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Author Topic: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone  (Read 17431 times)

leswatts

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #150 on: January 12, 2018, 11:59:38 am »

Quote
But that single point of a larger soundfield does not even come close to represent the real event that caused it, so why chasing after the idea to capture it accurate.

Exactly. But that's all a single microphone can do. Most don't even do that, because you have to capture pressure (a scalar) and particle velocity (a vector)to define the sound field at that point.We can do that with a MEMs array.

I work with a firm that does microphone modelling...and the big issue is that loss of directional information. A mic has different response with direction, and you can't simulate that with eq or dsp
when direction is lost. it's a big part of microphone sound.

I like the KM84 as well, although I wouldn't consider the charge amp like configuration particularly hi-fi.
We make something similar but use a cascoded jfet with complimentary bipolar follower driving a transformer. We don't bootstrap the drain, so there's a little on purpose low order THD from Cgd.

Les
http://lmwattstechnology.com/
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Timtape

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #151 on: January 12, 2018, 10:00:40 pm »

...So many times I had the practical experience where bands came into my studio that had done recordings in the so called audiophile field, with just a stereo microphone in front of the whole band because someone had the idea that this is "accurate".
These bands where astonished and pleased when they heard, for the first time, how good they could sound on a serious recording...

Hi Kai, just to clarify, what do you mean by a serious recording here?  Do you mean for example many close mics on instruments and later mixed?

Tim

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Kai

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #152 on: January 13, 2018, 05:27:45 am »

what do you mean by a serious recording here?
For me a "serious" recording is not just connected to the technical aspects, but to the result.
The so-called "audiophile recordings" mentioned had nothing positive in them. Due to the lack of working with the musicians there were a lot of mistakes, the sound was distant and intransparent and so on...
This isn't a musical recording, but just the fulfillment of a philosophy of people usually not in contact with professional audio recording.

Everybody agreed that what I did with those ensembles is worlds apart from what they had before. For one of them the recordings opened the door into a completely different world, making connection with famous acts and musicians. I have had connections with most of these musicians and bands ever since.
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soapfoot

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #153 on: January 13, 2018, 09:51:10 am »


So why use a recording mic as EQ  when we have far more sophisticated dedicated EQ at hand later on?

I'd ask a different question: "why accept the tradeoffs of manipulating the signal with an EQ when there's already a microphone that sounds how I want it to sound?"
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Timtape

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #154 on: January 13, 2018, 06:05:20 pm »

I'd ask a different question: "why accept the tradeoffs of manipulating the signal with an EQ when there's already a microphone that sounds how I want it to sound?"

If we're happy with the sound straight off the mic, yes why change it?

But if you're expressing an opinion as to the possible deleterious sonic effects of EQ in general that would seem to be a separate issue deserving of a discussion in its own right.

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Kai

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #155 on: January 14, 2018, 08:04:08 am »

So why use a recording mic as EQ  when we have far more sophisticated dedicated EQ at hand later on? ... better applied and controlled using those tools as  separate steps after the initial recording is made...
The sonic differences between microphones cannot be reduced to a question of EQ or other electrical parameters that can be reproduced or changed later.
This is why proper microphone selection and placement plays such an important role for achieving a good sound.

On the other hand mic selection and placement, combined with EQ, largely enhances the number of choices and possibilities.

E.g. You can use a slightly dark sounding ribbon mic as drum overhead because of it's special accoustic qualities and partner it with EQ for the bit of missing treble - a common practise.
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Timtape

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #156 on: January 14, 2018, 09:52:45 am »

The sonic differences between microphones cannot be reduced to a question of EQ or other electrical parameters that can be reproduced or changed later.

I'm not sure what you mean by that. Certainly on axis frequency response is only one aspect of a mic's performance although a very important one.
Brad seemed to imply EQ has such a deleterious effect on the sound that it's best to avoid its use by instead "EQing with the mic". I suggested the question of the transparency of EQ is another subject on it's own. That was the context.

This is why proper microphone selection and placement plays such an important role for achieving a good sound.

Agreed!

On the other hand mic selection and placement, combined with EQ, largely enhances the number of choices and possibilities.

Agreed!

E.g. You can use a slightly dark sounding ribbon mic as drum overhead because of it's special acoustic qualities and partner it with EQ for the bit of missing treble - a common practise.

What are the "special acoustic qualities" of the ribbon that are relevent here to its role as a drum overhead? Its bidirectional pattern with deep nulls at 90 deg? Its wide, smooth response? Its relative insensitivity which is not so much an issue with a loud source like a drum kit? Is the slightly dark response important to the sound here or merely a problem that needs to be corrected with some EQ later on?

It helps to be specific so people understand the  principles and can apply it correctly whenever a similar situation comes up.



