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 @ 1:19 PM
Chris Randall
I can't speak for others, but Wade and I both make pop and blues-based music. We don't do industrial, and the electronic stuff we do doesn't have vocals.



Apr.19.2006 @ 1:37 PM
Jeff C
Apparently the answer is: roughly 60,000 per year in Britain alone. Don't know about the US.

link [www.post-gazette.co...]">link [www.post-gazette.co...]

"Concerns about hard-to-open packaging may not be just about consumer inconvenience. According to 2001 Census Bureau data, people suffered more than twice as many injuries related to household packaging and containers than from skateboards or swimming pools (although those numbers include injuries that involve dropping a package on a foot)."


Apr.19.2006 @ 1:51 PM
RexRhino said:
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.

Rex, the purpose of a microphone is to capture a sound. You know this. More expensive microphones will capture a sound with greater detail. And the upper echalon of expensive mics will capture a sound and add a certain bit of character to it that is desirable, but expensive to produce electronically, hence the price.

So back to the purpose of capturing a sound.
Working through the signal chain...
Let's say i want to capture a Les Paul through a Marshall JCM900 on a 4x12" stack, and the guitar player insists that this is "his tone" (which consists of 5 or 6 $80 distortion/fuzz/crap pedals). I'm gonna put a Royer on the cabinet so that i can actually capture all the low end inherent in "his tone", rather than a $60 radioshack mic.

Now, working backwards through the signal chain, where perhaps digital distortion, fuzz, etc. is added... How do i retain the low end with additive synthesis (thats basically what adding distortion plug-ins would be, yes?) If i don't capture the harmonics, low frequencies, and transients with a proper microphone in the first place - then all i am really adding FX to is the 60% of the original signal that actually got translated through the crappy microphone. You can not add low end to audio that was captured with a microphone that did not perserve the low end content in the first place. And if you try, all you'll get is the "juke box bass" which sounds hollow and is littered with phase inaccuracies.

I can guarantee you that if you take Audio A, mic'd with a radio shack microphone and sent it through an fx chain would sound much less desirable than Audio B, mic'd with a Red B and sent through the identical fx chain.

i hope this makes sense.


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