Recording Drums? How many mics do you use?

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October 2015

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When we survey our readers about the types of audio products they love to learn about in Recording, microphones are always at or near the top of the list. Everyone uses mics, everyone needs them, and everyone is on the lookout for that next addition to the mic locker that will expand their tracking capabilities in a meaningful way. This month, RECORDING returns to the AES Convention in New York with a special issue on maximizing your mic locker.

A mic locker issue relies on great mic reviews, and we've got a bunch of them this time: two beautiful tube condenser mics from ADK, the affordable and versatile PGA181 drum/percussion mic from Shure, boutique ribbons from Samar Audio, Audix's newest on-ear mics, the gorgeous St. Jean Baptiste FET condenser mic from Cathedral Pipes, and Lewitt's remarkable DGT 650 -- a high-end stereo mic with built-in audio and MIDI interface for on-the-go studio work. We also feature Apogee's new Groove portable D/A, monitors from Focal and Gibson, and signal processors from Retro Instruments and Manley Labs (the latter review featuring an illuminating interview with EveAnna Manley herself).

All the mic choices in the world won't help you if you don't have a strategy for building up your locker. In this issue, Sven-Erik Seaholm walks us through starting and building upon a useful mic collection according to our budget, with sensible advice for purchases from $100 to $3000 and beyond. Eric Ferguson returns to our pages with the first look at an ongoing recording session at Hollywood's famed NRG Recording Studios. Eric will begin with a discussion of the mics used on the session and how they were chosen and set up to track a large ensemble with a wide variety of instruments.

All this plus a fascinating article by Aaron Trumm about creating "deliverables" that maximize your studio's earning power, First Steps with Paul J. Stamler, Readers' Tapes with Marty Peters, our regular monthly columns, and more. October is Mic Month, and you'll want to be in on all the action in this month's RECORDING!


Apogee Groove   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

High-quality digital audio playback doesn't get much smaller or handier than this.

ADK Custom Shop Z-MOD Z-251 and T-FET Cremona 251-T   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

The tube Z-MOD and solid-state T-FET mics say "Yello!" with a pair of designs that echo the iconic Telefunken ELA M 251.

Focal Trio6 Be Monitors   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

These 3-way monitors combine world-class performance with a hidden trick... they're also 2-way monitors!

Manley CORE Reference Channel Strip   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

We test out this new preamp/compressor/EQ/limiter, and interview EveAnna Manley about the design decisions that led to the CORE's combination of low cost and exceptional quality.

Cathedral Pipes Saint Jean Baptiste Vintage FET Microphone   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

The up-and-coming maker of mics that are as stunning to look at as they are to listen to premieres its first solid-state design.

Gibson Pro Audio Les Paul 4 and Les Paul 6 Reference Monitors   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

Behind the sexy flamed maple fascia lurks a powerful, competent monitor worthy of any small studio.

Samar Audio Design VL37 Ribbon Mic   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

A unique look and a sparkling new sound hint at a new direction for ribbon mics.

Retro Instruments Doublewide 500 Series Tube Compressor   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

This variable-Mu compressor packs in so much tube goodness, they had to make it twice as wide...

Audix HT5 and HT7 Over-Ear Condenser Microphones   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

Stage and speaking gigs require a mic that mixes reliable audio with unobtrusive looks and comfort.

Lewitt DGT 650 and Lewitt Recorder for iOS   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

Many products claim to be complete USB/iOS recording solutions, but this package puts it all together in spectacular fashion.

Shure PGA27 and PGA181 Condenser Microphones   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

These two solid offerings showcase the new PG ALTA line of entry-level mics.

Build Your Mic Locker   |   Reviewed by Sven-Erik Seaholm and Mike Metlay

Everyone has to start somewhere. Here's a buyer's guide to mics from under $100 to over $3000, broken down by mic type and application. There's a little of everything!

First Steps. Part 10: Beyond The Boost -- Mic Preamps II   |   Reviewed by Paul J. Stamler

There's a lot more to a good preamp than adding gain to a signal; in this column, we'll go deeper and look all the other functions preamps bring to the table.


Once More, With NRG   |   Written by Eric Ferguson

A jazz session at North Hollywood's famed NRG Studios begins with mic choice and mic placement. Follow along as we delve into the details of how the magic's captured.

Studio Deliverables   |   Written by Aaron Trumm

If a band walks out of the studio with a finished track ready for a CD and nothing else, they've been cheated out of many more useful products they should be taking home. Essential reading for recording artists and studio owners alike!

Fade Out   |   Written by Scott Dorsey

The Making Of West Side Story: an excellent documentary about the recording of a less-than-excellent record.

Kef America

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