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EQ on 4038s for Overheads
Old 13th September 2012
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
Jon Harter's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
EQ on 4038s for Overheads

I've been trying 4038s as overheads for a few months now and I'm looking for some advice on eq'ing them. Seems like every time I brighten them up, it changes them in a way I don't dig.

What are you guys doing with eq?

Old 13th September 2012
  #2
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NathanEldred's Avatar
 
7 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Using a different mic (if the room is good usually a pair of LDC, if not so good or a lot of close mics a pair of small diaphragms).
Old 13th September 2012
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
Rascal Audio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I'm happy using 4038's as overheads when the cymbals are bright, or the mix is sparse, with plenty of room for each of the elements. Otherwise, the darkness (even though 4038's aren't very dark for ribbons... just very smooth and definitely not 'bright') doesn't give enough definition for the cymbals.

Two possible solutions: 1) a pultec-style eq, use the HF boost, 8k to 16k, to add some nice air to the track. This is a very forgiving filter, and even rather extreme settings can sound rather natural, or 2) get a pair of Avenson STO-2's intead. VERY clear, detailed, life like, but not the slightest bit edgy or aggressive. Wonderful, particularly if the cymbals are bit on the dark (old K Zildjian-style) side.

That's what I do, anyway.

Joel
Old 13th September 2012
  #4
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🎧 15 years
Oh, and by the Pultec EQ, I meant an analogue incarnation. Some of the plugins models are quite good for this filter, and some aren't. All of the hardware variations I've heard are wonderful, including DIY variations.

Carry on.

Joel
Old 13th September 2012
  #5
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peeweedrummer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
id look into the ubk clairphonic, although i have not heard one in the flesh the video demo's are amazing. its on my short list of things to buy
Old 13th September 2012
  #6
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shortstory's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Don't EQ them. If it doesn't sound bright enough, then try some different condensers (small &/or large).

or try going with one 4038 in mono as OH and use large condensers for stereo room; then blend to taste.
Old 13th September 2012
  #7
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Harter ➑️
I've been trying 4038s as overheads for a few months now and I'm looking for some advice on eq'ing them. Seems like every time I brighten them up, it changes them in a way I don't dig. What are you guys doing with eq?
Jon, what EQ's have you tried this with so far?

There's a mish mash of ideas here, but EQ'ing a High Lift on a 4038 can often work (If your ceilings are high). If not, then Shortstory's idea is a good one. If you're going to boost highs, it's just gotta be a REALLY nice EQ. It works with Pultec's. I've also tried the channel EQ on an old Quad Coranado desk, and an Auditronics 501. Common denominator? Metal ..
Old 13th September 2012
  #8
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🎧 15 years
In my experience the 4038 take EQ extremly well - I like e.g. Avedis E27 or Angeltone for this (a few db high shelf and/or cut some db in the low mids). I even like the 4038 (with EQ) for strummed acoustic guitars (especially in Blumlein).

But imho you need a very quiet preamp for the 4038 (e.g. Gordon or AEA TRP) otherwise you might get too much noise/hiss when you push the high end with EQ.
Old 13th September 2012 | Show parent
  #9
Kush Audio
 
u b k's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I feel your pain; sometimes you gotta lift the top on the ribbons, but if you come at it wrong they lose some of the mojo that made them sound so compelling in the first place.

For me the key is to come in on them lower down in the presence range, places you wouldn't normally touch on a condenser because it would just get edgy. Corner it somewhere around 3-5k, think 'bite' more than 'air', it helps to retain the oldness factor. You might even prefer a moderately wide bell to a shelf, because once you start cracking open all that 10k, they sound more modern, less exotic.

To address what some others have said, imho opening the top on a 4038 (or any ribbon) is not remotely the same as using an sdc or ldc. For one, the transient crack is totally different, and on the coles it's one of the things that makes a kit sound so badass when recorded thru them. Second, the texture of the hf's is different, so even if you make a curve that looks like a condenser, it doesn't feel as shiny or transparent, because it's not.

Pardon the pimp factor, but I dare say I make one of the best tools around for this very job (clariphonic), partly because opening up ribbons gracefully was one of my primary design intentions with the box. I use an r84 and a 44 all the time, and when you lift the top of those mics you get a sound that is wonderfully dense in the mids and overflowing with character compared to most condensers out there.

