Jump to content

So... what are you using for small diaphragm condensers?


Recommended Posts

  • Members

 

"Reacts"? Are you referring to transient response or something else Ken?

 

 

Transient response. That SDCs often have it, and that digital tends to capture the transient peaks more so than analog tape ("reacts" as in digital capturing the initial transient peak "faster" than analog would - that's why I used the word "react", possibly not the best description, but I was thinking in an "analog" sort of way when I wrote that).

 

 

SDC's have certain advantages IMO, and certain disadvantages. They tend to suffer from greater self-noise than LDC's, but they also tend to have less issues with ring and overshoot, and less colored off-axis response. Transient response does tend to be very good, but that's true of most ribbon mikes too, and lots of people use and love the sound of those with digital recording. Some of the SDC's out there can be pretty bright, but in that respect I don't think they're all that different from many of the current crop of LDC's - there are a ton of LDC's out there with hyped high frequencies too. I used to use AKG 451EB's for overheads a lot back in the analog days, but I found them a bit too bright when tracking to digital. The KM184 is a pretty darned bright mic too IMHO, but its predecessor, the KM84, doesn't suffer from the same issue IMO.


It's an interesting question.

 

 

I'm wondering whether there is 1.) a fall-off in usage of SDCs, and 2.) whether that's due largely to the dominance of digital recording.

 

And I'm very surprised to hear you say that ribbons have fast transient responses as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 62
  • Created
  • Last Reply

There's a bit over on the Royer site that says it as well or better than I could, so here it is:

 

Ribbons and Transient Response

 

Audio transients are instantaneous sonic events with extremely short attack and decay times, and minimal sustain. Snare drum hits, kick drum hits, staccato piano, plucked strings, and slap bass are all good examples. Due to the low mass of the element, ribbons exhibit extremely fast transient response, often equaling or exceeding that of condensers, depending on the size and composition of the diaphragm or ribbon.

 

Good transient response leads to clean, dynamic, punchy, and detailed recordings (the sound literally comes alive) the sound stage opens up and envelops the listener, often appearing wider than the playback speakers themselves. Poor transient response results in recordings that are dull, muddled, and ill-defined with a smeared stereo image where the listener struggles to hear each instrument in its proper context.

 

Some sound engineers believe that condensers are always faster, but many times what they are hearing is overshoot - a disproportionate reaction to a transient common to condensers that results in higher output of the transient than its actual input. Overshoot leads to some nasty sonic artifacts and often contributes to the brittle, tinny high end found on some inexpensive condensers. Well-designed ribbons are not susceptible to overshoot.

 

Considering the mass of the element, we can conclude the fast transient response of a ribbon mic is a matter of simple physics: The higher the mass, the more energy that will be required to excite air molecules in proximity to the transducer and cause it to move, hence its response to incoming sound pressure waves is slower. The lower the mass - you get the picture.

 

Source.

 

To me, a good ribbon may roll off the high frequencies a bit (thus sounding "darker" or less bright) but the detail (or "naturalness") they're famous for comes, in large part, from the low mass of the ribbon and the resulting relatively fast transient response.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I use Octava's as overheads, they are modded and that was a clear improvement. I have often considered getting another for snare. I bought a pair of Josephon C-42's, these are definitely brighter and tend to be the go to mic's for acoustic guitar. Maybe that is being lazy or I spent $800 for these suckers they are going to get used! They are a really nice mic when acoustic instruments are the featured voice in a song. one makes a pretty good top snare drum mic as well. I also have a CAD E-100 I don't really use it that much. I may be selling off some of the above and buying more dynamics like the Heil's.

I have a Cascade stereo ribbon. It appears to be pretty sensitive to position and does not like being used in a horizontal plane. It rocks when used with a Zoom h4n in the vertical plane. I like it much better than the on-board condensers.

