Sound Samples, sE In The Studio

Hear Here: The sE5, Piano & Guitar

 
 

Adam Lee - known best on YouTube as @AdamLeeGuitarist - has a pair of sE5 small-diaphragm condensers, and was kind enough to send us these 100% natural, unprocessed recordings to show how he's been using the mics.

 
THE VINTAGE PIANO

Adam: "The piano in this example is an extremely old Bechstein model A (6 feet in length), built in 1892, and is in need of some repair to get it sounding its best.

It's a dark-sounding piano, because I voiced it that way when trying to overhaul the instrument to the best of my ability. In the room, the tone of the instrument is stunningly rich and soulful, but this makes it challenging to record, without the resulting sound being on the darker side."

"I opted to place a stereo pair of the sE5's about 20 cm over the strings: the first mic being placed over the dampers, angled at the hammers to capture the sound of the strings being struck. The other was pointed towards the middle of the soundboard, which captures the characteristic midrange of these older pianos that is so defining of their tone. The soundboard is also fractured in places on my instrument causing it to buzz slightly in places, and the sE5's are exceptionally analytical in transmitting this, so this placement minimises the pick-up of these unwanted sounds, while still capturing the tone of the piano.

Every piano is different, but I'm confident that these microphones will naturally and articulately capture the tone of your piano. They really are a great choice, and have helped me achieve some beautiful recordings - even with my beat-up Bechstein!"

 
THE MODERN GUITAR

Adam: "For recording acoustic guitar, once again, I seem to have a darker-sounding instrument than most. The guitar I use is capable of a very rich, woody tonality, but at the same time outputs a very airy high end. The full spectrum of these sounds was captured by the sE5's in a way that no other mic I have used has done."

"I used a stereo pair mounted on the included stereo mounting bar, with one mic pointed towards the 12th fret, and the other over the sound hole, but angled towards the bridge, so as to avoid an overload of low frequencies. Both mics were at a distance of roughly two feet from the instrument.

The resulting sound is huge, rich and detailed - with no processing required at all. Panning the mics out left and right paints a very realistic stereo image of the instrument, and has given me some of my most beautiful acoustic guitar recordings."

Events

August is RF-X Month for our #sEturnsfifteen Giveaways

This month, we're giving away fifteen RF-X Reflexion Filters®!

Just fill out our giveaway entry form, and then share pictures of your sE gear (tagged with #sEturnsfifteen) to get extra entries.

And remember, registering any NEW sE gear gets you even more chances to win...

A few #sEturnsfifteen images found on the internets thus far.

A few #sEturnsfifteen images found on the internets thus far.

sE In The Studio

The guitaRF: Not Just For Guitars (Gasp!)

Our new guitaRF® is named so that you immediately know its original target user: live sound engineers putting Reflexion Filters ("RFs") on guitar amplifiers to help isolate the mics from stage bleed.

And sure, it's really useful for guitar and bass cabinets. With the integrated base stand that slides right under the front of your amp, it provides a stable, super-efficient double-mic mounting and positioning device.

But just because the word "guitar" is in the name doesn't mean that's ALL it's good for. Check out some recommended uses of the guitaRF, beginning with the most recognizable one:

ELECTRIC GUITARS

The guitaRF lets you mount both a dynamic (or pencil condenser) and a hanging large-diaphragm condenser or ribbon directly in front of an amp. On stage, this can help reduce bleed into the back of a ribbon mic, for example, helping isolate the guitar tracks from whatever else is happening on stage. This can make a difference not just for the FOH sound, but also for the artist's in-ear and monitor mixes, as well as if the show is mixed later for a live album.

Since the guitaRF doesn't require additional mic stands for most amps, it also reduces the amount of equipment needed for two-mic recording techniques - and you can easily adjust the relationship between the two mics. For example, aiming one mic directly at the center of the speaker's dustcap, and angling the other towards the edge of the cone (see photos on the left).

Try experimenting with different angles to get different tonal blends - just a fraction of an inch will provide some dramatically different guitar sounds.

TIP: Use a ribbon mic for chunky rhythm sections, and mix the dynamic mic louder during solos for more edge.


ACOUSTIC GUITARS

When you're tracking a singer-songwriter, oftentimes you get the best performance if they sing and play at the same time. But if you want to edit, overdub, or process the vocals and guitars separately - e.g. with delay on one but not the other - it can be challenging if there's too much vocal bleed into the guitar tracks, or vice versa.

With the guitaRF, you can double-mic the acoustic with your favorite small-diaphragm condenser like our sE5 for a crisp high-end, and a ribbon mic like our X1 R for a thick, rich midrange. Then you can angle the guitaRF underneath your vocal mic, and keep the singer's voice from being picked up by either of your guitar mics.

TIP: Try panning your two guitar mics for a wider acoustic guitar spread in a sparse mix.