The sluggish response of ribbons is also a blessing in the digital world.


Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 13th September 2012
  #10
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Jon Harter's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Greg,

Your response is really helpful. I agree with you about the condenser thing. I use them all the time but that's not what I'm after when I put up the Coles. I want the mojo.

I've tried the high shelf boost that a lot of people were suggesting in their responses with Pultecs and APIs. I'm definitely going to try a peak a little farther down in the mids like you suggested.

I'd really love to know what Tom Schick is doing eq-wise with his overheads. The drums on the latest Wilco record sound amazing and I know he was using 4038s. Are you on here Tom?
Old 13th September 2012
  #11
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Purple Audio LILPEQR

Old 13th September 2012
  #12
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unit7's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I'm in a '4038 on OH'-period right now and agree they need eq. I use my console eq (Harrison series12) hi shelv @16 kHz +3-5 dB and lo shelv @180Hz -2-5dB, which is quite a lot of eq. The thing I like is that even when brightened pretty much, IMO they don't sound hard/harsh. So I don't agree the need of this much eq calls for replacing the mics, in this case.
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unit7 ➑️
I'm in a '4038 on OH'-period right now and agree they need eq. I use my console eq (Harrison series12) hi shelv @16 kHz +3-5 dB and lo shelv @180Hz -2-5dB, which is quite a lot of eq. The thing I like is that even when brightened pretty much, IMO they don't sound hard/harsh. So I don't agree the need of this much eq calls for replacing the mics, in this case.
That's not that much HF eq for ribbon mic that is 5 db down at 15khz, and maybe 10db at 20khz [All the freq response charts I could find for the 4038 stop above 15k and are rolling off pretty sharply at 12khz]. Don't know about knocking out the LF, that's one of the things I love about 4038's and the like.

I remember seeing the EQ settings for "When the Levee Breaks" in a old RE/P interview and Mr Johns was using something like +8 at 15k on the beyer m160's...and adding LF as well. He regularly used +6 db or more HF Eq on U67's and U47s as OH's. Ribbons take EQ very well, and are so natural sounding. If it sounds good to you and works, no worries...

Quote:
To address what some others have said, imho opening the top on a 4038 (or any ribbon) is not remotely the same as using an sdc or ldc.
What Greg said is very true. I use the sE VR and RNR-1 ribbons a ton these days because they are soooo flat [20hz > 20Khz] and can take that slight touch at 20khz wonderfully. Very different performance [Good Ribbons] than condensors...swapping them out is not the answer IMO! Ribbons are one of the best things for digital recording on the planet. Stay the course...

Happy Recording!

Jonathan
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Old 14th September 2012
  #14
Gear Guru
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Rather than boosting a lot of hi, try cutting somewhere in the 200-800 range.
Although I always found 4038s took top pretty well.
Old 14th September 2012
  #15
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unit7's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] ➑️
That's not that much HF eq for ribbon mic that is 5 db down at 15khz, and maybe 10db at 20khz
Agree, but by 'a lot of eq' I wasn't referring to the HF boost in my example, but the overall eq, which in the extreme case is a 10dB change (5dB HF boost and -5dB LF rolloff), which I think is very much on a proper studio recording. Also agree that it doesn't feel right to cut the beautiful lo end of the 4038, but I still prefer to do it that way instead of boosting 10 dB HF which makes even the quite lovely eq on my board sound unpleasant.
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unit7 ➑️
Agree, but by 'a lot of eq' I wasn't referring to the HF boost in my example, but the overall eq, which in the extreme case is a 10dB change (5dB HF boost and -5dB LF rolloff), which I think is very much on a proper studio recording. Also agree that it doesn't feel right to cut the beautiful lo end of the 4038, but I still prefer to do it that way instead of boosting 10 dB HF which makes even the quite lovely eq on my board sound unpleasant.
Various people have mentioned this already but try a Pultec EQP1A/10s/EAP1A3 [real ones] or the LANG PEQ-1 [Yes I know it's too easy to give advice that says a $5,000.00 box will solve all your problems], or just something with a broader 'Q' or Shelf than your board eq, and more affordable than the Pultec's/Langs. The broader 'Q' might just be enough for the 5-6 db boost and maybe a mild 1-2 lf shelf cut. Probb's point about a judicious cut may apply as well, but be carefull- I personally like to tune my LF and LF Mids in the Mix a bit rather than just knock them out for good early on, hence my comment about not loosing all the LF as first. Rather have too much LF, then see how much the OD's eat up. Also watch your ceiling reflection and placement you might be able to help the LF a bit without EQ. You may know all this and if so very sorry to sound like a 'teachable moment', my apologies...

