Music Player Network
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2
AEA ribbon mics!
#3043462 05/13/20 03:11 AM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 21,338
Likes: 151
4x KCFFL Champ
20k Club
OP Offline
4x KCFFL Champ
20k Club
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 21,338
Likes: 151
Looks like I'm going to be doing some work with the nice folks who make AEA ribbon mics. I'm a big fan already, so this should be all kinds of fun. boing

Anybody on the forum an AEA owner?

dB

1 member likes this: Joe Muscara
Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Dave Bryce #3043486 05/13/20 05:16 AM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 9,677
Likes: 52
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 9,677
Likes: 52
Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
Anybody on the forum an AEA owner?

not yet. I just asked for an increase in my allowance. smile


A reason why I collect old keyboards is that I feel partly responsible for doing it, responsible for preserving history and being a custodian for these things
Plus, old gear has a story. I like that.
Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Dave Bryce #3043498 05/13/20 06:39 AM
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 1,562
Likes: 53
Platinum Member
Online Content
Platinum Member
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 1,562
Likes: 53
Since another "luster" chimed in, I want the stereo ribbon!!!
When I win the lottery, gonna get two of them so I can record stereo in stereo. And stuff... laugh


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Dave Bryce #3043525 05/13/20 12:34 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 420
Likes: 7
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 420
Likes: 7
I'd like to say a word about Wes Dooley (and you should, too). I've known him for over 40 years, back when he was a pro audio dealer with a side business of repairing RCA ribbon mics. While he's not an electronics designer - he solicits some of the best in the business when that's what he needs - he's studied and documented every link in the recording chain and knows what matters. His progression into a microphone builder was just natural.

What's very important, though, is that Wes has been building up a still small staff and is passing on his knowledge and experience and is nurturing the next generation of microphone designers and builders (some would call them "employees" but they're much more). Wes' "students" are now contributing new designs and brought new microphones to market that are likely, in the future, to be as important as the classic RCA mics.

As a side project, someone should be gathering some oral history of West Coast recording, particularly field recording, in the 1960s. He used to haul recorders around to LA area clubs and concerts. I've never asked, but always wondered if he still has tapes from those days.

1 member likes this: Dave Bryce
Re: AEA ribbon mics!
KuruPrionz #3043543 05/13/20 02:08 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 21,338
Likes: 151
4x KCFFL Champ
20k Club
OP Offline
4x KCFFL Champ
20k Club
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 21,338
Likes: 151
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Since another "luster" chimed in, I want the stereo ribbon!!!
When I win the lottery, gonna get two of them so I can record stereo in stereo. And stuff... laugh
I have the R88 (the active one) here now for eval, actually. What a fabulous piece of kit. Not surprisingly, it's one of their best sellers.

Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
I'd like to say a word about Wes Dooley (and you should, too).
Absolutely.

Wes and his wife Sara are the main reason I'm doing this - plain and simple. I love their mics to bits, and think their products in general exist in rarified air...but it's truly wonderful to get a chance to work with a company so rich in tradition and history, and to have the opportunity to learn from people with so much experience, love and dedication for the craft. One of the reasons I tend to gravitate towards working with smaller companies is that I treasure the opportunity to work directly with the folks who conceive of and bring the tools we all love to life, and the Dooleys are most definitely the Real Thing. cool

I'm honored beyond belief that they asked me to come work with them. smile

dB

Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Dave Bryce #3043554 05/13/20 03:09 PM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 458
Likes: 11
N
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
N
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 458
Likes: 11
I have the N8 stereo kit. I've mostly used them on drums (overheads) and on my piano. On drums, the HF rolloff is useful when a slightly darker sound is wanted. I've also found this useful for taming too much cymbals when a drummer counts time on them too much. I would probably reach for them if asked to record brass or if I wanted a natural, but not bright string sound.

On my Kawai RX-7, one of my favorite uses is to put up a Blumelein pair right in front of my face when I am seated at the bench, with the bottom of the array maybe 2-2.5 feet above the keys. When micing this way, the array is very sensitive to moving closer or further from the piano. Inches matter. My favorite way to use them is directly into a Sonosax SX-R4+ recorder, which offers some of the cleanest preamps and finest AD conversion on the planet. I can dial in a wonderfully natural capture that sounds pretty much exactly like what I hear when playing. I process the array in M/S, and rather than have a huge piano that sounds "left to right", I prefer the standard "notes don't move" presentation. But with control over how much of the side signal is used, I can control the spaciousness. The N8's do have a higher noise floor than excellent SDC's like my Josephson 671SET omni's, but it is not a big deal. I use a small amounts of noise reduction in RX-7, and I can have "black, noiseless backgrounds". This is a fully professional, high-quality sound that stands up to anything I've heard.

As an aside, the current audiophile piano recording standard seems to be to eliminate any audible noise floor at normal listening volumes. There is a very slight reduction in transient micro-detail as a "price" for the noise reduction, but I use a lighter touch than I've heard on many modern classical piano recordings. I definitely have less NR and processing than the exceptionally well recorded VSL Syncron Steinway. My piano isn't as good as that instrument, but my recordings have less processing. I can say that listening to raw mic feeds from high quality microphones through very high end preamps is revealing. The piano has a lot of small "micro-contrast" and fine detail that goes away quickly through medium-heavy noise reduction or compression. The piano is a very demanding instrument and quickly sorts out microphones and recording equipment. No listener would notice, but if you work with the raw feeds and know what changes, you can hear it.

