Readers' Letters: A soft vocal booth - it's the next big thing in recording! , and more...

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of

Monday December 17, 2012

In response to A soft vocal booth - it's the next big thing in recording! , Mevi writes...

I have been using a 'soft booth' for a while, a modified metal gazebo frame with layered duvet curtains on all four sides. It stands about 7 feet tall, but the duvets only hang down to around 1 or 2 feet off the ground so the booth is open at the top and bottom.

I don't need sound proofing, just some control of the acoustic space. I get excellent results and the vocalists don't complain about overheating or running out of oxygen.

It's fairly easy to assemble and disassemble when not needed. It looks like crap though so I am planning an upgrade.

In response to "Love!!!" by Maria Papovian, Sam Crasto writes...

could be a good song if rerecorded and mixed well also a fine tune of lyrics would help.. bs wishes


In response to Well, could *you* hear the difference? Could you??, Larry Heyl writes...


Is the schematic available for the $5 preamp?

I think that using the Behri as a midrange preamp was a flaw in the test. If you had used the M-Audio DMP3 which is less expensive than the Behri and called it the midrange preamp the results might have been different.

Also if you had chosen a clean solid state high end preamp instead of a tube preamp it would have been more of an apples to apples comparison.

Still I would like to build the circuit and try the test for myself.


Hairy Larry

RP response: Schematic -

In response to The Hip Hop rich get richer while the Hip Hop poor get poorer. And this man is to blame..., Jeff writes...


A Hip-Hopper samples music that is respected in some way. This mindset contains a bit of flattery and the greatest form of flattery is imitation. The really great musicians flatter each other "by innuendo", for lack of a better phrase (no pun intended). So, if a Hip-Hopper is really a creative artist he creates his own musical response to what has inspired him. Sampling "someone else's soul" does not a musician make and making a profit from this is damnable as most listeners are left to believe that the "Sampler is the Sample-ee". What we need is Hip-Hoppers who create their own music/loops from the ground up not a change to copyright law to permit sampling.



In response to Behringer's Ultragain ADA8000 mic pre misses a trick, Chris Cooper writes...

Clearly, the author of this article doesn't understand the specs of the ADA8000. The point of the unit is to expand the mic inputs of a digital audio interface. The mic signals are converted to digital and sent through the ADAT output into another unit's ADAT input - thus giving the recording interface 8 more mic inputs. That's why this unit is so attractive at it's low price point.

In response to Do cables have a sound of their own?, Tom Mundy writes...

This was a very good article. It is true that in most studio applications and installations, cabling is by far the least of an engineers concerns as far as audio quality is concerned. However, if you are doing audiophile type recording on Class A gear, cables really do make a difference. We had special instrument cables made for guitar and bass and got remarkable differences in the quality of the recorded tone of the instrument. For most work do you need a 125.00 instrument cable - no, but if everything else is Class A in your rig - the cables can make a difference, but not on most systems.

In response to Can you save money by buying B-stock equipment, or is it a false economy?, Eviltobz writes...

About a year ago I picked up a Motu 8pre as B-stock from Dolphin Music over here in the UK. As mentioned in the article, the packaging had obviously been opened and wasn't quite as perfect as a new bit of kit with a few things loose to slide around in the box. It had everything that was meant to be included except the power lead and the retailer were quick to send me out a new one after a polite email. The unit itself was in perfect condition and I made sure to test all the ins and outs straight away, just to be sure that it all worked and it has been working great ever since.

It has taken over all audio duties from my PowerMac G5 and subsequently my Mac Pro. As a home recording hobbist these machines get used as my main computer for everything, not just recording. so the 8pre is on constantly for any multimedia use etc. and has seen a lot of use because of this. Personally I wouldn't hesitate to buy B-stock again if I saw the right product at the right price.

In response to Do cables have a sound of their own?, Tom Ghent writes...


