In answer to the question last month about "killer mike chains" I'd like to say that for me the biggest improvements in the sound of my work have not come so much from the hardware involved as from finding the right EQ tweaking for my voice.
I now use a U89, but even when I was using a Sennheiser mike, I found that a good EQ section on the board (or outboard as in the Symetrix 528) was crucial to a sound that jumps out over the music and effects.
For someone just starting the quest for the ultimate EQ, they should keep in mind that the EQ pots go in two directions for a reason. You CAN brighten a voice by adding highs. But too much of that and you may end up with a sound that's still too "boomey" and yet "fried" sounding at the same time. Instead, try notching out some of the bottom (around 120Hz) to accentuate the mids and highs. For my voice and mike I also roll off a little around 500-625Hz. Then, if you need more definition on the high end, boost somewhere in the 3.8 to 6kHz range. I recommend EQ-ing to tape instead of on playback.
Lastly, don't underestimate the effectiveness of some form of delay or reverb. I love just a very slight touch of SPX-90 setting #5 to liven up my mike sound. Used in moderation, it's a great way to make the voice sound brighter and more open.
Voice At Large, Atlanta, GA
Thanks for the feedback. You make a good point in stressing that effects as basic as EQ and reverb (both found in practically all studios) can be used to get that just right "sound" on the voice. It's likely that many producers don't spend enough time experimenting with EQ before they decide that a new mike or compressor is in order. Thanks also for the Yamaha tip. Anyone with an SPX-90 should try the effect if you haven't. It might be exactly what you're looking for.
I recently happened across your September, 1990 issue and, having received two other complimentary issues in the past and therefore being familiar with your periodical, eagerly read the articles contained therein, glad for the chance to expand and refine my production acumen.
Radio And Production is no doubt an indispensable tool for someone with access to a 16-track or 8-track studio. Even a producer relegated to a lowly 4-track studio could benefit from your RAP Sheet, but what about those of us who have only a couple of 2-track Otaris? In my case, I am fortunate to have those run through the board in "4-track fashion" so that I can run each channel in mono, and therefore simulate (with some synchronization) 4-track. I am also blessed to have at my disposal an Eventide H3000 Ultra-Harmonizer, plus an Aphex Aural Exciter and a 10-band equalizer. Still, I'm sure you'll agree that leaves the production room somewhat barren, and some days the creative "producing" juices just refuse to flow even when the Promotions Department is breathing down my neck.
I have been wondering whether or not your publication would benefit me and others like me with similar equipment limitations, or are you too "over our heads?" I'd love to ask the boss to get a subscription to Radio And Production for the station, but would we (I) be able to duplicate what he hears on The Cassette with this equipment? Frankly, I don't want to set myself up for frustration or failure.
So, how 'bout it? Are you "big guys" what us "little guys" need?
Jon Rose, Production Director
WBYR, Fort Wayne, IN
It seems your question is two-fold. You ask if Radio And Production would benefit you and people like you in limited 2-track studios. You also ask if you would be able to duplicate the quality of work on The Cassette after you subscribe.
As far as the benefits of a subscription are concerned, let's take that September 1990 issue you came across as an example. In it is an article comparing different effects boxes by price and features. There is a tip about color coding carts and programming stopsets. There's another tip about copywriting. Dennis Daniel talks about free-lancing, etc., etc.. If your station were a subscriber, you would have received the October, November and December issues which offered an article about creativity (in the cerebral sense, not multi-track). There's a tip for an effects processor much less expensive that the one you have. Rick Allen writes about directing non-pro voice talent. There's an interview with an award winning copywriter. Working with interns is examined. The list goes on, but the point is that the information benefits producers regardless of the number of tracks in their studios, and none of these subjects is "over the head" of anyone in radio (we hope).
Regarding your ability to duplicate what you hear on The Cassette, it seems you fear this possible "frustration or failure" as a result of having to ask the boss for seventy-five dollars. You obviously enjoy getting the complimentary issues every four or five months, so it must be the subscription fee that has the power to "set you up" for failure and frustration. If that's the case, please accept a one year subscription at no charge starting with this issue. That way, nobody can point a finger at you and say, "I told you that magazine wasn't for us! See! There's a waste of seventy-five dollars!" If at any time during the year your boss feels the station has received seventy-five dollars worth of tips, ideas, or information from this service, then send us a check. If not, don't. If at any time you wish to cancel the subscription, just write cancel across the front page and send the issue back. If your new subscription proves to be an invaluable asset that greatly improves your production, please write us and let us know. Have a great year and wel-come aboard!