Schoeps V4 U presentation at our studio

Hi,

last tuesday june 03, 2014 Te.De.S. (Schoeps, Millenia, DAD and others brands importer) presented Schoeps V4 U, studio vocal microphone at our studio. The participants were many and the event was very positive feedback.

Shoeps V4 U presentation

Shoeps V4 U presentation

I contributed with them to prepare a session to compare it with Neumann U87ai (worldwide vocal microphone reference) and Schoeps Colette series CMC6 MK4 (classic Shoeps small diaphragm).

Schoeps V4 U capsule has a new small-diaphragm capsule architecture, with bevelled collar for controlling the polar response.

Shoeps V4 U capsule

Shoeps V4 U capsule

The look of the V4 U is based on the Schoeps CM51/3 from 1951, finished in a elegant blue or grey color. They are available two kind of suspension: SGV stand clamp and USM-V4 elastic suspension (by Rycote).

I recorded a female singer with all microphones together with the same preamplifier Millenia HV-3R and converter DAD AX32 and after I compared each response.

Three microphones cluster

Three microphones cluster

Schoeps V4 U showed a smoothed response with an openness high frequency and a solid low end with a very natural image.

All participants liked it!

I’ll post a Schoeps V4 U test soon.

Bye,

Lorenzo

 

 

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Technical backstage: Recording vox

It’s not a didactic section (when needed I’ll link related pages on manufacturer site) but so as to explain my approach to recording.


Capture and recording at the best, vocals is a basic work for a sound engineer.

When you list a radio program or a song with a speaker/singer you must understand speech/lyrics and every nuance and dynamic of their voices. Here’s why when I record a singer I pay great attention to capture his perfomance at the best. But, check it out, it’s not just a matter of microphone tipology.

Sometimes vocals recording session become an album cover

Sometimes vocals recording session become an album cover

I draw up a list by five points.

1) Let him hair down

A good perfomance need a quiet environment in a comfortable feel with a warm half-light and with a presence of few people (better a trusted person or none) to realize a relaxed situation without any kind of embarassament. For me it’s important to create an empathy with the singer.

Generally, lead and back vocals need two hours to record. I consider some breaks to listen takes or simply to drink a cup of coffee.

My live room with a warm and diffuse half-light

My live room with a warm and diffuse half-light

2) Suitable acoustic environment

It’s basical working into a room with a flat and balanced response and with a small reverberation. The top is a room with variable acoustic (from absorber to diffusive).

My room is made with double side panels on the walls, one absorbent and one reflective. By this way I can change room response quickly. Generally, I use all panels with absorbent face to record vocals or half-share panels reverse when recording drums, strings or acoustic guitar.

I projected a quadratic diffuser panel, Acoustic Environment DRQ13, to balance my control room’s acoustic response and sometimes I use they on my live room.

Quadratic diffuser panel Acoustic Environment DRQ13 on my control room

Quadratic diffuser panel Acoustic Environment DRQ13 on my control room

3) Setting up a good level monitoring

Obviously monitoring is a main step.

I prefer create a customized mix for singer with a separate sub-master for pre-recorded accompaniment (musical base). I use my SPL MTC 2381 CUE Mix controls to balance vocals and sub-master.

SPL MTC 2381 (pic from web)

SPL MTC 2381 (pic from web)

My monitoring phones are Sennheiser HD 25 sp (closed with 75Ω impedance) or AKG K240 (semi-open with 600Ω impedance). The latter has a superior sound quality but it has a low sensibility and some interference troubles.

Once occasion a singer used my monitor speakers to listen base because he found a live perfomance feel.

Generally, I use a light, short reverb like large room.

4) How choosing the best way to record…

Drop verse and chorus one by one or at once?

I usually ask to the singer to perform two or three times at once to create a right feel and to facilitate his focus. After I record all verses at first and all chorus to follow meaning not to lose his feeling and to find a better perfomance.

I choose in real time better takes and edit they to listen an almost definitly compilation of session.

5) …and the better microphone for his perfomance

Be careful: I wrote “to record his perfomance” not just his voice.

I generally use a Neumann U87ai (I bought two of it) but I always check if the nuances and the sound are linked with the essence of the song.

I tried Cloud JRS-34, a beautiful ribbon microphone, to record a youth singer and to add a warm and mellow presence.

Sometimes I use Electrovoice RE-20, a typical dynamic broadcast microphone, which it’s perfect to record speech on intro or bridge to create a deep, in-face sound.

I use two matched microphones with different gain to record very wide dynamic session like growl or scream voice.

About explosive consonant or breath, obviously, I use pops filter to minimize them but, sometimes, I turn capsule by 90° and I switch the microphone polar pattern to omnidirectional. Air flux overtake microphone without noisy effect.

