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FDP Forum / Home Recording Forum / let's talk mics advice....

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larryguitar19
Contributing Member
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South Florida

larryguitar
Jun 13th, 2016 04:59 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

As indicated by my other posts I've gotten the home recording. Juice recommends I move to recording with better condenser mics. I looked into it and totally agree.

So far I'm using an AKG Perception 200 to pick up both vocals and guitar. The results are 'okay' ...but I want to take it next level.

So let's assume I want to do double track recording with voice and guitar. I see you can spend as little as $100 to as high as $8k for Neuman.

I'm not ready to go that level. But I do want to improve the quality.

Let's assume I'm willing to spend up to about $500 for a good condenser mic for guitar and the same amount for a better vocal mic.

What are your thoughts?

And specifically what about the Shure 81 condenser mic for the guitar to tide me over until I do more research?

(This message was last edited by larryguitar19 at 07:01 PM, Jun 13th, 2016)

ninworks
Contributing Member
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Tennessee

Too Much GAS
Jun 13th, 2016 06:08 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

For recording steel string acoustic guitar I prefer small diaphragm condenser mics "like" the Shure SM81. The only thing is that I usually use 2 of them. As with any mic selection it depends upon the particular guitar and the kind of sound you want to have when you're done. All mics color the sound so, you'll have to pick the color you want to paint with.

For recording electric guitar amps I would never use a small diaphragm condenser mic. Way too crisp for my taste. It's hard to beat a Shure SM57 when it comes to sound vs. the amount of money spent. There again, it depends upon the color you want to paint with.

For a good, inexpensive, large diaphragm, condenser, mic, I don't really know what to tell you. I've always just saved up the cash and bought the more expensive one(s). It takes longer but, I have never, ever, been disappointed about my mic purchases. Mics are like guitars. One can never have too many. That's what I spend my money on these days. That and sample libraries. I have the guitar thing pretty well covered. At least for now. It's time to upgrade my recording capabilities again.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Eat. Sleep. Guitar.

Repeat
Jun 13th, 2016 06:44 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Sterling Audio used to sell a nice mic package with two small stick mics and a large-diaphragm side address mic. They require phantom power, so be ready for that stuff if you're unfamiliar with it.

They sound spectacular for the price.

Let's see if they still have 'em on the market.

This. Used to come with 2x ST31s.

larryguitar19
Contributing Member
**

South Florida

larryguitar
Jun 14th, 2016 09:02 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I think I'm gonna go with a Shure 81a for the time being. I like high quality gear and will look at some Neumann mics.

Juice Nichols
Contributing Member
*******

Panama City, FL

Same ol **** but my hair's longer
Jun 14th, 2016 11:53 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Larry, the last mike I purchased was a Avantone CK-12 LDC tube mic. I got the package deal through Sweetwater and got a heavy duty rolling boom stand and a 50' XLR cable to boot. I used it recently to track guitar and vocals for a song I'm working on with stellar results. This is the same mike that Taylor Swift used to record several albums. (I'm no Taylor Swift fan, but figured if it was good enough for her, I'm sure it would suit my needs just fine). Other budget mikes that can get the job done are Rode microphones. I have a couple of these (NT1a, NT2 and an NTR) and they do a good job. The NTR is not a budget mike per se sense it goes for about a $1000.

Word of caution using high end mikes in an untreated environment. Neumanns and the like are going to seriously expose your room for what it is. Most advice I've seen is that the money is better spent on room treatment before high end mikes.

The Shure 81 is a very good SDC and you should get good results with that too.

littleuch
Contributing Member
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Florida

Jun 14th, 2016 12:06 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

There has got to be a point of diminished/no returns with high quality mics and the interface through which they run.

I run my acoustics through a couple older Oktava MK-012's, vocals through a Studio Projects tube Mic. I have Shure beta 57/58s, AKG C2000, Sennheiser E906 and an SM57. Mostly I run guitars through a Boss GT-001. Everything ultimately runs through a Mbox mini. I don't see me spending more money on mics anytime soon.

