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the peculiar desires of a producer for certain (inexpensive) mics...
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
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1 Review written
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the peculiar desires of a producer for certain (inexpensive) mics...

i've been a freelance tech for close to 40 years and as such, i got to use a wide range of mics from most well-known manufacturers for recording of acoustic and semi-amplified music (and an even larger variety of mics for recording or live mixing amplified music).

now this week, i got an unusual request: a producer urged me to NOT use mics from schoeps or dpa but wants me to bring along mics from rode and akg blue line or - should these not be available - neumann for recording (and later streaming) of chamber music.



i'm not much famliar with rode sdc's but what friends told me is that rode's are ok-ish for amplified music but then, none of my friends did recommend to use them on delicate chamber music - and certainly not in large quantities!

___


anyone else ever got a (somewhat) similar request and if so, what besides maybe budget restricitions was the reason? - i admit that i cannot think of (m)any reasons why someone would NOT want to use two dozens of say schoeps mics?!



[from my point of view it is a bit ironic (not to say stupid) that the total costs will effectively be higher since i have to rent the mics (and the producer btw can be happy that i was able to get enough mics together in a short period of time)...]
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
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Earcatcher's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Have you asked the producer for his reasoning? Sounds to me like he asked for the microphones that you see most often on the second-hand market and which therefore have a familiar ring to many not-so-well-informed music involved people. It's a lot easier to sell a pair of Røde NT5's than a pair of Schoeps MK4's, as I have experienced myself.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
I had a boss at an ad agency who insisted on using AMS RMX16's on every scoring session. Since these mixes were always stemmed out, you needed three, at $100 surcharge apiece. These sessions were always done at the same NYC studio. And of the four RMX16's they had on hand, three of them belonged to my boss.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
I had a boss at an ad agency who insisted on using AMS RMX16's on every scoring session. Since these mixes were always stemmed out, you needed three, at $100 surcharge apiece. These sessions were always done at the same NYC studio. And of the four RMX16's they had on hand, three of them belonged to my boss.
lol - well, 'follow the money' probably remains to be a sensible proposal if investigating things...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher ➡️
Have you asked the producer for his reasoning? Sounds to me like he asked for the microphones that you see most often on the second-hand market and which therefore have a familiar ring to many not-so-well-informed music involved people. It's a lot easier to sell a pair of Røde NT5's than a pair of Schoeps MK4's, as I have experienced myself.
i didn't ask the producer mainly because i have been busy with other projects, besides that i expressed my estonishment...

...but yes, it could well be that the producer usually gets to work with less expensive gear and therefore assumed it would be more easily availabe - but then, i'm wondering how he got this partucular job in the first place and even more, why i got the call? i can assure you that I am not the cheapest supplier on the market!

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 3 weeks ago at 10:44 PM.. Reason: quote added
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
If Tony F manages to make Rode SDC mics work for him, I'm sure you will rise to the challenge deedeeyeah.
Lots of film types get what they want from AKG Blueline. You're not a mic snob are you?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
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king2070lplaya's Avatar
Volker Straus apparently didn’t like Schoeps either. To each their own.

But I suppose if they’re hiring you on, or are hired to make those decisions on a project, then you should do what they want, or else convince them to do it your way, or resign, right?
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #7
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad ➡️
If Tony F manages to make Rode SDC mics work for him, I'm sure you will rise to the challenge deedeeyeah.
Lots of film types get what they want from AKG Blueline. You're not a mic snob are you?
i cannot judge the motivation of other people to use a certain product, especially not if i do not know it closely.

i can however name a few factors that have led me to purchase and use all but high-quality gear: with regard to schoeps, it's not just their well-known qualities but the fact that I can't afford to use potentially inferior gear when all the competition uses high-quality gear.

also, i have never had any material defects with any schoeps mics, all the mics i have bought damaged have been restored to as good as new condition at affordable prices and i can easily rent additional mics from colleagues if an order exceeds my capacities.

besides, the mics are manufactured only 200km from my doorstep so i can't see why i should buy other mics that are made on the other side of the world, certainly not for ecological and economic reasons.

___


if you think all or any of that makes me a snob, so be it! - i'm wondering though how you then would describe people who have all their mics modified? i'm perfectly content with about two dozen standard versions from schoeps plus ca. two dozen sdc's from other manufacturers such as akg, beyer, b&k, calrec, soundfield etc. (and hopefully soon austrian audio)...

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 3 weeks ago at 10:44 PM.. Reason: quote added
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #8
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya ➡️
Volker Straus apparently didn’t like Schoeps either.
i don't like using the straus paket either but it was an innovative design at the time...

