Archive for the ‘Microphones’ Category

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Behringer Condenser Microphones: C-4

January 21, 2009

c-4_p0830_top_perspective_web

* 2 professional true condenser microphones for studio recording and live applications
* Sold as matched pair—perfect for stereophonic recording
* Low-mass diaphragm for ultra-wide frequency response and ultimate sound reproduction
* Perfect for acoustic instruments, overhead, piano, etc.
* Cardioid pickup pattern for effective feedback elimination
* Switchable low-frequency roll-off and -10 dB input attenuation
* Custom microphone stand adapters, windscreens, stereo-bar and transport case included
* Ultra low-noise transformerless FET input eliminates low-frequency distortion
* Gold-plated 3-pin XLR connector for highest signal integrity
* High-quality components and exceptionally rugged construction ensure long life
* Conceived and designed by BEHRINGER Germany

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24-bit/96kHz USB Mic Preamp – No batteries. No latency. No headaches. Just plug in and record.

January 2, 2009

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24-bit/96kHz USB Mic Preamp

No batteries. No latency. No headaches. Just plug in and record.

MicPort Pro from CEntrance is a 24-bit/96kHz broadcast quality USB mic preamp used by the BBC, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, and voiceover professionals. MicPort Pro is your mic-to-computer audio interface, compatible with Windows XP/Vista, Mac OS X 10.4 and above, and LINUX. MicPort Pro features 48V phantom power, a loud headphone output for zero latency monitoring, and aggregation that allows you to record in stereo with two MicPort Pro units. Even test & measurement guys love it with MicPort Pro’s SMAART v.6 compatibility.

No batteries. No latency. No headaches. Just plug in and record.

Andy Hong in TapeOp

“The biggest headaches we get trying to capture that elusive, magic moment always stem from fear of a poor recording. MicPort Pro is a permanent cure for that headache.”

“If you’re looking for a quick, easy, and very portable mic’ing system with high-quality sound for your laptop or desktop, the MicPort Pro should be on your shortlist…”

Harlan Hogan and Jeffrey Fisher in their book,
Voice Actor’s Guide to Recording at Home

“Now, any mic you own or purchase in the future can be a USB mic. The preamp is clean, clear and natural sounding, and the A/D audio interface is quiet so you record your voice, not the electronics. This is one amazingly handy device at an equally amazing low price.”

Tom Phillips in Post

“I set up a test comparing it [MicPort Pro] to a Grace Design 201 preamp recording into Cakewalk Sonar 6 on my PC, and then replayed the same parts using the same microphones fed through the MicPort Pro and Garage Band. For microphones I used a Neumann U87 (condenser) and a Coles 4038 (ribbon). In general, I would say that the MicPort Pro compared incredibly well. At times it was difficult to hear any difference at all.”

Record Anytime, Anywhere

At home or on the road, MicPort Pro’s compact, USB-powered design offers maximum audio fidelity and minimal system configuration. Protected by a rugged chassis, MicPort Pro’s Class A preamp and low-noise circuitry preserves high-quality audio.

The onboard headphone jack delivers zero-latency monitoring via direct circuit. Mic gain and headphone volume adjustment couldn’t be easier with MicPort Pro’s two conveniently located rotary controls.

MicPort Pro A/D and D/A Converters

MicPort Pro uses high performance 24-bit A/D and D/A converters. The ADC has an Enhanced Dual Bit architecture with wide dynamic range. The DAC uses the newly developed Advanced Multi Bit architecture and achieves low noise and high jitter tolerance by use of SCF (switched capacitor filter) techniques.

Applications (click for more)

* Broadcasting and interviewing (including stereo & ribbon mics)
* Voiceovers
* Vocal recording and overdubs
* Instrument and amplifier miking
* Test and measurement
* Video production
* Podcasting

Finally, a Compact USB Interface that Plugs Right into Your Microphone

* 24-bit/96kHz performance
* Loud headphone amp level control for zero-latency monitoring
* 48V phantom power internally generated based on 5V of input so even condenser mics can be used with laptops
* Low-noise mic preamp with input level control knob
* High quality analog to digital (A/D) conversion
* USB bus powered – no batteries or external power supply needed
* Rugged anodized aluminum construction
* 6′ (1.83m) USB cable included

Compatibility

* Any condenser, ribbon or dynamic mic
* Windows XP and Vista
* Mac OSX 10.4 and above
* USB 1.1 and 2.0

Complimentary Software Downloads for MicPort Users

* CEntrance Universal Driver™ allows for recording in stereo with multiple MicPorts
* REAPER™ multi-track recording and editing software (trial version)

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Tips & Tricks: Gain Staging

December 15, 2008

How do you get microphones, instruments, and other gear all to play nicely in your recording or PA system? We break down the basics of managing gain to help you get the most out of your system.

