Practical Studio Mic Applications
On 14th October, 20 members and 4 guests assembled in Daniel Desiere’s personal studio at Dex Audio in Kensington, for a practical demonstration of Studio Microphones Applications.
Daniel started first with an overview of his philosophy of microphone technique. Daniel, being a talented electronics designer, described how he modifies many classic condenser microphone electronics to improve their performance even further. He explained his use of techniques like significantly reducing the electrical load on the capsule by redesigning the electronics input circuitry, and increasing the voltage rails of the electronics to increase the clip point.
He also espoused the principle of using your ears to evaluate a microphone’s performance; through extensive auditioning and experimentation. He commented that mic spec sheets are of little interest to him – he chooses the right microphone for an application by using his ears.
Daniel then moved on to the practical part of the session. He had arranged for some musicians to provide their time and skills for some practical recordings demonstrating microphone choice and positioning for various instruments.
First our Chair, Mark Edwards, played some pieces on the Yamaha Grand and Daniel demonstrated the use of a single stereo microphone (Neumann SM2 in M-S configuration) at “just the right spot” close to the strings to achieve a stereo piano sound, with the M-S technique allowing variations in the stereo width to best match the rest of the recording. He played the recording back and was able to demonstrate the effect on the stereo image of varying the M-S ratio.
Then musician Gerry Hale (from Guitar Gallery) recorded a guitar and vocal piece with a Neumann U67 in a Fig8 pattern for vocals, and a pair of (Neumann) Gefell MV692/M70 cardoids for acoustic guitar pickup. On playback Daniel demonstrated the excellent isolation between the guitar and vocals, and commented that the positioning of the vocal mic, and its use of the Fig8 pattern’s off-axis rejection were both critical to the isolation.
Daniel then replaced the pair of Gefell cardoids with a single MV692 with an M93 omni capsule and Gerry played selections on mandolin and violin. On playback it was obvious that this setup had caught all the nuances of the performance, with one member commenting that he had heard more of the instruments in the playback than he had heard in the original performance – despite being very close to the player.
Then we moved to the Front Room where a four-piece ensemble was set up – 3 electric guitars and drums.
Daniel explained his mic setup as:
Drums – kick bass drum Shure Beta52, snare Shure SM57, hi-hat SM57, overheads 2x Neumann Gefell MV692/M93 omnis
Guitars AKG D770, and bass guitar Dex Tube Boy DI box.
After a pizza-break for the band, they then played through a series of genres to demonstrate the clean, tight, and natural sound achieved with this mic-ing scheme.
Daniel was most generous with his time, and knowledge – and we thank him for sharing so many of his tricks with us.
From the range and quality of questions posed to him throughout the evening his generosity was widely appreciated. It was obvious that more than one practicing professional has picked up some new insights on this night.
The Section also thanks all the musicians who freely gave of their time to help Daniel demonstrate his skills and techniques:
Janusz Sysak – Guitar
Felipe Casasayas – Guitar
Barnaby Hume – Drums
Greg Williams – Bass
Gerry Hale – Mandolin – Violin – Acoustic Guitar and Vocals