Work in progress with Liam Vik

Actually Liam Vik (vox and lyrics) and Mr. Ivan Perrone (beat) record their new album at our studio.

Liam Vik

Liam Vik

Listen their last single released in december 2014 – Vittorio Arrigoni (Besana in Brianza, 4 febbraio 1975 – Gaza, 15 aprile 2011)

Schoeps V4 U

Recently I had the pleasure to try Schoeps V4 U a new studio vocal microphone.

It’s a very interesting gear, lightly and small with several original technical solutions.

Shoeps V4 U

Shoeps V4 U in his wooden case

Available in grey and blue color Schoeps V4 U is a FET microphone trasformerless and free of coupling capacitors with a newly designed electronics which offer a very high maximum sound pressure level (144 dBspl).

Characteristic of this microphone is the beveled collar on the 33mm capsule which cause directivity to increase steadly and smootly at high frequencies, as in a large-diaphragm microphone.

Schoeps V4 U capsule head

Schoeps V4 U capsule head (source Schoeps website)

The classic look of the V4 U is based on the CM 51/3. This microphone was manufactured from Schoeps from 1951-1953.

The V4 U is available in two sets: The “V4 SGV set” contains the microphone, a wooden case and the SGV stand clamp, the “V4 USM set” differs from the other one for the elastic suspension USM-V4 (Rycote made).


The test

I tested it with a female singer tracking, my speech and a test signal coupled with SpectraFoo Complete spectral analyzer and I used my Neumann U87ai as reference to check V4 U nuances.

I made a cluster of three microphones to compare the different sounds on the same source, all microphones were plu into a Millenia HV-3C and a DAD AX32 AD/DA converter chained with my DAW Logic Pro by Dante ethernet protocol.

Three microphones cluster

Three microphones cluster

The test was carried out in three steps comparative:

1)  Spectral responses and output level (I fixed a reference gain) of all microphones with SpectraFoo complete.

2) Comparison between Neumann U87ai (worldwide vocal reference) and Schoeps V4 U to check on a female singer and male speaker differences.

3) Comparison between Schoeps Colette MK4 and Schoeps V4 U to check differences for at first glance similar capsules.

 

Spectral response

The spectral responses of microphones are showed bottom, the first graph is about the output level where U87ai is the reference.

After I overlapped spectral response of Schoeps CMC6@MK4 on Schoeps V4 U and I checked a better performance on low end by V4 U and a identical response on mid and high frequencies.

Neumann U87ai and Schoeps V4 U comparison was very interesting, because on mid and high frequencies V4 U has a flat and extended response while on low end it’s intermediate between the other two microphones.

Tracking

Ok, after technical stuff I explain vocal tracking of  a female singer and a male speaker (myself).

All three microphones are amazing and professional gears, simply my opinion is about what I found ready to use”.

Neumann U87ai highlighted a slightly muddy sound on low end and a nastily mid-high frequency (about 3kHz); Schoeps CMC6@MK4 was smoothed on mid-high frequencies without harsh but with a lacking low end.

Schoeps V4 U captured a focused, depth and natural sound with a warm low end and it kept the same smoothed and extended high end of CMC6@MK4. Transient response was very fast.

 

Conclusions

Schoeps V4 U is a goal, it’s a very interesting alternative to vocal studio standard microphones (like Neumann, AKG, Brauner and others). It natural sound with a warm low end and a flat extended response is a powerful tool to capture vocal and acoustic instruments.

The lack of alternatives polar responses, filters and pads are a limitation for the multipurpose applications but it’s a tipical Schoeps phylosophy to maximize microphones perfomance.

 

Cheers,

Lorenzo

 


Disclaimer: I tested this gear with care, nevertheless this test is inevitably affected by my opinion and possible analyzer gear and software imprecisions.


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: 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: 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