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That Sheen Condenser Microphones
Old 24th July 2014
  #301
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Quote:
Originally Posted by futura2012 View Post
Although isn't the idea though all these different mics do actually colour the sound isnt that the whole point? I assume mic A vs mic B isnt a case of the flatter the better but more the warmer or more "nicer sounding" the better?

I do actually use an SM58 and I accept im not producing this kind of music but what I get in is certainly enough for my needs.
It's true it colours the sound...but do you want every source coloured the same in a song? Look at the low/high frequency roll off on a 57/58. Do you want to depend on that for your kick or bass guitar? What about for capturing overheads or room?
Old 24th July 2014
  #302
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Quote:
It's true it colours the sound...but do you want every source coloured the same in a song? Look at the low/high frequency roll off on a 57/58. Do you want to depend on that for your kick or bass guitar? What about for capturing overheads or room?
Ahh I get ya. So in a sense a choice of a "good mic" will be a case of technical suitability + colouration according to the type of end result required?

Is there ever a time where by you actually dont want any colouration and just say want a condensor with no character ie what you put in is what you get out?

or is this a fools paradise? no such thing. LOL

I would have assumed that a totally flat response mic would be far more desirable than a "coloured" mic and if you need colour you just add effect but clearly this is not the case hence why people really do rate mic A vs Mic B and after being on here for a while I am under no illusions now as to the importance of this.

Moving back to sheen. Another thought but could you argue that adding a "coloured" mic is infact removing sheen as opposed to enhancing it? I would assume the more accurate frequency captured the more potential "drawer space" you are creating.
Old 24th July 2014
  #303
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chainrule View Post
Rode NTK is a great mic, you just have to change the stock tube.

Reminiscing through this thread it's cool how different people's opinions are. See me I would rather have a nice mic pre like a Neve a great converter like a Burl and any then mic will do. Give me an sm 57 or a $100 Audio Technica condenser I don't need any plugins or outboard all I need it great pres and great converters.
The mics don't matter to me since they all work even a 57 on everything and ksm137 on OH.

It seems like you guys are the opposite, you spend all this money on mics and plugins and you run your wonderful sources through firefaces. In the 80s did you guys track on fostex or tascams? I would use nothing less than an MCI, maybe otari if I there was nothing else.

To me, recording medium is the key to pro recordings, since it's the thing doing the actual recording. I think for learning purposes some of you chaps should record a whole CD without using any compression or reverb or other plugins. This will expose any weakness in your chain or your room, and perhaps your technique.
I don't care about the microphone, preamp or converter. Just give me the best diamond encrusted gold plated cables money can buy, and I will deliver so much "sheen" that you won't even be able to hear the song over all of that sheen! (Sarcastic of course)

The microphone choice has by far the largest impact on tone... Probably 80% or more of that signal chain. I will agree that the preamp and converter needs be of enough quality to hear the improvements that a good microphone adds, but you can find amazing conversion these days without going top dollar like a B2. A great mic + good pre + good converter > An ok mic + top of the line pre + top of the line converter. You are definitely in the minority with your pre and converter focused philosophy. But hey... If it works for you, then cool.
Old 24th July 2014
  #304
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If possible I would like to conduct some tests through various cards as suggested by Philter to add some more info to this thread.

Does anyone have a single vocal stem they would be happy to upload ideally recorded on a really high end mic + pres (offering serious sheen potential)

Then my plan is to run this through a range of cards from $4 to $600 (sorry i dont have any $1000+ cards) and I just want to see what kind of sheen loss we get.

Sorry the Op cannot offer stems right now so i guess a high end mic recording would be ideal.

To make life easy I would aim for a 8MB MP3 256K seems to be about right and then use advanced in the post area to make the upload.

If you can massively appreciated as I think this will be interesting to hear.

Philter suggested I list the kit used then provide a "guess which card?" option.

I guess the big question is Will this make much difference which card I use or will it not?

I guess to really nail this theory the original stem supplied will likely have been fed through kick ass convertors so once fed through all the rubbish does it loose its sheen>?
Old 24th July 2014
  #305
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Sorry forgot to add cards i have for potential run down:

LOW END

Yamaha XG
Creative SB16 (ISA 16 bit)
Soundblaster LIVE low budget version (CT4670)
Hoontech DSP24
Motherboard Soundcard
Terratec TT-512i

HIGHER END

RME 9652 (EXT or INT CLK option)
MOTU 828 MKII (EXT or INT CLK option)
LEXICON STUDIOCORE (EXT or INT CLK option)
CREAMWARE PULSAR II

Why so many sound cards? gees im a gear slut ask a silly question. LOL
Old 24th July 2014
  #306
Quote:
Originally Posted by futura2012 View Post
Although isn't the idea though all these different mics do actually colour the sound isnt that the whole point? I assume mic A vs mic B isnt a case of the flatter the better but more the warmer or more "nicer sounding" the better?

