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Old 07-24-2016, 12:14 AM
Martin Maniac Martin Maniac is offline
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Default mic test...

Well I wanted to do a comparison test of my mics to see which is best for recording acoustic guitar. The mics I sampled were:

1. Blue Baby Bottle

2.Shure 57 Beta A

3. AT-2020

4. MXL V-69 ME

5. Superlux CM-H8A

6. Matching pair of MXL 603S

I used a Pono DS-20, same XLR chord and same settings on the interface. I had to turn off the Phantom power for the 57 test.

I was blown away by the Baby Bottle, it sounded better than I hoped for...I had a really week signal from the Shure 57 Beta, AT 2020 was surprisingly very good, not as strong as the Baby Bottle but definitely good quality sound, a little level adjustment and it would be right there. The MXL V-69 sounded great. I went back and boosted the level on the recording of the Shure 57 and it too then sounded pretty good. I haven't used the V-69 or AT 2020 for a while, but both would make a good match for the Baby Bottle for a stereo recording.

I bought the Superlux many years ago...it's a Chinese mic I got cheap. It sounded okay 15 years ago when I didn't have any other mic. But in today's comparison it sounded bad compared to the others I have now.

The 603s's sounded very good. I was surprised.


I'm sorry I can't share the sound samples with you, the copyright police would nail me.
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Last edited by Martin Maniac; 07-24-2016 at 05:15 AM.
  #2  
Old 07-24-2016, 03:24 AM
Martin Maniac Martin Maniac is offline
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Well it looks like I'm gonna pull another all nighter...I just finished doing some more tests, this time in stereo...

1. Baby Bottle and AT 2020....sounds excellent together. I was very pleased.

2. Baby Bottle and V-69...I got blown out of the water. It had just a bit more sparkle to it...just right.

3. MXL 603S matching pair...They sounded very nice !!

I have to be very quiet so as not to disturb my neighbors at this ungodly hour. So I'm doing my sound checks with headphones, and everything sounds very crisp and clear.
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2013 Martin D-35
1975 Martin D-18
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2017 Gretsch G5438T Pro Jet w/ Bigsby
2016 Gretsch G5420T Hollowbody w Bigsby
2017 Gretsch G5422G-12 12 string Hollowbody
2003 Fender Telecaster
2002 Fender Stratocaster

Last edited by Martin Maniac; 07-24-2016 at 05:17 AM.
  #3  
Old 07-24-2016, 06:10 AM
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Maniac View Post
I'm sorry I can't share the sound samples with you, the copyright police would nail me.
Would not worry about that. Go ahead and share.
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  #4  
Old 07-24-2016, 06:39 AM
Martin Maniac Martin Maniac is offline
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Okay, but this is for educational purposes only.....It's the best sounding combination of all my current mics...the MXL V69 ME and the Blue Baby Bottle.
Pono DS-20 with EBEEBE tuning....

https://soundcloud.com/djwayne2000/v-69-baby-bottle
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2017 Gretsch G5422G-12 12 string Hollowbody
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  #5  
Old 07-24-2016, 08:41 AM
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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The first clip of V - 69 & Baby Bottle sounds very good. Congrats.
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  #6  
Old 07-24-2016, 08:51 AM
Martin Maniac Martin Maniac is offline
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Thanks, my playing is quite sloppy because I recorded it at about 4:00 in the morning. I was up all night doing sound checks with my different mics. It was something that needed to be done, and now I have a much better idea of what my current mics are capable of. The AT 2020 and Baby Bottle combo come in at a very close second. Doug Young recommend the AT 2020 a while back and I bought one. He's right that's a very good mic for a very reasonable cost.
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2016 Gretsch G5420T Hollowbody w Bigsby
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  #7  
Old 07-24-2016, 12:13 PM
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Thought you might be interested in some post recording tweaks I did on your recording.

Your recording four times:
1. unchanged
2. used time delay to increase the right and left mike correlation (effect most notable listening with headphones)
3. added reverb
4. removed reverb and added a different (stronger) reverb


http://dcoombsguitar.com/Temp/AGFJuly24.mp3
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  #8  
Old 07-24-2016, 01:08 PM
Fran Guidry Fran Guidry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Maniac View Post
Well I wanted to do a comparison test of my mics to see which is best for recording acoustic guitar. The mics I sampled were:

1. Blue Baby Bottle

2.Shure 57 Beta A

3. AT-2020

4. MXL V-69 ME

5. Superlux CM-H8A

6. Matching pair of MXL 603S

I used a Pono DS-20, same XLR chord and same settings on the interface. I had to turn off the Phantom power for the 57 test.
Actually, there was no need to turn off phantom for the Beta 57a. Phantom is designed so that it does not impact dynamic mics.

Quote:
I was blown away by the Baby Bottle, it sounded better than I hoped for...I had a really week signal from the Shure 57 Beta,
If you compare two such dissimilar mics with the "same settings on the interface" you are mainly comparing mic sensitivity. Dynamic mics have much lower sensitivity than condensers but this is in no way related to quality. A more useful way to compare mics is to use a test tone to match overall system sensitivity - mic sensitivity+preamp gain - so the two tests are at the same level. After all, that's why there's a gain control on your preamp.

Quote:
AT 2020 was surprisingly very good, not as strong as the Baby Bottle but definitely good quality sound, a little level adjustment and it would be right there. The MXL V-69 sounded great. I went back and boosted the level on the recording of the Shure 57 and it too then sounded pretty good. ...
This is a good illustration of my point above. There are plenty of issues beyond this if you are trying to compare mics in a way that gives useful information.

