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Al Schmitt microphone technique.

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Al Schmitt microphone technique.

Postby Arpangel » Fri May 14, 2021 9:10 am

Always loved this guy, especially his work with Steely Dan, his records can tend to epitomise that tight clean 70’s vibe, lots of separation, and close miking, interestingly he talks about spill here, on omni's, and not caring, also wondering what those sax mic’s are at the beginning of this video?
There are rather a lot of microphones out on that session, and I’m wondering about phasing in situations like this, how do you manage that?
Interesting choice of microphones, some personal obviously, others tried and tested regulars.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmJVOUAN2fY
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Re: Al Schmitt microphone technique.

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri May 14, 2021 10:22 am

Arpangel wrote:...wondering what those sax mic’s are at the beginning of this video?

The close mics are just Neumann U87s aren't they? In omni pattern.

The mics on the overhead booms "for the room" are RCA KU3s (or the modern AEA KU4 equivalents -- super-cardioid ribbons). Sometimes also known as RCA 10001s.

There are rather a lot of microphones out on that session, and I’m wondering about phasing in situations like this, how do you manage that?

He's recording an ensemble and wants an ensemble sound, so it's not really a problem. The more mics you have, the more confused the phase relationships generally are and the less of a problem! But the close mics are following the 3:1 'rule', so favour the close source significantly over the adjacent source(s). The overhead mics are picking up the room character as a glue to meld it all together.

Interesting choice of microphones, some personal obviously, others tried and tested regulars.

Pleasing that he uses so many ribbons...
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Re: Al Schmitt microphone technique.

Postby shufflebeat » Fri May 14, 2021 8:11 pm

Loved the vid and others in the series.

Ta.
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Re: Al Schmitt microphone technique.

Postby sound bites » Fri May 14, 2021 10:19 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Arpangel wrote:...wondering what those sax mic’s are at the beginning of this video?

The close mics are just Neumann U87s aren't they? In omni pattern.
.

No, they are U67s. Al never used a U87, he really didn’t like it.
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Re: Al Schmitt microphone technique.

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat May 15, 2021 12:19 am

;) I did wonder -- hence the question -- I was aware of the preference. But as I couldn't see any power supplies nearby in the video I opted for 87s. :shifty:
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Re: Al Schmitt microphone technique.

Postby DC-Choppah » Sat May 15, 2021 3:12 am

Al Schmitt's stuff sound great to me. So I always try to follow along and learn. One of my favorites.
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Re: Al Schmitt microphone technique.

Postby Tim Gillett » Sat May 15, 2021 3:53 am

sound bites wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Arpangel wrote:...wondering what those sax mic’s are at the beginning of this video?

The close mics are just Neumann U87s aren't they? In omni pattern.
.

No, they are U67s. Al never used a U87, he really didn’t like it.

That sounds odd. I wonder what he didnt like about them.
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Re: Al Schmitt microphone technique.

Postby Arpangel » Sat May 15, 2021 7:18 am

Maybe the 67 doesn’t have such a strong presence peak?
Al very much had his own style, and whatever techniques he used, he always had that magic touch, and despite all the new trends in miking, I love his classic sound, but I suppose that’s a bit of a contradiction, as he would say, and the musicians he’s recorded, that he made everything sound very natural.
But to me a lot of his recordings sounded better than natural, you can’t put your finger on it, he knew the limitations of the medium he was working with, and made recordings that exploited all the good things about it, in a way so that you don’t really notice, it just sounded great.
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Re: Al Schmitt microphone technique.

Postby Mike Senior » Sat May 15, 2021 7:22 am

sound bites wrote:No, they are U67s. Al never used a U87, he really didn’t like it.

Well, to be strictly accurate, he has used 87s, although he didn't like to admit it. You can see Steve Genewick ribbing him about it on one of the Mix With The Masters videos, which is quite amusing... :)
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Re: Al Schmitt microphone technique.

Postby sound bites » Sat May 15, 2021 8:17 am

Mike Senior wrote:
sound bites wrote:No, they are U67s. Al never used a U87, he really didn’t like it.

Well, to be strictly accurate, he has used 87s, although he didn't like to admit it. You can see Steve Genewick ribbing him about it on one of the Mix With The Masters videos, which is quite amusing... :)

What did he use them on? Could you post a link?

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Re: Al Schmitt microphone technique.

Postby lowlandmasters » Sat May 15, 2021 8:33 am

in the 90s Studio Sound magazine did an interview with Mr Schmitt, in which he said that after an accident in 1983 falling off a ladder, he lost the hearing in one ear.

He stopped engineering almost entirely for the next three years, until one day going to buy a newspaper he realised he could hear birdsong in that ear again - he said it was like joining two wires together. And from that day on he never stopped working.

In view of AI's achievements since, I thought the story was absolutely remarkable. But I've never seen it repeated elsewhere, and it's not in his autobiography (which I have). I even began to think I must have made it up: however, when the great man passed I thought I'd see if I could track it down on the web, and lo and beho!d Studio Sound has a searchable archive (I think I seaached for 'Schmitt' and 'ladder'!) - and yes, he did say that.
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Re: Al Schmitt microphone technique.

Postby Kwackman » Sat May 15, 2021 10:39 am

Link to the ladder story in Studio Sound

https://worldradiohistory.com/hd2/IDX-A ... 0ladder%22
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Re: Al Schmitt microphone technique.

Postby lowlandmasters » Sat May 15, 2021 11:27 am

Kwackman wrote:Link to the ladder story in Studio Sound

https://worldradiohistory.com/hd2/IDX-A ... 0ladder%22

Thanks Kwackman! Lazy of me not to provide a link.
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