I tried putting an N8 in the ISO cab I have for recording guitars, but that was not a good use. They don't take the SPL like a 57 or Royers. I was getting distortion from the mic, so I quickly pulled it out. In fairness, this wasn't designed for close micing. So it isn't like this was a disappointment.

I appreciate what AEA did in making "active ribbons". There is no reason to push the impedance conversion and massive gain needed outside the mic body. The Royer SF-24 appeals for the same reason. When I bought the mics, I thought that I would like the flexibility of having two mics and a stereo bar vs. one fixed array. I have realized that I essentially always set the mics up as a Blumelein pair, and my next ribbons will be set up that way.

If you are going to work at AEA, you may find the following feedback interesting. The next ribbon mic that I'd like to get is the Samar VL373A. It is an active ribbon, but unlike the AEA ribbons, it isn't tied to the old RCA-44 design with significant HF roll-off. The Samar is essentially flat like a fine SDC, but like all ribbons, doesn't have any of the SDC or LDC capsule resonance issues. I would not sell my N8's to get it, but I would love to have a stereo ribbon mic with a full high end. The classical recordist speak very highly of this microphone. The Royer SF-24 is also used because it has more high end than the AEA microphones. I don't know if that is something AEA would produce, but I think highly of their products.

I also have two of their excellent stereo bars (the long 1m one and the shorter one). These are outstanding for setting up all manner of stereo mic configurations. The 1m bar is often inside the rim of my piano for close-micing setups with the Josephson omni's. You need quality mic stands like the Starbird or Latchlake stands to support this bar hanging over the rim.

1 member likes this: Dave Bryce
Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Dave Bryce #3043677 05/14/20 11:05 AM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 21,295
Likes: 35
Triple Secret Banninated
20k Club
Offline
Triple Secret Banninated
20k Club
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 21,295
Likes: 35
Congrats, Dave. You've listed every reason this is a cool gig for you. I just wish I could justify buying mics like that for myself. I don't do enough recording right now. It's on the list.


The great thing about music is that there's always something to learn. The frustrating thing about music is that there's always something to learn!
Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Joe Muscara #3043789 05/14/20 10:27 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 21,338
Likes: 151
4x KCFFL Champ
20k Club
OP Offline
4x KCFFL Champ
20k Club
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 21,338
Likes: 151
Originally Posted by Joe Muscara
Congrats, Dave. You've listed every reason this is a cool gig for you. I just wish I could justify buying mics like that for myself.
The AEA mic of mine that gets the most use is my KU5A...and I don't record with it anywhere near as much as I use it for a live vocal mic. I've upgraded every other aspect of my live rig, and this mic is night and day better to me than the dynamic mic I was using before.

When you think about it, it is odd how many of us use killer gear everywhere else live, but rely on that same old $100 mic we started with years ago.

dB

Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Dave Bryce #3043838 05/15/20 11:17 AM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 21,295
Likes: 35
Triple Secret Banninated
20k Club
Offline
Triple Secret Banninated
20k Club
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 21,295
Likes: 35
Ohhhh, I'm much less likely to sing live than in the privacy of my home studio! grin


The great thing about music is that there's always something to learn. The frustrating thing about music is that there's always something to learn!
Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Dave Bryce #3043938 05/15/20 07:52 PM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 458
Likes: 11
N
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
N
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 458
Likes: 11
Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
When you think about it, it is odd how many of us use killer gear everywhere else live, but rely on that same old $100 mic we started with years ago.

I have never understood this. Where SM-57's have a definitely useful sound, regardless of what else you have in the mic locker, SM-58s are mediocre compared to what is available today. Everyone "knows them" and how they sound on one, but they are still mediocre. Once you have used something like Neumann's live condenser mics or the comparable offerings from DPA, Earthworks, etc, I don't know how you could go back. And they are all CHEAP compared to a guitar, synth, drums, etc. Heck, I have a ride cymbal that is almost as expensive as the Neumann KMS!

Voice is the most expressive instrument ever. Why would someone not want to capture it well?

But if that line of reasoning is not useful, I REALLY don't understand the idea of sharing a vocal mic with others. Pop vocals are done "on top of the mic" live. Using a shared mic is about as enticing an idea as licking handrails in the mall.

Pro vocalists often have their own mic. I don't understand why vocalists don't show up with their own mic and a high-end channel strip with EQ and compression set exactly in the way that works best for their voice. Why not feed a finished signal to FoH? Everyone else in the band is trying to do that....

1 member likes this: Dave Bryce
Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Nathanael_I #3043971 05/15/20 11:12 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 420
Likes: 7
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 420
Likes: 7
Originally Posted by Nathanae
lSM-58s are mediocre compared to what is available today. Everyone "knows them" and how they sound on one, but they are still mediocre.

Well, if you say so. But for the SM-58's designed purpose, it does a good job. Shure makes "better" stage vocal mics, and they have established a good place in the field, too, but generally not as a stock sound company or venue mic. And when it comes to the studio, well, some people use an SM-58 because that's what makes the singer most comfortable. When it comes to touring bands with a budget and (maybe some day again) a busy schedule, often you'll find an assortment of selected vocal mics.

Quote
Pro vocalists often have their own mic. I don't understand why vocalists don't show up with their own mic and a high-end channel strip with EQ and compression set exactly in the way that works best for their voice. Why not feed a finished signal to FoH? Everyone else in the band is trying to do that....

Cost, plain and simple. That's indeed what you'll see on a professional tour, but the coffee house singer-songwriter won't get bigger tips if he has a KMS-105.

