null  User manual
HOW TO
MICROPHONE SPECIAL
Which mic
shall I use?
NIGEL JOPSON suggests we should hear the sound
in our head before opening the microphone cupboard.
T
he question I’m most frequently asked by young audio professionals
is: ‘Which mic should I use to record drums’ ... or strings, guitar, choir.
It’s not only industry veteran editors of audio magazines who get asked
this type of question, I see it asked over and over online, in Facebook
groups and forums where young production pros share ideas. On the face of it,
these questions are perfectly logical — we have a job to do — what are the best
tools to use? We work in a creative industry with very technical equipment and
we want to discover the “correct” tools to use. Similar advice is often sought
by aspiring professionals on the visual side of media production. For over 20
years I’ve been an eager landscape photographer, and at countless photography
workshops and clinics I’ve heard young visual artists pose exactly the same sort
of questions: ‘Which lens should I use?’ But there is no best lens, no best way
to take a photograph.
I remember the late Galen Rowell — something of a photographic guru for
those of us who aim to capture images of distant mountains we love to visit —
answering a question of this type with a description of how he photographed
(on film, pre-Photoshop) one of his most famous images, “Rainbow Over the
Potala Palace, Lhasa”. Rowell’s image shows the palace with a rainbow behind,
seeming to arc out of the palace into the sky: for many, it visually summarised
their feelings about Tibet. It was taken from a distance, from a location which
normally offers a rather unpromising and quite barren vista. Galen described
how it had been raining, he had anticipated the sun’s arrival, he had visualised
the possibility of the image in his mind, and had run at least half a mile whilst
fitting a telephoto lens to get into position for the shot (quite an effort at
3,700m). Rowell explained how he observed certain elements in the natural
setting and then visualised a scenario where those elements came together. The
human eye (and brain) has a far greater dynamic range than film, and Rowell
revealed that in his “magic moment” evening photos of mountains, he’d often
used judiciously placed off-camera flash to illuminate foreground interest, which
would otherwise have been dark. He visualised a picture in his mind, and then
set out to design and capture it.
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I suggest this principle should be applied to
audio: “auralise” a sound in your mind, and then
set out to reproduce it. Beginners will often explain
their request for specific mic model-number details
because they aim to emulate a certain sound
— Faith No More’s drums, for example — and
need to know exactly which mics were used.
But this is a chimera. Is your drummer Mike
Bordin — a lefty who plays a right-handed kit
with an unconventional open-handed stance that
helps him hit his snare as forcefully as any skinthrasher around? No? Then try and focus on the
best aspects of the drummer you have playing
your own session, and imagine in your mind the
greatest vibe for that sound. Only when you’ve
imagined the sound, then assemble the tools to
achieve it.
For modern pop music, there may be those who
ask: does the particular mic position and nuance
of sound matter? Isn’t it all about the song and
singer? Yes, but it’s also about how you frame
the song and singer. If you need a good example
of this, look no further than Hozier’s Take Me
to Church. British blue-eyed soul isn’t exactly
associated with dark, emotionally redolent vibes.
Can you imagine Mick Hucknall singing/producing
Take Me to Church? It wouldn’t be the same.
Why? It wouldn’t sound the same. It was producer
Rob Kirwan’s [see Craft interview this issue]
choice of dark, clangourous, reverb-laden beats
and ominous tones that made Take Me to Church’s
message 5 times Platinum appealing in the US.
Every era of audio-visual creativity has its blind alleys to lure producers.
When I started my audio career in the ‘80s, many recording engineers were
obsessed with getting a big drum sound. Before the age of virtual instruments
and massive sample libraries, it was an absolute necessity to generate the sound
in the room, with microphones. When visiting a studio or looking at magazines,
it was common to see enormous mic stands, with overhead mics towering above
drum kits. Psychologically, it seemed to many that the sound of a “big room”
must be somewhere up there, in the air. Those of us who bothered to ascend
tall ladders, block one ear and listen from the microphone position, often found
the sound was rather thin and disappointing up high. By dint of investigative
listening in different corners of the room whilst drums were played, some of
us found the heavy ambient sounds we sought were better captured by mics
positioned on or near the floor, in front of or even behind the kit.
What might qualify as a similar optical blind alley today? Something which
looks industry standard, but which is not necessarily helpful sound-wise?
I can think of several, but the prevalence of “reflection filters” positioned
behind vocal mics is an apt example. Most people use cardioid pattern mics for
recording vocals and, if you think about the physics of the diaphragm design,
the mic is therefore most sensitive in the direction facing the performer. It’s
going to pick up the high end from any sound reflected from rear and side
walls that bounces back over the shoulders, and around the performer. If you
want less of a “roomy” sound, put the absorption behind the vocalist, not
behind the microphone. Think of the psychological aspect as well: face your
head into a small cupboard or closed box and attempt singing with emotion.
Try getting Mick Jagger to stick his head in a box and sing. There was a reason
‘70s and ‘80s engineers would place a gobo or large acoustic screen behind a
singer performing in an open recording room. It gave the vocalist a feeling of
security, and cut the reflected boom from the room.
