Is It quality of mic's or how you place them?


New member
I've always wondered...A studio from my town recorded my buddys band and did a half assed job. They had good equipment too! So they came to me and I recorded them with a nothing more than a few radio shack dynamic mics going thorough a mixer to cakewalk. The results were stunning, I had done a better job than the studio!! Mabye the people there were stoned out of their minds of just sat in for the real engineers. But I beleive that its all getting the instruments mic'd up and soudning good before they get recorded. Or it could just be my magic touch :)
Very true!
I have had similar experiences. Using the best "pro gear" often results in only a small improvement in the overall sound. I have gotten a fantastic drum track with cheap vocal performance mikes. (Drummers will hate this but; I think the sounds are so percussive that almost any mike will do ok!)

I did get a real good large diaphram condenser mike for vocals, and it makes a big difference. But one time I had it faced backwards to the singer and it sounded terrible! It took me several takes to figure it out! Stupid I know..... So you see mic placement is very important...use the best you can afford...but use it correctly too!

Dom Franco

[This message has been edited by Dom Franco (edited 10-28-1999).]
Yeah, I've had the same experiences recording in some "real studios"; that's exactly why I put together my own gear. :)

Dom Franco:
I had my NT1 backwards trying to record vox just a couple of weeks ago - it sounded terrible and was driving me crazy trying to figure out what the problem was. Don't feel like the Lone Ranger :)
It's certainly not *just* the equipment or most of us wouldn't stand a chance of coming up with something that sounds good. That's why the most important info here isn't what to buy, but how to use it!
Around my town, I've heard a lot of people's nasty "demo" cassettes from local 1 million dollars invested project studios who charge around $55 U.S. an hour. It's funny beacuse of how many bands think they can come into the studio, quickly set-up, record in one take an hours worth of album worthy songs and get it all mixed in a matter of say 16 hours (a weekend). They end up spending about $1000 for about 4 songs on a cassette, a DAT (which they can't even listen to), and rarely a CD which all sound like it was recorded on a boom box at home. Needless to say, they are bummed when they find out I can produce a far better sound than those local project studios and am just charging $20 an hour in my $30k invested home studio; which would have given them 50 hours on their $1000 budget.

But don't get me wrong, I feel that if those local studios had 50 hours rather then 16, they'd produce far better quality than me; and they do when the budget is not $1000 when charging $55 an hour.
I think selecting the type of mic and it's placement for the best posible sound is trial and error. You use the mic's that are avalible to you, selecting the one that gives you the best sound for whatever you are doing. Then you play with it's positioning until you find that sweet spot. Most bands do not have the funds to go into HIGH $$$ studios and do this trial and error. You rush in throw the mic up, play, and then quick mix before you run out of time. Bottom line line is, "No matter how good your gear is, there is never a subsitute for time."

[This message has been edited by Fishmed (edited 10-29-1999).]
Mic's are Funny,

It's weird, the only real difference in mic's besides a condenser vs. a dynamic, and
differences in a mic's polar patterns is the frequency response. Witch basically is just a built in EQ.

I realized this the other day when I had a Beryerdyamic X-20 on a cabinet, I couldn't get it to sound good until I messed with the EQ, pretty soon I got the signal of what I wanted.

I laid the rhythm track down, and decided that I wanted the same tone on the lead track but just a little something different. I dicided to switch mic's, I changed from the Beyerdynamic to the sm-57 of
course. It sounded all most exactly the same.

Basically I didn't like the Beyerdynamic maybe because my subcontinents being so use to a sm-57 sound was telling me "thats not what a guitar sounds like...." lol lol, so I tuned the mic in the EQ to sound like the 57.

As for these cookie cuter establishments, weekend recording houses. I see the same thing in a lot of engineers down town Chicago, I see it in my engineer friends, I see it in people I've met on the
Internet (not any of you so far lol lol ;)...), I see it in myself.

That is sometimes I'll forget to listen to a sound I mean really listen, I read these magazines and books, I go to these special schools I think to much of the time a lot of people in our field read these words and just mirror them into their work everyday.

This is good to an extent we all must learn what is expectable and what isn't, but if we
all did that for eternity everything would sound the same, lol. One thing these books and schools can't teach, is how to really listen I mean stop and open the ears, ask YOURSELF "is that sounding cool?" instead of looking in that book to see if it can tell you if your work sounds cool.

The coolest sounding albums that stick out in my head are those that people are trying stuff new on it. Ya know?

Comments please...

P.S.Maybe I should have been a minister instead of a recording engineer.

Signa1 - yup, trying new stuff and making it sound good - that's the music I like the best. And you're right about the "standard" way of doing things as well - cookie cutter approach = cookie cutter result.
You know what's funny: most of the time when I try to stick to the book standards, my knowledge from past experiences don't let me follow the book exactly. Some may think this is a very good thing; while others my feel it's a very bad thing. In my opinion, for the most part, it's a good thing considering the most of the time. If people want me to follow directions, I can; but this is art, and most "looked up at" artists never follow directions (that's how they came into the position of being "looked up at". Besides, who wants to pay someone X amount for something you can get out of a book?