 

I have a mix of a song where i put my octava's and a pair of groove tubes large diapharm mics right next to each other, doing the equidistant pointing at the snare but over the tom's thing. so a large diapharam and a small diaphram right next to each other. i spot erased the large diaphragm using it only for the tom hits and it was one of my favorite drum mixes I've done. Something about the phase alignment worked quite well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Hi Jo - good to see you again!
:wave:

I hadn't heard of the Little Blondies before, so I went off on a Google search. Very interesting little omnis! They seem to sound pretty good based on their demo videos too. You must have a pretty decent sounding tracking room if you're using omni mikes for your overheads.
:)

 

Yeah, I'm pretty happy with my room at this point. Lately I've been using the Blondie's in an ORTF setup as room mics, with the KSM32's (+/-20mm diaphragm IIRC) on drum overheads. The Blondie's aren't what I'd call "flat", as many SDC's are. They definitely have a "tailored" frequency response but a very nice one at that, that works great on many sources.

 

Here's a video of a song I produced for a band where I used the Blondies as overheads:

[video=youtube;Xo40b3MH7vk]

 

Here's a song I produced for a power metal band earlier this year with the KSM32 on overheads and the Blondies as room mics:

http://soundcloud.com/stridentmetal/strident-above-the-ashes

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

There's a bit over on the Royer site that says it as well or better than I could, so here it is:


Due to the low mass of the element, ribbons exhibit extremely fast transient response, often equaling or exceeding that of condensers, depending on the size and composition of the diaphragm or ribbon.

 

 

I never knew that! That's what I get for not having a ribbon mic!!! Thanks! I really do learn something new every day (if not a bunch of things!).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

My (mis)understanding of the transient response of ribbon mics came from an interview I read with Bruce Swedien many years ago about recording percussion with Michael Jackson. In that interview, he said that he chose a ribbon for its softer transient response. I found the quote:

 

"The heavy mass of the ribbon element, suspended in magnetic field of a ribbon mic, makes it impossible for a ribbon mic to trace the complete transient peak of a percussive sound such as a glass bottle."

 

If I understand Phil's comments correctly, Swedien was wrong. The ribbon mic sounded softer because it lacked overshoot, not because it had a slower response.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

Aren't those super-inexpensive - like under $50 for a pair or something like that? I should probably get one or two pairs just to see what they sound like.




It's been ages since I checked out their site, but IIRC, they were talking about doing a version with lower sensitivity so they could be used on high SPL sources without them overloading as readily - in fact, I believe that's why I put off getting a set - I was planning on waiting until the newer version was ready. Did they ever release those?

 

 

They originally had matched sets and unmatched sets. Then they chenged them for a higher SPL and charged a whole lot more.

They had a sale on the unmatched ones for $5 each so a grabbed up 8 of them.

 

If you keep the mics at a farther distance they wont distort. I really cant tell any frequency differences between them on drums.

The best use for them I found was recording harmonica. I was doing an old classic tune with the clean harmonica cowboy stuff

and needed to catch the hand vibrado, I tried every mic in my studio including large diaphrams and dynamic mics of all types

and they just didnt cut it. I finally used the small ones and kind of wedged it between my thumb and first finger and it nailed the clean tone

perfectly.

 

I think I used on on a sax too and it gave me a great clean sax sound. I made a clip out of one of those big black paper clips, velcro for padding,

and a coat hanger, (typical stuff you'd do rigging something to work) i had the mic about 4" from the horn throught 45 degrees off axis and it worked like a champ.

 

My original intention was to mount these little condences inside the toms and install XLR jacks. I kind of lost steam on the idea after testing, and since I aquired some

decent tom mics, i havent revisited the idea.

 

I'm surprised some manufacturer hasnt come up with some decent internal drum mics. Even if they arent stellar for tone because

of the reflections inside it would sure make micing up live drums allot easire. Running some XCR cables to a snake is a whole lot easire

then setting up stands and trying to fit them in around the drums. I used mics in the bottom of open toms for years and get some decent

tones. The floor tom might have a bit of a basket ball sound but some head tweaking or even some felt inside the shell might fix that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

My (mis)understanding of the transient response of ribbon mics came from an interview I read with Bruce Swedien many years ago about recording percussion with Michael Jackson. In that interview, he said that he chose a ribbon for its softer transient response. I found the quote:


"The heavy mass of the ribbon element, suspended in magnetic field of a ribbon mic, makes it impossible for a ribbon mic to trace the complete transient peak of a percussive sound such as a glass bottle."


If I understand Phil's comments correctly, Swedien was wrong. The ribbon mic sounded softer because it lacked overshoot, not because it had a slower response.

