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The Pro Audio Suite

A must listen Podcast if you're in audio or voice over. Our panel features industry professionals, George 'The Tech' Whittam, Robert 'Source Connect' Marshall, Andrew 'Realtime Casting' Peters and Darren 'Voodoo Sound' Robertson, plus special guests.

Each week we dive into topics that will resonate with Professionals and home studio owner alike...

Oct 9, 2023

Like phono cartridges, headphones and loudspeakers, the microphone is a transducer – in other words, an energy converter. So it should stand to reason that they all sound the same right? Well we all know that's not the case. So what colours the sound? And how can we use these "tweaks" to our advantage in the studio..

A big shout out to our sponsors, Austrian Audio and Tri Booth. Both these companies are providers of QUALITY Audio Gear (we wouldn't partner with them unless they were), so please, if you're in the market for some new kit, do us a solid and check out their products, and be sure to tell em "Robbo, George, Robert, and AP sent you"... As a part of their generous support of our show, Tri Booth is offering $200 off a brand-new booth when you use the code TRIPAP200. So get onto their website now and secure your new booth...


And if you're in the market for a new Mic or killer pair of headphones, check out Austrian Audio. They've got a great range of top-shelf gear..

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“When the going gets weird, the weird turn professional.”

Hunter S Thompson

In this episode of Pro Audio Suite, George Wittam, Robert Marshall, and Darren Robbo Robertson explore the complex dynamics of microphones. The team deliberates on how mic's are each individually tuned by their manufacturers to produce a unique sound, and the way this sound is received is subjective to each person. They discuss how modern condenser mics are so similar to one another and the importance lies not so much in finding the right mic for a specific voice, but rather the right mic for a particular situation. They emphasize the value of a flat mic which can be customized through EQ, and argue against choosing a microphone based on its prestigious model. They also discuss combos that work well together like the coupling of a 41 six and a neve like preamp. Listen in to gain more insight into the world of professional audio. To connect with the hosts and find out more, visit

