SDC for overheads

Discussion in 'Room & Overhead' started by ChrisH, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    You're wrong there. SDC's virtually all sound good. Virtually all have good off axis performance. That sizzle you describe I believe is more of the microphone preamp than which SDC was used. Really good mic preamps have that sweeter zinger sound to them and are also most likely transformer coupled inputs through a good transformer like Jensen. The preamps can be discrete transistor and even IC chip with Transformers. Most lower-cost gear can't afford the price nor the weight that Transformers present. So the manufacturers are sure to include marketing hype along with test data to prove how much better their transformer less stuff is over those ringing and distortion producing Transformers. But I find a lot of those transformer less preamps really lack in that zingy lifelike sound one gets from good preamps more so than from the microphones themselves. I've utilized plenty of inexpensive, entry level & Radio Shaft microphones that sounds positively unreal going through Neve & API style all discrete transistor preamps with Transformers. I really don't have any problems combining $30 Radio Shaft condenser microphones with $3000 Neumann's right next to each other. And I'm not giving you crap here, this is real, this is the truth. I've actually talked to teachers of the second largest independent recording school in the USA this same lesson on a on location recording with them. They never believed me when I told him that SHURE SM57's could sound better on a gospel choir than all of their Neumann's that they had already hung. They could not get the sound they wanted. They also had too much off axis bleed into their LDC Neumann's, especially from the drums, which sounded like total crap. They finally deferred to my suggestion when the choir began to complain they were getting tired during the microphone check. They couldn't believe how good the 57's sounded through the Neve preamps. And they're the guys getting paid to teach and I'm not. I even bumped heads with a PhD in the Recording Arts & Sciences from the University of Maryland. He too was amazed at my insights and knowledge. I did everything in his studio (mixing a friends CD) that he told me wouldn't work and wouldn't sound good. He told me he had never heard a sound that's stellar, from his control room before. So he was an idiot, with a PhD. Thankfully, it was not long after that he gave up doing audio and teaching it. He became a lawyer. If you get arrested, don't go to him. If you need to negotiate a deal, don't go to him. You can tell him " Dr. it hurts when I record your way...". And we all know the appropriate answer to that don't we?

    So, basically what I'm saying is, it may have more to do with your placement, gain structure, with proper equalization and mixing technique. It's so much easier to blame your equipment when you don't get what you want. The fact remains, even on that lesser stuff, you should still be able to get that sound with what you currently have. You can tell I'm not a salesman. And you shouldn't blame the equipment for something it's not responsible for.

    Repeat after me..." it ain't the microphone, it ain't the microphone...".
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    BTW, how do you know you are not listening to an APHEX Aural exciter? They do that sound you heard. It's likely a manufactured distortion component. So cleanliness, neutrality, transparency is not necessarily the magical ingredient. And of course, they produced that through a quality console also. There is so much technique and knowledge, experience you are lacking, of course it's easy to blame your microphones because they are inexpensive. But most of these inexpensive microphones capsules are mostly produced in a couple of Chinese factories across the board for all of these budget oriented devices. For instance, even my 20-year-old Radio Shaft Pressure Zone Microphones utilize the same capsules in their $30/$40 microphone that are used in the Crown Pressure Zone Microphones. This was verified to me by a Crown applications engineer because there was little difference between the $30/$40 ones and the $375 one. He told me they got their capsules from a Chinese manufacturer and when they licensed Radio Shaft to produce a consumer oriented version that was less rugged, it had the same capsules. The only difference there was that Crown required specific test data for each capsule. The Radio Shaft version went through no testing procedures. The Crown was built with more metal and the Radio Shaft was built with more plastic. Same capsules. The Radio Shaft only had a 1/4 inch unbalanced output. But internally, it had a transformer and with a simple snip of the 1/4 inch connector, the internal wires revealed red/white & stranded wrapped copper ground. So one and only needed to solder on a XLR. One could also install higher voltage batteries that would up the level and reduce noise since they could not be modified for phantom power like the Crown could. So instead of 1.5 V AA, 2 specialized batteries could be put together and fit in the AA slot and also provide for 12 V power. So all inexpensive stuff is a little bit of a crapshoot since no testing is performed on any of that budget oriented stuff. The Crown engineer was right as out of the 10 Radio Shaft microphones I purchased, 2 sound like crap. So I gave this to a friend who loves those slightly modified units. And I'm still using 7 of those 8, 20 years later (somebody stepped on number 8 and broke it. No reason to shed any tears since it only cost 40 bucks).

    Things will only sound as good as your engineering allows for.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  3. ChrisH

    ChrisH Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    No, it's not my placement or gain structure or "PROPER" equalization, thank you but after 10 years of experience I actually have a hold on it.
    There is many other factors that contribute besides the gear, Dave Holdredge is an amazing engineer, and who knows what tricks he has up his sleeves.
    We'll just have to disagree on the importance of a mic viruses the importance of a preamp, my experience has proved to me that the mic comes first in terms of gear.

