Neumann TLM193 Review

I’ve been using Neumann TLM193’s for about 6 years now, and have changed my mind several times about them!

TLM193 TLM 193

My first experience with them was while working at Electronic Arts recording speech and foley. The chief engineer there had a few of them and they got used on every speech session. They were so clear and quiet, so when I began my own studio I bought one second hand, as I wanted a great primary vocal microphone. It was initially bliss, although I soon started to feel that the recordings were coming out almost TOO clear, and quite characterless. The mic’s frequency response is incredibly flat for a large-diaphragm condenser (LDC) and the off-axis response is as impressive as it is on-axis, but this is not always what’s needed when recording vocals (except Classical perhaps).

At this realisation I started to look at the TLM through different eyes, and it got very little action for a few years. As I began getting more Classical recording work however, it began to come out of it’s wooden case and shine once more. As a spot mic within an orchestra or quartet, or as part of an M/S main pair the mic sounds so beautiful. Transients come through very nicely and instruments tend to just sound “as they should” – not usually what you’d want for a Rock/Pop recording, but for a Classical recording that’s usually just the ticket. The low self-noise makes it an excellent choice for recording very soft instruments, and the lovely off-axis response means it sounds very natural in a diffuse field.

I think this is a great mic for several applications but generally┬ánot one for Rock/Pop productions (unless it magically fits the voice, which it occasionally does. Possibly good as┬ádrum overheads, and I use it as a FOK mic). The high price is a bit of a downer (go for a second hand one if anything!) and there are small-diaphragm condensers that’ll do a similar job for less money. Nonetheless, I love it again and it’ll be my ‘cello mic of choice for a long time!

Avantone Mixcube (Active) Mini-Review

So I received a pair of Mixcubes the other day and have a little time to put them through their paces. I had problems getting them set up as I was experiencing a lot of mains buzz from a ground loop (which I don’t have on any other equipment) but, after a quick trip to maplins and buying and installing a ground-loop-isolator, they were rocking with no perceivable noise (PHEW!). Lots of other users seem to have had this problem so it’s clearly a massive design flaw…

My initial sonic impressions were just as I expected – they have a very prominent mid-range without much treble or bass, which really brings vocals, guitars and snare to the forefront of the listeners attention. They’re actually quite pleasant to listen to when a recording is well mixed, and it’s nice to listen to the focal points of a mix without being distracted by deep bass or extreme treble.

The “bass” is there, but slopes off (approximately) from around 200Hz, and recordings actually sound quite warm on them (not harsh or brittle, unless mixed that way). Compression on mid-range instruments is very easy to hear and mixing these elements seems a lot easier on the Mixcubes – levels become “obvious”!

Off-axis these speakers sound pretty nasty, so make sure you set them up properly. The cream colour is a bit odd, but quite retro… the heavy varnishing makes them seem pretty robust though.

All in all, possibly one of the best purchases I’ve made for the studio.

Dave Seck CD

We have recorded and edited Dave’s Classical Guitar CD’s – featuring original compositions and arrangements. We recorded over 30 tracks in two 4-hour sessions at a hall in Old Headington. Due for release shortly!

Next time I’ll bring an air-rifle to take down any pigeons cooing outside…

Matt Chanarin

…. as seen @ Catweazle

Dave and I are so stoked to be producing the upcoming album from Matt Chanarin. He’s currently rehearsing with Colin (Telling the Bees) and Evan (ALAMAKOTA) before coming to the studio, so there’ll be magic hitting the tape machine as soon as I hit the red button. Magic I tell you.

David Simon album launch party @Jazz Cafe

So it finally happened – ‘Collision’ was performed in its entirety to a packed out Jazz Cafe of singing fans on 16th July. It was truly an awesome gig, with up to 10 people on stage for some of the more epic musical moments, and David showing us what he does best.

There have been a couple of reviews of the album since it’s release, so have a read if you’re interested:

http://www.facebook.com/notes/david-simon/first-review-of-collision/473017048834

http://www.eastlondonlines.co.uk/2010/07/review-david-simon-collision/

The gig was filmed and recording so we’re now working on Post Production for the DVD…