Chinese democracy.

Thursday I re-recorded vocals for The Linings (or The Linings Mustaches, they still didn’t make their minds up). I used uncreditable Chinese Honsound HSCM1100 valve-condenser mic (it doesn’t exist on Google!!! no single picture and possibly no single link besides them I created) which is apparently almost a proper copy of Neumann U67.

I used the mic after long months in the box couple of weeks ago during recording the guitar for “maskoule.cz” video and I enjoyed the warm sound it produced. Simply, it was the best sound of a guitar I ever recorded in my home studio.

Two weeks ago I recorded Wlado’s (The Linings’ singer) voice on my AKG C-414b through SSL Channel One as I use to record almost every vocal. This time with no success. The recording lacked almost everything you need for a lead vocal and exceeded only in producing very unlikely hissing frequencies. Honsound (the name sounds way worse than the actual sound of the mic) removed hissing, added warmth and punch and slight distortion which made Wlado’s voice sound nicer and thicker. With an instant ease.

Why a post about this? First, I don’t like discussions “we were choosing the right mic for two days and then we nailed it in an hour” because I don’t believe the gear is that important (as I saw Dušan Neuwerth’s equipment and nobody would believe that he recorded Tata Bojs albums with THESE mics and THIS outboard) when you don’t have the right pair of ears. And my experience tells me that I meet superb gear-loaded studios more often than a simple human head using ears for recording and mixing instead of eyes, sharking for brands-which-made-the-history. But I admit that a mic can make a bigger difference than I assumed as I thought that a good mic just sounds good on almost anything or anyone.

Second, I believe in quality and I am usually ready to pay for it as I think you support quality and development by paying for good products, so I do believe in gear in general. And I love gear, especially when it works and when I know how to operate it to success. But these Chinese Hon-guys made possible to own a copy of a 7.000 USD microphone for a little bit more than 500 USD and to experiment with it in your own studio, day by day, day and night. Which won’t be possible with an original. Hardly comparable as a copy won’t be never an original. So I don’t know how great the guitar and the voice would sound with a genuine U67 but I can claim that with this cheap and cheerful copy it sounds pretty good too. Nevertheless we should buy proper originals.

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Martin Destroyer

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