...but yes:
Quote:
To each their own.
Quote:
But I suppose if they’re hiring you on, or are hired to make those decisions on a project, then you should do what they want, or else convince them to do it your way, or resign, right?
my job varies from project to project: in this case, i got hired to bring along those mics the producer whises to use (and some additional gear), position all mics (which is a bit tricky if one does not have any experience with some of the mics - but then, a mic is a mic...), get levels, establish a mix, dial in the broadcast processor, write a bill.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
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tourtelot's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
It would be an interesting discussion to have with the producer, maybe to phrase it like "what do you like about the Rode XYZ mic?" Just curiosity as one audio guy to another audio guy.

But you are correct. If the produce wants to use SM57 all-round, and he's paying the bill, you still have the choice to do the job his way, or not to do the job. This certainly IS a case of follow the money.

Reputation? Feh! You already have all the reputation you need. Maybe not insist that your name makes the credit list but even if it does, so what?

Let us know how the session goes, and what you really think of the Rode XYZ mics that have been requested.

D.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
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🎧 10 years
All (well, most) mic families tend to have a signature sound....that applies to Rode, Schoeps, Sennheiser MKH, DPA etc etc. The more you use of a particular product line on a single production (or as overdub mics in a multitrack studio setting) the more pronounced and baked in that signature will tend to become.

Even in the case of a single main pair, the 'flavour differences' between brands are noticeable, and form the basis of many discussions past in this forum.


There are obviously hierarchies of this: using only ribbons/dynamics, cheap HF lifted condensors will all show this even more strongly....as the signatures 'pile up' or subtract, and draw attention to a certain part of the audio spectrum. In the case of Schoeps only, the additive effect may be benign (even probably likeable) ...but it will impress itself, more so than if you chose each mic on the basis of its strength for a particular instrument or location, rather than brand or transducer-type alone.

I look at it similarly to cross-bred biological strains of species having greater disease resistance than those from a smaller, less diverse genetic pool ? In this case it's signature weaknesses becoming muted, rather than a signature sound becoming emphasized...

Last edited by studer58; 3 weeks ago at 04:18 AM..
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #11
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
update on progress

i did neither get much options to choose from nor much time to discuss things: the producer not only insisted on having me use his mics of choice but also to use a mic setup, all other gear (except for my broafcast processor) and a workflow which are pretty much on the opposite side of what i'd do:

somewhat noisy mics (and/or preamps), 4-mic main array (although there won't be anything to choose from afterwards as the blown up mix will get used for the broadcast simply due the lack of time between the recording and the broadcast), spaced omnis as spots for soloists, too many omnis in a hall with too much noise from staff: six people for a total of eight cameras plus two "gang-go's" (swiss-german for teaboys/runners/assistants), analog multicore to prosumer preamps/converters (presonus), mixing itb or actually using the dsp capabilities of a fpga driven interface (rme), no monitors/just headphones, editing of a full mix rather than of multitracks although the latter isn't my problem: the system 'works' and obviously to the liking of the producer so i'm done...

___


i dunno what was the producer's motivation to go with his setup:
i suspect he feels more comfortable seing a (what he thinks is a) 'standard' setup and as long as results are reasonable, he will not want to change things much.

it became clear though that the main focus (literally) was on cameras and not on sound...

personally, i'm convinced i could have achieved better results, using better but less gear, in a shorter amount of time (i know the room quite well) - nevertheless, it was kinda 'interesting' to use gear which i haven't used before (and in a way i don't usually do), an experience which i don't wanna repeat though (at least with this specific gear).
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #12
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot ➡️
It would be an interesting discussion to have with the producer, maybe to phrase it like "what do you like about the Rode XYZ mic?" Just curiosity as one audio guy to another audio guy.

But you are correct. If the produce wants to use SM57 all-round, and he's paying the bill, you still have the choice to do the job his way, or not to do the job. This certainly IS a case of follow the money.

Reputation? Feh! You already have all the reputation you need. Maybe not insist that your name makes the credit list but even if it does, so what?

Let us know how the session goes, and what you really think of the Rode XYZ mics that have been requested.

D.
one of my mentors suggested i should use an alias (or two) since i was operating in vastly different genre since is started out in this business quite some time ago...

i'm very thankful for his advice: contrary to my (maybe naive) expectations, his advice still proves its worth today as imo many people these days are extremely sensitive or dismissive when confronted with divergent opinions alone?!
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #13
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
All (well, most) mic families tend to have a signature sound....that applies to Rode, Schoeps, Sennheiser MKH, DPA etc etc. The more you use of a particular product line on a single production (or as overdub mics in a multitrack studio setting) the more pronounced and baked in that signature will tend to become.