#ProAudioSuite #FindingTheRightMic #AudioEngineeringInsights
[00:00:00] Introducing the Pro Audio Suite Team
[00:00:35] How Microphone Sounds Differ Based on User Perceptions
[00:05:20] The Versatility of Flat Mics and Helpful Recording Tips
[00:09:04] Choosing the Right Microphone: Mics vs Preamps and Selling Opportunities
Speaker A: Y'all ready be history.,Speaker B: Get started.,Speaker C: Welcome.,Speaker B: Hi. Hi. Hello everyone, to the Pro Audio Suite.,: These guys are professional.,Speaker C: They're motivated with tech. To the Vo stars George Wittam, founder of Source Elements Robert Marshall, international audio engineer Darren Robbo Robertson and global voice Andrew Peters. Thanks to Triboo austrian audio making passion heard source elements. George the Tech Wittam and Robbo and AP's international demo. To find out more about us, check welcome to another Pro Audio Suite.,Speaker A: Now, this week I saw on a very large voiceover forum a question about someone wanted to buy a microphone and wanted to get a microphone that suited their voice. And another conversation happened when I was doing a session with Adrenaline in Vegas and we talked about U. Everybody expects you to have that because that's the industry standard. But the point was that if I had a U 87 and Adrenaline's got a U 87, they would sound completely different because they're in different environments.,: Yeah. This is where things get really interesting, right? What is it that makes a mic sound the way it sounds? Right. There's a lot of factors, right? There's the capsule, there's the electronics, there's other factors. There's the actual designer. A mic is tuned to sound a certain way. It's tuned by the manufacturer, it's tuned by the designer. They make an aesthetic judgment right, of how that mic should sound. How a mic should sound to that person is a unique subjective thing. That's why vintage microphones especially are so varied. And this is why I think modern condenser mics are so non varied. They're all way more like each other because the commonalities are. So they're just table stakes now of what a modern condenser mic sounds like. And that could be because of a couple of mics, could be because of a 41 six, could be because of a U 87. But whatever it is, there are sounds that of mics, there are voices of mics that are now considered like a reference point. And everything that's different is now just considered a vintage sound or a different sound. There are variations, the word colored, color, there's coloration.,Speaker A: Exactly.,: The thing is funny though, is like, we don't want a non colored mic, right? If we wanted a non colored mic, we would be using dead flat omni mics or something, right. But we all kind of agree that's not exactly what we want the sound of our voices to sound like either. Right.,: We want the boost and like the hyper reality thing. And a mic can bring that focus. But I kind of think the difference isn't so much like the right mic for the right voice. I think much more that it's the right mic for the right situation.,: Yeah. And situation, the space, the context, like.,: The space for you to deal with the microphone if you're traveling, like your whole situation and all the appropriate stuff.,: The background noise, is it going to be an outdoor setting.,: One mics sound better than the other. But if this one's better at cutting out noise or focusing better in a tight booth, then this one the pros outweigh the cons. Then every now and then you get that weird thing that happens where something like the 416, which was, sorry, the 40 116, where something like the 4116 was designed to reject noise and be a mic for a specific purpose which might have some compromises. And then over time, people find that they actually like the compromises for the effect. And there we come back to the word color and the color and the sound that it has. And so you have something like the 41 Six that has that cut, which was really a byproduct away of its initial design to reject noise and record just the voice and made it a less ideal microphone in a true I'm flat kind of respect and more here I am for the situation.,: Yeah. It's not a quote unquote musical mic. It's a utility mic that makes voice rise above or cut that Robert mentioned. That is what makes that mic character work for many voiceover scenarios. But maybe isn't the best mic for a voiceover where it's not a voiceover, it's an audiobook. There is no music, there are no effects. It's a voice and a vacuum that isn't you don't necessarily want a mic that cuts. So it is a little bit of that. There's also mics that I will hear on a voiceover's, voice that I don't just subjectively, I don't like the way they sound. I don't like the choices of how that mic is voiced. I don't like the EQ. Again, sometimes they call it a vintage sound. Right. And some of those quote unquote vintage sounding mics to me are subjectively. Not what I would want. Will they work? Yeah. Can I EQ it later? Sure. And we've said on the show before, the flatter the mic is, the better you can EQ it, the better you can get the sound you want.,: You're not fighting someone else's EQ. The way I think of it, if someone gave you a nice flat piece of metal and basically said, give me a curve, you'd have a pretty easy time doing it because you'd have one thing to create. If someone gave you a big curved up piece of metal and said, give me a smooth curve, you'd have trouble making a smooth curve out of it because the thing's already curvy in a different way.,: That's a good analogy. Yeah. If that metal had several little bumps and bends in it and they said, make it a perfect smooth curve. What a pain. How much work you have to put into that thing to get that piece to yeah. I don't know. The science of it is it's not a science. It's completely subjective. You can chase the perfect mic for your entire life, Andrew.,Speaker A: Yes, you can.,: Is that a problem.,: I think you can play to certain mics and use them in different ways. It's not like Bob Dylan with harmonicas, but if you're doing a certain type of read, really, you can get more out of a 41 six than some other mic that doesn't have that same proximity in that focus or something at the same time. If you're going for a really smooth pillowy kind of thing, maybe an 87, but probably not a 41 six.,Speaker A: But I wonder, if you were just if you could only have one mic to do everything, would it be a 41 six, OC eight, one eight? An OC eight one eight, and then you can do everything. But it's funny, this discussion the other day, though, where it said if you actually put in the gear you have in your home studio and you had 41 six, u, 87 Avalon, everyone would go, oh, yeah, well, they're professional, they got all the right gear. Right, but it might be all the wrong gear because it might not work in their situation.,: Yeah, exactly. I would say, really, if it's really a valuable pursuit for you, it's just something you've always wanted to do. Maybe you've been in this for ten plus years. It might be worth it for you to invest in a modeling mic. Because now you get to have the fun, the pleasure, the pain, whatever, of trying out a humongous variety of microphones and trying them. Now, here's the thing. Do not record these models of mics to impress yourself. You will end up picking the sparkliest, shiniest, prettiest sounding microphone, I'm guaranteeing you that, and that is not necessarily what you want. So you may want to do that exercise and then send that recording to somebody else, a trusted producer, engineer George the tech, offers mic check. We will evaluate and rank a whole bunch of mic samples and we will tell you subjectively, or I would say subjectively, what is the best of the top, maybe the top three for your voice, ranked from best to worst. So that's what you want to have. Don't try to impress yourself. Unless you are a producer and you spend your days producing and you've heard a lot of voiceovers and a lot of different contexts, I would not try to evaluate yourself. I think that's a tricky spot to get yourself into.,Speaker A: Well, interestingly, out of the choice I did for a session the other day, I offered the OC eight one eight through the Neve and I offered the 40 116 through a Grace and they went with the 4116 through the Grace and loved it.,: And this was an industrial yeah, it.,Speaker A: Was actually a training industrial film medical thing.,: Did you read it all in a vacuum or did you hear the music that they were going to put behind it?,Speaker A: No, I didn't hear it, it was all in the vacuum.,: Yeah, but I can see why it's funny, because after you get like a long form thing, in a way, you probably end up wanting the smoother mic after a while.,Speaker A: It certainly has something and depending on the voice, it certainly brings things out in a voice that could be quite appealing.,: Yeah. It's also the combination, because I don't know if you spent the extra energy to do the other combination, the neve.,: And the little bit of too many variables, but.,: A neve is a colored preamp. A Grace is an uncolored preamp, so that combination of color and uncolored could be a pro and a con, depending on what you're doing, too. So you may have found out that the 41 six neve was the best combination. Yeah, it's hard to say when you're changing multiple variables, it's just a matter of luck and opinion. They're going to say, you gave me two choices, I picked choice B in that case was what really worked out well. So, yeah, I think some people find the coupling of a 41 six and a neve like preamp is a good combo.,: I think it was the 41 six. It was the 41 six with the Grace, wasn't it?,Speaker A: Yeah, and it sounds great. I mean, it must admit, it does actually sound really good.,: Sure, it's clean and just on a dime. I imagine it'd be pretty similar to like a John Hardy and a 41.,Speaker A: Six, which is yeah, or a millennia.,: Or millennia, yeah, millennia especially.,Speaker A: Yeah. But it's got that there's something about it that the combination of the 40 116 and the Grace just has this kind of and it's a really weird term, but kind of a 3D thing going on, if that makes any sense.,: That is one of those audio terms. It's funny.,: Yeah, it is a funny audience term. I don't know how to describe things as 3D yet, but I'm working on it.,: They pop out.,Speaker A: So, anyway, the conclusion is there isn't one. Really?,: You're not going to like our answer.,: The right mic for the voice in the right situation, in the right time, in the right place.,: Yeah, I think the bottom line, there is no right mic for the voice, because the voice is not in a vacuum. It's working in a context of a space and of a production script. A script, a style. Yeah, right.,Speaker A: Oh, on that note all right, anyone want to buy some mics? I've got plenty.,Speaker B: Well, that was fun. Is it over?,Speaker C: The Pro Audio suite with thanks to Triboof and Austrian audio recorded using Source Connect edited by Andrew Peters and mixed by Voodoo Radio Imaging with tech support from George the Tech Wittam don't forget to subscribe to the show and join in the conversation on our Facebook group. To leave a comment, suggest a topic or just say G'day. Drop us a note at our website.