Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,338 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello SOTW:

A few years back, based on one of these threads, I picked up a Sennheiser 421 (Mk II- the new ones) for stage performances, and for my home-baked recording. It has served me well to be sure-- at least for live performance.

However, when discussing how seemingly thin and trebly my home-baked recordings are, it was suggested to me by a serious player I know to ditch the 421 and get an RE20 for a more warm, traditional sound. I finally picked up an RE20 in used but mint condition, and gave the two mics a whirl in a brief recording on my favorite tenor setup.

I played the two excerpts within a couple minutes of the other, just swapping out mics, and raising the mic stand about an inch to accommodate the longer bore of the RE 20, so that each mic was about 3-4 inches from the bell-- both pointing into the bell. I used a TonePort UX1 USB interface from Line6.

No effects were used (in Reaper) at all, nor any simulated pre-amps.

Without further ado, Horace Silver's "Peace" (just the head- about 35 seconds):

With the Sennheiser 421 Mk II (with the "M" setting):
http://www.soundclick.com/player/single_player.cfm?q=hi&songID=10831785

With the RE 20 (flat pickup setting):
http://www.soundclick.com/player/single_player.cfm?q=hi&songID=10831567

I think both sound rather nice, but I really have to give the edge to the RE20 for the kind of capture I was hoping to get.

Cheers,

Jim
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,128 Posts
You do know that crappy preamps will make even a u87 sound like crap right? Not real familiar with Line6 stuff, mostly guitar right, but probably not the best preamp. Heck, with a good preamp and placement. Sm57 can sound amazing.

The 421s are great mics. I see them used now and in history a lot more than the re20s. The SNL band through the 80s and 90s used them.

I'd say that you'd be better served by getting a preamp that sounds better. M-audios octane stuff sounds good. I upgraded from a motu828 to a fast track ultra 3 years ago and the difference in quality is stunning. The m-audios preamps have a much fuller sound.

So go out and get something better than the line6. It's like having a vintage Florida link on a bundy horn your recording setup.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,338 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Yes, I am aware that to really get serious I'll need a real preamp. That's not the point of this, though. The point is the relative (frequency, etc) capture between the two mics-- not their absolute merit, which is considerable for both models. I sent the clips to a recording engineer friend of mine, and he replied that even with the limitations, it was no contest.

As for the Fast Track Ultra, I see that even Amazon wants $350 for it, and it's getting middling reviews. Still has to be better than my starter unit...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
I remember reading that EMI Studios called the RE20 their second choice mic for saxes, though I can't remember what the first was...though I think it was considerably more expensive, perhaps a Neumann.

I only post this as a fun fact, not an opinion about what you should use...but seems like you're on the right track!
 

·
SOTW Administrator
Joined
·
26,208 Posts
I still prefer the AKG C12 or 414.

I wouldn't worry about preamps. The effect of preamps is most noticeable on instruments with a complex attack transient, like a piano or acoustic guitar.
I'm assuming that you were the same distance for each mic. I would think that a little more distance on the 421 would get a 'rounder' sound similar to the re20.

Heck, I'd just record with both and mix them together:)
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,387 Posts
Don't ditch your Line 6! It's actually not a horrible pre-amp. While most of the stuff they make maybe for guitar, the TonePort UX1 is for mics too.

Also agree that the RE20 is much warmer sounding in your recording. To each there own, but I've always found sort 421 thin on sax and a touch harsh. That said, sometimes that's needed to cut through or to get a lot of instruments to slot in. Also depends on the sax. Doc Kupka has used one on his Bari for forever (live), and it can literally make you weak in the knees on some of those scoops.

