We just saw a clip, on CBS Sunday Morning, of Barbra Streisand singing Evergreen in the 1976 movie A Star Is Born. She is singing into a vintage AKG C-12A (not to be confused with the C12 or C12 VR). These are not manufactured anymore, but I checked eBay and you can get one for the bargain price of $3,899 (my wife said “no”).
Anyway, the whole reason for this post is that the way this mic – a large diaphragm “nuvistor” (a kind of mini-tube that sort of bridged the gap between tube mics and transistor mics) mic – is used in the supposed recording scene between Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. First it shows Barbra singing straight into the mic, lips 3-4 inches away, with no sort of pop filter at all. I understand that it would have obscured her face and all, but for folks who record vocals every day this just causes us to scream – “Holy crap, do you realize how many plosives (p-pops) that would cause and how hard it would be to edit out, especially in 1976?” (see our article on p-pops and plosives here: http://www.homebrewaudio.com/how-to-fix-a-p-pop-in-your-audio-with-sound-editing-software/). Then she put her hand on the base of the mic where it attached to the mic stand. Gah! That would cause boom and rumble! And THEN, Kristofferson puts HIS mitts on the stand and plays “handsies” with her – in the middle of recording! I imagine that recording engineers the world over utters simultaneous and similar protestations when the movie opened.
In real life, a singer using any large diaphragm recording microphone would surely be using a pop-filter, a screen between the mouth and the mic to reduce or eliminate plosives. And if anything (like fondling fingers) touched or bumped the mic or mic stand, the recording would almost certainly have to be stopped because it would be nearly impossible (certainly impractical) to edit out that kind of rumble, boom and bumping.
But other than that…
There are some interesting facts about the AKG C-12A. It was the missing link mic between the tube-based C12 and the transistor-based AKG C 414. It used a new (at the time) miniature tube technology called “nuvistor” which, if the transistor had not become the way of the future for microphone circuitry. Read more about that here: http://www.preservationsound.com/?p=1120