Ribbon-Condenser combination for LV

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by DonnyThompson, Apr 23, 2017.

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    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

  1. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    Hi guys...
    So, I've had an opportunity come up to use a vintage but perfectly working RCA 44 for several months.
    One thing I've always wanted to try is using a nice LDC in combination with a nice Ribbon mic for lead and/or backing vocals, bussing each mic to its own discreet track so that I can adjust levels, blend and EQ for each independently.
    I've also been given a Grace single channel preamp ( which has a "Ribbon" switch, presumable to add the necessary gain) and which has neither a tube nor transformer gain-stage.

    Can I ask your thoughts on how you would go about using this array? Or is this a bad idea that bears no further discussion?
    In my head, I hear the warmth and richness of the Ribbon, while at the same time also having the "silk" and presence of the 414EB with the brass C12 diaphragm.
    I'm curious as to how the other pros here on RO would approach this concept...

    Honestly, I've worked with many nice LDC's and some very nice ribbons over the years, but I've never considered using them at the same time on the same source, especially a vocal performance.
    Thoughts?
    -d.
     
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    You can't normally blend condenser and ribbon mics on the same sound source. This is because condensers are pressure-senstive, and ribbons are velocity-sensitive, resulting in their outputs being 90 degrees out of phase with one another, so a true blend is not possible without phase correction. This effect is purely to do with the microphone transducer design, and has nothing to do with time delays related to the placement distance from the sound source and the velocity of sound.

    One of the reasons I bought an Audient Mico pre-amp when they first came out is that it has an all-pass phase control on one channel. You can dial-in a 90 degree full-frequency phase shift during tracking, as this is something that can't very easily be done after capture. When using a single ribbon along with several condensers, I normally put the phase shift on the ribbon channel, as then all are mics are in phase.

    Note that even condensers like the AKG C414 that have fig-8 amongst their selectable patterns still have a pressure-sensitive phase response when switched to this pattern, so can't be used in an M-S array with ribbons unless externally phase-corrected.
     
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  3. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    So, is this 90 degree phase shift a possible option for me? Or you're saying unequivocally that it can't ( or shouldn't) be done, period?

    I'm happy to defer to those of you who know - it's precisely why I asked. ;)
     
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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  6. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    In my opinion, it's not an option, it's something you should avoid. Many serious studio pros don't know this, and I've never heard it being part of handed-down studio folklore. It's also not taught in audio schools, as, I suspect, the course organisers aren't aware of it either.

    It's interesting as well as useful that Audient included a variable phase control in their Mico dual pre-amp. I like to think that they had the condenser-ribbon M-S combination in mind when doing so.
     
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  7. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    We talked of this Boswell and I a while back. I was recording an acoustic guitar in M/S with a ribbon as side and a condenser as mid.
    The problem I was having is it sounded louder on one side. I was able to remedy it with a delay on the mid channel.
    The info Bos gave me discouraged me from re-using this combinaison.
     
  8. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    To be clear guys, I'm not talking about an MS array here.
    If that's been understood already then I default to Boswll's expertise. ;)
     
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    (edit)
    Ya, I thought you were talking about using a ribbon with other condensers during the same tracking (not M-S). Which I think is okay but if its not, I had no idea this wasn't a good idea, or am I missing something too?

    Although, I understand what Bos is talking about in regards to M-S . That, I had no idea of. But M-S micing isn't something I have ever done. I've familiar with M-S in the mix/ mastering domain.
     
  10. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    Yea, me too... although Bos was the one that taught me that as well, last year. I just wasn't aware that it applied to "straight" mic'ing as well. My intent was to put the Ribbon in tight on the vocalist (4" or so) and then place the condenser back by about a foot, observing the 3:1 Rule with the 414 in Hypercardioid mode.

    But Bos also mentioned that it wasn't a time-based phase issue, so that would then negate the 3:1 placement, as it wouldn't matter.

    I'm really curious about this... (I am in NO way second guessing Bos) .. I'm just curious, because for years I've used a dynamic/Ribbon or a Condenser/Ribbon combo on guitar amps... and to my knowledge, I've never had any issues. In fact, it was my go-to mic array for guitar amps, and I still use that array; with a dynamic or condenser in-tight on the speaker and a ribbon (sometimes Coles or Beyers if they were available but mostly I used a Royer R121 after they came out) and then backed-off by about 2'.... sometimes I'll place it (the Ribbon) on the rear of the amp, if it's open-backed.
    I wonder if what I've been doing all these years has been wrong - though I can't recall ever having any complaints about the guitar/amp sounds I've gotten for clients.
    Again... I'm not doubting Boswell. He's the Sage of RO, a true master of the craft, and we're damned lucky to have him here.
    I'm just curious about it all. ;)