KICK DRUM (OUTSIDE + INSIDE)

The guitaRF's included base stand is a perfect height for kick drum. To help keep room or stage bleed out of your outside kick mic, try setting it up anywhere from right in front of the drum head to several feet back.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can remove the rubber-finned pass-through grip (just push it through from the hard back side of the filter towards the foam-lined inside), stick a mic stand boom arm through the hole, and get an inside kick mic AND an outside kick mic in place (see photos below).

TIP: Mounting the guitaRF on a mic stand also allows you to angle it, which may help decrease bleed from the snare and high-hat.


SNARE DRUM

Too much high-hat getting into your snare drum mic? Mount the guitaRF on a mic stand's boom arm, and position it at an angle between the snare and high-hat to reduce the hat bleed into your snare tracks. Then use your favorite dynamic or small-diaphragm condenser (inserted through the guitaRF's pass-through hole) on your snare as usual.


UPRIGHT BASS

The best way to record a bluegrass band or small jazz ensemble is almost always in a single room, playing together. Some bleed between sources can be fine - and can even help gel the tracks together - but sometimes you want a little more isolation.

This can be especially challenging with upright bass. The guitaRF is perfect for double-miking an acoustic bass and keeping the drums, guitar, and singer out of these mics. You can even try angling one mic towards an F-hole and another towards the bridge for blending purposes.

TIP: Try a condenser and a ribbon for a great blend of crisp highs and full, natural lows.


EVERYTHING ELSE

Remember - there's no "wrong" way to use the guitaRF. If you just need to keep the sound of a room out of your recording, it will help with that. If you just need to quickly double-mic something, it will help with that. Feel free to experiment, and try it on any source you like!

 
 
Special thanks to The Bunker Studio in Brooklyn, NY for letting us in for a photo shoot. Awesome studio, awesome folks.

Special thanks to The Bunker Studio in Brooklyn, NY for letting us in for a photo shoot. Awesome studio, awesome folks.

 

Sound Samples, sE In The Studio, Live Sound

Voodoo for your drums.

Our Voodoo VR1 ribbon is the go-to guitar amp mic for tons of guitar players worldwide, including Pete Thorn (Chris Cornell, Melissa Etheridge), Steve Stevens (Billy Idol), Linkin Park, Queens of the Stone Age, and many more.

But there are some who know a secret - it's a KILLER drum mic, both live and in the studio.

See and hear it on drums below:


KOHLEKELLER STUDIOS

Kristian "Kohle" Kohlmannslehner with his VR1s.

In this sample from the band ALL WILL KNOW, Kristian "Kohle" Kohlmannslehner (Powerwolf, Hämatom, Eskimo Callboy, Benighted, Crematory, All For Nothing) has the VR1s in a spaced pair configuration, about one meter above the kit.

"Overhead mics are the most important weapons when it comes to capturing drum sounds - the foundation, so to speak. I have always prefered rather "full-sounding" overhead mics that give me the punch of the drums without too much harshness in the cymbals.

Those LDCs (large-diaphragm condensers) everybody seems to use have always been too thin and bright-sounding to my ears. So I have been using an old pair of AKG 414B-ULS for that purpose, until I discovered the Voodoos.

They offer a beautifully relaxed picture of the whole kit. Big drums, smooth cymbals and a nice touch of the room.
Compared to most condensers, they sound "relaxed" - especially around 8kHz where cymbals can hurt your ears!

Compared to the other ribbons, they don't need a lot of EQ to sit nicely in the mix. The high end is perfect and the low end is not as overwhelming as with many traditional ribbons. Best of both worlds. Smooth ribbon feel with a condenser-like high end."

MY MORNING JACKET

The VR1s as drum overheads on tour with My Morning Jacket.

Ryan Pickett, FOH and live performance archive recording engineer for the band My Morning Jacket, uses VR1 passive ribbon microphones for the band's live drums in a Blumlein pair - at a 90-degree angle with the capsules coincident. Pickett, who has been working with the band for eleven years, also using the VR1s for the band’s front man Jim James on his first solo project:

“I chose the VR1 mic for its size and price point. I love the added air at the top end of the VR1; it delivers more high-end than traditional ribbons.

The drum sounds have become very open and natural, and cymbals no longer hurt. I also find myself using less EQ on the overhead channel strip...and the VR1s are also low-profile enough to allow me to get the right proximity without blocking the audience or drummer’s sight lines.

The sE mics are very robust. That's what really sets them apart from other ribbons. I’ve had other ribbon mics that were too delicate to take on the road, but I've had no problems with the VR1s. I really like the idea of being able to use studio mics in the live realm without having to worry about ribbon failure.”

On another recent project that he recorded at his studio, he used a pair of VR1s in a three-mic arrangement inspired by legendary engineer Glyn Johns:

“We used two VR1s placed equal distance from the snare, with one six inches from the floor tom and another overhead - both 13 inches from the snare - along with a Beyer M 88 on the beater side of the kick. The result sounded very round, warm and 3D. The size and sound were perfectly suited for that particular jazz application.”