Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jack Conte on Microphones

Jack Conte likes the TLM 103. He says that the TLM has a high-mid boost... er but then he says the mic is very neutral. Uh. OK. (It has a high-mid boost.) But I like the sound of his recordings.
Maybe I'm just used to people who experiment a lot but I can't imagine that there's really this sense in the music industry of what's the "industry standard" to mic anything. Who would say that? "Oh we can't use that microphone on the snare drum, it's not industry standard." An engineer I'd fire certainly.

But the real question is: what are the mic preamps you're using? My feeling is that the preamps are more important than the microphones (once you get mics with higher quality than Radio Shack* mics). I'd rather have an SM57 with a Neve than a U47 with a junky Teac preamp.

[A friend of mine, Eric Rachel, recorded a band's lead singer once where the singer sang into a pair of headphones hooked up to a Marshall amp. Of course, he mic'ed the amp and used a Neve preamp to get the signal to tape. It actually sounds surprisingly good. The record was on the Billboard top 100 albums for a while. And no, even though I own the record, I simply cannot remember the name of the band.]

The fact is that the quality of the instrument and the playing vastly outweighs the quality of the microphone. I'd say the quality of the preamp would be next in importance. Then the quality of the microphone and the quality of the A/D converter (in a digital recording). And I suppose I should say this is just my opinion except that I'm right. So there.

*Although Radio Shack used to make a nice omnidirectional dynamic. Mine got destroyed after a couple years being used at Theatresource as the stage manager's "monitor" microphone.

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