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Keb mo: Just Like You Condenser Microphones
Old 3rd January 2011
  #1
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Keb mo: Just Like You

Anyone have any knowledge of how the acoustics guitar sounds were recorded on Keb mo's Just Like You album?

Thanks.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #2
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McPhaul's Avatar
Not the same album but when I was looking into Keb Mo's sound I found this information from Ross Hogarth on his forum. Sorry if it's too long.

-Thanks for the kudos ... (what do i owe you ....just kidding)
anyway acoustic sounds ....
first off I guess it has to relate to the track
in the Mellencamp day's the acoustic was balanced opposite an electric
guitar and often mixed loud
so low end and size were important....
A lot of air and energy comes out of the sound hole so the closer you get to it the more woof you get
A large diaphragm mic like an AKG C12 or a U67 would have been used back then with a KM54 or a Schoeps CMC 5u right next to it and higher up on the neck for as close to a phase coherency as possible.
The C12 very often is THE go to mic. a simple equation
One "good" C12 = music

On many occasions I would in the past use only a KM54 or Schoeps or a B&K 4011 or a B&K omni Hi power like a 4003 or 4004.
When I say higher up I mean like if the 67 or C12 is say a bit below the 12th fret approaching the sound hole, then the tighter sound is closer to the 12th fret. Now please mark my word when I say that getting close to the sound hole has energy..... you need to make sure your mic is not being basically blown into by the air of the hole ....
Where you plan to put the instrument in the mix again delegates it's sonic value
If one uses a C12 or 67 , the instrument will have some girth.
I have found for a tight acoustic rhythm track the smaller diaphragm mic is more controllable.
My smaller diaphragm mic choices are as follows
For clarity all the B&K's are great ....(B&K is now called DPA)
for midrange a Schoeps or KM84 is cool
for tube warmth and still detail a KM54 or KM53

For some multiple mic setups there are some interesting things I have done
On my Keb' Mo' record I had an interesting problem to solve
He wanted to sing and play together
He moves around alot while doing it so one mic on the instrument was never going to work
I ended up putting a C12 out in front of him for his vocal and the center image
I then used 2 omni B&K 4003's with the Wiezlaw spheres on them outside left and right as pretty much boundary mics
The B&K's have so much detail and being omni the capture a wide spectrum. This worked great because Keb could play naturally without feeling forced and inhibited. The guitar was not as centered but took on a 3D effect while the vocal was centered by the C12 while it had a 3d effect from the B&K's.
I am using a technique similar on the John Fogerty record I am making right now but without the vocal.

I am using a C12 for the close mic with 2 B&K's outside but I have added a U67 actually above John's outside shoulder for a overhead ambiance.
This mic is the most phase ****ed so I am using the Littlelabs IPB phase align box to get it into alignment
The B&K's align well when placed correctly because they are far enough away from the C12 and also omni directional.
The U67 tends to be a bit finicky until aligned .....
This came out of John wanting a very special sound. The room we are working in also has a wonderful natural ambience and I am not "Reverb Box" guy at heart. If I can glue the natural ambiance of a great room on to tape (hard-drive )
then I am always better off at mix time ....
So I hope this is a start and I will get into mic pre's and compression at another time .......

As with all these questions,the situation dictates the result intended....

in general though and not to disrespect any of the great products and people who design and make them, I am a guy that likes a bit of color.
All mic pre's when you start to really get into it have some color.

API's are faster than Neve's,so I find them brighter and grittier,Neves being the way they are , tend to be smoother but can be darker in a muddy way if you are really going for clarity. EMI's and copies like a Chandler are really open and airy and still have body but will never have the chunk of a Neve. As far as super clean and super fast the Grace or GML take the prize. I do find the GML a bit thin but that is so taste related ...I know that we hold George to be almost a treasure for his genius and I own 4 GML pre's but they are not my go to for acoustics all the time. Only when I want the most pristine sound do they come into play or the Grace will.
I am not trying to be vague or avoid a straight answer but I will repeat
that when I am engineering and or engineering/producing, sounds are like colors that I am painting with. I do not think anyone ever paints with only one color.
So in general
If you are going for a really clean result use a GML or a Grace
If you want to hear a thick sound try a Telefunken V72 or V76
If you want a medium thick warm sound go for a Neve
If you want some more top end push and some grittier harmonics look at the API or EMI
These are my generalities
more to come later after some rest .... peace out ...

on Keb Mo, it was pre pro tools
analog tape/analog studio/analog mix to a great 1/2 inch
i would have used minimal compression on the C12
and a neve 2254 stereo compressor on the outside B&K's on record
it was all mixed through the great Allen Sides modified console in Ocean Way B
probably ? distressors? or Fairchilds on mix ?
My man John Sorensen was my assistant and has been around this site now and then lately would have had to do the recall so he might remember exactly
but it wasn't science ... as i recall ..

DRUMS
the original question was about stereo spread ...i don't use this but as far as spread, the only way is to go is as wide as possible.

i like a spaced pair equidistant from the snare drum
place so you get a good picture of the whole kit
one mic over the hi hat, snare , crash and hi tom
one mic over the floor tom, ride, crashes
again both these are measured from the snare to be the same distance

another technique i like alot is ORTF kind of behind the drummers head angled down about 3 feet above
this gives a good picture of the kit and has good balance

in general i don't go for wide.
i go for a good even picture of the kit with the snare balanced in the center
as with any technique
it will be dependent on who is using it and what mics you doing it with
I like B&K 4011's for overheads
I have tried many many mics and I like the 4011
but this is in conjunction with how I mic the whole kit
as with any combination of mics
if you are listening in solo to just the overheads
i really could not tell you what they sound like....really
because i am almost always recording overheads to be blended into a drumkit to be used in a track to support a song
The actual overhead sound has to work for me for that
so i have found one technique that works most frequently
i do have B&K 4003 and 4004
these omnis will sound brighter and more open in solo but usually are harder to tame
I have c37'a s that sound darker, woollier and more antique but only for certain projects
xy/ortf works well for me and also this technique behind the the drummers head
but if you were going to say
ross, give a drum sound in 20 minutes start to finish
I would go for my technique described first
the spaced pair equidistant with B&K 4011's
now if i had a pair of C12's or 251's or a C24
maybe that would become my go to setup but i don't and I usually don't trust house mics as stereo pairs
i have seen to many assistants drop mics and put them away without checking them
i own most of the mics I use because a good carpenter should not blame his tools
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