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Placing mics - monitoring in headphones

Discussion in 'Monitoring / Headphones' started by Bob Mould, Nov 29, 2002.

  1. Bob Mould

    Bob Mould Member

    I've been getting really frustrated lately micing amps and drums, its usually a really time
    consuming project running between the studio and the control room listening for changes,I feel
    i would get better results if i could hear what im doing in real-time. I've tried placing mics
    with headphones on but its really hard making judgements to whats happening when standing next
    to a loud amp or drumset. So how do guys tackle this problem? Also can anyone recommend a pair
    of good headphones with high rejection of background noise.

  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I feel your pain! Back and forth, it's a drag! But what's a girl to do? :D If you can, get one of the members of the band or an assistant to help. Put them in phones so you can communicate with them. This is one of the things about the new age of recording that is a bummer! Studios run by an individual who can't afford the expense of an assistant. Not to mention the loss of the mentoring system where people would learn from a pro all the tricks and techniques before the got their hands on the console. The up side is you will get some exercise, the down side is you need a shower after you get your set up complete! .... Fats
  3. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Get an old pair of Koss Pro IV AA headphones from ebay..or another studio, tape them on so they stay snug and you can hear.

    Experience in studio work is brain game...extrapolation..know what this will do here will translate there..it is a learning curve.

    Keep it simple.

    Two overheads, a kick and a 57 between hat and snare and one on floor toms is as far as I go these days..close enough to keep the room phase out ..

    As far as mic translation..you are still contending with the monitors as well.

    Do this. Make sure all raw sounds are right, levels not peaking, and use as good of a set of mics you can afford..and try the vibe of "this will work"..do not beat yourself up. Simple is pure.

    Easier said than done..but get into it Zen wise.

    Remember Yoda.

    Do ..or Do not.
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Bill Roberts says;
    Amen and harrumph!!! Less is more. It escapes a lot of recordists that out of all of this wonderful equipment we get to play with none of it actually improves a sound or signal, it simply modifies it. And never for the better. A straight wire with gain has been the audio Holy Grail for decades. More stuff, more crap! In addition IMO all the extra sh*t gets in the way of the vibe. This is what I've been preaching for years now, the first three things that are important to recording a great record, (1) talent (2) talent (3) talent. Anything else (like room mics or 5 mics on a source, blah, blah,blah) is just lipstick on a pig if there isn't any talent. If there is talent all this extra stuff is extraneous.
    When Eddie Kramer used room mics on John Bonhams drums I am guessing that he was still only putting up four mics. Back then when they were using 4 track recorders, the accepted practice for drum micing was to use one overhead and one on the kick. The room mics make four. ..... Fats!
  5. Bob Mould

    Bob Mould Member

    thanks guys, so i guess theres no easy solution to this. Yeah i've tried using band members from time to time moving mics and that works pretty well, its really the finetuning of micpositioning im after, and i feel thats something i need to do myself, especially with guitar amps im having trouble squeezing out that perfect midrange, i've tried lowering the volume on the amps while placing mics but it never sounds the same when cranking the amp up again.
    well well.... :)
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    What kind of mics and pres are you using on guitar amps? I know what you mean about getting great guitar amp tones.. it can be very difficult. For me 57's on Fender clean tone amps and U87's or 421's on Marshall crunch tone amps has worked the best. I usually will mic closer to the edge of the speaker rather that near the cone unless the amp seems to be a little dull. I also do not hesitate to ask a guitar player to modify their tone on the amp. I have been known to actually tell someone that their tone sucks! This is usually at first with resistance but after making the necessary tweaks the player is usually ecstatic!. ...... Fats
  7. Bob Mould