 

My (mis)understanding of the transient response of ribbon mics comes from me not really knowing very much about ribbons. :D

 

I figured since they didn't require a power source (such as phantom power or a power supply, for instance), they responded slower to transients than condensers.

 

But I'm happy to learn more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would be the last person to question Bruce in terms of his ear, his skills as an engineer and his love for music - his accomplishments speak for themselves, and I consider him a friend and mentor... but we apparently disagree on the reasons for why a ribbon sounds "softer" - but apparently not on the fact that they do. Personally I think that most ribbons are fairly light in mass, which helps with transient response. It's all about inertia. If something weighs a lot, it will take more energy to get it vibrating, which has a detrimental effect on the transient response. I also think that the softness of a ribbon is due to the rolled-off highs coupled with that fast transient response... you get the detail, but since the 10-20kHz region isn't as accentuated, it comes across as detailed, but less harsh than most condensers. That's all even before taking the issue of overshoot (and to a lesser extent, "ringing") into the equation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • Members

I like the Earthworks TC30K (omni) for its fast transient response, high max SPL, and flat frequency response when I am recording congas, claves, Cuban cajon and other Cuban percussion. Oktava MC012s with omni capsules are nice also, but I actually like the SM57 a little better for congas.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I'm very interested in omini pattern mic's. Those Behringer Ecm things really don't suck. my hesitation is born of having small rooms, maybe the omini capsules on the Oktava's would be a way to test out a proper omni. I have a multipattern large diaphram Mic (Groove Tubes model 6tm) it's a fine sounding vocal mic in cardiod, but it can't seem to find a good use for it in omni. I have the Electrovoice dynamic omni and it is a cool sound for different things.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

The only SDCs I have are the Carvins. They are OK. When normal people reach for an SDC, I tend to grab my AT4050s.

 

 

I have the Carvin SDC, the M90E. It's on the bright side and can be used via internal battery so if you're in a position where phantom power is not available it's still good to go. Choirs and OH are probably the best place for this mic.

I also have a pair of MXL1000 hand held ball style mics. They have the same capsule and electronics the MXL 603 does. These are very nice mics, designed for instrument recording but work very well for vocals. The 1000 seems to be a bit darker than the 603, probably due to the ball and housing differences and I would really consider both to be MDCs.

Then there's a Beyer Dynamics MCE81N, designed for vocals but also works very well for acoustic guitar. The mic I have has not shown itself to be quite as hot as some other SDCs and certainly those that I have.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
  • Members

 

I would be the last person to question Bruce in terms of his ear, his skills as an engineer and his love for music - his accomplishments speak for themselves, and I consider him a friend and mentor... but we apparently disagree on the reasons for why a ribbon sounds "softer" - but apparently not on the fact that they do. Personally I think that most ribbons are fairly light in mass, which helps with transient response. It's all about inertia. If something weighs a lot, it will take more energy to get it vibrating, which has a detrimental effect on the transient response. I also think that the softness of a ribbon is due to the rolled-off highs coupled with that fast transient response... you get the detail, but since the 10-20kHz region isn't as accentuated, it comes across as detailed, but less harsh than most condensers. That's all even before taking the issue of overshoot (and to a lesser extent, "ringing") into the equation.

 

 

What is 'overshoot'?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Surprised that no-one has mentioned the AKG c535eb. For SDC's I own one of those, and a pair of SE3's, and the 535 is a far superior mic. It's supposed to be a handheld live vocal mic, but it's the best thing I have for acoustic guitar - a really warm (yes I said it :facepalm:) and detailed sound with lovely soft highs.

 

I'm actually thinking of putting the SE3's up on the 'bay and buying another 535 as the SE3's hardly ever get used.

 

The 535 is a great mic tho - I found out recently that it's well loved by Irish trad players on pretty much everything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

I used my Octava 012s in a ORTF, 12" off a Little Martin last week. Holy Smokes. I kept the ORTF in the strict config, then angled the mic bar to get one mic pointing at the bridge and one at the 12th fret. Nothing groundbreadking, just staying in a true ORTF. Into an API. That little cheapo Martin sounded very, very cool. Funky, yet hi-fi.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Surprised that no-one has mentioned the AKG c535eb. For SDC's I own one of those, and a pair of SE3's, and the 535 is a far superior mic. It's supposed to be a handheld live vocal mic, but it's the best thing I have for acoustic guitar - a really warm (yes I said it
:facepalm:
) and detailed sound with lovely soft highs.


