Omni: is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by noground, Mar 30, 2004.

  1. noground

    noground Guest

    I've had no experience with omnidirectional mics. I'm wondering if I can get some opinions.

    Recently I've been reading articles or books by people who have stated a preference for using omnidirectional mics on a solo voice when the space is dead enough and the singer is overdubbing. All I've ever used is the cardioid pattern, and I've been led to believe that this is standard practice for most modern pop and rock (which I would assume is generally recorded by itself and in a dead space).

    So I'm wondering if there's any major difference other than the following things (please correct any mistakes):

    1. there is no proximity effect
    2. reflections (which there are few of in a dead space) are colored when arriving at different points on the microphone.
    3. the frequency response graph is altered slightly (often high peaks are exaggerated)

    Do you think it's worth buying a mic just to do an A/B with these two patterns OR do you think (in this situation) that the pattern is a such a secondary consideration after the type and model of microphone that I shouldn't bother obsessing over this? Do any of you habitually use mics in a particular pattern for vocals because you find that regardless of the mic, you're not happy with the results from any other pattern?
  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    I find omni is often very useful for vocals and believe that the more flexable a piece of gear is, the more options I have to getting
    'it' just right. The only real exception is a piece of gear or a mic that is so good and/or unique in it's tone or what it does that other options would not likely be needed or add way more to the cost.

    Mic's like the 414 (ULS and TLII), AT4060, KIWI, U87ai and many more like them all benefit greatly from having more than cardiod to work with when using them on vocals. A mic like the TLM103 or the AT4060 don't offer anything more than cardiod but I like what they do enough that I own them anyway.
  3. ShellTones

    ShellTones Guest

    I record at home, and although I could, I don't choose to completely deaden my space. Also, if you ever record acoustic instruments and have a decent sounding space, omnis can sound wonderful.
  4. captaininvisible

    captaininvisible Active Member

    Jan 31, 2003
    Change 4060 (a Cardioid Tube LDC) to 4050 (a Three Pattern Solid State LDC) in the first sentence and that'll make more sense.
  5. noground

    noground Guest

    Audiogaff (or anyone else),

    What percentage of the time do you find yourself using omni in overdubbed voice when you have full control of room ambience? And what is your reason for using it when you do? Is it purely subjective?
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    Omnis can be very useful in a variety of situations for the reasons you have mentioned. Lack of
    proximity effect is one of the main reasons and many people feel that omnis just have a more
    natural response. Sometimes it's desirable to pick up some of the ambiance in a room along
    with the source you are recording. Just as a mechanic has many different types and sizes of
    screwdrivers and wrenches, it is good to have many different types of mics at your disposal.

    Figure 8 patterns are really fun and cool to mess around with too ....

    Kurt Foster
  7. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    Ya, that is what was meant. My bo--boo.
  8. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    Percentage? Oh I don't know. It could be as high as 50% I guess. I don't really keep track of percentage. Subjective? Ya, no doubt about it. If I am using a mic that has omni, I'll always give it shot and see if it helps me more than it hurts. Many times omni isn't better in sound quality as it is in the way it feels in the context of the mix and within the specific song which makes it a better choice.
  9. noground

    noground Guest

    I thought this site had some good stuff comparing characteristics of cardioid and omni patterns. It definately makes me want to get an omni. Subjective things aside, it just seems the most logical when I really thought about why these patterns exist.
    look in Microphone University: Microphone Technology Guide: Directional vs. Omnidirectional Microphones

    So any suggestions for a good omni mic for male vocals? (should I start another thread for that?) Since I have a Studio Projects C1 (and really like it), I'm considering a C3.
  10. bgavin

    bgavin Guest

    Have you looked at the B3 also? Some folks here seem to like them for a modest priced, multi-pattern mic.

    I'd like to know about a pair of modest priced LDC omni, or multis, also.
  11. mikE@THECAVE

    mikE@THECAVE Guest

    how about that T3 for 500$
    I think i'd get one mic with other patterns just to expierement with
  12. dale116dot7

    dale116dot7 Guest

    I use an omni mic for close-mic'ed guitar a lot. I hear less room with my omni setup than with my cardioid mic - probably because I can put the omni right close to the guitar without proximity effect. With my CK61 capsule, I need the mic to be about 8" from the guitar, with my CK62 capsule (or my Altec coke bottle) I can have it maybe 2 to 4" away. Very tight sound if that's what you want - or if you need to use artificial reverb because the room sound isn't what you want.
  13. bgavin

    bgavin Guest

    Drop down to the PMI Group section here, and read all my posts about omnis. Brent Casey provided a lot of very useful information about them.

    I'm pretty much settled on acquiring a dot-matched set of SP B3 specifically for omni and figure-8 modes. I already have a set of SP C4 with the omni and cardioid capsules.

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