Check out this hand made distortion feedback microphone with an arcade push to talk function. It’s called a Dr Moonstien. I can see this being used at many a live show around 3AM. It’s available on eBay (link).
“This is a hand built noise machine built by me. it is a push to talk mic with very cool arcade style big red button. you can mix your very overdrive mic preamp with 3 extremely nasty octave modulators. this is the ultimate noise crust mic kind of a death metal version of a vocoder can be used as a feedback machine. this is good noise machine for the person that is more into destructive tambor than clarity. great way to juice up those vocals or control feedback to do your evil bidding. runs on 9v battery has 1/4 inch audio out has regular volume knob and 3 volume knobs for the different octaves of crust. on off power toggle blue led.” – drmoonstien
Bob Heil the creator of the Heil Talk Box and PR40 microphone talked shop on this weeks TWIT show Home Theater Geeks.
“Bob Heil (October 5, 1940) is an American sound and radio engineer most well known for creating the template for modern rock sound systems. He founded the company Heil Sound in 1966, which went on to create unique touring sound systems for bands such as The Grateful Dead and The Who. He invented the Heil Talk Box in 1973, which was frequently used by musicians such as Peter Frampton, Joe Walsh and Richie Sambora, and is still in use today.
Heil has been an innovator in the field of amateur radio, manufacturing microphones and satellite dishes for broadcasters and live sound engineers. In the late 1980s Heil Sound became one of the first American companies to create and install Home Theaters, and Heil has lectured at major electronic conventions and taught classes at various institutions. He has won multiple awards and honors, and in 2007 he became the first manufacturer to be invited to exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Heil
Turn anything into a control surface with Mogees. This is part IRCAM project. The results in the video seem great.
“Mogees is a project that uses microphones to turn any surface into an interactive board, which associates different gestures with different sounds. This means that desktop drummers could transform their finger taps and hand slaps into the sound of a marimba or xylophone. Users plug any contact microphone onto a surface — be it a tree, a cupboard, a piece of glass or even a balloon. They can then record several different types of touch using their hands or any objects that cause a sound — so one sound could be a hand slap, another could be a finger tap and another could be hitting the surface with a drumstick. Users can train the system to detect new types of touch recording them just once.” – brunozamborlin.com/mogees
I have two Shure wireless microphone systems I use during my live performance. I bought one in Berlin and it’s 220V for the shows I play in Europe. It’s rather new and working fine. The other one I own is pretty old, 120V/USA power based and the original wall wart power supply became frayed and stopped functioning. I replaced the power cable/unit with a cheapo Radio Shack multifunction device. On it’s face you can select multiple amp settings to match your product. Long story short it’s causing some line hum and I think it’s time to just buy a new wireless mic system for the USA. I really like the Shure SM58 systems because you really don’t get any feedback with them. I jumped online to buy one the Shure PGX/SM58 combo that I decided will work for me. However, I noticed the following warning:
“Consumer Alert: Most users do not need a license to operate this wireless microphone system. Nevertheless, operating this microphone system without a license is subject to certain restrictions: the system may not cause harmful interference; it must operate at a low power level (not in excess of 50 milliwatts); and it has no protection from interference received from any other device. Purchasers should also be aware that the FCC is currently evaluating use of wireless microphone systems, and these rules are subject to change. For more information, call the FCC at 1-888- CALL-FCC (TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC) or visit the FCC’s wireless microphone website at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/wirelessmicrophones.”
On further inspection I also noticed that the same Shure PGX24/SM58 system came in three options: H6, J6 or L5. I continued my Google searching to see if these microphones were about to be obsolete and discovered the FCC page discussing why and when the 700 MHZ spectrum was taken from consumer mic use and put to use for emergency services: fcc.gov/cgb/wirelessmicrophones
So here’s my questions: Does the current hure PGX24/SM58 systems for sale use the 700 MHZ spectrum or are they safe to buy? I believe they are. But then why the warning on every page they are for sale on? In addition is there any difference in the options H6, J6 or L5?
Here’s a trio for Tuesday. Three new interesting pro-audio related products. Number one we have Steinberg LoopMash. LoopMash mangles four loops. It’s an iPhone App. I grabbed it and it has a pretty cool faux 3D swipe to different screen effect worth checking out. Years after abandoning Cubase I’m using a Steinberg product again. Number two is Mike. It’s a microphone from Apogee that goes directing into your iOS device. It’s from Apogee so it deserves mention. Convenience and AD/DA conversion wise it should be a winner however I’m all about high end mic pres and Mike can’t use one. Number three we have SuperAnalog808 a Roland TR-808 sample pack from Goldbaby designed for Loopmasters. If you don’t own a real 808 or Acidlab Miami then samples are your friend. Goldbaby does them right and there’s a million suble differences between 808s and ways to record them so another sample set is always welcome.