Microphones are frequently, and not very usefully, “typecast” by instrument.
When confronted with a certain instrument to record, some engineers
instinctively reach for a particular mic, without stopping to question if it is —
creatively — the best choice for a particular instrument and player. ‘You can’t
go wrong with an SM57 on snare’ — well — you really can, as many mix
engineers who’ve pushed up the snare fader, only to hear an uninspiring and
dull-sounding “tap, tap” will testify. As a very young recording engineer, I was
instructed never to use a condenser microphone on the bass drum because ‘the
diaphragm is too sensitive’. The British engineers I worked with all used the
AKG D12. The very first time I assisted an American engineer, he grabbed a
Neumann U47 FET out of its hallowed wooden box and told me to ‘stick it on
the kick’ — I never looked back. It’s always instructive to note the strategies of
engineers and producers who are at the top of their respective games — the type
of people we interview in this magazine. Counter-intuitively, advice from the
resolution July/August 2017
HOW TO
MICROPHONE SPECIAL
MA-1000
very, very best is often ignored — either because
it does not fit with what is considered “normal”
or “safe” — or because it is tried, and found to
produce tones which are not expected. Remember,
the nice sound of an instrument in isolation is
not necessarily what is required when the same
instrument is mixed with 90 other instruments.
How many times have we seen condenser mics
used for orchestral percussion? Just because an
instrument is shiny, percussive or laden with highfrequencies, does not mean it requires a small
diaphragm condenser microphone for recording.
The late, great Keith Grant of Olympic Studios
— an inspirational figure to many, and mentor
to engineers turned-producers Glyn Johns, Eddie
Kramer and Chris Kimsey — was, apart from
recording at least 120 top twenty hits of the
‘60s & ‘70s, widely renowned for his orchestral
recordings. Grant’s discography of movie
soundtrack credits is as impressive as it gets: The
Italian Job, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Cry
Freedom, Jesus Chris Superstar, Shadowlands and
The English Patient being just a handful of the
many scores he engineered. They still sound great
today. Shortly before he passed away in 2012,
I had the opportunity to discuss his approach
to recording orchestras. ‘I have quite strong
views about film recording, orchestral percussion
and woodwind mic-ing, I find it’s not clever to
use condenser microphones on percussion or
woodwind, the reason being transients,’ Keith
told me. ‘If you have a good old heavy-duty
moving coil or ribbon on the percussion section,
when the guy hits the xylophone with a stick,
the microphone misses the initial high transient
— thank goodness! When you fade-in spot mics
for percussion or woodwinds, the first thing you
hear with condenser mics is hammers and sticks
or key-clatter from flutes and woodwinds.’ I asked
him which moving coil and ribbon microphones
he would have favoured when recording large
ensembles at Olympic studios in its heyday.
‘I do like the Sennheiser 421 on percussion,
also the AKG D12 and Shure SM57 are very
useful for percussion. I’d use ribbon microphones
on brass, Coles preferably. Because the Coles is a
figure-of-eight, you can set it in such a position
July/August 2017
where the trumpets are on the dead side of the
trombone microphone, and vice versa. Similarly
a figure-of-eight on violas can be positioned to
exclude the brass sitting behind them. I’d use
valve microphones on strings, if it’s from my own
mic collection I’d use Neumann KM 56s, if I was
at Abbey Road I might use U67s as well. As the
instruments get bigger, so should the microphone
diaphragm to match, as you go round to the cellos
and basses you’ll have U49s and U47s.’ Despite
Keith’s legendary reputation we — sadly — rarely
see orchestral engineers using similar strategies.
We mostly have to put up with the use of modern
small diaphragm condensers for spot mics with,
just as Keith describes, a mess of strike tones from
the percussion, key-clatter, and totally un-natural,
hyped string tone.
For rock and pop music, scratch the surface
of a memorable-sounding tune and you will find
an engineer or producer adapting microphones
and techniques to the specific music being
recorded. Sometimes a signature microphone,
a disdain for convention or unusual approach
to recording can literally “set the tone” for an
entire record, inspiring band and production crew
alike. Tchad Blake (Arctic Monkeys, The Black
Keys, Peter Gabriel, Tom Waits) became well
known for binaural recording, and for his use
of Neumann’s KU 100 dummy head (a difficult
and idiosyncratic microphone to combine with
conventional monaural sources). I asked Tchad
about his use of the dummy head producing an
album I’m quite fond of, Suspicious Activity, from
Chicago’s singular sounding nu-jazz trio The
Bad Plus, in particular the cut Prehensile Dream.
‘The Bad Plus is the KU 100 head for the top kit,
and there’s also a binaural head in the piano.
The piano was mic’d very strangely, because
their drums had such an aggressive sound, and
after I beefed up the double bass with a touch of
Sans Amp, the piano sounded a bit twee. It’s not
something I would recommend, but it seemed to
work in this context: it was the Binaural head
towards the back plus three C451s up by the
hammers!’ Tchad also used the Neumann KU 100
extensively for field recording. ‘One artist from
Sierra Leone, S.E. Rogie, hadn’t seen me put it
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HOW TO
MICROPHONE SPECIAL
Keith Grant
Tchad Blake
in front of him,’ Tchad told me, ‘so when he looked
up he really screamed out, which gave me a bit of a
fright! When I asked him what was wrong he gave a
big belly laugh and said: “Why, that’s Gongalee — a
very friendly spirit from my village”.’
