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Readers' Letters: Can you use studio mics for live sound?, and more...

A post by David Mellor
Thursday November 30, 2006
"An RP visitor tries using Neumann mics for PA. It doesn't work out. In fact it goes horribly, horribly wrong..."
Readers' Letters: Can you use studio mics for live sound?, and more...

In response to Can you use studio mics for live sound?, Tim Micsak writes...

Many studio vocal mics have dual elements. They can either be oriented to use sideways for "stereo" or front and back to have one element pick up the direct sample and the other element picking up the room ambiance. This would certianly create feedback issues. Even single element mics may very well be uni-directional to hear the focused and overall sample. Live performance is best suited with a "focused" omnidirectional mic that will target the signal without hearing so much of the ambiance, and so feedback is reduced, along with the ablity to have a greater pick up and output level.

RP response: You would be referring to multi-pattern microphones, which do indeed have two diaphragms. If there is a multi-pattern microphone that is designed for live use, we would love to hear of it.

In response to Why good spelling is vital for a recording engineer, Erick Linscott writes...

I couldn't agree with you more ! I see emails, for example, where the spelling is so horrific, I think this person must have dropped out of school in the third grade. When I see an application for employment, and there are numerous spelling errors, the applicaion gets tossed right into the trash. Also, it is not OK to use phrases like: "Wuz up, I be doin cool." Anyone with a desire to work in a professional envirnment needs to grow out of the language of the streets.

In response to Is it time for the $5 preamp to make a comeback?, Lasse Suurkari, Finland writes...

Hello, Tweak-Heads!

I´m recording at home on pro-tools M-Powered

Done some speech recording for elderly folks "aid phones".

I´m recording vocals and acoustic instruments like violin, banjo, mandolin, guitar etc. with various "cheap" condenser and dynamic microphones.

I am very comfortable using pre´s of my 01V, Mackie cfx and even 12dollar b:ger desk + a coupla cheapo tube pre-amps, B:ringer Mic100 and ART Tube.

So, maybe it´s in my head or Yours, there´s good sound available at no much cost if You have a few knobs to messaround with.

RP response: We're struggling to find meaning here, but you seem to be enjoying your recording, which is great. Peace.

In response to 1960's vintage public address equipment - adapt or replace?, Bill Baerg writes...

Dear David,

Aux input would be "tape in" or "line in". PGM (program) is "line out", the signal after the pre-amp stage(signal that is sent to a power amp or monitor system). EQ send should be signal before pre-amp (less than line signal)and of course the reverse for EQ return. Power should be access to the final power stage only (eg. another mixer/pre-amp).

I would do something with the speakers as the system is only as good as the weakest link and that sounds to me like it would be the speakers.


Bill Baerg

RP response: Yes, it was the 'PGM' that was puzzling us, thank you, and the 3000+ mile distance made testing a little impractical.

In response to Is it time for the $5 preamp to make a comeback?, RemyRAD writes...

Sure, I've got some wonderful recordings I've made with less than five dollar microphone preamps in my console! A console I purchased in the mid-1980s was a British built Soundtracs 16-8-16. I didn't purchased it for its sonic integrity. I purchased it because it had every feature I needed to have, in a 16 track console. Amazingly, the microphone preamp was a single solitary Signetics 5534AN, integrated circuit chip. No specialty low noise input transistors and no additional current boosting output transistors. Yet, one of the hottest live jazz recordings I ever recorded competes quite nicely with my vintage Neve & API consoles! So it really has nothing to do with the equipment but the engineering skills & techniques. It still makes me laugh like a giddy teenager every time I listen to it. Bottom line is, I love my own engineering!

RP response: The Soundtracs 16-8-16 is a nice little console. We approve. Someone else does too...

In response to The secret stereo of the Edison phonograph, Elatia Grimshaw writes...

I think it is possible to create stereo out of mono. DVDs can take the mono sound tracks of old movies and turn them into true 5.1 surround sound after all, such as Ben-Hur and Bambi.

Is the creation of stereo only possible on disc records or on cylinder as well?

In response to Play too loud and we'll cut the power!, Guy Morris writes...

I experienced this exact scenario with one exception, there was no music playing just a crowd cheering and clapping and that level alone took the power out! This was not just the act's power but the complete venue so all the lights went out as well including a load of discharge FX units which do not like power outs.You can tell a band/disco to turn down but not a paying audience who then realised that they had the power to cause this,the night was ruined thanks to those stupid devices. The venue claimed a 90 db level which was more like 70 db and the sensors were mounted on a low ceiling over the crowd. It takes responsibility on all sides to get the level sensible but stupid installers or over zealous ignorant authorities can create major issues and lose themselves business. I will now refuse work at any venue that has an active power limiter installed simply because I do not trust the settings or the competence of their adminstrators. This particular major central London venue had their unit set for 3 outs and it could not be re-set after that,ironic that it was the audience contribution that killed the night not the act.

In response to Inside your expensive and prized vintage Neumann mic there might NOT be a tube!, Bob G. writes...

Telefunken USA is now producing new VF-14 tubes. I have one in my vintage U47 and it works just like the original tube. FYI

RP response: Excellent! Thank you for that.

In response to Readers' Letters: Is it time for the $5 preamp to make a comeback?, and more..., Trevor writes...

Don't you dare close down Audio Masterclass David, these people are so rude. You take the time and trouble to produce Audio Masterclass on a regular basis, you willingly inform people like me who know nothing about the production side of music, I for one, am very very grateful.

RP response: Thank you. Rest assured that there is no chance of Audio Masterclass closing. We're here for the long run.

In response to Three microphones tested on female vocals - was it a case of bad engineering?, Dainius writes...

Hi Everyone,

Actually there is another fault if we can name it as such..occurs it on before the last "in" Listen if you can hear it(00:46). I don't know what it is and obviously at much lower level than the last one(00:55)..Could be a "feet" as it doesn't sound very digital.



In response to Always record everything, even your first try, Stephen Smith writes...

Thanks for this article, I really needed it! I am going into the studio on the 17 May and we will be recording in ProTools LE. This information helped a lot. Thank you.

Stephen Smith.

My band: Back Bone.

In response to Microphone preamplifiers - can *YOU* hear the difference? (with audio), Bill Buckingham writes...

Hi there - I listened to the three preamp test and I have to say it was interesting, however I feel it was lacking real world relevance as I make pop records as opposed to spoken word, and the sound and dynamic range of a a singing voice is a whole different animal...I would have liked to hear some examples of say, an intimate Norah Jones-y female vocal and a male metal shredder and see how the unit handles them!

A post by David Mellor
Thursday November 30, 2006 ARCHIVE
David Mellor has been creating music and recording in professional and home studios for more than 30 years. This website is all about learning how to improve and have more fun with music and recording. If you enjoy creating music and recording it, then you're definitely in the right place :-)