In preparation for recording some kaddishim in live collaboration with Mira starting this Shabbes, I picked up a new vocal mic today. Since it was a used-gear purchase through craigslist, I wanted to test the mic right away when I got home to be sure it was in excellent condition as advertised, so I did two tests: first, using the new mic (an Audio Technica AT3035 large diaphragm cardioid condenser mic), then using one of the two AKG B414uls large diaphragm cardioid condenser microphones I’ve been using all along for the stereo music track(s). I used a pop filter in both cases.
These two mic tests were also Hebrew tests for me. You can judge for yourself how poorly I’m doing at getting the Aramaic/Hebrew text and specifically Mira’s accent into my ears and mouth. This “bismilleh Kaddish” audio of hers that I’ve been working with for a while now feels so familiar in my headphones, but repeating along with her was harder than I expected. I kept hearing all kinds of American e-y and a-y diphthongs in my headphones that I was just positive I was not actually saying—alas, microphones are poor liars.
So, for those of you who would like to play audio engineer at home, let me know what you think of the mic comparisons (or my Hebrew, or both). You’ll hear me in the AT3035 more on the left channel, Mira in stereo toward the center recorded on her MacBook using GarageBand and the Mac’s built-in mics, me in the AKG B414uls more on the right channel, and horn in the pair of AKGs in stereo, panned a little wider than Mira. I’m using ProTools 9 and a digidesigns Mbox2 on a MacBook Pro in my studio.
The fifth test? My ability to play Lev Kogan’s “Kaddish” while hearing all my Aramaic mistakes! It’s hard to say whether I failed worse at that or the Aramaic.