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Old 09-17-2011, 10:16 PM
sdelsolray sdelsolray is offline
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Default Recording with Schoeps, Gefell and Josephson Microphones

I made a single recording using three different mic pair and preamp combinations. Instead of a thread about which is which, I thought a discussion about the sound character (or lack thereof) would be interesting.

The three samples are here (you'll have to download them):

Recording Samples

What is identical in all samples:

Room, player, song, guitar, take, converters, microphone positions (AB spaced pair - 24" out 46" apart), DAW, mixing (25% L/R pan, 60Hz high pass filter, dither to 16 bit, nothing else).

What is different between the samples:

Sample A: Pair Schoeps CMC641 mics, Pendulum Audio MDP-1a preamp

Sample B: Pair Microtech Gefell M295 mics, DBX 786 preamp

Sample C: Pair Josephson 606A/KA22 mics, ADK AP2 preamp (API 2520 op amp, Jensen input transformer)

ON EDIT: I've posted three additional files at the same link which are basically some mixdowns of the three original files. The three additional file are:

Sample A - mix eq effects.wav -- same 25% L/R panning, software eq on each source track, large church reverb and very light doubler added

Sample B - mix eq reverb.wav -- same 25% L/R panning, software eq on each source track, room reverb added

Sample C - mix wide eq reverb.wav -- wider panning (37% L 41% R), hardware eq on mixdown 2 bus, different church reverb added

ON EDIT #2: I've posted the 6 original tracks in a folder called "Samples A, B and C Source Files". They are raw except I left the front and rear fades in place and left the 60Hz bass cut in place. 24 bit/44.1k. The files with "12th fret" added to the titles are the right channels and the files with "LB" added (short for lower bout) to the titles are the left channels. The levels are not matched as closely as the first uploads.

Last edited by sdelsolray; 09-21-2011 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 09-17-2011, 10:49 PM
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Thanks for the samples Steve. To my ears it goes from warmer to brighter sounding from samples A to B to C.
It goes to further clarity of detail from samples A to B to C.
I would not want to guess what samples are what gear.
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Old 09-17-2011, 11:01 PM
sdelsolray sdelsolray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
Thanks for the samples Steve. To my ears it goes from warmer to brighter sounding from samples A to B to C.
It goes to further clarity of detail from samples A to B to C.
I would not want to guess what samples are what gear.
Thanks for listening Rick. You don't have to guess about the gear. I identified which mic/preamp combinations were used in the OP:

Sample A: Pair Schoeps CMC641 mics, Pendulum Audio MDP-1a preamp

Sample B: Pair Microtech Gefell M295 mics, DBX 786 preamp

Sample C: Pair Josephson 606A/KA22 mics, ADK AP2 preamp (API 2520 op amp, Jensen input transformer)
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Old 09-17-2011, 11:19 PM
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Oops! Well at least my ears were not biased on initial listening. Otherwise I would be looking for the tube amp to be the warmest.
How do the M295s work on the MDP-1a?
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Old 09-18-2011, 03:01 PM
alohachris alohachris is offline
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Default Mahalo Stephen

Aloha Stephen,

Mahalo a nui for sharing those very nice wav. file samples with us. I really like the music you chose & the playing. It was a slow, complex piece of varying tempo that allowed me to easily hear the overtones & space between the notes. It was very accessible too & longer than most samples so one could really hear different passages & notes a couple times/variations around to more accurately assess the differences. Bravo.

I listened to the samples at least five times each through Adam AX7 near-field's, AKG 240 Studio cans & Daedalus 803 mid-fields. Very Nice Sound & quality recordings, Steve.

First, I was curious as to why you chose to pan 25% L-R in mixdown. I've heard other recordings from you doing the same thing. Is it because it is difficult to equalize channel levels in A/B spaced pairs mic'ed at two feet out? I know I have trouble with that issue (I use other patterns, primarily, because of it). It was more noticeable through the headphones.

The three samples were as different as they can be from one another. Still, they are, as you say, "Different flavors of nice." Ha!

The CMC641/MDP-1a combo sample seemed to emphasize the trebles a bit. Some trebles even sounded a bit nasally. I am unaccustomed to hearing that from that rig because I use that combo almost everyday. The trebles & transients sound a bit smoother to me at home. I felt that the bass was slightly less focussed on some notes. Again, was that because of more room from 2 feet out? The 641 hypers should be able to handle that. The mid-range sounded less emphasized, slightly imbalanced - but minor. Still, the notes were accurate, natural & very detailed, Of the three, it sounded the second-most open in overall acoustic sound. Nice recording.

