only shop I ever bought stuff without trying it out, just on the premise that you have it listed. Never regretted it.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
This kind of stuff absolutely amazes me... there is NO CONTEXT!! You have no idea what she sounded like in the room. Does she have a "dull" voice or a "bright" voice? Is her voice very forward in the midrange or is it kind of even throughout? Like Ward was wondering earlier in this thread... has she had surgery?

Without hearing her -- in that room -- and without hearing HER voice in context with other music [oh hell, I dunno... like something YOU (the listener who just watched a video that was delivered with the lowest form of MP-3 audio) recorded... and are currently working on] there is no way in hell to form an opinion about ANY of the tools employed in the chain.

No way in hell.

No way in heaven.

No way in this or any other world.

If you need to do a microphone evaluation, like say you're serious about adding some additional tools to your arsenal -- get one into your room and run it through its paces on work that is actually being produced.

It is not possible to put together a "learned" opinion of a tool until you have direct experience with that tool... at that point the tool either works for you, or it doesn't. If it does -- great... if it doesn't... then at least you know what it is you did and / or did not like about the tool rather than a YouTube quasi-advertisement cloaked as a "test" that has less than zero point of contextual reference.

Sorry to intrude on this lovely discussion with a small voice of reason... I'll try not to do it again.

You are now returned to your regularly scheduled pogrom.

Peace
What are you barking at me about?

It's ENTIRELY possible to hear a mic in a playback of a recording, regardless of the resolution being not top quality, and come to a general idea of how the mic sounds, especially when the clip is soloed.

The bit from my post you highlighted was just a general comment on the old style tube mics, and how they tend to output a sound that sits well in a mix. That's a general comment. I fail to see what you'd be running your mouth at me about.

As far as context goes, I know that I didn't dig this particular take for this solo performance, so I WOULDN'T KEEP IT. And that's fine. It needs no further context. What could be worth your picking a beef about with that? I didn't say SHE was singing in a mix. I didn't say that I knew every variable in the equation either. I based my evaluation on what I heard, discounting it's obvious limitations. Your intentional pedantry with me on this post is completely unwarranted. And frankly I find it insulting.

If you want to speak on something speak. But I don't care who you THINK you are, you're acting like an ass when you do things like you did.

You should know better.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #54
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand View Post
The bit from my post you highlighted was just a general comment on the old style tube mics, and how they tend to output a sound that sits well in a mix. That's a general comment. I fail to see what you'd be running your mouth at me about.
I was in complete and total agreement with your statement -- I highlighted that section of the statement in bold because I thought it was an incredibly relevant statement and was the basis for my further expansion of that idea.

Peace
Old 23rd October 2013
  #55
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Oldone's Avatar
I concur with the preamp setting being a little hot but the engineer may have been going for the emotion thing and letting the tube break up a bit. I wouldn't blame the mic or the singer.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #56
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It's amazing to me that their is still debate about this thread. If someone singing in an untreated room overdrove a u47 into a presonus or a Maxie onyx would there even be a discussion about the mic.

First off the vocal is a bit hyped sounding though there are parts that feel very vibrant and alive. From a pure sonic standpoint I think the vocal could be polished nicely. With that said, I don't get the slightest unnatural zing or glare from my Tele 251 so I'm thinking its most likely the recording chain. Also, the singer is really pushing it and not in a good way like wtf is up with the Beyoncé style vocal gymnastics which is awful even on most r&b songs and beyond worse on Amazing Grace. All in all the video is a bit of a fail but don't blame the mic. The 251 is spectacular and can be absolutely gorgeous with the right supporting cast
Old 24th October 2013
  #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adonis Martine View Post

The M49 also has that zingy up on the top which annoys the crap out of me. The M49 does have a beautiful low end and low mids but damn up on top I just cant take it!

Prefer the U47, U67, C12, U87, and U87 AI over the 251 or M49.

I'm sorry I CANNOT STAND A ZINGY TONE MIC!
your m49 must be in need of a service then...
Old 24th October 2013
  #58
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcfromfl View Post
Hi everyone --

I'm considering some different options with some 251-like mics, as well as a mod, and came across this video: Test 20 Telefunken ELA M 251 Microphone Ann Marie Vocal in Westlake California - YouTube To be perfectly frank, I'd be one unhappy customer if this is what my $9.000 investment sounded like! This has me scratching my head a bit, because the folks who did this video are trusted mic reviewers, and I assume know how to set up a mic.

Am I missing something? To my ears, there is a significant, ugly distortion that is clearly audible. At first, I thought it may be due to overdriving the mic, but the distortion is also heard on softer passages. (Surely 6-8 inches should be OK if levels are set properly?) Could it be an incompatible preamp? Do 251s have a bit of a "zing" normally?

Thanks for your input!
there's some reverb i hear. it sounds nice. they lady has a beautiful voice. I know someone who bought a bock 251 i believe, it was one of the clones and he said the salesman said that those mics usually have some distortion as part of their "sound". i don't have too much experience with 251s to say if that's true. maybe fletcher knows? he usually browses these forums and might have something to say.
Old 24th October 2013
  #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walth View Post
maybe fletcher knows? he usually browses these forums and might have something to say.
Good God, did you even read this thread?
Old 24th October 2013
  #60
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