Juice Nichols
Contributing Member
*******

Panama City, FL

Same ol **** but my hair's longer
Jun 14th, 2016 02:20 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"There has got to be a point of diminished/no returns with high quality mics and the interface through which they run."

I agree. In the home studio environment that I currently have, I don't have a high enough end signal chain to get the most out of a Neumann, other than maybe the TLM-102. Which really isn't any better than anything I currently have IMO.

Nice mike locker. What's your favorite go to mike?

(This message was last edited by Juice Nichols at 04:51 PM, Jun 14th, 2016)

Achase4u

U.S. - Virginia

Jun 14th, 2016 05:42 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

There are definitely diminishing returns, but I've yet to hear no returns. Hearing for instance, a Neumann M149, is really an experience. Its over $5k. I'd say paying $20k or more for an original C12 or 251 would be the limit. They sound incredible, but simply due to the amount of money spent, the returns are very small in ratio.

I will say, if you are ever going to mic multiple instruments at once, its wise to spread your money between some different mics for variety in my opinion. Also, you'll never hear a mic's potential through a mediocre preamp and converters. However, mics will give you the best benefits for the money up front.

Heck, an sm57 will sometimes knock you off your feet in the right preamp.

Take a look at the Shure KSM 32 as well, if you want the larger diaphragm sound. Its technically a medium diaphragm I think. Small pencil mics are great for side rejection and getting detail, though large diaphragms have more dynamic range while rejecting to the rear better, usually.

I got my KSMs on ebay for less than $300 in some cases. Great utility mic. I like it on acoustic instruments and overheads. It's not too bright. The presence peak is around 6khz rather than that big 10k bump most mics have.

I have heard great things about the Avantone CK12 tube(obviously alluding to an AKG C12 type)

I think Taylor Swift has cut tracks on that mic, which is the word around town anyway.

"Word of caution using high end mikes in an untreated environment. Neumanns and the like are going to seriously expose your room for what it is. Most advice I've seen is that the money is better spent on room treatment before high end mikes. "

Bingo. While I will say that this is totally true in my opinion, there is also an element to be gained from this. I believe they expose this because they hear better and have much better off axis response. Which is to also say that if you are in a live setup with multiple instruments and mics, your bleed will sound wayyyyyyyyyy better, provided the room is good. Mediocre mics make for nasty bleed.

Room treatment cannot be over stated.

larryguitar19
Contributing Member
**

South Florida

larryguitar
Jun 14th, 2016 06:04 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I really appreciate all the input from knowledgable folks here. Also I enjoy the journey. I've played for many years and I've even recorded in a professional Nashville studio. But this is the first time I decided to do home recording.

So my plan is to do a purely acoustic album ala Springsteen Nebraska with all my morose sad songs and 'get it out there'.

Track 1 will be me playing the song the whole way through vocals and guitars. Sound fidelity is not that important as much as getting a good template down.

Track 2 will be overdub of just the voice on a condenser mic as clean and pure as possible. I can do multiple takes until I'm satisfied.

Track 3 will be another overdub with just the guitar. Same thing. No mistakes. No slop.

Then I mute or take out Track 1 and I'm left with 2 tracks I can separately fix in the mix with the GB or Logic plug ins.

I will do this in my living room that simply can never be properly treated but I'll get close enough.

So I think the Shure 81 and AKG Perception will get me there for now.

However in researching this--and knowing myself--I see a Neumann in my future for no other reason than "I gotta have it!"

Achase4u

U.S. - Virginia

Jun 14th, 2016 07:25 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I love Springsteen "Nebraska" He actually did that on a cassette portastudio. Cool sound.



larryguitar19
Contributing Member
**

South Florida

larryguitar
Jun 14th, 2016 11:03 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I didn't know that until you mentioned it. But sure enough it was merely the demo but the decided to release it "as is"

It's a guy with a guitar and as honest as it gets.

Achase4u

U.S. - Virginia

Jun 15th, 2016 08:25 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

If the feeling is right... use the rough.

I've been there. I've stormed into a recording when I had a song hit me and is inspiring and fresh. Then I go practice and set up to do the "real" recording, and I chase, chase, chase the rough mix and never get as good as that... drives me batty.

