Hands On - Quality Microphones (part 2)
So why spend all this money on a microphone, or microphones, when you can spend much less and still get a flat frequency response and a crisp clear sound?
So why spend all this money on a microphone, or microphones, when you can spend
much less and still get a flat frequency response and a crisp clear sound? The
answer is that some mics have that certain something that make them
special. Its very difficult to say what it is but once you have compared
one of these mics against an ordinary £300-£400 model
then youll know what the difference is. This difference is most marked
when you are recording in stereo with two mics for overall pickup and also when
you are recording vocals, which brings me back to my first point
relatively few exceptions you will find that most commercially successful recordings
are made using these very high quality mics for the vocals. It makes the difference
between a product that will stay on the shelf and a product that people in their
thousands will buy. Yes really!
Way back in the mists of history, the engineers at Neumann decided to make
a mic that would beat the best then currently available. As was the style at
the time, it would have a fairly large diaphragm, and it would operate with
those new-fangled transistors which were just beginning to oust valves as the
active circuit device of choice. Add to that powering from a 48 volt phantom
power supply, when it was still quite common for mics to use inconvenient dedicated
mains power supplies, and the option of an internal 22.5V battery (which now
appears in Neumanns price list at £13!) and you had what was considered
in those days a very desirable mic. The strange thing is that the Neumann U87,
now reincarnated as the U87 Ai, is still a very desirable mic after all these
years. I find it very surprising that as technology makes such tangible improvements
in every other field of sound recording equipment, that the old mic designs,
tweaked for lower noise and higher SPLs, are still subjectively among the best.
Like the AKG C414 and Beyer MC740, the Neumann U87 is a multipattern mic with
a double diaphragm. The outputs of the two diaphragms are combined within the
mic to give omnidirectional, cardioid or figure-of-eight patterns. Id
be willing to bet however that most U87s are left set to cardioid for at least
364 days out of 365. Compared to modern compact microphones the U87 is big and
bulky, which is partially the result of the large diaphragm. Once upon a time,
diaphragms had to be large to capture enough sound energy to produce a reasonable
signal to noise ratio at the output. In fact, even now you would expect a large
diaphragm mic to have a better noise performance. The problem the engineers
had with the large diaphragm, of this mic and similar ones, was that the mass
of the diaphragm created a resonant frequency which was within the audible range.
If you look at the frequency response chart of the Neumann U87 Ai you will see
a peak at around 10kHz which is probably produced as a result of this resonance.
The engineers had a problem with this because it didnt look right on paper,
so they started designing small diaphragm mics which measured better but somehow
didnt have the same sound that people liked, and still like.
“It isn't about equipment and software -
it's all about knowing how to use it”
"Welcome to My World" by Kevin Michael Kappler
Kevin Michael Kappler was born on August 23rd, 1974. He has painstakingly worked hard to succeed in music and not let those who doubt or hate him drag him off coarse.... Read more...
How much power do you need to fill a venue with sound?
Small venues need small amplifiers. Large venues need racks and racks of amps. But how do you know how much power is enough? Read more...
Avid and Abbey Road fall victim to surprisingly bad web audio
Avid's recent webinar about Abbey Road's upgrade to Pro Tools HDX featured the worst audio I have heard for a long time. Who is to blame? Read more...
Are Mexican guitars lazy and feckless?
The BBC's Top Gear TV show is in trouble for describing Mexican cars as "lazy" and "feckless", like Mexican people, they say. So what about Mexican guitars then? Read more...
Q: What are the best filters for mastering?
An RP reader asks, "I want to know the best filters for mastering. I want to know the best EQ." Read more...
Why you should give up Pro Tools and move to Logic Pro
If you never have problems with your DAW, you're in a tiny minority. But using the right DAW could make life much easier. Read more...
Manchester United's fans are too quiet. Quick! Call an acoustics expert!
Manchester United's fans are not normally known for being a timid lot. So why can't they be heard at the other end of the stadium? Read more...
"R&B Beat " by NeezythaDon
NeezythaDon of NiceBoiEnt is a Producer Out of Rancho Cucamonga CA Specializing in Music Production & Digital Recording in genres such as: R&B, Hip-Hop,Pop,Rock and simply catering to specific needs of an individual Artist, Group,or Band.... Read more...
Preparation for mastering: Don't do any mastering yourself
Are you planning on getting your tracks mastered? Then the first rule of preparation is not to master the tracks yourself. Read more...
An example of excellent customer service
The sign of a good company is when they help out their customers when things go wrong. Here's an example... Read more...
Your actions don't require reasons, just try stuff out and see.
When you asked your singer to perform the second chorus differently, did you explain why? Oh dear, now you're stuck with it. Read more...
What is the nastiest equipment you have ever had?
The range of great home recording equipment available these days is truly superb. But occasionally we all buy something that just wasn't worth the money. What's your experience? Read more...
How to connect an outboard equalizer to a mixing console
A Record-Producer.com reader has an analog mixing console and an outboard equalizer, but he doesn't know how to connect them... Read more...
Can you tell which mic was used on a recording?
So you are listening to the latest hit by Katy Perry (we won't tell anyone!). But can you hear which mic she is using? Or anything else about the recording?? Read more...
Q: If I filter out low frequencies, can I get them back again later?
I have heard that it's good to filter out low frequencies on all but bass instruments. But what if I record everything like that and change my mind later? Read more...
Can guitarists be trusted with their own equipment?
What sounds good to the electric guitar player doesn't necessarily sound good to the audience. A live sound engineer explains... Read more...
Q: Will the preamp in my interface spoil the great sound of my mic pre?
A RecordProducer.com reader has an expensive microphone preamplifier. But he worries that all is lost when he connects it to the preamp of his audio interface. Read more...
Extraordinary stereo from your effects pedal
Do you always connect your effects pedals between your guitar and amplifier. Wow, that's just so retro! Read more...
How to preserve your recordings for musical history
If you don't save your multitrack recording as WAV files, it will be lost to musical history. No remixes, no retrospectives, no appearances on 'Classic Albums' for you matey. Read more...
The best place to make your production decisions
Where do you make your production decisions? In the studio? No, there's a better place than that, somewhere you can get some peace and quiet... Read more...