I do actually use an SM58 and I accept im not producing this kind of music but what I get in is certainly enough for my needs.
Capture of sound in a free air environment is probably the trickiest single stage of the audio chain, with speakers and room close behind. (The latter, of course, not directly affecting the sound when making records, but certainly directly affecting how that sound is mixed and signal processed.)

There are relatively neutral, frequency accurate mics out there ('reference' mics, often used in calibrating systems), but accurately transducing what hits the mic's diaphragm is only part of the job/situation. Depending on circumstances, one may want to use an omnidirectional mic in one situation and a hypercardioid in another. The difference in pick-up patterns can profoundly shape the signal and frequency response from the capsule, with much of it varying with angle of incidence to the sound in various ways dependent on the design of the mic. With that in mind, you pick what you need.

But, taking the historical view, flat, accurate frequency response from the capsule in ('reasonably') affordable mics is relatively new. Most mics have FAR from flat frequency response curves. Combine that with the fact that early mixing consoles were not long on signal processing capabilities, often offering only rudimentary tone-shaping like fixed point cuts.

So it became, in a sense, 'standard practice' to select mics based on the situation, the subject, and how 'pleasing' a given mic (or model or class of mic) was when used to capture a given sound.

Few of us have an 'ideal' setup, so it's common that many/most of us have to find ways of augmenting/enhancing/optimizing what we do have access to.

FWIW, a lot of fine recordings have used SM58's along the way. Some vocalists swear by them.

But, of course, it's horses for courses -- some mics are simply better suited to certain tasks. I've used (in a pinch) an SM58 as an overhead and, overall, the whole drum kit sound worked (and was going to a low end 4 track reel deck, anyhow) but if I'd had a nice condenser or the right small diaphragm dynamic, even, I probably would have gone for that.
Old 24th July 2014
  #307
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archfrenemy View Post

The microphone choice has by far the largest impact on tone... Probably 80% or more of that signal chain.
I would think mic placement is the most important. Mic doesn't matter as long as you have enough to cover your sources. Is a pair u47s going to sound better than pair of ksm137 on overheads?? no not necessarily and that goes for some who is very very experienced placing it too.

But yeah mic has a big impact on tone however tone is subjective, so what mic you have doesn't matter all that much, where you place it is all that matters. And that is subjective also.

We all have recorded toms and snare and even kick with sm57, is it going to hold back your drum sounds? no it's not. You can spend 10s of thousands on nuemanns and schoeps, the fact of the matter is, it's not necessarily going to give you a better drum sound even for an experienced engineer. In fact one could argue preamps are the most important thing on a kit because of transients. You can give one engineer all u47s and beheringer console to record a kit, Give another engineer a rack of APIs and all 57s and I guarantee you he will get better drum sound with the APIs and 57s. The mic argument is moot, countless famous records have been done with 57s sm7s.

Quote:
Originally Posted by archfrenemy View Post
you can find amazing conversion these days without going top dollar like a B2.
yes, there are lots of options.

Quote:
Originally Posted by archfrenemy View Post
A great mic + good pre + good converter > An ok mic + top of the line pre + top of the line converter. You are definitely in the minority
Not sure about this. 57 on a cabs, 57 on snare, sm7 on vocals, Beta 52 on kick. ksm137 on acoustic instruments and OH...What more do you need? I would be 100% happy with that, but not running them through a crappy chain.
Old 24th July 2014
  #308
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Quote:
Originally Posted by futura2012 View Post
Ahh I get ya. So in a sense a choice of a "good mic" will be a case of technical suitability + colouration according to the type of end result required?

Is there ever a time where by you actually dont want any colouration and just say want a condensor with no character ie what you put in is what you get out?

or is this a fools paradise? no such thing. LOL

I would have assumed that a totally flat response mic would be far more desirable than a "coloured" mic and if you need colour you just add effect but clearly this is not the case hence why people really do rate mic A vs Mic B and after being on here for a while I am under no illusions now as to the importance of this.

Moving back to sheen. Another thought but could you argue that adding a "coloured" mic is infact removing sheen as opposed to enhancing it? I would assume the more accurate frequency captured the more potential "drawer space" you are creating.
This is why I posted the Nick drake tracks and pointed out about the mics used in his recordings. The problem is of course, one of subjectivity over science however, there is a ready made data base for those willing to dive in have a good furtle around. Let me put it this way, if I could quantify what it is about a U67 or a U47 or several other vintage mics do to say, a cello or piano, in the low mids then I'd be onto a huge winner. In the same way, for guitars, the ubiquitous SM57 seems to match and marry a guitar speaker when other mics with ostensibly, almost identical frequency graphs, don't.