    -d
     
  11. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    I use it for drum room mic'ing, as well as acoustic guitar.
    My personal go-to array for MS is two AKG 414 EB's ( sometimes I'll use a 414 P48), because those are the two (three including the 414-P48) most similar multi-directional mics I have available to me ... and I just happen to love the sound of them. I got lucky in that regard. I'm sure I could pick up 2 cheap multi-pattern condensers and use those, I'm sure they would "work", but I don't believe I'd get the same pleasing tonality out of them that I do with the vintage 414's I have.
    M-S-M can add very nice width and depth on acoustic instruments, as well as ambient drum mics, and even multi-singer backing vox.
    I've never used MS for a single vocalist, though.

    Once you get your true-love acoustic beauty you've been looking for, :love: you should try recording it in MS sometime, just for fun. ;)

    Anyway ....back to our regularly scheduled programming. Lol. :)

    -d
     
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  12. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    I know, but the reason it's not working is the same..
    It was just an exemple and I wanted to give an idea about the time compensation that was needed to make it sound somewhat ok.
     
  13. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    Yes, I was relating to dual-miking of a single source, but it's sometimes easier to consider what happens in M-S, where phase plays such an important and more obvious part.

    There's nothing wrong in trying a mixture of pressure-sensitive and velocity-sensitive microphones on any source to see how you like the result. In particular, it gives a certain effect on guitar cabinets to form a part of the sound rather than working against it, and I have often used that. One warning though: if you are panning the two microphones differently in the mix, even if slightly L and R, then it's very important to check the result in mono as well. This is because when you take the time delays that arise from even a few inches of cone-mic distance, the phase cancellations that occur can give unexpected unpleasantness in the high frequency range. I almost always make sure I check an X-Y phase plot to ensure the major components are on a SW-NE axis and mainly only transients in a NW-SE direction.

    Donny, I would not over-worry about phase problems when using substantial source-to-mic distance ratios between the two categories of microphone. The time (and hence frequency-dependent phase) effects of distance very quickly swamp the fixed phase difference due to transducer principle. If a particular mic choice and placement gives you the sound you want, and it checks out OK in mono, go for it. Check using a phase plot if there's any doubt.
     
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  14. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Tips on guitar cabinet micing with a Royer R121 / SM57 /58 combination

    • There are plugins like time adjuster. You can flip the polarity and sweep the length of the delay until it thins out the most, then flip polarity back.
    • http://www.radialeng.com/phazer.php
    phazer-front-back.jpg
    Phazer™ Class-A Phase Adjuster
    Part No. R800 1450

    • Time align two signals for exceptional clarity
    • 100% analogue, does not 'step' like digital delay
    • Low-pass filter lets you focus the effect
    • Once you try it, you will never mix without
    The Radial Phazer™ is an analogue phase alignment tool that lets you bring two sound sources together so that the fundamentals play in sync. Once in phase, the results are impressive: On electric guitar; you can combine the direct feed of an amp with a room mic to create fat rich tones. On a kick drum, combine the 'attack' sound from a batter head mic with the 'boom' captured by the outer shell mic. On a snare drum, combine the top and bottom mics and on acoustic instruments, combine a close 'spot' mic with a room mic to capture textures like never before.

    The Phazer is designed from the ground up for optimum sound quality. It employs full-size 100% discreet class-A electronics to deliver the warmth and thickness that is simply not possible with chip based devices. This results in smooth, natural sounding phase curves which are particularly noticeable in the lower frequency spectrum. 0º to 180º phase adjustment is performed with a single knob making it easy to zone-in on the sweet spot. For the more adventurous, a 180° polarity reverse switch accesses the 181° to 360° range and lets you create weird to absurd 'Phazed' tonal textures. This is augmented with a variable low-pass filter that lets you focus the effect in the lower frequency spectrum - where phasing is most audible.

    Built Radial tough for the road, the Phazer is equipped with an innovative book-end design that creates a protective zone around the knobs and switches. Construction is 14-gauge steel with an internal I-beam frame that protects the sensitive electronics in even the harshest touring environments. A full bottom no-slip pad provides electrical insulation to eliminate electrical bonding and mechanical isolation to reduce mishap.

    The Radial Phazer is a creative tool for the studio designed to expand your tonal palette. Live, it delivers great sound fast. Once you try one, you will never mix without!


    I started a new discussion on cabinet micing https://recording.org/threads/tips-on-guitar-cabinet-micing.62472/
     
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