Eh?….. Yes, you heard right! A high quality omnidirectional lavalier simply pinned on the performer’s chest about 3 inches above the top edge of the guitar produces excellent results.
- Because the microphone capsule is so small it has an excellent transient response and is capable of reproducing fine detail.
- The mic has a very wide flat frequency response covering the full range of the instrument.
- Being omnidirectional it has no proximity effect and therefore there is none of the boominess often associated with acoustic guitars.
- No mic stand needed.
- Allows the player freedom of movement.
- Positioned above the guitar it reproduces the instrument from the same perspective as it is heard by the performer. (When recording from the front, some performers will claim that the playback doesn’t sound like their guitar.( Arrrgh!!) This is because they never normally hear it from the front! So this method may cut down such studio arguments!………. ok that’s a bit of a long shot!)
Here is a short clip of 12 string acoustic guitar recorded using the HMN Sound MicroLav (As pictured above)
What About Live? I have even used this method in theatre shows with solo artists to reinforce vocals and guitar at the same time! The balance is achieved by moving the mic up or down the performer’s shirt! Members of the audience and other technicians have often commented on how good the guitar sounds, not realising that it isn’t separately DI’d ! (N.B. Being an omni, there are however some limitations on gain before feedback. So maybe don’t try this if you are looking to take the back wall out of the place!)
Every time ‘The King’s Speech’ is re-run on TV I find myself foaming at the mouth and whining-on about the microphones…… or more specifically about the WRONG BBC microphones! This annoys the hell out of my family, and so I thought I would get it off my chest in a blog post!
Don’t misunderstand me, I love the film. Fabulous acting etc etc. BUT…………….. The spring mounted carbon microphones that appear throughout, and most irritatingly of all in that final speech, were phased out by the BBC around 1935!!!! Surely the producers knew that? Perhaps they thought the carbon mics looked cool, or more intimidating in the close-ups? Whatever the reason, they are quite simply WRONG! By 1938 the STC4017C was used almost exclusively by the BBC for outside broadcasting. Indeed here is an uncomfortable looking George VI making a speech in 1938 with a typical array of STC4017s.
Also, there would certainly have been at least 2 microphones, as that was standard BBC practice at the time. The lower mic in the picture facing upwards at an angle is positioned to pick up the voice as the speaker looks down at his notes and moves off axis from the main pair. (Chamberlain can be seen with a similar setup declaring war on Germany)
I also found this fabulous Pathe News Reel from 1938. This is what The King’s Speech should have looked (and sounded) like!
Ok rant over! Phew, that’s better!
A brand new version of the MicroLav from HMN Sound arrived a couple of days ago. Once again I am amazed how quickly it got here! This microphone and the previous one only took 4 days to travel from Thailand! Internal parcel post here in the UK often takes more than that! Having been pleasantly impressed by the previous incarnation I was very keen to try out this latest model, and it does not disappoint!
Once again mic itself is housed in a tough metal shell with an integral grill, and the cable, although very slender, is reinforced with Kevlar which makes it deceptively strong. It is a high quality microphone aimed at the professional user. This mic appears to have a sensibly flat response and is very smooth right across the frequency range. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the MicroLav is the price! Currently selling on the HMN Sound website for $79 this is excellent value for money and considerably cheaper than competitor models such as the Sennheiser MKE2 which is currently available for around £225. So what does it sound like and how does it compare?
CLICK HERE to find out.
The MicroLav is also excellent on vocals.
Check out this CLIP recorded without eq.
N.B. UPDATE Feb 2019 Sadly it appears that HMN Sound have ceased trading.