I'm loathe to give specific recommendations, as one man's meat is another man's poison however, in this situation and given you seem to be sound wise in a ball park I appreciate, I will say this. If you were to get hold of a Beyer MC930 and record a cello with it and then repeat with the SM57 and your Rode, I'm almost willing to bet you'd think.... " The low mids have a certain solidity that is actually usable that the Rode and the SM57 simply don't have". In other words a "sheen". See, that sheen covers the whole frequency spectrum not just top and bottom. Ninety percent of the truly useful information you are recording is happening in the midrange and yet, the huge majority of questions asked, are about the Bass and the Treble.

I spent a couple of year researching what mics, as they were a serious outlay for me if not for others and given I wanted 1 A good rather vintage sounding vocal LDC and 2 a couple of SDCs for acoustic instruments I ended up with a pair of Beyer MC930s and a Cathedral Pipes Regensberg Dom. My reasoning for ending up with those choices was because they have the slightly darker tone that doens;t slap you in the face on a comparative test. They aren't hyped, which in the case of the Beyers is weird one as they do have a lift around 12Khz and yet, sound anything bar shrill. See there we go again, the black art of mic design, some times things work even though the spec sheets say another mic is flatter or "more accurate"

In the end, it's your choice, you have to go with what you personally prefer. That said, I'd seriously try to borrow a Beyer MC 930 and try it on Cello and guitar and then ask yourself do they have that "sheen" you are searching for?

I've posted this before by way of illustration however probably worth posting again. A Beyer MC930 into the stock pres of a Steniberg MR16 . No EQ at all was just to test them out with my acoustic which , at the time, had strings about two months old on it.

Old 24th July 2014
  #309
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chainrule View Post
I would think mic placement is the most important. Mic doesn't matter as long as you have enough to cover your sources. Is a pair u47s going to sound better than pair of ksm137 on overheads?? no not necessarily and that goes for some who is very very experienced placing it too.

But yeah mic has a big impact on tone however tone is subjective, so what mic you have doesn't matter all that much, where you place it is all that matters. And that is subjective also.

We all have recorded toms and snare and even kick with sm57, is it going to hold back your drum sounds? no it's not. You can spend 10s of thousands on nuemanns and schoeps, the fact of the matter is, it's not necessarily going to give you a better drum sound even for an experienced engineer. In fact one could argue preamps are the most important thing on a kit because of transients. You can give one engineer all u47s and beheringer console to record a kit, Give another engineer a rack of APIs and all 57s and I guarantee you he will get better drum sound with the APIs and 57s. The mic argument is moot, countless famous records have been done with 57s sm7s.


yes, there are lots of options.


Not sure about this. 57 on a cabs, 57 on snare, sm7 on vocals, Beta 52 on kick. ksm137 on acoustic instruments and OH...What more do you need? I would be 100% happy with that, but not running them through a crappy chain.
Like I said... The rest of the chain has to be good enough quality so that it does not negate the higher mic quality. A crappy anything in the signal chain is going to hurt.

Also, I assumed great mic placement with every microphone. It takes great placement and source for any mic to shine.
Old 24th July 2014
  #310
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NoPro's Avatar
 

Mastering ...it's hard to compete with half million dollar finely tuned and maintained gear...not that you can't get that sheen. It's alot of back and forth of listening to your mixes and trying to be satisfied before mastering ...good luck on the satisfied mix...after that it's up to you who you trust to master that mix. Don't give up. Move away from listening ...take breaks...save versions and mess with version in a whole new approach.
Old 24th July 2014
  #311
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archfrenemy View Post
Like I said... The rest of the chain has to be good enough quality so that it does not negate the higher mic quality. A crappy anything in the signal chain is going to hurt.
definitely

Quote:
Originally Posted by archfrenemy View Post
Also, I assumed great mic placement with every microphone. It takes great placement and source for any mic to shine.
yup.... ditto
Old 24th July 2014
  #312
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireMoon View Post

This sounds really really cool, it's got a neat retro vibe going on , how far is the mic from the guitars? What's on there for effects if any?
It reminds me of one of those spaghetti westerns from the 60s.
Old 24th July 2014
  #313
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chainrule View Post
The mics don't matter to me
lol holy **** I love how this entire thread is about chainrule to the point where he's reminiscing (!) on his half baked ideas on how to make music. you are one entertaining dude!
Old 24th July 2014
  #314
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chainrule View Post
Rode NTK is a great mic, you just have to change the stock tube.