Even in the case of a single main pair, the 'flavour differences' between brands are noticeable, and form the basis of many discussions past in this forum.


There are obviously hierarchies of this: using only ribbons/dynamics, cheap HF lifted condensors will all show this even more strongly....as the signatures 'pile up' or subtract, and draw attention to a certain part of the audio spectrum. In the case of Schoeps only, the additive effect may be benign (even probably likeable) ...but it will impress itself, more so than if you chose each mic on the basis of its strength for a particular instrument or location, rather than brand or transducer-type alone.

I look at it similarly to cross-bred biological strains of species having greater disease resistance than those from a smaller, less diverse genetic pool ? In this case it's signature weaknesses becoming muted, rather than a signature sound becoming emphasized...
ime using lots of schoeps mics (and studer preamps/converters or euphonix converters) does not become critical as easily as when using other gear (some of which has a high reputation as well albeit not necessarily for the right reasons):

on some rare projects, i had 96+ mics/channels in use and there was nothing left to be desired - while two 57's can get you to the brink of acoustic meltdown...

...and there is certain comfort (or lazinesss) associated with with the use of a large pile of the same gear over and over again but genereally speaking, i like combining mics from several manufacturers for reasons you mentioned even on projects with relatively low channel count - although 'low' can mean vastly different things! ;-)

___


in this specific situation, i'm glad i had some akg's from the blue line series: although they are a bit noisy too (certainly when compared to the ck6x capsules/c460b preamps bodies and even more to the c480's which imo are underrated), not all noise is equal... - anyway, if given the opportunity, i'm pretty sure i wouldn't decline using two dozens of schoeps mics, regardless of situation and alternatives!
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #14
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
i did neither get much options to choose from nor much time to discuss things: the producer not only insisted on having me use his mics of choice but also to use a mic setup, all other gear (except for my broafcast processor) and a workflow which are pretty much on the opposite side of what i'd do:

somewhat noisy mics (and/or preamps), 4-mic main array (although there won't be anything to choose from afterwards as the blown up mix will get used for the broadcast simply due the lack of time between the recording and the broadcast), spaced omnis as spots for soloists, too many omnis in a hall with too much noise from staff: six people for a total of eight cameras plus two "gang-go's" (swiss-german for teaboys/runners/assistants), analog multicore to prosumer preamps/converters (presonus), mixing itb or actually using the dsp capabilities of a fpga driven interface (rme), no monitors/just headphones, editing of a full mix rather than of multitracks although the latter isn't my problem: the system 'works' and obviously to the liking of the producer so i'm done...

___


i dunno what was the producer's motivation to go with his setup:
i suspect he feels more comfortable seing a (what he thinks is a) 'standard' setup and as long as results are reasonable, he will not want to change things much.

it became clear though that the main focus (literally) was on cameras and not on sound...

personally, i'm convinced i could have achieved better results, using better but less gear, in a shorter amount of time (i know the room quite well) - nevertheless, it was kinda 'interesting' to use gear which i haven't used before (and in a way i don't usually do), an experience which i don't wanna repeat though (at least with this specific gear).
Very odd that he'd hire someone with your level of expertise, but dictate his own setup.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #15
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manyrocks ➡️
Very odd that he'd hire someone with your level of expertise, but dictate his own setup.
indeed... - but as i think about it and despite the somewhat special circumstances, there was also something like a mutual trust and that we found each other somewhere, even under time pressure, and this despite the fact that we had never met before, knew anything about each other's work or could communicate fluently in a common language but a common goal: to make this recording happening!

THIS alone made it a valuable experience for me; at least far more valuable than the minimal technical knowledge I gained from using material that was largely foreign to me.

what remains a little strange and yet (or perhaps only because of this) may adequately explain why i ever ventured into our profession in the first place, is that it was not about the gear or the ear but about communicating in the broadest sense (albeit of a limited nature at the same time) and mainly about:

interacting with people from different professional fields to help the artists in conveying their vision (and become part of it).

call the latter my manifesto!

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 3 weeks ago at 05:19 PM.. Reason: wording
Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
Gear Guru
 
Don't worry D.
By the time I finish talking with that guy...
They'll all get replaced by AKG P120's!

Chris
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #17
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 ➡️
Don't worry D.
By the time I finish talking with that guy...
They'll all get replaced by AKG P120's!

