Monday, September 8th, 2014 | by matthew mcglynn
A couple of years ago, I bought an iPad harness so I could mount the tablet near my drums. I spent no more than 90 seconds researching the purchase — only as long as it took to identify the best-selling compatible item from Amazon.com. But the product turned out to be so poorly designed that I literally never used it. The iPad is an elegant device, very much unlike the depressingly mundane harness that, upon receipt, I immediately regretted purchasing.
Ever since then, I’ve had my eyes open for a better iPad mount. And I think I’ve just found one… (more…)
Saturday, August 2nd, 2014 | by matthew mcglynn
For this session of our “$1k Ribbon Mic Shootout“, we present two different male voices reading a narration. You’ll hear one voice through every mic at fixed distances (9 and in some cases also 4 inches), and a second voice at a distance selected for (subjectively) optimum results. Hear MP3s in a blind listening test below, or download the full-bandwidth audio session. (more…)
Friday, July 25th, 2014 | by matthew mcglynn
The third session of our “$1k Ribbon Mic Shootout” features a sensational vocalist named Molly Reed. She sang a song that I believe is by Celia Cruz, called Te Busco. The downloadable session file contains audio samples at 4-inch and 8-inch working distances, and a “control” track from a Neumann U87. Read on for MP3 audio samples that you can audition blind.
Wednesday, July 16th, 2014 | by matthew mcglynn
The sax session of our “$1k Ribbon Mic Shootout” was made possible by John Patrick Douglas, a wonderful musician who has played with dozens of jazz, classical and world music acts from the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. John brought his alto sax, a 1959 Selmer Mk VI (Jody Jazz HR 6 mouthpiece, 3.5 strength Légère Signature synthetic reed), and the melody from My One And Only Love, and nailed every take.
Tuesday, July 1st, 2014 | by matthew mcglynn
In this second installment of the “$1k Ribbon Shootout,” we’ll measure and compare frequency responses across all the mics, and listen to how each one responds to proximity. Finally, we’ll do a self-noise test.
By way of quick review, here are the six ribbon microphones included in this evaluation: (more…)
Friday, June 13th, 2014 | by matthew mcglynn
A handful of exciting new ribbon microphones have come out in the past year, so naturally, I got a pair of each and staged some sessions. We pulled in a few familiar models for comparison purposes; because the new mics all fall into the midpriced ($600-$1000) tier, we limited the selection to microphones under $1000.
We’ll hear all these microphones on multiple sources over the next few weeks: drum overheads, voice, and acoustic guitar for sure, with other possibilities in the works.
Monday, May 26th, 2014 | by matthew mcglynn
Three years ago I put together the most ambitious microphone test I have ever done (before or since). It was called the $60,000 Ribbon Mic Shootout, because the total value of the 30 mics we tested was over $60,000. We had four engineers and five performers; we recorded saxophone, drum overheads, two guitar cabs, two acoustic guitars, and three character voices.
I spent weeks writing up the seven-part series. But I never wrote the conclusion. Until now.
Monday, May 12th, 2014 | by matthew mcglynn
ADK introduced five new high-end multipattern FET condensers last year. All five microphones use similar circuitry: a single stage JFET with an Oxford (OEP) output transformer. All five microphones offer a switchable 3-way pad and 3-way filter.
But wait — if the mics all use similar circuitry, why are there 5 of them? (more…)
Monday, April 28th, 2014 | by matthew mcglynn
I hang a lot of microphones. Usually a lot at once. I’ve seen all manner of microphone mounts and clips, from the simple, to the complex, to the “what were they thinking?!?!” And at one time or another, I’ve cursed them all.
The problem, I think, is that mic mounts are generally not designed to facilitate positioning. They mount the mic to the stand, and maybe they provide mechanical isolation. But they don’t provide enough range of motion to contribute meaningfully to placement. Most have a single swivel joint that can swing the mic along an arc, but that is rarely what I reach for when I have to adjust a mic’s position. Most of the responsibility for positioning therefore falls to the mic stand. And that is unfortunate, because for fine control over a mic’s position, mic stands sort of suck. The positioning controls on a mic stand are too coarse. Furthermore, clutches slip. Boom arms sag.
Have you ever tried to fine-tune the position of two mics in an XY or Blumlein array by adjusting boom stands? Sure, it’s possible, but it isn’t pretty. Nor is it fast.
Clearly, there has to be a better way to position microphones…
And there is. We just found it. (more…)
Saturday, April 19th, 2014 | by Dren McDonald
Over the summer of 2013, I initiated a successful Kickstarter campaign to create a recording of video game music arranged for a string quartet. It was an ambitious idea, and I knew going into it that we would not want to record in a studio setting.
The first reason was because I didn’t want a ‘dry’ room to record the quartet, as string players tend to feel more comfortable when they don’t have to wear headphones and can hear some natural room reverb while they play. The second reason was that I didn’t think we’d raise enough money to record in a big enough studio room to get that sort of reverb. So I knew early on that we’d probably want to field-record the sessions in a nice room. I found a nice room in a local church, and hey, setting up to record in a church is fun! (more…)