There's something to be said for just making a great rough. You might just end up using it.

littleuch
Contributing Member
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Florida

Jun 15th, 2016 08:52 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Nice mike locker. What's your favorite go to mike?"

If that was directed at me, I'd say my go to Mic has been the Studio Projects TB-1 for most vocals and some acoustics. The Octavas work good for acoustic and I've recently had success tracking a vocal with the Beta 57. I really haven't used my AKG for some time as it produced a brittle result the last couple time I tried it.

On the rare occasion I Mic an amp/cab I used the Sennheiser e906, not to be confused with the more common 609. When I've a/b'd that Mic with an SM57 they were very close to my ear, with a slight edge to the Sennheiser.

Juice Nichols
Contributing Member
*******

Panama City, FL

Same ol **** but my hair's longer
Jun 15th, 2016 12:12 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Yes that was directed at you littleuch.

I have no experience with the Octavas or the Studio Project mikes. The mike locker in the studio I work in doesn't own any so I haven't had the opportunity to work with them, but I've been curious about them for a while.

littleuch
Contributing Member
**********
****

Florida

Jun 15th, 2016 12:45 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I did have a cold solder joint on the Studio Projects tube Mic that I recently fixed. I don't know how these compare to say the MXL mics.

I don't remember the exact amount I paid for the pair of Oktavas, but it seems like they were stupid cheap compared to what I see them going for used.

reverendrob
FDP Data Goon
Moderator

When I sin

I sin real good
Jun 15th, 2016 09:49 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I don't own an acoustic, so can't comment on the suitability there, but the Oktavas are fine mics.

I have a pair of their pencils now and they work admirably for everything I've thrown at them (amps, vocals, room, etc).

I haven't felt compelled to buy anything else since.

Mark From Hawaii
Contributing Member
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The Aloha State, USA

only cowboys stay in tune after all
Jun 16th, 2016 01:18 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Great topic. Since I've gone audio interface to DAW, I've done all my guitar through a Boss ME-70 FX/modeller or Roland GR-55 synth/modeller. I'm thinking of getting at least a Shure SM55 and maybe an SE VR1 ribbon sometime later to do the 2 mic mixing of a cab.

Like so...

(This message was last edited by Mark From Hawaii at 03:23 AM, Jun 16th, 2016)

Juice Nichols
Contributing Member
*******

Panama City, FL

Same ol **** but my hair's longer
Jun 16th, 2016 08:49 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

That clip sounded pretty good Mark. I wish he would have shown how he had them positioned though. Depending on the type of ribbon you're using, I wouldn't want it too close to the source as many of them can't handle the SPL directly from a guitar cab.

Dadical
Contributing Member
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I am not a complete

idiot - I have several pieces missing!
Jun 20th, 2016 12:57 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

You'd have to spend a ton to get better small condensers for acoustic guitars than the old Oktava MK12s. Acoustic guitar mag did a shootout and the Oktava crushed the field. I have them and I concur.

I've worked with the AKG Perception and don't like it. It's better than bottom feeder MXL stuff, but not much. The better MXL 890 makes the perception sound like cardboard.

Sterling has a rep for being "good for the money". I'd rather have mics that are good, period. Some can be found at reasonable prices. I've worked with a couple Sterlings. I would not add them to my own mic locker.

Don't forget ribbon mics. For very complete, rich old school vocals it's hard to beat an open back ribbon.

For all purpose, Sure SM57 and SM58 are industry standards for a reason. Every mic locker should have a few.




Coral Head

Sunshine State

Groupies needed
Jun 21st, 2016 04:58 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

There are so many variables in making a track sound good that a great mic vs a decent mic is probably lost in the shuffle in a home recording environment. The difference between mics once you get beyond crappy mics, is mostly in the EQ curve, which you can compensate for in the box. The difference between my $700 AT vs my $100 Studio Projects is miniscule compared to a good performance and mix vs a not so good performance and mix.

The difference between good and bad home recordings is 99% in the performance and the know-how of the mixer/engineer rather than the mics.

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