THE HANGAR USER MANUAL
(All newer channel strips have 48v and phase reverse unless otherwise noted)
(Also see the mic pre section as several of the channel strips have really good compressors in them)
There are three basic types of compressors:
- Variable Mu compressors use a tube as the gain change element.
- Optical compressors like the LA-2A use an optical element as the gain change element.
- FET compressors like the 1176 that use a FET transistor as the gain change element.
(Also see the mic pre section as several of the channel strips have really good EQs in them)
There are two main types of EQs, passive and active. Each type has two sub-types so to speak. A true passive EQ has no make up gain stage and will introduce a significant overall gain reduction. Most passive EQs have a gain make up stage to counteract this. Active EQs also have two types RC and LC. RC stands for Resistor/Capacitor and is generally used in cheaper EQs like you find in most inexpensive mixers. LC stands for Inductor/Capacitor and is found in better EQs, like Neves, etc. Don't ask why its LC instead of IC, because I've forgotten, but we know that the LC EQs sound much better than RC EQs. Both our Neve and Daking consoles have LC EQ circuits.
The Mic pre section above details the EQs in the Neve, Daking, UA, EMI, Focusrite, Heilios and API units.
LARGE DIAPHRAGM CONDENSER MICS
These microphones are often though of as the classic vocal mics but sound great on almost any source. Besides vocals, you'll see them used as drum overheads and room mics, acoustic guitars and guitar and bass amps.
SMALL DIAPHRAGM CONDENSER MICS
For some sources, a smaller diaphragm is considered better, particularly when you want LESS low end and a more extended top end and transient response. These mics excell on acoustic guitars, especially close up, and especially when the guitar is part of a dense rock mix. They are also great as drum overheads.
My all time favorite small diaphragm condenser is the older Neumann KM-84s. Unfortunately, they don't make them anymore and have replaced them with KM-184's. I've talked to lots of people who've used both, and while they say the 184 sounds fine, it just doesn't have the magic of the 84's. The 84's are now completely overpriced because of their 'vintage' status. I've bought, listened to, and returned a lot of small diaphragm mics in an attempt to find something that sounds like a KM-84.
Ribbon mics are a type of dynamic mic that uses a thin ribbon as the element instead of a diaphragm. They were some of the first quality mics ever made and have become very popular and trendy in recent years for a good reason. They sound great. They are very different from condensers and even other dynamics. They have a slower transient response than condensers and other dynamics. Why, you might ask, would you want a mic that is LESS accurate? Well, especially in the age of digital recording, perfectly accurate recordings with great transient response can sound kind of harsh and brittle. Back in the day when all your favorite rock and jazz records were recorded, they were recorded to tape (Something we can, and still, do here at The Hangar). Tape also does not reproduce transients perfectly and tends to soften and limit them. People like the way this sounds. People like the sound of tape. People like the sound of Ribbon mics when they record onto digital systems. Recently ribbons have become popular again as drum overheads.
Keeping the above in mind, other popular uses of Ribbon mics are on reed instruments like harmonica and saxophone as well as strings. Steve Albini popularized their use on guitar amps. Lot's of engineers like them as vocal mics. In all instances, the above uses tone down transient information like scratchy strings for instance and results in a warmer, richer sound. You might prefer a ribbon mic for a string section for instance while you might want a condenser for a solo violin line. George Massenburg has been quoted saying that he'll use Ribbons on vocals for the softer top end but then boost the real high end above 12k or so with a good EQ for a really natural, 'airy' sound.
PHANTOM POWER WILL DESTROY RIBBON MICS!!!! It is super important to make sure you have the phantom power off before connecting a ribbon mic.
These are the workhorse mics. Indestructible and can handle anything thrown at them. Not as cool, trendy or historic as condensers and ribbons, dynamics are indispensable and the mic of preference for most drums and guitar amps as well as tight vocal situations.