I've really got to laugh. It seems that every time I walk into any of the large chain music stores (in Nashville,Tn.where I live) looking to buy any type of studio cable, I'm immediately "helped" by some sales person who tries to sell me some outrageously priced "Monster","Mogami", or other similar cable. They always warn me,of course, that without these "highend" cables I'll be introducing all manner of unwanted noise into my system. Well,I've had studios for 35 years and I have NEVER used any of THOSE cables.My current studio(32 tracks with lots of analog outboard gear,an aproximately 300 point patch bay,analog console,etc.,etc.)is so quiet that even with all sorts of devices patched in, the faders raised to full mix levels,and the monitor outputs set to potentially ear shattering levels(not that I'm in the habit of actually mixing that way)you could hear a pin drop in the control room when the signal is not present. Obviously,in a room of this kind,there is easily a thousand or more feet of connective cableing. It is all "Hosa","Cable Up""Gepco", and the like (balanced) cable. All these widely available, reputable brand cables are definitely high quality,durable, and more than adequate for wireing a professional level studio. By the way,the difference in price is AMAZING!! I'm sure all the "highend", high dollar cable is good stuff,but,I really don't see the need to pay THAT much!!!!....Tom Ghent/Sutherland Records/Casa Pacifico Studio

In response to Do cables have a sound of their own?, James Cheadle writes...

I upgraded my power cables a while back and have experienced a huge difference. The cables that came with my Dynaudios didn't do them justice. I bought new cables for $225.00 per which sounds like alot but the difference is remarkable. I've had fellow engineers over and they all can't believe the difference either. More power, wider, more balanced frequency response, cleaner more precise. I also bought cables to go from my RME interface to the loudspeakers but I didn't get a whole lot of improvement there, although when I did a comparison test, the new cables showed zero phasing while my old interconnects exhibited some phasing. JC

In response to Can you save money by buying B-stock equipment, or is it a false economy?, Drew writes...

I live in Kansas City, where Musicians friend has there national outlet retail store.. all the's way out on the edge of town but I bought a great digital piano for $40 ( sells for $1500) because of a broken base.. works great on a keyboard my drum kit for $90 due to a scratch on the bottom of the kick, regularly $650.

When bands come to town I take them all out there..

RP response: Wow! That sounds even better than Bicester Village where Audio Masterclass buys last year's Reeboks.

In response to Free SSL Compressor Plug-In, Fabrice Eyraud writes...

Hello, just to tell you this plug is available not only for mac but also for PC now ... and a second free plug is available too ...

Visit SSl web site ...


In response to The Hip Hop rich get richer while the Hip Hop poor get poorer. And this man is to blame..., Earle Lawrence writes...

Very interesting. But there are 'LOOP' holes in this whole legal field. To my knowledge, which is not substantial, 4 seconds of any vocal or instrumental break are legal and non declareable. Now take 'Everyday People' by Arrested Development, a perfect example of legal sampling as this break only usies a 4 bar loop. Did they declare it? Go check it out. 50 years after the demise of an author becomes copyright free material, unles the law has been updated. Major artist need SAMPLERS, it prolongs thier careers. Bootlegs are always around, but not on no legal forums unless your really cheeky and smart. The new artist/Producerb has no worries if he/shes got no money, yuo can change your name and game. D&B is always at it, and Garage. You can get felt on the underground and come through legagally by not being preoccupied by clearence worries. Where theres a DUPE theres a loop so shtopp shweatin'.

RP response: The expiry of copyright is a complex issue. For the copyright in a recording it can be 50 years. For the copyright in the music and lyrics, anything up to 95. It varies from country to country. It would be nice to offer a simple solution. Unfortunately if you infringe someone's copyright, you might find - at worst - all of the income from your track being signed over to them. But if you are sure that a work is in the public domain, then sample freely. That's what public domain is for.

In response to The Hip Hop rich get richer while the Hip Hop poor get poorer. And this man is to blame..., Shane Phelan writes...

I think the reference to "Irish guy" in the subtitle of this article could very well have been left out and, as an Irish person, I was very annoyed at reading it and I think it brings down the tone of the article.

RP response: Oddly enough, the subtitle said 'English Guy' until someone at Audio Masterclass Towers pointed out the error. If you find anything in Audio Masterclass that annoys you, then it's probably best to visit other websites.

In response to The Hip Hop rich get richer while the Hip Hop poor get poorer. And this man is to blame..., Jacques Burvick writes...

Using music or any sample that belongs to someone else is indicative of the great talent deficit that plagues the current generation. Music has stopped evolving because the bar has been lowered considerably. The reason people sample music from the past is because that's where the richest ideas and creativity comes from. If we are to evolve, we must advance, take chances, explore and further our musical knowledge. If we are stealing another persons creativity our own individuality will never flourish. There is also the fact that the copyright to the sound recording legally belongs to someone else. There is a reason for copyrights. Without them there is chaos and the mind set that you can take what you hear if you can get away with it. There are no gifted people stealing music. The gifted people are studying, advancing and creating the music others have to steal from, Stevie Wonder found a way to be creative without stealing. He sat down with an instrument and wrote songs, as did Duke Ellington, as did Mozart. And thousands of lesser talents. It's time to evolve. There is enough stealing going on in the streets and in government. Close your eyes, hear a sound create it from scratch and own it. If you can't do that, try studying music like every great talent does.