The studio is a whole other fish tank with a huge magnifying glass above it. Trying to get one size fits all is kind of impossible. I can't think of anyone I know that takes their live chain into the studio or the other way around. If your having concerns that your 421 live feels bright, it probably is. Record your set and listen back with fresh ears. Then do one with the Re20 and compare. Not in the studio, but on a live gig.

on a side note, try recoding your sax using the Line 6's Avalon (Modern) preamp model.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,387 Posts
I wouldn't worry about preamps. The effect of preamps is most noticeable on instruments with a complex attack transient, like a piano or acoustic guitar.
I'm assuming that you were the same distance for each mic. I would think that a little more distance on the 421 would get a 'rounder' sound similar to the re20.

Heck, I'd just record with both and mix them together:)
Or snare or kick. Yikes, nothing worse then a bad pre on drums.

Your right. If you have 2 mics, record them both. Then choose or blend. Studio accidents are the best. Not so practical live. Although a clip on and a stand mic over the keys can be nice for soprano
 

·
SOTW Administrator
Joined
·
26,208 Posts
Don't get me started on drums....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,862 Posts
Bottom line: You have to like the way You sound. and some relatively bright guy once said " If it sounds good, it is good."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
The Sennheiser sounds bright while the RE20 sounds mellow.

I like the bright dynamic sound of the Sennheiser. But again it depends on the filters M settings etc...

On the other hand, RE20 sounds more even and detailed (out of your 2 recordings).

I didn't turn the volume up so I can't tell how good is the S/N ratio on each of the 2 mics.




---
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
both good mics. on bari live I use the Sennheiser 421 Mk II for blues and the Electrovoice RE20 for jazz and funk. The re to my ear is clean all round hi... down to low. The Sennheiser Wow on the low, dirtier, but lacks a little in the high range ( bari sax)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,338 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Bottom line: You have to like the way You sound.
Well said, sir, and I like the way I sound on the RE20 better hands-down, at least for this kind of straight-ahead fare.

I would have loved to play into both mics at once, but my UX1 only has one mic port. Here's a vocal example of the two mics simultaneously capturing the same spoken paragraph-

http://www.homestudioguru.com/2318/microphone-shootout-sennheiser-421-vs-electro-voice-re-20/

complete with pre-amp setup, and it clearly shows (to my ear) that relative to the 421, the RE20 captures a greater depth of low frequency husk-- that not only helps with the distinctive "radio voice," but also rounds out the tone of my tenor. The RE20 makes a raw recording sound closer to what my tenor set up sounds live- at least as reflected back to me off of a wall at different distances. However, using EQ, I could make the 421 sound like I want in a previous recording:

http://www.soundclick.com/player/single_player.cfm?songid=8769372&q=hi&newref=1

...it just seems logical to capture more of what I'm looking for on the front end.

I agree that there IS a role for the punchier capture of the 421, such as in my worship team or R&B band, to help cut thru the electric guitars! Just as there is room in my case for two different kinds of mouthpieces, there can be a home for these two very different high-quality dynamic mics!
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,026 Posts
I have both of these mics also. While I agree the RE-20 sounds a bit warmer/fuller on the recording, I think the bigger difference is in a live setting. For me, on tenor, the 421 is a bit too bright or 'brittle' sounding. A lot of that can be taken care of at the board (roll back the highs a bit, etc) and it also may have to do with how I play and my setup. I've found the RE-20 to be considerably warmer, with a fatter sound and less need to fiddle with the dials on the sound board. I think it might require a bit more gain than the 421 or other mics. Anyway, the RE-20 works best in my case. But it probably depends on what you want and how you blow the horn in the first place.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,862 Posts
I use both an RE20 and a Rode nt2 for my voice over work. I tend to like the sound of the RE20 better, it's also what I used back in my radio days. the 421 had a mid range bump that didn't sound good with my voice. In VO work the RE20 is many times used for the "shouting" spots, you know ...Car commercials etc, Condensers like the Rode are a bit more "transparent" and don't color the sound, but can pick up the sound of your toenails growing as well, so for VO work, the dynamic Re20 works better at rejecting background noise. I find the Rode brighter, and crisper and depending upon my delivery sometimes that is not a good thing. ;-)
Since I've always considered the sax, a voice, I wind up using the RE20 when recording sax.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top