Reminiscing through this thread it's cool how different people's opinions are. See me I would rather have a nice mic pre like a Neve a great converter like a Burl and any then mic will do. Give me an sm 57 or a $100 Audio Technica condenser I don't need any plugins or outboard all I need it great pres and great converters.
The mics don't matter to me since they all work even a 57 on everything and ksm137 on OH.

It seems like you guys are the opposite, you spend all this money on mics and plugins and you run your wonderful sources through firefaces. In the 80s did you guys track on fostex or tascams? I would use nothing less than an MCI, maybe otari if I there was nothing else.

To me, recording medium is the key to pro recordings, since it's the thing doing the actual recording. I think for learning purposes some of you chaps should record a whole CD without using any compression or reverb or other plugins. This will expose any weakness in your chain or your room, and perhaps your technique.

You do a lot of assuming.
Old 24th July 2014
  #315
We must remember to recognize the distinction between entertainment and edification.
Old 24th July 2014
  #316
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
We must remember to recognize the distinction between entertainment and edification.
Or we could recognize to remember the dyslexiation of enterfication and/or editainment..
Old 24th July 2014
  #317
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chainrule View Post
This sounds really really cool, it's got a neat retro vibe going on , how far is the mic from the guitars? What's on there for effects if any?
It reminds me of one of those spaghetti westerns from the 60s.
You realize he said that's recorded through a MR816, an Steinberg interface cheaper than a Fireface?
Old 24th July 2014
  #318
Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
Or we could recognize to remember the dyslexiation of enterfication and/or editainment..
Editainment is what would happen if you watch for five or ten minutes to see me trying to edit all my typos, punctuation mistakes, homophonic wrong words (there-for-their, it's-for-its, hour-for-our, ad insaniam), and over-the-top-isms in edit session after edit session for my typical, initially error-ridden and potentially inflammatory post.
Old 24th July 2014
  #319
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chainrule View Post
This sounds really really cool, it's got a neat retro vibe going on , how far is the mic from the guitars? What's on there for effects if any?
It reminds me of one of those spaghetti westerns from the 60s.
Beyer MC930 Mic 6 inches from the 12th fret a smidge of UAD LA2A on them , no eq at all. The room it was recorded in has some treatment however, it was just the easiest place to hit record from, I took no special effort to set up my playing position or the mic's position. I wanted to give an impression of what the mic could do "in the raw" as it were.
Old 25th July 2014
  #320
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Animus View Post
You realize he said that's recorded through a MR816, an Steinberg interface cheaper than a Fireface?
They may be cheaper, but they also sound rather nicer........
Old 25th July 2014
  #321
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Virgil's Avatar
So what's the final outcome? should I sell my FF800 or soldier on?

Just my 2 cents, you give one of the big boys the OP's raw tracks, an FF800,and just the waves SSL channel and CLA compressors and you would get "the sheen".
Old 25th July 2014
  #322
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldi View Post
lol holy **** I love how this entire thread is about chainrule to the point where he's reminiscing (!) on his half baked ideas on how to make music. you are one entertaining dude!
doesn't that mean I have a personally disorder? actually that's not funny

But seriously, perhaps it's my delivery makes me look like an idiot??? From the second post on here I claimed converter may be the issue
I get flamed like a southern California forest during a drought after someone forgot to stamp out a marshmallow roasting campfire.

20 pages later someone posts how it might be a clocking issue and everyone starts to agree with him. Wow...... ummm... ok .... then why not jut buy a good converter that has a nice clock? You can get ADCs and nice line amps as a bonus.

Oh that's right this is a skill issue since buying a new converters is a "half baked idea" at making music..... Sorry dude but you are the one that is entertaining if you think having a new converter is a half baked idea. You can NEVER have good enough converters. It's like a computer in some ways, there will always be better generation coming out , that's the way it works with ICs. It's called Moore's law. More transistors means faster processing and this is a big deal with conversion too. Filtering algorithms, clocking can always improve and faster ADCs and DACs make this possible.
Old 25th July 2014
  #323
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireMoon View Post
Beyer MC930 Mic 6 inches from the 12th fret a smidge of UAD LA2A on them , no eq at all. The room it was recorded in has some treatment however, it was just the easiest place to hit record from, I took no special effort to set up my playing position or the mic's position. I wanted to give an impression of what the mic could do "in the raw" as it were.
very nice indeed
Old 25th July 2014
  #324
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Animus View Post
You realize he said that's recorded through a MR816, an Steinberg interface cheaper than a Fireface?
Price has nothing to do with it, MR816 is not 15 years old and is not a poor design. Anyway I suggested buying a better converter not necessarily a more expensive one. Price is irrelevant when it comes to gear, what is relevant is quality. Ironically lots of people assume a FF is good because it is on the expensive side. I have heard interfaces 1/2 of the price that sound better. MOTU and Alesis come to mind.
Old 25th July 2014
  #325
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chainrule

