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Copying a 'classic' mic dynamic chart by EQing a cheap mic... thoughts?
Old 5th April 2019
  #1
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s wave's Avatar
Copying a 'classic' mic dynamic chart by EQing a cheap mic... thoughts?

I would like to hear your thoughts and experiences on EQing a cheaper flat response microphone to mimic the dynamic chart of a HIGH END microphone or classic. Would like to hear drawbacks you have encountered.

I would like to discuss what you think as well as your preferences of any of the following...

What is the best cheaper range flat response mic to use in your opinion? (Se 2200ish)
Best software & hardware EQ that you have used...
How close you you came to achieve your goals...
AND finally, did you run across a new usable and unexpected sound or set-up?
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Old 5th April 2019
  #2
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bgood's Avatar
That sounds arduous

Might as well buy Antares mic modeler or ik multimedia’s mic room
Old 5th April 2019
  #3

I have quite a few specialized vocal mics because of singers with odd voices or bad technique... While the EQ on a good digital board will work in a pinch, having a mic with the right response is better - phase and transient issues drive most of that (I believe).

When you do anything besides close micing, the whole technique starts to fall apart as you can only correct the frequency response for one pick-up angle. So any ambiance will not be "corrected" to sound like the mic you couldn't afford....




-tINY

Old 5th April 2019
  #4
Gear Addict
Who cares what any mic sounds like (if you're doing pop/rock) listen to anything on the radio these days - practically every vocal has heaps of fuzzy saturation applied to it - you can't hear the mic! This is why I think all this fussing over mics and pre-amps is pointless - any half decent mic will usually do a good job unless it just doesn't suit the individual singer/performer.
Old 5th April 2019
  #5
Gear Addict
 

Spectral balance is only part of what makes some mics better than others (or at the very least different than others.) Transient response, distortion, how smooth or peaky their response is, etc. Even if/when it's possible to EQ a reasonable tonal match, you'll still have those other differences.

As someone else pointed out, off-axis response is another key factor that you can't fix with EQ (or any other way!) Many of the best mics are chosen in large part for their off-axis response.

Having said all that, there's no harm in experimenting. A few years ago I switched back and forth between XY cardioids and an all-in-one MS stereo mic for main pair duties. At one point I tried your idea and found that I could make each rig sound pretty similar to the other with the right EQ... but none of those mics were super-high-end, and they all had similar off-axis response, so they were fairly good candidates for such matching.

On the other hand, I've since purchased a much nicer MS pair, and there's no amount of EQ that can make either of my old rigs match the new one. I can certainly sculpt them to be closer if I want, but the other factors are still all missing.
Old 6th April 2019
  #6
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scragend View Post
Who cares what any mic sounds like (if you're doing pop/rock) listen to anything on the radio these days - practically every vocal has heaps of fuzzy saturation applied to it - you can't hear the mic! This is why I think all this fussing over mics and pre-amps is pointless - any half decent mic will usually do a good job unless it just doesn't suit the individual singer/performer.
Quoted for truth.

Regardless of what mic is used, the goal of the engineer would be to bring the track to the most optimal set of frequencies possible? If a bright sound is desired, a bright mic would be used, but a flat mic w/ a high shelf could also work too.

The benefit of a mic is the convenience of having a specific frequency response curve ready out of the box. The tradeoff of having a mic collection or not would be the cost in money vs. the cost in time.

When the saturation, delay, reverb, EQ, de-esser, compression, etc. is added, the discernible differences between the mics themselves are greatly reduced.

I'm sure there's some guy out there who will say "But, how could I imagine Michael Jackson Thriller be recorded on anything but a Shure!", "because you knew the answer already".
Old 6th April 2019
  #7
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scragend View Post
Who cares what any mic sounds like (if you're doing pop/rock) listen to anything on the radio these days - practically every vocal has heaps of fuzzy saturation applied to it - you can't hear the mic!
You might get to the same place as with any other mic, but it might take longer with some mics.

Or you might not get to the place you want, it's just that it's "acceptably close" to that place.

In other words the source quality will change what you do and how you go about doing it, sometimes a little sometimes a lot.
Old 6th April 2019
  #8
yeah I get the SM7 success with Thriller and the success builds everything up, and people can hear it and say that's a SM7!
etc.. but had it been a Heil PR40 the same thing would have happened.
like chicken or the egg, which came first the success or the gear?

then after all the fuss you realize the common sound is a smashed saturated album rock sound with saturation maximus or at least minimus etc.,.etc..
even the top pro gear tracks, gets slapped with plugins and tweaking before its over, so what is left of the original mic sound?

does anyone discuss the SM7 Thriller ...chain?

Adeles even bigger hit has the engineer saying a Rode mic into a UA 6176 was what we hear, straight in....but the mix engineer in another article lists all the plugins and stuff used on the same Rolling in the Deep production....so? how much of the original mic is left really?

if we EQ a mic is it really fair to say this sound is that of the mic? or is the sound maybe not the mic but the smashed compressor?
Old 7th April 2019
  #9
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s wave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZEF View Post
yeah I get the SM7 success with Thriller and the success builds everything up, and people can hear it and say that's a SM7!
etc.. but had it been a Heil PR40 the same thing would have happened.
like chicken or the egg, which came first the success or the gear?

then after all the fuss you realize the common sound is a smashed saturated album rock sound with saturation maximus or at least minimus etc.,.etc..
even the top pro gear tracks, gets slapped with plugins and tweaking before its over, so what is left of the original mic sound?

does anyone discuss the SM7 Thriller ...chain?

