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ADK Hamburg question

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by Shannon Adkins, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. Shannon Adkins

    Shannon Adkins Active Member

    I've been struggling for a long time to find the right vocal mic. I own an AT 4047, 4033, and Shure sm7b. The problem I have is that I'm a male tenor who can get somewhat piercing when singing in the upper registers of my range. The unpleasantness is very close to the siblance area...in the 5-7 khz range.
    All the mics I own seem to enhance this piercing sound....the sm7 does it the least, but it's still unpleasant.
    I was beginning to think I would never find a mic that didn't enhance this piercing sound, until the other day when I borrowed an Octava MK 319 from a friend. I was shocked because I noticed as soon as I listened to the first take that the problem was not present in this mic at all. Maybe all along I just needed a darker sounding mic??
    The only thing I don't like about the Octava is that the presence is not on par with the AT's.
    I've read on many occaisions that the Hamburg is a somewhat dark mic. Just wondering if it might have the smooth, unhyped 5-7 khz range that the Octava has, with some of the presence and quick transient response of the AT mics?
    I know I'm probably asking a lot.
    Or, are there any other mics that come to mind with what I'm describing?
    -Shannon
     
  2. Shannon Adkins

    Shannon Adkins Active Member

    A mild boost at 5 khz seemed to add a lot of presence and excitement to the mk319 take....and still no harsh, piercing sound:)
    Can't believe I'm liking the Octava over a 4047.
    Also the lows seem to be much better represented on the Octava. Is that wierd or what?
     
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Have you tried your voice on a ribbon mic? Even a low-cost ribbon such as the Cascade Fathead may give you the sort of quality you are looking for without unpleasant peaks in the upper mids. Going up in price from there to ribbon products from AEA, Royer, Beyerdynamic and even Shure would get you a quality improvement while retaining the ribbon smoothness.
     
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    The Hamburg is a 'darker' mic. It doesnt have that upper mid presence boost that a lot of condensers demonstrate. It has a clear extended top though its fairly flat. ADK mics are voiced to NOT have that hyped upper end.

    Its unfortunate that many mics in the last 10 years are training our ears to hear that upper-end boost and it makes a lot of people think that this is what quality sounds like. The mics you have in your collection are all great mics. I use them all and love em. I'm surprised the SM7 isnt really getting what you want, but also I'm NOT surprised at your discoveries on the Octava. The one I have exhibits the same tonal curve as my older U87 without a bit of the minute details. I like it a lot on female vocals over the U87.

    Boswell's suggestion on a ribbon may indeed be your direction. Avantone is another I will throw into the brand name mix. They're a bit more 'present' than the stock Cascade.
     
  5. Shannon Adkins

    Shannon Adkins Active Member

    I forgot about this thread....never got any email notifications....hmm, anyway...
    Thanks for the suggestions guys!

    Boswell - I've never tried a ribbon mic. I guess I would be a little scared because I've heard they are pretty fragile. How do they work on loud singers?

    Davedog - Last week my friend just up and gave me that Octava. I couldn't believe it. I tried to pay him for it but he declined. I have to add though (and this is somewhat embarrassing) that I think my ears were somewhat compromised when I initially heard the Octava. You see, the peircing sound thatI was hearing was most eveident on mediums like earbuds and laptop speakers, so I was doing a lot of listening on my earbuds while I tried to attend to the problem. One of my ears began to really hurt after the 2nd day and also felt a little plugged up. This took a few days to go away and it was during this time that I auditioned the Octava. After taking a break for a few days and letting my ears heal up, I built a vocal tent out of thick blankets (in case the room was affecting the performance adversely) and did a new mic shootout. This time I had some different feelings.
    The Octava did handle the peircing sound better than all the other mics, and also sounded really good. But it lacked the detail and fullness of the 2 AT mics and (to me) sounded somewhat hazy in comparison. I also found that a 3db dip centered at around 5.7khz (along with the newly constructed vocal tent) took care of the unpleasant sound very well.
    So for the time being, I'm using the 4033 on dense mixes that need the vocal to cut through, and the 4047 for sparse mixes where there is a lot of open space.

    I also taked a bit with Michal Joly at Octavamod about that MK319 and am pretty set on getting it modded when I have the extra cash. Just from the interactions I've had so far, I feel good about that company. If he can get the MK319 to perform a little quicker with transients, and show a little more detail, it may very well be a great step in the right direction for me.

