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Folk strumming acoustic tone Condenser Microphones
Old 29th April 2018
  #211
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RedBaaron's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
That would be awesome, thanks man! I've eyed a few of those Takamines on Reverb.com - never played one but heard they are pretty nice for the price - how does the neck on those feel?

Yes, chicken-clucking! You've finally put it into words for me

Thanks again!
The early 70's lawsuit Taks are really nice instruments if you find the right one. Guy I bought my collection from was very choosy and said he skipped over 9 for every one. The necks on them are all perfect by my standards. I'll be honest in saying that the tone of the all-mahogany one is typically not my favorite of the bunch--just too mellow when it comes time to record. Probably I like the fake D18 best. I forget the model number ,but it's the same one, used by Townes Van Zandt. Or maybe the smaller parlor, which sounds a lot like the but unfortunately is out on loan. The blonde maple one is really nice too . The D28 wannabe is probably after that, but very close. Then the dark brown all-mahogany.

There are slight variations to those old Taks with the woods--some are all wood some have laminate sides and just a solid wood top or vice versa . At least with the ones I own, you'd probably never know which is which unless you looked it up. I easily prefer them to the newer Martins I play out in stores, for whatever that's worth. Probably not a fair comparison since the woods haven't aged yet on the Martins. But I don't think the laminate thing is always a deal breaker. Hell my 1960 Gibson ES-175 is a laminate, but every guitar player who's ever picked it up in my presence has had a hard time putting it down. Something about how old wood ages. Whether the tone you hear acoustically really comes out in the recording is another matter, and depends on a million and one factors in the recording chain.

I gotta do a grocery run but later tonight or tomorrow, I'll see what I can cook up and if I'm able to convincingly close to what I think you're after, I'll post some files for you....
Old 29th April 2018
  #212
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedBaaron View Post
The early 70's lawsuit Taks are really nice instruments if you find the right one. Guy I bought my collection from was very choosy and said he skipped over 9 for every one. The necks on them are all perfect by my standards. I'll be honest in saying that the tone of the all-mahogany one is typically not my favorite of the bunch--just too mellow when it comes time to record. Probably I like the fake D18 best. I forget the model number ,but it's the same one, used by Townes Van Zandt. Or maybe the smaller parlor, which sounds a lot like the but unfortunately is out on loan. The blonde maple one is really nice too . The D28 wannabe is probably after that, but very close. Then the dark brown all-mahogany.

There are slight variations to those old Taks with the woods--some are all wood some have laminate sides and just a solid wood top or vice versa . At least with the ones I own, you'd probably never know which is which unless you looked it up. I easily prefer them to the newer Martins I play out in stores, for whatever that's worth. Probably not a fair comparison since the woods haven't aged yet on the Martins. But I don't think the laminate thing is always a deal breaker. Hell my 1960 Gibson ES-175 is a laminate, but every guitar player who's ever picked it up in my presence has had a hard time putting it down. Something about how old wood ages. Whether the tone you hear acoustically really comes out in the recording is another matter, and depends on a million and one factors in the recording chain.

I gotta do a grocery run but later tonight or tomorrow, I'll see what I can cook up and if I'm able to convincingly close to what I think you're after, I'll post some files for you....
Awesome, thanks for the info man. I'd be interested in the parlor, as I'm considering adding a smaller body to the collection. Agree about the age of wood, or the guitar itself, having a good deal to do with tone. I mentioned earlier that my 2017 Martin D-28 sounds nothing like an older one, even one from the 70s or 80s has a different tone. But I swear every time I get it out it gets a little sweeter

Yeah, that Yammy FG-300 I have is laminate, but such a great guitar to play. It's a very particular sound - for instance, it's very good for mute strumming chords - has a certain chunk to it that isn't too bassy but still cuts through. Anyway, would love to hear what you have, thanks for the input.
Old 29th April 2018
  #213
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RedBaaron's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
Awesome, thanks for the info man. I'd be interested in the parlor, as I'm considering adding a smaller body to the collection. Agree about the age of wood, or the guitar itself, having a good deal to do with tone. I mentioned earlier that my 2017 Martin D-28 sounds nothing like an older one, even one from the 70s or 80s has a different tone. But I swear every time I get it out it gets a little sweeter

