I can work on your project.

Find me! Call DAP at 214.350.7678 or email rene@dallasaudiopost.com. Also check out echocollectivefx.com for custom sfx, and tonebenders.net for my podcast.

Sunday, July 14

fun with pzms

I've had access to a nice pair of crown PZM mics for several years, but only recently have I really been running them through their proper paces.

My interest was really piqued a while back when I decided to mount one to the license plate of my motorcycle and take it for a drive.

The fact that the mic could go 80mph with zero wind noise and capture that much punch and detail really impressed me.

Later on, we had a gun recording roundtable on Tonebenders featuring Charles Maynes and Frank Bry.  Charles spoke very highly of the PZMs in his rig for capturing punch and low end there as well.

With all of that in mind, I took the mics out a few times in recent weeks to really get a feel for how they would react in a few different situations.

The first test was the explosive percussive impact test.  Every fourth one of my coworkers lights off some giant mortar style fireworks at his lakehouse, and this year I decided to bring the pair of PZMs and just run those exclusively.

here's what it looked like:


That's cool. Here's the unprocessed recording:

Then to hear the boom I used some parallel limiting to make it much louder, and eq'd some more low end into the crushed channel. The main takeaway for me is that the PZMs really have super fast transient response, and very tight low end response.  They really don't require any wind protection even outdoors in moderate conditions, and they caught a surprisingly small amount of the reverberation in the space out at the lake house.

The next test was to run out and get some ambiances with them.  For both of the following recordings I had the mics on the ground about 8 feet apart.

First up was a residential neighborhood at about 8 am on a Sunday. I eq'd out some of the low end to reduce the traffic rumble, and left the high end untouched.

Second was some rain out by a business park.  similar eq to reduce traffic rumble down low.  high end untouched.  Mics were vertical against a wall.

In both of these cases I got what was a very detailed but not very binaural sounding recording.  Very wide and flat compared to ORTF and XY techniques.

After all of this I certainly feel like my PZMs are underused in big percussive recordings, but I feel like I need to experiment more with placement to get the ambient sounding recordings working just right.  I could try jecklyn disk style back to back placement, but before I do that I need to place some of this stuff against picture and maybe try panning it around a bit in the surround field to see if I like what it's doing.


Phil said...

Hey Rene these are really interesting recordings. Thanks so much for sharing them. We were out recording a Ford ESU and Landrover Defender for a film a few weeks back and the throaty tight bass sound you got from the motorbike was the kind of sound we found difficult to achieve. Will certainly be looking to get hold of the PZM's next time :)

Unknown said...

glad you liked them. clearly a secret weapon with vehicles and big percussive sounds.

Chauncey said...

This is awesome!

Anonymous said...

Nice read, I had used them long ago, and recently I have been experimenting with them again. I forgot how much I love PZM's.

I have been meaning to strap them into an electric car and see what I get. As soon as I have a chance, I will do this.

I was donating some giant towers full of hard disks, and I fired them up one last time with a pzm on the top, got some great power-up and down noises!