Working Set of Mics - any suggestions?

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Working Set of Mics - any suggestions?

Postby chris p » Fri Jun 10, 2005 7:57 pm

I'm after suggestions to expand my mics for my "I come to you" recording business - mostly demos, church music, schools, audition CDs.

I have a Rode NT1000 (large diaphram condenser), an SM57 and 58, a Beyer Dynamic kick drum mic and a pair of Audio Technica 3031s (small condensers).

What I'm looking for are a valve condenser (along the lines of a Rode classic II) and a pair of good figure 8s (or variable patterns may be best, along the lines of the Rode NT2000). I would also like suggestions for a couple of dynamic mics (unless you recommend staying with the Shure SM57/58 line).

While I am looking for tonal variety, please only suggest a Wagner or U47 if you are willing to donate 3/4 of the price. The Rode suggestions give a good approximation of budget.
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Postby Maria » Sat Jun 11, 2005 12:09 am

Buy good quality mics. Check out the Microtech Gefell.
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Postby davemc » Sun Jun 12, 2005 1:45 am

MD421's,431 or 441.
A SM7 or RE20 which I have been meaning to buy.

Do you need a valve main mic?
You have Brauner, Geffel(mentioned), soundelux to try valve or not.
Or even a TLM103,U87, 414 standards

Also what pres do you use. A nice dual pre if your using say a mackie desk might do something for you with the mics you have now.
Its always hard to work out what you needfor limited $'s
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Postby chris p » Mon Jun 13, 2005 5:42 pm

Maria - thanks for responding, but do you have any specific suggestions? I'm more after people's actual experience in what set of mics gives you the all-round ability to reocrd whatever is thrown at you in the real world.

Dave, thanks for the dynamic mic tips - the Shure SM7, Senny 415 and/or EV RE20 might indeed be good options to get away from the 57/58 monorail. How would you characterise the sound of the SM7 compared to the 57 (which I find is my most versatile mic)?

To answer your entirely pertinent questions, ...

Do I need a valve mic? In many cases, I suspect the answer is not, and its just Neumann-itis. However, none of my current mics shine with female vocals, and I'd like the silkier top end that valves can impart. Also, one of my clients is a flautist, and my current condensers can make her sound a bit shrill to my ears - again, I'd like to see what a valve could do here.

In terms of pres, I have the fairly clean but non-descript ones in my MOTU AD/DA, and a separate Aphex valve 2 channel preamp. However, I'm eyeing off the 1U JLM 8 channel unit and the 2 channel valve unit to upgrade this aspect.

Its not that I'm unhappy with any of the current mics - I'm not planning to get rid of any of them. Its more that I'm finding gaps in the arsenal - all my current mics, for example, are cardioid, which rules out those fancy dual figure 8 recording techniques that help get the lovely depth and spacial information into the mix.
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Postby Jason » Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:05 pm

With the Gefell Mics I have used M300's, M800's, 70.1s, 940's, 930's. All of these mics are great allrounders. I use the M300's all the time. The M800's also have five different patterns to chose from. I have also used the single pattern valve mic to. Very nice and alot cheaper than some other well know brands. But that said, we still have the oldies but goodies like the 421's, SM57's, SM58's, RE20's, etc.....
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Postby davemc » Mon Jun 13, 2005 10:23 pm

Personally the top end of rode and a lot of cheaper mics i've tried are not exactly true. Sometimes plastic in nature.
I had a classic II and female vocals were not what it was best for.
I replaced it with a soundelux U99 which was a lot cleaner and more true. Not as colored as the classic.

Best to see what you can get and try. Its hard.. With everything try for yourself. Although a better pre mic be on the cards. Its a never ending search.. Use your own ears and try. Although cheaper gear.. normally cheaper for a reason
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Postby chris p » Fri Jun 17, 2005 1:21 pm

I found the following on an AKG site forum, which i thought is worth sharing - one person's view of a working set of mics.

http://www.akg.com/akg_structuretree/fo ... d,148.html

Mic variety dan.dan 03.04.2003 - 23:43:17

Well, variety is very important with mics. The analogy with guitars is a good one.

But you don't need a $100K mic cabinet to do good work. You just need some of the right stuff. Some differences are subtle, some are dramatic. You can start by covering the dramatic ones:

- Type of mic: Dynamic vs. small-diaprhagm condenser vs. large diaphragm condenser. You need some of each type. Some dynamics (like the D112) have a very specific purpose.

- For large diaprhagm condensers, the impedance matching/line driving technology: Tube vs. solid state (typically FET). You want some of each.

- For all mics, poloar patterns: Cardiod vs. hypercardiod vs. figure 8 vs. omni. You need some of each, though many large diaprhagm mics have switchable polar patterns.

- Ribbon mics are in a category all their own. Many studios do great work without any ribbon mics, but you should think about whether they apply to what you are doing.

You only really need pairs of the ones you will use for stereo sources, so you definitely don't need pairs of everything.

Some options:

Large diaphragm condensers:

Solid state:

- C414 B-ULS is warm and smooth and tight, selectable polar patterns.

- C414 TLII is bright and open, selectable polar patterns

- Neumann U87 is somewhere inbetween, with that classic, smooth, Neumann sound.

- Neumann TLM-103 is a fantastic choice, with the same capsule as the M-149, and a great sound.

