• Microphones
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Microphones
on: March 23, 2018, 15:20:04
@Bluedusksun and I have been working up to a conversation about microphones so I thought that we could put that out for general discussion. We all use them, right? I'd love to hear about microphone choices from folks......how did you choose your main mic and what were the things that steered your decision?

My first real mic purchase was back in the early 90's when I got serious about recording. I had picked up a Tascam cassette 4-track machine and I needed a microphone so I stopped at a local music store. The salesperson asked if I wanted a dynamic or a condenser mic and I said....yes.  :) I ended up with an Audio Technica dynamic that worked fine for those ensuing 4-tracker years. I wish I still had some of those tapes as I wrote a lot of songs back then that no longer exist.

At the turn of the century I got into protools and another music store employee did far better by me. He asked what I was doing. When I explained about acoustic guitar and vocals in a bedroom studio he hooked me up with a Shure KSM32. That microphone served me so well for many years as it is a large diameter condenser (LDC) mic but it really has a smaller capsule (.75") so it picks up less room noise. I still use that mic on occasion.

But some years later, after I got even more serious and started to treat my room, I splurged on a Peluso 22-251 tube condenser that is patterned after the famous Telefunken ELA M 251 tube mic that is all over recordings of the 50's and 60's. That microphone has multiple polar patters and I use them all in different ways to capture just the right amount of room sound for my guitar and vocals.

I firmly believe that it all starts at the front end so money spent of microphones and pre-amps is a priority if you are getting serious about your sound.

I hope to hear some other long winded microphone journeys from fellow Kitcheneers.....or even just a mention of what mic you are using for your vocals.
"The main thing is to have a gutsy approach....but use your head." Julia Child

 "In a world of robotic conformity, the only originality left in music is the imperfections" Eric Craptone

"Special thanks to Steve Gleason for making me who I am today." Leonard Scaper

Lenny's Tunes: http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_music.cfm?bandID=540680

https://soundcloud.com/vincentgleason


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Re: Microphones
Reply #1 on: March 23, 2018, 22:00:18
 ::) ::) we record with a (not expensive...pretty cheap even) marshall condenser microphone nowadays

out here  :-\, but we are happy with it  ;D ;D ;D ;D
me, myself, and Pie


Re: Microphones
Reply #2 on: March 24, 2018, 01:56:39
@Leonard Scaper

I have a little experience with certain brands, but that's about it. I consider myself still kinda of clueless about the whole thing. I started out with a Shure DMK57-52 Drum Microphone Kit, that and a pair of Mxl 603s for the drums.

Guitar is recorded mainly plugged in know, but I really want a new pair of studio matched overheads. I'm looking at Oktava Mk 012s,  which are Russian and seem very versatile.

I messed around with some Mxl ribbon mics too, and really liked how the recordings came out, but I was soon to buy the Sm7b which I use mainly for vocals. It cost a couple hundred bucks, but was ideal for vocals “apparently”. My bandmate talked me into buying it, and I have mixed feelings about the mic. It's excellent, but I still don't think I'm using it to it's full potential. I run it through a Cl-2 Cloudlifter.

Cloudlifter Mic Activator lets you get the best possible audio output from your low-output dynamic and ribbon microphones. Uses phantom power to give passive mics up to +25dB without passing phantom power on to mic.

Honestly I'm still winging half the stuff I do from the little I know and experimentation. Hoping to get more serious this year and maybe drop a little money on decent recording gear.

Curious about Michael Joly Engineering too, and modding microphones in general.

How do you like the Peluso 22-251 Leonard? Looked it up after you posted, saw that it was a vacuum tube mic. Hell of a sound on that beauty, and a price tag. :p


@Dutchbeat
Nothing wrong with that man :). I still own and use some of the same mic's I started out with.  ::headphone::

~Rich

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.


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Re: Microphones
Reply #3 on: March 24, 2018, 17:33:30
@Dutchbeat .....Marshall is MXL....those are good microphones. Your stuff is not as vocal-centric as some so the finer qualities of a more expensive microphone are not even going to be noticed, right?

@Bluedusksun .......SM7b is a very popular vocal mic indeed. What I have read is that it sometimes needs a lot of EQ in the mix to get it sounding good with some styles. Don't hesitate to get radical with your EQ. You'll find that sweet spot.

I love my Peluso. A few songs ago I splurged even more and bought a new tube for it. I got one of those New Old Stock (NOS) tubes. This little tube was made in 1960 and cost more than most folks spend on an entire microphone. But....it made my $1500 mic sound like a $5000 mic to my old ears. I have actually recorded through a microphone in that price range and the difference is amazing with a luxury range microphone like a Neumann U47.