The M295/dbx 786 combo sample is my favorite of the three. It is SO musical, balanced & easy on the ears. You're so right about the "magic made by elves" quality of that 295, Steve. Is it the metal diaphragms? Nothing was over-emphasized or unfocussed. It sounded So Open & revealed more about the guitar than the other samples (which guitar was that Steve?). The trebles were bell-like. Basses were tight, but not too. Mid's were just perfect. It rings through the frequencies. Great acoustic sound & track. A pleasure!

When I hear the name "Josephson," I think "bright" but very good mic's. It's the same with "Rode," almost harshly bright among entry-level mic's. Listening to your third sample of the the Josephson 606A/KA22 mics, ADK AP2 preamp combo, Stephen, did little to change my opinion. Though it sounded much smoother than any Josephson I've heard, the overall effect was much brighter, more compressed & tighter sounding in comparison to the other samples. It was, however, the most focussed sounding of the three samples with great sounding basses. But it also almost had the effect of raising the pitch, that compression effect. As with all your equipment, one hears detailed, very accurate & nice with this combo. But it was my least-favorite of the three samples because it did not sound very open overall & wasn't particularly smooth.

Again, Stephen, mahalo for sharing those great clips with us. It is always a real treat to hear you play. And you always make me think twice. So, what is the "trick" or obvious wild-card that I've overlooked in this assessment. Ha!

Mahalo a nui,
alohachris

Last edited by alohachris; 09-18-2011 at 03:23 PM.
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Old 09-18-2011, 04:29 PM
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Thanks for posting the clips.

The Josephson was a little too bright for me. Maybe I'm just a bit biased against that kind of sound.

It was very hard to say which one I liked better of the other two. I think I'd have to have them both

The Schoeps were very solid and well-defined. Punchy? It's as if they're carving a sound out of granite - in a good way. An elite, master-crafted, highly-polished kind of granite.

The treble strings on the Schoeps have a lot of bite whereas, on the Gefell, they sound much more delicate which maybe suits this particular piece better. The Gefell is a lovely sound: warm, smooth and (as Chris said) open.

So, on this test, I'd pick the Gefell to play something plaintive and reflective, and the Schoeps if I wanted to play with something with power.

Does that make any sense?
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Old 09-18-2011, 04:53 PM
sdelsolray sdelsolray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
...
How do the M295s work on the MDP-1a?
Rick,
The MDP-1a with the M295s is a nice combo, a bit more rich than the DBX/M295 combo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alohachris View Post
Aloha Stephen,

Mahalo a nui for sharing those very nice wav. file samples with us. I really like the music you chose & the playing. It was a slow, complex piece of varying tempo that allowed me to easily hear the overtones & space between the notes. It was very accessible too & longer than most samples so one could really hear different passages & notes a couple times/variations around to more accurately assess the differences. Bravo.

I listened to the samples at least five times each through Adam AX7 near-field's, AKG 240 Studio cans & Daedalus 803 mid-fields. Very Nice Sound & quality recordings, Steve.

First, I was curious as to why you chose to pan 25% L-R in mixdown. I've heard other recordings from you doing the same thing. Is it because it is difficult to equalize channel levels in A/B spaced pairs mic'ed at two feet out? I know I have trouble with that issue (I use other patterns, primarily, because of it). It was more noticeable through the headphones.

The three samples were as different as they can be from one another. Still, they are, as you say, "Different flavors of nice." Ha!

The CMC641/MDP-1a combo sample seemed to emphasize the trebles a bit. Some trebles even sounded a bit nasally. I am unaccustomed to hearing that from that rig because I use that combo almost everyday. The trebles & transients sound a bit smoother to me at home. I felt that the bass was slightly less focussed on some notes. Again, was that because of more room from 2 feet out? The 641 hypers should be able to handle that. The mid-range sounded less emphasized, slightly imbalanced - but minor. Still, the notes were accurate, natural & very detailed, Of the three, it sounded the second-most open in overall acoustic sound. Nice recording.

The M295/dbx 786 combo sample is my favorite of the three. It is SO musical, balanced & easy on the ears. You're so right about the "magic made by elves" quality of that 295, Steve. Is it the metal diaphragms? Nothing was over-emphasized or unfocussed. It sounded So Open & revealed more about the guitar than the other samples (which guitar was that Steve?). The trebles were bell-like. Basses were tight, but not too. Mid's were just perfect. It rings through the frequencies. Great acoustic sound & track. A pleasure!