    Bob Mould Member

    pres: vintech 72's or trident mta ixone
    mics: sm57's,beyer m260,beyer 201,akgc414
    with a little work i get pretty decent guitar tones but the thing is as i do mostly demos for bands under serious time pressure i need to get mics up fast. Ive read posts by recorderman about him using headphones while placing mics, how he does it i dont know. But it seems like the best way to do it if one could get the leakage under control. Running back and forth between the studio and controlroom can be a total vibe killer aswell. Bands usually dont wanna spend a couple of hours finetuning a mic on a guitarcab :)
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Vintech 72's and Trident, can't argue with that! Is it a Trident 80 or 65? The 414's are IMO not a great choice for guitar amps, really bright! I can't say much about the Beyers as I haven't had the chance to use them much. I had a 201 for a while but it was soooo thin..it may have been damaged? I traded it off for a set of 8" Tannoy coaxial monitors. Like I said, 421's... a standard for Marshalls! U87's... If your not able to afford a U87 the Studio Projects C3 is supposed to be pretty close. Try these and it may help solve your problems. ...... Fats
  9. faganking

    faganking Member

    Do this. Make sure all raw sounds are right, levels not peaking, and use as good of a set of mics you can afford..and try the vibe of "this will work"..do not beat yourself up. Simple is pure.
    Easier said than done..but get into it Zen wise.
    I LOVE this! It's so ^#$%ing on. "Believe It" Believe what you are doing. Tell yourself, "This is going to be GREAT"
    Of late I have been working *alone*. Last week I recorded the 'Uptown Horns'....alone. Totally alone. And, in a no 'control room' studio. In a situation like this (say drum tracking, as well); Instead of running around with headphones on, moving mics, asking guys to play a little, don't play....I just put up the best mics I own in a position I know will work. Don't hit levels *too* hard....record. Start making music. You are, after all (hopefully w/ fingers crossed) recording good players. I mean.....it was the Uptown Horns!
  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Lucky You! Uptown Horns. I'm green! I agree wholeheartedly with your statement. Bob, supreme confidence is most important. Positive thinking and visualizing. Second guessing yourself is a pit that you just can't climb out of. Develop tried and true working habits and stick to them. It's not rocket science, contrary to what some would like us to think. Once again, the most important thing is to be recording talent. Without talent the best mics and pres are worthless. ...... Fats
  11. faganking

    faganking Member

    This guy knows from where he speaks. 'Confidence'. I actually believe this to be THEE answer to....everything. [Like most things, that statement is born from *my* experience.]
    I wish I had more time (and could speed type) to tell a shitload of true life stories relating to this, as far as making records goes. Suffice to say, it's everything. Say: If you're not actually that confident to begin with, start faking it! Wait a minute, isn't that called conceited?
  12. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    As fats sas Harrruuuuooooommmmmmppppphhhhhhhppphhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Vibe baby, vibe...

    Listening to Stones through reference SACD and my reference system now 'get yer ya yas out!' and even with Ludwigs "infinite wisdom" I got my 70 hZ kicked up about 3db and rocking ma ass off at 105 dB...Not bad for an old dude.

    Damnit...all that money he makes and he did not realize those 100 grand speakers he has has Extra 40hZ in them and he cut it to be perfect on them. See, I got to 'bass boost' to get it level.


    Better yet..


    Thank you King for the sharing of da vibe...
  13. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Hey Bill!!!
    Aw Crap! Now I gotta go buy a SCAD player so I can hear "what your talkin' bout Willis!"
    I was wondering if you were going to impart us with your wisdom regarding the Stones release! I truly believe it's only a short time before PCM is the dead turd it should have been years ago....oh boy! I get to spend more money! OK enough of that Fats! Glad to hear that you seem to be "feelin alright!" I was afraid we were going to have to go for some time before we were once again blessed with your "pearls of wisdom". See, there is a Santa Clause Virginia,....Ho Ho Ho........ Fats
  14. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Actually, there is grave dissapointment in over 80% of the mastering I hear on Sacd...fully knowing what could have been done in more competant hands. Overall the software is dissapointing..but the stones is much better than CD in mastering and care...and really Bob could have jacked up the bottom a tad and cut the 3 to 5 k a shade because I hear his system..not just the music. His audiophile speakers have the auto bass boost and this is why the bottom is not as punchy or balanced (especially noticable during the chouruses..bass is buried) and the shrillness of the vox is a shade too much at times.

