Clean isn't always better

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I've been recording since high school, c. 1972; mostly classical.

I've been striving, in my own inexpensive gear, to achieve transparent,
noiseless recording for three decades.

The most recent generation of gear in my rack is a pair of Schoeps CMC641's
feeding a Cranesong Spider. I thought I had achieved Nirvana.

Then I heard the BLUE B6 capsules on my old C451 bodies.

Now I'm forced to admit that absolute clarity and purity of sound is not
the only solution in all situations. Sometimes the perfectly accurate
sound is too sterile. I'm still not buying into the idea of introducing
any distortion into the recording chain, but I can see how the shimmer of
an "interesting" microphone can add to an already good recording.

I'm threatened with another case of Gear Aquisition Syndrome.

What are the primary condensor flavors out there? U-87, 251, C-12, ...
 
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Carey Carlan wrote:
>
> I heard the BLUE B6 capsules on my old C451 bodies.
>
> Now I'm forced to admit that absolute clarity and purity of sound is not
> the only solution in all situations. Sometimes the perfectly accurate
> sound is too sterile. I'm still not buying into the idea of introducing
> any distortion into the recording chain, but I can see how the shimmer of
> an "interesting" microphone can add to an already good recording.

Budget suggestion: try your B6 on a C480B (or a modified C460B.)
 
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Carey Carlan wrote:
>
> I heard the BLUE B6 capsules on my old C451 bodies.
>
> Now I'm forced to admit that absolute clarity and purity of sound is not
> the only solution in all situations. Sometimes the perfectly accurate
> sound is too sterile. I'm still not buying into the idea of introducing
> any distortion into the recording chain, but I can see how the shimmer of
> an "interesting" microphone can add to an already good recording.

The B6 is a rather wide cardioid, which you're comparing to a much more directional capsule.




> I'm threatened with another case of Gear Aquisition Syndrome.

Budget suggestion: try your B6 on a C480B (or a modified C460B.)

You might also want to audition a pair of MK21's and/or MK21H's.
 
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"Kurt Albershardt" <kurt@nv.net> wrote in message ...

>
>> I'm threatened with another case of Gear Aquisition Syndrome.
>
> Budget suggestion: try your B6 on a C480B (or a modified C460B.)
>
> You might also want to audition a pair of MK21's and/or MK21H's.

The MK-21 is my favorite of the Schoeps capsules... But it is still very
clean and can sound sterile... My favorite mic of my collection is my AKG
426 stereo mic. It has a slightly "wooly" sound but that coloration makes
it seem to work on everything. It makes a shitty room sound good and a good
room sound great.

I've also been enjoying work lately using the Royer active ribbon mics, but
that is a whole different sound entirely.

--Ben


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Fifth Circle Audio
Los Angeles, CA
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Kurt Albershardt <kurt@nv.net> wrote in
news:30vktoF34848eU1@uni-berlin.de:

> The B6 is a rather wide cardioid, which you're comparing to a much
> more directional capsule.

Allowing for that. There is a real difference in the character of the
microphones. I like both, but most microphones that intentionally hype or
otherwise distort the signal don't excite my ear like these.

>> I'm threatened with another case of Gear Aquisition Syndrome.
>
> Budget suggestion: try your B6 on a C480B (or a modified C460B.)

It's not a budget suggestion if I already own the 451's.

> You might also want to audition a pair of MK21's and/or MK21H's.

Those are already on the GAS list.

But the question before the committee is this:

You with experience on many microphones probably divides them into
families. For instance, many Chinese mics claim to be in the U87 familiy.
Then there is the Elam 251 familty and the AKC C12 family (which includes
the B6 capsule mentioned above).

Are there other condenser microphones so famous that they have a covey of
imitators and competitors?
 
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I started that way. And have found recently that there is no "best" I
often find myself blowing up drum tracks on my Tascam 424, Four track
apocalypse <g> Made some mic's from some supplies at radioshack. get
that lo-fi.... Maybe trying to use the gear you have differently.
"Unconventionally" maybe. However when recording classical I guess
options, while not limited the idea is to repreduce the performance as
clean as possible. i.e. No over the top compression and distortion.
ehhhh... my .02 cents anyway.

cheers

garrett



On 2004-11-28 17:29:21 -0800, Carey Carlan <gulfjoe@hotmail.com> said:

> I've been recording since high school, c. 1972; mostly classical.
>
> I've been striving, in my own inexpensive gear, to achieve transparent,
> noiseless recording for three decades.
>
> The most recent generation of gear in my rack is a pair of Schoeps
> CMC641's feeding a Cranesong Spider. I thought I had achieved Nirvana.
>
> Then I heard the BLUE B6 capsules on my old C451 bodies.
>
> Now I'm forced to admit that absolute clarity and purity of sound is
> not the only solution in all situations. Sometimes the perfectly
> accurate sound is too sterile. I'm still not buying into the idea of
> introducing any distortion into the recording chain, but I can see how
> the shimmer of an "interesting" microphone can add to an already good
> recording.
>
> I'm threatened with another case of Gear Aquisition Syndrome.
>
> What are the primary condensor flavors out there? U-87, 251, C-12, ...
 