True story - During the period when I worked for Mackie, I got Mackie interested in participating (as a vendor) at the Folk Alliance conference, which was held in Vancouver BC that year, just over the pond from Mackie. I worked the Mackie vendor booth, and we made arrangements to provide appropriately sized Mackie mixers and powered speakers for the sound company that had the contract to support the conference. While I was at it, I made arrangements to borrow some Neumann KMS105s, which were new that year. Mackie also provided PA systems and operators for several small venues around town where the convention attendees had gigs. One day when I was at the booth, a couple of singers asked me why their new mic worked with some mixers and not others - it was a KMS-105! I plugged it into one of the mixers on the table and indeed it worked, but then I asked if they knew what phantom power was, and got questioning looks. They most likely sometimes plugged into a system without phantom power or without anyone knowing to turn it on. But taking it a bit further, she pointed to the Mackie PPM powered mixer on the table and said that it never worked in the place where they had one of those. I pointed out that the PPM supplied phantom power, but it was only 15 volts, and the KMS required real 48v power.

So, to condense the answer to one word - "reliability."

Of course everything can be different in the studio, where you might not use the same "better" mic for every song.

Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Dave Bryce #3043994 05/16/20 12:51 AM
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 1,562
Likes: 53
Platinum Member
Online Content
Platinum Member
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 1,562
Likes: 53
Since we are now off-topic, I want to add to what Mike Rivers has posted.

Background check - I've been a gigging musician for 35+ years. Big stage, little stage, fancy digs, shithole dumps, house provided sound, bring your own, you name it I've played it.
Since it certainly isn't for the money, it could only be the fame and the glory. Or maybe, I am just not right in the head. laugh

The only thing that was ever stolen from me at a gig was a pair of... SM58 microphones. They just "disappeared" after we got down off the stage at the end of the evening. Well used, affordable, it sucked but not too big of a hit. Slip out with a pair of those Neumanns and I will have to hunt you down like a beast and cause you great pain.

I've come back from a break at a somewhat respectable gig and some drunken imbecile was trying to figure out how to play my guitar. The standby switch was on the back of the amp.
We were booked at a club every Thursday for 3 years that has such a long run from the stage to the mixer that phantom power gets lost along the way.
The PA the casino required us to use didn't have phantom power period.
Etc... ad infinitum.

I've long since learned to bring a presentable Strat or Tele that is durable, repairable and replaceable, as a guitar tech I've repaired headstocks on some nice guitars and most of them got broken at gigs.
I own a Shure KSM8, a Beta 87a and a Heil PR40. All of them sound great in their own way. I also have a beautiful Gibson ES335, it stays home - possible exception being a wedding gig.

For gigs, I currently bring an Audix OM-2 I picked up in a pawn shop for $25. It sounds fine, I like it a little better than an SM58 but not much and one factor is the low price I paid for it.

If the club provides SM58s that are not crusted over with putrifying beer breath residue, I'll use those. They have their system "dialed" to that, it's just easier and liability free.

And that's the real world, according to me. Cheers, Kuru


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Dave Bryce #3044044 05/16/20 05:15 AM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 458
Likes: 11
N
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
N
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 458
Likes: 11
I notice all the professional lady vocalists in the symphonic metal bands sing through one of the nice the stage condensers. So does Celine Dion. Yes, they are professionals. Even elite professionals. But how many local keyboard players play the same keyboards as their more famous counterparts? How many of us play flagships when something less would do just because it is nice to play on? Don't vocalists think, "Wow, I sound a lot better on this?" or, "I like controlling how my voice translates to the audience"?

There is no arguing the ubiquity of the SM-58 and its universal acceptance as lowest common denominator. And it is exactly what I would put out for a vocalist if they didn't bring anything. Why would I risk better gear on someone who doesn't care enough to spend $100 of their own dollars? I've hung out on the live sound forums - that's exactly what the PA company owners think. It also makes a good impression on them when a vocalist shows up and cares about their sound and brings their own mic. I'm just observing that what is acceptable cost and effort for most other band members is seen as strange and unusual by vocalists. In the studio, I get it - they are renting a facility. Studios often provide high end amps, guitars, pianos, organs etc that are impeccably maintained. That's part of what earns the fee. I would just think that vocalists would want more of that live, or as much as they could get.

I once put up a nice mic for a singer with an above average voice at a live event I was mixing. They were so used to the sound of a 58, that they were uncomfortable with the monitor mix, even though it far better represented their voice. I took it down immediately and put the 58 back up without even being asked. I'm not necessarily disagreeing with the practical perspective, just that I wouldn't roll that way. I guess the voice is so expressive and so universally understood that even with reduced reproduction quality it still completely holds our attention. The bar for adequacy is just lower, apparently.

Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Nathanael_I #3044048 05/16/20 06:13 AM
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 1,562
Likes: 53
Platinum Member
Online Content
Platinum Member
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 1,562
Likes: 53
Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
I notice all the professional lady vocalists in the symphonic metal bands sing through one of the nice the stage condensers. So does Celine Dion. Yes, they are professionals. Even elite professionals. But how many local keyboard players play the same keyboards as their more famous counterparts? How many of us play flagships when something less would do just because it is nice to play on? Don't vocalists think, "Wow, I sound a lot better on this?" or, "I like controlling how my voice translates to the audience"?

There is no arguing the ubiquity of the SM-58 and its universal acceptance as lowest common denominator. And it is exactly what I would put out for a vocalist if they didn't bring anything. Why would I risk better gear on someone who doesn't care enough to spend $100 of their own dollars? I've hung out on the live sound forums - that's exactly what the PA company owners think. It also makes a good impression on them when a vocalist shows up and cares about their sound and brings their own mic. I'm just observing that what is acceptable cost and effort for most other band members is seen as strange and unusual by vocalists. In the studio, I get it - they are renting a facility. Studios often provide high end amps, guitars, pianos, organs etc that are impeccably maintained. That's part of what earns the fee. I would just think that vocalists would want more of that live, or as much as they could get.

