MICROPHONES & DI BOXES
If you have to buy one great mic, buy this one. Super versatile and will bring joy to everyone who uses it; in front of and behind the glass. Amazing for vocals, acoustic guitar and as the overhead in a Glyn Johns style drum recording.
We bought this for the Supertone studio and have had fantastic results. It is all over our new album and of course, is available to everyone who records at our studio.
"Since its original development in 1946, the TELEFUNKEN U47 has been the microphone of choice for generations of recording professionals. The first condenser microphone to offer selectable polar patterns (cardioid and omnidirectional), the original U47 also featured the famous M7 capsule which had been developed in 1928 by Georg Neumann. To this capsule was added an amplifier built from military surplus VF14 tubes (they had been used in field and aircraft radios), and BV8 output transformers. The combination of these components created a sonic quality that was absolutely unheard of in the English speaking world of the mid-1940s when darker sounding, less detailed ribbon microphones were the standard.
The introduction of the U47 brought a new level of fidelity to the audio world and is still considered to be one of the finest microphones ever produced. The Beatles' producer George Martin used the U 47 extensively in the group's recordings and claimed it was his favourite microphone."
The Flea is equipped with F7 capsule – their exact replica of M7 capsule, BV8 transformer and TELEFUNKEN EF12 tube.
I have used originals and the reissue Telefunken; this stands up with the best of them...
The vocals on Blueberry Pie, from the Starlite Campbell Band album of the same name, was recorded using this microphone at the Supertone studio, then located in Valencia, Spain.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE?
THE MOST VERSATILE RIBBON MIC
Ribbon mic's can be troublesome. The Supertone studio owns a pair of Coles 4038's and AEA R84's which are quite sensitive and need to be treated with some care. The AEA's are more robust but the Coles are quite delicate.
The Royer R-122 is quite the reverse. Being phantom powered they have plenty of output and the impedance the ribbon 'sees' is constant.
They are my go-to microphones for recording electric guitar and can be used at very high SPL's. The 'logo' side is a little brighter and can be reversed to tone down any harshness.
Of course, like many other ribbon mic's it has a figure of eight pickup pattern so you need to be careful whats 180° from the business side.
I have used them very successfully on acoustic & resonator guitar and usually go straight from the mic into an external preamp such as the API 512c then direct to Pro Tools although recently I have been using the beautiful microphone amplifiers in the Supertone CADAC J series console.
The guitar on the demo track was recorded using a R-122 directly in front of my Speed Shop Tweed Deluxe, no EQ or compression. Guitar was the Fender Custom Shop Nocaster Relic.
THE ULTIMATE SMALL DIAPHRAGM CONDENSER
Recording acoustic instruments and stereo sources is tricky and a great small diaphragm is exactly what you need. The Schoeps are the most natural-sounding and versatile condenser microphones I have ever come across.
Schoeps say: "The Colette series was introduced back in 1973 and has since been made up of mutually compatible modules that are constantly being updated and supplemented. No other microphone system has been on the market for such a long time".
Supertone currently has MK4 capsules but there are plans in the future to supplement these with omni-directional MK-2H capsules for ambient miking.
All the acoustic guitars featured on the sample track were recorded using these microphones; vocals used the Flea 12.
This is the defacto standard mic to record bass guitar and kick drum! Of course, being a Neumann condenser it can handle multiple roles very well, but it excels on bass. It's very difficult to achieve a bad sound using this superb mic.
Neuman say: "Introduced in 1972 as a successor to the legendary U 47 tube microphone, the U 47 fet became a Neumann classic in its own right. Its smooth yet defined character shaped the sound of the 70s.
The U 47 fet uses the same K 47 large diaphragm condenser capsule and the same headgrille design as its tube operated predecessor, the legendary U 47, which revolutionized the recording and broadcast industries from 1949 to1960. For sonic continuity, the U 47 fet also uses a similarly oversized output transformer. Otherwise, its transistorized head amplifier is an amazingly advanced design and a testament to Neumann’s state of the art engineering. This “vintage” microphone has a dynamic range of 119 dB!
The U 47 fet can handle extreme SPLs of up to 137 dB, and even 147 dB with the –10 dB pad switch engaged. This, along with its smooth top end and lush midrange, makes the U47 fet an excellent microphone for bright and loud instruments such as brass and electric guitar. Due to its exceptionally clear and uncluttered low end, it is a great choice for upright bass and bass cabinets. Numerous top engineers consider U 47 fet the ultimate microphone to place in front of the kick drum. At the same time it is an excellent vocal mic for crooners and screamers alike, due to its beautifully balanced response with just a slight, unobtrusive boost in the upper mids for added presence in the mix."
Supertone have a pair so we can record bass and drums together - how else can you do it!!
It is a fixed pattern cardioid design and on kick drum I use it off centre of the skin with a vintage AKG D12 in the hole. On bass amps just off centre of the cone and on acoustic/double bass I have it off centre around one metre from the fingerboard. On electric bass I sometimes add an additional Sennheiser MD412 and Avalon U5 DI.
-10dB pad and bass rolloff switches on the rear of the microphone make it a joy to use.
Every Starlite Campbell Band track uses this combination.
MORE LEGENDARY TONE!
This is a relatively new addition to the Supertone studio microphone cabinet and have already found it to be exceptional.
As it features cardioid, figure of eight and omni directional modes its really versatile and sounds just incredible.
Flea say: "This mic is an exact replica of the AKG C12 and involves a modern style power supply with integrated pattern switch. As standard, it is equipped with Tim Campbell's CT12 capsule - great choice if you are considering the clones of original CK12. The mic is equipped with 6072 tube.
The transformer is our own replica of original . Considering the sound, it is simply "Rolls-Royce". In some applications this mic will seem somewhat neutral, but its benefits will stand out during mixdown. It's fantastic for vocals, acoustic instruments as well as ambient miking. Those, who have not experienced, will not believe."
The demo track features this microphone on Suzy's voice direct to Po Tools via an API 512c preamp. Mixed using the CADAC J series with a UREI 1176 and fairydust via a Bricasti M7.
THE ULTIMATE DI (Direct InPUT)
I try not to be too technical in these notes but when it comes to DI's I need to do a little explanation.
A DI unit (direct input/injection) is an electronic device typically used in recording studios and in sound reinforcement systems to connect a high-output impedance, line level, unbalanced output signal to a low-impedance, microphone level, balanced input, usually via an XLR connector and XLR cable.
There are various factors that really make a great DI and the Avalon U5 has them all.
Avalon say: “The U5 includes a variable gain Class A preamplifier to boost low level pickup signals and a high level speaker input for capturing the live sound of the instruments amplifier. Six passive tone-EQ curves are also included to enhance a variety of acoustic and electric instruments. A high-cut switch eliminates unwanted acoustic pickup and high frequency noise, while a headphone monitor amp has been included for personal listening. Twin DC coupled Class A output amplifiers drive both low level microphone preamp inputs and high level +4dB inputs for direct to tape recording or processing. The active-to-thru switch selects either the instrument input directly or sends the boosted-equalized signal to the amplifier via the front panel jack. A ground isolation switch eliminates any possible earth loop or AC buzz problems with complete safety.
Features include state-of-the-art, high input impedance input stage for zero load effect on sensitive pickups and keyboards, 100% discrete, Pure Class A signal amplifiers, practical user features and rugged hardware designed to deliver true high performance audio for many years.”
They are right. It's the Supertone studio default DI box and is always used for the direct bass signal.