Monthly Archives: March 2020

Today (and every other day) Has Been Designated INTERNATIONAL CLEAN THE GERMS OFF YOUR MICROPHONE DAY!

My mate's 58

As most of us haven’t any work at the moment now might be a good time to clean up our act! Vocal mics have always been a bit of a health hazard, especially those that get shared on a regular basis.

Now might even be a good time for singers who don’t own their own microphone to think about making a purchase. Maybe even choose a microphone that really suits your voice rather than settling for whatever piece of old junk the PA company throws at you!

Meanwhile those of us techies that work in theatre, events or studios could spend a useful morning with a cloth dampened with isopropyl alcohol or similar disinfecting agent wiping down our stock of mics. With dynamic vocal mics such as the Shure SM58 the grill can be unscrewed and thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. The foam inside is also washable. In the case of older mics the foam might need to be replaced. This is not difficult to do for most modern microphones and can be easily purchased online, as can new grills.

N.B. However, exercise caution if you are dealing with expensive condensers or vintage mics as these may require specialist help. (If you own vintage mics I probably don’t need to tell you that!)

If on the other hand you own the SM58 pictured above you may need a blow-torch and a big hammer!!

Stay Safe.❤

 

Recording Marimba a New Experience!

One thing I really love about this job is that there is always something new to learn! Having worked as a Sound Engineer for more than 30 years, until last week I had never recorded a Marimba.Marimba One

What an amazing instrument! With a very wide frequency response and huge dynamic range the marimba produces a stunning variety of colour quite unlike any other percussion instrument I can think of. Such tonal subtlety coupled with a battery of rapid transients requires a careful choice of microphone/s.

I did consider using a pair of Sennheiser MD441 dynamics as they have the required frequency response and have an excellent track record on other varieties of percussion, producing a big ‘punchy’ sound with plenty of attack.  I also considered going down the condenser route with a pair of AKG C414s. Great frequency response and bags of detail.  But………… In the end I realised that what was really needed to capture those rapid transients and subtle detail was a high quality stereo ribbon!  In many respects a ribbon microphone has the best of both worlds. Being a variety of dynamic it can pack a great deal of attack and ‘punch’ and on the other hand has an incredibly light diaphragm (ribbon) which can react to transients and fine detail with incredible precision. There is also an intangible ‘smoothness’ to ribbons that even the best condensers just don’t seem to have.

Extinct Audio’s ‘Valkyr’ BM9x2 Stereo Ribbon Microphone was placed on a tall stand, stage centre, about 2m away from the instrument.  The mic set in M-S configuration.

CLICK HERE to hear an excerpt from virtuoso percussionist 18 year old Darcy Beck (winner of Gloucestershire Young Musician of The Year 2020) performing ‘Prism’ by Japanese composer Keiko Abe.Darcy Beck marimbaDarcy Beck marimba

In Conclusion

Apart from capturing the fine detail of even the most rapid passages the ‘Valkyr’ also delivers a very pleasing impression of the reverberant acoustics of the hall.