I once put up a nice mic for a singer with an above average voice at a live event I was mixing. They were so used to the sound of a 58, that they were uncomfortable with the monitor mix, even though it far better represented their voice. I took it down immediately and put the 58 back up without even being asked. I'm not necessarily disagreeing with the practical perspective, just that I wouldn't roll that way. I guess the voice is so expressive and so universally understood that even with reduced reproduction quality it still completely holds our attention. The bar for adequacy is just lower, apparently.


Nathaniel, I can't disagree with you on any of your points. Both here and in California I've had sound men who wanted me to use the mics that they brought because they were familiar with them and had their systems dialed in to work with them. They didn't want to change, they'd done all the heavy lifting and in the end we were "Babysitting Alcoholics" as a friend of mine who made a living playing top 40 in clubs once said.

If the sound guy has his mind set on an SM58 and you want to use a Beta 87, you probably aren't going to sound as good as the 58 because they won't make the effort to listen and adjust to what they are hearing.
Gotta choose your battles, show starts in 15 minutes, mic is on the stand and you've got to set your amp up, tune your guitar and start churning out music. There is no question in my mind that properly dialed in, the Beta 87 sounds better than the 58 on my voice. What matters to me may not matter to anybody else.

Everything I"ve listed in my post above was a practical consideration, not a defense of the status quo. I do know from experience that an SM58 will take a hell of an impact and still work and sound the same as it did. From a sound man's perspecitve it's "Buy once, use forever." The last thing a musician wants is to be considered an annoyance to the sound man!!!!

On a similar note, tomorrow I'll be live streaming with a band and I know from having worked with the crew that I will have an SM57 stuck near the edge of my speaker. It works, sound comes out, done and on to the next. Testing shows me that an SM57 near the edge of the cone does not sound nearly as good as taking the line out of my Boss Katana 100 combo and running it through a Whirlwind IMP2 into the PA. No, that doesn't sound like high end gear but I turned the amp's speaker off at a couple of clubs where I had it connected that way and it sounded great through both the monitors and the mains, much smoother and fuller than a more or less randomly places SM57 - which was OK but a bit thin and harsh. The standard seems to be that I am supposed to dial my amp in so it sounds good through their "set in stone" methods. Joy...

I mentioned the line out the first time we did a session there and the sound crew completely ignored me and put an SM57 on my amp. Do I take a stand? There is no benefit in getting into an ego war in front of witnesses, I won't win.

You speak of an ideal world and it would be fantastic if all sound crews thought the way you think. It has been my experience that time can be a critical factor, approaching somebody who has "always done it this way" is a factor and that I have more important ways to spend my time that don't create discord.

My real world perspecitve and experience may seem to disagree with you but I don't. I'd LOVE to have the mic Dave Bryce mentioned using be my vocal mic at every show. Not. gonna. happen. Sad...
Cheers, Kuru


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Nathanael_I #3044060 05/16/20 12:42 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 420
Likes: 7
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 420
Likes: 7
Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
I notice all the professional lady vocalists in the symphonic metal bands sing through one of the nice the stage condensers. So does Celine Dion. Yes, they are professionals. Even elite professionals.

Two things at play here. First, have you actually seen them live, in person, on stage? Not a video?

Second, they may indeed actually be using a well selected, tested, and process-chained mic. But this is because that's what they do for a living, and a darn good living, too. But Celine Dion isn't going to show up as a guest at a county fair with her fancy mic and not her fancy sound crew and processing gear to go along with it.

That being said, I used to do a lot of folk festivals where there's a new act on stage every 30-45 minutes with no sound check, rarely any accurate information about their sound and stage requirements. I try to use a standard setup as much as I can, using SM58s for vocals and a couple of different dynamic mics that I can rely on to sound good on just about anything I put them in front of, with maybe just a bit of board EQ tweaking. There's a standard drum kit setup, a mic for an acoustic bass that can be easily be swapped out for a DI if there's a pickup on the bass, and maybe a condenser mic for a fiddle if the player is positioned so that monitor leakage won't have me constantly chasing feedback.

On occasion, a bluegrass band or an unaccompanied vocal group will bring their own mic (the Audio Technica 4050-ish series are popular for this) and ask if I'll use it. Fortunately most of these groups know what they're doing, know how to work with their mic, and it works just fine. But more than once, I've had a band that bought a mic just for the gig so they can look good and didn't know doodlysquat about being well balanced. That usually turns out poorly with the audience holllering "Can't hear the banjo" or something.

So far, I've never had an AEA ribbon mic brought in by a band.

Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Mike Rivers #3044092 05/16/20 03:20 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 21,338
Likes: 151
4x KCFFL Champ
20k Club
OP Offline
4x KCFFL Champ
20k Club
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 21,338
Likes: 151
Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
IBut how many local keyboard players play the same keyboards as their more famous counterparts? How many of us play flagships when something less would do just because it is nice to play on? Don't vocalists think, "Wow, I sound a lot better on this?" or, "I like controlling how my voice translates to the audience"?.
yeahthat

Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
So far, I've never had an AEA ribbon mic brought in by a band.
I can understand that...but the KU5A is actually kind of a different animal becuase of the way it's built and it's RCA BK5 legacy. It's AEA's only top address ribbon, so it doesn't have to deal with the usual open back and figure of 8 issues common to side address models.