Also don't sweat the process, enjoy the results... !

Best-
Jonathan
Old 14th September 2012
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
Jon Harter's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hey Jonathan,
Great name! Ha! Thanks for the replies. I do frequent the Coles/Pultec combination a lot. Not only on drums but horns and other stuff.

Honestly, I probably lean on Pultecs a little too often. I'm not sure I can remember the last overdub I recorded without one in the chain. There is something really comfortable for me using the attenuation at 60 or 100 Hz to sculpt the low end. It's such a quick and consistent method for tightening stuff up.

Any other Pultec low freq. atten. fans out there?
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #18
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell ➑️
Indeed. Love mine.
EQ on 4038s for Overheads-lil-peqr.jpg
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #19
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Harter ➑️
Hey Jonathan,
Great name! Ha! Thanks for the replies. I do frequent the Coles/Pultec combination a lot. Not only on drums but horns and other stuff.

Honestly, I probably lean on Pultecs a little too often. I'm not sure I can remember the last overdub I recorded without one in the chain. There is something really comfortable for me using the attenuation at 60 or 100 Hz to sculpt the low end. It's such a quick and consistent method for tightening stuff up.

Any other Pultec low freq. atten. fans out there?
Nice to see i'm not the only one with over 4x 560's either... My Pultecs and tube Lang's combined with Ribbons get a constant workout in this age of Digital recording. I even like to stack the EQP1A and a MEQ-5 for horns, gtrs, sometimes and bass.

The Lang has even more frequencies for LF sculpting and fun. The boost and cut [droop on the Lang] thing is great fun.

Best
Jonathan
Old 14th September 2012
  #20
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jwh1192's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
here's my settings just for fun ...

ATi8MX2 preamp at 3 'oclock (quite a bit of gain) / avalon 2055 EQ bell curve 15k 3db boost, 800 hz mid-bell curve 3db cut, 240hz mid-bell curve 3db cut, high pass at 450 4db cut but sometimes not cut at all depending on what i am looking for ... mic is positioned Flat right about at my forehead level over middle of kit

blended with kick and snare through ATi pres and Focusrite 215 EQ, i tend to cut 400hz and 800 hz quite a bit even in the snare and kick mics ...

and i do not care about the hiss with a lot of gain as long as the pre is not crapping out

just my .02

cheers

john
Old 14th September 2012
  #21
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rascal Audio ➑️
I'm happy using 4038's as overheads when the cymbals are bright, or the mix is sparse, with plenty of room for each of the elements. Otherwise, the darkness (even though 4038's aren't very dark for ribbons... just very smooth and definitely not 'bright') doesn't give enough definition for the cymbals.

Two possible solutions: 1) a pultec-style eq, use the HF boost, 8k to 16k, to add some nice air to the track. This is a very forgiving filter, and even rather extreme settings can sound rather natural...

Joel
I have also done this on ribbon MICS.Works great IMHO.
Old 14th September 2012
  #22
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lakeshorephatty's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Just my 2c I totally agree that great ribbon vs great condenser is apples to oranges. No way to turn one into the other with EQ. Seems that you've decided the ribbon sound is more pleasing, just needs some frequency shift. I agree and tend to enjoy drum distant mics being mellower transient wise, like my R44 or an RE20 or something like that, and having the closer mics have the crispness and bite blended in softly.

When I'm using the R44 as an overhead I never like to touch the highs. I'm definitely about finding the perfect spot for a medium to wide Q cut somewhere in the 200-500 range for center freq. In the case of the R44 i often also need a wide mellow cut in the 1-4k range so that the highs land more in balance with the mids. I find these two items alone often nail it with no boosts. Its getting the lower and upper mid ranges dialed in with respect to the lows and highs. Everything is relative after all.

Russell
Old 14th September 2012
  #23
Dan
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Dan's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
This is the main reason why I think the Wunder equalizers are brilliant with the Coles.
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