Alto Sax Ribbon Mic Test

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.

$1k Ribbons – Frequency Analysis and Proximity Test

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…)

The New ($1k) Ribbon Shootout

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.

Conclusion to the Giant Ribbon Shootout

Monday, May 26th, 2014 | by matthew mcglynn

$60,000 worth of ribbon microphonesThree 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.

ADK T-Fet Mic Review

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…)

Triad-Orbit Orbital Mic Adaptor Review

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…)

Recording the String Arcade

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.

String Arcade session, location recording in a churchThe 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…)

Introducing the Royer R-121 XL

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 | by matthew mcglynn

Royer Labs R-121 XL Ribbon MicrophoneBurbank, CA (April 1, 2014) — Royer Labs announces the availability of the R-121 XL, the world’s longest ribbon microphone. Featuring an 8-inch long ribbon, the R-121 XL delivers unprecedented proximity effect and low-frequency extension.

“We began with the R-121 ribbon motor,” says designer David Royer, “and just made it a lot longer. The commercial use of ribbon elements of this length ushers in an exciting new chapter in the development of ribbon microphones.”

Unlike short-ribbon mics whose elements necessarily resonate within the audio band, the R-121 XL’s frequency response is flat down to 5 Hz, making it the world’s finest microphone for recording 64-foot pipe organs or the movement of tectonic plates. (Royer Labs staff are finalizing the design of their XL-series companion subwoofer, a single 96-inch driver necessary to properly appreciate the full low end of the new ribbon microphone.) (more…)

New microphones at NAMM 2014

Monday, March 31st, 2014 | by matthew mcglynn

As I made the rounds at the NAMM show in January, two products were on everybody’s mind… two new products that seem to have captured people’s imaginations in a way that a roomful of inexpensive cardioid condensers will never do. Two products that made people ask, “Did you see that?” Followed immediately by, “You should go see that!”

One is a microphone that could have been made 40 years ago, with handcrafted, solid brass parts and a very simple tube circuit. The other is seemingly as modern and transparent as it could be… except that it is designed for digital filtering that makes it sound like a vintage mic. Or, rather, like a bunch of vintage mics.

Aphex Microphone X Review

Thursday, March 20th, 2014 | by Jordan Reynolds

USB microphones are an affordable and simple way to record audio into your computer or portable device. Just about every mic manufacturer and their grandma have released their own USB microphones. Some have even created USB versions of their most popular mics, such as the Audio-Technica AT2020 USB.

But what about a high quality USB mic that lets you simply dial in that perfect sound, right at the source, preventing you from having to fudge around with EQ and compression after recording? Well, Aphex has created the very first USB mic to do just that.

For all the specifications and features of the Microphone X, check out the Microphone X profile page.

Microphone X Features

When first lifting the microphone from its packaging, in the most non-creepy mic-drooling way possible, the first thing I noticed was weight and quality. This is no flimsy super-glued-together USB mic. It has the look, feel, and build quality of similarly priced XLR microphones. The silver and black colors add contrast to make it pop. Microphone X is definitely one of the sexiest USB mics I’ve laid my creepy blue eyes on. (more…)