Wes lent me a bunch of them and all of my band members tried them out at the same time. It was amazing to watch three of us totally adapt to them, and one of us have a bit of a problem at first...but he got it eventually. Two of us felt there was such a huge difference that we immediately added them to our aresenals. The very next gig we did, the soundman commented right away on how impressed he was by them. I even fell in love with it on my Kawai parlor grand piano.

I know - the idea of being able to lean on and abuse a ribbon mic the way you do an SM58 is not what most people are used to...but the Ku5A not only can take it, it actually seems to like it quite a bit.

dB

Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Dave Bryce #3044098 05/16/20 04:32 PM
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 1,562
Likes: 53
Platinum Member
Online Content
Platinum Member
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 1,562
Likes: 53
Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
IBut how many local keyboard players play the same keyboards as their more famous counterparts? How many of us play flagships when something less would do just because it is nice to play on? Don't vocalists think, "Wow, I sound a lot better on this?" or, "I like controlling how my voice translates to the audience"?.
yeahthat

Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
So far, I've never had an AEA ribbon mic brought in by a band.
I can understand that...but the KU5A is actually kind of a different animal because of the way it's built and it's RCA BK5 legacy. It's AEA's only top address ribbon, so it doesn't have to deal with the usual open back and figure of 8 issues common to side address models.

Wes lent me a bunch of them and all of my band members tried them out at the same time. It was amazing to watch three of us totally adapt to them, and one of us have a bit of a problem at first...but he got it eventually. Two of us felt there was such a huge difference that we immediately added them to our aresenals. The very next gig we did, the soundman commented right away on how impressed he was by them. I even fell in love with it on my Kawai parlor grand piano.

I know - the idea of being able to lean on and abuse a ribbon mic the way you do an SM58 is not what most people are used to...but the Ku5A not only can take it, it actually seems to like it quite a bit.

dB

Dang it, now I want one!!!!!
MPN forums are evil!!!!! laugh


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Dave Bryce #3044102 05/16/20 04:46 PM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 458
Likes: 11
N
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
N
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 458
Likes: 11
Dave gets my point.

MIke, yes, I know what people are using from laying eyes on it at live events. I've taken my daughter to these shows since she was a young teenager. We are "metal buddies". Every show I go to, I check out the whole technical infrastructure, what people are playing, etc. Its pretty easy if you know the gear.

There are two ideas going on here. The one is not interesting as a discussion topic. I get it. I'm not sure why they are conflated, but I will try to separate them.

1) The utility/soundman side of things. I understand this. I've been that sound guy. I get the utility, the time, the cost, all that. This perspective is rational. I completely get that if the sound guy get to drive, they will do whatever they want. But they are also businesses. If customers (musicians and promoters) demanded more, they would happily comply. The sound guys I know are as passionate about good musical sound as the good musicians I know. Things are at the lowest common denominator precisely because no one demands more. And that is my actual question.

2) the musician side of things. The question is simple, "Why don't more vocalists care/demand more/invest in their sound?" Everyone else on the bandstand (even someone bringing a cheap guitar & modeling amp) is bringing way more than the cost of a personal 58. Festivals don't share guitars. But they share mics that could easily be swapped in as much time as a guitar cable. Guitar players are fussy about amps - its their tone. I get it. Why don't most non-professional vocalists care about their tone like the rest of the band cares about theirs? Why not even enough to bring one's own 58? That isn't "beer soaked"?

I would first believe it is because there is no perceived inadequacy. People change what they perceive to be inadequate.

Why then is a 58 adequate from a musician's point of view? I have suggested that it may be that the voice is so expressive already as an instrument, that it swamps differences in reproduction. It may be that our brains are so used to decoding the human voice that we instantly adapt to anything. It may be that because literally everyone can sing at some level, that only a very few people actually think about their voice as an instrument to train/optimize/enhance. I've certainly met a lot of amateur vocalists that really don't know much about music (and nothing about audio) unless they also play an instrument. It is something that can be done intuitively in the way that playing the piano can't without a whole ton of practice. So maybe it is ignorance - "all mics are the same, I just use what's there?" I rather suspect it is some of all of this.

To Kuru, point, yes, I am ridiculously idealistic about sound, music and audio quality. I've fully put my $$ where my beliefs are. Others aren't this way. It' s OK. I'm not on a mission to change them. But I'm also going to keep pursuing what I'm chasing in audio excellence.

1 member likes this: Dave Bryce
Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Dave Bryce #3044104 05/16/20 04:49 PM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 458
Likes: 11
N
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
N
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 458
Likes: 11
Seperately, that AEA mic is probably ideal on a noisy stage. It has super tight pattern control and DEEP nulls. It probably has superior rejection of other sounds. Toss on the natural reproduction qualities of a good ribbon, and no sizzly high end, and it is likely sublime. Never used it. But I can see where it would shine. it has the right technical characteristics to be an exceptional choice. All the handheld live condenser mics also have super-cardiod patterns. But ribbon mics do this superbly, without any kind of resonant chambers or such.

Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Nathanael_I #3044120 05/16/20 06:39 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 21,338
Likes: 151
4x KCFFL Champ
20k Club
OP Offline
4x KCFFL Champ
20k Club
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 21,338
Likes: 151
Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
Seperately, that AEA mic is probably ideal on a noisy stage. It has super tight pattern control and DEEP nulls. It probably has superior rejection of other sounds. Toss on the natural reproduction qualities of a good ribbon, and no sizzly high end, and it is likely sublime. Never used it. But I can see where it would shine. it has the right technical characteristics to be an exceptional choice. All the handheld live condenser mics also have super-cardiod patterns. But ribbon mics do this superbly, without any kind of resonant chambers or such.
Again, let me say yeahthat thu

Case in point: at the gig I mentioned in my earlier post, one of the problems we faced when we got there is that where one of our singers was standing was too close to one of their fixed monitors (still not sure what they were thinking there), and the house 58 was feeding back. We put our KU5A up - problem solved.