What begins as a quirky fixation with a particular
aspect of recording, or a dogged determination to pull
something particularly appealing — something which
only that production pro imagines or feels from the
music — can turn into a signature sound, a calling
card for the future. Mark Rankin (Resolution V14.7)
explained to me how his work manipulating drum
ambience on one record got him a gig recording
another album in a quite different genre. ‘The funny
thing is,’ Mark told me, ‘I actually got the job recording
Mark Rankin
Like Clockwork for Queens of the Stone Age because
of the drum sound on Adele’s album. Josh Homme’s
family were playing Rolling in the Deep all the time in
the car, Josh also liked the sound on Florence and the
Machine which they were playing as well, and when
he checked the credits he found I’d recorded both
albums!’ Rankin discovered the recording room in
the Queens’ studio was not like a normal studio room
at all: ‘it’s a big shoe-box shape — which is always
challenging — but at the same time I think it’s part
of their sound, so it was just a case of extracting the
most out of that.’
Rankin recalls Josh Homme pushed him to use
as few mics as possible, proscribing a drum sound
be recorded with no more than four mics: ‘So I said
“I’ve done it with three!” I used a sort of Glynn Johns
approach, distorting the kick a bit by putting it through
a 1950s Ampex 601 valve tape recorder preamp. It’s
quite a hard recording room to get singing, I ended up
with stereo room mics about 20 foot away from the
drums, facing away from the kit at low level, really
compressed. Because it was quite a square room we’d
get this prominent slap, funnily enough, normally in
time with the songs!’
Which mic shall I use? The question sounds perfectly
logical: we have a job to do — what’s the correct tool
to use? But we’re not mechanics assembling engines.
We’re painting pictures with sound, a picture specific to
a particular artist, a sound picture we need to hear in
our heads ... before reaching for those microphones. n
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44
216x125mm Emerging_Vanguard Resolution ad FINAL.indd 1
resolution 06/07/2017 16:09
July/August 2017
HOW
GEAR
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MICROPHONE SPECIAL
Spotlight: Schoeps
Products
At the end of 2016 German microphone manufacturer Schoeps introduced the MiniCMIT, the newest member of its
successful CMIT series. The MiniCMIT is a smaller version of the CMIT 5 — often called “The Blue one” — referring to its
eye-catching blue finish. Schoeps introduced new blue and green finishes for it’s popular boom-mount mics to assist
Hollywood VFX editors in painting out the microphones in blue/green screen chroma key productions.
All three models of the Schoeps CMIT microphones use the same interference tube/capsule, which combines high
directivity and minimal colouration of off-axis sound. MiniCMIT can be powered by phantom P12 or P48, has a low
current draw, and has a fixed 4th order low-cut filter at 70Hz. The MiniCMIT and CMIT 5 have circuitry with similar
characteristics, the intention being that the microphones can be interchanged on set without altering the sound.
The MiniCMIT is available now at a list price of €1690 or $2000 ex VAT. Suitable windscreens and suspensions are
offered at the same time.
www.schoeps.de
Equipment introductions and announcements.
DPA
A new range of accessories for
DPA Microphones’ d:dicate
Microphone Series is specially
designed for location sound
recordists. For a lightweight, unobtrusive
booming solution, particularly convenient for closequarters filming, combine the highly-directional
d:dicate 4018 supercardioid Microphone with the new
GSM4000 Gooseneck Shock Mount and MMP-G Modular
Active Cable. Add one of the clips from DPA’s d:vote
Microphone Series and you can mount the complete
solution so that the capsule is perfectly positioned
to capture the sound.
The MMP-G is an unobtrusive preamplifier with active
drive for impedance balancing to reject frequency
interference. The cable’s fixed MicroDot connector allows the
modular d:dicate capsules to connect to all professional wireless
systems via DPA’s extensive adapter programme.
This solution is also perfect together with the new d:vice
MMA-A Digital Audio Interface (reviewed in this issue of
Resolution), a high-quality microphone preamp and A/D
converter offering mono, dual and stereo capabilities. Ideal for
journalists and content creators who use smartphones to record
and stream audio on the go, d:vice delivers studio quality audio
in a unit that — at just 2” in diameter — is small enough to fit in
your pocket.
www.dpamicrophones.com
Mojave Audio
Mojave Audio, a company founded by David
Royer (well known for his ribbon microphones)
was presented the prestigious MIPA/PIPA Award
in the Studio Microphone category during the
recent Musikmesse/Prolight +
Sound tradeshow in Frankfurt,
Germany. The award was for
the MA-1000 Signature Series
Multi-Pattern Tube Microphone,
(reviewed Resolution V15.5). The
MA-1000 features a new old-stock 5840 tube, a 251-style capsule,
July/August 2017
and a David Royer custom-designed transformer. Among its
notable attributes, the MA-1000 (£2,625) includes a remotely
controlled, continuously variable polar pattern selector that is
located on the microphone’s power supply.
