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Why No Microphone is a “Magic Bullet”

January 6, 2013

I’ve recently been obsessing over getting a Heil PR-30 for kick drums, as I’ve recently sold my Audix D6. Nowhere really sells them here in the UK, and so I was looking at American sellers and calculating import duty. After a lot of thought and some persuasion from others, I’ve realised that I fell into the trap again of wanting a certain mic because I thought it was going to my make my recordings a bit better by using a certain mic.

You’ll see one of my early blog posts was called Using The Cheaper Alternative, where I discuss that sometimes using a microphone that’s cheaper will sound better than one that’s more expensive. This got me thinking as to why I was obsessing over gear that I didn’t need, “why do I need this mic?“, “what will it bring to the table that my other mics don’t?”. With these questions in mind, and listening to kick drum mic shootouts, and the like, I realised that the differences between these mics on certain sound sources are not as substantial as I wanted to believe. These mics more-or-less do the same thing.

So, with that said, a microphone which is primarily used on a bass drum will have frequencies which will optimize sound for a bass drum. I already have an AKG D112, and it’s possible to get a more than useable sound from this mic when positioned correctly. It’s hard to accept that cheaper microphones can live-up to their more expensive brothers, so my challenge to you is to not obsess over gear like I do (and I’m sure you do) and get great results with your cheap gear. Yeah, it’s great spending money on a nice shiny microphone that we can put in our mic locker, but save your money, as you can get great results with your cheaper gear. If it sounds great, it is great!

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