Chamber Mic Choices

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williamsongs
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Chamber Mic Choices

Post by williamsongs » Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:45 am

Anyone have a recommendation for a preferred chamber mic. I threw up a cheap old dynamic I have laying around, but it has too much self-noise.

I wanted to put up something I could leave down there and forget about. Also I wanted to shortcut having to roll off highs and lows on the reverb by using a very limited range mic. I also have a podium lectern mic I thought about using in there. It has an extremely midrange only pickup.

Before I go off running on a lengthy trial and error, are there any tried and true chamber mics that I should be looking at?

Maybe my PZM on the floor or on a wall?

Thanks, I love having a real chamber already...
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Nick Sevilla
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Post by Nick Sevilla » Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:56 am

Hi Wiliam,

You want to do the following :

Make SURE the chamber is in fact moisture proof. This above anything else is of paramount importance.

Moisture, and the temperature differences it brings, make acoustic chambers sound different. The moisture content differences in a wall make it absorb and reflect sound differently, according to what the moisture content is, at any given time. And the relative humidity changes in the air, also affect the propagation of the sound, especially the top end.

This is an issue that Capitol Records in Hollywood know all about. when I was there using the chambers, was a topic that came up between myself and the staff engineer. They own 8 underground chambers, built under the parking lot East of the famous circular building.

Once you are able to control that moisture change, then you can and should look for a good condenser microphone that will accurately, without coloration, capture the sound. There are a few small diaphragm condenser microphones which will work very well, I recommend the Earthworks models.

Why, you may ask, I do not recommend a large diaphragm condenser? because they are not as flat in their response as the small diaphragm ones. They tend to have more of a curve at the top and low end of the spectrum.

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Post by williamsongs » Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:39 am

Thanks Nick, that's exactly what I found too, that the humidity changes the response dramatically from day to day. I have a dehumidifier running down in there now trying to keep it at a stable 40%, but then I have to remember to shut the damn thing off when it's time to make the reverb! I think I'll run a long extension cord to it, so I can just pull the plug upstairs when I need it turned off.

Thanks for the tip on the SDC mic choice. I will try that, I have a little crown glm-100 that gets used as a room mic, but maybe it'll work pretty well in the chamber. The dynamic (sm58 copy, basically) was definitely not working out.

Cool, I'll let you know what I get happening when It's all done up right!
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A.David.MacKinnon
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Re: Chamber Mic Choices

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:55 am

williamsongs wrote:Also I wanted to shortcut having to roll off highs and lows on the reverb by using a very limited range mic.
I've always had better results running an eq on the chamber send and using a good, full range mic. It's a much more flexible approach and you can tweak it song to song.

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Post by williamsongs » Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:02 pm

Yeah, I'm sold on the full range mic idea now. EQ'ing the send makes good sense too, in terms of versatility per song/instrument selection.

Looking forward to getting it all set up nice. Although, even with it set up not-so nice, it still kicks ass just to have a real space!

Messing with tiles and mic/speaker placement will keep me occupied for a while I think. It's good to have an obsession.

Thanks for the real good help fellas, as always...
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Post by elbows » Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:41 pm

Use cheap condensers and some good EQ.

I'd assume most of us don't have the luxury of housing a chamber in ideal conditions. The chamber at the Original Studio G is one of the most toxic spaces on Earth. However, it sounds great.

We placed a stereo pair of SDCs that were $100. They do the job just fine - and EQ on the way back goes a very long way.

Like most basements, it's dirty and very humid. The mics we used have been powered on for two years straight now and we haven't had any issues. (knock) We were clued in on a clever idea to prolong the life of the mics, though: Use a clip light with a low-wattage bulb under the mic(s) - this will create a drier, more comfortable little pocket of air around the microphones.

Good luck - when you finally get things all set, your life will change for the better. Chambers rule.

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Post by tonewoods » Sat Oct 20, 2012 7:38 am

Nick Sevilla wrote: Make SURE the chamber is in fact moisture proof. This above anything else is of paramount importance.
Well, there goes my fantasy of a chamber that magically morphs into a sauna after the session is over.... :wink:
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Post by vvv » Sat Oct 20, 2012 8:44 am

Yeah but, it sounds like a good place to store banjos and accordions.


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tonewoods
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Post by tonewoods » Sat Oct 20, 2012 11:37 am

vvv wrote:Yeah but, it sounds like a good place to store banjos and accordions.
Actually, I'm serious...

A tiled room with a woodstove in it...
Move in a speaker and mic to do mixes with the chamber, then move them out to fire up the sauna to soak a bit after sessions...

The woodstove would dry it out in a hurry, me thinks...
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Post by cgarges » Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:16 pm

Ardent recently restored two of their chambers and were using MXL 603s in there. When I was at Abbey Road, they were using B&Ks. Interestingly, Ardent had these cheapo 70s stereo speakers (limited frequency response, etc., which made perfect sense to me), while Abbey Road was using B&W 801s (which seemed like overkill to me).

Both of those studios' chambers were EXTREMELY humid, by the way.

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Post by jhharvest » Sat Oct 20, 2012 11:52 pm

Are there are written sources to what one should take into consideration were one to build a chamber? I've never seen one in person so I have no idea of dimensions etc.

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Post by elbows » Sun Oct 21, 2012 12:13 am

jhharvest wrote:Are there are written sources to what one should take into consideration were one to build a chamber? I've never seen one in person so I have no idea of dimensions etc.
Check it out:

http://messageboard.tapeop.com/viewtopi ... o++chamber

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Post by jhharvest » Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:03 am

Awesome, thanks elbows. I... Could have tried searching first. :D

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Post by Darlington Pair » Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:24 pm

I've used both PZMs and Omni measurement mics with great success in my 28x10x6 cistern converted to a chamber. Right now I have a DBX omni measurement mic in there that works great, a little less noisy than the Behringer of the same description that I had before. I also had a stereo pair of PZMs with a mono speaker for a while, I could get some nice pseudo stereo sounds by moving the mics to different places in the room.

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Post by williamsongs » Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:00 am

Wanted to post a quick follow up on this thread. I tried a modified PZM for a week or so, and then ultimately ended up throwing up a basic DBX omni measurement mic that comes with their "driverack" digital PA controller.

Thanks for that suggestion, it is a significant improvement in the chamber mix, and for under $100 I feel pretty OK about leaving it up in the chamber forever.

Couldn't swing the bread for an Earthworks omni, but I can see how those would be effing incredible for a chamber mic. Someday, but not any day soon...
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