Other mics in the Mojave range include the MA-50 (£377) largediaphragm, transformerless, fixed cardioid condenser. The MA201
(£585) and MA301FET (£822), and the MA-300 large diaphragm
tube condenser with continuously variable pattern (£1230).
www.mojaveaudio.com
AEA
When RCA
abandoned
ribbon mics,
Wes Dooley of
AEA believed
they still had
a place in
the modern
studio — so
he set about
making his own. Ribbon performance is quite dependent on the
choice of mic preamp, and low-impedance inputs don’t always
get the best out of them, so Dooley duly set about designing
his own preamps as well. These have become firm favourites
with many of our craft interviewees, in particular Ken Nelson
(Resolution V14.4). The AEA RPQ2 preamp has been nominated
for our 2017 microphone product awards.
The AEA ribbon range comprises 5 classic designs (inspired by
the RCA 44 and RCA KU3A), while 2 active ribbons — the AEA440
& A840 — offer higher output and immunity to impedanceloading, opening up more flexibility in the choice of preamps,
and avoiding noise problems with longer cable runs. The Nuvo
resolution
series, from which we test the N8 Stereo kit this month, offer a
more discreet and vision-friendly form factor, while still being
rooted in the RCA tradition.
This summer, AEA is bundling the R92 microphone and a TRP
preamp as the “Ultimic Kit”, with a discount on the regular price
of around $500.
www.ribbonmics.com
Audio-Technica
The most recent addition to A-T’s 50 Series
(which also includes the AT5040 vocal
microphone and AT5045 instrument mic),
the AT5047 features the same capsule
as the AT5040 but with a transformercouple d output and optimise d
electronics. The AT5047 features
four rectangular two-micron-thick
diaphragms which function together to
provide a combined surface area twice
that of a standard one-inch circular diaphragm. Advanced internal
shock mounting decouples the capsule from the microphone
body, and the included advanced-design AT8480 shock mount
provides superior isolation. The AT5047 will be available later in
2017 at £3499/€3999 inc VAT.
In June, A-T introduced its new U841R Omnidirectional
Condenser Boundary Microphone. A new addition to the
UniPoint line of microphones, the U841R is a replacement for
A-T’s popular U841A microphone. While retaining the feature set
that made the U841A a useful tool, the new U841R microphone
is enhanced with the addition of internal electronics that do not
require an external power module. The mic features an integral
TA3M output connector and includes a 25’ TA3F-to-XLRM cable. www.audio-technica.com
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Aston Microphones
The hallmark of this new British
manufacturer has been innovative
product design, and their large
diaphragm microphones the Origin
(review, Resolution V15.1, £249) and
Spirit (review, Resolution V15.3,
£349) have been well received by
production professionals. Now
they have a new small diaphragm
condenser, ‘the first ever laser
targeting pencil microphone’, the
Starlight (£349) reviewed by Jon
Thornton in this issue of Resolution.
The Aston range of microphones is available with Rycote Custom
and USM shock mounts, and a special stereo bar for the Starlight
featuring Rycote’s Lyre suspension.
www.astonmics.com
Vanguard
Vanguard Audio Labs, based in sunny southern
California, is the brainchild of Derek Bargaehr
and Ken Avant. Their first microphone, the V13
multi pattern tube condenser, has taken over
two years to develop and is now available
in the UK from Emerging Ltd. One important
design objective was to maintain a very low
noise floor.
The design aims to combine ‘the smooth high
end of an ELAM 251, the midrange precision of a
Sony C800G, and the warm, full lows of a vintage
U47’. While keeping the iconic mics of yesterday
in mind, it’s voiced to be a “workhorse” that will
sound fantastic on just about anything from
drums, pianos, guitars, vocals and strings.
The V13 features a custom-voiced 34mm,
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MICROPHONE SPECIAL
Spotlight: Sennheiser
The newly-introduced Digital 6000 series wireless microphones
use the same long-range mode and proprietary audio codec as
the high-end Digital 9000 series. The two-channel 1RU EM 6000
receiver has a switching bandwidth of 244 MHz (470–714 MHz) covered by three different transmitters.
Up to eight receivers can be daisy-chained without an additional antenna splitter. The receiver
uses frequency-selective antenna filters, meaning it can be used with both active and passive UHF
antennas. It features a white OLED display for checking RF signal, link quality, audio signal battery
status, frequency and encryption on multiple home screens, thus reducing the need to navigate
menu items. It has a digital AES-3 output, balanced XLR 3 outputs and 1/4-inch output jacks. A Dante
version will add an RJ-45 connector for network connectivity.