When I hear the name "Josephson," I think "bright" but very good mic's. It's the same with "Rode," almost harshly bright among entry-level mic's. Listening to your third sample of the the Josephson 606A/KA22 mics, ADK AP2 preamp combo, Stephen, did little to change my opinion. Though it sounded much smoother than any Josephson I've heard, the overall effect was much brighter, more compressed & tighter sounding in comparison to the other samples. It was, however, the most focussed sounding of the three samples with great sounding basses. But it also almost had the effect of raising the pitch, that compression effect. As with all your equipment, one hears detailed, very accurate & nice with this combo. But it was my least-favorite of the three samples because it did not sound very open overall & wasn't particularly smooth.

Again, Stephen, mahalo for sharing those great clips with us. It is always a real treat to hear you play. And you always make me think twice. So, what is the "trick" or obvious wild-card that I've overlooked in this assessment. Ha!

Mahalo a nui,
alohachris
Chris,

Thanks for your thoughts. The guitar is the 1999 Tippin OMT (EIR/German spruce), DM Alchemy PB strings mid-life.

The Schoeps mics work a bit better in my room if they are another 6" to 8" away. If you cut out about 2dB of low mids it cleans up the sound. Yes, the Gefells are, "Made by the Elves, you know." The Josephsons are bright. I wouldn't want to much of that in a final mix. As you say, they are very detailed and accurate. They take eq easily.

As to the 25% L/R panning, it just seems right to my ear. Too much farther apart and the differences between the two mic sources begin to be noticeable and the center image begins to dissolve.

Quote:
Originally Posted by moon View Post
Thanks for posting the clips.

The Josephson was a little too bright for me. Maybe I'm just a bit biased against that kind of sound.

It was very hard to say which one I liked better of the other two. I think I'd have to have them both

The Schoeps were very solid and well-defined. Punchy? It's as if they're carving a sound out of granite - in a good way. An elite, master-crafted, highly-polished kind of granite.

The treble strings on the Schoeps have a lot of bite whereas, on the Gefell, they sound much more delicate which maybe suits this particular piece better. The Gefell is a lovely sound: warm, smooth and (as Chris said) open.

So, on this test, I'd pick the Gefell to play something plaintive and reflective, and the Schoeps if I wanted to play with something with power.

Does that make any sense?
Makes perfect sense.
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Old 09-18-2011, 05:43 PM
Fran Guidry Fran Guidry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdelsolray View Post
I made a single recording using three different mic pair and preamp combinations. Instead of a thread about which is which, I thought a discussion about the sound character (or lack thereof) would be interesting.

The three samples are here (you'll have to download them):

Recording Samples

What is identical in all samples:

Room, player, song, guitar, take, converters, microphone positions (AB spaced pair - 24" out 46" apart), DAW, mixing (25% L/R pan, 60Hz high pass filter, dither to 16 bit, nothing else).

What is different between the samples:

Sample A: Pair Schoeps CMC641 mics, Pendulum Audio MDP-1a preamp

Sample B: Pair Microtech Gefell M295 mics, DBX 786 preamp

Sample C: Pair Josephson 606A/KA22 mics, ADK AP2 preamp (API 2520 op amp, Jensen input transformer)
Steve, thanks so much for sharing your clips. Love your playing and your overall sound. You've certainly provided us with the opportunity to listen to three Cadillac (Mercedes?) recording chains.

I'm such a pain, I know, but it would be huge kick to hear these three alongside a pair of Behringer C2s into an M-Audio Fast Track Pro. You wouldn't happen to have anything like that laying around, would you <grin>?

As it is, we've got a pair of supercardioids (well, actually in between super and hyper cardioid), and two pairs of cardioids.

The MK41 low frequency rolloff starts pretty high, and is 3 dB down at 50 hz. I didn't stumble over an FR graph for the Gefell, the description talks about an LF rolloff
Quote:
in the Iower frequency band it features a slight roll-off to counteract the bass lift of dose speech (proximity effect). The microphone is thus ideally suited for recordings in close proximity to the sound source.
but to my ear it has a bit more bass emphasis than the MK41 at this distance. Both sound quite similar up top, but I'm able to pick up a bit more sparkle with the MK41 when I ABX between the MK41 and the 295.

The presentation of the Josephson is quite different, the bass seems to be rolled off substantially and the treble seems lifted as well.

I'm on the road and listening through some Sennheiser PX 100s, a long way from high accuracy phones, I'm afraid, but it's what I've got.

So thanks for sharing, Steve. I hope we get to hear a lot more of your playing.

Fran
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Old 09-18-2011, 06:59 PM
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It'd be interesting to hear the unpanned versions. To me, these don't sound as spacious as I'd want. I never pan tracks, I just adjust the mic position to get the stereo image I want, but of course, whatever works. Panning seems to change a lot as the mics interact, at least when I do it.
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Old 09-18-2011, 07:47 PM
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With a spaced pair of mikes when you pan right and left stereo channels towards the middle you will get comb filtering to some
degree which then thins out the sound a bit.

