PZM overhead/snare?

swarfrat

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Point being it's a trademark difference, not a technical difference
 

dboomer

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It depends on how to measure difference. A PZM mic points the capsule down into the boundary plate and is patented (woo-woo). Everyone else‘s boundary mic lays the capsule parallel to the boundary. So yes, they are different. But what difference in recording does that make? I submit that moving your mic 2” away from your first position makes 10x (or maybe 100x) more actual sonic difference (and that’s extremely small) than the difference between an actual PZM mic and a boundary mic.

Boundary mics primary goal is to eliminate reflections that cause out of phase comb-filtering. When you put a regular mic on a stand up off the floor (or ceiling) some sound goes directly into it and some bounces off the floor and then goes up into it. That bounce causes a cancellation at some frequency (related to the exact difference in distance). So with a mic up 4 feet on a stand that cancellation is right in the middle of the frequencies you are trying to capture.

if you lay your mic flat on the floor you still get a bounce but it’s only millimeters in length so it cancels out something in the 25-30kHz (or higher) range which is essentially useless so who cares. This happens with BOTH PZMs and regular boundary mics. Some boundary mics might cancel just a little below what a PZM would do and some just above. There is nothing particularly sacred about how a PZM does it compared to how other units do it. It’s mainly a marketing difference.
 

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I recall owning the Radio Shack version WAY back in the dark ages, and recall that it sounded pretty darn good. I remember placing two of them on the floor some distance in front of the drum set and got some cool sounds with BIG bass.

I thought, perhaps completely in error, that these types of mic's were "discredited" and were only to be mocked by serious recording enthusiasts.

What's the current opinion of these mic's by those who use them? Sound good?
 

Stone Wilcoxon

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I recall owning the Radio Shack version WAY back in the dark ages, and recall that it sounded pretty darn good. I remember placing two of them on the floor some distance in front of the drum set and got some cool sounds with BIG bass.

I thought, perhaps completely in error, that these types of mic's were "discredited" and were only to be mocked by serious recording enthusiasts.

What's the current opinion of these mic's by those who use them? Sound good?
For the money spent, these are the best mics I own. By that I mean that back in the day, those Radio Shack PZMs, licensed by Crown, sold for $49.95. I used a $10-off coupon for each of them when buying all 4 of mine. Add the cost of an XLR connector and a AA battery, and that's an amazing bargain. I have used them as a stereo pair mounted on big plexi panels arranged as a wedge, taped them back to back as a pair, taped them to the underside of a piano lid, put a single up in front of a bass drum, placed one inside of a bass drum... and they have given me better results than I could ever expect from a mic that costs under $50. I also have the Crown SASS, which is a pair of PZM elements mounted ear-distance apart in an array that simulated a head, with a foam barrier between them that simulates a face. It creates amazingly accurate stereo images. I have used it as a drum overhead, and the engineer on those sessions was blown away by it. But... recording an orchestra or wind ensemble, running it side by side with an ORTF array of Shure SM-81s, I felt the Shures were more musical. That said, if you have access to a couple of the original RatShack Crown licensed mics, have at it. They're pretty dang versatile. Especially for the price.

NOTE: because these see such a wide pattern, I don't think they work particularly well for live sound reinforcement unless they are well contained. I once taped a pair of them to the inside of a plexi drum cage and got a pretty good mix of the kit out front, but having them in the open would run a higher risk of feedback than using cardioids.
 

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For the money spent, these are the best mics I own. By that I mean that back in the day, those Radio Shack PZMs, licensed by Crown, sold for $49.95. I used a $10-off coupon for each of them when buying all 4 of mine. Add the cost of an XLR connector and a AA battery, and that's an amazing bargain. I have used them as a stereo pair mounted on big plexi panels arranged as a wedge, taped them back to back as a pair, taped them to the underside of a piano lid, put a single up in front of a bass drum, placed one inside of a bass drum... and they have given me better results than I could ever expect from a mic that costs under $50. I also have the Crown SASS, which is a pair of PZM elements mounted ear-distance apart in an array that simulated a head, with a foam barrier between them that simulates a face. It creates amazingly accurate stereo images. I have used it as a drum overhead, and the engineer on those sessions was blown away by it. But... recording an orchestra or wind ensemble, running it side by side with an ORTF array of Shure SM-81s, I felt the Shures were more musical. That said, if you have access to a couple of the original RatShack Crown licensed mics, have at it. They're pretty dang versatile. Especially for the price.

NOTE: because these see such a wide pattern, I don't think they work particularly well for live sound reinforcement unless they are well contained. I once taped a pair of them to the inside of a plexi drum cage and got a pretty good mix of the kit out front, but having them in the open would run a higher risk of feedback than using cardioids.
Great info. Thanks for the reply.
 

Cauldronics

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I thought, perhaps completely in error, that these types of mic's were "discredited" and were only to be mocked by serious recording enthusiasts.
Renown studio engineer Steve Albini wouldn't discredit or mock using a boundary mic, particularly for recording drums.
 

swarfrat

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As others have mentioned in the thread, there's more than one non-obscure bass drum mic currently on the market, and it's not regarded as a "budget alternative". Lots of people use them for a room mic for IEM, and for recording. So many of the well known mics are selected for their color, so neutral uncolored mics that don't cost a fortune or have something to distinguish themselves don't get a lot of press.

