Tuesday, March 6, 2012

NYC Mic and Mic Preamp Demo Room

People within a daytrip of NYC are pretty lucky. B&H has a positively scary mic and preamp demo suite at their Manhattan location. If you are mic and preamp hungry, how can you not say yes to this?

Non-shotgun boom mics for interiors (and exteriors)

I get a lot of repeat questions about which mic other than a shotgun to put on a boom, especially when working inside. The answer is a hypercardioid or supercardioid. You can also easily use these mics outside and they work very well in outside situations with hard surfaces, e.g. streets, buildings, walls, windows.

Here's a little video that explains why. Listen with really good headphones or on good monitors.

BTW, cardioid is pronounced like cardiac, but with an oid at the end. Car-Dee-Oyed. The name comes from the root cardio and in this case refers to the heart-shaped pattern the mic makes if you're looking down over it and it is positioned parallel to the ground.

I have listened to the others including the Sennheiser 8050 and, while it is a very nice mic, I didn't care for the EQ curve on it for boom work. My choice of these mics from the best down are:

Schoeps cmc641

And get the more expensive B5D pop filter shown here.

Sennheiser MKH50

Audio Techica 4053b

Audix SCX-1 HC

Oktava MK012 HC

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Analog? Digital? Solid State? Tube? Who Wins?

Neumann M150 Omni Tube Mic
Neumann M150 in a Decca Tree Configuration

At $5,300 (including suspension-mount, vintage-style power supply, multiconductor cable and aluminum flight case), the Neumann M150 small-diaphragm, transformerless, tube condenser microphone will probably not be found in many basement studios. Perhaps more relevant than its cost, the M150's fixed-omni pattern makes it a less than desirable choice for recording in small spaces with challenging acoustics — the mic is quite capable of “hearing” exactly how good or how bad a room sounds.
However, Neumann's operating instructions for the M150 note that the mic is especially suited for Decca Tree recording (see below). Because that configuration requires three M150s, anyone whose microphone budget is less than $15,900 can stop reading here. But, if you're looking for a reliable method for producing a stable stereo image that will hold up throughout the application of Dolby and other surround sound matrix systems, the Decca Tree technique is worth examining.