Panning towards the middle is a trade off to get a more fixed location for the guitar sound, and if you fiddle with the mike locations
perhaps better mono compatibility. I prefer not to pan and try to reduce a lack of location focus by mike placement.
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Old 09-18-2011, 09:49 PM
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Hi Steve,

Thanks for posting these samples. All of the samples sounded very pleasing to my ears. Rather than going into a description of the subtle differences between them, what strikes me is how much difference the EQ and effects makes. There is also a noticeable volume increase in the mixed samples, which may have something to do with what I am hearing, as sometimes increased volume can, by itself, cause one to sit up a take more notice. Even when I decrease the volume on the mixed samples, I can still hear the mixed sound, which is more appealing to my ears.

When I recorded a dry sample of my 814c the other day, what struck me was that the recorded sound is so much like what what I hear when I play it. The guitar's particular sound is reproduced so well with my recording equipment, which as you know, consists of the Avalon AD2022 preamp, Gefell M300 matched pair, and the UA 2192 converters. I can see now that, as far as my recording chain is concerned, the sound of the guitar (or the source) and my playing ability is what really determines the end result. Sure, I could treat my room more, find different mic placements, etc., but the recording equipment I have is very accurate. I hope I am making sense here. Now, I know the raw signal can be embellished through digital processing during mixdown, but I am just talking about the raw recorded sound.

If my raw recorded sound sounded very colored and different from the source, I would be concerned. I still hear the unique character the recording equipment imparts to the raw recorded sound, but it doesn't mask the actual sound of my voice and guitar, at least to my ears. This is what I like about high end gear.
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Old 09-18-2011, 11:33 PM
alohachris alohachris is offline
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Default Aloha Stephen - The Emotional Quality of THE MUSIC has Really Got Me

Aloha Stephen,

The first two of your finely played & recorded guitar samples have been playing through my Koa 803's for most of today up here in the rainforest (it's Sunday evening now).

What is becoming clearer to me - after all the gear analysis us guys like to do here - is how emotional & hypnotic the piece & your playing are. Even the choice of key is provocative & playing very impressionistic. And it's really got me because the quality of all the elements (player, guitar, entire signal chain) support the emotion I feel in your music.

If these recordings don't make people fall totally in love with acoustic guitars, & the hypnotic, intimate sounds & music of which they are uniquely capable, then I don't know what will.

Of course, the quality of the entire signal chain is a testament to what you've consistently preached: everything needs to be of the same high quality in a planned signal chain. And the best of gear can provide the greatest & most transparent accessibility to the spirit of the music & player, when in the right hands & ears.

There is no reason to compare Behringer's here when Mercedes are out there like this - gear & especially the music. The music is really what we're most connected to.

Listen out there, Steve. Your music is touching people all over the world right now. Encore! Or as we say in the Islands, "Hana Hou!"

Goodnight!

alohachris

Last edited by alohachris; 09-18-2011 at 11:51 PM.
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:34 PM
sdelsolray sdelsolray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
It'd be interesting to hear the unpanned versions. To me, these don't sound as spacious as I'd want. I never pan tracks, I just adjust the mic position to get the stereo image I want, but of course, whatever works. Panning seems to change a lot as the mics interact, at least when I do it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
With a spaced pair of mikes when you pan right and left stereo channels towards the middle you will get comb filtering to some
degree which then thins out the sound a bit.

Panning towards the middle is a trade off to get a more fixed location for the guitar sound, and if you fiddle with the mike locations
perhaps better mono compatibility. I prefer not to pan and try to reduce a lack of location focus by mike placement.
Doug and Rick,

I find that with a spaced pair panning them left and right a bit from dead center sounds quite nice. In other words, I start from a collapsed to mono starting point, and then spread them out a bit. 25% to 35% seems to work best. I usually don't care for 100% L and R panning of the two spaced pair tracks, as the stereo image sounds contrived, and there is a big hole in the middle of the image. Of course, with XY and ORTF 100% panning is fine.

I haven't found much in the way of comb filtering when mixing like this, provided the mics are far enough apart.

Perhaps I should try some more spaced pair mic placements. I've never been able to find one that worked well with 100% L/R panning.
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:40 PM
sdelsolray sdelsolray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Shepherd View Post
Hi Steve,

Thanks for posting these samples. All of the samples sounded very pleasing to my ears. Rather than going into a description of the subtle differences between them, what strikes me is how much difference the EQ and effects makes. There is also a noticeable volume increase in the mixed samples, which may have something to do with what I am hearing, as sometimes increased volume can, by itself, cause one to sit up a take more notice. Even when I decrease the volume on the mixed samples, I can still hear the mixed sound, which is more appealing to my ears.

