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Knucklehead percussion production tips and FetHead review.

April 4th, 2011 | 22 Comments   « Previous  |  Episode 30  |  Next »

In this episode I share a simple production technique for recording percussion. I also review the FetHead from Triton Audio. I also announce the new Ronan’s Recording Advice Buffet series.

To Watch on your iphone or ipad download the M4V version

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Rating: 4.9/5 (25 votes cast)
22 Comments ~ Speak your mind »
  1. Steve (Kiwi Steve)

    Ronan – Thanks for the great review – as always brilliant.
    I agree with your comments 100% about the Triton Audio FetHead.
    The fun this is that they have a number of different models or products .
    - Fethead Stands is the one you have (it stops the Phantom Power passing through but uses it in it’s preamp stage. Great for Ribbons, Dynamics etc
    - Fethead Filter is the same as above but has a fixed high pass filter built in and is great for getting rid of the annoying lows
    - Fethead Phantom is again similar to the Fethead standard model except that it allows the Phantom Power to pass through and is useful for those Electret or Cardiod etc mics that just don’t pump the gain..

    They also have an Attenuator model called the Airhead that does the opposite from the Fethead where the gain is too hard.. Basically provided -15Db gain reduction.
    Ideal for mics maybe on Drum recording where the power of teh drum and the mic together simply produce too much gain and ya wanna clean it up a little at the source.

    They also do a cool device called a BigAMP which basically sits between a guitar or synth or whatever using Line Level input and swaps it for Balance Mic level input (impedance matched etc) So you can connect the device to a spare MIC Pre etc.

    BTW They also produce some really great “vintage” style Mic Pre’s Both stand alone boxes and API versions.. These are really nice and the quality of the build is fabulous as is the clarity and quality of the sound..
    People really do get surprised about the product and they stack up to what they claim..

    Anyway. enough about TritonAudio.. I think their products speak for themselves.

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  2. mtanimal

    Thanks for the review. I have the Black Lion Auteur, the FetHead and an SM7B. I was a bit disappointed with the SM7B/Auteur combination until I used the FetHead with them. The Auteur lacked sufficient gain and usually sounded distorted (except on loud sources) because I had to crank the gain. Now they sound great together. It has also greatly improved the gain and sound of an SM57 when used with the Auteur. It even makes the preamps in my Fireface 400 sound better.
    I really enjoy your tips and insights. Great show.

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  3. Ryan

    Have you tried an Electro-Voice mic with the FetHead yet? I wanna hear an RE20 or RE16 with it.

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  4. James Dawson

    Hi Ronan! Thanks for another great show. I am a new viewer and find them very informative.

    I have ben using a SPL Channel One (Model 2950) with a Sennheiser 416 for voice overs but really wanted something different so I purchased a AEA R84 DVJ but ran into the problem of noise when as I had to crank the SPL.

    Warren suggested the Fethead or the Fethead Filterer, and I am amazed at the difference!

    Due to the proximity effect of the ribbon, the Fethead Filter, with a roll off at 220hz (if I recall correctly) did the trick. I need very little eq, no compression and the sound is exceptional!

    I plan to use the Fethead with a Senn E906 mic’ing a vintage Fender amp.

    So for a little more than $200 I have two great tools and I was able to keep using the SPL Channel One as it has features that I have not found in any other pre.

    Thanks again!

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  5. tomás

    Keep them coming!

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  6. Ronan


    Have you tried an Electro-Voice mic with the FetHead yet? I wanna hear an RE20 or RE16 with it.

    Not yet, but I have an old RE-10 I am going to try it with. Maybe some one else has experience they can chime in with.

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  7. Chris

    Hey Ronan,
    Not sure if you have had a chance to try out the cloudlifter? by cloud audio? I was looking at one of these and hadn’t seen the fathead. be really cool to see a bit of a shootout between the two, they do have different gain boost though. but it would be cool to hear some opinions on them both.

    keep up the good work!!!
    Chris

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  8. Ronan

    Not sure if you have had a chance to try out the cloudlifter? by cloud audio? I was looking at one of these and hadn’t seen the fathead. be really cool to see a bit of a shootout between the two, they do have different gain boost though. but it would be cool to hear some opinions on them both.

