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Re: mic recommendations; champagne recording on a beer budget

At 3:21 AM -0700 6/16/07, RICK WALKER wrote:
>I've always had to attempt champagne living on a beer budget
>throughout my musical career as a professional 
>producer/drummer/percussionist/band leader.

I can wholeheartedly agree with the same philosophy.  So, in the same 
spirit, here's another mic tip.

Back in the mid-80's, I was going through recording technology 
classes at university.  Our teacher -- who was also a professional 
studio owner of a pretty darn nice studio for its day, mostly 
catering to overflow from the Nashville market -- showed us this 

He took a fairly high-end AKG microphone which cost several hundred 
dollars (I think it was the original C1000), and scoped it on the 
RTA.  He then brought out this *thing*.  It looked like a soda straw 
with a bunch of electrical tape and a jack on one end.  He plugged in 
that mic and scoped it, then compared the two snapshots -- the 
frequency response was identical!  We spent a little more time doing 
blind tests between the real mic and this little homemade thing, and 
none of us could tell the difference.

Here's what he had done.  He had gone down to Radio Shack, and 
purchased one of the mic elements they sell in the parts section. 
He'd then soldered wires to the terminals, and run the element 
(rear-end first) down an ordinary drinking straw, merely taping 
around the sides to hold it in place.  On the opposite end of the 
wires running down the inside of the straw, he soldered a standard 
XLR jack.  Later, he showed us a more "advanced" model where he'd 
soldered an adapter for a 9-volt battery and a cheap switch, so he 
wouldn't have to rely on phantom power.

It turns out that the Rat Shack mic elements were from the exact same 
parts source as those in the AKG.  The only difference was that AKG 
would put them through a bit more QC.  Occasionally, he'd have to use 
two or three elements before finding one that was perfect.  The soda 
straw was merely a quick and easy housing to build everything around. 
You could just as easily use something a little more sturdy.

Considering the cost (95 cents for each mic element, $1.95 for a good 
XLR jack, and a few pennies for wire, solder, and a straw), it was 
worth the time to check a couple of elements.  Especially since you 
were getting a $400 mic for less than $5.

"I want to keep you alive so there is always the possibility of 
murder... later"