I hope to hear from other folks.....just stop in and let us know what you are using, even if it is a cell phone microphone.  ;) You see, I have a theory that when it comes right down to it a great song from good talent seriously trumps expensive equipment any day of the week.   8)


Re: Microphones
Reply #4 on: March 24, 2018, 17:55:45
I love this website:
https://www.sweetwater.com/feature/vocal-mic-shootout/

What a great service this company provided to us average folk. You can listen to all the mics.......

I pretty much have the mic for Melissa's voice at this point. It's not all that expensive, just an Avantone CV-12 ....tube mic...worked for Taylor Swift .... works for us ya know?

Then I spend an hour or two listening to all the mics on that website and there are a couple that catch my ear. Some of them are expensive but in the end the CV-12 has the sound that I like.

I'm still experimenting with other mics for instruments such as ukelele, percussion, guitar, etc. Every recording I think I use something different at this point: small diaphragm condensers, large diaphragm condensers, dynamic mics. Most of my mics are considered "entry level" I'd say (not the cheapest but not the big$)

I really want to get a ribbon mic to record saxophone and I'm considering one of those sterling active ribbon mics .....I don't want to spend too much because I'm just not at that level yet. I'm no pro. I record sax with AT3035 I think or AKG 220 LDC's  (I think I got the numbers right.....) but I've been using a standard sm57 by Blue recently if the horns are more of a background thing.
       
Bill
Songwriter, Keyboards, Arranger, Producer & Engineer for November Sound

November Sound is based on the Mother, Father & Son musical trio of Melissa, Bill & Will. I'm the father so anything I post will have my wife singing and/or my son playing percussion.


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Re: Microphones
Reply #5 on: March 24, 2018, 21:50:58
Hey @Bill from November Sound .....that Avantone is considered to be an excellent microphone. I agree about using a ribbon on the sax. Sure does make sense to capture that with a mic that softens the highs like that.

You have done far more research into this than me....I have always just stumbled into things and sometimes I've got lucky.


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Re: Microphones
Reply #6 on: March 25, 2018, 23:16:27
Rode NT1 - 1" Condenser mic for me. (Not the NT1A - still a good mic but I preferred this one)

http://www.rode.com/microphones/nt1

I did quite a bit of research as I had some cash to spend and came up with this choice.

The SMR shock mount is fantastic too. I bought it with the mic (NT1-KIT).

 
"Love and Life is all about connections"


Re: Microphones
Reply #7 on: March 26, 2018, 13:50:56
Rode NT1 - 1" Condenser mic for me. (Not the NT1A - still a good mic but I preferred this one)

http://www.rode.com/microphones/nt1

I did quite a bit of research as I had some cash to spend and came up with this choice.

The SMR shock mount is fantastic too. I bought it with the mic (NT1-KIT).

 


I have a Rode NTI1A... have it a while.. works for me...




Anyway, my skills and understanding are very limited as is my treatment.. Mic works well for me though...


Interesting to hear from those who know more...




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Re: Microphones
Reply #8 on: March 26, 2018, 15:08:00
Great to hear from you guys @MrBouzouki and @Zedd . That Rode microphone is indeed quite popular as a workhorse mic.

Let's hear from more Kitcheneers about how you are recording your voices.

 :) :) :)


Re: Microphones
Reply #9 on: March 26, 2018, 19:01:54
« Last Edit: March 26, 2018, 19:05:23 by Bluedusksun »
@Leonard Scaper

I like the Sm7b, don't get me wrong. I only use it for vocals though, and if I drop a couple bucks I want it to be more versatile I guess. I should start using it for bass recording, since I just started getting more involved with playing and mixing the bass, that and I already have a bass amp. We'll see.

I tend to agree, it doesn't matter how well the microphone records if you have a shitty vocal take. I use the saying polishing a turd quite often.

@Bill from November Sound

Thanks for the link :).

It's always nice to hear sound comparisons and what not, even if I can't hear much of a difference. I also like the Avantone CV-12, first time hearing about that microphone. Seems like a nice investment, would love to try one in the future.

I have a Mxl R144 ribbon mic Bill, it's been a while but I remember liking it. They are fairly cheap, probably snag one up for $60-80. I heard they are a bit touchy sometimes though. I also remember it being pretty low recording signal, hence another reason I bought that couldlifter.

I think the next step is I have to learn the difference in the capsules, and their proper usage. It doesn't seem too difficult a subject, I'm just lazy.

@Zedd @MrBouzouki

You guys might find this interesting if you use the Rode mics.

http://www.oktavamodshop.com/product_info.php?cPath=2_28&products_id=169

They say it's the Neumann U87 alternative. I do have to say I've hear good things about the Rodes mics, and to be honest these modded ones sound F'ing amazing. I think it's actually cheaper to send him the existing mic then to outright purchase one off the man, but from what I have heard and seen around the internet the upgrade is well worth the investment.

