After fixing yesterday’s attempt at a song with vocal melody – I decided to try to write a song in the key of B – and I saved the song in Cubase as “bees” – jokingly. Then I wrote the lyrics – and like the guitar chords – they just flowed out. The vocal melody was easy as could be – its exactly the kind of song I can sing given my limited singing abilities. (I will most likely take voice lessons – but I really need to figure out how I want my voice to sound. I know I don’t want to sing opera, art songs or lounge music. I want edgy sounding singing – and am not interested in “pretty / choir boy”). But I digress . . . . Then the Cello / Bass and Piano just rolled out lickety-split . . . Then I remembered an Assemblage piece and Photo I took years ago that had a bee in it – and Voila!

Funny how this all works . . . its a cool journey for sure!

There was a crooked man
Who lived in a crooked house
He made a mess of everything
He really was a Class A Louse

He shot himself in the foot
He kicked himself in the ass
He kicked himself so hard
That he ran out of gas

There was a decent man
Who lived a life of love
He honored everyone he met
He was sent from heaven above

The people loved him back
They knew he really cared
The strength of love was everything
Everything he had he shared

There was a hive of bees
Where all the honey was made
The bees all worked together
The honey was the finest grade

The sweetest honey wins
The peoples hearts and minds
If you want some honey
You have to be very kind

Small Studio Mic Shootout


I want a very clean mix where everything sounds true – like they are being played in a small intimate club or cabaret setting. I want to add effects sparingly, but only after a clear and clean recording.

vocal mic winner

SE Electronics VR2 – my favorite mic

I just finished testing all of my microphones first with vocals, then guitar and cello played through a Fender Mustang modeling amp and finally, a mandolin played acoustically.

The clear winner was the VR2 for vocals. I didn’t even test it on instruments because the VR2 now graces my vocal mic position. It wasn’t even close.

instrument mic winner

Best guitar amp mic – Royer R10

The Royer R10 did a fine job on vocals, but not up to the VR2. However, it was clearly the best on the guitar amp and on the acoustic mandolin. It absolutely needs the dBooster and set at 12 dB gain. At 20 dB gain it “motorboats” with some nasty oscillation – which I’m not that happy about to be honest.

best bang for the buck

Golden Age R1 Active

The Golden Age Project Active R1 in many situations sounded as good as the Royer R10 and (when you add in the fact that the dBooster is a must for the R10), the R1 is 1/3 of the cost of the R10.

maybe mic – SM-57

The Shure SM-57 is a legend, but I would use it only when I want a more raspy / grungy sound or when I set the amp to a distortion model. It also really needs the dBooster.

the losers

The Rode NT1A’s color the sound too much for my liking. Previously, I thought they were great. But since I have started mixing using the Avantone Mixcube, I can hear that a clean clear and natural mix is needed more than anything.

The SE Electronics SE7’s are great little mics, but forget about them on vocals. However, they are better than the NT1A’s on the guitar amp and are a close second to the R10 in miking the acoustic mandolin. They are also a best bang for the buck, but didn’t make the top spot.

ssl2 beats the UA Volt 276!

I also tested all mics through these two digital interfaces / preamps, and the ssl2 was a clear winner. The 276 is a much better interface as far as layout and looks go, but these are for the ear, not the eyes.

Finally, my upgrade from the iLoud monitors to the Yamaha HS-5’s and the Avantone Mixcube means between my better mics and monitoring, I just upgraded from beginner to intermediate. That holds true for quality of sound and cost. Because my studio is tiny and while treated it never will be good enough for more than the gear I have now. If I were to move into our spare bedroom, then yes, I could treat the room and then go to the next level. That’s a really big if though.