Setting the gain right...

Regardless of which microphone you are using, which audio sources you are recording, or what signal level you are sending into your recording software, sometimes it can be tricky to get the levels you want or enough of certain signals.

Getting the levels right.
The basic principle here is to figure out the dynamic range of your source (singer, snare drum, turntable, sampler, etc.), and then maximize that source’s gain level without distorting or clipping. From there, you can mix the levels of different sources using the faders or volume knobs on each channel. This way, you get the lowest-noise performance and the highest level of flexibility in your mixer or recording system. This is called gain staging.

Before we go any further, let’s define some of the terms we’re using:

  • Sound source refers to any device that creates sound. The sound sources a recording or sound-reinforcement engineer deals with are human voices, acoustic and electric instruments, and other electronic sound equipment.
  • Signal is the electrical equivalent of sound. Sound is generally created when a sound source vibrates air, and a sound signal is that vibration (sound wave) converted into electrical current.
  • Gain is the ability of an amplifier to increase the power or amplitude of a signal.
  • Dynamics refers to sound pressure level: how loud or quiet a sound is.
  • Preamplifier (preamp) refers to an electronic amplifier that prepares an electronic signal for further amplification or processing. Most commonly, a preamplifier is used in music for amplifying a low-level sound source (microphone, turntable, or pickup) up to line level. Many mixers and some low-level sound sources such as turntables and pickups can contain built-in preamps.
  • Line level refers to the operating level of a signal that is easily manipulated by other devices such as mixing consoles, effects, and recording systems. In professional audio, this level is referred to as +4 dBu.
  • Noise refers to unwanted system sound (usually hiss and hum) created by electrical components’ operation.
    Sound-source levels

Dynamic microphones (for example Shure SM57 and SM58, Electro Voice RE20, Sennheiser MD 421) are designed to be able to capture very loud sound sources without distorting. These mics can be placed at close proximity to a guitar amp or kick drum with the mixer set to unity gain (applying no additional gain). You can shout into these microphones without generating a signal that would clip (overload) the mic preamplifier.

Condenser microphones (for example Shure SM81, Sennheiser e614, Neumann U 87) are designed to capture extremely detailed sound, so they are more delicate than dynamic microphones.

Both dynamic and condenser microphone have low levels of output, so they require you to pre-amplify them so that you can more easily work with them. Similarly, if you are working with an instrument pickup or a turntable, you will likely need to booth their output levels for best use.

Some great tools for accomplishing this level boost are the Alesis iO series. The iO|14 and iO|26 each have lower noise than many of the legendary mixing consoles and provide up to 50db of gain. This means that these interfaces can apply more clean gain to a signal than many other devices.

Here are some tips for approaching gain in different situations.

Recording

Accurately capture the performance with a good signal level, but without clipping (reaching 0dB).
When recording/overdubbing over pre-recorded material, provide the performer with a headphone mix of the pre-recorded material that is loud enough to allow them to perform their take well.

Mix-down

Apply volume adjustments, effects, EQ, compression, and limiting to shape the sound of individual tracks so that they fit well with the other tracks.
Balance the tracks in relation to one another to get the best possible complete picture.

Mastering

Apply adjustments to the final mix (stereo or surround sound) including EQ, compression, and limiting to maximize the recording’s overall volume and ability to play well on a variety of sound systems.

If a complete album is being mastered, each song is also balanced for volume and overall tone in relation to the other songs.

We hope this is a good introduction to gain staging and management. It can be a tricky concept to master and the best way to improve your understanding and skills is practice. So get out there and start tracking, mixing and, mastering!

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Blue USB Microphones Spotlight-Easy Podcasting

December 10, 2008

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Finally, a USB mic that’s not only easy to use, but sounds as good on your desktop as it does in a professional recording studio. Meet the Snowball; the world’s first professional USB mic.

Whether you’re recording a guitar at your kitchen table or a complete band in the studio, the Snowball can capture it with detail unheard of before in a USB mic.

blue-podcasting

The Snowball is a direct plug n’ play mic that connects to either a Mac or PC — no additional software is needed. With its dual capsule design and unique three-pattern switch (cardioid, cardioid with -10dB pad and omni), the Snowball can handle everything from soft vocals to the loudest garage band” and it’s ideal for podcasting. Check it out and you’ll see why it’s the coolest mic in town.