Yeah, that Yammy FG-300 I have is laminate, but such a great guitar to play. It's a very particular sound - for instance, it's very good for mute strumming chords - has a certain chunk to it that isn't too bassy but still cuts through. Anyway, would love to hear what you have, thanks for the input.
I'd demo the parlor for you but unfortunately I loaned it to my pops , and won't be visiting again him until the end of next month. He's about 900 miles away. But I'm sure with seven other acoustics lying around I can probably still dial in a convincing chicken cluck. To be continued...
Old 29th April 2018
  #214
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Rockabilly69's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
I’ve recorded thousands of hours of guitars over 40 years of my life as a television composer in all kinds of rooms, with all kinds of gear and with many different results - I think I’ve learned a thing or two about how things sound.

If you could travel back in time and put Dylan’s guitar on your lap, you’d have an accurate representation of the sound you’re looking for, but as you said, that’s not the discussion you wish to have, instead you want people to speculate endlessly about a sound no one can actually hear, except on a 40 year old recording that no one is supposed to take into account.

This has become one of the dumbest threads in at least a day and a half .... lol.
Your credibility should have flown out the window when you thought Dylan's guitar was nylon string. It's right there you should have bowed out of this discussion.

I've been recording ac guitars for 40 years, and have owned more and played more ac guitars than I can count. I've also made my living playing ac guitar fulltime for about the last 20 years. The OP clearly is chasing a sound that starts at the guitar, but then finalized in the recording. And if you listen to the very earliest Dylan recordings done on vinyl you can clearly hear what the OP is searching for. By the late sixties I was hanging with many guys that were getting that Dylan sound with both old Martins and Gibsons. And like some have said here, Dylan's guitars typically had very old strings on them. And like many have said the particular era of tone should be a combination of that, along with the smaller bodied guitars he favored at the time. It was not the 8K roll-off you speak of or the compressed tone of you tube. Although to be fair, in those youtube videos it is heightening the roll-off.

The best advice I've read here on attaining the Dylan sound is here (post 18)... Vocal Sound Bob Dylan Album 1962 In this thread you can also clearly see pictures of the omni mic positioned behind the bridge and the slightly down pointed ribbon both are which contributing to the final result.

You can also hear the tone in modern recordings by the Milk Carton Kids with especially Kenneth, the guy that plays his small martin with the cloth up at the headstock...

In this live recording listen to his tone when the capo is at the fifth fret or lower and you will hear the early 60's tone, especially when he lightens his touch with the pic, and conversely as he comes down harder on the pick you hear brightness and the compression of the guitar top.
YouTube
Old 29th April 2018
  #215
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockabilly69 View Post
Your credibility should have flown out the window when you thought Dylan's guitar was nylon string. It's right there you should have bowed out of this discussion.
No, I'll stay in, It's a Martin 0-45 from the 1920's, which if my memory serves me right, could be strung with steel core, nylon or copper wrapped bottom strings.

Quote:
It was not the 8K roll-off you speak of or the compressed tone of you tube. Although to be fair, in those youtube videos it is heightening the roll-off.
Light steel strings will actually have less sustain; there's a lot of mic gain and compression in that clip - not youtube or mp3, but dynamic compression. This is a small guitar with a small sound.

"Rockabilly69", eh? You sound a lot like another poster in this thread.
Old 29th April 2018
  #216
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockabilly69 View Post
Your credibility should have flown out the window when you thought Dylan's guitar was nylon string.
I think that was actually me.
Old 29th April 2018
  #217
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Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I think that was actually me.
I thought it too.

But he must've been there, because he's so certain.
Old 30th April 2018
  #218
ccg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
Listen to a pre-war Martin next to a new Martin and you'll see that it isn't just the recording. Anyone with a discerning ear can take into account what is happening in the recording and still draw a conclusion that these guitars sounded different back then. It's the guitar, strings, player, etc.

Having said that - you're right, I don't expect my modern D-28 to sound like a pre-war parlor guitar, because even Martin is making their instruments sound brighter for a modern-minded consumer. And yes, I'm not going to hear myself through a 1950s recording (by the way, I don't agree with your lo-fi statement, that Dylan video has some pretty hi-fi mics on him). All I'm asking is for ideas/ways to dampen the sustain and brightness of the guitar I have. That has nothing to do with the recording process. Thanks for your input.
Late to the party here and didn't read through all 5 pages. Have you ever played an HD28? Bracing designed to be like a pre-war version.
Old 30th April 2018
  #219
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Rockabilly69's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
I thought it too.

But he must've been there, because he's so certain.
No I'm certain because I've got movies that show the guitar up close and the excess windings of steel high e and b strings, along with the fact I've gotten that tone recording. If I can figure out how to get a good screen grab of the movies I'll post em up! The only thing I'm not sure of is the core material of the lower strings. I have two smaller Martin guitars that I approximate that tone with, but I've never been close with nylons! Since it was Joan Baez's guitar she was a well known user of silk and steel strings, even turning Bob Dylan on to them.

I was reading an article were Joan Baez not only turned Dylan on to them but Donovan too for his J45 and he said the actual brand was LaBella so I'm going to buy that exact set that Donovan still endorses and record a Dylan number for you guys, recording in that style (ribbon tilted down and an omni SDC behind the bridge).

Last edited by Rockabilly69; 30th April 2018 at 07:43 AM..
Old 30th April 2018
  #220
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockabilly69 View Post
Your credibility should have flown out the window when you thought Dylan's guitar was nylon string. It's right there you should have bowed out of this discussion.

I've been recording ac guitars for 40 years, and have owned more and played more ac guitars than I can count. I've also made my living playing ac guitar fulltime for about the last 20 years. The OP clearly is chasing a sound that starts at the guitar, but then finalized in the recording. And if you listen to the very earliest Dylan recordings done on vinyl you can clearly hear what the OP is searching for. By the late sixties I was hanging with many guys that were getting that Dylan sound with both old Martins and Gibsons. And like some have said here, Dylan's guitars typically had very old strings on them. And like many have said the particular era of tone should be a combination of that, along with the smaller bodied guitars he favored at the time. It was not the 8K roll-off you speak of or the compressed tone of you tube. Although to be fair, in those youtube videos it is heightening the roll-off.

The best advice I've read here on attaining the Dylan sound is here (post 18)... Vocal Sound Bob Dylan Album 1962 In this thread you can also clearly see pictures of the omni mic positioned behind the bridge and the slightly down pointed ribbon both are which contributing to the final result.

You can also hear the tone in modern recordings by the Milk Carton Kids with especially Kenneth, the guy that plays his small martin with the cloth up at the headstock...

In this live recording listen to his tone when the capo is at the fifth fret or lower and you will hear the early 60's tone, especially when he lightens his touch with the pic, and conversely as he comes down harder on the pick you hear brightness and the compression of the guitar top.
YouTube
Thanks Rockabilly,
Good stuff. Cool to see those studio pics - funny because just last night I was messing around and had my SM81 pointed at the bridge :D

I think the open/drop tunings with a capo have a lot to do with the sound I'm hearing, too. As another user mentioned, using the capo will will the sustain.

Is the cloth around the MCK guys Martin to keep the strings behind the capo from ringing or something? Someone earlier in this thread mentioned wrapping something around the headstock to dampen the strings, but seems like if it's behind the capo it's not doing much, right? I dunno, interested in the reason behind that.

