original. acoustic. music.

Gear - AKG Perception 200

The AKG Perception 200 Condenser mic.

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Darrel and I got this mic in exchange for a gig last week. It’s recordin’ time!

We've made a few live recordings, hanging a MiniDisc recorder off the mixer at a gig, but always stopped short of putting vocals to our studio recordings because we've never had anything other than a dynamic mic to record with.

A dynamic mic is great for ...er... dynamic stuff, but it doesn't always capture vocals clearly - there's usually some colouration (or coloration if you're American), or "boxiness", or the character and tone are lost because the frequency response from the pickup isn't wide enough. Not so with this mic. This mic is solid, high-quality and, perhaps most important for us, multi-purpose. It has a large capsule with good frequency response between 20Hz and 20kHz. Best of all, it was REALLY good value for money.

We've built a studio in Darrel's loft room, cobbling together gear accumulated over a couple of years and are almost there - my dream is to have a studio set up that is just effortless, you can go in and work on an idea the moment it appears. I've spent too long in unfit spaces with piles of dodgy gear and spaghettic cabling. I want a space that fosters creativity, not somewhere you have to spend hours trying to find it, or bring it together from a jumble of parts. We're almost there. Almost.

We have an MBox 2 and ProToolsLE 7.1 running on a Mac and Cool Edit Pro 2 (I didn't believe in Adobe enough to fork out the extra to upgrade to Audition Pro) running on a PC. In the weekend we introduced the mic to the studio ("Studio, this is mic. Mic, studio.") and hooked it up to Cool Edit Pro. It sounded great, but would sound better thru the MBox if it weren't for the awful latency when monitoring audio recordings- wait, I'll rant about the shortcomings of the MBox2 in a later post.

It was such a breath of fresh air to have a mic in the studio that could accurately, colourlessly capture the sound of our voices, that completely out of the blue we got a little Doo-woppy on the harmonies of one of our tracks, "Angelina." Perhaps not authentic doo-wop, perhaps closer to Sha Na Na. The Sha Na Na revival. In the 80's. Completely the wrong style for the song but hilarious (to us) at 1 a.m. after a few beers and Starburst Gummi Soakers (our secret recipe for creative thinking...damn, not so secret any more).

Like I said before, we're almost there with our studio - there was an awful lot of pricking around before we could get started, what with the awful latency when monitoring audio on the MBox 2... sorry. Anyway, I think I've cracked the way we can work until we get the gear we need to just plug in and play. Unfortunately, however, we won't be playing gigs together for a couple of weeks. Darrel is a primary school teacher and is on a well-deserved holiday, and I'm moving house. It's not all glamour and stardom yet. Stay tuned.