    With all that said, you guys have peeked my curiousity with the ribbon mic suggestion. I'll do some homework on the high spl thing, but I'd love to hear of any experiences you've had using ribbons on loud singers.

    Thanks again.
     
  6. Shannon Adkins

    Shannon Adkins Active Member

    Well, I did some homework and it looks like ribbons handle high spl's very well. Now I just have to find one to audition:)
     
  7. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    This is not a universal truth. Take care!
     
  8. Shannon Adkins

    Shannon Adkins Active Member

    Today I tried a Nuemann TLM 102 and simply loved it. It sure is a tiny little thing, but it completely blew away any other mic I've ever tried on my voice. There is a little dip in the response pattern at around 5k, before a slight rise at 6k....really took away the peircing sound almost completely. Not only that, but it has a rich sounding body and smooth silky highs. Definitely a keeper!
     
  9. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Yeah. Its a Neumann.......not a clone or a copy of one.
     
  10. Shannon Adkins

    Shannon Adkins Active Member

    Yeah, I've just gotten my first glimpse...and I'll never be the same.
     
  11. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I'm curious what pre-amp(s) and converter are you using? I ask because a lot of my early on problems were due to that fact that I was using low end pre-amps and poor converters with an adequate mic collection. Even an SM57 sounds great though a quality console and/or a U87 sound like crap through a poor quality console or pre-amp.

    Maybe there are other reasons why things are sounding harsh.
     
  12. Shannon Adkins

    Shannon Adkins Active Member

    I use the stock preamps on my Steinberg MR 816.
     
  13. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Hi Shannon,

    Here is another possibility. Look at the big picture. There are so many people buying more and more and not fixing the weak link, the pipeline to everything. Its my opinion, without good quality converters, you are already at a mass disadvantage.
    To put it in perspective, take your unit and divide the price you paid for it by 8, then take into consideration shipping, dealer profit, manufacturers profit, packaging etc and see what you are left with in actual value.
    The best mics in the world will not benefit you with your current converters and pre-amps if you don't find and stay within their sweet spots. Your MR 816 is a nice introductory combo but I doubt it is capable of handling impact like you are exclaiming and expecting. Your ears are maturing and like all of us here, learning and discovering what you need or think you need. It took me 10 years of reading the forums to know what I personally didn't need.

    I'm thinking you have a headroom issue more than a mic issue right now and it could be that you are driving everything too hard.
    If you record at lower levels, way lower, how does it sound when you nail those hot area's of your vocals?

    Read this just posted by Remy, this is what I'm getting at. http://recording.org/home-recording-forum/50021-advice-on-equipment-for-drums.html#post374592
     
  14. Shannon Adkins

    Shannon Adkins Active Member

    I do record at low levels. When I first got into recording, I was guilty of pushing my levels too hard but have since learned in that area.
    I have not experimented with many preamps. In fact, since I started recording 6-7 years back, I think I've only used 4 different pre's. And none have been expensive. I've always planned on getting a more high-end pre in the future...after my mic locker is big and and diverse enough.

    With that being said, I did a lot of homework before I invested in the Steinberg unit, and it recieved glowing reviews by everyone who had used one. There were a few shootouts done on other forums where the MR preformed very well against high priced competition. I know the converters are the exact same that are used in the RME interfaces, so it should be good in that area. And many users who also owned or had previously owned an Apogee duet said the MR was superior in both pre's and conversion. I also had a great PM chat with a very happy owner who had been comparing the preamps in the MR to his Great River, and he told me that the difference was very minimal....maybe a 15% difference...and I also heard his sound clips. So after reading all these stories, I decided to try it out, and I noticed an exteme improvement over my old interface (Tascam FW1884) as far as the sound quality of the preamps. The sound was just bigger and more full and clear. The first mic I put into it was an Audix i5, and to me it sounded better than any condenser I'd ever used on my Tascam.

    Of course I'm a realist, and believe that in the end you always get what you pay for. So I can imagine that my eyes will be opened when I finally get to audition a Neve or something comparible at home. But I do think this problem I've had with the peircing sound is a frequency issue, because I was able to get rid of it with a 3 db reduction at the problem area. I have tried 2 mics that I do not need to eq in this area...the Oktava MK319 and the Nuemann TLM 102. Of these 2, the difference in fidelity is striking to me. The Nuemann has better fidelity than all my other mics, really.
     

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