FAQ

– Do you add an equalizer or compressor during recording? No, I don’t

– Do you add automation on vocal track during mix? Yes, I do (if  needed)

– Can you record my song in your studio? Yes, with pleasure 😉  Contact me

If you got a question, please tell me 🙂

Cheers,

Lorenzo


Copyright © 2013-2014 by iuatwest. All rights Reserved.
This material has been copyrighted, feel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks or added to websites; please do not change the original content and, provide appropriate credit by including the author’s name @ http://iuatwest.com and your readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance.

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Technical backstage: Drums miking

It’s not a didactic section (when needed I’ll link related pages on manufacturer site) but so as to explain my approach to recording.


Hi,

today I speak about my solutions to recording drums.

There isn’t a one way to recording this complex instrument indeed I tried several microphones and spots to find the better acoustic sound for single drum or cymbal and the sum of all.

My overall approach is based to find a good sound in and of itself with bass drum and overhead (typical shooting for jazz drums). Other spots are used to add presence and more punch.

To analyze it bit by bit I refer to rock/blues standard drums.

Bass drum or kick

In my opinion is the most hard and controversial piece to take. Actually I use dynamic AKG D112 to take bass reso with a deep low-end and condenser AKG C414 B-ULS (omnidirectional pattern and routed by 90°) positioned inner kick drum and very closed to bass batter. The latter is very good to capture kick attack without too much interference by snare and toms.

Snare drum

Normally I take both snare drumheads. For the batter I use standard Shure SM57, it points to the center of the drumhead. On the snare side I prefer vintage Sennheiser MD409 placed far away snare wired. In that position I tried also Shure Sm57 and AKG C414 B-ULS but they have harsh sound.

Snare up and bottom mike

Snare up and bottom mike

When I record standard jazz I use one Shoeps CMC6/MK4 on batter drumhead.

Toms

I started with Sennheiser MD 421 on every toms (included floor tom) but later I preferred Shure SM57 for small tom (8″ or 10″). Sometimes I use Electrovoice RE20 on floor tom.  I position microphones very closed to drumhead near the edge.

Recently I tried with condenser Schoeps CMC6/MK4 (cardiod) and I was really impressed for they fine sound.

Often I take toms reso drumhead to take deep low ending and to use it on batter drumhead tracks gate sidechain. Also it’s useful to find a eighties drums sound.

Hi-Hat

The best choice is a condenser mic. Now I use a vintage AKG C451e (cardioid), angled by 45° at the edge of hihat top, because it sound very fine with little interference from snare. I worked also with Schoeps CMC6/MK4 and AKG C300 with CK91 capsule (cardioid).

View of Hi-Hat, Snare and Tom1 microphones

View of Hi-Hat, Snare and Tom1 microphones

Overhead

My best solution is a pair of Crown PCC-160 upside down attached on ceiling live room. They are in spaced stereo array and capture a wide and airy sound image of the drums without reflections interference.

Crown PCC160 (image from web)

Crown PCC160 (image from web)

Recently I add two Schoeps CMC6/MK4 which look cymbals bottom and near toms. They add presence on mid and mid-low frequency to cymbals and toms.

Shoeps CMC6/MK4 look cymbals bottom

Shoeps CMC6/MK4 look cymbals bottom


Microphones preamplifier

I wrote about they on this post.

I use Focusrite to handle drums microphones (kick, snare and toms) and Millenia to cymbals mike.

Typical sheet is this:

List Drums channels

List Drums channels

Total ten Focusrite and four Millenia channels.

To make A/D conversion I use Focusrite AD card installed on both ISA428.

During session I change acoustic response of the live room with some reflective wood panels.

See also:

Technical backstage: microphones that I chose

Technical backstage: microphones preamplifiers

Cheers,

Lorenzo


Copyright © 2013-2014 by iuatwest. All rights Reserved.
This material has been copyrighted, feel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks or added to websites; please do not change the original content and, provide appropriate credit by including the author’s name @ http://iuatwest.com and your readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance.

Technical backstage: a small summary

Hi,

in that 2013’s last sunday I want write technical backstage section’s small summary.

I spoke about:

05 january 2014 I’ll start with new article about my eighties analog consolle D&R Dayner.

Happy new year!

Lorenzo

Technical backstage: microphones that I chose

It’s not a didactic section (when needed I’ll link related pages on manufacturer site) but so as to explain my approach to recording.


Microphones is a delicate questions, they are a pressure transducer and realize the passage of the sounds from air pressure to electric signal. Ok, this is a early assumption of the tecnologies about microphones(*) but what we want from them?

Several stuff like:

– wide frequency response

– wide dynamic range

– perception

– off-axys rejection (directional mic)

– no coloration (are you sure?)

– robust construction (when possible)

…and with a beautiful design (why not?).

I didn’t include cheapness because the quality is not cheap (in any field).