I have been eyeing a few ribbon mics for a while, might be pulling the trigger on one soon. Thanks again!
Old 30th April 2018
  #221
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccg View Post
Late to the party here and didn't read through all 5 pages. Have you ever played an HD28? Bracing designed to be like a pre-war version.
Thanks CCG,
I was looking at the HD28 when I bought my D-28 - all things considered it seemed more practical to go with the standard model. If I recall it's scalloped x bracing, right? The D-28 is non-scalloped. Some of the guys on here have been recommending ladder bracing. If I throw down a few grand on another guitar, hopefully it will be an older Martin/Gibson.
Old 30th April 2018
  #222
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The thing you guys seem to be reacting to is micing for the vocal and not the guitar. In that era it was all about the words and the guys I played with and went to see, had great sounding guitars. Not dull bass heavy ones. Anyway sorry for the "off topic" recording comment, but honestly you're barking up the wrong tree,,,,,I'm wondering how old you guys are, since I grew up in that era, and I guess you had to hear people play live. Lyrics were what sold records, we had a war to protest, and social issues to address......
Old 30th April 2018
  #223
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ardis View Post
The thing you guys seem to be reacting to is micing for the vocal and not the guitar.
Yep. Had a fella in recently who was in the New Christy Minstrels. Sang and played with with his guitar pretty much touching his chin, and said that was how lots of people did it back then if they wanted their guitars to be heard.
Old 30th April 2018
  #224
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ardis View Post
The thing you guys seem to be reacting to is micing for the vocal and not the guitar. In that era it was all about the words and the guys I played with and went to see, had great sounding guitars. Not dull bass heavy ones. Anyway sorry for the "off topic" recording comment, but honestly you're barking up the wrong tree,,,,,I'm wondering how old you guys are, since I grew up in that era, and I guess you had to hear people play live. Lyrics were what sold records, we had a war to protest, and social issues to address......
Not sure what you mean by reacting to this or that - we've barked up a lot of trees in this thread and I think there's a lot of good info here on all fronts. You can pick what you want from it. I don't think anyone is advocating a dull bass heavy guitar, just using some of these terms to try and get across the sound I'm trying to achieve (although I don't think anyone said bass heavy). Just because a guitar sounds "dull" - meaning dampened, less bright, maybe older strings, doesn't mean it's not a great sounding guitar. Anyway, the lyrics are paramount with this kind of music, I agree - but again, the thread is about a guitar sound - lyrics and vocal recording are other topics.
Old 30th April 2018
  #225
Gear Guru
Look you're talking about putting on flatwound strings and playing year old ones...... Define it any way you want. The whole point to the music you're talking about is the lyrics, because of the era. The guitar or any other instrument was considered a vehicle and pulled back on purpose. Just trying to give you a bit of perspective on the sound you're "reacting" to and trying to capture.....
Old 30th April 2018
  #226
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ardis View Post
Look you're talking about putting on flatwound strings and playing year old ones...... Define it any way you want. The whole point to the music you're talking about is the lyrics, because of the era. The guitar or any other instrument was considered a vehicle and pulled back on purpose. Just trying to give you a bit of perspective on the sound you're "reacting" to and trying to capture.....
I've read in more than one places that Dylan used to leave his strings on for long periods, and I've known other players to do so. I only said I'd consider the poster's idea about flatwounds. It's called a conversation, and there are 2 ways to have one: You can be a curmudgeonly know-it-all, or you can be respectful and courteous and understand that we're just jiving back-and-forth here, no one is saying that any one thing is right this way or that.