When I recorded a dry sample of my 814c the other day, what struck me was that the recorded sound is so much like what what I hear when I play it. The guitar's particular sound is reproduced so well with my recording equipment, which as you know, consists of the Avalon AD2022 preamp, Gefell M300 matched pair, and the UA 2192 converters. I can see now that, as far as my recording chain is concerned, the sound of the guitar (or the source) and my playing ability is what really determines the end result. Sure, I could treat my room more, find different mic placements, etc., but the recording equipment I have is very accurate. I hope I am making sense here. Now, I know the raw signal can be embellished through digital processing during mixdown, but I am just talking about the raw recorded sound.

If my raw recorded sound sounded very colored and different from the source, I would be concerned. I still hear the unique character the recording equipment imparts to the raw recorded sound, but it doesn't mask the actual sound of my voice and guitar, at least to my ears. This is what I like about high end gear.
Rick,

Yes, the "mixed" samples with the eq and effects are different than the raw tracks. I boosted the gain via a software limiter up to about -1 dbfs peak (this is about 6 dB hotter than the original tracks).

Quote:
Originally Posted by alohachris View Post
Aloha Stephen,

The first two of your finely played & recorded guitar samples have been playing through my Koa 803's for most of today up here in the rainforest (it's Sunday evening now).

What is becoming clearer to me - after all the gear analysis us guys like to do here - is how emotional & hypnotic the piece & your playing are. Even the choice of key is provocative & playing very impressionistic. And it's really got me because the quality of all the elements (player, guitar, entire signal chain) support the emotion I feel in your music.

If these recordings don't make people fall totally in love with acoustic guitars, & the hypnotic, intimate sounds & music of which they are uniquely capable, then I don't know what will.

Of course, the quality of the entire signal chain is a testament to what you've consistently preached: everything needs to be of the same high quality in a planned signal chain. And the best of gear can provide the greatest & most transparent accessibility to the spirit of the music & player, when in the right hands & ears.

There is no reason to compare Behringer's here when Mercedes are out there like this - gear & especially the music. The music is really what we're most connected to.

Listen out there, Steve. Your music is touching people all over the world right now. Encore! Or as we say in the Islands, "Hana Hou!"

Goodnight!

alohachris
Thanks Chris. It's a alluring tune, Retrograde by Leo Kottke. SImple to play and the several repetitive ideas in the tune allow for a variety of interpretations and phrasing.
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:54 PM
sdelsolray sdelsolray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fran Guidry View Post
Steve, thanks so much for sharing your clips. Love your playing and your overall sound. You've certainly provided us with the opportunity to listen to three Cadillac (Mercedes?) recording chains.

I'm such a pain, I know, but it would be huge kick to hear these three alongside a pair of Behringer C2s into an M-Audio Fast Track Pro. You wouldn't happen to have anything like that laying around, would you <grin>?

As it is, we've got a pair of supercardioids (well, actually in between super and hyper cardioid), and two pairs of cardioids.

The MK41 low frequency rolloff starts pretty high, and is 3 dB down at 50 hz. I didn't stumble over an FR graph for the Gefell, the description talks about an LF rolloff but to my ear it has a bit more bass emphasis than the MK41 at this distance. Both sound quite similar up top, but I'm able to pick up a bit more sparkle with the MK41 when I ABX between the MK41 and the 295.

The presentation of the Josephson is quite different, the bass seems to be rolled off substantially and the treble seems lifted as well.

I'm on the road and listening through some Sennheiser PX 100s, a long way from high accuracy phones, I'm afraid, but it's what I've got.

So thanks for sharing, Steve. I hope we get to hear a lot more of your playing.

Fran
Thanks for listening, Fran. The Schoeps and Gefell mics have nearly identical FR graphs (I have actual graphs from the manufacturers for each mic). They were about a 4" difference in their placements and they were run through different preamps.

The Josephsons are interesting. They certainly need adjustment on mixdown for solo work. Take a listen the the Sample C mix I posted. I used a Focusrite Red 2 outboard eq boosting the bass and taming the treble a bit in two places, widened the stereo image a bit and added a reverb. With those tweaks it is an excellent sounding mic.

It's been some time since I compared this caliber of gear with entry level stuff. I did many experiments and comparisons years ago and with a few exceptions I determined that the entry level stuff just didn't cut it.
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