    How and why can I say this system is as good as it is. Because I capture a live event, bring it here and it sounds the same. It actually is slightly more definitive than the live event , especially in the dynamics because recording and stages of amplification = exgaggerated dynamics.then I work it back to the original..because I have a keen sense of memory of the event.
    I also place my mics in the positions that extrapolates the human condition of siting in the audience.

    I know how audio can sound and that is what I do. It also travels far..car system, boom box, clock radio, high end, and all the mojo.

    Yup..one day I can get it all in perspective and the others that have not heard this will...matter of timing.

    I have a few good SACD's and these are gems from the standpoint that it is a good as I have heard the Stones but it still needs more polish. Some tracks are very close and some have a bad hair day (in mastering not recording or performance).

    His system and ears simply is rolling off the lows and boosting the 3 to 5 K and I know it is not me or my system. I am in my prime and so is the system. Differences of 0.2dB are very noticable on this system and their are many works out there that prove that it could have been better. Perhaps I will downcode some of them and do it for kicks and grins. Since the remastering is also on redbook with these CD's the remastering differences also show up on redbook and overall it is better than the old redbook and most of my albums.

    SACD 1 Sony is around 3450 now and the 777 is around 1500. The 222 is a great performer but requires 500 hrs to settle in and start making music (long break in time).

    The format is a baby and their are excellent DVD-A's out there as well. My Computer can play those..remember, DVD-A and DVD-V are NOT the same. Takes a DVD-A player to play back hi rez PCM discs.

    Battle between DVD-A and SACD will remain...like VHS and Beta. One will win out and Sony does not have the best track record. (Elcassette, Beta consumer, Memory Stick..)
  15. wacckkjob

    wacckkjob Guest

    hey bob,

    regarding the headphone isolation situation, there is a pretty good solution for about $130. a pair of the in ear shure monitors, the E1 i believe, with a standard ear mold to fit your ear (included) will surprise you. i played drums in a band to a sequencer and used a pair so i could mix my drums, which i miked seperately just for myself, sequencer, and click. if you have them in and you play a miked set at full blast, you'll only feel what's outside your phones and hear EXACTLY what's going through your lines.
  16. Bob Mould

    Bob Mould Member

    Thanks, Great idea!
    That sounds like just what i need. I will defenitly check them out.

  17. Bob Mould

    Bob Mould Member

    big :c:
  18. robchittum

    robchittum Guest

    Sounds like you found a solution that works for you! That's great. I just found this thread and wanted to throw out another solution for anyone else who may have similar issues. I may get roasted for this suggestion, but I have heard shitloads of great things about the Etymotic ER4S in ear phones. I know, I know, but they aren't your average "ear buds". They supposedly sound fantastic and have wonderful isolation from outside noise. I don't own a pair due to the cost (around $230) but I would like to know if anyone on this site has ever heard or used them, and whether they would have any use for mixing (not that anything can replace a great set of monitors interacting with air), but just wondering. Here's the link for more info on them.


  19. Harrrrmmmmpppphhhhhhhooooommmmpppppphhhhhhhh!!!!!!

    Many times I'll throw up more drum mics than I'll use in the mix, since tracks are available, but in the mix .. perhaps different (this is for rock). Jazz four mics is plenty.

    Headphones and live room/control room. Maybe I'm nuts, but I'm not having a problem there .. the bigger problem to me is making sure the artists get the best possible mix in the phones .. am I missing something here in my translation of this post?

    Mic placement is a feel after much time and experience .. many times I can just look at something while I'm listening (with no phones) and see where I want it .. if that makes sense?
  20. Kingpin

    Kingpin Guest

    These headphones might just be the best for controlling leakage

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