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FDP Forum / Home Recording Forum / Microphones for home recording (primarily)

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BlondeStrat
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Las Vegas NV

Can't complain but sometimes I still do
May 23rd, 2019 08:04 AM   Edit   Profile  

I'll be going shopping today.

If anyone is up and reading the recording forum here … I'd love to hear any last minute advice on microphones. Type, Brands, price range for decent mics for a home/tinkering setting.

I'll be looking to purchase two microphones along with my 18i8 interface.

While at GC a while back they had me looking at some AKG items … P220 I believe was one of the options.

I'm not looking to spend $200.00 plus on each one,
but I don't need to tighten the budget to some $39.00 specials either.

Advice appreciated, especially from those of you doing recording at home.

(This message was last edited by BlondeStrat at 10:05 AM, May 23rd, 2019)

littleuch
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Florida

May 23rd, 2019 08:38 AM   Edit   Profile  

I haven't had much luck using dynamic mics in the studio for anything other than mic'ing guitar cabs, snare drums, etc. For vocals and acoustic guitars my cheapest mic is a Rode NT1-A, which will put you over the $200 mark. Maybe someone can chime in for quality condenser mics within your budget.

BlondeStrat
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Las Vegas NV

Can't complain but sometimes I still do
May 23rd, 2019 08:51 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks for chiming in Larry. The one you mention appears to be *just* above my $200.00 benchmark.

I could cut my expectation to just one mic now if necessary. ;)

I do have an Audio Technica P615 that is left over from my Son's rock band days. I don't think it's a high dollar mic, but it does work.

Peegoo
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
May 23rd, 2019 09:10 AM   Edit   Profile  

A large-diaphragm side-address condenser mic is very useful for vocals and instruments or capturing a room reverb sound. Most of these types (brand notwithstanding) use virtually identical capsules made in China or other offshore location and they do sound surprisingly good for their cost.

The construction of your recording room matters. If you're on a slab, a mic in a hard mount will work fine. If the floor is elevated (crawlspace, floors below, etc.), a mic with an acoustic suspension cage is necessary.

Keep in mind many of the cheaper mics (and some mo'spensive ones too) are not self-powered. They require phantom power. Happily, you can get a decent phantom power module for about $40, if your recording desk doesn't already offer it.

Here's one example: Sterling ST151, ~$100, hard mount type

(This message was last edited by Peegoo at 11:12 AM, May 23rd, 2019)

Peegoo
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
May 23rd, 2019 09:11 AM   Edit   Profile  

Here's one in an acoustic suspension cage.

Prevents floor noise getting through the stand to the mic.

Peegoo
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
May 23rd, 2019 09:18 AM   Edit   Profile  

The other type is the stick condenser. Generally directional, these work really well in an XY pair to capture stereo sound in a room, or hanging above a drum kit as overheads, or used in a pair on an acoustic guitar, etc.

The Rode M5 is a very good mic of this type. Buy these as a pair and they run ~$200 for both.

Rode M5 pair

(This message was last edited by Peegoo at 11:25 AM, May 23rd, 2019)

Peegoo
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
May 23rd, 2019 09:24 AM   Edit   Profile  

Lastly, several dynamics (Shure SM58 & SM57, Electrovoice ND-series, AKG D5, etc.) are extremely useful for capturing vocals, amps, drums, etc.

You can save a ton of money on mics if you buy used. If a mic looks like it was used to drive tent stakes, pass on it. Although the SM58 is one rugged mic that could be used as a hammer to set up a drum riser and still make the gig.

BlondeStrat
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Las Vegas NV

Can't complain but sometimes I still do
May 23rd, 2019 09:41 AM   Edit   Profile  

"The construction of your recording room matters. If you're on a slab, a mic in a hard mount will work fine. If the floor is elevated (crawlspace, floors below, etc.), a mic with an acoustic suspension cage is necessary."

The room (area in question) is an elevated platform, just the thickness of a 2X4 (insulation filled) and 7/8" plywood subfloor, w/pad and carpet.

Of course this is resting directly on the slab, so not much chance of deflection and vibration. Do you think this is going to be a factor?

Peegoo, I take it you are indicating that the AKG P220 mics GC seemed to direct me toward would be as you say, "very useful".

Hmm, "phantom power", there is something I've not heard mentioned. Something else to look into and consider in my selection. ;)

(This message was last edited by BlondeStrat at 11:47 AM, May 23rd, 2019)

BlondeStrat
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Las Vegas NV

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May 23rd, 2019 04:18 PM   Edit   Profile  

Here is what I returned home with …

Just a single AKG P420

It comes with the suspension cage (if necessary).

I think I'll be looking for used pieces over time to add to my arsenal of microphones.

P420

Peegoo
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
May 23rd, 2019 07:06 PM   Edit   Profile  

The AKG Perception series are great mics.

Notice it requires phantom power to operate. If you need a phantom power supply module,

this is a decent one from FDP sponsor Sweetwater

Peegoo
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
May 23rd, 2019 07:10 PM   Edit   Profile  

And yeah, that's a good solid floor.

The issue is the trampoline effect of floors on joist spans. This construction tends to send the sounds of footsteps, HVAC operation, plumbing flow, outdoor traffic, etc., to mics in hard mounts.

BlondeStrat
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Las Vegas NV

Can't complain but sometimes I still do
May 23rd, 2019 07:56 PM   Edit   Profile  

"Notice it requires phantom power to operate. If you need a phantom power supply module"

The sales rep at GC indicated the 18i8 would power it. Hopefully he is correct.

Would I need the phantom power to run it through my Peavey PA amplifier though?

"The issue is the trampoline" Yes, as noted there can be no deflection on this thing … it rests 100% solid on the slab.