Adeles even bigger hit has the engineer saying a Rode mic into a UA 6176 was what we hear, straight in....but the mix engineer in another article lists all the plugins and stuff used on the same Rolling in the Deep production....so? how much of the original mic is left really?

if we EQ a mic is it really fair to say this sound is that of the mic? or is the sound maybe not the mic but the smashed compressor?
(Yea I think the off access point is crucial). I am Adele fan. The mic technique and treatment might be a bit more important than the mic itself. Many of her songs seemed comped together - many takes - but I like the result so I don't care. I would think having low self noise mic is more important when you have a singer like of her quality and in compositions with so much vocal room available.. You can squeeze out every last subtle tone. She is the epitome of 'letting' you in. I also think great singers can adapt to the mic easier and better...
Old 7th April 2019
  #10
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s wave's Avatar
There is a real good mic/eq thread going on now on GS: Al Schmitt “On the Record” and Mic as EQ Theory)
Old 9th April 2019
  #11
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZEF View Post
if we EQ a mic is it really fair to say this sound is that of the mic?

No, but gear sluts want it both ways.

A) "This mic is special and has a signature sound; EQing any decent mic is not enough to achieve the right sound; you need to use the right mic"

B) "Oh, it's EQ'd, but it's still recorded on that mic, so that mic is amazing"
Old 9th April 2019
  #12
Gear Maniac
Assume you were to get two random unsolved rubix cubes each in different orderings. There would be a desired result (the best possible outcome; i.e. all sides solid and solved). One Rubix cube might be closer to the solution than another but one may require more changes to reach that solution, but we wouldn't say that either of those Rubix cubes would result in a different solution.

How much does paying $1000 for a mic preferred frequency response matter if even the best possible mic is still going to get EQ'd?
Old 9th April 2019
  #13
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by minervx View Post
How much does paying $1000 for a mic preferred frequency response matter if even the best possible mic is still going to get EQ'd?
If frequency response was the only determining factor in choosing a mic, you'd have a decent point here.

However, many people are choosing mics based on other parameters too, including off-axis response, distortion, body resonances, transient response, phase issues, etc. If none of those things matter to you, then you can make do with any reasonable mic plus EQ. But if some of those other parameters matter, then EQ can only solve some of your problems.

Some of these differences may seem subtle or esoteric, and perhaps only matter to the top x% of engineers, but polar pattern and off-axis response are pretty obvious and make a huge difference, and you can't EQ them away!!!
Old 9th April 2019
  #14
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s wave's Avatar
Usually the higher end mic has a shorter path of reaching the desired sound. But not always (Rubiks cube end result/hypothetically) But 2 more things come into effect here... No 2 mics will have the same colored cube at the end and the clarity and pureness of the color of the cube will be different. I also never make the assumption that the higher end mic will have the better looking Rubiks cube at the end. When need be I often blend say two lower priced mics for my desired results. Lets say I want a semi-sibilant high end with nice interesting glitching and a more subdued darker fairly clear low end frequency sound. I would use a AKG 8000 for the high end blended with the lower end of a Behringer 8500.

I always use many permutations or recording set ups and never use the one size fits all mentality. If I had a good mic locker - It would also tempt me to get lazy - But I do my sound tests as diligently as I can and oft times come up with something much better and far from what I was actually searching for or pre-envisioned. This is the beauty of being the producer without having to pay for studio time or over head. (You pay with time and energy though).

I often copy dynamic chart EQs of other microphones and the results are often surprising. (good and bad) But even the bad results are valuable by showing me what not to do and what direction is the right way to head. In the film industry the we used to do 'due diligence' in the dailies or 'tests' and make adjustments accordingly (not dissimilar to running microphone testing and EQing for a vocalist before a session).
Old 9th April 2019
  #15
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Oh, just to clarify my earlier comments, I'm not saying more expensive is better, just that EQ correction can only alter some of the differences between mics. Other differences will remain.

Whether or not those differences matter in any given situation is up to the end user.
Old 9th April 2019
  #16
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave View Post
Usually the higher end mic has a shorter path of reaching the desired sound.


Indeed, but is it worth spending 20x as much for that shorter path? For a Pro - yes, for people who only track occasionally - not really. I know how my cheap mics sound and can dial the sound I want in pretty quickly. Like familiarity with plug-ins - if you know your hardware then you can get where you need go quickly.
Old 10th April 2019
  #17
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scragend View Post
Who cares what any mic sounds like (if you're doing pop/rock) listen to anything on the radio these days - practically every vocal has heaps of fuzzy saturation applied to it - you can't hear the mic! This is why I think all this fussing over mics and pre-amps is pointless - any half decent mic will usually do a good job unless it just doesn't suit the individual singer/performer.
For what I do or will ever do this is definitely true. **** I use a Sennheiser 835 as my vocal mic for recording vocals and it does a fine job. I have a couple inexpensive medium diaphragm condensers but I like the Sennheiser better.

