Mic sale... which to choose?

with industry Pro, Nick Batzdorf

Moderators: admin, mdc, TAXIstaff

Post Reply
nickbatzdorf
Impressive
Impressive
Posts: 457
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2004 10:25 am
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Mic sale... which to choose?

Post by nickbatzdorf » Wed May 31, 2006 4:59 am

I promise that you haven't verified that through your own experience, andreh, because with 100% certainty it doesn't happen. This is a whole big subject, and if you want a really good explanation, please look at my friend Dave Moulton's site: www.moultonlabs.com.The conventional wisdom is that you should stick up an imaginary mirrror and muffle anywhere you would see the speakers. You don't want sound bouncing off the walls, mingling with the "direct" sound from the speakers, and comb-filtering - so the theory goes.But then how is it that we can walk into the most reverberant room imaginable, say a gym, and localize any sound with absolute precision?Because you only get the comb-filtering/phase cancellation when the direct and reflected sounds come from the same angle. That's how our ears work.So if you have a reflective front wall behind the speakers, you have a problem - the reflected sound hits your ears from the same angle. You should muffle the front of the room, in fact that's where you soak up extra reverb in an overly live room. (Remember, we're talking about mixing; tracking is a whole 'nother thing.)But the sound from the side walls actually helps the imaging, and muffling the sides only foophs with the frequency response of the off-axis reflections by sticking a low-pass filter in the way. You'd think that the best sound is the "direct" sound from the speaker, so you should soak up everything else. In fact the speaker isn't functioning as the direct sound, it's functioning as the first reflection of the sounds in the recording. You need the room's effect for it to sound right.That's one reason I take exception to your putting me and Ethan on the same level. He doesn't agree with this, at least he didn't during one conversation. It's a fact that he's wrong. But I *really* don't want to have an argument with him, so I'd appreciate your not sending him over here for a fight, because my passing aside has already gone much farther than intended. Ethan is a good guy, and and his bass traps are very good.

ernstinen
Total Pro
Total Pro
Posts: 5658
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2004 6:59 pm
Gender: Male
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: Mic sale... which to choose?

Post by ernstinen » Wed May 31, 2006 7:11 am

Quote: I have a $20 Radio Shack mic... But it DOES have an on/off switch...I've got two $50 Radio Shack PZM's. They have on/off switches, too! They are great for live ensemble recording --- seriously! Just tape 'em to the walls or lay them on the floor. Dunno if they make 'em anymore --- Ern

zink
Impressive
Impressive
Posts: 297
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2004 4:19 pm
Location: NJ and You and Toxic Waste Too
Contact:

Re: Mic sale... which to choose?

Post by zink » Wed May 31, 2006 7:17 am

Quote:I've got two $50 Radio Shack PZM's. They have on/off switches, too! They are great for live ensemble recording --- seriously! Just tape 'em to the walls or lay them on the floor. Dunno if they make 'em anymore --- Ern I heard that Radio Shack PZMs were made by Crown.

ernstinen
Total Pro
Total Pro
Posts: 5658
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2004 6:59 pm
Gender: Male
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: Mic sale... which to choose?

Post by ernstinen » Wed May 31, 2006 9:58 am

Quote:I heard that Radio Shack PZMs were made by Crown.Yea, they were/are made by Crown. I wonder if that's the same Crown that makes those great power amps? Ern

andreh
Committed Musician
Committed Musician
Posts: 993
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:35 pm
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Mic sale... which to choose?

