Mics Take Centerstage

Nov 10, 2010 2:37 PM, Compiled By Sarah Benzuly


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A sampling of the mics used during the shootout

A sampling of the mics used during the shootout

On August 22, 2010, members of the St. Louis Audio Engineering Society section held a mic shootout entitled “Secret Weapons Mic Shootout,” conducted by Larry Cowsert at 12 Bar Productions and Joe Blasingame of Blasingame Audio Productions. The goal was to see what engineers were using as their “inexpensive” secret weapon microphone. The mics had to be $500 or less. There was an emphasis on cardioid condensers, but it wasn’t a prerequisite. Mics were brought from various studios and engineers around the St. Louis area.

For the test, they captured the exact same performance for every mic, but with a more distant-mic approach to minimize the effects of not being in the sweet spot. A single one-pass live capture was their chosen modius operandi. Guitar (Tim Mauldin) and bass (Doug Moser) were miked from around four feet away, acoustic guitar (Mauldin) at about three feet, spoken word/vocals (Bill Schulenberg, Jen Galinski and Justin Thompson) around two feet and drums/percussion (Dennis Stringfield) around six feet.

All microphones were connected using the same custom-built 12-foot Canare Star-Quad cabling with Neutrik connectors, created by Gateway Electronics tech Greg Meyers. The preamp used was a Focusrite Octopre; optical outs were passed to the ADAT input on a Pro Tools HD 96 I/O and a PC DAW at 24-bit/48kHz. Monitoring was via Control 24 on KRK V8 speakers and single headphone foldback from the RME Hammerfall 9652 card via a Gefen DIGAUD2AAUD A/D converter feeding a Gemini PS-121X mixer from the Nuendo DAW Toslink output. Reference mic was a B&K Type 4007; mics in the shootout included an ADK A-51, Avantone CV-12, Heil PR-30, Kel HM-1, Little Blondie, Octavia MK-219 and Studio Projects C1.

The results will be posted to aesstl.org for a fee.

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