Cosmo's Midnight and Ruel - Down for You (rooftop remix)
Great track, great performance, so we remixed it to bring it back to life and provide better synch from the live feed. Enjoy!
- Category: Music Mix
Seven Nation Army - White Stripes Cover featuring Haley Reinhart
Haley can sing anything. Amazing how well simple,well written songs translate to any musical style.
- Category: Music Mix
Shure SM7B vs. Electro-Voice RE20
The SM7B and RE20 microphones from Shure and Electro-Voice are the benchmark dynamic mics for professional broadcasting in the sub $500 range. You can usually find both mics in the $400 range with the Shure SM7B offering a better value as it includes a proper mount and wind screens. The EV RE20 comes with a well made but simple mic clip that is a little more cumbersome on a boom stand.
We've used both mics over the years but usually in separate studios. So we finally got some time to enjoy both mics in the same setting with the same signal path and decide which one we prefer if we had to choose one primarily for live broadcasting. We tested a variety of signal paths and preamps which included gear from Daking, True Systems, DBX, FMR Audio, Mackie and Yamaha.
The RE20 is perhaps the most recognizable dynamic mic on the planet. It's a beautiful and functional design with minimal proximity effect and just looks awesome in that timeless fawn beige color. The RE20 is really good in a setting where the talent may be interacting with other folks, turning side to side and perhaps not really paying much attention to the mic. The Variable-D design works as designed and you can move considerable distance around this mic with very little effect on timbre. Even without a wind screen or isolation mount the RE20 minimizes handling noise, popping Ps, and is very good at isolation. It's a little more sensitive than the SM7B and will pick up a little more of background noise and HVAC. The bass roll-off switch is easier to access and quickly refer to versus the SM7B which is on the back of the mic and requires a flat head screwdriver to set.
The RE20 sounds great on voice and instruments and can take high pressure levels. We also did a test recording acoustic guitar and singing with just the RE20 in the room the results were solid for a quick and easy setup to get down ideas with good fidelity. Same goes for the SM7B. It sounds great on everything and you can scream out lyrics to your hearts content. Both of these mics are proven, tough designs that should provide years or quality service.
Both of these mics are industry standards. Give them a good preamp, a little compression and EQ to taste and you are off and running. To our ears however, the RE20 is lacking a bit in the mids. We found ourselves fiddling with knobs on our gear a bit more with the RE20 to dial in the sound versus the SM7B. This is probably something we wouldn't notice with just an RE20 in the studio but compared to the SM7B it took more work for us to dial in the sound the way we like it. Subjective yes. So your ears might prefer the RE20 right out of the box.
The RE20 looks the part. It's just such an awesome looking piece of gear. The classic color, the heft, the grill, it's just beautiful. Aesthetically, you can't go wrong. However, the SM7B is a smarter design. The clever isolation mount is less obtrusive and allows for the mic cable to run along the boom stand if needed. It's just more stealth and sleek. So in a setting where you might not see the talent the RE20 is excellent. In a setting where the talent is on camera the SM7B is a better choice.
To our ears the SM7B sounds better and the proximity effect is not an issue. It's easy to dial in a sound we like and adjust our mic technique accordingly. At first, the RE20 has a more flattering sound perhaps because of the slight attenuation in the mid frequencies. However, over time we preferred the flatter response of the SM7B. The SM7B also includes two switches for bass roll-off and boosting mids. The boosting of the mids can be helpful for some voices to help them cut through the mix. For both mics we preferred to engage the bass roll-off feature and leave it at that.
So when we consider sound and practical use we like the Shure SM7B better. It's a flatter sounding microphone that we can EQ to taste so we're not fighting the sound characteristics of the mic right out of the box. It works better with a noise gate in less than ideal conditions such as computers or HVAC noise in the space. We really like it paired with a Daking Mic-Pre One and the RNC 1773 from FMR Audio. We also had less sibilance to tame using the SM7B.
To be clear this is not a binary choice. These are both great microphones and anybody should be excited to own either of them. If you're lucky enough to own both even better. The RE20 is amazing on drums and other instruments and is built like a tank. We wanted to like the RE20 better than the SM7B because we think it just looks cooler. However, in the end the SM7B is our choice for dynamic mic especially in an on-camera podcast setting or less than perfect studio conditions. Again, both great mics but if we could only choose one we'd pick the SM7B.