Chris
you may laugh at this but i am seriously concerned that these kind of dirt cheap microphones (or at least things that look like them) even exist!

i consider them to be a threat to any decent craftsmanship and don't want to know where and under what conditions they are made (even if it is by means of current robotised clean room technology): in my opinion a hideous waste of resources with an unnecessary environmental impact, not to mention the acoustic nuisance!

in this respect i am clearly a priviledged, elitist, eurocentric, egocentric, old, angry, white, male snob!
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #18
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king2070lplaya's Avatar
Truly a rarity in this line of work

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
in this respect i am clearly a priviledged, elitist, eurocentric, egocentric, old, angry, white, male snob!
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #19
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya ➡️
Truly a rarity in this line of work
except that i could characterise most of the 'authorities' in our business (and specifically those working in classical music) i got to deal with at the beginning of my career in pretty much the same way...

...which, of course, I would never do, now that I can count myself among this illustrious circle!
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #20
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king2070lplaya's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
except that i could characterise most of the 'authorities' in our business (and specifically those working in classical music) i got to deal with at the beginning of my career in pretty much the same way...

...which, of course, I would never do, now that I can count myself among this illustrious circle!
Yeah I was trying to make a joke with that, definitely not an uncommon personality at all in my experience, and as I get older and work more I can understand why that happens. The question is whether or not I can use that awareness to be more.... I don't know, proactively zen? something like that. I don't like feeling that way, but often find myself in that headspace.

Probably my often being so sarcastic on GS is not a good first step! I'll have to work on that.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya ➡️
Yeah I was trying to make a joke with that, definitely not an uncommon personality at all in my experience, and as I get older and work more I can understand why that happens. The question is whether or not I can use that awareness to be more.... I don't know, proactively zen? something like that. I don't like feeling that way, but often find myself in that headspace.

Probably my often being so sarcastic on GS is not a good first step! I'll have to work on that.
my take on things (or actually to escape the many restrictions i experienced in the world of classical music) was that i took a loooong (de)tour, lured by the shrill siren songs of jazz, rock and all other sorts of (world) music, enjoying the almost limitless freedom and hard work of international touring (and everthing which came with it)...

...which included visits to some zen monasteries - however, as i come from the city where albert hofmann made his groundbreaking discovery, i can assure you that there are other/additional ways to face the world with a little more serenity ;-)

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 3 weeks ago at 09:50 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #22
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They can't live life in a vacuum.
Why?
No attachments!
Chris
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #23
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
who? the zen buddhists? or the chemical derivatives?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #24
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Master Po told me...
"All is one Grasshopper".
"Except an MXL".

Chris
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #25
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya ➡️
Probably my often being so sarcastic on GS is not a good first step! I'll have to work on that.
Kevin - just start using the PURPLE SARCASM FONT and awareness and Zen will surely follow... (you might even get more laughs).
Old 3 weeks ago
  #26
Gear Guru
The person that pays gets to pick the gear.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #27
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➡️
The person that pays gets to pick the gear.
Nobody's disputing that. But the person's paying for expertise.

I used to assist sometimes for an engineer who had The Beatles on his resume, and the paying client insisted on doing his own mixing. Like OP's client, he was paying for big-league expertise he chose not to take advantage of. Like OP's client, he was an idiot.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #28
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Earcatcher's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➡️
The person that pays gets to pick the gear.
Definitely not in my neck of the woods: a producer is asking for a certain sound and it is up to me to decide how to provide that. And since I have strong ideas about how to use my equipment I will not have someone else decide on which pieces to use for a recording. If a producer cannot trust me to use the best pieces for the job at hand I'd rather not work with him/her.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #29
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher ➡️
Definitely not in my neck of the woods: a producer is asking for a certain sound and it is up to me to decide how to provide that. And since I have strong ideas about how to use my equipment I will not have someone else decide on which pieces to use for a recording. If a producer cannot trust me to use the best pieces for the job at hand I'd rather not work with him/her.
i dunno... - i wouldn't wanna work this way on a regular basis either (any somewhat experienced stagehand/assistant could have done that job) but in this case, the request came out of the blue, i had nothing else to do that day so i had no ambition other than trying to help this poor soul to get happy.

in addition, i think it was a good reminder that we possibly overestimate our contribution: stick some mics up in the air and chances one will get resonable results are pretty high, provided that the room, orchestra and gear are at least halfway decent...

and since there's almost never any chance to compare results, who cares?
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #30
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Earcatcher's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
in addition, i think it was a good reminder that we possibly overestimate our contribution: stick some mics up in the air and chances one will get resonable results are pretty high, provided that the room, orchestra and gear are at least halfway decent...

and since there's almost never any chance to compare results, who cares?
It's always good to be modest about your own contributions, but this should never be confused with an excuse for carelessness, IMHO.
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