The ability to turn around and drop it into a piano is pretty great, too. The tight polar pattern and onboard HPF helps there, too.

Pretty damn versatile piece of kit.

dB

Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Nathanael_I #3044128 05/16/20 07:26 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 420
Likes: 7
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 420
Likes: 7
Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
Why then is a 58 adequate from a musician's point of view?

You bring up several good points, but then, why are so many people recording music at home, that usually gets published someplace even if it's their own Facebook page? It's because it's accessible to them. And for their purposes, it's adequate. Like it or not, this is where the greatest population of recordists lie. Similarly, the greatest number of singers perform low-paying or non-paying gigs in small clubs, and "adequate" is fine for them. Guitarists are a little different (even those who are also singers). They take personal pride in their instruments, even knowing that when they're playing in a coffee house, there'll likely be an SM57 available to mic it. Some might have a pickup to offer for plug-in, but they have probably already graduated to the next level, haven chosen the best pickup for their guitar - but not always recognizing that the house sound system might not be as happy with that as with a '57 unless there's some time before the show to work with it.

As I've said before, once you get above the small-time once or twice a month work, it's not at all unreasonable to start looking for a better vocal mic. But the bottom line is that the majority never make it above level 1, and that's who the companies who make a wide range of microphones, like Shure, E-V, or Audio-Technica, have a mic that's priced right for those singers, and that does a darn good job for the price.

We (and the mic manufacturers, too) would love for it to be all about the sound, but that's not what keeps them in business so that they can make a full line of mics.

Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Mike Rivers #3044131 05/16/20 07:37 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 21,338
Likes: 151
4x KCFFL Champ
20k Club
OP Offline
4x KCFFL Champ
20k Club
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 21,338
Likes: 151
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
As I've said before, once you get above the small-time once or twice a month work, it's not at all unreasonable to start looking for a better vocal mic. But the bottom line is that the majority never make it above level 1, and that's who the companies who make a wide range of microphones, like Shure, E-V, or Audio-Technica, have a mic that's priced right for those singers, and that does a darn good job for the price.

We (and the mic manufacturers, too) would love for it to be all about the sound, but that's not what keeps them in business so that they can make a full line of mics.
Yes, it's definitely true that as a rule, the bottom part of the pyramid is where most of the cash is...but that's not my point. I'm more going for the fact that the singer is typically the one band member that (a) doesn't carry their own piece of gear and (b) doesn't think much about even trying something that might be an improvement. I've always found that interesting...watching a bunch of people (including myself) all try the same higher end mic at the same time made me even more so. cool

I'm curious, brother Mike - do you play an instrument? If so, may I ask which one?

dB

Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Dave Bryce #3044132 05/16/20 07:40 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 420
Likes: 7
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 420
Likes: 7
Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
...but the KU5A is actually kind of a different animal becuase of the way it's built and it's RCA BK5 legacy. It's AEA's only top address ribbon, so it doesn't have to deal with the usual open back and figure of 8 issues common to side address models.

I'm sure it's a fine mic. I looked at it closely when they introduced it and got the full low-down, and gave them a gold star for bringing out that mic. If I had a band, I'd love to have a few of them to see how they worked out - after the singers (and I understand it works really well on acoustic guitars, too - got the hang of it. And I think that I have enough experience and confidence that if a band came to my stage with one or two, I'd trust that the owners knew how to use it and that it didn't require a lot of trickery for it to sound good. But I wouldn't put KU5As up as the four vocal mics in my standard festival stage setup.

Another thing - and this is getting back to the "personal mic" thing - is the increased popularity of podcasting. Like with coffee house singers and the SM-58, the podcasters who graduate from the mic built into their phone will be looking at what seems to be a new category (like "vocal mic" or "instrument mic") of podcasting mics. Many are fair-to-middlin' condenser mics with USB output and they span the SM-58 (which I suspect is rarely used for podcasting) price range on either side fairly well. Then there are some who take a bigger step to an RE-20 or SM-7B. Those are the ones who would be likely to try a KU5A because they know that their voice is what they have to sell - presumably there's a sales channel involved. They can afford to invest in a tool that gives them the control over the sound of their voice that sells best. Just as an upper-tier singer.

Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Dave Bryce #3044134 05/16/20 07:45 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 420
Likes: 7
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 420
Likes: 7
Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
I'm curious, brother Mike - do you play an instrument? If so, may I ask which one?:

Guitar and banjo, mostly. Acoustic. And that's what I record and work with on stage nearly exclusively.

But, you know, at a lot of these traditional music festivals, we get acoustic stringinstruments from all over the globe, and flutes and harps and things that you don't know which end to blow into. But when they come up on stage (fortunately after 50 years of doing this sort of work I have a pretty good idea of what it should sound like), if I think about mixing them like I'd mix a bluegrass band, it comes together pretty quickly and the audience doesn't have to listen to fifteen minutes of sound check for a forty minute set.

And don't think I wouldn't be happy to have a couple of KU5As in the mic drawer to pull out if I thought they'd work well. But budgets don't allow that.

Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Mike Rivers #3044139 05/16/20 07:57 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 21,338
Likes: 151
4x KCFFL Champ
20k Club
OP Offline
4x KCFFL Champ
20k Club
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 21,338
Likes: 151
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Another thing - and this is getting back to the "personal mic" thing - is the increased popularity of podcasting. Like with coffee house singers and the SM-58, the podcasters who graduate from the mic built into their phone will be looking at what seems to be a new category (like "vocal mic" or "instrument mic") of podcasting mics. Many are fair-to-middlin' condenser mics with USB output and they span the SM-58 (which I suspect is rarely used for podcasting) price range on either side fairly well. Then there are some who take a bigger step to an RE-20 or SM-7B. Those are the ones who would be likely to try a KU5A because they know that their voice is what they have to sell - presumably there's a sales channel involved. They can afford to invest in a tool that gives them the control over the sound of their voice that sells best. Just as an upper-tier singer.
Now you're squarely in my Cloudlifter playpen. grin

Not surprisingly, the podcasting folks love us to bits. I've been to several podcasting conventions - we do that instead of Summer NAMM now - and have learned a ton speaking with the folks who are way into it.

You would be shocked at how many podcasters have a dep concern for having killer gear - I happily admit, I was. It's actually one of the things that separates the wheat from the chaff in that channel - pro gear. You are correct that the 57/58 don't really show up. The SM7b is absolutely king, and the RE20 holds it's own quite nicely. I was not at all sure when we first started exploring this channel whether these folks would want the extra expense or physical presence of a Cloudlifter...but I'm here to tell you, they most certainly do.

I've also learned that more podcasters than you'd expect want physical mixers with knobs and faders, nort jusy a small interface. Yes, there is a large segment using USB mics, but I've learned that's one of the first things a podcaster outgrows on their way to the 201 level.

Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Guitar and banjo, mostly. Acoustic. And that's what I record and work with on stage nearly exclusively.
Nice. What's your go-to guitar? And your #2?

dB

Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Dave Bryce #3044218 05/17/20 03:11 AM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 458
Likes: 11
N
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
N
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 458
Likes: 11
I can definitely confirm that the podcast crowd (and the voice-over crowd) find value in good mics, and a clean recording chain. Their scene is all about moving up to quality mics, preamps, etc. Neumann and other high end studio brands are aspirational in the same way a Kronos or something might be to a keyboard player. I know a voice over artist and she was over the moon when she won a Neumann in a contest. For her, it was going to a whole new level of professionalism. It "separated" her from lesser studios in her mind, and that is powerful stuff - whether customers care or not, she did and it raised her confidence and supported her drive to make it.

Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Dave Bryce #3044253 05/17/20 01:50 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 420
Likes: 7
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 420
Likes: 7
Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
You would be shocked at how many podcasters have a dep concern for having killer gear - I happily admit, I was. It's actually one of the things that separates the wheat from the chaff in that channel - pro gear. You are correct that the 57/58 don't really show up.

Well, there are a whole lot of podcasters out there, I'll bet more podcasters than there are recording musicians these days. I imagine that there are a number of musicians who make podcasts using the music gear that they already have, but many of those are more inclined to make music or instructional videos rather than "talkies."

Quote
I've also learned that more podcasters than you'd expect want physical mixers with knobs and faders, nort jusy a small interface. Yes, there is a large segment using USB mics, but I've learned that's one of the first things a podcaster outgrows on their way to the 201 level.

[OMG! I'm about to go way off topic here, but you started it, Dave. wink ]

The best ones catch on pretty quick that a "talkie" isn't a lot of fun, either to produce or to listen to. Adding music, sound effects, audio clips from other sources - live or telephone interviews, for instance. One approach to this is of course to paste segments together using a DAW, but those with the other kind of brain find it to be more intuitive to turn knobs. Plus, having a mixer, as long as you don't start out with one that's too small, allows for more things to be ready to play into the podcast without any fooling around with patch cords or finding files.

I have a friend who has been in broadcast radio for 50 years, pretty much retired now but still keeping her hand in with a folk music show on one of our local low power community stations. She'd go into the studio every week and do her show live because that's what she always did, but with the great lockout, most of the time there wasn't anyone who could even open up the building for her on Saturday night. Nearly everyone else who has a program on that station records it at home, so she finally caved in and decided that it was the only way she could stay on the air. She's moderately old-school audio hip but she's never worked at the guts level with digital production. I did a Tuesday afternoon rescue, bringing over a spare computer with Sound Forge installed, a spare USB audio interface, a Behringer 1202 mixer, a pair of powered computer-grade speakers, and a batch of cables. She had a couple of working CD players and a cassette deck, and had a pretty decent Sennheiser mic that she bought years ago for doing interviews in the field.

After a few panic "tech support" calls, she was getting her programs out and sounding pretty good on the air, better than many others on the station. She's mused about getting a phono preamp so she can play records again (the station had one turntable) and I said "OK, just plug it in here" pointing out a pair of input jacks on the mixer. The only thing I wish I could have added to the system was a switch to mute the monitor speakers when she pushed up the mic fader on the mixer. I had, in fact, looked inside that mixer a couple of years back when she first started getting curious about the possibility of recording shows at home. That function was the first thing I thought about, but there just wasn't enough space to build in even an optical switch. What the world needs now is a broadcast mixer for the home-budget user. I think A-T recently came out with something like that but it doesn't have enough holes (I/O) in it.

But, you know, she would still rather go into the studio (the station) and is hoping that they'll start opening up soon. Then she can reclaim her kitchen.


Quote
What's your go-to guitar? And your #2?