Post by andreh » Wed May 31, 2006 2:48 pm

Quote:I promise that you haven't verified that through your own experience, andreh, because with 100% certainty it doesn't happen. Well, that covers my sodium requirements for the whole week! It may be that the phase shifting/cancelation phenomenon is not what's responsible, but my ears are certainly hearing, and preferring, the sound of my monitors WITH the l/r 1st reflections dampened.Quote:This is a whole big subject, and if you want a really good explanation, please look at my friend Dave Moulton's site: www.moultonlabs.com.I read some of Dave's article's, including the one in which you interviewed him. He's clearly a smart and studied man, but I disagree with some of his conclusions:- He states that early reflections from undamped side walls increase the depth of the l/r field. While I agree that this may be true, I don't consider that advantageous; it may sound "better," but it's skewing our perception of the actual depth of field occuring in the signal. This is why we avoid "flattering" monitors...we want to hear the truth, not a more impressive version of it.- He states that damping the sidewalls is like putting a low-pass filter on the signal, yielding a dull sound that we "overcompensate for" in the mix (citing David Foster's work as an example). Again, the effect he describes may be happening (though to what extent depends upon the nature of the sidewall treatment and the amount of bass trapping elsewhere in the room), but I don't consider that a bad thing...I want to know how much high-end is in my signal, not how much my room is fooling me into thinking is in there.- His point about a dead front/live rear is one I abide by, but not because it makes sense in my head; it doesn't, for the reasons I give above. However, I simply like the sound of some life coming from the rear of my control room, and it helps my mixes translate better.Quote:The conventional wisdom is that you should stick up an imaginary mirrror and muffle anywhere you would see the speakers. You don't want sound bouncing off the walls, mingling with the "direct" sound from the speakers, and comb-filtering - so the theory goes.But then how is it that we can walk into the most reverberant room imaginable, say a gym, and localize any sound with absolute precision?Because you only get the comb-filtering/phase cancellation when the direct and reflected sounds come from the same angle. That's how our ears work.I would contend that we DON'T localize sound in a very reverberant environment as well as we do in one with fewer reflections. This is because our brains calculate a sound's location by the time difference between when it hits one ear compared to the other (as well as some frequency-related phenomena). Therefore, the fewer the reflections present to confuse our ears about the location of sounds in our mix, the more accurate the depth of field will be.Quote:So if you have a reflective front wall behind the speakers, you have a problem - the reflected sound hits your ears from the same angle. You should muffle the front of the room, in fact that's where you soak up extra reverb in an overly live room. (Remember, we're talking about mixing; tracking is a whole 'nother thing.)I agree. Because this is the rear wall, its liveliness won't affect the stereo image nearly as much as reflections from the side walls will; this may be why I prefer a live rear, as you do.Quote:But the sound from the side walls actually helps the imaging, and muffling the sides only foophs with the frequency response of the off-axis reflections by sticking a low-pass filter in the way. You'd think that the best sound is the "direct" sound from the speaker, so you should soak up everything else. In fact the speaker isn't functioning as the direct sound, it's functioning as the first reflection of the sounds in the recording. You need the room's effect for it to sound right.See my comments above regarding the lowpass filter concept.As for the speaker representing first reflections, I didn't understand this in Dave's article, and it still doesn't make sense to me here. If the speaker represent first refelctions, then what is representing the source?Quote:That's one reason I take exception to your putting me and Ethan on the same level. He doesn't agree with this, at least he didn't during one conversation. It's a fact that he's wrong. But I *really* don't want to have an argument with him, so I'd appreciate your not sending him over here for a fight, because my passing aside has already gone much farther than intended. Ethan is a good guy, and and his bass traps are very good.No sweat, Nick...I'm not trying to start any wars here, nor am I putting anyone at any particular level; I think everyone has something valuable to contribute to this, and to any, conversation if they're thoughtful and considerate in the process.In addition, we should ALL be using our ears to make our own decisions about subjective issues like microphone selection, acoustic treamtent, and the art of mixing (not to mention writing) our music. There are NO experts when it comes to art!It's all good! Respectfully,Andre
The greatest risk in life is risking nothing.

andreh
Committed Musician
Committed Musician
Posts: 993
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:35 pm
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Mic sale... which to choose?

Post by andreh » Wed May 31, 2006 3:02 pm

Quote:ASC espouses the old "reflection-free zone" theory, and that's not how I'm using them.FWIW, this "old" theory is still accepted and put into practice by a vast number of audio professionals to this day.I'm sure there are different approaches and beliefs about this stuff, but I don't think it's accurate to label "reflection-free-zone" thinking as somehow out-of-date.Of course, we're all checking our mixes in a variety of environments before considering them "final," right? So all this mix room controversy is just for sh*ts and giggles. Respectfully,Andre
The greatest risk in life is risking nothing.

andreh
Committed Musician
Committed Musician
Posts: 993
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:35 pm
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Mic sale... which to choose?

