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February 2011

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Computer and plug-ins, or old-school tape... modern control surface or analog console... we argue about a lot of what goes into the recording chain, but it's hard to argue with the first step: a microphone in front of an instrument. In our February 2011 issue, RECORDING delves into the art and science of instrument miking, with tips and tools for all budgets and all experience levels.

We learn about a very special album recording project, where the magical vibe of an old blues recording was re-created by having the entire band playing in one room, and how the miking difficulties of such a setup were overcome. We roll up our sleeves and get into recording drum kits for maximum quality and minimum hassle. A good-sounding string library is made even better by recording live strings over the top. And in an exclusive interview, we go in-depth with recording tricks for several songs on a tribute album to none other than Les Paul, with an all-star cast of guitarists. Those are just some of the studio reports and tutorial tricks we lay out in this issue!

And what would an issue on instrument miking be without a slate of instrument mics on test? Paul Vnuk Jr. records an entire session with MXL's new Revelation tube mic and calls out its unique features and sound. We introduce you to the Bock Audio 195, a surprisingly affordable top-class mic that has been quietly taking the pro studio world by storm. And for you lovers of ribbon mics, we test the new 4050 from Coles, a remarkable stereo mic that actually breaks apart into two mono mics!

There's plenty more to keep you reading and learning. Check out our report from the 2010 AES Convention in San Francisco, with a slew of new gear on its way to our test studios and maybe to your studio as well. We review the remarkable Bella preamp from Prodigy Engineering, plug-ins from SoundToys and Universal Audio, and KRK's newest foray into audio monitoring -- the KNS Series of studio headphones. Our popular series on music business law, "It's Your Music -- Know Your Rights", continues with the sometimes scary details of hiring a manager. All this and more is yours to enjoy in the February 2011 RECORDING. Pick up a copy today and take your instrument recordings to the next level!

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Bock Audio 195 Microphone   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

The Soundelux legacy lives on in a condenser mic that redefines the term "workhorse".

David Bock, a former Ocean Way/Hit Factory/Hyde Street engineer turned microphone wizard, was the designer behind the now defunct Soundelu......Expand

Prodigy Engineering Bella   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

A 500 Series preamp module with all-analog sound and surprising digital smarts.

Prodigy Engineering is a relatively new boutique audio company that launched a few years ago with a unique 8-channel remote-controlled microphon......Expand

Coles Electroacoustics 4050 Stereo Ribbon Microphone   |   Reviewed by Scott Dorsey

A cleverly designed ribbon array that's tailor made for stereo or mono recording.

The Coles 4050 stereo mic system consists of two very small ribbon microphones and a mount which holds one above the other and allows you to v......Expand

Plug-in Outlet   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

SoundToys Decapitator; Universal Audio EP-34 Tape Echo.

According to SoundToys, "Decapitator is the sound of analog gear being pushed hard to the point of saturation and beyond". But this analog saturation effects plug-in do......Expand

KRK Systems KNS Series Headphones   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

The first headphone designs from the renowned monitor maker combine comfort, affordability, and solid sound.

KRK Systems is a well-established name in the world of studio listening, with passive and active monitors on the ma......Expand

MXL Revelation Microphone   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

A high-end tube design from a company better known for more affordable mics, this classy mic has a unique sonic signature with a wide variety of applications.

In early 2009 MXL introduced a new cardioid-pattern vocal-centric......Expand

Bartlett Microphones Spark Mini.   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

In the studio or live on stage, this clip-on omni lets you easily add an extra tonal flavor to guitars, mandolins, and other instruments.

The Spark Mini Mic is a miniature clip-on electret condenser microphone created by Bru......Expand

Commit, Execute, Deliver   |   Reviewed by Rick Barrio Dill

The blues band Vintage Trouble goes into the studio to capture a session the old-school way, with the whole band in one room. Here’s how it was done.

At the core, recording music and making records should be both fun and a......Expand


Brian Tarquin: Ins And Outs Of A Guitar Recording   |   Interviewed by Lorenz Rychner

A CD tribute to Les Paul features guitarists from Jeff Beck to Leslie West, and engineer/producer Tarquin unlocks its recording secrets for us.

Brian Tarquin is a guitarist who produces recordings featuring his own playing a......Expand

Terry Wollman On Miking Acoustic Guitars   |   Interviewed by Lorenz Rychner

Vintage and new, conventional and strange... acoustics on display, with miking hints you can use.

Terry Wollman has a knack for recording and making beautiful music with acoustic guitars that vary greatly in tone. Loyal read......Expand

Al Schmitt On Miking, Mixing, And More   |   Interviewed by Daniel Rolnik

The world-famous engineer weighs in on recording pianos with singing players, working with orchestras, and the essentials of great performances.

Al Schmitt is a household name in audio, a winner of fifteen Grammys and untold......Expand

Miking The Really Big Gig   |   Interviewed by Lorenz Rychner

A Dianne Reeves concert, recorded for 5.1 and for NPR / PRI broadcast, required the building of a system with 1500 feet of MADI cable, 2 DiGiCo consoles, an analog console, and a whole lot more, not to mention myriad mics. We talked to Tech Direct......Expand


2010 AES Convention Report   |   Written by Mike Metlay with Lorenz Rychner and Paul Vnuk Jr.

Three days of gear madness in San Francisco... we call out some of the highlights.

The Audio Engineering Society held its 129th Convention at the Moscone Center in San Francisco on November 4-7. The show was a bit smaller th......Expand

Strings: The Real Thing   |   Written by D. Bruce Moore

Even a single well-played string line can take a sample library to a new level. A step by step analysis of recording a cellist to sweeten up a budget project.

Sampled strings have come a long way. It is possible to pass off ......Expand

Recording Drums In The Studio   |   Written by Jon Bare

A good drum recording is magical, and doesn't have to be expensive or complicated. Learn all you need to know about capturing a kit.

Are drums obsolete in today's digital recording studio? With so many sample libraries and c......Expand

It's Your Music -- Know Your Rights. Chapter 11: Managers -- Part 2   |   Written by Todd Gascon with Bruce Kaphan

We talked about whether to have one last month; now we cover the details of what’s involved when you actually hire one.

The artist-manager relationship can be complex, as Bruce Kaphan outlined last month in Part 1 where he......Expand

Fade Out   |   Written by Brent Heintz

Miking Wisdom At Sennheiser's Skywalker Sound Academy.

After attending the AES show in San Francisco, I was fortunate enough to be present at the Sennheiser Sound Academy, an event co-sponsored by RECORDING Magazine.

Kef America

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