Cheap tube mic upgrade case study

Sunday, July 31st, 2022 | by matthew mcglynn

A MicParts customer recently sent us two Carvin CTM-100 tube mics with a request that we upgrade the circuits and capsules, and match the two mics. We documented the process, and measured the mic’s electronic and acoustic performance before and after, to illustrate the value of the upgrade process.

Read on for an inside look at some of the, shall we say, non-optimal behaviors of the stock microphones, and an analysis of the mic after we replace 100% of the signal path.
Continue reading Cheap tube mic upgrade case study

reaching for the master fader…

Saturday, July 16th, 2022 | by matthew mcglynn

It’s been too quiet around here lately. What say we start making some noise?

And recording it, too, of course. [rimshot]
Continue reading reaching for the master fader…

Edifier S350DB Speaker Review

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018 | by Zachary Alan Stewart

Edifier S350DB Speaker SystemA lot of ‘retro’ products are all style and no substance, but occasionally a company creates a new product that feels instantly comfortable and reassuring in a way that carries on past the first impression. If you own a new Fiat 500 or a Shure 55SH you know what I’m talking about, and the Edifier S350DBs may be the speakers for you.

The S350DBs are a tri-amped (150W total) satellite-and-sub mini-system with titanium tweeters, 3-inch mids, and an 8-inch subwoofer. They feature digital connectivity including Bluetooth. Their tag-line reads “Old school style, modern sound,” and that hits pretty close to the mark. With their dark wood-grain cabinets and metallic silver dustcaps, these speakers have a decidedly Modernist feel. They would look right at home next to an Eames chair Eames chair in a converted loft space. Even the quality of their build seems like it is from another era. They are weighty and have a visual gravitas. And they do all this for $299.99.
Continue reading Edifier S350DB Speaker Review

Band Industries Roadie2 Review

Sunday, February 18th, 2018 | by Aaron Lyon

I’m confused about the name: “Roadie.” That suggests a device that can carry your gear, set up the stage, roll up cables properly, maybe fetch a sandwich between sets. Normally I wouldn’t let a roadie touch my guitars. But Roadie 2 claims to know something about tunings, both standard and alternate, so I gave it a try.

Continue reading Band Industries Roadie2 Review

Nashville’s H.O.M.E.

Monday, February 5th, 2018 | by Andy Freeman

Digital vs. Analog. We are all tired of that debate (I hope). [Not all of us. -Ed.] But beyond hard drives and ADC’s, digital has revolutionized this business in another way that never gets brought up in conversation: networking. Didn’t you always hear that making it in the music business was all about networking? I know I did. But these days, networking has become digitized, and a lot of us only know one another through forums, Facebook, and the Pensado’s Place comments section on YouTube. What happened to In Real Life? Face to face? Shaking hands and making plans?

The folks at H.O.M.E. — that’s “Helping Our Music Evolve” — miss that, and they think you do too.

“Helping Our Music Evolve” is a non-profit 501(c)(6) membership organization that acts as a launchpad and home base for music creators looking to get their foot in the door of the music business. That includes songwriters, musicians, and producers, as well as those that form the teams around them, such as managers and agents.

The organization’s headquarters is a studio, performance space, and musician hangout, all located inside the Center 615 building in East Nashville. And because this is the 21st century, it has an online component, which has a directory of all its members and a robust search feature to help you find somebody to make music with (the brochure says it’s been called “the LinkedIn for the music industry”). My favorite part, however, might be the coupon section for discounts at local restaurants. H.O.M.E. gets it: musicians are broke.

Continue reading Nashville’s H.O.M.E.

ReverbFoundry “HD Cart” Reverb Plug-In Review

Thursday, January 18th, 2018 | by Czar

I have a rule when it comes to plugins. If it doesn’t do something different from my other plugins, then I don’t want it. So when I gave HD Cart a try, I immediately sought out what makes this reverb different from the rest. I quickly noticed this was no ordinary reverb. After a quick inspection, I realized it had features I’ve never seen on a reverb before, and some features that were completely foreign to me. After reading the product overview from the site, I was excited to see what this could do.

Continue reading ReverbFoundry “HD Cart” Reverb Plug-In Review

How to Build Your Mic Locker, part I

Sunday, December 31st, 2017 | by matthew mcglynn

Thanks to Lij Shaw of Recording Studio Rockstars, I got to present an idea I’ve been cooking up for a couple months. Lij invited me to be interviewed on his podcast, which you can stream here:

Recording Studio Rockstars – interview with matt mcglynn

The idea, in a nutshell, is that engineers can intelligently build up a mic collection by paying attention to a couple key characteristics of the various choices they’re considering. Nobody wants to buy three mics that all sound substantially the same, right? With a couple minutes’ education (which unfortunately I spent an hour trying to deliver — please bear with this first draft attempt!), any audio engineer or studio owner can quickly classify microphones into a handful of sonic categories. If all the mics you own sit in one or two categories, you’ll need to pick something different next time out. This presentation helps you do that.

