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The Big Shoot Out at the Audio Chorale Condenser Microphones
Old 16th October 2002
  #1
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
The big shootout

Yesterday me and a few other people got together at Steve's place for pizza, assorted snacks, and listening to various mics and mic pres. We wanted to get to reverbs and stuff but ran out of time. I brought the digital camera with me and snapped a few pictures and Steve took some as well. I'll post mine as soon as I find the time to pull them off the camera.

Steve had setup some kind of splitter thing that fed each mic through the transformer side and went from there to the truck. We listened to pairs of mics going through different pairs of preamps with acoustic guitar and vocal as the source. After each take we'd swap mics, maybe insert a pad if needed continue recording. Everything went down to two DA98HR's at 24bit 48khz and we listened to the playback to pick what we liked and didn't like. While it wasn't too scientific it was pretty much real world stuff in regards to matching levels and mic placement.

Anyway, on one hand the results were pretty suprising and on the other hand I heard a lot of things that I expected to hear. I'll post more later and a lot more after Steve makes a post or two about it. I don't want to spill the beans just yet.
yuktyy
Old 16th October 2002
  #2
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
We tested and evaluated 8 sets of mic pre's.
The mic pre's we used for the "Shoot Out" were as follows:

2 x Audio Toys, Pro6's
2 x Geoff Daking 52270's
2 x True Systems Precision8's
2 x API 3124's
2 x Telefunken ???'s
2 x Shep SN8's
2 x OSA's
2 x channels of the Otari Status

We also ran a few passes with the GT VIPRE on vocals only, replacing the status pre's.

Some of the mics we used included, M149, BLUE KIWI, BLUE BABY BOTTLE, TLM170, C414BULS, KM140, KMS105, VIP50, BEYER M260 and others.

Seven out of eight of us took or will take the blind test. Danny Dennison, Aura Sonic's shop manager was there for support but will not take the test.

Jay Kahrs, Jay Crouch, Larry Hammel, Denny McNerney and Jon D'Uva already took the test and reported their findings. Since I knew where the pre's were patched, I did not take the test during the session, since it would have not been a blind test for me.

I plan to take the test with Dave Barckow, who also was our singer, guitarist, drummer for the session. I really want to hear what Dave has to say, since he's a musician and not a techie.
I hope to get to it after my Boston gig and video edit session I will be busy with.

Perhaps, early next week, I can post our findings.

Once we pick the best of the best we will play around with compressors and reverbs...
Old 16th October 2002
  #3
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by Remoteness
Some of the mics we used included, M149, BLUE KIWI, BLUE BABY BOTTLE, TLM170, C414BULS, KM140, KMS105, VIP50, BEYER M260 and others.
The Beyer M260 was modified by Stephen Sank and now has the ribbon element of an RCA 77DX. We also had a pair of Royer R-121s for the test. I think the Telefunkens were 676s. I forget the exact model but they are solid state.
Old 16th October 2002
  #4
Cool!

"Gear is great. So are the people that like it." - Julian Standen
Old 17th October 2002
  #5
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
Even though the evaluation has not been completed by everyone, that's no reason, not to show some of the pre's now...

Shot 1 of 2:
Attached Thumbnails
The Big Shoot Out at the Audio Chorale-aslshootout451f.jpg  
Old 17th October 2002
  #6
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
This shot shows the rest of the pre's....
Attached Thumbnails
The Big Shoot Out at the Audio Chorale-aslshootout455f.jpg  
Old 17th October 2002
  #7
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
Here are four out of the eight suspects found at the "shoot out"
Attached Thumbnails
The Big Shoot Out at the Audio Chorale-aslshootout454f.jpg  
Old 17th October 2002
  #8
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Ack! My short hair!!! I'm on the left, then it's Larry, Jay C. and Jon in the foreground.

So anyway, before we post the results lets try and get some discussion happening. Quality of the source aside, what do you think is more important in the signal chain? The mic or the mic pre? Also, do you think the mic pre has a huge impact on the sound or is it subtle?
Old 17th October 2002
  #9
Lives for gear
 
C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

see ... posting equipment pics is one thing ...... you look at them and go .... God I wish I had all that ....

posting suspects pics is another thing ... ... more like a ... how can I possibly trust those guys feeling .... heh heh heh


why do you think they put blond babes with huge breasts on bike commercials ? heh heh
Old 17th October 2002
  #10
Hey larry!

