Community Questions - Interfaces, Differences between Mics, and more!

The new JZ Microphones Members Area has been growing exponentially these last few months, with more and more of you joining every day;

The community has grown in not only engagement between others within the group, but also between me and all of you - which is why I thought it best to answer a few of the questions I’ve briefly answered in a little more detail.

Let’s dive in!

Why do I need an Interface?

Simply put, its the device that allows your computer to understand the audio being recorded. Sound travels in waves, not 1’s and 0’s, so there needs to be a sort of translation that occurs when the audio reaches the computer; this happens in the form of Analog to Digital Conversion. In all computers, you’ll see there’s a headphone input typically, sometimes a microphone input too - however, this sound card isn’t designed for ‘heavy’ audio recording and in terms of its abilities to record and playback audio, so Interfaces were designed as a way around this.

Essentially, and interface is a dedicated sound card that affords you much lower latency (the time for the audio to be understood by the computer to the time it actually plays back through your speakers or headphones), as well as many more inputs, outputs, and on top of that, a much higher resolution and fidelity of the audio.

Moreover, an interface also has many more capabilities in terms of features; phantom power which powers your condenser microphone, preamps which allow the small voltage output of your mics to be boosted to an audible volume without endless noise or artefacts spliced into the signal. And on top of that, they take the stress off your computer's CPU!

Is there much of a difference between the Black Hole Series, and the Signature Series?

The Simple Answer?

Yes, Undoubtedly so.

The long answer is almost as simple, but I’ll try and give as much information as I can. The biggest difference between almost all microphones is the capsule. The Black Hole and Signature have totally different capsules inside, which then imparts their sonic signature in varied, and also similar ways.

Let's take the BH2 and the BB29 for example. They’re both incredible but they have a lot of differences more than they similarities. Both are Cardioid polar pattern mics, both have a rich and smooth top end coupled with a clear and precise lowend, but other than them both being black in colour that's basically all that's similar between them.

The BB29 is designed to impart a much broader character in any audio recording it plays its part in. There’s a much more obvious top end compared to any microphone in our range or arguably on the market, however the high end boost is balanced out with a slight bump in the lower mids as well as a broad and smooth low end. As well as all of this, the BB29 has a transformer coupled output which imparts further differences in sound compared to all our other mics, not just the Black Hole Series, which also imparts more colouration on this specific mic compared to the rest of the line.

The Black Hole Series has a silky top end, slightly less than the BB29 but by far and away more than the Vintage series. The low end is far less broad than its Vintage Series counterparts, but more so than the Signature Series. Where the BB29 is designed to impart its sonic signature on everything, the Black Hole series is a little more malleable, due to it’s slightly more neutral yet modern sound.

Both are great on the same sources, Overheads, Kick out, Acoustic Guitar, Electric guitar, Vocals, the list goes on; but they each impart their own sound in their own, very much different sounding ways.

What advice do I have for JZ Mics on Drum recording (for example, if you have one V67, One BH2, and one V11)?

There’s no one answer for this. At the end of the ay it, what sounds best to your ears, and what the client likes as well. With this particular example, I’d be inclined to use the V11 on the Rack or Floor Tom after hearing what Adam Greenspan did when using my V11 on the new Bloc Party record earlier this year.

With the V67, I particularly like it on outside Kick or as a Floor Tom mic, but it’s my go to for Overheads as well as I have a pair (I’d highly recommend having a pair!). If I only had one available however, I’d likely use it on the Kick drum.

As for the BH1, in this scenario I’d use it as a room mic (mono mic of course) as I’ve used the BH2 pair I have previously as room mics and they performed admirably. But as I also have a pair, I usually swap between the V67’s and the Black Holes depending in the vibe we’re after!

At the end of the day it’s what sounds best for the record, so always keep that in mind when approaching a new session and deciding which mics to use for which source!

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