April 19, 2006

Red Type B mini-review...

by Chris Randall

As I mentioned in the previous post, I've just picked up a Red Type B mic from Red Microphones. (As most everyone knows, Red was the vintage mic repair offshoot of Blue, but has now been spun in to a mic maker in its own right.) The Red Type B body is $450, and you have to buy at least one capsule at purchase time. Since I'm a bit short on funds, I went with the least expensive option, the $250 Lollipop Capsule. I also ordered the "Vintage Style" pop filter for $79. They don't charge shipping, and the shock mount and a good quality mic cable are included with the body, so for basically everything but the stand, the total charged to my credit card was $779.

The only real question with microphones is "is it worth the price?" I don't particularly care for buying mono-use stuff for my studio (e.g. monitors, mics, stands, that sort of thing) so I want to get the most bang for my buck when I do. Without being able to taste-test every new sub-$1000 mic on the market, I pretty much had to rely on the testimony of people whos opinions I trust, and I wasn't 100% confident with a blind purchase, even for something that seemed like such an obviously good deal. Nevertheless, purchase it I did, and I took it out for a trial run today.

I do have some minor beefs I should get off my chest straight away. The packaging was quite nice, and the entire system was well-packed, but the pop-filter, cable, and shock mount come in those stupid fucking hyper-protective thick-ass plastic SAF-T-SEALs or whatever the hell they're called. I don't know how many people are admitted to the hospital each year from injuries sustained while trying to open ridiculous plastic packaging, but I very nearly became one of them. Next up, the capsule just barely fit on the body. I had to apply a not-insignificant amount of pressure to get it seated. This brings to mind two things: (a) will I ever be able to get it off again? and (b) will the other capsules fit as tight? I actually knocked the little "Red" badge off the capsule trying to get it seated, as it is just held on with a light epoxy or something. This was an annoying way to start the morning.

Now, those minor caveats aside, this mic is The Business. Run, don't walk, to their site via that link, and get one of these. Even with the most modest capsule, this is a _great_ mic. I tried it out on vocals, acoustic guitar, and electric guitar. I thought it did better at the first two than the last, but I'm a big fan of ribbons for electric, and tend to avoid the large diaphragm condensor sound, so I might be biased in that regard. But I've never heard a mic that was so across-the-board gentle. It sounded especially fantastic on male (meaning "my") vocals, which are notoriously hard to tame. I would liken the Lollipop sound to a 414, except without that low end whatever that the 414 seems insistent on adding.

In short, I'm quite happy with this purchase, and now I'm extra super especially wishing Mercenary would ship me my Chandler Germanium, so I can try it out with a real mic pre. A strong Buy recommendation from me.

Oh, and... the pop filter is excellent. I normally avoid them because I have a soft sibilance, and a normal pop filter makes me sound like I have a lisp. However, this pop filter doesn't seem to do that. It can be used with any mic, of course. It attaches to the mic stand, and is made of stainless steel, so it can be spritzed off between singers. I think I'm gonna get another one so I don't have to move the one I have between mics all the time.



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Apr.19.2006 @ 12:14 AM
wierd about the capsule fitting the body.
you must have some real tight springs in the bayonet mount.
mine slides on with just enough pressure to make it fit snugly, but it also has enough that i know it will stay on tightly.

you might wanna calle B.L.U.E if its that much of a bitch to get it on and off.

and you're making me want to add the lollipop capsule to my B7 capsule and actually start a .... gasp.... collection of capsules.

shame on you.



Apr.19.2006 @ 10:28 AM
Wade Alin
damnit. i'm about 2 weeks away from picking up the blue blueberry. now i have to think some more. the red + the B7 capsule is about the same price. anyone have any opinions? anyone have the blueberry? or the b7? it's going to be, almost exclusively, for female vocals.



Apr.19.2006 @ 10:55 AM
@ Wade...
the Blueberry is brighter than the B7.

the B7 would fool you into thinking you had a U47. it fooled me, as well as 3 guys at TapeOp.
So it has a smoother high end that colorfully notches out a few high frequencies. Great for sibilant singers and anything with harsh high end content.

the Blueberry is almost the opposite where high frequencies are concerned. Its bright, and cuts through a mix. on a dull vocal or ac. guitar this can be just the solution.
It has a wild proximity effect though, and alot of the high end can be tamed by simply getting the mic closer to the source.

the Type B gives you interchangable capsules. so the Red Type B w/ B7 is only $100 more than a Blueberry, new. and for the times you want more of that high end back, you can grab the $250 lollipop capsule and switch it out.

Blue has a rent to own program with the Red Type B, check it out on their website. 100% of your payments go towards final purchase, so its much better than some GCPRO 50% B.S.


Apr.19.2006 @ 11:50 AM
I am just curious, what type of stuff are you doing that you need a mic that "good"? Are you recording clean vocals for acoustic rock? Doing commercial voiceovers or something?

The only SMG album I own is Sins of the Flesh, so I admit I haven't kept up at all, and maybe the sound has totally changed over the years, but I thought that you were doing processed/distorted industrial style vocals? I always thought if someone was going to do a whole lot of distortion or processesing that it didn't matter what type of mic you used?

It might be a bit off topic, but I can barely hear the difference between a cheap mic and good mic if the vocals are totally clean... and if there is any effects, the quality of the good mike is completly lost on me. With significant effects on the vocals, you could be using a radio shack peizo mic and it would fool my ear.

I have friends who do rap music (all about the vocals), or who do recording for radio commercials (once again, vocals very important), but the people I know who do electronic music vocals, and who record vocals at home and don't go to a real studio for recording (where you can just use their collection of mics), don't seem to really care about mics that much (so much as the doepfer vocoderr or whatever they are using to process the vocals).

How much of having a good mic is nessicary, and how much is it like owning a sports car?


Apr.19.2006 @ 12:20 PM
Chris Randall
I can't do it. Someone else want to take this one?



Apr.19.2006 @ 12:21 PM
Wade Alin
adam, thanks for all the info. you had me at U47.



Apr.19.2006 @ 12:28 PM
<i>I can't do it. Someone else want to take this one?</i>

Did I say something wrong? I know I was off topic, but I don't think I said anything mean to anyone?


Apr.19.2006 @ 12:28 PM
Wade Alin
sorry mang, can't bring myself to answer that one for you.



Apr.19.2006 @ 12:49 PM
Chris Randall
I guess the only way to put it, Rex, would be that you jumped in the deep end of the pool without water wings on, and we're all standing around deciding which one is gonna have to jump in after you. ;-)

Let's just put it like this: there is a _HUGE_ difference between cheap mics and normal ones. (The Red we're talking about isn't especially high end. It is actually quite cheap when compared to actual mics a studio might have. So I put it in the mid range.) It's not like "well, I can hardly hear the difference." It is significant. Anyone could tell, given the two to compare. If you're gonna dump effects on it, well, even that is easier to do with a good mic than a cheap one.



Apr.19.2006 @ 1:11 PM
I apologize if I annoyed anyone with my question. I understood that mics are important when you want clear vocals, I just didn't know how important they are for experimental/industrial/electronic music. Thanks for you time and patience in answering.

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