Kim Lajoie's blog

Video: Performance vs cleanliness

by Kim Lajoie on April 14, 2014

Well, this was an interesting challenge. Hand-held SM57 for vocals. Trying not to make it sound like trash. There’s a lot of suck at around 7-10kHz. Took it down with EQ and added back some air on top. Used a de-esser to bring the dynamics back into check. Couldn’t do much about the plosives though, guess that’s what happens when you don’t use any foam or anything. The 57 is a pretty trashy mic (if I’m being generous I’ll say it has ‘bite’). But it can be made to work.

Anyway, what’s interesting to me is the bigger story. My experience of making it work reminded me a lot of when I had much cheaper gear (and a lot less of it). In other words, cheaper (or more limited) gear can still get you a result that doesn’t suck, but you’ll work harder for it.

I’ve got much nicer mics, but for this recording it was important for the vocalist to hold the microphone in her hand to deliver a compelling performance (for both audio and video). And I’ll take a compelling performance over a cleaner sound every time.


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