In response to Why are most record producers men?, Abu writes...

I think is a cultural issue.Girls are raised in a different way than boys. If you think about it is the same thing for female car racers.Why there are so few?

It is because only boys are aloud to play with cars when they are young.

Unfortunately we live in a society that teaches girls that all that they need is to be pretty and to get a boyfriend and even when it comes to work society tell woman that they shold look for a stable job (composer and producer are not).This is what i think.(I'm sorry for my english, i'm from Brazil and i'm still learning).

In response to Do cables have a sound of their own?, Murat Ulusoy writes...

I totally agree. I wish I read this article 5 years ago, when I decided to buy my "high end" microphone cables. It's sad that they are no use and I could make the same job with the cables 20 times cheaper. Mic or audio cables are not the right place to spend your money at.

In response to Readers' Letters: Do famous artists use studio tricks to enhance their voices?, and more..., Simon Wood writes...

I agree with the earlier "Motown" commenter. In this world of multitrack recording, we tend to record each track one by one. rarely is it all jammed out as a band and captured. This is not a space problem but a noise problem. Items like the grendel dead room and the axe track really help this issue. digital kits and DI boxes and headphone amps really only one loud instrument and is the vocals. I love to track a band as a jam without the clinical click track, yes it can cause issues later on if parts need to be duped in but it is a worthwhile payoff. eye contact, head banging, vibing, jamming all together. There was a Louis Prima CD I listened to recently and they have taken the liberty of printing the take number next to the track. evidently it took them up to 7 takes sometimes to nail it

In response to The Hip Hop rich get richer while the Hip Hop poor get poorer. And this man is to blame..., NVD909 writes...

I've had a sampler for over 20 years never used it to rip off loops or any other materials but my own original compositions. It seems that the art of Hip Hop blatantly rips whole tracks complete with melody & backing tracks & rebrands it. If budding Hip Hop producers want to get around paying for sample clearance to get out the door, try learning MIDI, musical composition & arrangement. learn to play & program, then change sound source to taylor the flavor, Bottom line is there are only so many sequences, note combinations & scales. Most genres have the same drum breaks ie: rock, Hip Hop, etc.... the differences are tempo & particular sounds used which define a genre. So originality is out the window as far as something new because it has all been done, Sounds & lyrics truly make for originality.

In response to Help - my twenty-year old recording won't play. What can I do?, Mark Golladay @ Circle Sound Studios writes...

I too, used the Fostex E-16 multi-track recorder for approximately 9 years. Going back after several years to the original tapes produced precisely the same phenomenon. After researching the how-to's in restoration, it was agreed that 130 degrees F would suffice. I bought a commercial-grade oven thermometer and began the process of stabilizing my kitchen oven temperature at 130 degrees. This took awhile to tweak. I placed the reels into the oven for approx. 6 hours. 8 hours was recommended. After 6 hours I turned the oven off leaving the tapes undisturbed. Allowing for complete cooldown to room temperature was vital, also. Tapes were as new!

RP response: Good news! The question is, how long will we be baking our hard disks for in 20 years time?

In response to Mac versus Windows - part 1339203, Dr.Hardlove writes...

