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Can anyone identify this mic?

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by Wyatt W, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. Wyatt W

    Wyatt W Active Member

    Feb 13, 2013
    Charleston, SC
    Can anyone tell me what mic is used in this Dolly Parton recording?

    Dolly Parton - Travelin' Thru [Official Music Video] - YouTube

    The song is Travelin Thru, from the Transamerica soundtrack. The vocal sound in this record (especially toward the end when she's belting) is unlike anything I've ever heard. I realize there's a lot more to that sound than the mic itself (the rest of the signal chain, the engineering, the mastering, etc.), but I'm curious what mic she is singing into. Also, does anyone know who engineered this recording, or what components helped make this particular sound? Thanks.
  2. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Moderator Resource Member

    Dec 18, 2008
    Western Pennsylvania, USA
    Hi Wyatt and welcome,

    Hopefully someone else will have a positive ID on the mic.

    It's difficult to say for certain. There are scores of microphones made to visually resemble and promise to have sound reminiscent of the old AKG C12 type design. And over the years the C12 itself has undergone numerous make-overs that included a look similar to that. AKG and all the clones are all proud enough of their mic to put a big old logo on there so they are easily identified to be lusted after by folks like us who notice.

    But the first thing we need to acknowledge is that this is a performance video, and that there is a high probability - none of what we're seeing in the video has anything to do with what we hear on the audio recording. In which case they cast a pretty young thing in the role of studio microphone- hired for her looks not how she sounds. It (the mic) also seems suspiciously high relative to the petite Miss Dolly to stay out of the shot.

    There's certainly a possibility that they tracked the song there using that same equipment, but re-staged things a bit for the purpose of the video.

    On a side-note I'm surprised the very talented Ms. Parton consented to wearing the headphones and messing up her hair on camera.
    Dolly probably is listed as Producer as well as Performer and Composer, I don't know who she would favor as engineer. You should try to ask Miss Dolly herself, she seems to be one of the most accessible celebs ever.
  3. Wyatt W

    Wyatt W Active Member

    Feb 13, 2013
    Charleston, SC
    Thanks so much for your input!
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    Just like the DVD hawk said, it looks like an AKG C-12? It could also be one of those new American-built Telefunken 251's? ELAM 251? Sterling? Bock? But most likely that Telefunken or AKG. In fact I'm fairly certain it's a C-12 on her.

    All of those studios that she records in are largely through vintage analog consoles. I saw quite a few API's while there. Quite a number of large SSL 9000's. Some vintage and some newer Neve's. A few Trident's. A couple of large Allen & Heath's. I saw one Avid Icon. Everybody else was running vintage analog. Because that's what they do in Tennessee. They know what sounds good. They know what works good. They know what makes hits good.

    That was truly a shoot for the video. There was no auditory perception on my part to make me believe that was live footage of her tracking. And that's a perception you get within the first few seconds. It's not even a good audio compression codec that was used in the delivery of that YouTube video. In fact it was awful sounding. And YouTube can deliver better than that. So that was on the origination side of the upload. And it's actually best to upload a high resolution flash or MP 4 file. None of which we were looking at or listening to. In fact it looked about as awful as it sounded. So I really think it was not a professionally sanctioned release on YouTube?

    Are you sure the sound of that microphone you're listening to was not overly laden with codec compression artifacting? I mean it sounded like she was underwater, for heaven's sake. Is that the sound you liked? I mean those digital artifacts can present their own cool sounds on the right material. Some of it is this nice smooth flanging effect. It's not supposed to be there. But with pop music, everybody wonders how you get that sound LOL. An effect in which you had never planned for LOL. And it could add just that right je ne sais quoi? It usually doesn't. But I have found that somewhat effective on certain releases by others. Even though they never planned for it. When that happens to me, I try a different codec. Just like we used to have our favorite tape formulations. Mine was Scotch but I also used Ampex tape just as much. I like my sound better with Scott... and rocks.

    Blended or single malt, I don't care. It all works the same way. Accomplishes the same thing. One shot might cost you two dollars where the other shot might cost you $20. And does it make any difference when it comes out? Maybe you prefer a darker shade to a lighter shade of urine?

    Obviously urine, the right business.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  5. hangtogether

    hangtogether Active Member

    Jun 21, 2013
    It's definitely not a C-12. Looks more like a large-body U-47.

  6. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Resource Member

    Feb 21, 2013
    Quebec, Canada
    Home Page:
    It is not rare that the video is done at a later time from the recording.. I'd not be surprise if the image we see in the video are nothing like the actual recording environement and gear.. (Some time it's not even the same studio.. )

    Wyatt, the grain of the voice, the sound of the room, the preamp chosen, and yes, the mic choice are all the things that makes a world of difference..

    I find that having many alternative in your bag of tricks is far more important than trying to match gear from other studio.. You listen to the source, then decide what to use !! ;)
  7. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Moderator (Distinguished Member) Resource Member

    Nov 25, 2012
    Akron/Cleveland, OH
    Home Page:
    It looks like a C12 to me, but there's no guarantee that this is the actual mic she used for the recording. As PC mentioned, most of the time the video is done long after the the song is mixed. They could have rented a studio just to shoot the video, and the room they shot the video in might not have even been the same one they used to record the audio in.

    I can tell you by the way she is moving around and singing off-axis to the mic in the video, that the video and audio weren't done at the same time. At one point in the beginning of the video, she turns her head almost 90 degrees off-axis to the mic while singing. She wouldn't have done that during actual audio tracking.
  8. cruisemates

    cruisemates Active Member

    Jan 28, 2004
    Home Page:
    I agree - not a C-12, too much windscreen: could be this:

    Pearlman Mic.jpg

    Or this


    Or a number of the mics here: https://www.google.com/search?q=akg+C12+mic&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.49784469,d.cGE,pv.xjs.s.en_US.MpiVkF51mpA.O&biw=1920&bih=993&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=BXf0UbiRAsn2iQLLw4GwBw#um=1&hl=en&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=vocal+mics+tube&oq=vocal+mics+tube&gs_l=img.3...118621.126711.0.127164.,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.49784469,d.cGE,pv.xjs.s.en_US.MpiVkF51mpA.O&fp=5c731747d2c6b48b&biw=1920&bih=993&imgdii=_
  9. DSPDiva

    DSPDiva Active Member

    Sep 19, 2013
    Miami, FL
    Home Page:
    I'm gonna say it's a Neumann U47. That mic is one of the big 5 used on really big recordings, especially at that time. I know it's not a C12 for sure tho.
  10. BobRogers

    BobRogers Distinguished Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    All I can say is, I hope we answer this soon. You just know someone is going to ask, "What's the best kind of mic for recording Dolly Parton's forehead?"
  11. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff Resource Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Prince George, BC
    Home Page:
    OMG, that is hilarious. A piezo and wart pads would be my guess for recording Dolly's forehead.


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