self effacement is a virtue, however masochistic self-aggrandizement is not...you seem to have heaps of the latter...
Old 25th July 2014
  #326
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
chainrule

self effacement is a virtue, however masochistic self-aggrandizement is not...you seem to have heaps of the latter...
I stated from early on I could be wrong, but then now that I see people agreeing he made need a new clock it simply solidifies my original recommendation. In fact if anyone is masochistic and self-aggrandizing it's the "skill" crowd here....
Old 25th July 2014
  #327
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I have to admit that I switched from an RME to a UR824 and I definitely consider it an upgrade in converters. Not that the RME was bad, it just sounded a bit more digital and less natural than the UR824. You can still do amazing work on an RME.

That being said, I also own and use a Ross Martin Super Beast D/A, and have auditioned Burl B2 D/A... It is definitely a game of inches once you get to the level of an MR816 or UR824.

I have found that getting that polished sheen sound can often come from minute changes in analog gain staging.
Old 25th July 2014
  #328
Quote:
Originally Posted by futura2012 View Post
There's some truth in the SOS article but im not sure if I would agree with all of it. Its seems very vague with some pretty sweeping claims. I think if your needing multiple devices clocked then external exclusive clock is the only way forward.

This suggestion above has a real slap it and see vibe about it. If you were going to sync everything off this "sketchey slave but supposedly good master" device would anyone in a large studio really follow this idea??
There's 'some' truth?

Just what is NOT true in the article?

Their observations and conclusions are backed up with real world testing, as documented in the article.

The ability to slave to a external clock reference without increased jitter is dependent on the clock recovery circuits of the converter. The accuracy of the master clock is important, of course, but even the most accurate clock cannot improve the jitter performance in a given converter.

Even Apogee (who once marketed the Big Ben with a bunch of big name user endorsements implying it could improve the sound of your converters) take the official position that the way to improve clocking is to get a converter with a good clock.

As noted in authoritative materials from the SOS article to writings by Dan Lavry, when a converter's clock circuits are slaved to an external clock they use a phase-locked loop to keep in sync, almost always increasing measured jitter, which is largely a result of RF-frequency clock signals bouncing around 'too-long' clock leads.

Only the most expensive converters in the SOS test, the Prisms, didn't have degraded performance when slaved. Because they have superior clock recovery. The Apogees, like others in the tests, increased in jitter, even when clocked from a Big Ben or the quite expensive Trinity (which even has its own crystal oven to maintain proper operating temperature). The actual test results can be seen in the jitter test result graphics; Apogee PSX100, #5 and #6. http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jun1...sterclocks.htm


Quote:
Originally Posted by chainrule View Post
I stated from early on I could be wrong, but then now that I see people agreeing he made need a new clock it simply solidifies my original recommendation. In fact if anyone is masochistic and self-aggrandizing it's the "skill" crowd here....
Saints preserve us from self-aggrandizing masochists. heh


The people on about clocks, I think folks dealt with.

You are the one who made yourself an issue here. And you're just digging yourself in deeper. I've been discussing audio online for about a quarter of a century now (starting on the old dial-up BB's in the late 80s) and I've seen this basic dynamic maybe hundreds of times.

Guys like you, they're shooting stars. They come, they prattle, they pontificate a mix of nonsense, second-hand hooey, half-understood truth and even the occasional interesting if ultimately misconnected insight... and then... they're gone.

We suspect that many of them find new venues, though they probably find that people are more or less people wherever you go; many probably ultimately chill out, mellow off, improve their knowledge, and quite likely change their user names.
Old 25th July 2014
  #329
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I don't recall anyone saying the OP lacked skills; many, rather, listened to the songs and, with the extra set of ears he requested, heard some of the more obvious (if relatively minor) issues in what were otherwise good recordings.
Old 25th July 2014
  #330
007
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This thread is like going on a viewing binge with a great tv series - with many episodes lined up and ready to go.
You want to unsubscribe from "that sheen" madness, the gmail notification alerts are on the fritz, and just when you think you've had enough...

No.

One more, let's see one more reply, it's 2 am and, well, why the fvck not.
But after this next reply, I swear, that's it.
Oh wait, here's a juicy one, another "sheen is all about the converters comment!"


Sweet lord, k, one more and then I'm shutting the motha' down...

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