Zeppelin Design Labs Cortado MkIII Review -- Audio Examples
Mic Positioning & Coupling Demonstrations
DIY MIcs & Sympathetic Resonators
Stereo Toast Foley!
(To download all WAV examples at once: 140MB ZIP)
Single-mic Recordings: Here are some recordings from a session the manufacturer did at Tone Zone Recording Studios. All their audio is apparently unprocessed (beyond some safety limiting), and I have no reason to doubt that assertion based on my own first-hand experience of the company and their product: Acoustic Guitar (near bridge): WAV/MP3play_arrow Banjo (rear brace): WAV/MP3play_arrow Bass Guitar (clipped to headstock): WAV/MP3play_arrow Dobro (front resonator): WAV/MP3play_arrow Hand Drum (edge of top skin): WAV/MP3play_arrow Brush Snare (edge of top skin): WAV/MP3play_arrow They also tried sax and trumpet, and the recordings clearly demonstrate how mechanical noise from the keys/valves of wind and brass instruments makes contact-miking those a bit of a lost cause, even though the instrument timbre itself is actually pretty cool: Sax (on the bell): WAV/MP3play_arrow Trumpet (on the bell): WAV/MP3play_arrow For more information on exactly how these instruments were miked up, check out this video. Another great perspective can also be had by checking out this video review, where the reviewer demonstrates the raw Cortado sound on classical guitar, steel-string acoustic, octave mandola, and bluegrass dulcimer.
Multi-mic Recordings: Here are some more recordings from the manufacturer’s session at Tone Zone Recording Studios. Again, all this audio is apparently unprocessed (beyond some safety limiting), and in each case two Cortado mics were blended together to deliver this recorded sound: Fiddle (front and back panel): WAV/MP3play_arrow Cello (front and back panel): WAV/MP3play_arrow Electric Guitar Amp (driver and cabinet): WAV/MP3play_arrow They also recorded a grand piano, with mics on the bass and treble sides of the soundboard, and I’ve panned those a little here to create a stereo image: Grand Piano (soundboard) panned: WAV/MP3play_arrow (Incidentally, I mentioned in the review that if the tether cable between the Cortado’s transducer and preamp comes into contact with vibrating components of the instrument, then that can sometimes result in a bit of ‘buzz’ in the recorded signal, and you can actually hear that going on in this piano recording. Fastening the tether cable out of harm’s way can avoid that.) The manufacturer also did a multimiked recording of accordion, although I suspect that the mic position on the outside of the instrument’s casing didn’t actually transmit very much vibration to the mics, because the noise levels here are a little higher than I’d expect based on my own tests: Accordion (on both sides of the casing): WAV/MP3play_arrow (Again, more information on exactly how these instruments were miked up can be found in this video.) Finally, here’s a two-mic stereo recording (totally without processing) that I did for nylon-strung acoustic guitar during the review process, and I think it really demonstrates how rich and full these mics can sound: Nylon-strung Acoustic Guitar (mics either side of bridge) panned: WAV/MP3play_arrow Notice that, by contrast with the accordion recording, the noise levels here are extremely low, even though the acoustic sound level of my acoustic guitar was certainly a lot quieter.
MIC POSITIONING & COUPLING DEMONSTRATIONS
Moving The Mic: To give you some perspective on how dramatically moving the Cortado’s miking position can affect the sound, here’s a selection of different contact positions on nylon-strung acoustic guitar: Position 1: WAV/MP3play_arrow Position 2: WAV/MP3play_arrow Position 3: WAV/MP3play_arrow Position 4: WAV/MP3play_arrow Position 5: WAV/MP3play_arrow Position 6: WAV/MP3play_arrow Position 7: WAV/MP3play_arrow
Mic Coupling: To demonstrate how different this mic can sound depending on how it’s coupled to the vibrating surface, here are three audio examples where I’ve removed and refixed the Cortado in exactly the same position (as well as I can judge it by eye) next to a nylon-strung acoustic guitar’s bridge using the provided sensor putty: Reseating 1: WAV/MP3play_arrow Reseating 2: WAV/MP3play_arrow Reseating 3: WAV/MP3play_arrow Also, compare the following pair of audio examples. In the first, I fixed the mic with sensor putty and then also secured it with a mini bar clamp; and in the second I removed only the bar clamp: Putty & Bar Clamp: WAV/MP3play_arrow Putty Only (Clamp Removed): WAV/MP3play_arrow
DIY MICS & SYMPATHETIC RESONATORS
Vocal Recording: The manufacturer has a couple of great examples of recording vocals with DIY mics based around the Cortado: the Hula mic and recording vocals with a tin can. But let me add to those some fun little experiments I did recording my own voice through various different dual-miked resonators: 5mm MDF panel: WAV/MP3play_arrow Plastic Chopping Board: WAV/MP3play_arrow Large Double-glazed Window (stereo): WAV/MP3play_arrow Steel Cat Dish (stereo): WAV/MP3play_arrow Cardboard Box (stereo): WAV/MP3play_arrow Vinyl Flooring Offcut (stereo): WAV/MP3play_arrow Upright Piano With Sustain Pedal Down (stereo): WAV/MP3play_arrow As you can hear, in some of these cases background noise becomes an issue, but within the context of retro-tinged sounds like these I don’t really see that as a deal-breaker.
Piano Sympathetic Resonators: Here are some more stereo recording experiments I did with a pair of Cortados, recording an upright piano. (Not one that’s particularly in tune or well played, admittedly…) First I clipped the mics to the instrument’s external casing: Piano Case: WAV/MP3play_arrow (Notice how the mechanical noise of the sustain-pedal action is quite prominent in the balance.) Then I miked up a variety of objects in the piano’s recording room to capture the instrument’s sympathetic vibrations: Metal Lamp Shades: WAV/MP3play_arrow Large Double-glazed Window: WAV/MP3play_arrow Cardboard Box: WAV/MP3play_arrow Badminton Racquet Sandwiched In The Piano Lid: WAV/MP3play_arrow