I'm sorry to report that this was a respond that bear witness of very little know how and lots of prejudice. That Mac is better than PC is a marketing driven hoax that any serious technician would stay away from discussing on these terms. There is pro's and con's, but far from the outlined babble. Mac is today using the the same "THE SAME" hardware that any PC does. They now run the same prosessors. Why? Because they couldn't compete with the old setup, they were just not efficient enough. The newest Mac with four processors and all its fine spec, that I of course consider a fine machine, was tested up against the machine I have Dell G690, and they were found to be quite equal in performance. The dell was a bit snappier though. In other words quicker. This shows that what you are saying is a lot of bull. Second there is also malware for mac users, just not as escalated as with PC. My Dell was not cheaper than the Mac, on the contrary, it was more expensive. Lots of highly acclaimed producers use this Dell today. And lots of them would stay miles away from pro tools. I don't even understand why I waste my time responding to this seriously knowledge fatigue article, but I don't want you to fool more people to buy Mac because of your religiously looking Mac appraisal. I myself was on the verge of going to Mac when I was investing in a new machine, because my MOTU sound cards seemed to have a problem with PC. The history of poorly working third part gear presented for PC users whilst being a pro Mac thingy is not a totally knew thing. Mac's dubious attemts to make certain software and hardware only work with their platform is an obvious reminder of what is going on here, at least some of it. This is one of the main reasons you have hordes of people out here using PC's that they can decide what programs and hardware they want to use. That is where one of the real pitfalls of buyng PC for music production is at and not in the lousy article here. Of course you cannot buy any PC for music production, far from it, you need to seek professional advice on buying a PC for this purpose, and such advice is not easily found. There is however a few PC' made for music making solely, but to say that these are cheaper than Mac I have problems believing, usually they are more expensive. The real question is maybe what have you been using before? Should you go trough the hassle of learning a whole other platform in order to make music? But to categorize PC as useless and Mac as the King of this field is horrendous and straight forward lack of knowledge. Who wrote it anyway? I'm scanning these pages every now and than hoping that it is a serious forum I have run into, but articles like this makes me wonder. Is the whole page about selling specific gear, or having a serious and innovative discourse and science on music production? The latter I hope. I look forward for your response. Dr. Hardlove.

RP response: Audio Masterclass HQ is currently home to three Windows computers and three Macs. We love them all (and hate them all sometimes!).

In response to Beyond the Faulkner phased array - the ' Quad', Tom Shuffield writes...

Good evening.

I've made hundreds of Band, Choir and Orchestra recordings over the last 40 years, and I've used almost every microphone technique known to man.

Most people don't realize, and Tony's paper is not clear on this point, is that the Faulkner array requires signal processing, to work properly. The raw output from the left and right dipole microphones won't give agreeable results.

If I understand your article correctly, you are just summing two microphones, on each stand, together and panning those hard left and right. All this will do for you is assure a rough response, due to comb filtering effects from closely spaced, summed microphones. Remember the 3:1 rule.

I often use straight ahead hyper-cardioid (Schoeps CMC641) microphones, one for left and one for right, about 30-50 cm apart. For large ensembles you can try being back by 1/2 the width of the ensemble or a recording angle of 90 degrees. The sound falling off the edges, due to the directionality of the hypers can be augmented by widely spaced outrigger microphones, For the outriggers, I may use another pair of hypers, or maybe even omnidirectionals, such as the Earthworks QTC40s. The omni mics will also help the bottom octave of the main pair of hypers and improve the sense of space. Normally, the left and right pair's signals are dissimilar, so that summing is not an issue.

If you want a really flexible setup, and have 8 channels of recording, use the main and outrigger pair, each as a coincident pair of omni and hypers. You can mix the ratios of these two microphones to adjust the direct/reverb ratio in post. It takes 8 mics, but may be worth the time in a hall that you are not familiar with.

Lately, nowadays, I mostly use a trio of microphones, (like a widely spaced Decca Tree) usually facing straight ahead, with the outboard mics 300 cm apart and the center microphone about 100 cm ahead. You can select the microphone polars, depending on the wetness of the hall, or use the omni-hyper coincident technique.

This trio of mics work well in reverberant halls, especially if you use hypers.

My 3 cents worth ...

Best regards,


Little Rock, AR

In response to Beyond the Faulkner phased array - the ' Quad', Glyn Wainwright writes...

I find when recording concerts for the Leeds Symphony Orchestra, that the ORTF method is the best starting point. The microphone height overcomes the body shadow of sound, the conductor mixes for a basic the acoustic balance as it rises past his ears and the off-centre positioning and oblique direction of the mikes can make fine adjustments for the principle soloists.

In response to How to get your music heard by people that matter, Da Street Dreamaz writes...

we r 4 brothers from da hard streets of chicago, we waz born 2 paform N make beats,N R 2 sister sing so good they make us bater wen thay R on R traks, we have da talint,we have da looks, n we have da drive 2 B da baest snse 2-pac. we dont rap about cars N money,we only do rael music. we share da same pain, we share da same blood N we share da same dream 2 B da baest paformers ever,We need this life, we have a voice that deserves to be heard and a story so despert to be told. People often refer us as angry rappers because we let out so much frustration energy and pain in our work. Putting words down on an biography cant even begin to explain how bad we need and want this rap game, so in order to prove that we will fight twice as hard and do whatever it takes to take back what rightfully belongs to us, which is the game..........

it da only thing we livin 4, becuz were dreamin 2 live.....Da Street Dreamaz

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