Tube:

- C 12 VR is a very nice mic, with a very bright, big, open sound. This mic provides extreme "clarity" with sounds that are very detailed and intelligible even as the sit properly in the mix. 9 Selectable polar patterns.

- The Neumann M-149 is also a very nice mic, with a smoother, more focused sound. Very warm, with excellent midrange detail. As likely as not this was used on many of your favorite records. 9 Selectable polar patterns.

- The vintage C 12 is a classic, with a really bright, in-your-face, bigger than life sound. It's too colored for a lot of things, but really excellent on certain lead vocals, and where you want "air", such as on drum overheads. 9 Selectable polar patterns.

Small diaphragm condensers:

- The C 451 B is a very bright, small diaphragm condenser with lots of "sizzle". Great for high hats, drum overheads, some acoustic guitars (though it tends to splatter the high end too much for my taste on some guitars). Cardiod pattern.

- The Neumann KM-184 is a smoother, tighter, more accurate small-diaphragm condenser, with just a bit of presence boost at 10K. Good for acoustic pianos, room mics, drum overheads, etc. Very versatile mic. Cardiod pattern.

Dynamics:

- The D112 is an "industry standard" kick drum mic. You just put it in the kick, and then move it around until it sounds great. No EQ necessary! I'd call this a "must have" for drums. Cardiod pattern.

- The SM57 is very common for snare, and also electric guitar cabinets. This mic is surprisingly natural sounding when compared in an A/B comparison with some of the higher-end condensers. Cardiod pattern.

- The Sennheiser MD421 is very common on toms, and also versatile. Works well in kick, and even on some vocals. I've used them on acoustic guitar in a pinch too. Cardiod pattern.

If you had one of each of these mics, (not even counting the vintage C 12) maybe pairs of the small diaphragm condensers, and enough 421s for all of the toms on a drum kit, you would have what I would consider to be a very nice mic cabinet for a project studio, and at significantly less than $100K.

As a starting point, I'd get:

1 C 414 B-ULS
1 C 414 TLII
1 C 12 VR
1 M-149
1 pair C 451 B
1 pair KM-184
1 SM57
1 D112
3 MD421s

That covers the gamut pretty well. Two tube mics with completely different sounds. Two large diaphragm solid state condensers with different sounds (flat vs. tailored). Two pairs of small diaphragm condensers with different sounds. The basic dynamics used for drums, electric guitars, etc. You might add a TLM-103 if you want the added variety of a solid state version of the M-149.

--Dan
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Postby Kris » Sat Jun 18, 2005 4:48 pm

and for that list you'll also need to get yourself about 15 grand.
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Postby chris p » Sat Jun 18, 2005 5:11 pm

... and the rest, Kris. RRP on the two tube mics alone is over $15k. I don't have the luxury of 8 inputs just for the drum kit either, so I'll be saving some money in the tom mike arena for quite a while as well (my overhead 3031s seem to pick up the toms just fine).

That said, you don't need to buy that list item for item, and you don't need to buy it all at once. I think the guy was right in identifying the broad categories that should be represented in your mic hardware, and gave some nice examples of mics that fit in each.
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Postby smash » Mon Jul 04, 2005 2:15 am

Great Spectacular Pre-Amps !!!!!!!!!

Bono uses a sm58.

Darlene Zschech (Hugely successfull christian artist) uses a Rode Classic II.

A great preamp with make average mics sound great.

A great mic through an average preamp will sound OK.
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Postby chris p » Mon Jul 04, 2005 10:08 am

A good point, Smash, and one not lost on me. It seems the latest preamp trend is to include variable impedance switches or pots to get different tones out of the same mic, which can really add value to your mics. The Avalon 2022 in particualr looks tasty, but it should be for the $$$$.

Unfortunately, the singers I record do not have Bono's talent or technique, so they tend to need all the help they can get!

Darlene Zschech - yes, but what has she really done since "Shout to the Lord" all that time ago - Of the Hillsong stable, I'm much preferring Reuben Morgan at the moment, although his album I found to be a bit tame. Crank up the guitars and hit the lead riff from "For All You've Done", though, and you're wailin'. PS - Don't get our dear moderator started on Hillsong!!
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Postby Kris » Mon Jul 04, 2005 1:27 pm

Maybe the MXL V69 or the new V6 might work for you? I think I saw a V69 floating around Turtlerock.
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Postby Howard Jones » Mon Jul 04, 2005 1:53 pm

Sontronics are a newcomer which we are selling that you may want to consider. The range includes both valve & solid-state condenser mics. Please read more here http://www.sontronics.com/ and contact me for a demo.

link edited by admin
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Postby chris p » Mon Jul 04, 2005 8:28 pm

Thanks Howard - I have seen these floating round the 'net.

Will you be at SMPTE in a couple of weeks? Catch up there??
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Postby Howard Jones » Mon Jul 04, 2005 10:31 pm

Not exhibiting at SMPTE - time has proven that this show isn't too successful for audio. You can contact me on 9427-1144 or hjones@stusol.com. Thanks.
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Postby Choby » Tue Jul 12, 2005 7:50 pm

A good mic that sound kinda valveish is the Audio Technica 4047.

I would recommend the 4060, but the 4047 is a great compromise between that sound and a hell of a lot less money...

That with a great pre like a Sebatron on the meatier side of things, or a grace on the cleaner side of things... fully agree with the importance of good pres.

A cheaper pre option that is good it the Sytek MPX4ii. Four good quality pre's for a lot less $.
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