Frequency Response

Technical Specs

Transducer Type: Condenser, Pressure Gradient w/USB Digital Output
Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional or Cardioid
Frequency Response: Position 1-3: 40-18kHz
Sample/Word Rate: 44.1 kHz/16 bit
Weight: 460g
Dimensions: 325mm (circumference)

snowflake

Say hello to the Snowflake, the first professional totally portable USB mic.

Whether you’re recording your newest podcast, talking business on the web, or just narrating your latest great family movie, the Snowflake can capture it with amazing clarity and depth that’s head and shoulders above any comparable portable USB on the market!

The Snowflake works on both Mac and PC with no complicated drivers to install: just connect it to your computer’s USB port, follow the prompts and you’ll have high-fidelity sound in no time. It’s perfect for podcasting, voice recognition software, iChat, and VoIP software such as Skype and Vonage. Or use it for dictation, field recording, lecture recording, and narration for slideshows and PowerPoint presentations. The sky’s the limit. It’s even great for recording music via GarageBand and other multitrack recording software.

Designed with the traveler in mind, the Snowflake’s unique design allows you to place it on a desk or flat surface near your computer, or mount it to the screen of most laptops. Because it simply connects to your USB port, it offers a wide range of applications coupled with an ease of use never before offered in a professional-quality microphone. In the tradition of Blue’s line of renowned studio microphones, the Snowflake features Blue’s superior proprietary capsule and circuit design, optimized to make sure that you always get the best sound possible into your computer, and sets a new standard for digital recording on the go!

Characteristics

  • Professional recording quality — on the go!
  • Mac and PC compatible
  • Plug ’n play — no complicated drivers required
  • Unique design fits on your desktop or laptop
  • Blue’s superior proprietary capsule and circuit design
  • Includes USB cable

Suggested Applications

  • Podcasting, voice recognition software, iChat, VoIP software (such as Skypeand Vonage), dictation, field recording, lecture recording, narration, presentations
  • Music recording

Technical Specs

Transducer Type: Condenser, Pressure Gradient w/USB Digital Output
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Sample/Word Rate: 44.1 kHz/16 bit
Frequency Response: 35Hz – 20kHz

COMING SOON……..

iclce

The Icicle is Blue’s new stylish USB converter and mic preamp combo that allows you to connect any XLR microphonedirectly into your computer via USB! The Icicle features a studio quality microphone preamp, 48V phantom power, fully balanced low noise front end, analog gain control, and driverless operation. Setup is a snap! The Icicle works with both dynamic and condenser microphones, providing high quality and hassle-free connectivity with Mac or PC. Whether you’re using amicrophone for digital recording, podcasting, voice messaging, or voice recognition applications, the Icicle is the quick andeasy way to get connected.

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Have you got GAS? (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)

December 2, 2008

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Have you got GAS? (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)….I know have! The term “GAS” was coined by Walter Becker in 1996 in his article G.A.S. in Guitar Player as “Guitar Acquisition Syndrome”. The term started to be frequently used by guitarists and spread out to other people of creative professions who were familiar with similar tendencies. As it no longer concerned guitars only, GAS became a backronym for “Gear Acquisition Syndrome”.

GAS is NOT the same thing as collecting. In fact, many people find that the collecting of instruments is as much a joy as playing them (particularly if you have the financial means to collect).

GAS differs in that the compulsive need to “tweak your rig” supersedes the desire to improve as a player, compose music, record, (and if you have aspirations of playing professionally) seek gigs. Another common trait of a GAS-inflicted individual is the tendency to impulsively trade in a perfectly good piece of equipment for a seemingly more desirable piece of equipment (often at a loss of money) and later regret the transaction. Remember also GAS is highly contagious, however particulary amongst guitarists!

According to Wiki ” GAS is similar in many ways to very mild obsessive compulsive disorder.” GAS hasn’t received any major medical attention as GAS is not a clinical, but a psychological condition. Dear me, worring thought that! So to avoid ‘Gear Acquisition Syndrome’ one needs to stop “trial and error” purchases and save money and hassle by making educated purchase. slashs-guitar-collection

The goal here is to get stuff that you’re happy with and makes you sound good… not stuff you’ll wanna sell on in six months.

It’s all about product research and that’s what we at Dolphin Music are here to help YOU with! What are your thoughts on this subject??

Do any of our readers suffer from GAS??

We would be keen to hear about your problems and let our specialists diagnose the right solution to you.

Send us an email to media@dolphinmusic.co.uk or give us a call and speak to one of our trained specialists to advise you on your next purchase.

