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gearstudent 16th August 2009 12:40 AM

For those who have a choice....we salute you (mic question)

This question is for the studio experts who have over $10,000 worth of microphones, or use over $10,000 worth of microphones regularly. Not trying to start a gear war here. It's just that they are they are the ones most likely to best answer this question.

Instead of using your $5000+ large diaphragm ace microphone to record a pop vocalist in the studio. Have you ever experimented with more of a classical/accuracy approach? For example, maybe using a pair of more linear small diaphragm condenser mics (like DPA, Schoeps, Earthworks) into a Millennia HV preamp? And having these mics back about 4 feet instead of 1 foot?

If you try a classical recording approach like this to a pop vocal, does it somehow dissapoint?

I'm trying to figure out why a studio with great choices, and great acoustics still does more or less what the project studios do: large diaghragm condenser cardioid in an iso booth>>avalon 737>>recorder.

There must be some tradeoff that makes the standard approach better than the classical approach.

loh90 16th August 2009 06:21 PM

I do not fit under your the category of people who own that many mics, but I often, with great results, record vocalists about 2-3 feet back with an Violet Design Amethyst Vintage without a pop filter. In one of the studios at my school we have a very nice live room that has 30 foot ceilings and heavy curtained walls so it has a nice big open sound, but not a huge reverby sound. Having the mic placed that extra 2 feet back opens up the voice for me, and with compression, you can still achieve a very in your face pop sound. Sometimes I'll even put a mid side further back in the room or just a stereo pair and use the level of that as reverb instead of applying it in pro tools.

Just my experience.

Fletcher 17th August 2009 03:06 AM

I have well over $10k in microphones... in fact, I have individual microphones worth well over $10k [not trying to be a show off, just stating a fact and giving perspective].

Yes, I've tied various "measurement" mics, and yes, sometimes they're great. Most times they're not as flattering to the singer as a less "accurate" microphone but more "musical" microphones]. Often one of the more expensive "sexy" sounding microphones is appropriate... sometimes a $350- SM-7b is the best way to go. Set up a line of 'um, try a bunch, and having no pre-conceptions has been working for me for quite a while... as always, YMMV.

The "HV-3" has never gotten me off... it sounds sterile, clinical and downright boring to me. There are a myriad of other "clean" pre-amplifiers that are worlds more musical sounding... from the NPNG to the John Hardy to the GML or Martech to the Crane Song LTD. "Flamingo" all the way to tube stuff [yes Virginia, tube stuff can be clean as a whistle!!] like the Fearn, Manley and stuff from Pendulum.

Best of luck with your search!!


Marcocet 17th August 2009 03:52 AM

There are definitely times where I find a more natural approach to recording vocals useful. However most people want to hear themselves as superhuman, not as what they just sound like in a room. Especially with vocals price has almost nothing to do with whether a mic is appropriate or not. A SM7 or a GT Model1 will sometimes beat out a U47 or M49 for me. I just happen to end up liking the Neumann's a lot...

Led 17th August 2009 03:57 AM

That sort of approach works for some stuff, but pop is all smoke and mirrors. We never hear a vocalist as closeup in real life as we like to in pop tracks, btu as Marcoset rightly said, we prefer the unreal representation. All smoke and mirrors...

Celloman 17th August 2009 03:59 AM

i believe that classical techniques and gear choices have evolved for a reason. It is desirable to record classical music in a concert hall venue. Some halls are more flattering and better suited for recording than others. These venues cannot be compared with recording studios. The sexy sound that recording studios desire, often must come from the gear, whereas the sexy sound that classical recordists desire comes from the hall. This is why the Millennia HV-3 sounds sexy to the classical engineer. Conversely, the gear with high coloration and it's own sexy sound, does not always add more flattery in the concert hall, but most times adds a dullness and lack of ability to capture the sexy sound that already exists in the space.

Mike Mermagen

gearstudent 21st August 2009 08:14 PM

Thank you for all of the different perspectives. Very interseting and informative.