Visit Shure for more information about the SM7B
Visit Electro-Voice for more information about the RE20
- Category: Production and Creative
Chayce Beckham - 23
Nice production on this track and nice sense of space to the music. We imagine he'll be playing many packed venues in the coming years.
- Category: Fresh Cut Fridays
Bose QuietComfort 35 II Noise Canceling Headphones Review
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II noise canceling headphones are comfortable, sound great and provide very good noise canceling capabilities. We like them especially for air travel and tested them on a 4 hour flight for comfort.
The QC 35 II headphones can be connected directly with the included 3.5mm cord or via Bluetooth. Bose includes a short cord perfect for connecting to in-flight entertainment systems or portable electronics. Bluetooth pairing is fast and seamless. The QC 35 II headphones found and connected instantly to our Samsung S10E. We listened to Spotify for hours and the battery life was outstanding for these headphones. We never were caught needing a charge with all day use.
Bose products always sound good. They've been at this a long time and the QuietComfort 35 II is no exception. These headphones are very comfortable with soft ear cups and just enough padding around the headband. They look and feel substantial without being heavy and can be worn comfortably for extended periods of time. We really like the silver color and it's easier to see the switched and controls. Bose also includes a nice little carrying case with a pocket for the USB and 3.5mm cord that's handy.
Noise canceling is very good. Although for extended periods of time we find we need a break to baseline our environment. White noise is the easiest to deal. So once we're at 35,000 feet it's quiet bliss. During takeoff or other times where there are random loud burst of acoustic energy it can be unnerving when a blast of sound is not attenuated and jolts you back to reality and you're reminded just how loud your surroundings are. This is one of the reasons we often prefer our studio monitors such as the Sony MDR-7506. The closed design helps seal out some noise while not going completely under water which is the sensation we sometimes get from the Bose noise canceling headphones.
Bose has an app for iPhone and Android users and these headphones are ready for interacting with Google and Alexa. The built in microphone works great. Everyone we talked to thought we were speaking directly into the phone and not on wireless at all. So these are great headphones for taking walking meetings. It's a bit overkill obviously and we got similar results with Skull Candy cans we reviewed recently. However, for the premium experience it's really hard to beat QuietComfort 35 IIs.
- Category: Home Electronics
Greta Van Fleet - My Way, Soon
Here's to your post pandemic roadtrip
- Category: Fresh Cut Fridays
The Mouse Model
- Category: Fun and Entertaining Videos
ATEN CS1942DP Review - 2-Port USB 3.0 4K DisplayPort Dual-Display KVMP Switch
It's been a while since we needed a KVM switch and man have they evolved nicely. The ATEN CS1942DP 2-Port USB 3.0 4K DisplayPort Dual-Display KVMP switch is an excellent solution for a dual workstation setup that requires the ability to drive two 4K displays.
The ATEN CS1942DP is a professional level solution which includes the ability to share common peripherals and independently switch KVM. USB and audio. We used it to switch between two editing workstations where both units took advantage of dual displays and a wireless mouse. We didn't use the audio connections on the CS1942DP because each workstation's sound card was already connected to a mixer for audio so the mini stereo mic and speaker connections were unnecessary in our setup.
Our main interest was the ability to share a wireless mouse, wired keyboard and two displays between two workstations with maximum up-time. The ATEN CS1942DP works very well in this scenario. Each workstation has a Quadro graphics card with DisplayPort outputs to drive 4K displays. We used with various displays from HP and Dell and the ATEN recognized and scaled the image properly as if the computers were connected directly to the displays. The wired keyboard and wireless mouse performed as if they were connected directly to the computers without any perceivable lag. The computers were used to edit and color correct video and the color was accurate going through the ATEN CS1942DP as would be expected with quality DisplayPort connectors.
ATEN includes all the cables necessary for connection two computers to the CS1942DP KVMP switch. The cables are decent quality and on the shorter side. We used two workstations underneath an average size desk, one to the left and one to the right. The cables provided worked fined in our scenario. However, we could easily see a scenario where longer cables would be required. ATEN really has provided the bare minimum to make this work.
