Hello, and welcome back to the blog! It’s a new month and so we start another focus again; this month we’ll be looking at The Best Scenarios for each JZ Series. One of the most often asked questions I find myself answering almost daily is ‘what is each microphone best suited towards recording?’. So, I thought it best to finally put together a few installments of the blog to better help inform anyone asking the same question to themselves, starting with what I consider to be the JZ Mics thought process, or at least what that looks like through my own lens, after working with the team for a number of years now.
Let’s dive in!
The Overall Picture
It’s important to establish a couple of things first regarding the mics and moreover, the way we hear and the nature of our hearing. When I was much younger, I always strived to try and record music and mix my music to try and simulate engineers and producers I aspired to sound like, and it was only after a lot of trial and error that I realized how futile that effort was; the simple fact of the matter is that no one hears in the same way, which leads us to forming our own opinions on literally everything - from whether or not we like a microphone on a source, through to not liking or liking a guitar tone or even an entire mix in general.
The way I like to think about microphones is that they are tools for a job. They can do many jobs, and some they do better than others, some mics can really only do one job well, and so on. Just like how there are many different types of screwdrivers, or hammers in a toolbox, it’s important to note that some tools can do many tasks and some are very specialized. Across the board however, there is one shared feature between every microphone we design, which is simply to be as neutral as possible but with its own sound. Making a microphone specifically for one job has always seemed rather counterproductive when you consider how many things there are in the world to record, and an infinite number of ways to record them.
Lastly, what I’m hoping to achieve with this focus this month, isn’t to sway the opinions you may already have, but rather inform where I think the intended purpose resides, and hopefully help anyone who may be wondering that same question asked above.
Just in this picture you can see many differences between the series' we have available, but the biggest differences are in the sound.
This has been the main way that many studios across the world for decades have determined what microphone to use for what source. It’s really the only tried and true method for figuring out what you like and why when it comes to mics or any tool for that matter when making or recording music. I’ll personally shoot out anything I can do if there is a variety of options available such as guitar, cymbals, various snares, microphones, stereo mic’ing techniques and the placement or distances; literally any variable that can be changed is an avenue to be explored.
It’s important to stay curious so you maintain your hunger for creativity, otherwise the process becomes monotonous and stale and much less fun to be involved in. Mic shoutouts in particular are one of the best ways I find to keep things fresh and I'm always discovering new ways to use my mics on almost any source I can think of. An interesting experiment for example, was the other week when comparing our new BT-202 microphones against the Amethyst and Black Hole series. I was stunned to hear back the audio and find that I genuinely loved the BT-202 on vocals just as much as I enjoyed the other two; so much so that I’ve taken to using it on live streams and Q&A sessions for the foreseeable future! But I never would’ve found that out unless I had taken the time to hear the mics in comparison to each other.
A great example of why mic shootouts are so important is demonstrated by Justin from SonicScoop in the video below where he shows the many ways to record piano. In the video, he compares both the Amethysts and the Black Hole series in various stereo recording setups and the changes between each technique are incredibly vast and a perfect example of just why these shootouts are so important:
Over the course of the month we’ll take each series individually and look at the 3 best places for them to shine on when recording and why that's the case. Thankfully the incredible JZ Members Area community has helped out massively with sharing their thoughts and opinions already, but I’m curious to know where you think each series works best in your own recordings and why - so please feel free to reach out to my email Harri@jzmic.com and let me know.