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Do-it-yourself Testing with one L1

(originally submitted by Dan Cornett)

As inspired by Oldghm's demo at the Fall 06 (Ashland) conference, here is a way to evaluate mics for yourself -- particularly if only one L1 is available (such as in a music store) -- compare them in pairs:

  • Put mic "A" direct into channel 1 with the appropriate preset.
  • Put mic "B" direct into channel 2 with its appropriate preset.
  • Turn the Master (on the remote) off, then adjust the TRIM knobs on the PS/1 so that when speaking (loudly) into each mic you get the same level of "green" on the PS/1. Don't be concerned if the two Trim settings are different for each mic; that's o.k.
  • Place the mics at least 6' from the L1. Having them each on a stand will make that easier.
  • Start with the 3 EQ knobs and the Channel Level knobs on the Remote all "straight up", and bring the Master up to a "comfortable" volume.
  • Adjust each Channel's Level knob so that the two mics have about the same volume.
  • Adjust the EQ to your liking - independently - for each mic. (Don't be suprised if they end up sounding somewhat similar!)
  • Besides evaluating the "sound" of each mic, you can also compare things such as "handling noise", too. Compare both your singing voice and your speaking voice; use the same song fragments or phrases when comparing.
  • If you try to compare "feedback resistance", be sure to turn one mic's Channel Level all the way down before you turn up the Master. If you note the position of both "Level" knobs when they initially give the same "loudness", then you might get some sense of "headroom" if they differ in how much you can turn up the Master before getting feedback -- just be sure they are both in the same relative position (both distance and 'pointing direction') with respect to the L1.
  • Note which of the two you like better -- then swap the other mic (the one not chosen) for a third mic, and start again from the top of this list (although the "adjustments" for the mic you chose are already "set").

Note also that a mic which sounds great "solo" might not always be the best mic to use in within a group ... however, most often a little adjustment of the EQ knobs can help the vocal "cut through the mix". The biggest factor may be that you now have a mic you are comfortable with and like using.

While this "mic evaluation" assumes that you are comparing them for use with your voice, this same approach can be used for "micing" any instrument; for example, you may want to compare mics to be used with your favorite classical guitar or ocarina.