Peegoo
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
May 24th, 2019 06:40 AM   Edit   Profile  

Yes, 99% (I'm guessing) of phantom-powered mics won't operate without power. Very few can operate in passive mode, but these types are not common.

The F18i8 does have phantom power. It's the little "48v" push buttons, one between each of the two channels' XLR inputs on the front panel. You're golden.

Many PA boards do have phantom power. Look near the global controls section on the board; it's usually a push button switch that sends phantom power to all channel strips.

Note that you can safely use a mix of powered condenser and passive (unpowered) dynamic mics; passives like an SM58 do not 'see' the 48vDC and are unharmed by it.

(This message was last edited by Peegoo at 08:47 AM, May 24th, 2019)

Achase4u
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U.S. - Virginia

May 24th, 2019 10:58 AM   Edit   Profile  

There are so many mics out there these days it'll make your head spin.

I started the home recording journey in 2007 or 8 and have gone through many mics from el cheapo to vintage Neumann's. It's really application based as to how many of what type of mic you'll need. I think on this forum it's safe to assume one of those mics will be for electric guitar, no? Perhaps the other for vocals?

Really there is nothing wrong with an SM57. The pro's still cut electric guitar records with them every day. You can certainly use them for vocals, too. An sm58 is just about the same mic but with the ball pop filter on it. So you could get one of those that would double for guitar and vocals perhaps a little better.

For a second mic, perhaps that is where you would like a condenser. They do have a more impressive sound for vocals *most* of the time. The Asian made capsules aren't bad depending on how the manufacturer specs them out, many can be a bit harsh even into the $1000 dollar range (very fine condensers are not cheap of course).

A good $99 option is the AT 2020. Audio Technica makes decent affordable condensers. It's more open and detailed for acoustic instruments and vocals than a typical dynamic mic.

However, I would like to add this. Since the explosion of the Chinese microphone market, there have been savvy folks who saw a niche to be filled. Instead of off the shelf Chinese mics that are just rebranded a million times, they decided to take the small guy approach and design a "better" mic that was still made in these factories. They have been quite successful.

IF you can stretch your budget, there are some great mics to be had between 2-300 dollars. If I were in your shoes, I would get an sm57/58 for under 100, then spend a little more on the condenser. Something like the Roswell mini k47.

Great reviews. Matt McGlynn is the operator of recordinghacks.com which is probably the biggest mic info repository in the world. He started Roswell to fill a niche he saw and I think he has been quite successful.

Anyway, just my $0.02

Achase4u
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U.S. - Virginia

May 24th, 2019 11:03 AM   Edit   Profile  

What most of these small builders have tried to do is alleviate what has widely become known as "Chinese condenser high frequency response" among recordists. Many off the shelf asian condensers are a little harsh compared to the mics they try to emulate(usually meaning legendary old German and Austrian condensers).

Roswell mini k47

Achase4u
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U.S. - Virginia

May 24th, 2019 11:08 AM   Edit   Profile  

One other option has already been mentioned, but the NT1. The newest version dropped the "a" and runs about 269 at sponsor sweetwater. You can also look used and find one for 200.

This is a great, great option for home studios. I used to have the NT1a, and it truly was a darn good mic especially for the money. In fact, the new NT1 would probably be my number 1 recommendation for a budget large diaphragm condenser mic.

Rode NT1 vs Neumann/Telefunken u47

Achase4u
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U.S. - Virginia

May 24th, 2019 11:38 AM   Edit   Profile  

Now, I am going to go and sort of contradict myself here.

Another route you can take based on your needs.

The above scenario with a little more money spent on the condenser is good if you think your vocals need to sound more hi-fi, and you'd like a mic to use for room sounds, a drum overhead, acoustic guitar etc.

The other way is to get an sm57 and a Cascade Fathead Bare Essentials model.

I owned a Fathead for many years. It's a great way to get big, fat(ha), smooth guitar tones. If you mix it with an sm57, meaning you put a 57 next to the fathead on the amp, you can EQ the sound by blending the "faders" to your desired balance.

This would be a good way to spend the money if you are primarily wanting the most flexibility and best electric guitar tones you can get. You can always get an sm58 for vocals for not much/later.

Fathead BE

Roly
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Whitehorse Canada

I don't get out much
May 24th, 2019 01:25 PM   Edit   Profile  

"Would I need the phantom power to run it through my Peavey PA amplifier though?"

I would avoid the PV mixer.

Your AKG has a figure of eight option.
Do some homework on Mid/Side recording.
It's a nice option to get width in your recordings.

cheers


ninworks
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Middle Tennessee

Guitar Slave
May 24th, 2019 03:34 PM   Edit   Profile  

+1

..for the Roswell Mini K47's. I have a matched pair of them and they are wonderful mics for the money.

A couple weeks ago I recorded some slide guitar on a Gretsch resonator using one. It actually sounded better on that guitar, on that song, than my Neumann U89. It had more character. Don't get me wrong, the U89 sounded good but, for this song the Mini K47 sounded better. It found it's own spot in the mix without having to do anything to the signal other than a little compression. The Neumann would have done if I hadn't had the Mini K47 to try as well.

You can spend a fortune on microphones.

Roly
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Whitehorse Canada

I don't get out much
May 24th, 2019 10:17 PM   Edit   Profile  

Guess I should explain why I said don't use the PV mixer.
The Focusrite piece is a good entry level means of getting things in the door.
The last thing you want to do is add a component to the signal chain that will degrade the signal. Your PV will do just that, as will all other mixers intended for that purpose.

If you have no choice.....use the PV mixer for monitoring only....DO NOT put it in the signal chain in front of your DAW.
Mixers, such as yours, are designed to be used in a "live music" situation, and are basically useless for recording purposes.
Not trying to discourage you, just trying to help you not make the mistakes I have.
cheers
Roly

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