Post by andreh » Wed May 31, 2006 3:35 pm

Quote:You may like the sound of muffled side walls, and that's fine. But you're not hearing the sound more accurately by doing that.Guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one, but like you say...if it sounds good, that's what really counts!Quote:Then why not mix in an anechoic chamber or put your speakers outdoors where there are no reflections?Well, the outdoors approach would be nice here in SoCal, but I don't want my neighbors hearing and submitting my songs before I get a chance to copyright them! As for the anechoic chamber, that would actually be preferable to listening in an environment that negatively affects the accuracy of the sound coming from our speakers. However:1. Creating a truly anechoic chamber, especially in a smaller room where lower freqencies are harder to tame, is logistically very difficult.2. Despite my previous comments, we actually DO want to emulate the average listener's playback environment to a certain degree, since that's our mix's final destination. In my view, eliminating 1st reflections (which can adversely skew our perception of a mix), but allowing some reverberance to occur elsewhere in the room, is a good balance between accuracy and real-world representation of our sound.Respectfully,Andre
The greatest risk in life is risking nothing.

andreh
Committed Musician
Committed Musician
Posts: 993
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:35 pm
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Mic sale... which to choose?

Post by andreh » Wed May 31, 2006 4:11 pm

Quote:The "reflection-free zone" design may have a sound you like, but the theory behind it - that it's going to get rid of phase cancellations caused by side reflections - is not out of date, it's false. That's all I'm saying.Maybe so; I haven't seen any facts to support your counter to this theory, but I'm open minded and I'll look into it more.Quote:People believe all kinds of things they're told, especially if they're told it over and over.On the other hand, just because something's commonly accepted doesn't make it false. I base my perspectives not on what the most people believe to be true, but on what makes sense to me as I observe and learn.Quote:Lots of people believe there's a scientific debate about whether man is causing global warming, for example. In fact there isn't any debate at all, but that's what's been propagated.Very sneaky, Nick! I guess if one chooses to accept the common notion that reflection free zones help eliminate phase cancelation, then they must therefore be spineless sheep who also accept government and corporate propaganda to the detriment of environmental health. [Still respectfully, but I'm gonna stop typing that because it's too long a word],Andre
The greatest risk in life is risking nothing.

nickbatzdorf
Impressive
Impressive
Posts: 457
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2004 10:25 am
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Mic sale... which to choose?

Post by nickbatzdorf » Wed May 31, 2006 4:25 pm

"Guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one, but like you say...if it sounds good, that's what really counts!"But there's nothing for you to disagree with. Reflections from the side do not comb-filter with the sound coming from the speakers in front of you. Psychoacoustic fact. Dave Moulton isn't the only person who says that, by the way. Floyd Toole agrees, and those two guys are both among the leading researchers in the world today. If you want evidence, take the crap off your side walls and play some pink noise. Try and produce phase cancellation. You can't.On the other hand, you'd have to be a real nerd to go to the trouble. I wouldn't. Now, whether you like the sound of the reflection-free zone is a totally different question. And it does eliminate the phase problems, as well as getting rid of some reverb. Again, the phase problems just weren't coming from the sides. In all honesty, my opinion is that it doesn't make a huge amount of difference, since most speakers don't have wide enough dispersion anyway. That was my experience when I tried it here a few years ago.Apart from being difficult to build, the anechoic chamber would also sound like $#!+. You wouldn't want to mix or listen in it.The global warming thing is just because I saw "An Uncomfortable Truth" on Sunday and have it on my mind. Everyone has to see that film.

andreh
Committed Musician
Committed Musician
Posts: 993
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:35 pm
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Mic sale... which to choose?

Post by andreh » Wed May 31, 2006 5:00 pm

Quote:On the other hand, you'd have to be a real nerd to go to the trouble. I wouldn't. I guess I'm a nerd then....I've already tried it! Andre
The greatest risk in life is risking nothing.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest