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Need mic recommendations for recording car exhaust

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I record a lot of car exhaust, using a 744t with SM58 mics. Usually this combo works really well (at least I think it does, you can see a sample at https://youtu.be/ALQn0eTXttA), but sometimes the exhaust I'm recording has a huge bottom end AND a lot of high frequency sound as well. Since the SM58's seem to be optimized for mid-frequencies, I just can't get a full-bodied sound in those cases. Can you please recommend other mic choices that give me a wider range of recording capability, but can record really LOUD sound sources like the SM58's can? Obviously I'm not a trained sound pro, so please excuse any errors in my terminology. Appreciate any help.

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I record a lot of car exhaust, using a 744t with SM58 mics. Usually this combo works really well (at least I think it does, you can see a sample at https://youtu.be/ALQn0eTXttA), but sometimes the exhaust I'm recording has a huge bottom end AND a lot of high frequency sound as well. Since the SM58's seem to be optimized for mid-frequencies, I just can't get a full-bodied sound in those cases. Can you please recommend other mic choices that give me a wider range of recording capability, but can record really LOUD sound sources like the SM58's can? Obviously I'm not a trained sound pro, so please excuse any errors in my terminology. Appreciate any help.

 

Earthworks TC30 or DPA 4007

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Earthworks TC30 or DPA 4007

 

Expensive exhaust mic!

 

I'd also opt first for the DPA 4061 (also expensive but not a 4007) or if really high SPL a 4062, though even a 4060 might handle lesser levels OK.

 

Or if you want to stay dynamic, try a more expensive dynamic mic out ... EV RE20, Sennheiser MD 441 or MD 421.

 

Personally I usually use the 4061.

 

Jez Adamson

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What's the recording situation? Dyno or track? That is really going to change the setup. When I've done cars on a Dyno I'll have easily up to 6 microphones on the exhaust, and they are placed anywhere from right on the pipe to 10 yards back. If the car is on the track then it's two, maybe three mics, mounted right on the car. My personal favorite on loud exhaust is the MD421. I'll usually have a 57 in there, and I always make sure I have a Sennheiser MKE2 Platinum thrown in there. It's a lav, but it sounds good when you throw high SPL at it. I've worked out a way to mount it right on the bumper (trade secret) and in engine compartments and wheel wells. If the car is on a Dyno then I'll pull out a Crown SASS-P and then I'll use just the "mid" of a Neumann RSM-191. Depending on the car I'll pull out a 416, and there's usually an arsenal of mics waiting to be used. Cars are very interesting to record and finding the sweet spot for mics is important. One area might sound bad with one mic, but you switch it out and all of a sudden it sounds wonderful. It really comes down to knowing how mics can perform in certain situations and which ones will give you what you want. I probably spend more time doing mic placement than actually recording because it is that important to get right. 

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A microphone that was made for this is a Beyer Dynamic M201TG high SPL MIC.---There is a used one in excellent condition at Trew Audio, Los Angeles for $180.---they cost over $300 new. Talk to Sherri.

 

        It has a flat freq. response and this model of mic. was used on the Bourne films {Academy Award for sound]

 

                                                                                              J.D.

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I have used SM57/58s for exhaust and SM11s under the hood.. w/ 'proper' rmounting and wind protection.

 The Sennheiser 421 is also a very good mic for high SPL / LF sources.

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Expensive exhaust mic!

 

I'd also opt first for the DPA 4061 (also expensive but not a 4007) or if really high SPL a 4062, though even a 4060 might handle lesser levels OK.

 

Or if you want to stay dynamic, try a more expensive dynamic mic out ... EV RE20, Sennheiser MD 441 or MD 421.

 

Personally I usually use the 4061.

 

Jez Adamson

 

200$ of difference between a DPA 406x vs Earthworks TC30 (500$ vs 700$), costly but in my opinion "the tool"

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200$ of difference between a DPA 406x vs Earthworks TC30 (500$ vs 700$), costly but in my opinion "the tool"

 

Hmm, the Earthworks a little cheaper than I thought it would be ... and another thought - can you get a nose cone to fit the 4007 thread? That way you could (attempt to ...) mount the DPA 4007 INSIDE the exhaust?

 

J

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Hmm, the Earthworks a little cheaper than I thought it would be ... and another thought - can you get a nose cone to fit the 4007 thread? That way you could (attempt to ...) mount the DPA 4007 INSIDE the exhaust?

 

J

 

Unfortunately the nose cone is only for the 4006 (or 4003).

 

I don't know, but first I need to measure the temperature in the exhaust for know it is safe for the microphone. If is safe, maybe I try inside or near the exit (Or both). Of course, with the big windscreen I can fit
 
150dB of the TC30 is enought for a regular car or motorbike, for dragsters maybe the 4007 but I presume that the temperature is on unsafe zone  ;D

 

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Thank you all very much for the input. I'm going to research all these mics now, probably pick up a couple and start experimenting. Speaking of experimenting, another option I'm going to try is a horn mic — the kind that gets placed inside a trumpet.

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What's the recording situation? Dyno or track? That is really going to change the setup. When I've done cars on a Dyno I'll have easily up to 6 microphones on the exhaust, and they are placed anywhere from right on the pipe to 10 yards back. If the car is on the track then it's two, maybe three mics, mounted right on the car. My personal favorite on loud exhaust is the MD421. I'll usually have a 57 in there, and I always make sure I have a Sennheiser MKE2 Platinum thrown in there. It's a lav, but it sounds good when you throw high SPL at it. I've worked out a way to mount it right on the bumper (trade secret) and in engine compartments and wheel wells. If the car is on a Dyno then I'll pull out a Crown SASS-P and then I'll use just the "mid" of a Neumann RSM-191. Depending on the car I'll pull out a 416, and there's usually an arsenal of mics waiting to be used. Cars are very interesting to record and finding the sweet spot for mics is important. One area might sound bad with one mic, but you switch it out and all of a sudden it sounds wonderful. It really comes down to knowing how mics can perform in certain situations and which ones will give you what you want. I probably spend more time doing mic placement than actually recording because it is that important to get right. 

Thanks dfisk. Situation is track. I get the startup & launch, in-cabin, exterior (usually via bumper mics), and drive-by. I use SM58s for the startup & launch and exterior, a Sanken COS-11DBP for in-cabin, and an AT 4073A for drive-by. 

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Anyone have any tips for managing cables for car recordings?

 

I’m considering trying to record my Honda. Not sure the best way to secure cables and if standard  xlr cables are even appropriate to use...wondering if they might be too thick in diameter? How do you route them in to the interior? Window? Door?

 

thanks!

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I used standard xlr cables when I rigged up a car last year. Ran them into the door. The rubber gasket around the door had enough give not to harm the cables. Just tape them down really (really) well on the outside of the car. 

 

-Mike

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20 hours ago, Merrill Sound said:

I’m considering trying to record my Honda. Not sure the best way to secure cables and if standard  xlr cables are even appropriate to use...wondering if they might be too thick in diameter? How do you route them in to the interior? Window? Door?

 

Not sure if you mean to picture or wild for fx. Not that it matters. I'd usually try to have the recorder inside the car anyway if this is an option (it often isn't I know). I'd probably be inside the car if recording wild fx, and my simplest setup for engine and exterior would be DPA4060/1/2 so I'd use the standard (thin but robust) DPA microdot extension cable which should feed through door or window or back hatch if lucky depending on car. Sometimes it's necessary anyway to record interiors and exterior fx on separate passes ... If you're having to feed through an open window watch out in advance for electric windows - it can be useful to have a piece of tough safety rubber either around the cable or beside it to avoid accidental damage. And let others know (actors - drivers ...) that you're routing cable so they understand they can't close a window or open a door.

 

Safety (feet, hands, necks, escape!) obviously is the crucial factor with cars and cables.

 

Nevertheless, a few high quality thin but tough cables are always a good starting point, but have normal thick ones to hand too.

 

Jez

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