Old 17th October 2002
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Jules I don't think your his type
Old 17th October 2002
  #12
Lives for gear
 
e-cue's Avatar
 

Damn, you guys look depressed. Anyhoo, intrested spread of pres to test. A lot of these I haven't been able to see in person so THREADS AWAY!!!! Did you have set criteria? Color? Headroom? Functions? Price?
Old 17th October 2002
  #13
Larry's an old drinking buddy and Gearnut chum!

Old 17th October 2002
  #14
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by e-cue
Damn, you guys look depressed. Anyhoo, intrested spread of pres to test. A lot of these I haven't been able to see in person so THREADS AWAY!!!! Did you have set criteria? Color? Headroom? Functions? Price?
Well, the pizza was long gone by the time Steve took that picture so we had a lot to be depressed about.

There wasn't any set criteria, just sound. Steve had setup a splitter system so each mic ended up at the 8 different preamps. The outputs of the pres were patched right to the DA98's. IIRC, From there he used pink noise to set the levels on the mic pres so they were even. Then we had Dave play and Jon was switching sets of pres and making sure they were level matched. The only time we adjusted the gain was when we plugged in my M260DX. Granted, it was with Larry singing to a pre-recorded guitar track so it was a different singer, plus we knew what preamp was what at that point. But, it needed a lot more gain, about another 30dB or so. I had cranked the Dakings all the way up and it was just enough. The only other level adjustment was in the form of in-line pads. Some of the mics needed to be knocked back 10 or 20dB to prevent clipping the DA-98s. As I said, it wasn't scientific but it's what you do do and encounter in a real world session.

It was a blind test the whole way around. The only person who knew what was patched where was Steve and he didn't partake in the test. While we didn't consider headroom or functions I'm sure they did come into play. If something had an additional function like the EQ on the Daking, it was bypassed so we got to listen to just the preamp section of it. Gotta make it fair right?

I'd really love to post my thoughts while they're still fresh in my head but I want to wait until Steve and Dave have a chance to take the test and post. So come on, what's more important, the mic or the mic pre? Someones gotta answer that before I spill my guts...
heh
Old 17th October 2002
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
Mats Olsson's Avatar
 

Yes, the world is waiting... and waiting...

Please make the reports brutally honest, I hope for some major disagreements also.

By all means, don't hold back!

/Mats
Old 17th October 2002
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

Wow - what a busy yet completly enjoyable week...

Tuesday's Shoot-Out was truely the kind of day I wish would happen more often (hint hint).

First off, thanks to Steve for letting us use the ASL shop/truck/gear as the "lab" for this whole thing. Also big thanks to everyone who came - Jay Kahrs for bringing the OSA preamps and 260-DX, Larry for bringing the Kiwi and Vipre, and those whom I might be forgetting for the Shep modules. Also big thanks to Dave Barckow for singing and playin that nice Taylor, and being a great sport about being our test subject.

It's a great feeling to know that a forum such as this can help unite people and ears that may not come into touch under normal circumstances. On top of it all, the listening tests pesonally made me feel somewhat happy about the preamps I own, and helped me clear up what flavors I don't really need - and what others I could confidently add to my arsenal.

Can't wait for the compressor/verb shoot-out of this material...

and yes, the pizza was pretty dang good.
Old 17th October 2002
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Jay Kahrs
the Telefunkens were 676s. I forget the exact model but they are solid state.
Got two emails regarding the telefunkens, so here goes the particulars...

The lunchbox is a set of 4 Siemens/Telefunken V-276 solid state preamps.

These are a solid state design with transformers on both the input and output stages.

Primary Gain is in 6 db increments from 0 to 76db, with and 2nd gain stage of 10db of continuous gain - giving a whopping 86db of possible gain. We were around 64db of gain when using the Beyer 260-DX on Vocals.

FYI - these modules were cleaned up and racked by Jon Erickson of Helsing Morningside Audio. Jon is a truely great guy that does better work than most of the well known people in his biz. Hopefully he will be stopping by this forum so make sure to give him a hearty gearslutz welcome...
Old 18th October 2002
  #18
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
Yes, yes, 1% of the audio world is waiting to see our reports. heh

Let me tell you one thing... I cannot wait to post them. They made an interesting discovery. We went into this session looking for answers to mostly one question and found out a more important aspect to the mic and mic pre combination. We will be brutally honest about this discussion for sure. Dave and I shall take the test like the others did, but we'll also evaluate the differences between our new found aspect to this shoot out. I invite the guys back to reevaluate this new discovery. If possible, let's do it ASAP. Oh, by all means we will not hold back our opinions.