My friend Marc Acardipane (German techno producer) has a Neumann microphone. I recorded some vocals with it and was fairly blown away. I’m not sure which model he had. Possibly it was a TLM 103. The way I would describe it is the opposite of the helium effect. You know how if you suck the helium from a balloon your voice sounds high pitched or kid like? Well the Neumann made me sound more manly. I know there are thousands of boutique microphones and even more Chinese knockoffs but let’s face it: Neumann is the top name.
“Georg Neumann GmbH (Neumann), founded in 1928 and based in Berlin, Germany, is a prominent manufacturer of professional recording microphones. Their best-known products are condenser microphones for broadcast, live and music production purposes. For several decades Neumann was also a leading manufacturer of cutting lathes for phonograph disks, and even ventured into the field of mixing desks for a while.” – WIkipedia.org
I really like Shure microphones. There is good reason they are the most popular brand in the world. They are made well, sound great and are priced right. I own three Shure microphones. My KSM-32 is my go to vocal mic. I like the 32 because it adds a nice presence to my voice but the output is purely my voice sans coloration. I have a zillion nice plug-ins to manipulate my vocals so I don’t want my main mic forcing me into a certain sound. My live show mic is a Shure PGX system. I tried a few other brands but the Shures never have any feedback. I can stand in front of most giant venue speakers without fear. Considering I’m always climbing and jumping things during my live show having a feedback less mic is really important. I also have a SM-58 which was the mic I started out on and still use at home or as a second mic when I have a studio visitor I want to duet with. My Shure collection won’t be complete until I get a API512c compressor and match it with a Shure SM7b. My friend Mark Ephraim from The Shorebirds has the 512/7b set up and let me borrow it one afternoon a few years ago. My voice never sounded more wicked than through that combo.
This week Shure announced some new USB mics at CES. For most new producers and electronic musicians who are not recording bands a USB mic makes sense. Maybe I should replace my home interface/SM58 combo with the newly announced PG42USB. The Shure PG42USB is the one to grab if your going for a vocal mic as it’s “engineered” with voice in mind and has a low cut filter.
Shure is also going after the Micport Pro from CEntrance with it’s new Shure X2u Adapter. It’s a XLR-USB adapter so you can bring in any standard mic (including ones which need Phantom power) into your system without an audio interface.
“USB “Plug and Play” Connectivity: Allows the convenience of digital recording, anywhere your computer can go (compatible with Windows Vista, XP, 2000, and Mac OS X 10.1 or later). Integrated pre-amp with Microphone Gain Control: Allows control of input signal strength. Zero Latency Monitoring: Enables real-time playback and facilitates multi-tracking without disorientation. Headphone Jack: For monitoring with standard 1/8″ connectivity. Monitor Mix Control: For blending microphone and playback audio. Phantom Power: For use with condenser microphones.” -shure.com
If your buying any mic sure you get it from a reputable dealer because fakes are all over the place. Want to know if your SM58 is real or Memorex? Click here
In the United States the FCC will kill analog TV next February (2009). Apparently anything that uses the old analog signals may stop working or run into interference. There are some cordless mics that will be affected. I own two systems (110/220V versions) both from Shure. I like Shure the best because I find they are the least susceptible to feedback. In fact, I returned another brand because it caused such a non-stop screech I thought the audience was going to kill me.
“This ruling does not address the issue of wireless microphone operations in the 700 MHz band. The FCC had proposed earlier that wireless microphone operations in the 700 MHz band should cease in February 2009, but a final transition date has not been announced.” – Shure.com
I have a PGX system which by quickly reading the Shure website I believe will keep on working without a fuss. Am I wrong?
Today a good friend of mine asked me if it was ok if we just traded mix CD’s this year for Christmas. I guess hard times are here so this years official Wire to the Ear Christmas gift guide is strictly limited to great but budget priced stocking stuffers.
Schematic of Moog Synthesizer T-Shirt. $14. Available at Etsy. link
Puremagnetik Micropak Sample Pack. $5.75 per month. link
Yesterday I was listening to a really great podcast called Macbreak Weekly. It’s one of the many podcasts Leo Laporte produces and as the name implies it covers all things Mac. At the end of the show Leo and the guests all pick a product of the week. Chris Breen the editor and chief of MacWorld magazine picked the Micport Pro from CEntrance.
I am in process of making some screencasts for this very site and to get a good voice over I kept having to pull out my M-Audio Firewire 410 audio interface from the live show gear. As you can see from the photo above the Micport Pro is simple USB Micpre that’s more like an adapter than anything else. The other great thing is it’s class compliant which means no driver installs! Just attach to the mic and plug in and you go. Now I keep an old Shure SM58 on my desk ready to use without hassle. The Micport Pro is $124… not bad!