    Just decided to throw that one in there huh?
    Just when I thought after 10 years of experience, and producing great sounding records would keep me from getting condescending remarks.
    No no, I think it's great that you have fun playing with Radioshack mics whilst trying to belittle other people.

    Now I'm looking for some new mics because I simply want some nicer mics, NOT because I'm getting crappy or bad results with the ones I have, I just want a new pair of overheads that will give me a better sound to start with.
     
  4. ChrisH

    ChrisH Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Kind of over reacted, my apologies Remy, I know you mean well and I was just having a bad day. Forget that last post of mine.

    That story about the 57's is rather interesting, and not currently being an owner of high end transistor preamps, just makes me excited for my near-future purchase of some.
    I still have allot to learn, In any field of music it's a never ending journey of learning.
    I get what you're saying but don't you believe that if everything else is in order that you still benefit to have quality mics for the job?
    I'm actually think about going with KSM32's for overheads, being a medium sized condenser and I really have loved all sound clips I've heard of them, they have a very natural warm sound. Any advice on those? I have a proper acoustic environment for them
     
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    I know what a frustrating day can be an no problem friend.

    I love virtually every microphone that SHURE Brothers manufactures. While I haven't used any of their LDC myself, I wouldn't hesitate to purchase one myself without ever even hearing it. That's because I already know, they are going to sound good. And if my SM 81's is any indications of how superb their condenser microphones sound, I think you'll love their KSM 32.

    We can also agreed to disagree. I'm one who believes the first stage (microphone preamp) is far more important than the microphones you choose. I've proven this to other highly regarded recording school instructors who also have Not believed me until I've proven this to them. And that's largely because they haven't been doing this as long as I have nor have they been doing this for any kind of broadcast applications either. Sometimes the best microphones are the worst ones to use. That's because they pick up so much more of what you don't want as well is what you want. Whereas lesser sensitive incarnations of dynamic microphones can actually prove to be more appropriate in many situations than + $3000 condenser microphones can. Though for overheads, I generally do utilize quality LDC or SDC types over dynamic microphones. But even then, on occasion, I've utilized SM57/Sennheiser 421's for overheads. Especially when you have a couple of guitarists and/or bass players flanking the drum set who already play too loudly. But thankfully that doesn't happen all too often.

    You'll be surprised at how much of a difference a quality mic preamp can make. It's also another reason why I also recommend discrete transistor preamps over hybrid IC chip/transistor types. The margin for error of bad sound from a microphone preamp can generally be found from IC chips because they are so much less forgiving than their discrete transistor brethren. Overload can sound cool with lots of discrete transistor preamps. They don't sound cool from overloading IC chip preamps. And with rock 'n roll, you frequently have an overabundance of hard-hitting transients. Not to mention cymbal crashes and tympani hits in orchestral recording also. But we all do what we feel we must do and so will you. Thankfully, I believe most microphone preamps that are touted as being class A (such as the Pre-Sonus units) are most likely a discrete transistor front end. That's simply because I don't know of any IC chips that can be considered class A? But then again, the API & Neve preamps I use are all discrete transistor class A/B types. The front end of those operational amplifiers are in fact class A while just the output driver section is a pair of push/pull A/B discrete transistor outputs. The older Neve's for instance utilized only a single power transistor output which makes those, pure class A all the way through. So those outputs go asymmetrical when they clip as opposed to the symmetrical clipping of the output transistors in class A/B devices. It's a difference in their linearity. Then there is also the saturation of the output transformer which also adds something to the pushed cool factor. As you can tell, I'm not a big fan of transformer less preamps and outputs. They can show you the performance improvement in test data but that is really more marketing hype than anything else. It is no longer practical to produce a console with dozens of input and dozens of output transformers. So they don't want to tell you that the transformer less stuff was more easily automated construction practices because then you would think them cheap. Those transformer less preamps can and do sound marvelous for a lot of folks depending upon your engineering style and technique. Most folks like to play it safe. There are those of us that constantly push the envelope. So we want what we want the way we want it. But hey, if any kind of mixer works, my engineering technique always renders a professional product regardless what I'm using. Any who, who doesn't like the sound of a good and reasonable condenser microphone? As long as it fits the application.

    Make some great tracks for us
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  6. ChrisH

    ChrisH Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Well that's awesome, I've already started losing sleep because I'm so ecstatic about the arrival of my Daking Preamps.
     
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    I've heard really good things about those. Made in the fine Trident tradition and from what I remember mostly if not all class A design concept. You should be excited. I'm excited for you. Can't wait to hear what you come up with with those who boy, yeah man.

    Now you're cooking with gas
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  8. studio33

    studio33 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Location:
    Toledo, Ohio
    Home Page:
    Hey guys what about the AKG Blue Line SE300b series. I have been trying to find good or bad stuff about them but I cant find much at all. They have been around for ever as well. I did a piano recording once with se391bs, the studio owner walked in and thought it was a Korg Triton sample but it was the lady playing a 100 year old upright grand in the tracking room. He looked scared when he found out. Or the Oktava 012s? These are pretty good sounding as far as im concerned. Any opinions on these 2 mics?
     

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