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For a white-board animation example, i'm building a new sound palette for the dry eraser markers and some other sfx (coins) with sharp attacks. I usually take an MKH50 and record a session in my booth with good results for most sfx. But with harsh transients and close miking i sometimes get a sound that is not very useful. The proximity effect and the capsule's transient response is the cause i think, but these are soft sounds and I need to get close to it.

So what are your experiences? What type of microphones do you use (dynamic)? And do you have any tips on getting great coin sounds (that sound like actual money and not a dull metal plink). I've used nails and screws in the past to mimic the sound, of bags of coins, but i need only singular coin sfx now.

  • thanks for the tips and insights, i'll update after the recording session! – Arnoud Traa Sep 10 '14 at 11:11
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This is a very simple thing to do, but dynamic mics are rarely if ever a good choice for these kind of things. Myself, I use cheap mics like Line Audio CM3, and not so cheap mics like Sennheiser MKH40.

What you need here is three things: Compressor, shelving-filter, and reverb. First of all, make sure you record the sound as optimal as possible. I can't stress enough how important that is. Then, remove the proxi-effect with a shelving-filter set with a pretty shallow slope around 250-300Hz (depending on mic as well as the filter), and then compress all transients into obedience. How that's best done can't really be stated without knowing exatly how the sound sounds, but a good start is with a quick attack, a little slower release, threshold set not too low, but still below the transient/sustain border, and heavy ratio. Then seal the deal with reverb mimicking the surrounding.

Microphones like SM57 and such will do the work, but they will not sound natural. They are made to sound musical, and in film that is for the most part not a good thing. At least when it comes to dialogue, foley and sound effects.

For good coin-sounds I have a collection of different coins and metal thingys from several parts of the world, and among the ones sounding best are Danish, Czech and Swedish 5 SEK from before the 70's, as well as some kinds of washers made of brass, copper, and silver. The best natural sounds are always those that are the least complicated to record.

  • Hi Christian, thanks for the tips on the compressor settings, i seldom use a compressor on single fx (i normally like to keep away from that until i need to do dynamics processing on tracks and busses). Regarding dynamic mic's i've heard good things about RE-20 (low proximity designed for vocals), would that sound to 'musical' as well? – Arnoud Traa Sep 8 '14 at 14:52
  • "The best natural sounds are always those that are the least complicated to record." +1 – Arnoud Traa Sep 8 '14 at 14:58
  • Yeah, I totally hear you. It's very easy to overdo compression in an early stage, but sometimes one doesn't have no choice. If you process in realtime it in the DAW you will have the choice to fix it if it becomes too much at the end, though editing it off-line can have its advantages in futher projects! Forgot though, when I wrote this, that limiters can do these kids of work amazingly! I dislike using heavy limiting, but for just killing transients and nothing else they can do magic without killing the dynamics :-) – Christian van Caine Sep 8 '14 at 15:23
  • Regarding the microphone, I must admit I don't know it, but will look it up when I get the chance! I'm always looking for new funny equipment to ease the days! Thanks for the tip mon :-) – Christian van Caine Sep 8 '14 at 15:28
  • Have you tried the good ol' Shure SM-58, by the way? Mine is the only one I've ever even heard of that has gotten the membrane blasted square off, so i can't test it and I don't have more of them, only 57's, but I remember they had a pretty good emphasize in the high-mid where metal sound the best, and they are modeled to be extremely close-micked. It has no treble whatsoever in the very highs, but at least myself I mostly lowpass most sounds at about 12KHz anyway! – Christian van Caine Sep 8 '14 at 15:36
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Try using two mics at different distances and using different frequency bands from each. Often, the sounds that you hear are in different bands, so you can largely filter out the overly loud part when getting the soft details and then blend it with a more distant mic getting the harsher sounds.

It won't work on every sound, and the blending can take some work, but if it is tricky to get a sound with one mic and signal, the answer is normally to use more than one mic.

  • ah that's an interesting approach, but i do fear it will take a lot of time in the cleanup process.. i'll think about, maybe get a workflow/batch process to fix phase issues and set the crossover frequencies. – Arnoud Traa Sep 8 '14 at 14:04
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I posted a similar thread on here a while back and it was mentioned that working slightly off axis when recording can help transients on close mic situations. Also, I personally have found that using mics that have slower slew rates sound better on close mic transient objects. Compression and limiting as well will help. Sometimes I record thru a compressor to adjust as I cut, getting a pleasing sound on the way in.

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