Please give it a listen. And don’t miss the downloadable PDF guide to building a mic collection; they turned out much nicer than I expected when I promised Lij I’d put something together. 🙂

Photo credit: I believe my pal Ken Levy took this one, at Summer NAMM 2017. That’s Lij on the left, Chris Selim of Mixdown Online in the middle, and me on the right.

Roswell Pro Audio Mini K47 Mic Giveaway

Monday, October 2nd, 2017 | by matthew mcglynn

New visitors might not realize that I started this website (nearly 10 years ago!) because I felt like I couldn’t make sane purchase decisions about microphones without knowing what my choices were. Online stores will only show you the microphones they sell. Manufacturer websites can hardly be trusted to be objective about their own products. What I needed was an impartial source of microphone information, to enable direct comparisons. I envisioned a searchable listing of every microphone ever made, with detailed descriptions of components, capsules, and design intent.

(What I didn’t envision is that it would take 10 years to build! In fact, I naively thought I’d knock out the entire history of microphones first, and then move on to preamps, compressors, and so on. I haven’t given up on the preamp idea… do me a favor and check back in about 10 more years, ok?)

While the microphone piece of this project is still in progress, I already consider it a success. I’ve heard from hundreds of musicians and engineers over the years who have used the numerous mic shootouts or the Mic Database to make gear choices. I was blown away when Warren Huart mentioned in our recent “Mic Madness” Youtube Live event that he personally found the RecordingHacks site inspirational in building his own business. It is incredibly touching to learn that this project that I built for my own use has become a critical reference tool for so many people. To those of you who have reached out over the years to express that this site has helped you: thank you!

Many long-time readers already know that my mic obsession took an unexpected (to me) turn a couple years ago, when I founded a … wait for it … microphone company of my own. It’s called Roswell Pro Audio. The company doesn’t make any “me too” models or “clones,” but rather borrows proven capsule and circuit designs and combines them in new ways, filling sonic niches that are otherwise under-served by existing commercial options.

Continue reading Roswell Pro Audio Mini K47 Mic Giveaway

How to measure transformer ratio

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017 | by matthew mcglynn

Audio transformersHere’s one for the DIY crowd, or anybody looking to get their nerd on: how to easily measure a transformer’s turns ratio. (If DIY is not your thing, scroll down the homepage to see a 2-hour “Mic Madness” video I made last week with Warren Huart of Produce Like a Pro — classic RecordingHacks content, in Q&A format.)

If you’ve done DIY audio for any amount of time, you’ll have collected a bin of leftover parts. Mine includes a bunch of unlabeled microphone output transformers that were pulled from a variety of cheap microphones. Chances are I’d never want to actually use one of them, but sometimes in the thick of R&D there’s a need for some oddball ratio that maybe I have on hand, if only I knew what the #$%&@! was hiding in that parts bin.

So, tonight’s project is to measure all those unknown transformers. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Signal generator
  • Audio interface
  • Multimeter
  • Jumper cables
  • 1/4-inch TS cable to sacrifice

The basic plan is to output a 1kHz audio signal from your computer, into the transformer primaries. Then measure the AC voltage coming out the secondaries. Divide the input voltage by the output voltage. That’s it. Read on for the details.

Continue reading How to measure transformer ratio

Mic Madness with Warren Huart

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017 | by matthew mcglynn

Warren of Produce Like A Pro invited me to do a Q&A session on Youtube Live, which he dubbed “Mic Madness with Matt McGlynn.” We went on for over 2 hours!

It was good fun, and we got into some detail about a number of things (but of course mostly about microphones!).

Here’s the recording:

Because several people have already asked: I used my go-to podcasting mic, the beyerdynamic M 99beyerdynamic M 99. That was my personal favorite from the Ultimate Podcasting Mic Shootout.

My studio isn’t really set up for video, so rather than drag my usual preamp, interface, and and outboard gear across the room I went super-simple on the audio chain: mic, Mackie USB interface, laptop.

Roswell Mini K47By the way, this video contains the first public announcement of the new and upgraded Roswell Mini K47 condenser microphone, which is now available through discriminating dealers around the country (and soon, world). More info here.

Warren talked about doing another Mic Madness session. If you’d like us to, leave a request (or even a specific question) here or on the Youtube video.