Thursday, November 24, 2011

Mics for Broadcast?

Quite a few new mics have come on the scene in the last several years that resemble or ask us to compare to the standard broadcast mics we have used for years. Usually these are end-address large diameter dynamics. Included are new mics from Rode, Blue, Charter, Heil and now--the new ones from MXL. Even the the long standard bearer--Electro-voice has new choices to the RE20.


Mics for broadcast have to meet many various demands. Have some of the demands, or styles, changed? You bet.


The picture above is me on-air in 1969. Yes, that is a Neumann U87. The company had just replaced all on-air mics with this new mic that was supposed to make every announcer sound like.... well, you know...ballsy or something.


The problem for me was the fact that I was a Rock & Roll screamer--Wild Willie Edwards. I knew how to work the dynamics and adjust levels to where my voice was easily part of the music and other programing. But the new U87s were condensers. It could pick up a fly-fart on the other side of the room. I had to change the way I worked the mic drastically.


Also, radio was changing around that time. FM was coming on strong. The "Hey-man" style of progressive FM allowed for a natural presentation perfect for the right condenser mics.


I have been lucky enough to work with a lot of various mics. In broadcast, I have even been blessed to hear myself on RCA Dx77s and 44s (ribbons). The mic we used on-air and in production before the U87s were Sennheiser MD421s. I   became a voice-over star on the Shure SM7. (And the model before that looked like a football.)


But enough history...back to the new mics. There are a few condensers mixed in with these new end-address mics. Does that mean they are not really for broadcast? Well, not necessarily. It's back to the "right tool for the right job in the hands of a skilled craftsman."


I really look forward to sharing some new test of these new broadcast type mics. I will even let on to some existing studio mics that I feel are fantastic "On-air" mics. You may be surprised.

2 comments:

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