:) recorded a practise session (what I've learnt so far)

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by GentleG, Sep 26, 2006.

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  1. GentleG

    GentleG Guest

    Hi all,

    I hope this post is somewhat informative
    for all your fellow recording beginners / enthousiasts
    As I am a beginner as well.

    The band is drums, bass, guitar, keys+samples (no vocals)
    Something between atmospheric and full on groove (and switching back and forth).

    I've recorded their practise jams a number of time
    And I think I'm starting to understand how to approach this kind of thing.
    They'll be playing live next week :-? :)

    A couple of months ago I started recording the drums by using 2 small diaphragm condensers (mk012 card) in the Mixerman/etc setup. Accompanied by a beta52a on kick and sm57 on snare.

    It sounded surprisingly good at that time (pop/rock type), and even the drummer thought it sounded good.
    But not as he wanted (nor I for that matter).
    So I tried a large diapragm condenser (NT1A) in front of the kit instead of Overheads.
    It sounded again, reasonably good, but once again, not what we wanted.
    Meanwhile I tried different variantions of these setups, same results.

    Tonight I wanted to try something completely different:
    A Beyer M260 (ribbon) as 1 overhead (just straight above (1m) the kit pointing at the snare) and the shure beta52a on kick, that's it.
    WOW, love at first sight, euh, hearing.
    For the live show I'll add a simple sm57 to the snare for some more control.

    The only thing I would like to improve on is the kick mic, the 52a has a bit of a click and I want a flatter response ($).

    The thing I've learnt is, so it seems, something we beginners must all go through: first you buy a few dynamics (sm57 f.e.) and feel it lacks shine or something. So you start buying condensers ($300 large and small) to get that crispy high-end. But now you've got crisp without personality ($)
    And now I've learnt I don't always want that. Sure, I'll use condensers on a choir, a piano, maybe even an accoustic guitar.

    But the joy of mixing a drum with only a ribbon with built in highpass and a large diaphragm dynamic is unbelievably great: just set the levels and compress to taste.

    Luckily I've unconsciously anticipated some of these happy findings and have been scrounging the net for some classic dynamics instead of more condensers.

    I've recorded the bass with a Beyer M99. It's somewhat comparable to a EV RE20, but made in Europe, so it's much cheaper for me.
    I definetly preferred the miced sound to the direct one. The miced bass sits better in the mix, it glues better, it doesn't stand out so much. (this isn't in-you-face pop/rock)

    For the guitar I've used a Sennheiser 431, the builtin high pass is especially great for live work and for this band the presence boost helps.
    Again, very easy to mix, just set the level.

    The keys are a different story altogether: lots of high piercing stuff and weird samples, rediculous dynamics. Luckily the band already persuaded the keys-guy to play through a bass cabinet they had laying around. YES. The direct sound through the little keys+samples mixer was like the devil. A MD 421-II in front of the bass-cabinet was heaven in comparisson. I'd switch the basscut to medium (between S and M) and no EQ needed. Just some serious compression to even out his submixing skills....

    To sum it up:
    Condensers are great for some things, but be sure to try/buy a ribbon / classic dynamic
    Use the information in the frequency graphs to help you decide which mic to choose: be happy with somewhat limited bandwidth, it's much easier to mix (especially in a live situation)

    I hope some of you may find this somewhat usefull
    And maybe some of the more experienced folks can chime in to add to this


    in case someone wants to point me to alternatives, my current mics:
    3 sm57
    1 beta52a
    1 sm58
    1 md421-II
    1 md431-II
    1 M99
    2 NT1A
    4 mk012-03
    short-term wishlist:
    1 MD421-I
    1 D12E
    1 Ev RE20

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