I don't see the guitar as being "pulled back" in those records, I see it as a more integral part of the recording than most acoustics are treated in popular music. So, the guitar's sound is incredibly important. I'm sure you know those old guitars have as much character as the person playing them. I get your point about the lyrics, but it's not a product of the era necessarily, protest songs have been around as long as songs themselves. I always liked that Dylan jumped ship once it became cool to be part of the "movement" -- always ahead of the herd.
Old 30th April 2018
  #227
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OK now your being insulting.... name calling someone who is trying to contribute to your thread? Good luck......
Old 30th April 2018
  #228
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Yep. Had a fella in recently who was in the New Christy Minstrels. Sang and played with with his guitar pretty much touching his chin, and said that was how lots of people did it back then if they wanted their guitars to be heard.
There's definitely a lot to be said re: one mic acoustic/vocal technique. Although to be clear, neither the video referenced or any of those proper Dylan albums are one mic approach (I suspect they're micing the guitar and vox fairly close in the recordings). I've had some good results with the one mic approach, but I still prefer having a mic on guitar and vox in a studio setting. I do see Dylan with his guitar strung high in early pics/videos. Could be to get it closer to the mic, but I found personally that it works better for me when I stand up and play because I can wrap my arm around the body of the guitar and then my arm is sort of perpendicular with the neck - giving me more leverage/stability and a different tone. I suspect that's why Dylan did it that way, but could just be that he was copying woody and that's how they used to do it. Sort of like when men wore their pants up to their chest

Anyway, the one mic thing is good for practice, keeps you honest and teaches you control over everything that is happening at once.

Thanks!
Old 30th April 2018
  #229
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
There's definitely a lot to be said re: one mic acoustic/vocal technique.
Didn't say I liked it, just that it used to be really common.

For the other point of view, look up some of @hughshouse's posts. He's a single-mic proponent who posts on GS fairly often.
Old 30th April 2018
  #230
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Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Didn't say I liked it, just that it used to be really common.

For the other point of view, look up some of @hughshouse's posts. He's a single-mic proponent who posts on GS fairly often.
I think I've run into him. I really like it, it sort of forces you to be honest about what you're putting out. But given my limitations, I find I get better results separating. I've seen some great current acts play live with one mic, definitely takes some great players to pull it off, but sounds great when they do.
Old 30th April 2018
  #231
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedBaaron View Post
I've tried a lot of mics over the years--some cheap, some expensive, some great, some horrible. The one that comes immediately to mind in reminding me of and old, low-fi ish , passive sound was one that I had years ago starting out: the Nady RSM-2 Ribbon. It was low-fi-ish but hyper warm when ran into a cheap, Mackie VLZ3 pre and altogether too muddy and unusable when ran through a tube pre. The Nady is modeled after the AEA R84 but as one might guess from the price, nowhere near that in terms of overall quality.
You're making the typical and totally wrong (and insulting) modern assumption that the recordings of the early '60s were "Lo-Fi". There isa NOTHING "Lo-Fi" about a Telefunken U-47 or 48, an AKG C-12, or an ELA M251. Those are the mics used in nearly all the studio photos I've seen of Dylan in that period.Those mics sell for around $20,000 now, if you can find one.

Your Nady is NOT modeled after an AEA R84 (which is a modern mic, anyway) in any way but external cosmetics. It's a cheap-ass Chinese mic with poorly designed guts.

There is no "cheap mic" that will come remotely close to the sound the OP is looking for. The most affordable mic I can think of that might be acceptable is the new Warm Audio WA-47, which is their take on a U47 reproduction. I have not had a chance to use one, but initial reports are encouraging as budget mics go - it's only $899 at Sweetwater, which is a lot less than the original which is 20 grand at Vintage King. You DON'T want the "Jr" version, which is an FET mic, not a tube mic. FET "47 style" mics have a harder sound that the tube ones.

Quote:
I'm not sure how much the low-fi aspect of older music is important to you, but as cheap as those Nady's are, can probably pick one up and have fun just trying . The Kel Audio HM-2D has a bit of that character also and is pretty cheap too, though just a bit lacking in highs and "passive" sounding compared to other condensers. The Oktava 019's have a bit of that also and are similarly dirt cheap, though I would describe them as "dark" and the Kel as "neutral" and only the ribbon as really "warm."
All wrong. The mics used were not "Lo-Fi." The mics you're suggesting are all junk and will not work to recreate the sound of those recordings. The suggestion that "Lo-Fi" mics were used in professional studios of the time is modern revisionist idiocy perpetrated by people who don't know and were not there. And who obviously have not done any actual research, they're parrotting "innerwebz wizzdom" propagated by fools and people who are pushing cheap junk mics.