The SKM 6000 handheld transmitter uses Sennheiser’s standard capsule interface, allowing
the use of mic heads from the Evolution Wireless Series, the 2000 Series and the 9000 Series. The bodypack can be used
together with Sennheiser’s MKE 1, MKE 2 and MKE 40 lavalier mics. An optional L 6000 rackmount charger can use up to four
charging modules to recharge bodypack and handheld batteries, and also works with the Digital 9000 Series.
www.sennheiser.com
gold-sputtered 3-micron dual-capsule, mounted in an
open weave head basket for natural sound and low internal
reflections. The hand-selected European vacuum tube has never
been commercially used in a microphone before. The PS-13
power supply controls a selection of 9 polar patterns with an
ultra-linear, fully shielded, custom-wound, dual-bobbin
humbucking balanced transformer for the output stage, ideal
for long cable runs.
Every part of the V13 is designed to be robust and reliable, and
machined into the rear of the microphone is an unusual cooling
vent to prolong valve life. The V13 is supported by a unique VLSM
heavy-duty shock mount, featuring an open faced design for ease
of placement, with aerospace-grade suspension rings that will
never crack, sag, or snap. Every Vanguard microphone is backed
by a five-year warranty.
www.vanguardaudiolabs.com
www.emerginguk.com
resolution Cloud microphones
The original Cloudlifter
added +25dB of clean
gain to boost low-output
dynamics or ribbon mics
to a level similar to a
condenser microphone.
The new CL-Z provides
the same gain but with additional control. There’s a three position
gain switch for either minimal gain, or +12dB or +25dB operation,
plus a switchable high-pass filter as well. The biggest difference
from a standard Cloudlifter is that it has a large continuously
variable input impedance knob, with settings from 150 ohms to
15k ohms, allowing ultimate control over microphone character
with dynamics and ribbons.
www.cloudmicrophones.com
July/August 2017
GEAR
MICROPHONE SPECIAL
Schertler
Josephson
Microtech Gefell
Swiss company Schertler
make a range of instrument
transducers, some of which
are based on electrostatic
designs, and others on
dynamic principles.
“Contact mics” seem to
have fallen out of fashion
recently, but Schertler
have built up a loyal
following with respected
live instrumentalists. The
range is extensive, with over 45 different offerings covering
everything from universal/percussive instrument through to
instrument-specific pickups for violin, viola, cello and bass.
There’s the Lydia under-saddle acoustic pickup: ‘revolutionary
air chamber technology built around an ultra linear condenser
microphone, with solid diaphragm and integrated electronic
settings, has been specially designed to reproduce the true
sound of your instrument’. Then there are the “Stat” bundles,
which include instrument-specific pickups together with Class-A
topology preamps, and the Arpavox integrated multiple pickup
set for Harp.
www.schertler.com
The Josephson C725 was previewed at NAMM
LA 2017. It provides classic studio microphone
performance using a hybrid of tube and solid
state technology, with the dual-diaphragm
capsule used in the C700 and C716 microphones.
A separate high voltage regulated power supply
is provided, with five switchable directional
patterns and a tone selector to optimize the
signal path. In the C725 the voltage gain section
uses a low-noise FET, while the current gain stage uses a readily
available in-production pentode vacuum tube. This provides the
low noise of the FET along with the dynamic characteristics of the
vacuum tube. The output is provided through a custom nickelcore transformer, which has independent windings for output
and gain control. The C725 should be available later this year.
www.josephson.com
The new SRM 100 is a professional, digital
output, dynamic microphone with omnidirectional polar pattern for connection to a
smart-phone or tablet. It is been optimised for
speech intelligibility and the capsule is elastically suspended
to minimise handling noise, features designed to optimise its
performance as an interview microphone for ENG. A reporter
can quickly interview, edit and then e-mail the recording back
to base at a moment’s notice. Live streaming is possible by using
the “Luci Live” or Tieline’s “Report-IT” apps. Used with a USB cable,
it is the perfect microphone for internet radio and pod-casting.
The SRM 100 is supplied complete with foam windshield, a
locking iPhone or iPad cable with Lightning connector and a
carrying pouch. Cables for Android phones and a USB cable are
available separately.
www.microtechgefell.de
Warm Audio
The recently introduced WA-87 is
billed as ‘a classic made affordable’. A
homage to the most widely-used large
diaphragm condenser microphone in
popular recording history, Warm
Audio have set the price to tempt at
$599/£579/€666. ‘Rather than base our
WA-87 circuit on current incarnations of
this mic, we decided to closely follow the
early circuit designs that date back
nearly half a century ... engineers who
have worked with different versions of
these microphones often prefer the
warmer, more forgiving nature of the
earlier commercially available models.’ A key design decision on
the part of Warm Audio was to develop their own brass/mylar
LK-87-B-50V capsule. Bearing in mind the signature tonality of
mics which use K-87-style capsules bought-in from the far East,
this could prove a clever design decision.
The mic uses a Cinemag output transformer, has an 80Hz high
pass filter and -10dB pad, and a quoted noise performance of
-117dB.
www.warmaudio.com
Sontronics
The recently introduced MERCURY, a
flagship large diaphragm condenser,
is reviewed in this issue. Taking things
up a step from the previous top-ofrange Aria, the fully variable pattern
MERCURY employs higher grade
components (most of which have
less than 1% tolerance) and a handselected and tested, European-made
ECC81/12AT7 valve.