    Hey Chris, It looks like I am going to get a chance to try out the Cloud Lifter, so I am going to try and plan something about the two of these. My schedule is a bit crazy so I am not quite sure when I will be able to make the episode though.-Ronan

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  9. Jim

    Hi Ronan,

    Have been tuning in now and again since your $500.00 preamp shoot out.
    (got the P-solo and your review helped in deciding)I am working on a single channel studio setup in my basement with my wife,and find your videos very down to earth and helpful.
    Thank you!

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  10. Virginia Wagner

    Thanks for another great episode Ronan! One question:

    Why not use the FetHead every time that you record with a dynamic or ribbon microphone?

    Thanks, Virginia Wagner

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  11. Louis

    Did someone notice the police siren at 6:13 ?

    Great show by the way. I always learn a lot from your videos.

    Thank you Ronan !

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  12. Ronan

    Thanks Louis, I think Its actually an ambulance. I had the doors of the studio open t let in some nice so cal weather.

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  13. Hakim Callier

    Hi,

    Thanks for another great episode Ronan.

    I have an Auteur and always had a little trouble with gain staging it as well. What I do is run the Auteur into the line input of another clean pre. Like the ISA 110 for example.

    I think my situation might sound better than the Fethead. But what do you think and if not why?

    I would be interested in getting one, but I thought I had a solution for the Auteur’s gain issues.

    -Hakim

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  14. Ronan

    I have an Auteur and always had a little trouble with gain staging it as well. What I do is run the Auteur into the line input of another clean pre. Like the ISA 110 for example.
    I think my situation might sound better than the Fethead. But what do you think and if not why?
    I would be interested in getting one, but I thought I had a solution for the Auteur’s gain issues.

    You never know which way will sound better until you try, but if I had to guess, I would think the Fethead solution would be better. Not because the FetHead is better than the ISA, but because of impedance matching. A mic pre is expecting mic level/impedance and if you go into a mic pre after the Auteur, you are sending the ISA “Line” level/impedance.

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  15. schlarb

    Another great episode Ronan!

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  16. Emanuele Cirani

    That FetHead seems very cool

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  17. Doyle

    Hey Ronan,
    Love this one! I’ve always wanted to get an SM7B but had heard that the output level is really low and unless you have a really high quality preamp you’d get a lot of noise when boosting the level. I’m definitely gonna keep this fethead in mind next time I mic shopping.

    By the way, I saw you were using the MXL v67g (which I just ordered along with a Shure Beta 52a kick mic I needed). The v67g got great reviews on several forums and blogs. I’m digging mine and just had a vocalist choose that mic over an AKG C414, RE20 and other much more expensive mics. Just wondering your thoughts on it.

    Keep up the great work!
    -Doyle

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  18. john

    Thank you very much! very helpful video!
    Everything is very wall explained.

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  19. Macedo Pinto

    Thanks for the great review!

    For the features and its price, that inline preamp will be my next “toy”, for sure.

    Macedo Pinto

    Portugal

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  20. Robert

    Nice tips on percussion! Thanks!

    Got here because of the FetHead. Have four of them and use them with RE20s straight into an audio interface. They do the job well — no need to crank crappy mic pres almost to max to get healthy level. But… 100$ is a way too much for 2 fets and 4 resistors inside “made in china” cheep connector shell… with a bit of electronics knowledge you can make those amps for 10-20$, if not cheaper. I’m happy that it was not me who spent all this money for such simple toys :)

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  21. Dan Ortego

    I too came here because of the Fethaed recommendation from others more experienced than myself. Since I’m not inclined to build one myself, I certainly don’t think 99-bucks is unreasonable. I see they now have other options and of course there’s always Cloud which now offers a selectable dial for various resistance settings. Either way, I plan the use one of these with my RE20. Just for the sake of keeping things tidy I’ll probably just go with the basic Fethead. If it’s good enough for Rush Limbaugh, then it’s probably good enough for me.

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  22. sinevil

    Hi Ronan. There is a guy who runs an outfit called Marti Audio. He makes an impedance coupler called a Boost Barrel. His are half the price. I bought two of them. Anyways. Check him out.

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