Vintage Pro Audio Hack Chat

Is that a Telefunken U47?

Wednesday, May 25, 2022 12:00 pm PDT Local time zone:
Hack Chat
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Frank Olson will host the Hack Chat on Wednesday, May 25 at noon Pacific.

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There was a time, and not all that long ago on the cosmic scale, that if you wanted to hear music, you either needed to make it yourself or hire someone to do it for you. For most of history, music was very much a here and now thing, and when the song was over, that was it.

Thankfully, those days are long gone, and for better or worse, we have instant access to whatever music we're in the mood for. The Spotify client in your pocket is a far cry from the iPod of a few years back, or the Walkman of the 80s, or even a mid-century transistor radio.  But no matter how you listen to your music, it all starts with getting the live music recorded, and that's where we'll be going with this Hack Chat.

Hooking up the preamps, mixers, mics, and recorders that make modern music possible is what Frank Olson is all about. You'll probably recognize Frank's name from his unique niche as a maker of wooden microphones, but dig a little deeper and he's got a lot of experience with vintage pro audio gear. As both a musician and an audio engineer, Frank brings an enthusiast's passion for recording gear to the Hack Chat, and we're looking forward to picking his brain on the unique ways he's found to turn sounds into music and to get to all down on tape.

  • Hack Chat Transcript, Part 2

    Dan Maloney05/25/2022 at 20:18 0 comments

    Mark12:41 PM
    here's a conundrum.... I have a SAMSON C03 studio condenser mic set to super cardoid and phantom power, with the -10dB switch on, with a pop filter. This is fed into my Behringer Mixer and into my Line in on my computer. Then, I bought a Chinese condesner mic with brand name "Andowl" which costs like maybe a tenth of the price. I have a nice smooth bassy tone of voice and for the life of me I am trying to wrap my head around the fact that everyone says I sound better using the el Cheapo chinese knockoff. It does capture the upper frequencies a bit better off the bat, whereas my C03 needed a bit of tweaking. @Dan Maloney please educate me :)

    Frank Olson12:41 PM
    @Richard Tretzel Honestly, the internet makes manufacturing things somewhat tricky in my opinion. On one hand, you have this unlimited market place. On the other hand, if you're trying to build pro audio gear, that community is extremely picky. If they have a bad experience, you will get thrashed on the forums!

    Joe Stavitsky12:42 PM
    @Mark I will be straight with you, all of the brands you mentioned are of such ill repute that I wouldn't even want to hazard a guess what's at fault

    Richard Tretzel12:42 PM
    @Joe Stavitsky Nice! I'm actually from Germany, but moved to Austria in 2003. Where does your friend live?

    Frank Olson12:42 PM
    I generally don't sell my mics or anything online, only to friends or studio owners who have used them and found value in them. Otherwise, it's a tough sell in my book

    Mark12:42 PM
    welll that's a back handed way of avoiding a technical discussion

    Joe Stavitsky12:43 PM
    @Richard Tretzel I don't recall, a very small village.

    Mark12:44 PM
    Thanks for the advice @Joseph Stavitsky I'll certainly take your considered tech analysis to heart

    Joe Stavitsky12:44 PM
    @Mark the best suggestion I can make is compare specified mic frequency range and noise floor/max gain to console rated channel frequency range and noise floor/max gain.

    Mark12:44 PM
    I didn't mention a fault. It was merely a difference in sound

    Mark12:44 PM
    ok will do.

    Joe Stavitsky12:45 PM
    @Mark but again with those brands I have zero confidence that the ratings are honest.

    Joe Stavitsky12:46 PM
    @Mark If you're feeling extra frisky by all means stick a dmm and/or frequency counter between the mic and the console, and then on the console outputs.

    Richard Tretzel12:47 PM
    @Frank Olson I think it depends on the community. Andy usually builds for people he knows, and his builds are extremely good and "tidy" in my opinion. Anything I did was usually sounding good, but looked like crap inside 😂

    Joe Stavitsky12:47 PM
    @Richard Tretzel I think near Munich?

    Richard Tretzel12:47 PM
    ah ok!

    Frank Olson12:47 PM
    @Mark Well, we're all in that same boat in a lot of ways! In the studio setting, microphones are commonly swapped out to find which one works best on a given source. The Samson and the other mic might well be manufactured by the same company. The headbasket, circuit, element could all have different properties, as well as the room you're recording in..

    Richard Tretzel12:47 PM
    I'm from bavaria, too

    Joe Stavitsky12:48 PM
    @Mark exactly right, I should have mentioned room acoustics as well.

    Frank Olson12:48 PM
    @Richard Tretzel You're making microphones?

    Dan Maloney12:49 PM
    Hey Frank -- anytime we run one of your wooden mic builds, we always seem to get a comment on how they can't perform well WRT EMI, because the magnetic circuit isn't closed. Do you find that to be true?