At Summer NAMM Sontronics introduced the SOLO dynamic
handheld mic, the ‘first dynamic mic to be made in the UK’
according to the Dorset-based company. Superseding the wellregarded STC80, the SOLO sports a supercardioid patter and is
25% lighter and made from aluminium. The capsule design is a
revision of the STC 80 capsule, with a high-output neodymium
capsule which give the SOLO ‘incredible presence, detail and
depth without requiring any EQ’ according to Sontronics. The
SOLO comes with a mic clip and protective zip-up pouch, and is
set to be available in August with a street price of less than £100.
www.sontronics.com
Introducing the new NTR active
ribbon microphone from RØDE
The finest ribbon microphone ever made.
Hear it for yourself at rode.com/ntr
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Røde
At the beginning
o f 2 017 —
celebrating
parent company
F r e e d m a n
Electronics’
50 years in
business — Røde
announced six
new microphones:
four for the studio
and two for videographers.
TFM-50: A spherical valve omnidirectional microphone,
produced in collaboration with Grammy Award-winning classical
music producer Tony Faulkner (Resolution V9.3). Designed as a
homage to the old Neumann M50, a staple on the Decca trees
of many classical engineers, and one of the rarest of vintage
Neumanns.
NT-49: A variable polar pattern large-diaphragm condenser
mic, employing a similar housing as the TFM-50.
NT-RV: A valve-based variant of the company’s highly-regarded
NT-R ribbon microphone.
NT-5 Matched Pair: A new version of Røde’s half-inch, smalldiaphragm, cardioid condenser mics with improved capsule
technology.
VideoMic Pro+: An improved on-camera video shotgun
microphone, which may now be powered by AA batteries.
VideoMic SoundField: Perhaps the most exciting idea, a
development made possible by Røde’s acquisition of Soundfield
at the end of 2016. The world’s first on-camera ambisonic,
360-degree surround sound microphone.
The NT-5 is available now, however release dates for the other
products has not yet been announced.
www.rode.com
Lewitt
Austrian microphone manufacturer
Lewitt has introduced three new
designs to its ever-growing portfolio
of microphones.
The LCT 440 PURE (£279) comes in a
compact housing utilising a capsule
that delivers a high level of detail and
very low self-noise. The mic is sold
with an LCT 40 SH shock mount, an
LCT 40 Wx windscreen, a DTP 40 Lb
cushioned leatherette bag and LCT
50 PSx magnetic pop filter.
The cost-effective LCT 240 PRO (£149) is a versatile cardioid
condenser microphone ‘Designed to offer professional
recording performance at an attractive price’ available in Black
or White finish.
The Interviewer (£189 RRP) is the company’s very first dynamic
interview microphone, featuring an omnidirectional polar
pattern and fully rubber mounted capsule. Unique coating
technology and a purpose-built Dust Protection Membrane make
the Interviewer ready for the toughest of conditions.
www.lewitt-audio.com
Townsend
Townsend Labs Sphere
L22 Microphone has
already garnered
quite a lot of attention,
even before it became
available, thanks to
an Indigogo crowd
funding page, through
which $363,624
was raised to set up
manufacturing. The
Sphere is a precision
microphone modelling system, combining a reference quality
microphone with some pretty impressive software, able to get
the characteristic tones of some of the world’s most sought
after microphones. Jon Thornton reviews the system in this issue.
Is this the future of recording? It’s a bit too early to tell if the
wider audio production community will warm to the idea,
but some big names have already endorsed the concept. ‘The
Townsend Mic is the future of microphone technology. Being able
to manipulate the polar patterns, mic choice and off-axis effects
after recording is a huge advantage. Quite a breakthrough!’ says
Joe Chiccarelli (Resolution V4.2).
www.townsendlabs.com
sE Electronics
The Art of Audio
www.astonmics.com +44 (0) 845 500 2 500 [email protected] Made in the UK
48
resolution A new small diaphragm condenser
microphone was introduced at Summer
NAMM 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.
The new sE8 contains a handcrafted
gold-sputtered small diaphragm true
condenser capsule, manufactured by sE
in their own capsule room, with a brand
new backplate designed to deliver a
more even, balanced sound and superior
transient response. The sE8 also includes
two low-cut filters (switchable between
80Hz and 160Hz) and two pads (-10dB
or — 20dB), which aim to provide it with
a high SPL handling capability and dynamic range. The sE8 will
arrive in stores worldwide August 2017, with a suggested retail
price of $299 or €229 (incl. VAT). It ships with a newly-designed
mic clip, mic stand thread adapter, and protective wind screen.
The sE8 is also available as a matched stereo pair, which comes
complete with a precision-machined stereo mounting bar, two
mic clips, two wind screens, and a sturdy flight case, priced at
$599 or €399 (incl. VAT).
www.seelectronics.com
July/August 2017
GEAR
MICROPHONE SPECIAL
Lauten Audio
The new Series Black LA-120 small diaphragm FET
condenser microphone pair by Lauten Audio is a
versatile pair of microphones for instrument recording.