You only have to look up studio photos of the time to KNOW what mics were used. The proof is out there and is incontrovertible.

Quote:
But in the end, I think what your'e hearing mostly just that they were probably recording on old ribbon mics from a distance. If I had to guess, probably old RCA's.
RCA 77s ad 44s were in use in a lot of smaller studios and studios outside of NY, LA, Chicago, and Detroit. Ir should be understood that the 77s and 44 were also NOT "lo-fi" mics by any means, although they do tend to sound "warmer" that condensers. You saw RCAs in (then) smaller recording markets like Nashville and in smaller studios attached to radio stations. Again, there's ample photographic evidence. RCA 44s and 77s in good shape current sell in the $3,500 -$4,000 and up range, not as costly as the German tube condensers but not cheap. The RCA 74 "Junior Velocity" ribbon can be had at about a grand or less but it was not considered to be of studio quality - it was an announcer mic and sometimes used in nightclubs.

You did not generally see RCAs in the big studios in NY and, to a lesser extent LA is that RCA sis not sell their gear - they leased it as a package. Studios like Columbia constructed most, if not all of their own electronics and used the best mics from Germany - that would have violated the RCA contract. You saw RCA in studios affiliated with radio stations because RCA had a lock on transmitter technology and stations leased the whole package.
Old 30th April 2018
  #232
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
For softer passages, it's true, that's when you need close mic'ing.

But the OP seems to be focusing on strumming along the vein of Dylan and folky material. I also think JE is referring specifically to strumming with a pick when he makes reference to mic'ing 2-3 feet from the source. So...
No, not when you use the right mics. My two go-to mics for acoustic guitar are currently the AKG C12A LDC and the Neumann KM84. Both have pretty amazing "reach", especially the 84.

The reason for using some distance is primarily BALANCE. You get a more accurate "picture" of the sound of the instrument and you don't get exaggerated artifacts. You also don't get really noticeable changes in tonality if the player happens to move a little bit while playing.

But you have to use GOOD microphones, which most of the people around here do not. I own, at last count, at least 75 microphones. Of those there are 5 I consider to be really good mics for these purposes. Those mics are the 84, the C12A with the brass capsule (a C12 would be much better than the A but I can't afford one), a pre-Sennheiser U87, and a pair of Pearlman TM-1s, which are as close as I've been able to get to a 47 style mic so far. The C12A and the TM-1s are tube mics. They're not the only tube mics I have but they're the good ones. I have a bunch of lesser condensers and a large number of dynamics that range from very good (M88, RE20, D12) to poor (SM57&58, MD421, etc.) and a few ribbons of medium quality, except for the Nady, which makes a good paperweight. I have, in the past, owned some mics I wish I still had, which were stolen at various times, including an early Telefunken U47, which belonged to my aunt. I've been a mic nut for around 50 years and I think I know a wee bit about the subject by now, although I'm still learning. Having access to people like Klaus Heynie, David Bock, and the late Oliver Archut has helped a lot with the learning part.
Old 30th April 2018
  #233
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
You did not generally see RCAs in the big studios in NY...
Really? I'm pretty sure there were lots of 77's and 44's all over New York both before and after condenser mics became common. At all three radio networks, too.
Old 30th April 2018
  #234
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
There's definitely a lot to be said re: one mic acoustic/vocal technique. Although to be clear, neither the video referenced or any of those proper Dylan albums are one mic approach (I suspect they're micing the guitar and vox fairly close in the recordings). I've had some good results with the one mic approach, but I still prefer having a mic on guitar and vox in a studio setting. I do see Dylan with his guitar strung high in early pics/videos. Could be to get it closer to the mic, but I found personally that it works better for me when I stand up and play because I can wrap my arm around the body of the guitar and then my arm is sort of perpendicular with the neck - giving me more leverage/stability and a different tone. I suspect that's why Dylan did it that way, but could just be that he was copying woody and that's how they used to do it. Sort of like when men wore their pants up to their chest

Anyway, the one mic thing is good for practice, keeps you honest and teaches you control over everything that is happening at once.

Thanks!
You have to understand that the mic is extremely important in those old Dylan recordings. In the majority I've seen he's using a Telefunken/Neumann U47 or U48 (the difference is that the second pattern on a 47 is omni but is figure 8 on the 48. I so seem to recall a couple in which the mic may have been an AKG C12 (not C12A) or a Telefunken ELA M251 or 250, but most that I remember are the 47/48 type. In most shots the mic looks to be around 2 feet away.

There is a technique employing figure 8 mics, which have almost complete cancellation in the side nulls, in which the mics are arranged so that the mic on the guitar and the mic on the voice have excellent separation due to careful positioning of the side nulls. When using this technique it should be noted that condenser figure 8s maintain the nulls in both the horizontal and vertical directions, while ribbons generally null primarily in the horizontal. This is because most condensers have capsules with a round diaphragm geometry while ribbons obviously do not. It should also be noted that some modern ribbons, notably Royers, do not have identical response in the front and back. Royer touts this as a "feature" ("TWO SOUNDS IN ONE MIC") - I don't see it that way.
Old 30th April 2018
  #235
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Really? I'm pretty sure there were lots of 77's and 44's all over New York both before and after condenser mics became common. At all three radio networks, too.
I should have said the big studios that did not have direct radio affiliations. It also depends on what era you're talking about. The really old shots from the early '50s and before were generally RCA for the very simple (and obvious) reason that there weren't any German condensers IN the US yet. They started showing up in the mid-50s - my aunt brought hers back from Germany around then - and had taken over (most of) the big studios by 1960, give or take.

It should also be noted that RCA was a major label back then and if you were signed to RCA you used RCA studios with RCA gear. In nearly all cases artists were not free to record at any studio they wished - that didn't come along until the mid to late '60s. Since RCA and Columbia were major competitors in the record business it makes sense that Columbia would generally avoid RCA equipment when possible, especially if the new German condensers which were regarded as newer, superior technology to the old RCA gear was seen as giving them an edge.

At approximately the end of WWI the broadcast and recording industries were split between the RCA affiliations and non RCA houses who used equipment from companies like Altec and Langevin, which were both products of Western Electric (Bell) divesting itself of its sound division. Altec and Langevin maintained a fairly close affiliation, although they were separate companies.

Langevin Tube Console

History of Recording
Old 30th April 2018
  #236
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
No, not when you use the right mics. My two go-to mics for acoustic guitar are currently the AKG C12A LDC and the Neumann KM84. Both have pretty amazing "reach", especially the 84.

The reason for using some distance is primarily BALANCE. You get a more accurate "picture" of the sound of the instrument and you don't get exaggerated artifacts. You also don't get really noticeable changes in tonality if the player happens to move a little bit while playing.

But you have to use GOOD microphones, which most of the people around here do not. I own, at last count, at least 75 microphones. Of those there are 5 I consider to be really good mics for these purposes. Those mics are the 84, the C12A with the brass capsule (a C12 would be much better than the A but I can't afford one), a pre-Sennheiser U87, and a pair of Pearlman TM-1s, which are as close as I've been able to get to a 47 style mic so far. The C12A and the TM-1s are tube mics. They're not the only tube mics I have but they're the good ones. I have a bunch of lesser condensers and a large number of dynamics that range from very good (M88, RE20, D12) to poor (SM57&58, MD421, etc.) and a few ribbons of medium quality, except for the Nady, which makes a good paperweight. I have, in the past, owned some mics I wish I still had, which were stolen at various times, including an early Telefunken U47, which belonged to my aunt. I've been a mic nut for around 50 years and I think I know a wee bit about the subject by now, although I'm still learning. Having access to people like Klaus Heynie, David Bock, and the late Oliver Archut has helped a lot with the learning part.
I don't have any of those mic's and too be honest with you, I never will. I'm glad you do though.
Old 30th April 2018
  #237
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
I always liked that Dylan jumped ship once it became cool to be part of the "movement" -- always ahead of the herd.
Actually that's something that's widely misunderstood. Dylan actually started out as a rocker back in Minnesota.

I wish I could find the reference, but from what I understand his first professional gig (under the name "Elston Gunn") was in a high school band that filled in for Buddy Holly on hearing of the plane crash on the radio. He was, of course, not using the "Dylan" pseudonym yet. Also in that band was a young Bobby Vee*.

A bit later Bobby Zimmerman picked up on the burgeoning folk thing, started calling himself "Bob Dillon" (really) and moved to New Your City. When he was there a girlfriend told him told him to change it to "Dylan" after the poet Dylan Thomas (who was all the rage at the time) because it sounded more intellectual. Guess she wasn'r a fan of "Gunsmoke".


* - I'm pretty sure that the reference I can't find was in an epitaph for Bobby Vee.

EDIT - It's in Bobby Vee's Wikipedia entry. I don't think that's where I first got it, but it's corroboration.
Old 30th April 2018
  #238
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
I don't have any of those mic's and too be honest with you, I never will. I'm glad you do though.
KM84s are still somewhat affordable if you're patient and look hard. I only paid $1,000 for mine from an engineer on another forum who need quick money.

I got one of my TM-1s here for $1,200.

The key is to save your cash and avoid frivolous purchases that would deplete it. Or put in on a card and pay it off.
Old 30th April 2018
  #239
Lives for gear
 
Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
You're making the typical and totally wrong (and insulting) modern assumption that the recordings of the early '60s were "Lo-Fi". There isa NOTHING "Lo-Fi" about a Telefunken U-47 or 48, an AKG C-12, or an ELA M251. Those are the mics used in nearly all the studio photos I've seen of Dylan in that period.Those mics sell for around $20,000 now, if you can find one.
No one said the mic's were "lo fi", but the recordings, by today's standards of fidelity, were lower - all anyone has to do is play a recording from then to hear it.

This is a fact, it's not subjective (some like the sound of earlier recordings - that's fine, but they're objectively lower in fidelity than what's available today).

There's more to the record making process than the mic. There's the desk, the tape (in Columbia's case, it was telephone lines transmitting the audio to the uptown studio in the earliest days), the cutting lathe, the vinyl and the whole RIAA curve - in fact, many mic's of that period were designed to be a little bright just to be heard over the din. It's worth noting the popularity of the big Neumann's was due, in part, because they had greater fidelity than the ribbons of that period - extending well into the 18-20k range.

I don't know why you find this hard to accept, to the point where you've said it twice now.

Columbia recordings, the studios, the mic's, and recollections by the people who worked there, are probably the most thoroughly documented in history - anyone who's interested can read up - or simply look at the wonderful photos of so many famous sessions.

There are many great mic's available today at many prices, but none of them will sound like anything but **** unless the room is right, and the performers and instruments are at a high level.

Finally, i hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you're 67 years old, you're lucky if you can hear anything over 10k ... given your background as a musician/guitar player, I doubt you can, but enjoy your mic's anyway
Old 1st May 2018
  #240
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
Finally, i hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you're 67 years old, you're lucky if you can hear anything over 10k ... given your background as a musician/guitar player, I doubt you can, but enjoy your mic's anyway
Anyone who has ever stacked BG vocals or "stolen a double" with a string section knows that good mics hear stuff way higher than we do, and multiple passes of those high harmonics beat. the frequency range of that beating is a lot, lot lower. So low that even I can hear it.
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