(*) to take a deeper look into microphone theory – Brüel & Kjær Microphone handbook vol.1


Searching for the best audio recording I work with a different brands of microphones, models and tipologies in relation to the kind of instruments and sound I’m looking for.

Condenser

Schoeps

I bought eight amplifier Colette series (CMC5 and CMC6) with different microphones capsules, in detail:

MK4 – cardioid

MK8 – bidirectional or eight figure

MK21 – wide cardioid

MK5 – mechanically switchable cardioid to omnidirectional figure

I use Schoeps to record many situations like choral ensemble, symphony orchestra, any acoustic instruments (guitar, strings, harp, double bass), several parts of drumset (toms, cymbals, hi-hat).

Here an example of studio recording what I made with close-miking techniques.

Schoeps MK4 + MK8 are perfect to made Mid-Side techniques, sometimes I use MK21 in lieu of MK4 to take a central’s large-scale section.

Here an example of live recording what I made with Mid-Side techniques with Schoeps.

Also MK21 is a very interesting solution to capture mainly low frequency in close miking.

I bought two MK5 (matched pair) to obtain major flexibility and to try spaced techniques. I use them omnidirectional in close-miking to record percussions like djembe or bongo.

I worked many times with Schoeps on stage to amplifier acoustic ensemble (classic and jazz) without problems.

I like Schoeps, they are a finest microphones with amazing and useful sound reliable for any situation. They are my high quality set.

Neumann

I bought two used U87ai, they work very well.

I use them to record vocal (typical) and sometimes with Shoeps to make mono coloured low-end.

Here two examples of acoustic guitar recordings what I made Secondamarea and Manuel Consigli.

AKG

I own only old microphones models: C414 B-ULS, C414 TL-II, C451E and C391 (C300 + CK91) . I bought two C414 XLS (first series) but I don’t liked them because their sound were knock-off and lifeless.

C414 B-ULS is very flexible microphone, it works fine with acoustic instrument (acoustic guitar) and percussions.

I used for many time C414 B-ULS for snare bottom and lately I use it very close to kick drumhead.

C414 TL-II is a transformer-less version of C414 B-ULS, with a slightly mid-high frequency presence. I own a stereo matched set and I use often them to record choral ensemble, symphony orchestra (here an example of record what I made with C414 TL-II Mid-Side array), acoustic piano and acoustic guitar.

I have been lucky to find a C451E, original version, because it sounds amazing, Shoeps like, with an amazing off-axys rejection. In studio I use it to capture hi-hat and in live recording it’s a nine microphone of my high quality set.

C391 is a good microphone with a good price. It’s not a cheapness choice. It’s useful on-stage and good alternative in live recording.

Crown

I bought two PCC-160, a boundary microphone, to capture speech on theatre.

Three years ago I tried to use them for drums overhead (what? But they are a floor microphones!). Wait, I fixed them tip over on ceiling in front of drumset in stereo spaced array. I was very impressed for very wide and smooth sound without wall reflections problems.

Dynamic

Electrovoice

RE-20 is a cardioid fine broadcast microphone, very good for voice. It’s construction minimize proximity effect and place in-face vocal record. You can see and listen his neodynium-equipped brother RE27N/D in “A Prairie Home Companion” movie.

I used it on voice for special effect, like speech into songs, to make a superior warmth and presence.

I used it sometimes to record bass drum and I tried it to record guitar amplifier.

Sennheiser

I own three old MD 421, two black and one white (with tuckel).

I use them to percussion and brass. Very good and warmth sound. I like it.

I found three years ago one MD409 (dates back to the 1975). Actually I use it on snare bottom and to record guitar amplifier.

AKG

D112 is a successor of D12 (very acclaimed microphone for vocal in the seventies). D112 is manufactured to use with instruments with a depth low end like bass amplifier or bass drums. I use it to record bass drum in out position with AKG C414 B-ULS  positioned very close to the kick drumhead.

Pearl

DX98, I bought this microphone many years ago and it’s perfect to amplifier tenor and baritone saxophone.

Astatic

A77, it dates back to the fifties and it’s a broadcast microphone. I used it on stage with a singer to enhance his nasal voice, very cool.

Ribbon

DoReMi

A ribbon oldest microphone (dates back to the thirties) which I bought in 1998. I fixed it and occasionally I use it to record voice with oldest flavour.

Cloud microphones

I tried JRS-34 model for a newspaper and I like it, but I haven’t unfortunatly. I guess probably I’ll be buying it pretty soon because I’ve been very impressed by its vocal presence and smoothed sound.

Cheers,

Lorenzo

Here a gallery of my microphones:


Copyright © 2013-2014 by iuatwest. All rights Reserved.
This material has been copyrighted, feel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks or added to websites; please do not change the original content and, provide appropriate credit by including the author’s name @ http://iuatwest.com and your readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance.