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Harvey Thread

Harvey Thread

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Published by: Alex Verkhovsky on Feb 19, 2010
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01/20/2013

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Harvey Gerst’s Mic Lessons
 
Lesson 1
Posted by Harvey Gerst on 05-03-2001 09:23
Okay, let's start this with some interesting history as a prelude to the whole mic discussion. "Why" will become pretty clear by the third or fourth paragraph:In a way, the history of microphones and sound all started with Alexander Graham Bell, and Western Union. After Bell won the lawsuit with Western Union over the invention of the telephone, his fledgling AT&T companyneeded somebody to manufacture phones for them. Western Union had created a manufacturing division (WesternElectric) to make telegraph keys and telegraph equipment. Bell bought the Western Electric division and they hadthe exclusive right to manufacture phones for Bell.By 1910, Western Electric had the ambitious task of creating a coast to coast telephone hookup to tie in with theopening of the Panama Canal, but the problem of amplifying a signal over long distances was still unsolved. In1913, Dr. Harold Arnold (of Western Electric's research group) saw that Dr. Lee DeForest's "Audion vacuum tube"was the possible solution, and they bought the rights to it and began work on a "high vacuum" tube.This indeed solved their long distance problem, and led to another discovery - a "loud-speaking telephone". In1916, they received a patent for what we now call a "loudspeaker". With the addition of the "high vacuum"amplifying tube, and another little patent for a device called a "condenser mic", they were suddenly in the P.A. business as well.These inventions opened the door for radio, talking movies, and sound systems in general, and with their other  patent for a high quality "amplifier" in 1916, they pretty much defined the science of sound. It would be another 12years (1928) until a young George Neumann would start his own mic company in Germany. That same year,Western Electric received a patent for a "dynamic mic" design.The designs Western Electric developed for movie speakers would eventually start companies like Altec and JBLmaking horns and loudspeakers for Western Electric, and eventually those Western Electric designs became thefoundation for their own speaker lines.Western Electric created their own Research and Development arm called "Bell Laboratories", which went on tocreate the transistor and a host of audio related products. It was Western Electric and Bell Laboratories who wemust thank for the development and research into microphone design that we enjoy today. Next, we'll look at some of the different types of microphone designs in terms of advantages and disadvantages.How a "dynamic" mic really works will definitely surprise you (hint: it's NOT just a small speaker in reverse).>
Lesson 2
Posted by Harvey Gerst on 05-04-2001 12:16
Dynamic MicsBy far, the most popular mic on the market today is the dynamic cardioid mic, so that's as good a place as any tostart. "How does it work, what exactly is a cardioid, and how and where would you use it" will be our focus today.Let's look inside one and see what we find:
 
Well, it has a cone (like a small speaker), a voice coil (like a small speaker), and it sits in a magnetic gap (like asmall speaker), so isn't it just a small speaker in reverse? Yes, and no. The operating principle is the same, but theexecution is very different. When's the last time you saw a 3/4" speaker that went down to 30 or 40 Hz? Here'show it's done:The system resonance is chosen for a mid band frequency. By itself, the capsule's response looks something likethis:......./\....../..\...../....\..../......\.../........\../..........\./............\ - just one big resonant peak, with the response falling off rapidly on each side of the peak. Now you cantame that peak by putting in a resonant chamber that's tuned to that peak, which will give you two smaller peaks oneither side, like this:..../\..../\.../..\../..\../....\/....\ And if you add two more resonant chambers, tuned for each or those peaks, you wind up looking morelike this:./\../\../\../\/..\/..\/..\/..\ And if you make the chambers a little more broad band, the response starts to really flatten out:._..._.._..._ /..\/..\/..\/..\ But remember, it's still a lot like a bunch of tuned coca cola bottles inside there.
Updated Graphic
 Now ya gotta do all of this stuff JUST to get the response usable - never mind about the mic pattern yet!A lot more to come!! Everybody still with me at this point? Any questions?
P A G E 2
 
Posted by Chris F on 05-05-2001 00:12
So, if I understand your first post, you explain that the frequency response of your basic garden variety dynamicmic is not really a curve, but rather a series of mechanically engineered peaks, right? But we don't necessarily hear it that way, because our ears/brains fill in the sonic spaces the same way our eyes/brains do when we look at anewspaper photo that really consists of a bunch of dots rather than an actual picture. Is that pretty close?Is the reason for that the size of the diaphragm? It would make sense that, in order to truly reproduce a sound in theextreme low register, the diaphragm would need to be as large as the soundwave corresponding to the lowest noteon the recording, which would be both incredibly impractical and terribly funny....can you see Roger Daltreyswinging one of those suckers around? So instead of that, the initial response peak is spread out so that it coversmore range more evenly.Am I close, or did I get off track by assuming too much?>
Posted by Harvey Gerst on 05-05-2001 09:24[QUOTE]
Originally posted by
Chris F
So, if I understand your first post, you explain that the frequency response of your basic garden varietydynamic mic is not really a curve, but rather a series of mechanically engineered peaks, right? But wedon't necessarily hear it that way, because our ears/brains fill in the sonic spaces the same way our eyes/brains do when we look at a newspaper photo that really consists of a bunch of dots rather than anactual picture. Is that pretty close?
Yes and no. The broadband resonators and filters actually do smooth out those peaks pretty well, but you haftaremember it's all done with mechanical tricks and if you hit it with enough energy in a susceptible frequency range,it will resonate.
[QUOTE]
Originally posted by
Chris F
 Is the reason for that the size of the diaphragm? It would make sense that, in order to truly reproduce a sound in the extreme low register, the diaphragm would need to be as large as the soundwavecorresponding to the lowest note on the recording, which would be both incredibly impractical and terribly funny....can you see Roger Daltrey swinging one of those suckers around? So instead of that, the initial response peak is spread out so that it covers more range more evenly.
 No, that's also a function of excursion and mic design. Small omnis for example, can get down to 1 Hz fairlyflat.
[QUOTE]
Originally posted by
Chris F
 Am I close, or did I get off track by assuming too much?
A little too much assumption which I'll try to explain in the next installment.>
Posted by Harvey Gerst on 05-08-2001 21:04[QUOTE]
Originally posted by
seriousturtle
 Do you like the sound of the TLM-103 for vocals, which is what I assume you use it for? how muchdifferent does it sound than the U87? keep preaching about the response of the mic, cuz I'm interested inhow an unflat response is considered good. since I hear crap about how you should always go for the flat response.
Wow, difficult to answer, but I'll try.

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