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Stinger Mustang

September 1, 2009

Stinger Mustang

I couldn’t help but smile when this beauty turned up for my latest car recording escapade.  I’d forgottten what a presence Mustangs have, and I’ve got to say that, in my humble opinion and relatively limited experience, this Stinger is the best looking or sounding one I’ve come across (sorry, Mike!).

The big advantage with this Mustang was that the exhaust pipes were underneath the car which I felt really helped contain, or perhaps even amplify, the sound for longer compared with when the pipes come straight out of the back.  Therefore, my first and easiest mic choice was to put a DPA 4062 as close as possible to one of these two pipes underneath the car.  I had originally planned to also put a dynamic mic on the exhaust but the car was so low to the ground that I struggled to attach the DPA let alone anything larger that would need a more secure attachment.  Instead I opted for micing up one of the two extra exhaust pipes coming out of the side of the car which came into play when the car was in ‘road’ (basically quieter) mode.  Looking back on it, it was pretty pointless sticking another DPA here because inevitably we kept the car in the noisier ‘race’ mode for 90% of the time.  Fortunately though, this exhaust was right beside the rear wheel so now I at least have a really nice tyre track which I’m sure will come in handy.

As with the Rolls Royce I recorded (check out my previous post), another DPA 4062 went on the engine, although with these sort of cars the engine never seems to sound that exciting compared to the exhaust, and then the last mic going into my 744T was a DPA 4061 which I placed inside the cabin as usual.

The main difference with this recording was that I focused a lot more of my attention on exploring the sounds of the different gears and trying to work out what sounded best, rather than simply recording the car going as fast as possible.  The film I’ve recorded this for contains a lot of scenes where the Mustang is not actually driving that fast but still needs to sound cool and aggressive.  Initially, I thought that the solution would be to stay in first or second gear, where you get that initial throaty roar which would usually subside as you skip up through the gears.  However, in the end, I found that holding the car in the lower end of fifth gear produced a sound more suitable for these slower scenes; the higher revs provided greater energy but because the gear was still working hard to get up to it’s optimum rev range it retained that bassier element that I could hear in first gear.

I also experimented with an AKG D112 bass drum mic this time.  As I mentioned in my post, Recording Cars, a while ago, I really want to try out some of the Shure drum mics but I was unable to track down the ones that I wanted from any hire companies and my budget doesn’t stretch to splashing out on any new mics at the moment so I just made use of what was available to me.  However, the AKG was great.  I knew from previous recordings that it was good at capturing the low end of static or slow sounds such as revs or pull aways but, for some reason, less successful when it came to continuous driving sounds.

Therefore, this time, when I did my usual jump out of the car with the Fostex and two Schoeps mics to record passes, I also tried some revs and pull aways with the AKG.  To get the mic as close as possible to the pipes underneath the car, I laid it on the road (on top of a Rycote windjammer) then reversed the car back over it so the mic was level with the pipes.  From what I’ve heard of the recordings so far, this was very successful at capturing a really bassy roar which rapidly disappears to nothing once the car has moved off, so I think I’ll have to try mixing across to the onboard DPAs at that point.

The only other difference from my Rolls Royce setup was that when I was inside the car, I used a Crown PZM-30D this time.  There was no great logic to this decision other than I’ve had interesting results with a Schoeps boundary mic on a car interior in the past, plus I didn’t feel I’d gained much by using both Schoeps mics last time, so I stuck with the CMC 5 but swapped the CMXY 4V for the Crown.  I must admit I haven’t had a thorough enough play through of the results yet to decide if this was a good move or not, so I’ll post at a later date about this.

Overall then, a very successful and hugely enjoyable recording trip.  There’s still plenty of other experiments that I would like to try with the mic setup, such as checking out the Shure mics that I’ve mentioned in the past (maybe if I mention them often enough Shure will send me some free ones!) and trying to securely attach a fishing pole to the vehicle, but I’m really pleased that some of the risks that I took on this occasion may well become part of my standard practice next time around.

Stinger Mustang

From → Post Production

  1. Quiet a throaty beast! Would love to hear what _attaching_ a kick drum mic to the car would sound like, instead of it being stationary. What were the mix components – i.e., which mics – did you mix together in your audio clip on Soundcloud? Nice work!

  2. sonicskepsi permalink

    Yeah, I will definitely give that a go again in the future but it wasn’t a great success when I tried it before on a Mustang. It’s as if the kick drum mic captures the sound ‘blasts’ such as start ups and revs really well but brings less to the table with more constant driving sounds which have less attack (which perhaps makes sense when you consider it’s musical uses). Having said this, following this recording trip, I will make it part of my permanently attached rig rather than just doing aways or revs with it, because even just getting occasional low-end sweeteners from it makes it worth having around.
    The track on Soundcloud is a mix of the onboard engine and exhaust DPAs with the drum mic underneath the car and the Schoeps shotgun mic pointed at the back of the car as it pulled away.

  3. sonicskepsi permalink

    Just as an addendum to this post, I’ve only just got round to editing the Stinger audio and, for those that are interested, the Crown mic turned out to provide a very useful low end recording. There’s plenty of bass in most of the other mics as well though so rather than overdo it I may end up using this track as a dedicated feed for the sub (after low pass filtering). As I’ve noticed on previous car recordings I’ve made with other mics, the Crown mic only captured this low end when the engine was at lower revs but fortunately, as I explained in the post, I was trying to capture the sound of the car going at a slower speed rather than flat out.

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