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Speaking of Studio VO mics...

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Crow T Robot
Speaking of Studio VO mics...
on Feb 27, 2007 at 7:50:52 pm

We are about to pull the trigger on an AKG C414 XLII for voice-over work. Street price $730-999.

Anyone have pro or con comments on this mic?


-Scott


http://www.akg-acoustics.com/site/products/powerslave,id,782,pid,782,nodeid...


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Crow T Robot
Re: Speaking of Studio VO mics...
on Feb 27, 2007 at 8:04:01 pm

I had an extra minute, so I'll add a little more info...

We are currently recording VO's with a Rode NT-1 plugged directly into a MOTU 828 with a firewire link to a mac for hard disk recording. The tracks we make have a very audible siblance level, not quite bad enough to kill a track, but enough to make us look around for a better solution. How much of that is the lack of a dedicated pre-amp, and how much is the mic itself?

Should we be looking to add a dedicted pre-amp in-line before the MOTU? Will getting a better mic solve most of this problem?

I'd appreciate some comments from ears that have experience with these mics if you have the time to comment.

Thanks

-scott


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Will Salley
Re: Speaking of Studio VO mics...
on Feb 28, 2007 at 8:00:10 pm

[Crow T Robot] "How much of that is the lack of a dedicated pre-amp, and how much is the mic itself?"

I'm of the opinion that separate pre-amp is not necessary if the microphone is capable of adequate levels and the exisitng mic pres are not too noisy. Most people who tout the pre-amp as a must-have are those who are seeking to "warm up" or affect the sound in a more pleasing way. While pre-amps can and do enhance the ablility to improve a recording, they are not the only way. I've recorded hundreds (maybe thousands) of sessions with the original AKG 414 and I assume the newer model is just as capable. The only devices in the signal chain: AKG 414>console (earlier it was a RAMSA, then it was a Yamaha02R)>outboard compressor (DBX122)>recorder (now that has changed a bunch of times). I now usually go straight into the Pro Tools rack (MOTU works the same) and compress in PT if necessary. As far as the siblance issue, it could be the Rode has a spike at the offending freq. (usually around 4k). Try another mic through the same setup to check. Nevertheless, you can't go wrong with the 414.

Oh yeah - Some mic pres will actually enhance the sibilance. Some of the vintage Urei's in particular.



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JC Boulay
Re: Speaking of Studio VO mics...
on Mar 1, 2007 at 2:36:21 pm

Well, I'm one of the preamp guys. For most music applications, I'll go straight into the desk without any niggles. For voice-overs, though, I want my good preamp. VOs are usually very exposed and, at times, the sole conductors of the mood of the piece. In that situation, I may want it warm, but I may also want it cold, dry, hyped, whatever... I want to be able to shape my sound towards that goal before hitting the converters. Compressing the peaks before conversion lets you hit the ADCs hotter without fear of clipping, which lets you take full advantage of your bit-depth. And you can always compress some more later. But I digress...

As for sibilance, it's usually dependent on the talent in front of the mic. On the exact same setup during casting sessions, I get wildly different levels of sibilance. If it's really nasty, it may be down to equipment, but it may just be par for the course for that talent. De-essing is a good thing to have in any VO signal chain and is essential in many cases, such as yours. And that is something you want to do in the box, once the recording's done. Good de-essing works wonders.

And you can't go wrong with 414, that is sure.

JC Boulay
Audio Z
Montreal, Canada
http://www.audioz.com


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Ty Ford
Re: Speaking of Studio VO mics...
on Mar 2, 2007 at 12:21:05 am

Having read the previous posts, yes, preamps make a difference with both models of the 414. They are sort of sensitive to which preamp they are plugged into. In gthe wrong preamp they can sound tizzy and boomy; the smileyface EQ.

The BXLS is a good choice. It will definitely sound better than the Rode.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Ty Ford's "Audio Bootcamp Field Guide" was written for video people who want better audio. Find out more at http://home.comcast.net/~tyreeford/AudioBootcamp.html
or http://www.tyford.com
Download Ty Ford's "Existential Boogie" from iTunes now.


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