I like Denny and a few of the guys suggestion to do a monthly shoot out. I think it's a wonderful idea. Especially since we learned more then we set out to learn in the first place. The sh*t you can't do at a client's session, you can do here. That's very strong! Having a bunch of engineers with individual thoughts, makes it a whole lot of fun to boot.

Hey Jay, the ASL field shop is a lab. We build and experiment all the time. Sam Spennacchio from Sterling Sales Group, donated the Shep SN8's. I don't think I'm gonna give them back. heh

Sam also brought the Quested monitors and the new XTA digital compressor to play around with. I cannot wait to check out the XTA at the compressor shoot out. I want to see if there's any digital latency issues. It's a live sound piece, so it's got to be fast, right? I hope we can do it before my guest moderator thang ends...

Jay, no spilling the beans my man!!! tut On top of it all or not. heh I will spill the beans on how phat that first track you played Kahrs and I sounded.

...So folks, again, which is more important to the sound, the mic or the preamp you have selected?

Shoot out participants, please hold back your thoughts until the full report is out! tut
Old 18th October 2002
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
Mats Olsson's Avatar
 

which is more important to the sound, the mic or the preamp you have selected?

It ought to be the microphone.

(To paraphrase Ivor S Tiefenbrun: a preamp can only detract to a greater or lesser extent from the quality of its input signal).

/Mats
Old 19th October 2002
  #20
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Ok. That's one vote. I need to see at least another 1/2 dozen before I think about posting my thoughts...
Old 19th October 2002
  #21
Lives for gear
 
imacgreg's Avatar
which is more important to the sound, the mic or the preamp you have selected?

I would tend to think that the preamp makes the biggest difference here due to the same reason Mats stated above. Although to tell the truth, as to what is the most important, my real answer would have to be whatever serves the song. Sometimes that might be the preamp, somethimes the mic.

Ian
Old 19th October 2002
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Steve Smith's Avatar
 

I am gong to vote the preamp.. but I do so on shakey feet...

I cannot ignore how a SM58 sounds through a 1081.. or how a U47 sounds through a mackie
Old 19th October 2002
  #23
Lives for gear
 
Renie's Avatar
 

Mic seems like the obvious answer, but I'll plump for the mic pre too, as the
mic pre can make or break the mic.
Old 19th October 2002
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
Neve Sucks!'s Avatar
 

NICE! Would be cool the hear what you guys think of the Baby Bottle.....
yuktyy
Old 19th October 2002
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Tim L's Avatar
 

Wow.. looks like fun was had by all! Would've love to been in on it...

I would say the mic is most important (the primary color). The pre then adds it's own 'pigment' to alter or enhance the quality or shade of the primary color, the mic. At least that's how I approach this.

I'm real interested to see what you guy's have come up with here and how misguided I may or may not be. Can't wait for the posts on it!

Mmmmm... Piiiiizzzaaaaaaaahhh!!!!! I've been taken prisoner by Weight Watcher ****s and haven't seen a slice of "that stuff" in a couple of weeks... please send help!...SOS!...

As a side note:

I've been interested in the Kiwi and would love it if one of you guy's could go into some depth on this mic in particular as I've not yet had the opportunity to listen to it.
Old 19th October 2002
  #26
Jax
Lives for gear
 

"which is more important to the sound, the mic , or the preamp you have selected?"

I'm gonna say the mic is more important, but that you can't just stick any mic through any pre and expect a great sound. While it sounds obvious, since the question is up for consideration, it's the combination of the two. If I wanted to badger you guys like I was badgered on my Drum Sounds by Brand post, I would say neither matters at all compared to the player at the source.
heh heh heh fuuck
Old 19th October 2002
  #27
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Well, you can badger all you want. But, I did say the source aside...
Old 19th October 2002
  #28
Jax
Lives for gear
 

So did I.
Old 21st October 2002
  #29
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Guys,

My reply would be that all the links in a signal chain are important in the sense that if one of them isn't right for the context, the result is compromised.

Yet, while all are important, the choice of mic usually makes a more audible difference than the mic pre.

I'm very excited to hear/read your shootout reports!

Jon
Old 24th October 2002
  #30
Gear Nut
 

Given all the variations in polar patterns, proximity effect, etc. the mic is second only to the performer & the instrument in determining what ends up on tape. Mic position of course, and preamp next.

Enquiring minds want to know--specifically about the ATI and True preamps (as both are in the running for a remote package I'm putting together for an overseas gig next February.)
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