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Benjamin Maas wrote:

> My favorite mic of my collection is my AKG
> 426 stereo mic. It has a slightly "wooly" sound but that coloration makes
> it seem to work on everything. It makes a shitty room sound good and a good
> room sound great.

That's what I think of as "the romance filter efect", like used in
photography for Valentine sweetheart pics. I don't know why it works, or
how it really works, but the resulting softening of the fine points of
some sounds results in something far more pleasing to listen to.

This is what people want in a plug-in, and it ain't happening. <g>

--
ha
 
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hank alrich <walkinay@thegrid.net> wrote:

> > [...] It has a slightly "wooly" sound but that coloration makes
> > it seem to work on everything. It makes a shitty room sound good and a good
> > room sound great.
>
> That's what I think of as "the romance filter efect", like used in
> photography for Valentine sweetheart pics. [...]

hmmm, I don't know those mics, but can't help thinking about pictures
when I read the above. I do have strong opinions about what filters and
lenses processing do to pictures. The effects of a softening filter or a
polarising filter supposedly "enhances" pictures by hiding unwanted
detail like skin structure or "deepening" colours. Especially as used by
ad agencies and especially american ones (i.e. coca cola). Retouching
pictures to "enhance" the appearance of skin, teeth, smoothness of hair
etc etc. I hate it. It looks awful and artificial. It looks "commercial
picture" (professional if you like - still ugly). Also compare BBC
TV-series to american (visuals that is) totally different, where the
american ones have that artificial "shimmer" - usch... the audio
equivalent can most prominently be heard in movies, or commercials.
Similarly awful IMNHO. I hope it's not that kind of "wolly" "romance
filter" you're looking for in recordings...


Lars


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Lars Farm wrote:

> < ..snip... >
>
> hmmm, I don't know those mics, but can't help thinking about pictures
> when I read the above. I do have strong opinions about what filters and
> lenses processing do to pictures. The effects of a softening filter or a
> polarising filter supposedly "enhances" pictures by hiding unwanted
> detail like skin structure or "deepening" colours. Especially as used by
> ad agencies and especially american ones (i.e. coca cola). Retouching
> pictures to "enhance" the appearance of skin, teeth, smoothness of hair
> etc etc. I hate it. It looks awful and artificial. It looks "commercial
> picture" (professional if you like - still ugly). Also compare BBC
> TV-series to american (visuals that is) totally different, where the
> american ones have that artificial "shimmer" - usch... the audio
> equivalent can most prominently be heard in movies, or commercials.
> Similarly awful IMNHO. I hope it's not that kind of "wolly" "romance
> filter" you're looking for in recordings...
>
> Lars

So you're into the "reality" of music rather than the "art." Hmmm, wonder
what you're thoughts are on painting. To each their own.
Then too, what's the point of a "commercial picture" or for that
matter a "commercial recording" ... .. .

Later...

Ron Capik <<< cynic in training >>>
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Ron Capik <r.capik@worldnet.att.net> wrote:
>
> So you're into the "reality" of music rather than the "art." Hmmm, wonder
> what you're thoughts are on painting. To each their own.

In music I tend to think of the performer as the artist. Admittedly
there is an element of art in the recording too. More so in some genres
than others.

> Then too, what's the point of a "commercial picture" or for that
> matter a "commercial recording" ... .. .

Well, as in recordings its about the purpose of the recording/picture
and what you think sells. As for pictures there is a definite difference
between european and american visual preferenses as can be witnessed by
comparing for instance a BBC production to any american TV production.
I'm european (but not Brittish...;-)

There are parallells in audio preferences.

Lars


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lars is also a mail-account on the server farm.se
 
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mail.addr.can.be.found@www.farm.se (Lars Farm) wrote in
news:1go1dwk.1shlqxb1c6a9j4N%mail.addr.can.be.found@www.farm.se:

> Ron Capik <r.capik@worldnet.att.net> wrote:
>>
>> So you're into the "reality" of music rather than the "art." Hmmm,
>> wonder what you're thoughts are on painting. To each their own.
>
> In music I tend to think of the performer as the artist. Admittedly
> there is an element of art in the recording too. More so in some
> genres than others.