I'm actually thinking of putting the SE3's up on the 'bay and buying another 535 as the SE3's hardly ever get used.


The 535 is a great mic tho - I found out recently that it's well loved by Irish trad players on pretty much everything.

 

I used to have a pair of C-535 EBs. I gave one away to a good friend. Not sure what the heck happened to the other one. It's got to be in with the rest of my mikes somewhere. I agree that while they're designed as a handheld vocal mic, they also work very well on instruments. In fact, it's WAAAAY better for that than the C-1000 IMO. Of course, it's also about $100 more expensive too... ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I used to use a pair of AT Pro-37's- I liked 'em, and if they had been mine, I'd still be using them. I once did an acoustic guitar overdub during a session at the Sound Kitchen in Nashville, and I figured they'd put a nice LDC mic up. Nope- they put an AT Pro-37 right at the 15th fret- and it sounded great.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I used to have a pair of C-535 EBs. I gave one away to a good friend. Not sure what the heck happened to the other one. It's got to be in with the rest of my mikes somewhere. I agree that while they're designed as a handheld vocal mic, they also work very well on instruments. In fact, it's WAAAAY better for that than the C-1000 IMO. Of course, it's also about $100 more expensive too...
;)

 

I didn't realise the C1000's were that cheap.

 

But yes, the 535 is a very flattering mic on a range of sources. I like it on acoustic guitar because it sounds like a guitar on playback, and not a recording of a guitar, if you know what I mean!

 

Not the most 'modern' of sounds - it would hardly work on a glossy dance track for instance, but it has a lovely balance and usually needs very little eq.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

PS Speaking of Irish Trad players, I'd love to go to Ireland sometime and record some.
:)

 

They're great fun, and with the better groups/sessions, it can often be a case of just sitting them in the right places, putting 1 or 2 mics up and saying 'go!'. An hour later, you'll have yourself an album.

 

The biggest problem can often be to get the musicians comfortable in an environment that isn't a pub :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I've got a pair of M-Audio Pulsar II's I use for my home stuff. The church has a pair of NT5's we use as overheads. The drummer also has pair of SM81's that I sometimes borrow. However aside from overheads I don't use any of them much.

 

I will add I use the NT5's in a "recordman" style technique. Man do these things work well for that. We also have some CAD M179's we ordered for the toms. I haven't bothered to set them up yet. I get a really good "picture" with the NT5's overhead, a Heil PR48 on kick, and PR20ut on snare. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

Pair of Audio-Technica AT3031's. I don't do a lot of micing of things these days, pretty much just occasional acoustic guitar. I've used them in the past as drum overheads, and single cymbal and drum sample recording. Never in a decent acoustic environment, but I haven't been displeased with them on anything.

 

 

I own a pair that I used for several seasons of Orchestral recordings. They worked really well!

 

 

I began using Heil PR30s for overheads,

 

Wow, I've been using the PR40 as a mono overhead, while recording band rehearsal. I'm pretty happy with the results.

 

I've been using the SM137 as a utility mic and been very pleased.

 

Speaking of 421s, I'm in love with it again!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I own a pair that I used for several seasons of Orchestral recordings. They worked really well!



Wow, I've been using the PR40 as a mono overhead, while recording band rehearsal. I'm pretty happy with the results.

 

I've had a few people tell me that they really like the Heil PR30 and PR40s as overheads. I really need to give a pair a try sometime.

 

I've been using the SM137 as a utility mic and been very pleased.

 

I'd also really like to try a pair of KSM141s or KSM137s - I've heard good reports about them too. :) What sorts of things do you like to use the 137 on? Any overall comments / impressions?

 

I recently finished doing a major mic roundup article for EM - it should be in the August issue if anyone wants to check it out. I was really blown away by the DPA 2011Cs that I reviewed as part of that. Really good stuff - 80% (or better) of the sound of the DPA 4011 for about half the price - $799 "street." I suspect that they're going to be a big seller for DPA.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.




×
×
  • Create New...