Source:

http://www.harmony-central.com/Guitar/Articles/Avoiding_GAS/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gear_Acquisition_Syndrome

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Christmas Gift Suggestion: The Microphone Balls!

December 2, 2008

With Blue Microphones your Christmas will definitely be snowy! It’s groundbreaking yet affordable range of round mics includes models such as the Snowflake and Snowball, plus other mics such as the Kick Ball and 8-Ball, which look as colourful (and round) as the best xmas tree decorations!

The perfect mics for xmas? From left: Snowflake, Kick Ball, 8-Ball and Snow Ball round microphones…

Welcome to the world of Blue Microphones! Founded in 1995, Blue has grown from a desire to create a few hand-built mics for fellow musicians into a unique, multi-faceted audio company with a prestigious line of award-winning microphones and accessories.

Headquartered in Westlake Village, California, Blue Microphones continues to grow and lead the way with cutting-edge design and technological innovation in the field of recording. Current projects include the building of a state-of-the-art recording and training facility and capsule testing area located at company headquarters in Southern California.

And Dolphin has some truly great and innovative Blue Mics models in stock! These microphones are round, colourful, sound great and, even better, are very affordable! They are perfect xmas gifts for anyone who’s into their recording gear!

Meet the round family:

Blue Snowflake The world’s first truly professional and portable USB mic. With plug-and-play simplicity, podcasts, web conferences, or adding voiceovers to video projects takes on a new level of ease and quality.  View more…
Blue Snowball Whether you’re recording a guitar at your kitchen table or a complete band in the studio, the Snowball can capture it with detail unheard of before in a USB mic. This direct plug n’ play mic connects to either a Mac or PC – no additional software is needed. View more…
Blue Kickball Punchy and detailed with a larger-than-life sound, the Kickball delivers an acoustic balance far superior to conventional dynamic microphones. The back of the mic features a three-position bass frequency switch allowing three distinct low-frequency equalization curves. View more…
Blue 8-Ball

A cardioid condenser mic designed with the needs of the professional recordist in mind, but priced within reach of the beginning home user or hobbyist. Featuring Blue’s highly regarded Class A discrete low noise amplifier circuit, with smooth frequency response sure to please even the most discerning professional ear. View more…

If you want to see more microphones by Blue Mics, just click here.

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AKG C214: THE RESOLUTION REVIEW

December 2, 2008

The latest studio microphone offering from AKG, the C214, is reviewed in this month’s Resolution Magazine. “Is it a decent microphone in its own right? Unequivocally yes.”

The new C 214 is designed as a cost-effective alternative to the high-end, industry-leading C 414 family. Like the C 414 models, the C 214 is capable of handling the rigors of high-pressure sound such as amplified guitars, with a sensitivity perfect for voice and orchestral instruments as well.

“Moving to Acoustic guitar showed that both microphones (the C 414 and the C 214) capture transient and harmonic detail well but the tonal characteristics so obvious with speech were even more obvious here. Whereas the 414 delivered a neutral, honest representation of the guitar, the 214 was a little bit more forward sounding and seemed to exaggerate the fundamental tones a little more. But here’s the thing. I actually preferred the sound of the 214 not just because of the voicing in its response but also, I think, because of the difference in rear rejection. In some respects, this made the 214 sound more like I’d expect an omni microphone to sound, pulling in a little more of the room sound”.

“…it’s a well engineered, useful microphone that deserves to succeed at what is a very crowded price point”.

To read the full review, pick up the November/December Issue of Resolution Magazine (V7.8).

more info:

AKG C214

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Why do I need a Microphone Preamp?

November 25, 2008

tube-mp

A condenser microphone works by actually converting sound energy into an electrical voltage, but this voltage is much lower than the voltage coming out of your keyboard or other line level sources.  If you plug a condenser microphone in to audio interface then the signal it generates will be very quiet unless the signal is boosted. This is why you will need for a preamp.

On a consumer (internal) sound card you will have a mic preamp, but it’s only designed for speech and cheap mic–totally unsuitable for audio recording.

You can add a Microphone Preamps to your set up via:

productline6ux2largeOn the bottom of this page you will see a lot of different preamps that will boost a microphone signal without adding lots of noise.  We have Pre Amps for every budget, however, bear in mind that the Mic Pre is one of the most important links of the chain that will effect the sound quality of your recording system.

Phantom Power

“Phantom powering” is a method of providing power to microphones by applying a voltage to the same wires that carry the audio signals. Phantom power can be generated from mixing consoles, mic preamplifiers, or in-line phantom power supplies.