So wonderful to find on-topic replies to on-topic threads.

That's my point about the B6. I love my Schoeps for their scalpel clean
sound. I love my new B6 capsules for what they do that's not so clean.
Each has a place in the real world.

>> Then too, what's the point of a "commercial picture" or for that
>> matter a "commercial recording" ... .. .
>
> Well, as in recordings its about the purpose of the recording/picture
> and what you think sells. As for pictures there is a definite
> difference between european and american visual preferenses as can be
> witnessed by comparing for instance a BBC production to any american
> TV production. I'm european (but not Brittish...;-)

Having not paid much attention to British production values, myself, I ask,
How are they different?
 
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Carey Carlan wrote:

> < ...snip.. >
>
> Each has a place in the real world.
>
> < ...snip.. >
> > TV production. I'm european (but not Brittish...;-)
>
> Having not paid much attention to British production values, myself, I ask,
> How are they different?

I'm going to guess this is a YMMV thing; in my experience many slavish
[ Soviet, Polish, etc.] have way more ambiance (reverb) than fits my taste.
I guess it might be a realistic representation of the audience experience
in one of those large stone cathedrals.

It's a big world, lots of room for variation and taste.

Later...

Ron Capik
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"Carey Carlan" <gulfjoe@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:Xns95B069E707C07gulfjoehotmailcom@207.69.189.191...
> Kurt Albershardt <kurt@nv.net> wrote in
> news:30vktoF34848eU1@uni-berlin.de:
>
> > The B6 is a rather wide cardioid, which you're comparing to a much
> > more directional capsule.
>
> Allowing for that. There is a real difference in the character of the
> microphones. I like both, but most microphones that intentionally hype or
> otherwise distort the signal don't excite my ear like these.
>
> >> I'm threatened with another case of Gear Aquisition Syndrome.
> >
> > Budget suggestion: try your B6 on a C480B (or a modified C460B.)
>
> It's not a budget suggestion if I already own the 451's.
>
> > You might also want to audition a pair of MK21's and/or MK21H's.
>
> Those are already on the GAS list.
>
> But the question before the committee is this:
>
> You with experience on many microphones probably divides them into
> families. For instance, many Chinese mics claim to be in the U87 familiy.
> Then there is the Elam 251 familty and the AKC C12 family (which includes
> the B6 capsule mentioned above).

Most of the chinese mics I've tried are only visually similar to the U87.
Soundwise, they are closer to the C12 family (read: bright). I'm not saying
that they are close, though.


> Are there other condenser microphones so famous that they have a covey of
> imitators and competitors?

U47?

Predrag
 
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Predrag Trpkov wrote:
> "Carey Carlan" <gulfjoe@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:Xns95B069E707C07gulfjoehotmailcom@207.69.189.191...
>
>> You with experience on many microphones probably divides them into
>> families. For instance, many Chinese mics claim to be in the U87 familiy.
>> Then there is the Elam 251 familty and the AKC C12 family (which includes
>> the B6 capsule mentioned above).
>
>
> Most of the chinese mics I've tried are only visually similar to the U87.
> Soundwise, they are closer to the C12 family (read: bright).

The capsules in the Josephson C700 & C700S are patterned after the C12, yet their sound is far less bright than most of the others which claim C12 ancestry.
 
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"Lars Farm" <mail.addr.can.be.found@www.farm.se> wrote in message ...
> hank alrich <walkinay@thegrid.net> wrote:
>
>> > [...] It has a slightly "wooly" sound but that coloration makes
>> > it seem to work on everything. It makes a shitty room sound good and a
>> > good
>> > room sound great.
>>
>> That's what I think of as "the romance filter efect", like used in
>> photography for Valentine sweetheart pics. [...]
>
I hope it's not that kind of "wolly" "romance
> filter" you're looking for in recordings...
>

The mic in question is actually a very clear, but slightly warm sounding
mic. It is large diaphragm and has much of the characteristics of a
large-dia. mic as well... It is not hyped like many of today's condensers,
but clear with what may be considered a slight mid-range bump (or lack of
accentuation of top and bottom end).

As I said before, even shitty rooms sound good with this mic. Good rooms
sound fantastic. Compare this to a Schoeps mic where it will tell you
exactly how bad your room may be...

--Ben

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Fifth Circle Audio
Los Angeles, CA
http://www.fifthcircle.com

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"Lars Farm" <mail.addr.can.be.found@www.farm.se> wrote in message ...
> Ron Capik <r.capik@worldnet.att.net> wrote:
>>
>> So you're into the "reality" of music rather than the "art." Hmmm, wonder
>> what you're thoughts are on painting. To each their own.
>
> In music I tend to think of the performer as the artist. Admittedly
> there is an element of art in the recording too. More so in some genres
> than others.