    Mark12:49 PM
    yeah, it wasn't so much a question of a problem.... more a question of Frequency response. So the Andowl gathers the upper frequencies much better than the Samson, so I have to bring in the bass on the sliders to get that natural bass to my voice to be perceived. When recording, do you rather Boost a frequency or reduce the surrounding frequencies

    Richard Tretzel12:49 PM
    @mark do shootouts! Use your ears, try over different preamps, positions etc... And then it depends on the whole production...

    Read more »

  • Hack Chat Transcript, Part 1

    Dan Maloney05/25/2022 at 20:17 0 comments

    Joe Stavitsky11:43 AM
    Howdy folks. Anyone else here with studio recording experience? I've been out of the game for years, but I think I'll get back in soon.

    Chris11:53 AM
    My only experience has been working with Bose in their acoustic stations; I don't remember all hardware but one was NI and the sampler had a free software.

    Dan Maloney11:55 AM
    My pro audio experience is limited to setting up sound reinforcement systems for live concerts. That was always interesting to see the different ways different techs set up the stacks and cabinets.

    Dan Maloney11:55 AM
    And we'll get started in like 5 minutes, BTW

    Dan Maloney11:56 AM
    But feel free to chat!

    Mark11:56 AM
    So here's a great question. microphones, specifically the nice Electret ones.... they can sound amazing, so amazeballs. But then, on some builds they sound like poop. I am building a super tiny, super sexy bluetooth speaker they we can still have discord chats on, to give her Arctis Pro Wireless ridden ears a break. What would you suggest to get the cleanest mic sound ??

    Mark11:57 AM
    Oh... I'm building the bluetooth speaker for my girlfriend

    Joe Stavitsky11:57 AM
    @Dan Maloney I've done live work as well. Fun, but depends who you're working with.

    Joe Stavitsky11:58 AM
    @Mark Mic selection is deep magic. Depends on budget ,your room, and positioning. In your case I'd start with budget.

    Mark11:58 AM
    I've done quite a fair amount of full rig sound engineering (set up, mixing and dealing with diva musicians)

    Chris11:58 AM
    I like how old formats make a comeback (Vinyls are forever though) likes some fathers showing their kids, and they get involved as well, discs (i.e. audio CDs); I would love to see the cassettes but with extra bits of modern technologies. <3

    Dan Maloney11:59 AM
    So true! The "noise boys" always seemed to be snooty elitists who got to stay on the bus and sleep in, while the lighting guys were hard at work early in the morning because their stuff had to go up first. And the electricians were always super nice, too.

    Frank Olson joined  the room.11:59 AM

    Joe Stavitsky11:59 AM
    Digital and magnetic is garbage in my opinion for different reasons. Lossless digital is acceptable for archiving. Vinyl is optimal for reproduction.

    Frank Olson12:00 PM
    Howdy Peeps!

    Dan Maloney12:00 PM
    OK, here we go. I see Frank just joined, so hello and welcome to the Hack Chat. I'm Dan, I'll be modding today along with Dusan as we talk about vintage pro audio gear with Frank Olson.

    Dusan Petrovic12:00 PM
    Hi Dan

    Joe Stavitsky12:00 PM
    @Dan Maloney I caught the first wave of Full Sail grads. They did a great deal to trash the reputation of a 4 year degree.

    Dusan Petrovic12:00 PM
    Welcome everyone!

    Dan Maloney12:00 PM
    Hi Frank! What's your background and how did you get interested in audio gear?

    Joe Stavitsky12:00 PM

    Frank Olson12:02 PM
    Hey all! I'm basically a musician and vintage electronics enthusiast. Being a musician sometimes requires certain gear that is costly- for me the best way to combat that cost was to make the gear myself!

    john.hays joined  the room.12:02 PM

    Frank Olson12:02 PM
    My first guitar amp for example, was a 50's tube tape recorder..

    Nicolas Tremblay joined  the room.12:03 PM

    Frank Olson12:03 PM
    I used it for a few years, and decided to take it all apart and only use the parts that were directly related to audio in and out

    Joe Stavitsky12:03 PM
    @Frank Olson did you modify it, or use as is? If modified, what did you do to it?

    Mark12:03 PM
    @Joseph Stavitsky @Dan Maloney Oh wow. I wish there were different teams on some of my gigs. Imagine going doing to put on a festival in the middle of nowhere, being one of the musicians that will perform on the weekend. We carted all the gear down to the Ferry and took our entire rig, Massive Marshall Valve Bass Amp and Bass speaker on a speedboat down the Kei River to get our equipment to the resort. It had rained that day and the mountain pass was closed. 2 tons of our entire livelihoods in...

    Read more »

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