I am committed to buying those Oktava Mk-012 studio matched pair, which will be used for drum overheads and acoustic guitar (like things to have a dual purpose). Then later this year I am really considering sending them to Mr. Michael Joly himself for the upgrade, which will turn those Oktava's into Neumann Km84, or so I've read.

~Rich


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Re: Microphones
Reply #10 on: March 26, 2018, 20:27:20
@Bluedusksun ....I had that MXL R144 ribbon mic for a while. I just couldn't get anything out of it that really made me smile. I never tried it on a guitar amp, though.


Re: Microphones
Reply #11 on: March 26, 2018, 20:37:38
« Last Edit: March 26, 2018, 20:39:39 by Bluedusksun »
@Leonard Scaper

 I actually used to use it for vocals. A friend had one, and he got tired of letting me borrow it. I think I paid a hundred bucks for it, it's the flashy white one heh.

The problem is I used to go about recording differently, I use a M-audio mobile pre which has two channels. I got into the habit of just hooking up two different mics and recording both. Then I realized I should just do one at a time on the best mic possible, and then decide how many tracks to use instead of forcing myself to make both tracks complimentary. Once I got the Sm7b my poor ribbon has been in her case ever since. It's actually the mic I'm going to send Ms. Janelle to record on once we figure out the whole shipping mess.

I liked the Peluso 22-251, one just actually sold on ebay for $950. I notice the Avantone CV-12 comes with a nice bundle as well.

Question? I have to ask, what the hell is with the big box. It that the power source? Excuse my ignorance, but I got confused looking this up earlier, and figured you'd have a simple answer for me.

~Rich


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Re: Microphones
Reply #12 on: March 26, 2018, 20:52:19
@Bluedusksun .......... A tube mic needs an external power source to power the tube. The mic connects to the power source through a special 9 pin cable and the XLR mic cable runs from the power source to the pre-amp. The power source unit also controls the polar pattern (9 positions on the 22-251). Those polar patterns can really make a difference. If I want a bit more room in my vocal I can dial the mic a bit toward omni. If I want some proximity effect I can dial it a bit toward figure 8.

The problem with using a big ol' tube mic like that is that it's going to accentuate any room anomalies. Remember that with a Large Diaphragm Condenser mic your are really recording your room with you playing or singing in it. That's why people like your SM7b so much....it doesn't pick up as much room sound.


Re: Microphones
Reply #13 on: March 26, 2018, 21:36:26
« Last Edit: March 26, 2018, 21:38:20 by Bluedusksun »
@Leonard Scaper

Oh that's interesting. See you learn something new everyday. :)

I saw them demonstrate that in a video demo for your Peluso 22-251. I'm starting to understand the different polar patterns applications. I think I'm going to like Omni the best ;).

I really need to learn the different mic setups too. I usually just plug in my guitar and record now I have that decent acoustic/electric, but before that I usually just aimed a mic at the twelfth fret. My old band mate would actually use the Sm7b to record the electric guitars out of his amp. We had pretty decent success with that.

I know that my Sm7b is very popular with podcasters for the very reason you stated above, but never really thought about the difference with the tube mics. I know about phantom power, but I guess I never used a tube mic with a external power source. It's good to know about that for future reference.

I usually record at home with no kind of acoustic setup sadly. I do use one of those reflection screens which seemed to improve the sound quality, but maybe I just convinced myself of that. I learned a little about building a acoustic recording room when I had plans to sort of go down that road in the future, but that sort of fell through.

Besides I heard it can be a nightmare, and once big money gets involved if you do it wrong your fucked. There's a lot to learn about acoustics.

I'm liking this thread, it's interesting and informative at the same time, also I get to know who uses what. :p
~Rich


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Re: Microphones
Reply #14 on: March 26, 2018, 22:57:27
@Bluedusksun .....careful with omni in an untreated room. The mic will be picking up sound from 360 degrees around so lots of untamed room reflections get baked in to your track. The classic tube mics all had three patterns only cardioid, omni and figure 8, so it was all or nothing. With the newer ones like the 22-251 you get 9 different positions so you can shade a click or two toward omni for just a little of the room sound.

Acoustical improvement in a small room like mine...basically the spare bedroom....can be tricky. Too much absorption plastered all over the walls makes for a dead room so a mix of absorption and diffusion is more desirable for a musical sounding room. You can improve a bedroom with a couch and some bookcases for instance. The couch will absorb high frequencies and the books in the book case with scatter the sound waves about nicely. If you have a closet full of clothes...open the door and let those clothes act as absorbers. I hang a comforter on a string that runs across the room at an odd angle to change the shape of the room.

Experimentation is the key. I use movable panels made out of a recycled compressed paper building board called Homasote. I position them in certain ways so that the sound waves get deflected by them. That way those waves don't get to crashing into each other in the room for that nasty ringing sound that you get when you clap your hands in a bad room.

But...I digress......  :)