1956 Martin D-18 guitar, 1860s Fairbanks Electric 5 string banjo with pseudo-gut strings. "Electric" is the model, defined by the design of the tone ring. Pre-civil war wooden tuning pegs don't work worth a hoot any more so they've been replaced with planetary geared tuners that look just about like the originals from a few inches away.

1 member likes this: Dave Bryce
Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Mike Rivers #3044284 05/17/20 04:42 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 21,338
Likes: 151
4x KCFFL Champ
20k Club
OP Offline
4x KCFFL Champ
20k Club
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 21,338
Likes: 151
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
What's your go-to guitar? And your #2?
1956 Martin D-18 guitar, 1860s Fairbanks Electric 5 string banjo with pseudo-gut strings. "Electric" is the model, defined by the design of the tone ring. Pre-civil war wooden tuning pegs don't work worth a hoot any more so they've been replaced with planetary geared tuners that look just about like the originals from a few inches away.
NIce!!!! I feel your tremendous pride in ownership, my brother...and would love to see that Martin. I don't know beans about banjos, but from your description the one you have sounds awesome. cool

On my side, don't get me started on my Ron Rivera modified Bob Moog autographed MiniMoog - I'm even the original owner. Guitar-wise, I love my Yamaha acoustic, but my baby these days is my black "Keef" 70's-style Telecaster. love

My point being, almost every musician I know feels this way about a few of their axes - certainly the ones we use to play out - but I don't really know too many singers who feel that way about their live mic. That's actually more than a bit surprising when you take into account the (stereotypical) mentality of the average lead singer... grin

dB

Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Dave Bryce #3044299 05/17/20 05:53 PM
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 1,562
Likes: 53
Platinum Member
Online Content
Platinum Member
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 1,562
Likes: 53
Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
What's your go-to guitar? And your #2?
1956 Martin D-18 guitar, 1860s Fairbanks Electric 5 string banjo with pseudo-gut strings. "Electric" is the model, defined by the design of the tone ring. Pre-civil war wooden tuning pegs don't work worth a hoot any more so they've been replaced with planetary geared tuners that look just about like the originals from a few inches away.
NIce!!!! I feel your tremendous pride in ownership, my brother...and would love to see that Martin. I don't know beans about banjos, but from your description the one you have sounds awesome. cool

On my side, don't get me started on my Ron Rivera modified Bob Moog autographed MiniMoog - I'm even the original owner. Guitar-wise, I love my Yamaha acoustic, but my baby these days is my black "Keef" 70's-style Telecaster. love

My point being, almost every musician I know feels this way about a few of their axes - certainly the ones we use to play out - but I don't really know too many singers who feel that way about their live mic. That's actually more than a bit surprising when you take into account the (stereotypical) mentality of the average lead singer... grin

dB

My nice stuff is pretty minimal and NEVER sees the live stage anymore. It appears we are talkng about very different things in this thread.
I guess if you are very well paid to gig and gig often that carting top of the line gear is justified. Out here in the real world, it isn't.

Keith Richards brings a few guitar amps to every gig and I'd be astonished if he's never had a tube fail on stage and take an amp down for the duration.
Would it matter if he sang through a Neumann instead of an SM58?

The real question is "Does it really sound better when you get "better" equipment?" Your own opinion is not as relevant to that answer as the opinions of those who are listening. I posted a bit in Craig's forum in a thread about forum myths. I brought up all the guitarists I've known who tried to sound like their favorite guitarist by purchasing the same equipment. It doesn't work that way.

I am practical and use gear that is appropriate to my environment.
Having bought and sold dozens of desireable tube guitar amps and literally hundreds of guitar (you don't even want to know!!!!) over the decades, I still have a quest for tone but for live performance I also balance in "bang for the buck." Cliche but I think my choice of guitar pick is more important than my choice of guitar amp, given a certain level of decent sounding gear.

Having other musicians ask me what gear I am using is hysterically funny sometimes. "You want to sound like me, go to Value Village and buy a Roland Cube 40gx for $40. Don't pay more, the expensive ones don't have the mojo." I had a blacked out Peavey LA 400 for years in Fresno, I used a Rat for a didstortion pedal. A guitarist I knew came up to me once on break and said "Is that a Mesa Boogie?"

We have a local treasure up here - Daddy Treetops. He plays authentic Delta blues on a cheap Fender resonator knockoff. One of the best fingerstyle self accompaniests I've ever heard.
He sounds great because he sounds great.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: AEA ribbon mics!
Dave Bryce #3044304 05/17/20 06:31 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 21,338
Likes: 151
4x KCFFL Champ
20k Club
OP Offline
4x KCFFL Champ
20k Club
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 21,338
Likes: 151
Y'see, to me it's largely about how you feel about the equipment you take with you, which in turn will (theoretically anyway grin ) allow you to enjoy performing the gig as much as possible.

I carry a bigger sound system for my keyboards than others I know because I love the way it sounds. I choose to take my Korg Kronos and Kurzweil Forte out with me on gigs because it enhances the experience for me knowing I've got what I think are the best tools for the job. Not the most expensive, mind you - the ones that not only allow one do the job to the best of their abilities (whatever that means to you), but ideally deliver a little extra thrill when working with them. rocker

I'm currently experiencing that with the KU5A, even when I use it at home to practice. It's kinda cool (and a little unusual) to get that little gear rush from a live mic.

Quick note: don't get me wrong - there is zero chance the MiniMoog ever leaves the house for a gig... hand nono

dB

1 member likes this: Nathanael_I
Page 1 of 2 1 2

Moderated by  Ronan C Murphy 

Link Copied to Clipboard
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.4