In general, phantom voltages are used to power electronics within condenser microphones. Condenser microphones require power for various parts of their operation, including impedance converters, preamplifier circuitry and, in some cases, to polarized microphone capsules. Phantom is usually a DC voltage ranging from 12 to 48 volts. Microphones draw current from this voltage based on their needs.

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Audio-Technica at the International Guitar Festival

September 19, 2008

The recent International Guitar Festival 2008, held at Bath Spa University in August, saw artists and students using a raft of Audio-Technica microphones for live performances, masterclasses and ‘live sound’ seminars during the string-driven fortnight.

As an official IGF sponsor, Audio-Technica supplied microphones used for everything from electric and acoustic guitars to drum kits, sitars and violins. And an eclectic line-up of visiting performers including blues sensation Matt Schofield and legendary bassist Doug Wimbish meant that flexibility from the mic arsenal was key to the festival’s success.

IGF technical co-ordinator Stuart McLean said, “the Audio-Technica microphones performed superbly throughout the event, coping with everything we threw at them. The consistency of performance from mic to mic was outstanding and they worked to give us beautifully natural sound reinforcement, particularly where sensitive acoustic instruments were being used. As hard as it is to pick out one mic model for particular praise, I especially loved using the Audio-Technica AE3000 in a stereo pair for live recordings.”

Harvey Roberts, Audio-Technica’s senior UK marketing manager commented, “we are very pleased to be associated with the International Guitar Festival and to supply microphones for an event of this entertainment and educational quality. To see our products – from the affordable Midnight Blues range to our Artist Elite series – perform to the highest level in such a demanding environment is very gratifying.”

View Audio-Technica @ Dolphin

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Top Dance Producer Stuart Crichton and sE in Dance Floor Heaven!

August 12, 2008

Whether tracking for Kylie, Pet Shop Boys or Sugababes, Stuart Crichton uses sE mics “on every production I do”…

Stuart with his sE gear

Stuart with his sE gear

For producer and engineer Stuart Crichton, making records that move the dance floor is a passion that can be charted back to the very beginnings of Progressive House. With hundreds of releases to his name, Stuart has not only released tracks on seminal labels (FFRR, Epic, ZTT, Mushroom, Nettwerk, React), but was also instrumental in making Limbo Records a leading light on the early ’90s progressive scene.

Since those early days he has immersed himself in the world of music production. And with over 15 years production experience he’s forgotten more about making dance floor bombs than most producers will ever know – how else do you get to work on tracks for Jamelia and Kylie (Parlophone), Simon Webbe (Innocent), Delta Goodrem (SonyBMG), Jonas (Universal) and Brian McFadden (Sony/BMG).

He’s also just returned from a successful writing trip in Nashville and won The Miami Best Pop Award in 2005 for his artist project Narcotic Thrust (not in any way a reference to ‘disco beans’, but rather an anagram of Stuart Crichton!), with “I Like It” (UK No.7).

Stuart may have his roots in dance but vocals play a huge part in his productions, and he can easily turn his hand to most styles of music, as previous successes with Kylie, Charlotte Church, Pet Shop Boys, Bond and The Sugababes will testify.

His back catalogue reads like a who’s who list of dance and pop heavyweights, and this experience has led him to experiment with practically every type of microphone going…and from all of them one brand sits on top of them all for Stuart – sE Electronics.

“I’m using a few sE mics in the studio right now,” Stuart reports from his Hastings-based studio. “I particularly like the Z5600aII [multi-pattern tube condenser], the SE1a [small diaphragm condenser] stereo pair, and the new GM10 [guitar mic]. The Z5600aIII use on every vocal production I do.
…and having just got the GM10, well, I’m using that absolutely every time I record acoustic guitar… it’s just amazing!”

As is often the way when deciding on new microphones, it was a suggestion from a fellow engineer that got Stuart into the sE mics in the first place. “My friend Javier Weyler recommended the Z5600aII to me when he was an assistant engineer at Sahara Studios. He told me that sE mics offered amazing quality for a great price – and he wasn’t wrong! He’s now the drummer in the Stereophonics… clever chap!”

“Sure, with microphones it’s all about the sound, but sE mics make my life easier. These mics are just so flexible. I don’t think I’m being overly dramatic when I tell you that I couldn’t live without my sE mics now. These mics can handle all of my recording needs – period!”

“When you’re capturing a performance there’s one rule that I use to decide if I’ve got the recording I need: if it sounds right, it is right. And with sE mics I can be really confident that they’re giving me exactly the results I need.”