One of the main issues with using a KVM switch is the lag time from the moment you press the button until the other computer is active and the display live. The CS1942DP takes about 4 seconds to switch between computers. So it's not instant but we haven't used a KVM switch that is. It's not a big deal as we don't rapidly pop back and forth between workstations. More importantly when doing windows updates the monitors are accurately recognized when connected to the CS1942DP just as they would be if connected directly to the computer.
The ATEN CS1942DP has an excellent built quality with metal case and quality buttons. The lights on the front of the unit make it easy to identify the active computer and the status of the KVM. Our only gripe on the build or usability is the wall wart. We hate wall warts and would much prefer this unit to be shipped with a built in power supply.
At a typical street price of $329 the ATEN CS1942DP is not cheap. It's a premium unit designed for a professional environment. If you have a need for a 4k, dual DisplayPort cable KVMP switch the CS1942DP is an excellent choice.
Visit ATEN for more information and all the specs on the CS1942DP.
- Category: Computer Gear
Mackie 1402 VLZ4 Mixer Review
So your Mackie mixer finally died. Now what? There are a lot of options on the compact mixer market. Soundcraft, Allen and Heath, Yamaha, Tascam and Mackie all make quality units in the sub $500 price range. Some folks love the super affordable Behringer units.
In many video post facilities you'll find the ubiquitous Mackie VLZ series. This includes everything from the original VLZ series made in the USA to the more recent VLZ4 series made in China. Our 1202 VLZ Pro recently died after 12 years of abuse. Not bad.
This time we decided to opt for the Mackie 1402 VLZ4. While we considered all the other options in the sub $500 price range we decided to go for the Mackie for practical reasons and a history of quality. It's easy to swap out the cables from the old mixer to the new without dealing with a new mixer layout. And, there are a couple of Mackie features we really love like Mute alt 3-4 versatility and inserts on inputs 1-6 that make it super convenient to use our FMR RNC1773 with 1 TRS per channel. Plus, and perhaps most importantly, to our ears, it's sounds just as good as previous generations of Mackie mixers.
There are some things we don't like. While Mackie touts the new color scheme as user friendly with the neon colored Aux and Eq knobs, the knobs themselves have no texture, no grip. We miss the old knobs with the indents. They were a 10X better experience. Also, the amount of torque it takes to twist a knob is not consistent. For example, the pan controls on channel 1 and 2 feel completely different. Even after repeated attempts to twist the knob back and forth to loosen it up channel 2 is very stiff. Same goes for the Aux 1 knob. That's not a great experience and make us question the quality control.
We have mixed feelings about the faders. We actually think using the faders is a better experience despite the faders themselves looking and feeling cheaper to the touch. The faders have a good feel to them and the updated color scheme do make them easier to use. The outline around unity is helpful.
The build quality seems up to Mackie standards. In spite of the cheaper feeling knobs and faders the chassis still feels tank-like and we hope will prove to be durable over time.
So how are the Onyx Mic pres. They're fine. Condenser and dynamic mics with enough output work fine on the 1402 VLZ4. Lower output mics like and SM7B need a preamp. Our use case is not critical recording but rather post production and the ability to keep multiple audio sources connected for easy access. While we may lay down some tracks we'd use a separate preamp instead of the built-in preamps on the 1402 VLZ4. They're perfectly fine, low noise preamps but there is nothing special about them.
The EQ works. The 1402 VLZ4 has fixed frequencies for lows, mids and highs and we find the EQ musical when used sparingly. Does it sound a little nicer than previous Mackies? Yes, we think so but mostly because the overall design provides a cleaner signal flow overall. More headroom also helps with AUX sends and results in better sounding reverb...etc. The Big Sky sounds even more transparent with the new Mackie. So overall, we think the 1402 VLZ4 sounds good and the EQ is good enough to tweak things a bit but we would use is sparingly just like we did on our previous Mackie mixers.
So there you have it. The VLZ4 series has been out a while and maybe Mackie will address some of the cheap knob and fader issues in an upcoming release. The VLZ4 series is quieter and has more headroom then previous generations of Mackie mixers and still offers one of the best values in compact professional mixers for post production, despite the knobs. Did we mention we hate the knobs?
Visit Mackie for more information and all the specs on the 1402 VLZ4.
- Category: Production and Creative
Rex Orange County - Loving is Easy
- Category: Music Mix
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