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Looking for more selection in low-frequency sound capture, an Electrovoice N/D868 finds its way into Tom's hands and into Woodcrest's microphone locker.
"Man that mic sounds good!"
Tom and Josh exclaim as they listen to it on an acoustic bass during a "I Am Love" tracking session.
This mic, paired with a Universal Audio LA-610 was an absolutely wonderful and rich tone for the acoustic bass. It provided what was wanted coming right into the Nuendo session project.
In other sessions: On kick drum, upright bass, and djembe this microphone provided the right bit of bass boost with a low mid cut. This specific tailoring of sound is essential when recording. These things are what
Tom is known for understanding, Source-Microphone-Preamp combinations, leading to his image known by his many artists as being a sound aficionado, spawning many conversations surrounding Tom's approach and reason for choosing specific microphones and preamps for specific tasks.
The following dialogue is based on many conversations Tom has had with artists, aspiring engineers and peers.)
Artist: "I can tell you are really into sound."
Tom: "Yeah, I guess so. You have to remember, I've been recording since the 80's, so I have acquired a bit of requirements for capturing sound. Maybe I am old-school, but in the recording process, I will always believe the signal chain to the source is the most important part of capturing a sound along with room acoustics, microphone placement, and not to mention the actual artists' performance."
Artist: "Things have changed though. With software, you have all sorts of easy ways to change the sound."
Tom: "Absolutely true and I do my best to avoid having to use software for fixing things that could have been done by altering a microphone placement or signal chain. Taking an extra minute to fine-tune something before you record it leaves you with a better overall cumulative recording. You also need to think ahead before you do anything or you will be stuck needing to excessively alter a track's spectral content in order for instruments to sit together in a mix."
Artist: "What do you mean?"
Tom: "OK, How many EQs do you see inserted on the recorded tracks?"
Artist: "Not many, actually."
Tom: "That's what I'm talking about. You see, once you understand the speed and character of your microphones and how it relates to the speed and character of certain preamplifier combinations with it, all it takes then is relating that to the speed and character of the source you are recording to know what you will wind up with. Now, take all that and relate it to the big picture: The Song's Instrumental Arrangement, what Spectral Content the arrangement imposes and Performance.... If you have a diverse selection of microphones and preamps, and the skill to place microphones with the forethought of spectral balance, with practice, years of practice (laughing), you will be able to decide your signal chains and mic placement to do everything for each individual track coming in to your recording program without the need for much EQ. "
Artist: "You ARE really into sound! (laughing at Tom)"
Tom: "That is just the tip of the iceberg.(laughing) Now, wrap your head and ears around this... Take all that I just said and now incorporate depth and width of a mix. Imagine for a moment there are no EQ plugins... just microphones, microphone placement, microphone preamp combinations, acoustics, and moveable sound absorbers/reflectors. The only tools you have beside that are level faders and pan knobs. If you base recording sessions on all this, you'll have an awesome canvas of sound to begin mixing and producing including provisions for the direction the mix may take."
Artist: "That is quite a rabbit hole you are going down there."
Tom: "...and just one thing I love about doing what I do."
Example of a dual microphone placement:
One microphone capturing the warm and deep inner-body sound.
One microphone to capture the highly textured bow sound.
Chosen, placed and phase-aligned by ear to accent low-mid frequencies.
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