The LA-120 features a US made ultra-low-noise JFET
amplifier, interchangeable 17mm pressure gradient
condenser cardioid and omni-directional capsules, 50
and 150Hz low-cut filters, 10 and 15kHz high-cut filters,
and electronically balanced output. The LA-120s are
available for a very reasonable £319 (for a pair).
The Eden LT-386 by Lauten Audio is a “Multi-voicing”
large diaphragm tube condenser microphone. The
Eden LT-386 uses Lauten’s proprietary 31.25mm dualdiaphragm pressure gradient condenser capsule
tuned specifically for this microphone, along with
a custom wound US-made output transformer for
excellent control of transients. The tube is a modern
EF806s aged using a proprietary process developed
by Lauten Audio. Lauten Audio’s proprietary technology uses three separate
signal paths for multi-voicing: Forward, Neutral and Gentle. The
Gentle position provides maximum control of bright or peaky
sources or to achieve a very warm, vintage vibe. Neutral offers
an even response with good control over S’s. Forward opens up
the microphone for that familiar “air” of classic microphones from
the past, combined with the modern touch that Lauten Audio is
known for. The LT-386 is supplied with a shock mount in a custom
hard case, £2,619 inc VAT.
www.lautenaudio.com
www.synthax.co.uk
round capsules, reducing in band resonances dramatically and
expanding the application possibilities. Bock manufacturing
employs all hand-construction techniques with microphones
built 5 or 10 at a time using techniques that are impossible to
execute in high quantity. www.bockaudio.com
Rycote
At NAB 2017 Rycote introduced new
Stickies ‘Advanced’: double-sided,
hypoallergenic, adhesive pads
used to affix lavalier microphones
directly onto skin or on top of
clothing. Available in different
shapes (‘Round’, ‘O’s’ and ‘Squared’)
these new Stickies are larger, stickier
and supplied loose with easy peeloff tabs for easy use. The all-new Overcovers Advanced utilise
Rycote exclusive fur technology to provide excellent wind-noise
protection for lavalier microphones. These discrete fur coverings
are now slightly bigger (26mm), to match the DPA Concealers and
are supplied with the new Stickies Advanced (Round). Overcovers
Advanced will be available in black, grey, white and beige colours,
to suit a multitude of different applications.
Rycote also launched their brand-new boom shock mount,
the InVision Lite (INV-Lite), to offer a more focused solution for
smaller, lighter shotgun microphones. With Rycote patented
Lyre technology, the INV-Lite provides super-fast access to the
microphone via the revolutionary new cam-lever clamp system.
With the mic gripped securely at a single point, it allows full
placement of a foam to provide basic wind and plosive protection
indoors. Available in two versions, the INV-Lite (19) is compatible
with mics like the DPA 4017B, 4017C, 4018; Sanken CS-1e;
Sennheiser MKH 8060, 8050, 8040 and 8020. The INV-Lite (21) is
the ideal companion for the Schoeps MiniCMIT.
www.rycote.com
Ehrlund
From a small town in the heart of Sweden,
inventor Göran Ehrlund produces a range
of microphones that aim for transparency,
accurate transient capability, and colourless
reproduction of source material.
Thanks to a unique and patented triangular
shape, the membrane resolves impulse
resonance more rapidly allowing for a less
distorted signal. The triangular shape of the
Ehrlund microphone membrane allows the
membrane surface to stabilize a claimed 400%
faster than conventional round membranes,
thus producing a clearer and more true sonic
image. In addition to the triangular membrane,
Ehrlund microphones use a unique internal amplifier that is phase
linear and thereby eliminates the need for matched microphone
pairs. Internal self-noise is extremely low with a lab certified
frequency response of 7Hz–kHz.
Ehrlund offer 5 microphones, ranging from large-diaphragm
vocal condensers through instrument, drum and miniature
condensers. The Ehrlund Acoustic Pickup (EAP) is a linear contact
microphone for instruments with an acoustic sound box such as
the guitar, violin, double bass and ethno-instruments.
www.ehrlund.se
www.momentumaudiosales.com
AMBEO VR MIC
The new dimension of VR audio productions.
Capture the world
in a new spatial way.
The new standard in 3D audio capture from
Sennheiser is lifting VR audio production to a
new professional level, bringing a whole new
and highly emotional experience to the listeners.
sennheiser.com/ambeo-vr-mic
Bock Audio
The Bock 5ZERO7 (review, Resolution V16.2 March
2017) is a new approach in high-end microphone
design, combining new and old: a brand new
unique and patent pending elliptical capsule, with
a vintage-inspired mic amplifier and power supply.
The new Bock/Cardas elliptical capsule design
strives to resolve the chronic in-band resonance
issues of both large and small diaphragm
microphones. Round capsules have a relatively
low frequency in-band resonance, typically
around 1kHz. Small diaphragm mics usually have
a much higher in band resonance, typically about
15kHz or higher. The elliptical capsule offers the
best of both, avoiding the constant distance “edge to centre” of
July/August 2017
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23/05/2017 11.46
49
GEAR
MICROPHONE SPECIAL
Shure
In April, Shure introduced its new Axient Digital wireless
microphone system, which builds on the benefits of the
Company’s UHF-R, ULX-D, and Axient wireless systems to create
Shure’s most advanced wireless platform to date. Catering to
evolving customer needs — especially in an environment of
continued RF spectrum pressure — Axient Digital provides
high-performance RF, exceptional audio quality, command and
control, and hardware scalability.
