R/E/P > Klaus Heyne's Mic Lab

The Myth of the Accurate Microphone

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Part of what's missing is perhaps a common understanding of what we mean by terms.

Like, what makes a microphone "musical" or "non musical"? What is meant by these terms in relation to mics or indeed any audio gear?


I already stated in my opening post that the term "accurate" is problematic, judging from the success, or lack of, of mics that claim to be accurate.

So, if such mic does not really exist, maybe a term like "musical" comes closer to what we ultimately envision* - a mic that delivers music's emotional content to the listener, connecting in ways "accurate" mics seem not to be able to.

* maybe I am in the minority here. But I still try to engage my right brain hemisphere when listening to music, rather than intellectually analyzing what I hear in the moment I hear it.

People are musical - some more than others. But microphones? Speaker cables?



--- Quote from: Timtape on August 01, 2017, 06:42:55 PM ---People are musical - some more than others. But microphones? Speaker cables?

--- End quote ---

The commonly-measured factors do matter. But I think it's folly to assume we can derive the gestalt of a device by these factors alone.

Two cars can share the same top speed, horsepower and torque, but still offer different driving experiences. One might be enjoyable to drive while the other is less so, and the specifications alone would likely struggle to explain why.

It's important, I think, to acknowledge that microphones aren't strictly documentarian-- they are, in some sense, a tool for creating art (just like guitars or pianos). This remains true even when recording music in the most literal way.

If I'm recording a classical piano recital, my goal is to give to the listener the sense, as near as possible, that they're in the hall with the performer enjoying the concert in person. Since recording technology is still so far from replicating live performance in an indistinguishable manner, sometimes the non-literal is relied upon to help bring the illusion closer to the subjective ideal. This is where recording becomes an art that relies upon science, rather than science, strictly speaking.

And in art--even that art which relies upon science--a subjective impression (i.e. "this microphone sounds more musical to me") is certainly admissible. In fact, I'd argue that a keen grasp of the subjective is a big part of what separates a "skilled and experienced expert" from a "person with some training and equipment."

Well said, and to the point.


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