Fran
  #9  
Old 07-24-2016, 01:41 PM
Martin Maniac Martin Maniac is offline
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Rick Slo, Thanks for the input. I was trying to get a strong dry signal to work with and that's what I got...I have a ton of effects in Sonar Platinum I can use to polish my music up with. The most important thing is to have a good sound to start with and work on it from there. The point of all my sound checks was to find which of my mics sounded best on acoustic guitar and with other mics for stereo recording. It's nice to hear a nice reverb on my music,,,sounds great !!
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1975 Martin D-18
2015 Pono DS-20
2017 Gretsch G5438T Pro Jet w/ Bigsby
2016 Gretsch G5420T Hollowbody w Bigsby
2017 Gretsch G5422G-12 12 string Hollowbody
2003 Fender Telecaster
2002 Fender Stratocaster
  #10  
Old 07-24-2016, 02:06 PM
Martin Maniac Martin Maniac is offline
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Fran, first off, the Shure 57 beta sounded awful on the first take, I tried turning off the Phantom Power and it did help a lot.

Second, I didn't want to listen to a test tone. The thought never crossed my mind because I wanted to see what was the best sounding acoustic guitar recording I could get with my mics. I wanted to take stock of everything with similar performances on similar settings. Was I comparing mic sensitivity ?? You bet. I also ran all my takes thru a normalizer in Sonar to equalize the volume of each track so I could then compare sonic quality and noise floors. This demonstrated to me that "Yes Virginia", different mics sound different, and more expensive mics do indeed sound better. So what's the final outcome of all these tests ?? I've decided to look into the Neumann TLM 102 as step above and beyond of what I have now. I heard one on another post and was quite impressed with it's sound. A good used 102 is within my budget. So that's the direction my sound checks have pointed out. If I buy another mic, I want it to be a step up from what I currently have, not a step down or equal footing...step up is what I want. Most importantly I wanted to see how good of a recording I could get with what I already have...I have to admit I was surprised at the quality of recordings I achieved. The only real disappointment was the Superlux, but that was a very cheap Shure knock off. Now I know not to bother with it. So all in all doing these tests showed me a lot. Before it was a big mass of confusion, now, I feel I have a much better grasp on what's what.
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2017 Gretsch G5438T Pro Jet w/ Bigsby
2016 Gretsch G5420T Hollowbody w Bigsby
2017 Gretsch G5422G-12 12 string Hollowbody
2003 Fender Telecaster
2002 Fender Stratocaster
  #11  
Old 07-24-2016, 02:34 PM
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Maniac View Post
Rick Slo, Thanks for the input. I was trying to get a strong dry signal to work with and that's what I got...I have a ton of effects in Sonar Platinum I can use to polish my music up with. The most important thing is to have a good sound to start with and work on it from there. The point of all my sound checks was to find which of my mics sounded best on acoustic guitar and with other mics for stereo recording. It's nice to hear a nice reverb on my music,,,sounds great !!
Reverb is an obvious thing to add. You need to be aware of out of phase issues and how to correct for that (to taste in any case).
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  #12  
Old 07-24-2016, 04:04 PM
Martin Maniac Martin Maniac is offline
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One thing at a time my friend, one thing at a time.
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  #13  
Old 07-24-2016, 04:19 PM
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Maniac View Post
One thing at a time my friend, one thing at a time.
Yes and no. Things usually come in a package. You can't validly judge the results of your gear testing if you if are overlooking some of the recording basics. Of course regarding handling phase issues you can stick with recording with a single microphone.
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  #14  
Old 07-24-2016, 04:34 PM
Martin Maniac Martin Maniac is offline
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Well I did test out each mic individually. I've got a recording of basically the same piece you heard but thru each mic. Then I paired them up making sure to keep equal distance from each mic to the guitar, so phasing didn't seem to be an issue. I certainly didn't hear any noise cancelation due to phase problems. I'm not saying there wasn't any, I'm just saying it wasn't an obvious problem as all my stereo recordings sounded really good. They were all very useable. If there were phasing problems I would have picked up on it, but everything sound nice and crispy clear thru my headphones.

The only issue I had that may be attributed to phasing is when I paired the Baby Bottle to the line out of the Fender SFX amp. I was getting some mixed results with that.
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  #15  
Old 07-24-2016, 04:58 PM
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Maniac View Post
Well I did test out each mic individually. I've got a recording of basically the same piece you heard but thru each mic. Then I paired them up making sure to keep equal distance from each mic to the guitar, so phasing didn't seem to be an issue. I certainly didn't hear any noise cancelation due to phase problems. I'm not saying there wasn't any, I'm just saying it wasn't an obvious problem as all my stereo recordings sounded really good. They were all very useable. If there were phasing problems I would have picked up on it, but everything sound nice and crispy clear thru my headphones.

The only issue I had that may be attributed to phasing is when I paired the Baby Bottle to the line out of the Fender SFX amp. I was getting some mixed results with that.
Phase correlation is something to be aware of and something to know how to play with.

Two mikes will always record out of phase to some degree (and if they were totally in phase you might as well have used one mike as you have a mono sound anyway).

The amount of phase correlation that gives the "best" sound is subjective.

Listen to the first (raw) and second (phase adjusted) run through of your recording on the mp3 I posted. The raw sounds fine as I said but it is somewhat unfocused as to position in space and the bass is thinned out a bit. Phased adjusted the soundstage is more upfront and center and the bass notes more solid. Either way is fine I suppose, but I like to do the latter and then un-phase some again using an amount and type of reverb I like.
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