The trouble continues

Hold still, this won't hurt a bit. The idea was to compare trombone waveforms through different microphones with Hal, my new 1956 O'scope. I tried to make my tone and volume consistent. Test tone was B flat, one whole step below Middle C, at a nominal 234hz. This is almost one octave below tuning standard A440.

Above: This is the horn mic I made, or hacked, really.

Nice definition, good small wiggly stuff. Now look at this:

Above: This is an Electro-Voice RE20, one of the best broadcast mics ever, also a fine trombone mic. Notice the simplified waveform. This mic is renowned for taking the edge off of voices. Is the simpler waveform a result of fewer high-order harmonics, or just fewer odd ones? Check the next:

This is the legendary Shure SM-57, which for me is a terrible trombone mic. First notice the very strong peaks, which if I remember correctly, means a high proportion of second harmonic. 57s are outstanding snare drum mics, perfect for catching that rattling hiss. Hence not so great for spitty-lipped trombone players like me.

Above: This is an Audix OM-2, a cardioid dynamic mic that for me, sounded good on trombone. Note the less extreme spike and yet still the smaller wiggly stuff. That's the technical name for it, by the way.

This is an intact MXL-R144, the model of ribbon mic that I hacked my own horn mics(first picture)from. I don't know whether the discrepancy is my tone at this moment or the mic element being in its housing where it belongs. Ribbon mics are renowned for their transient response, which is likely the reason behind those very articulate small wiggly stuff. The MXL R-144 is the least expensive good mic I have yet found, period. It's also great for trombone and low horns.

Above: This is the Blue Bluebird. What you can't see is how goddamn LOUD this mic is. Its amplitude was so high, the vertical amp of the scope had to be brought down several notches.

This is also the first large-element condenser mic of the bunch. And guess what, also closest in waveform to the only large-element dynamic mic, the RE-20. Hmmmm....

This is a Schoeps CMC6/41, an utterly fantastic mic for field recording and film sound. Not a great trombone mic, but when I first tried it under headphones, I opened the spit valve over a piece of newspaper and almost crapped my pants. The sound of the droplets hitting the paper was so clear, it's hard to adequately describe. This is also the only small-element condenser mic of the bunch.

So, that's all the mics I have worth trying. Anybody have a Sennheiser 421 or 441? Neuman 47 or 49?

Shure S-7? RCA 44 or 77? Coles 4038? Beyer 160? Royer? The trouble continues...


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