No art in recording? Common.... Let's get real here. Recording is quite
definitely an art. It depends on capturing somebody else's performance
(their art), but to capture it is a completely subjective process.

--Ben

--
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Fifth Circle Audio
Los Angeles, CA
http://www.fifthcircle.com

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>That's what I think of as "the romance filter efect", like used in
>photography for Valentine sweetheart pics. I don't know why it works, or
>how it really works, but the resulting softening of the fine points of
>some sounds results in something far more pleasing to listen to.
>
>This is what people want in a plug-in, and it ain't happening. <g>
>
>--
>ha

Hank - you already know this, but for others who might not:

It's one of the things that makes particular pieces of "vintage" gear (that
might not be so "vintage" to those of us who are a bit "vintage" ourselves) so
desirable, whether it's RCA 44s and 77s, Neumann U67s, Teletronix LA2As, 70s
era Neve modules, Pultec and Lang EQs etc. etc. etc...

They all can *at times* impart a very pleasing sonic character by (among other
things) adding mild to not-so-mild harmonic distortion, slurring transient
response, rolling off top end, adding something damn close to a short reverb to
the low end...and so on. They also do what they're supposed to (capture the
sound, compress, EQ, etc) in a useful way, but it's the often heavy coloration
(for the most part unintended by the original designers, who were doing the
best they could to make high fidelity gear with what they had at the time),
that makes them so special now.

Used at the wrong time and place they usually just sound lo-fi in a bad way.
That's where you want the nice clean, modern gear.

Choosing the right gear chain for a specific application is like cooking. The
just-right combination of ingredients and spices for one dish could be the
just-wrong one for another. What that combination actually turns out to be can
be pretty surprising sometimes...


Ted Spencer, NYC

"No amount of classical training will ever teach you what's so cool about
"Tighten Up" by Archie Bell And The Drells" -author unknown
 
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<< Now I'm forced to admit that absolute clarity and purity of sound is not
the only solution in all situations. Sometimes the perfectly accurate
sound is too sterile. >>

Well, yeah. Sometimes to achieve the appearance of transparency you have to do
things that purists won't ever consider, on strictly philosophical grounds,
like EQ & compression. And microphones with personality can add spice. Pea soup
made just from peas may be an accurate representation of the taste of peas, but
pea soup with spices added is an interesting eating experience.

<< I'm still not buying into the idea of introducing
any distortion into the recording chain, but I can see how the shimmer of
an "interesting" microphone can add to an already good recording. >>



I think one has to simply get over ones opposition to close miking if that's
the flavor that gives us listening pleasure.


Scott Fraser
 
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In article <20041202115922.05986.00000889@mb-m19.aol.com>,
scotfraser@aol.com (ScotFraser) wrote:

> << Now I'm forced to admit that absolute clarity and purity of sound is not
> the only solution in all situations. Sometimes the perfectly accurate
> sound is too sterile. >>
>
> Well, yeah. Sometimes to achieve the appearance of transparency you have to
> do
> things that purists won't ever consider, on strictly philosophical grounds,
> like EQ & compression. And microphones with personality can add spice. Pea
> soup
> made just from peas may be an accurate representation of the taste of peas,
> but
> pea soup with spices added is an interesting eating experience.
>
> << I'm still not buying into the idea of introducing
> any distortion into the recording chain, but I can see how the shimmer of
> an "interesting" microphone can add to an already good recording. >>


>
> I think one has to simply get over ones opposition to close miking if that's
> the flavor that gives us listening pleasure.
>
>
> Scott Fraser

As much as I have tried not to, I find I still like the hyper-realistic
representation I can create better than the actual sounds that come into the
microphones. I guess that's where the fun lies for me. It is kind of like
cooking.

The best thing about teaching others about recording is seeing their faces when
they realize what can be done with dynamics processing and equalization.

-Jay
--
x------- Jay Kadis ------- x---- Jay's Attic Studio ------x
x Lecturer, Audio Engineer x Dexter Records x
x CCRMA, Stanford University x http://www.offbeats.com/ x
x---------- http://ccrma.stanford.edu/~jay/ ------------x
 
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<< You with experience on many microphones probably divides them into
families. For instance, many Chinese mics claim to be in the U87 familiy.
Then there is the Elam 251 familty and the AKC C12 family (which includes
the B6 capsule mentioned above).
Are there other condenser microphones so famous that they have a covey of
imitators and competitors?>>

The U47 is probably the most imitated of the several main food groups.
Scott Fraser
 

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