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RCA 77D on Saxophone!! Clips!! Condenser Microphones
Old 27th November 2016
  #1
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Hot Vibrato's Avatar
 

RCA 77D on Saxophone!! Clips!!

I've had a beautiful 77D for about a year now, and it has proven to be a great vocal mic for vintage musical styles. Check out the recordings of my honkytonk band in my sig to hear it in that context. Not exactly hi-fi sounding, but that's the idea - it creates instant old-school vibe, and adds a beautiful tonal color and a certain "weight" to anything you put in front of it.

A couple evenings ago (Friday), I was in my living room/studio hanging out with my friend, Ethan who is a young jazz guitarist, and then our other friend, Nathan, who is a jazz saxophone virtuoso, showed up, and then things got interesting.

I am so blown away at how amazing the 77D records a saxophone. It sounds just like some of my favorite jazz records, and it worked equally well on tenor and soprano sax. The mic was on the L-3 setting, two or three feet away from the horn, and the preamp I used is an old Gates broadcast preamp. The guitar was plugged into two amps: A '63 Vibroverb brownface RI, with an Aiwa VM-13 (ribbon) and a cascade Fathead II. The other amp is a 1965 Princeton Amp (no reverb), miked with a Beyer M160. The guitar mics were all going into Cloudlifters, and then into a UA 4-710d. My living room is completely untreated.

Check this out:
Attached Files

Misty 11-25-16.mp3 (9.72 MB, 419 views)

In a Mellow Tone .mp3 (7.69 MB, 340 views)

Old 27th November 2016
  #2
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Both really nice, but "Misty" is gorgeous. The horn and the mic and the room, wow. Guitars sound good, too.
Old 27th November 2016
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Sounds amazing, HV!
Old 27th November 2016
  #4
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Blaine Misner's Avatar
 

try the 77 on trumpet too. the mic really loves horns
Old 28th November 2016
  #5
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Hot Vibrato's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blaine Misner View Post
try the 77 on trumpet too. the mic really loves horns
can't wait to try it on trumpet. I need to start hanging out with more horn players. Unfortunately, my sax player friend, Nathan lives in Nashville these days so I might not get to record him until he comes back to visit again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kwazi View Post
Sounds amazing, HV!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Both really nice, but "Misty" is gorgeous. The horn and the mic and the room, wow. Guitars sound good, too.
Thanks guys. I took a leap of faith shelling out the bucks for the 77D, and honestly my experience recording horns is limited, but damn, can a saxophone possibly sound any sweeter? And what it does to vocals is priceless. Not the mic for all vocal styles, but it suits my musical tastes perfectly.

My wife was pretty shocked when she saw the invoice for my 77D when I bought it, but thankfully it has performed so beautifully that she never questioned the purchase. One of the advantages of marrying a musician is that it's easier to justify such a purchase, especially when the results speak for themselves.

Listening back to the tracks, I think I should have also posted these too:
Attached Files

Green Dolphin St (1).mp3 (8.66 MB, 295 views)

Title2 .mp3 (7.60 MB, 285 views)

Old 28th November 2016
  #6
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Drumsound's Avatar
Sounds great. My friend Mark Rubel, who has a huge mic locker and 35 years experience says the 77 is his favorite sax mic.
Old 28th November 2016
  #7
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monkeyxx's Avatar
Fantastic stuff. I am really excited about ribbon mics right now, which is why I clicked on this post. I really think they can do a lot more than people think, even next to a bunch of nice condenser mics in the fray. Gorgeous rewards for my ear drums, nice work.
Old 28th November 2016
  #8
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Hot Vibrato's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
Sounds great. My friend Mark Rubel, who has a huge mic locker and 35 years experience says the 77 is his favorite sax mic.
This is my first time miking a sax. I guess I chose the right mic!

Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
Fantastic stuff. I am really excited about ribbon mics right now, which is why I clicked on this post. I really think they can do a lot more than people think, even next to a bunch of nice condenser mics in the fray. Gorgeous rewards for my ear drums, nice work.
Ribbon mics are worth getting excited over. Their primary drawback is that they're low output, so using them can raise your noise floor somewhat. Most have the top end rolled off anywhere between 12 and 18khz, but I consider this an advantage because it keeps the top end of a mix under control. Too much high frequency content just sounds bad - especially if you tracked in an imperfect acoustical environment.

Another advantage of ribbons is that they rarely sound shrill, even on shrill sources. For example, I've had great results using ribbons on banjo and fiddle.

When tracking my honkytonk band live in my living room (check out the link in my sig) we set up at very close quarters with no baffles, so I use ribbon mics on everything, not only because ribbons sound "old school", but also because they have more even off-axis frequency response than condensers and dynamics. This reduces comb filtering and other unpleasant artifacts that are inherent in any multi-miking setup. Directional ribbons like the Beyer M160, M260, etc. with their hypercardioid polar pattern, are super handy for rejecting bleed from other instruments, but a figure eight ribbon will reject anything located in the null even more. If you're clever with your mic placement (and follow the 3:1 rule as much as possible), you can use the figure-eight's null to your advantage, and any bleed from other instruments will just serve to add a beautiful ambience to the mix.

Ribbon mics are so simple that even cheap ones can sound decent. My experience with modern Chinese ribbons is limited, but I've had a Fathead II for a while, and it sounds nice. The drawback of most all ribbons is that you need a better-than-average preamp with plenty of gain and/or cloudlifters.
Old 28th November 2016
  #9
Gear Addict
 
Blaine Misner's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot Vibrato View Post

My wife was pretty shocked when she saw the invoice for my 77D when I bought it, but thankfully it has performed so beautifully that she never questioned the purchase. One of the advantages of marrying a musician is that it's easier to justify such a purchase, especially when the results speak for themselves.

Listening back to the tracks, I think I should have also posted these too:
i got my 77d for 100. talk about an easy to justify purchase!!!
Old 28th November 2016
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blaine Misner View Post
i got my 77d for 100. talk about an easy to justify purchase!!!
Was it stolen?
Old 28th November 2016
  #11
Gear Addict
 

Fabulous! Especially that tenor sax on Misty. Wow. Thanks for posting.

Regards, Christine
Old 28th November 2016
  #12
Gear Addict
 
Blaine Misner's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot Vibrato View Post
Was it stolen?
heavens no! i am a man of ethics!

i got it at an estate sale for an old engineer who had worked in the "magnetic recordings" division of the library of congress.

paid $1000 for a haul of microphones that included an akg c422, RCA74jr, Altec 165, a LOT of sm81's and a bunchof odds and sods.

as i was leaving i saw the 77d, which was in pretty rough shape. pretty dented in and missing the original yoke + shockmount. they took 100 for it without even batting an eyelash.

sent the thing directly to clarence kane and he returned it to a thing of beauty. even with the full restoration and the machining of new parts it was still a considerable discount.

i can't say enough for estate sales. i got a consecutive serial number pair of km84's through another one. you just have to keep your eyes and ears open.
Old 29th November 2016
  #13
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monkeyxx's Avatar
Boot Heelers is great stuff too. Glad I checked it out.
Old 29th November 2016
  #14
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DougS's Avatar
 

Sounds great. The Sax is just wonderful. So in your face and detailed. Yet 3D. Thanks for sharing!

...Also sounds like you had a good evening jamming with friends. Here's to that!
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