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Thread: Guess the Mic!

  1. #1
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    Guess the Mic!

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    Son sent me this from France today,he recorded it in his new flat which is pretty empty I think, a decent size with high ceilings. AI was a UMC204HD.

    He does not like the sound of this mic as much as his SM57* but was struggling for level with that. I can tell you it is a capacitor mic and I think I can detect a certain 'hardness'? Any suggestions for a modestly priced cap' mic that is a bit smoother gratefully received!

    * I have a recording with that but a different piece (Bach) but will dig it out soon.

    Dave.
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    I'd say that the room was hugely influencing the sound of that recording. Is it an omnidirectional mic? Might be worth trying with the mic a bit closer to remove some of the room sound. Is the SM57 recording noisy or is he just scared of turning the gain control right up (plenty of people don't realise that setting the gain at 4 or 5 o'clock on a cheap preamp is perfectly normal)?
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesperrett View Post
    I'd say that the room was hugely influencing the sound of that recording. Is it an omnidirectional mic? Might be worth trying with the mic a bit closer to remove some of the room sound. Is the SM57 recording noisy or is he just scared of turning the gain control right up (plenty of people don't realise that setting the gain at 4 or 5 o'clock on a cheap preamp is perfectly normal)?
    Oh! I had not considered that the room might be the problem. It is pretty bare at the moment (trying to get him to send photos. Kids! Like drawing teeth!) so I shall suggest he chucks up some soft stuff.

    Attached is the SM57 take and he said the mic was very close to the guitar and hence himself and I might hear him breathe! I can't but with my hearing, not surprised.

    That take started out below -30dB fs and I have normalized it to peak around neg 3.

    I won't name the mic yet, give others a bash. I CAN say it was cheap and probably not very directional but was advertised as such. I am looking at the cost of sending him my Sontronics ST-2 LDC in its mini flight case. Maybe almost as cheap to get him a SDC?
    Again, all suggestions...?

    Dave.
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    The first version sounded 'real' and the second just the usual sterile close miked sound of a mic close to the guitar. Tonally the distance fits the description. I wonder if he simply wants to hear what he hears when playing? I've worked with a couple of quite 'difficult' classical guitarists and one just liked the sound of a mic level with his head, looking down. Very odd from the Recording setup, but it worked. The other brought with him a rather old and battered AKG 451, and he set it up on it's open stand, in an AKG suspension mount. No EQ was allowed, he set the mic position and all I was allowed to do was adjust some drapes to de-liven the space which was quite large. Flat EQ, fixed distance, no adjustment. His rules and his cheque book. Not to my taste at all, but he wanted exactly the same sound as he was used to. The handmade guitar was also quite grubby. He tested it at the luthier's who made it and said stop - this is it! No finishing was aloud in case lacquer or stain, or sealing altered the sound - so a really white wood is now dirty and finger marked on the front as it's totally dull and natural.

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    Yes, it does sound like a noisy preamp on the second recording. If you want a decent flat sounding directional mic then try the Line Audio CM4. It won't make the guitar sound exciting but it will give you an honest sound that can be eq'd to taste. I have the CM3's which are similar (but no longer available) and they're great value for money. See The Elf and John Willet's comments on the SOS forum if you want more info on them.
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    Thanks chaps. I shall reveal that the microphone is a BM-800 20 quid or so. Maybe you can see why I blamed the rather strident quality in the mic? In its defense though, given a bit of room treatment and some trials with positioning (I have not a scooby) I think the mic could deliver very acceptable results considering its price? They are not badly made either. QC though is awful/non-existant so I was lucky to get a worker!

    The CM4 seems to be out of stock atmo James but I shall talk to someone tomorrow.

    Son is not THAT fussy about his recordings! I think he just wants to use them as a composing aid. He is, I think you will agree, very competent classical guitarist but can do all the electric rock stuff as well. He is however a technical numpty but mostly with the hardware side. He has been working with Samplitude for many years now and is pretty slick with it. Started with a magazine freebie, 8SE and bought the Pro x3 suite when it came out as a super bargain. He is presently writing songs for a Reggae band and they hope to start gigging April time

    Thanks each. Any more insights very welcome.

    Dave.

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    Having been a member for a while and getting a good feel for some regulars' experience , i must say i was surprised that you didn't think of adding a bit of tube warmth with and inexpensive low voltage type valve mic pre. I am not a big ART fan, but plenty of folks have liked their pre and I know dbx and presonus have both made inexpensive low volt valve pre's.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gtoboy View Post
    Having been a member for a while and getting a good feel for some regulars' experience , i must say i was surprised that you didn't think of adding a bit of tube warmth with and inexpensive low voltage type valve mic pre. I am not a big ART fan, but plenty of folks have liked their pre and I know dbx and presonus have both made inexpensive low volt valve pre's.
    Thank you Gtoboy. No offense but having 'messed with' valves for some 60 years I have come to view many of the claims made for them these days as mainly b****ks. I hold much the same jaundiced view about 'transformer sound"? It would be a hell of signal that could induce distortion in an even 1/2 decent mic traff. Oh and (might as well upset every bugger!) Tape just made things worse.

    Either that or, IF there is some valve 'magic' it is probably only really audible to those with really good monitors and rooms. Son has neither. In any case, my ears have long since lost "subtle"!

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