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By Necessity, Not By Choice

Last Saturday night whilst mixing the first band at a show I was running, featuring Frankenbok from Melbourne, I noticed one of my AKG C414 XLII overheads was not passing audio. The LED’s were working, so it was receiving phantom power. I changed the cable with no success. I changed the channel with no success. I changed the dropbox channel many times with no success. I was also running a pair of AKG C451b for high hats and ride cymbal, so I made the decision to strike the C414’s and replace them with the C451b’s and put the remaining working C414 on high hats. What surprised me was how smooth the C414 on high hats was. It looked a bit ridiculous, but the rejection was great with the drum fill blaring close by and the snare bleed was quite nice. I have seen a lot of 3 and 4 mic setups overhead on drum kits before and the success of this makes me want to try four C414 XLII’s on overheads and to experiment with distancing to see if brining down the hats and ride ‘spot’ microphones in height might be doable whilst maintaining a positive phase relationship between them all and the close microphones.

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Random Thought

In my social media trawling I spotted someone using an Audix D6 on snare bottom which intrigued me. I am a fan of the D6 on kick drum, bass cab and floor tom and I like the D2 on snare top, so a D6 on snare bottom sounds interesting if not strange. It is now on my list of things to try, just because. The Beta 57A top and bottom may have a contender.

Impulse Buy

I purchased a Zoom Q8 video recorder recently with the intention of trying it at the above mentioned event. I have had a Zoom Q3HD previously and I found it a little simplistic for my needs. The Q8 has a changeable XY microphone capsule that you can swap out for a mid side capsule, a shotgun capsule or even a stereo shotgun capsule. It also has two inputs on XLR and TRS for additional microphones or line level sources. It has a USB port which allows it to act as a device to stream audio and video from for applications like USTREAMIT, as an audio interface for Smaart and to charge the rechargeable batteries which are included with the device. The plan is to mount it to the front lighting bar or somewhere similar, run a long powered USB cable or cat6 line to it, power from the lighting points, not plugged into the dimmer of course, they are essentially extension cables with an outlet at one end and cable at the other, run two lines from the console up to it and convert to TRS for the line inputs, set it at a frame rate that balances quality, file size and streaming quality, mix the line and microphones with the inbuilt mixer, compress and limit and then stream it online, which is now much easier thanks to the NBN, even if it is in a gimped FTTN format. I had this grand plan, but couldn’t find my stash of SD cards in time. Oops. Hopefully with a further search I’ll be able to find one and get it up and running or I’ll fork out for a new one. This all came about because a colleague used one to shoot some clips for some ableton material we are working on at work. When the better half asked about the purchase, I blamed him.

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Pro Tip

Keep a few spare high hat clutches and cymbal felts and nuts in your kit. Thank me later.