Dave: What mics would distress you, if you weren't allowed to pair them up with the Distressor?
Honestly, no one should care what mics I use!. All the usuals Im quite sure. Maybe tho as I mention some of the usual mic suspects, I could interject things I do have strong feelings about:
Vocals - Neumann TLM170, U87, U47, Brauner VM1 (I just got one and so far its STUNNING!), SM81, WIsh i Had a C12, and a 251, and now a C37A lol. Also the Audio Technicas. AT4047, hmm the 4050, & 4060 is it? I used lots of AKG414 but honestly, I think the one I have is a little honkkkkky in the 1-4K area, but sometimes good on an airy voice. I find the Sennheiser 441 really good on some voices but has a low output, the 421 is also a great mic sometimes, even tho it doesnt have that tingly air up top like the big diaphram condensors.
Acoustic Instruments - seems like the same mics that are good on voices are good here, unless you needed close spot mics. I did love my AKG535 and 414 sometimes on midrange light instruments. The 414 was good on a nylon guitar or OUD sometimes.
Drums - the usuals SM57's, 421's, D112, BeyerM88 sometimes, AKG 451's or 460's overhead, but OOoo I have heard the Earthworks there and WANT EM!. AT4051's are good up there too. I never took chances with a U47 on a kik drum lol. I tried AKG451's 460's on the snares but they always bled too much Hi hat in.
PET PEEVE: Drummers need to learn not to smash their cymbals and hi hats. I dont think it EVER sounds good. Smash your snare and kicks and toms, but not your cymbals. They are bright colors and as such, need to be applied sparingly, and properly. Develop your independance of hands, and seperation of tasks. Someone who overplays cymbals not only makes it hard to keep the top end of a mix open, but often compromise the sound of snares and toms, making the engineer have to use samples sometimes.
Room Mics - I usually was pickiest here. The TLM170's were great, U87's, 47's when i had em. I suspect small diaghram mics like the Earthworks would be awesome but I usually put them overhead on the drums. ALso the B&K Reference mics were sooooo open and "NON CANNY" sounding. I only had a chance to use the last two small diaphram mics once or twice, dammit. Im hazy on some of the mic models. Cymbal leakage on room mics was a battle for a big rock sound. See the PET PEEVE about drummers above.
Anyone ever use one of those Neumann "Heads" that imitate our ears on room mics? Theres just not enough money in the bank, nor hours in the day, is there?
When I was workin on the Distressor testing it on room mics for the "Sponge factor", the quality of room mics became OBVIOUS! AKG414 just didnt cut it honestly, up next to a good Neumann. Very midrangy and "Cancelly". Im dying to try the Brauner, and Earthworks, as well as some Audio Technica Large diaphrams.
The Earthworks have a transient response and openness that are pretty identifiable. They are another brilliant creation of Eric and Dave Blackmer. (Wish I remembered the model numbers!). David Blackmer was someone I would pay almost every cent I had to do a Vulcan Mind Meld with. <==== (Ive been dying to use that animoticon)
Id go back to the lab and go nuts with his knowlege of semiconductors and physics.
David Blackmer stood tall above most audio electronic designers in his theoretical and practical knowlege. We lost a big one, last year. If I knew 1/4 of what he knew....
Elec Guitars and bass - 57's 421's, sometimes a large diaphram or even like an AKG451 to open up the top and bottom of a cabinet.
You dont need to hear about any other mic choices of mine, and hardly even the ones mentioned above. Ask some of the other great engineers around who actually make "classic" recordings and hit records.
And again, its not the paintbrush, its the painter. Bob Clearmountain could take SM57's and a Mackie Mixer and "paint" a masterpiece.
I must say I like the MD-441 a lot, what a useful mic. Try it on a dirty guitar cab too and see what you think.
What other uses have you found for the c451b's? how are they as overheads... those are my newest mics and I havent had any chance to use them. They sound smooth enough, just lsitening to my voice on them, but thats not much of a test. I traded out some MXL 603's for them so I'm hoping I made the right choice.
As far as Earthworks, are you talking about the cardioids or omnis? How are the 451's by comparison?
The 451's seem to have kind of a hollow midrange (in a good way, often). Almost the opposite of say a SM57. Because of that they can often compliment a sm57 on elec guitars. Ive used them on acoustics too with some success. They have that open top end like the Earthworks but the transient response is much better on the Earthworks I think.
I have seen the AKG451's used on vocals. Once they sat about forehead level (or higher) and aimed down to capture a womans voice and body. They were never my first or second choice for vocals tho. I have seen them used in coincident pairs to mic overheads or even close mic acoustic instruments. I have seen them used on brass groups too, but I tried it once and went running for my TLM170 Neuman. They are exceedingly similar to the AKG 460's .
451s were THE mic of choice in the British TV studio of the 70's. You'd see them on absolutely everything - even close vocals with a huge wire windshield. They were often used with an extension tube between the body and capsule: long tube with the mic on the floor for interview sets, or short tube on a "banquet" stand on top of a piano for a vocalist. I have some from that vintage, but they've become a bit unreliable. They absolutely HATE cold damp conditions, which, sadly, describes my house
Do they ever! And we're not talking background noise here, either... I read somewhere that if you fill the body round the electronics with MS4 grease it stops all that, but I haven't had the cojones to do it yet.
I remember rigging a church with 451s the night before we were due to broadcast a morning service. We went in an hour or so before the studio line-up time and faded them up.... oh DEAR. The cold damp church had done its worst. It sounded like WW3 out there. I think we swapped out with some of the spare dynamics we had, then balanced all the 451s on top of radiators or walked around with them in our pockets.
Next time I rigged a church service the night before, I took the mics off after the rehearsal and kept them in the hotel room overnight!
I havnt looked inside a 451 in years but I remember unscrewing the capsule, drying it in a dry room over nite and spraying just a touch of Cramolin on the spring contact before putting it back together. IT HELPED!
I've got a pair of Earthworks SRO's myself...they're basically a cheaper version of the TC30K (aluminum body instead of stainless steel, only flat from 20 Hz to 20 kHz instead of 7 to 30 or whatever) and run about $300 apiece. They're my overheads of choice and if you're looking into Earthworks but funds are tight they're a great way to go. Just got a pair of Royer R121's which make amazing room microphones (especially when run through Distressors...which I will own someday)...great combination. I'm going to try switching them around and seeing what happens.
Ill have to check the SRO's in our setup here, in the mean time, Im going to have to borrow a matched pair of the Earthwork TC30's from freind who owes me a favor, and save up so I can own a pair of those. They really are a stunning open sound. I wonder if any orchestra recordings are available using them. They would have to be just KILLER for that.
Rafael at Royer has gotten a few of our toys and Im wondering if I can trade for one of Royers Ribbons soon. Im embarassed to say Ive never used a ribbon mic on guitars and everyone says its great.