AN ARTICLE WRITTEN WITH A LITTLE MORE CLARITY - I'M IN THE MARKET FOR A NEW VOCAL MICROPOHONE...
So yesterday I wrote a quick blog post about how I believed that microphone shootouts were a big waste of time, but what I failed to do, was to clarify what was in my mind at the time when I wrote it. I watched a microphone shootout from a retailer. A woman was going between each one singing, and I thought - "Well that particular microphone sounds great with her voice, but how could anyone make a purchase decision based on a microphone shootout online with a totally different person, in a different studio than mine, with a different microphone preamp than mine?
I am in the market for a microphone for my wife. She's a powerhouse of a singer with a deeper tone, and an insane range. I can't just watch a video of a random lady with a totally different sounding voice, and say - "yup, since that microphone on that lady sounded the best, that's the one I should buy."
I was in no way saying that a microphone shootout in your own studio is a waste of time - because it's not
Check out a screen capture from my Mixing 101 page (which i've had active for over a year):
But there's no way you can tell me this right here:
...is going to be in anyway helpful for making a microphone purchase decision for my own snare, and in my own studio. At best - it will give me a "rough sketch" of a microphone's voice. Now as an engineer with over 25 years of experience and 100's of projects under my belt, i've heard most of those microphones over and over on snare drums. I have my go to's because I am familiar with each of their voices, and what has worked for me in the past. Now I can say, "for that particular snare drum, microphone x sounded the best in that video." But, what if I have a snare drum made out of birch with an Evans Strata 700? There is no way from that video, that I could determine which microphone would sound best in my own situation.
microphone shootouts in your own place on your own gear
This is where I failed to clarify my position. You can't read my mind.
Just about every engineer with a decent mic cabinet will change out microphones in a session to determine what sounds the best according to the client's instrument - but in the real world, if a client is paying you by the hour, you better already know your mics so that you aren't wasting a lot of time. This is called being professional. Of course, nowadays, there's not much of that kind of work (hourly) going around anymore...
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