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Author Topic:  Room mics
Brett Lanier


From:
Vermont
Post Posted 22 Jan 2017 1:40 pm     Reply with quote

I started recording demos for a few people at my place, I'm looking to get a couple of affordable mics that will take the quality up a little.

Here's what I'm working with right now

SM57 - lead vocals & acoustic (1 mic for both)
Cheap (free) Bayview large diaphragm - drum overhead (also picks up the bass amp)
SM57 - on steel/guitar amp with some isolation
Bass DI -

I'd like to find something better for the vocals/acoustic and drum overhead. The most important thing here is to keep everyone in one room, without headphones so that there's nothing inhibiting communication or anyones comfort level.


Last edited by Brett Lanier on 19 Mar 2017 10:44 am; edited 1 time in total
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Rick Schacter


From:
Portland, Or.
Post Posted 22 Jan 2017 11:08 pm     Reply with quote

The first thing that I'd recommend is putting another mic on the singer/guitar player.
One for the guitar and one for his vocal.
You can reduce bleed through quite a bit by adjusting the mics properly.
You'll need to experiment with that.
BTW, there's nothing wrong with using a 57 to record a vocal track.
If that's the mic that compliments your singers voice, use it.
You can use something like a Cloudlifter and really do a nice recording with that mic.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/CL2Cloud?adpos=1o1&creative=54989553361&device=m&matchtype=&network=g&product_id=CL2Cloud&gclid=CJqkk-nZ19ECFUtNfgodzjUPzQ

Regarding mic suggestions:
What's your budget and how many mics do you want to buy?
For recording drums, I'd try to at least use two mics
One dynamic mic on the kick and one mic for the overhead.
Most people use a condenser for overheads but I've also seen ribbons being used as overheads too.
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Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post Posted 23 Jan 2017 8:32 am     Reply with quote

Depends on what you mean by affordable.

This guys stuff is amazing for the money:

http://www.oktavamod.com/

There are piles of diy companies doing very good work these days.

Whatever you do, do not try out real professional quality studio mics ! They will mess you up and keep you broke and smiling for years.
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Jim Smerk


From:
Ohio, USA
Post Posted 23 Jan 2017 2:57 pm     Reply with quote

I will suggest the mic that I always do, the MXL V67G. Great on vocals, acoustic, drum overheads, and some amp micing duties.

The next best thing I have heard on my voice was a Shure KSM32, a MUCH more expensive mic. Cool
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Brett Lanier


From:
Vermont
Post Posted 23 Jan 2017 8:10 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks guys!

Bob, after looking at Joly's site I realized I've used the Hulk 990 a few times. It was the main demoing mic for a singer I used to play with. Always sounded good to me. My m.o. with recording has been to just do it with whatever I have because of exactly what you said ($$), and I'm well aware of my shortcomings when it comes to music gear. I borrow an API lunchbox whenever I do overdubs from home so I know the difference between good preamps and the hand-me-down interface I'm using. The big problem now is that I'm looking at getting 8 real pre's instead of just 2.

Thanks for the suggestion on the MXL mic Jim. I found the V67G after researching a mic that David Mitchell suggested in another thread; the MXL 2003. I went to the MXL site and it was a little overwhelming how many similar mics they make. Maybe I'll go with one that I have the option of getting modded later.

I'm going to grab a bunch of mics from my friend's studio for the next soiree. I'll probably start with adding an AT 4051 for the acoustic guitar and i know he has a D112 I can use for the kick. After that we'll see where it goes! Last thing I want though is for this to turn into a sterile, lab like scene. This is all about getting songs rolling in the right direction, trying ideas, and documenting them. I've been a part of too many sessions where everyone just nods their heads and tells each other it's great.
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Jim Smerk


From:
Ohio, USA
Post Posted 23 Jan 2017 10:27 pm     Reply with quote

Brett, I have also used the 2003, but IMHO it sounds brittle and hollow beside the V67G.....I know I am biased when it comes to this mic, but it is such a solid mic that I can not help myself! Laughing

The V67G is also a solid mic to mod, with the older ones have a great board to add better caps & such to.

Good Luck in your search! Cool
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 24 Jan 2017 2:12 am     Reply with quote

my two cents, grab a pair of SMALL D mics for overheads, the LD is just too overwhelming. It can pick up the birds outside the window and the mailman down the street.

All of the NET outlets offer some sort of sale on Behringer or CAD SD's mics now and then. Sometimes two for about $50. Inexpensive but easily do the job.

The 57's are great, cannot go wrong with them, ever.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 24 Jan 2017 8:40 am     Reply with quote

Isn't the SM58 more of a vocal mic?
I always thought the SM57 was an instrumental mic.
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Brett Lanier


From:
Vermont
Post Posted 24 Jan 2017 8:53 am     Reply with quote

Yes Erv (cool name),

I have a 58 too but the 57 is a little stronger which allows me to set the mic back a little which sounds better to me in comparison. The 57 having a stronger output could just be my mics. Shure mics can vary a little.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 25 Jan 2017 2:44 am     Reply with quote

Uhmm..57 vs 58...

Same mic ( UNI III design ) but different front grill ,( removable POP filter) supposedly for different applications, so they say.

Someone forgot to tell the world not to use 57's for vocals.

http://soundhub.audio/faq-whats-the-difference-between-the-sm58-and-the-sm57/
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Brett Lanier


From:
Vermont
Post Posted 30 Jan 2017 8:04 am     Reply with quote

I ran another session but this time I was able to borrow a few nicer mics. Here's what I used.

