Cascade Fat Head II initial report

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by BobRogers, May 2, 2008.

  1. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    So after our discussion of recording marimba and a few other financial events in my life I decided to purchase a pair of Cascade Fat Head Ribbon mics. It turned out that they were out of the original Fat Heads in gold so they offered me a deal on the Fat Head IIs. They came late Wednesday, and I got around to trying them today.

    Some quick impressions: For $350 for two mic, a Blumlein bar, shock mounts, and a case it is a very impressive package. (I think the standard price on the FH II is more like $400) The fit and finish on the mics is excellent. Smooth, polished metal work. No burrs or obvious imperfections. Good heavy feel. Have not taken the screens off to look at the ribbons until I've tested them out a bit more. The Blumlein bar is solid and sturdy, I don't see any difference between the shock mounts and mounts that sell for $75. Unfortunately, all of the fittings on the case are junk. Makes me nervous just to carry the mics by the flimsy plastic handle. The foam inserts are nice. I've either got to get a new case that will fit the foam or at replace the fittings.

    I need to do a lot more experimenting to see how to best use them. The sound is very silky and smooth. Just for a start, I made a recording of Alice on alto sax with the Fat Head IIs in Blumlein and my AKG C414 B-ULX in Blumlein as well. Both pairs go to an API 3124+. No EQ or other adjustments to the tracks. While I think it's pretty obvious which track is which, I flipped a coin to see which of the two samples is presented first.

    Sample 1

    Sample 2

    Let me know what you think.
     
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Sample 1 is clearer, I hear more breath as well which I tend to enjoy.

    Sample 2 is silky but less clear and maybe a db lower,


    Not sure which one I'd prefer until its in the mix, but its interesting.
     
  3. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Yeah, forgot to mention I used the PT normalize command to keep the volumes relatively equal. Of course that just makes the peak volumes the same. I probably should boost Sample 2 a bit. As you'd expect, the output of the ribbons is much lower than the condensers, so the gain settings on the preamp were different and they tracked at slightly different levels
     
  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Tried the mic out on guitar cab this morning. There being no real guitarist around at 7 AM on a Saturday, I had to play myself. Haven't picked up my tele in months, so the playing is pretty embarrassing. Nevertheless, the test is a pretty good comparison. Tele into a Matchless Hurricane 2X10. The Fathead on one speaker, an SM57 on the other. One pair fairly clean. One pair slightly driven.

    Clean Sample 1

    Clean Sample 2

    Driven Sample 1

    Driven Sample 2

    Again, everything is untouched except for the normalization. The difference is so obvious that I didn't make any pretense of scrambling. The Fat Head is the "fatter" mic (to coin a phrase) but with a less defined top end. It does benefit from a couple of dB of high shelf boost. I have a guitarist in my jazz band who likes his tone a little brighter than I do, and he will get the Fat Head instead of the 57.
     
  5. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    Bob,
    That Matchless sounds friggin sweet! I think the FH2 tends to be a good choice on 'chimey' amps when you mate them with something like a 57. It's a good way to round things out when blending the two.

    Thanks for the samples.
     

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