But for my situation, with a big flat wall/ceiling right over my drums... I think this could be far and away the best sounding, as well as being the most unobtrusive. Which also made me realize I'm gonna leave that cluttered bookcase, I mean diffuser, right where it is.
IMG_20210728_142521718.jpg
 
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Cauldronics

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If for some reason, the Peavey mic doesn't work out (but it probably will), an omni mic or two (or a mic with that pattern selection) will pick up minimal phase cancellation and a big sound with more options for placement in room, including right up close to the ceiling.
 

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NOTE: because these see such a wide pattern, I don't think they work particularly well for live sound reinforcement unless they are well contained. I once taped a pair of them to the inside of a plexi drum cage and got a pretty good mix of the kit out front, but having them in the open would run a higher risk of feedback than using cardioids.
While I mostly agree with this, there comes a point at which loud stage volume combined with a short distance to the back wall completely trashes mic pickup patterns. If you test enough mics in enough circumstances you will find that many many times omnis outperform cardioid mics at gain before feedback. Omnis are very misunderstood and almost always outperform their cardioid cousins. Dynamic mics all start life as omnis and it is the housing that builds in the pattern. However the housing is impossible to get correct at all frequencies (unless you built huge mics) so making them cardioid always messes with the flatness of the frequency response.
 

swarfrat

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Which leads me to the question I've had for a while but never asked:

Where's the omni version of the SM-57/AT2020. RE50 seems to be as close as I could find. It just seems like it'd be easier to buy an inexpensive bulletproof omni, at $200 I'm starting to get tempted by multipattern mics.
 

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Which leads me to the question I've had for a while but never asked:

Where's the omni version of the SM-57/AT2020. RE50 seems to be as close as I could find. It just seems like it'd be easier to buy an inexpensive bulletproof omni, at $200 I'm starting to get tempted by multipattern mics.

You can get one of these to make your 57 omni. I've got one that I use with a 57 in the "crotch mic" position. Works well enough.

You can actually do this with most mics with rear cancellation ports -- just tape over them and you'll get a roughly omni pattern. This is just a bit more finished looking.
 

Cauldronics

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Which leads me to the question I've had for a while but never asked:

Where's the omni version of the SM-57/AT2020. RE50 seems to be as close as I could find. It just seems like it'd be easier to buy an inexpensive bulletproof omni, at $200 I'm starting to get tempted by multipattern mics.
I might be remembering this wrong, but I seem to remember that a 57 essentially becomes an omni if the sides of the mic are taped off, so that the pickup pattern from off axis is blocked off.

I might have mistaken it for another mic or have the story wrong, but it was something along those lines.
 
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Cauldronics

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If you want an excellent mic on the cheap with I believe infinitely variable polar patterns (between those available on the mic), I can’t recommend the CAD m179 highly enough.

I’ve used it on snare, toms, bass cab, vocals and room and it either exceeds or easily meets my goal for each.

I meant to pick up a full set for toms but haven’t yet.
 

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This confuses me. If a cardioid mic has the sides blocked, why doesn’t it become more directional? It becomes omni? It seems so counterintuitive.
The vents allow out-of-phase vibrations to enter the chamber behind the diaphragm, cancelling out vibrations and creating the rear null. A true omni has the backside of the mic completely sealed.
 

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This confuses me. If a cardioid mic has the sides blocked, why doesn’t it become more directional? It becomes omni? It seems so counterintuitive.
An omni mic uses a closed capsule that picks up differences in air pressure in front of the membrane. Sound waves arriving from any direction create the same amplitude in the membrane/signal. That's about what the SM57 with the sides closed does.
Other mics such as ribbons pick up sounds arriving front and rear of the pickup element in opposite polarity, but hardly anything arriving from the sides (figure-8 pickup pattern)
A directional mic picks up sound from front and rear as well, but uses a construction that cancels the rear signal to a degree. A dynamic directional mic does this mechanically, through openings behind the membrane. Tricky business.

In 1939 Shure released the Unidyne 55, the first dynamic microphone to offer a cardioid response using only a single diaphragm/capsule – a development by Shure’s Ben Bauer. His design used ports at the rear of the microphone to achieve cancellation of sounds arriving from the rear, creating what Shure called the ‘uniphase’ principle. Bauer’s development changed the world of microphone design and is now used in almost every single-diaphragm microphone that offers a cardioid, supercardioid, hypercardioid or subcardioid polar response.
 
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If you want a truly bullet-proof omni, look for an Electro-Voice 635a, a/k/a PL-5. They're the same mic, it's just that they carry different paint jobs, and are marketed to different segments of the pro audio marketplace. Brand new, they sell for $139. I picked up my PL-5 for $10. Known in some circles as the "Buchanan Hammer", they are virtually indestructible. If I recall, EV ran a series of magazine ads back in the 70s, where they gave a pair of them to a couple of radio shock jocks, and defied them to destroy them while using them on the air. After severely abusing them in the studio for a while, they finally took the mics to a gun range, and hit them with a 12 gauge shotgun. The castings and wiring were badly mangled, but the pickup capsules were still intact, and when they soldered the wires back in place, the mics worked. I have used mine as an overhead to feed my in-ears on small room gigs where there was no chance that any of my drum mics besides the kick would ever play in the PA, and I was pretty pleased at the snapshot it gave me of the overall kit. They have been described as having almost a ribbon-like sound to them. Look for a cheap used one or, spring for a new one. You'll never break it or wear it out. And if you need a hammer on stage...


[ QUOTE="swarfrat, post: 2149394, member: 22088"]
Which leads me to the question I've had for a while but never asked:

Where's the omni version of the SM-57/AT2020. RE50 seems to be as close as I could find. It just seems like it'd be easier to buy an inexpensive bulletproof omni, at $200 I'm starting to get tempted by multipattern mics.
[/QUOTE]
 


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