Axient Digital ADX Series transmitters incorporate ShowLink,
which provides real-time control of all transmitter parameters
with interference detection and avoidance. The ADX Series also
includes the first micro-bodypack with an integrated self-tuning
antenna, enabling greater concealment and comfort.
Axient Digital features Quadversity mode, which allows users
to place sets of diversity antennas in different zones, or double
the number of antennas in a single zone, to improve RF signal-tonoise in challenging environments. High Density mode increases
the maximum simultaneous system channel count from 17 to 47
per 6-MHz TV band, from 23 to 63 per 8-MHz TV band. Digital
audio quality is maintained via Dante and AES3, along with a
20Hz to 20kHz range with a flat frequency response and accurate
transient response. It also boasts wide dynamic range, AES-256
encryption, and 2ms latency from the mic transducer to the
analogue output.
www.shure.co.uk
Telefunken
The Telefunken TDA-1 (mono) and TDA-2 (dual) are newly
designed-for-2017 active direct boxes that employ discrete
Class-A FET circuitry coupled with a high quality transformer.
The Telefunken TDP-1 (mono) and TDP-2 (dual) are new passive
transformer direct box designs that combine premium quality
components with a rugged construction to create a reliable DI
with rich, warm character.
In the heart of each new Telefunken direct box design are
custom-wound output transformers by OEP/Carnhill, made in the
UK. The circuit boards feature gold-plated traces for maximum
Beyerdynamic
A
50
Royer Labs’ R-122 was the world’s first
phantom powered ribbon microphone,
combining ac tive elec tronics for
impedance conversion with a custom
toroidal output transformer to deliver
strong signal to noise with almost any preamplifier. The Mk 11 version leaves the
fundamentals of the design untouched,
with the same proprietary offset ribbon
motor, ultra-low noise FET stage and
transformer. It adds two recessed slide
switches — one for a pad and the other for
a high pass filter. Royer have taken care to
ensure that these additions have no effect
on the sound of the original R-122 — so
when the switches are in the off position
the signal path is identical. The -15dB pad
helps on those occasions when loud sources (e.g guitar amps)
result in headroom issues with the electronics, and the relatively
gentle (100 Hz 6dB/octave) high pass filter is designed to help
combat proximity effect on close sources.
www.royerlabs.com
Chandler
new version of the TG 1000 24-bit digital
wireless system now has a Dante interface
and can be integrated seamlessly into AoIP
networks based on the Audinate solution.
The TG 1000 dual receiver is equipped with
a Dante network interface in the form of an
RJ45 connector flanked by status LEDs on the back of the 19”
device (1 HU).
The beyerdynamic TG 1000 wireless system has a switching
bandwidth of 319 MHz in the UHF range (470 — 789 MHz),
guaranteeing long-term investment security and smooth
operation across the globe. Operation is extremely intuitive
thanks to the high-contrast OLED display, one button navigation
and Chameleon software. There is a comprehensive assortment
of capsules available for the TG 1000 handheld transmitter
that, in addition to dynamic variants and first-class condenser
capsules, also includes the legendary beyerdynamic TG V90w
ribbon module.
The total latency from transmitter to receiver is only 2.1
milliseconds. In optimal environmental conditions, the transition
range can reach up to 300 metres. www.beyerdynamic.com
NEW
in the UK from:
Royer
conductivity and are handassembled exclusively
with through-hole
components providing
a secure and reliable
connection compared to
common surface-mount
technology.
Also new this year is an
upgraded powder coated
finish for the M80 & M81
dynamic microphones,
to match the finish on
their siblings the lower
profile M80-SH and M81SH microphones, which
began shipping in January 2017.
www.telefunken-elektroakustik.com
01296 6813 13 • www.aspen-media.com
resolution Chandler Limited, the only company authorised to
develop and market the “Official Equipment” of EMI/
Abbey Road Studios, added to their series with the
REDD Microphone in November 2016. The REDD
is a large diaphragm tube condenser microphone,
combining mic and preamp into a single device.
Featuring the tube-based REDD.47 Mic Amplifier
circuit directly coupled to a
custom handmade premium
platinum membrane capsule,
the REDD Microphone can be
used with or without an external
preamplifier. Features available
from the microphone body
include: nine gain selections, from +4 to +33dB in the NORM
position, extended gain and punch in DRIVE mode for more tonal
colouration, switchable Cardioid/Omni patterns, -10dB Pad, and
Phase reverse. Continuous output and low-contour control are
accessible from the high-quality external power supply. The mic
includes a Shockmount, 25’ Mogami microphone cable, and a
custom moulded flight case. The REDD Microphone is available
for £4,399, €5,599, $4,499.
www.chandlerlimited.com
SFP.IO SMART + LUA SCRIPT ENGINE
www.directout.eu
July/August 2017
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