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Kai

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #157 on: January 14, 2018, 12:16:52 pm »

I'm not sure what you mean by that. ....
You're right, my quotation was stupid, I did mean the above and changed my post accordingly.
Let's delete this to keep the discussion clear.

What are the "special acoustic qualities" of the ribbon that are relevent here to its role as a drum overhead?
There is a certain softness in the sound that you should hear, best by AB-ing with your "standard" condenser drum overhead.
The room pickup is much different too, even compared to figure of eight condensor mics.

I have several other favorites for drum overhead too:

- Schoeps CM640 "speech cardiod", tube version, with LF rolloff and strong treble boost built-in, delivers an almost "mix ready" sound on many occasions.

- AKG C451/CK1s, cardiod with treble boost, bit harder to find a good placement, gives a good starting point for the mix.
Very good to use them as tom mic's that are serving as cymbal "under-heads" at the same time.
Using those I can pick a small kit with only 5 mic's: Kick, Snare, Hihat, Floor Tom, one or two Rack Toms.

-AKG C414, a workhorse, nothing special, always on the soft side with strong LF. Un-EQed giving a complete picture of the drumset.
Needs more or less EQ, largely depending on the exact model variant.

- Bruel & Kjaer (now DPA) 4004 or 4006 with diffuse field grid, omni with treble boost (DF grid). Very clean, the room and the drum kit must fit. Nice for Jazz, as "main"-mic.
Especially the 4004 could be considered as a technically "accurate" mic this discussion is dancing around. The DF grid makes it less accurate, but better suited for the purpose.

- Shure SM57 (select a good one) as mono center fill, can take more or less of fast compression, add a little in the mix for fuller body and depth.

 
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klaus

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #158 on: January 14, 2018, 12:51:40 pm »

I am not into enlarging the original topic to "what mic works best for what purpose".

All the examples given for a suitable color palate of choices in the recording studio, including, curiously, models of mics that purport to be accurate, confirm what I said all along: there is no consensus that ONE "accurate" mic would be ideal to have, superseding all other "colored" choices:

"Accurate" does not exist, cannot be scientifically confirmed, and, despite being hyped in the market place, seems undesirable for the vast majority of users.

Are we done with this subject?
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Klaus Heyne
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Kai

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #159 on: January 14, 2018, 01:36:18 pm »

I am not into enlarging the original topic to "what mic works best for what purpose".
This wasn't so much meant as cookbook suggestions, but as examples to bring theoretical ideas, EQ or Non-EQ, postprocessing, back into a practical context with something most of us have experience with.
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klaus

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #160 on: January 14, 2018, 03:53:53 pm »

Understood and agreed.

So the summation is still this: in the absence of accurate mics and all other accurate components in the recording chain (don't even get me started on digital processing!), good engineers with good ears and experience choose recording tools that translate their idea of best representation of the music. Whereby "best" could be translated as "most emotionally impactful for the listener in a positive way".

It's quite revealing to realize how few of these recording tools we keep coming back to, regardless of type of music to be recorded. And how universal our esthetic therefore must be.
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Klaus Heyne
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soapfoot

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #161 on: January 14, 2018, 07:27:32 pm »

Brad seemed to imply EQ has such a deleterious effect on the sound that it's best to avoid its use by instead "EQing with the mic".

I certainly regret if I seemed to imply that.

EQ doesn't necessarily have a "deleterious" effect, but it does have a host of effects, some intended, some unintended.

I am certainly unafraid to use an EQ if it's what I want. But it doesn't substitute for choosing the right microphone, in my opinion.

Equalization is a useful tool. It is not, however, a panacea, nor is it a substitute for an appropriate mic choice (and placement).

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Timtape

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #162 on: January 15, 2018, 02:38:11 am »


Equalization is a useful tool. It is not, however, a panacea, nor is it a substitute for an appropriate mic choice (and placement).
Agreed. But some performers (perhaps especially those unskilled in audio production) seem to wish for the reverse:  a mic that "does it all for me", a mic that is  a panacea or substitute for every production process that takes place downstream of the mic.

A mic that has been "personalised to the sound of my voice" might be very attractive to a performer who  knows or cares little more about audio than the microphone they sing into...

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klaus

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #163 on: January 15, 2018, 03:23:32 am »

A mic that has been "personalized to the sound of my voice" might be very attractive to a performer who knows or cares little more about audio than the microphone they sing into...
What does "cares little more about audio than" mean? Someone who cares little, or who cares more?

Actually, re-reading this sentence in full, I admit, I don't understand at all what you are trying to say.
Can you rephrase please?
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Klaus Heyne
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Timtape

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #164 on: January 15, 2018, 05:27:46 am »

OK will have another try.
I'm sure the said performers do care very much that the end result is excellent but not being experts in audio production they have to trust that the audio personnel they deal with are experts in their field, will give them sound, reliable advice and aren't taking advantage of the performer's weaker knowledge.

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