For guitars, bass and drums it's VST's and VSTi's for me.
Old 10th April 2019
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZEF View Post
yeah I get the SM7 success with Thriller

Adeles even bigger hit
Excuse me... are you saying that Adele has a bigger hit than Thriller?
I can’t even look at whatever else you wrote. Explain yourself, please.
Old 10th April 2019
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobpick68 View Post
I use a Sennheiser 835 as my vocal mic for recording vocals and it does a fine job. I have a couple inexpensive medium diaphragm condensers but I like the Sennheiser better.
Trust your ears. I hear this the same as you. The 835 sounds better than much more expensive mics on a lot of vocals.
Old 10th April 2019
  #20
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Typo Bushman, he meant "Adele has a bigger hip"

Just kidding BTW, Adele is naturally very pretty.
Chris
Old 10th April 2019
  #21
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s wave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Trust your ears. I hear this the same as you. The 835 sounds better than much more expensive mics on a lot of vocals.
Agreed; the Sennheiser is just so good on select vocals.
Old 23rd April 2019
  #22
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY View Post

I have quite a few specialized vocal mics because of singers with odd voices or bad technique... While the EQ on a good digital board will work in a pinch, having a mic with the right response is better - phase and transient issues drive most of that (I believe).

When you do anything besides close micing, the whole technique starts to fall apart as you can only correct the frequency response for one pick-up angle. So any ambiance will not be "corrected" to sound like the mic you couldn't afford....




-tINY

Curious which mics.
Old 23rd April 2019
  #23

Mostly for stage use...

RE510
PR35
RE10
AE3300
AKG C5
Heil Classic


...then:

Kel HM-7u
Kel HM-1
MXL v69g
Stedman N-90

Not industry standards so much as a wide collection of colors....



-tINY

Old 24th April 2019
  #24
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY View Post

Mostly for stage use...

RE510
PR35
RE10
AE3300
AKG C5
Heil Classic


...then:

Kel HM-7u
Kel HM-1
MXL v69g
Stedman N-90

Not industry standards so much as a wide collection of colors....



-tINY


I didn't know about the Heil Classic until now. Is it particularly awesome?
Old 24th April 2019
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by bangbang View Post
I didn't know about the Heil Classic until now. Is it particularly awesome?

Another tool... it works for a lot of guitarist/singer situation using just one mic. It gets a good organic, honest representation of the performer.

I usually use it about arms-length from the talent.




-tINY

Old 24th April 2019
  #26
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Brian M. Boykin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave View Post
There is a real good mic/eq thread going on now on GS: Al Schmitt “On the Record” and Mic as EQ Theory)
This was one of the reasons I started that thread. I can say what I got out of it is because of the axis issues and even higher quality parts, getting it right at the source is the way to go. This can easily be done by building mics for cheap. The circuit designs have all been copied and better parts swapped in for lower distortion and noise. Capsules can be copied on a CNC machine to the micrometer. Skinning it is another issue. I think I finally figured out the difference in 3 micron vs 6 micron. $$$$ You can skin twice as many with 3 micron as 6 micron. Maybe the 3 has better transient response but none of the big high end capsule makers use 3. I read on another thread the AAM and Peluso capsules are made in the same plan. AAM’s are skinned at the plant and Peluso’s are skinned at his plant. I would love to have some original classics, but building from kits and playing with circuit attenuation and capsules is just too easy. You don’t even need to build that many to have a nice pallet to choose from. K47, K67, C12, Shoeps, and a couple tubes and your done.
Old 24th April 2019
  #27
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s wave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY View Post

Another tool... it works for a lot of guitarist/singer situation using just one mic. It gets a good organic, honest representation of the performer.

I usually use it about arms-length from the talent.




-tINY

If I may - What is the best flat response mic you have? as well as the least colored mic you have/like? thx in advance....
Old 24th April 2019
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave View Post
If I may - What is the best flat response mic you have? as well as the least colored mic you have/like? thx in advance....


Earthworks SR-20 pair.

The CAD M179s I have are pretty flat as well, but still have a 1" capsule that has consequences above about 7kHz.


-tINY

Old 24th April 2019
  #29
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Brian M. Boykin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY View Post


Earthworks SR-20 pair.

The CAD M179s I have are pretty flat as well, but still have a 1" capsule that has consequences above about 7kHz.


-tINY

Are you able to test frequency response. Even if it’s a poor man’s version I’d like to hear about it. I’ll put a mic up to my monitor and set 1k hz to 0 VU on my console and then sweep through the tones. The mic goes through a Jim Williams modded Symetrix SX202. I know there’s a lot of variables in there like the frequency response of the speaker, frequency response of the console I’m playing back through as well as the Motu converters and analog stage, but it’s all I have.
Old 25th April 2019
  #30

I am certain that, on axis, the SR-20 is flatter than anything else I have that outputs or records an acoustic signal... Then there's the problem of not having an anechoic chamber.....



-tINY

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