Vocals - TNC ACM 1200 - Was told it's a C12 clone, tube condenser mic, outboard power supply

Acoustic guitar - Audio Technica 4051 - Amazing sounding mic imo, I've borrowed this mic many times for live dobro use.

Drum overhead - Studio Projects C1 - Didn't like it on vocals but it made for a pretty decent drum sound. Cymbals sounded great. I did end up reamping the overhead through a Standel Imperial amp upstairs in the dining room and blending that in for fun.

Kick - AKG D112 - It's a kick mic! No strong opinion on this one...

57 on the guitar/steel amps and a bass di with a vol/treble boost from a Nobels preamp boost pedal.

Considerable improvements were made by using these mics but no night and day difference which I think just highlights the shortcomings of the preamps and converter I'm using (as well as my engineering abilities). The interface is where I'll be spending my money next, if I can find some. Almost too many good options out there though. I'm looking at Metric Halo, UA Apollo, Apogee, and RME.


Last edited by Brett Lanier on 19 Mar 2017 10:45 am; edited 1 time in total
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Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post Posted 30 Jan 2017 12:51 pm     Reply with quote

I am very happy with my RME UCX.

Check out the SPL Crimson.
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Brett Lanier


From:
Vermont
Post Posted 19 Mar 2017 10:59 am     Reply with quote

Things seem to be getting better, a little at a time. Here's a couple demos I did recently. As far as mics go I think I'm just going to let the collection build slowly and get good stuff. I've since picked up a Studio Projects C1 and an SM7. A pair of KM84's is definitely on my radar.

https://soundcloud.com/brettlanier/something-to-leave-best-4

https://soundcloud.com/brettlanier/lesley-portland-street-1/s-abjiI
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post Posted 19 Mar 2017 3:18 pm     Reply with quote

The SM58 and 57 have the same stuff inside. The 58 is better for vocals because the larger windshield keeps the singer's mouth at the ideal distance to avoid bass overload.

The SM81 is a pencil cardioid condenser that works well as an overhead drum mic, but it's about $350

AKG have pulled off a marketing masterstroke! To stop people buying cheap Chinese copies of their C451 (another very good general-purpose pencil cardioid condenser), they make their own cheap Chinese copy called a P170 which still looks expensive. You might consider $90 more affordable and I doubt you'd tell the difference.

Back in the day I used KM84s for classical recordings of pianos and string quartets and such where you need an ultra-smooth sound and low noise. Not being rude, but at the best part of a grand apiece they'd be wasted around guitars and drums.
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Brett Lanier


From:
Vermont
Post Posted 19 Mar 2017 6:21 pm     Reply with quote

I hear that Ian. Same time though I play a lot of music that's very quiet, and a grand for something that will be worth more later on versus a 500 dollar mic that will drop in value. Kind of a toss up.

I'm working towards a mobile recording rig. 16 inputs, a lunchbox of pre's, and a couple outboard compressors for tracking. My thinking is that if I want to make good records with limited gear it should be high quality stuff. I might spend more in the long run if I go with cheaper stuff now. That was definitely the case with my steel guitar equipment.
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Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post Posted 19 Mar 2017 8:28 pm     Reply with quote

Great mics are essential. I ended up getting a pair of km184's and they are pretty amazing. A guy I used to work with who records major orchestras in Boston and NYC told me to buy them with no hesitation. They were a very big step up from what I was using at the time.

What I have done over the years is get a decent mic and then use it on everything until I got a feel for it. Then I would have a different need and get something else.

I started with a 414.

A big turning point for me was getting some Adams speakers. Once I could really hear what as going on I could no longer be happy with a "sounds just like a...." level of mic.
Except for my Lawson mics. That fet47 is killer.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post Posted 20 Mar 2017 4:17 am     Reply with quote

Bob Hoffnar wrote:
I started with a 414.

I wish we all could! Don't get me wrong - I've been distinguishing between demos and commercial recordings, although I suppose nowadays a demo needs to sound more like a finished article than it used to.

Bob Hoffnar also wrote:
A guy I used to work with who records major orchestras in Boston and NYC told me to buy [a pair of km184's] with no hesitation.

That's the kind of application they were built for. I have used them around acoustic guitars, though. If you have just a singer/guitar combo and the guitar is a nice instrument well played, then a pair of 84s (or 184s as they appear to be now) will get lovely detail; for the vocal use your favourite large-diaphragm condenser (maybe in figure-of-8 to help the separation).

It boils down to what you can afford, or more properly what you are willing to invest. On the business side, the more expensive mics hold their value better. On the technical side, when upgrading, start at the source.

[Anecdote coming up - busy readers please skip.

I once had a band on a TV show where the designer and director had decided, against the trend, that they didn't like conspicuous overhead drum mics. I knew from experience that tom mics would pull in the cymbals, although I was more used to minimising that effect than exploiting it. So I told the floor crew to put SM81s on all the toms, and sure enough it worked a treat - tight toms and crystal clear cymbals. The director, who knew a little about recording himself, loved it because the cameras could shoot the drummer, or through the drum kit, from any angle without clutter and he wanted to know why everyone didn't do the same.

After the show I went down to the floor to say farewell to the artists and noticed that the tom mics were in fact KM84s! I asked the crew who said they didn't have enough Shures* to achieve the matching set that they assumed I wanted, so they'd "used those instead". They were cagey about where they'd found them, but this was a large broadcasting complex and they can only have "borrowed" them from the classical music station next door, as the TV service had never owned any.

So, contrary to my earlier remarks, they are not wasted around drums, either! Smile

*In retrospect I believe this to be a white lie - they would have had to take them out of the Fisher booms and put them back again afterwards and I certainly wouldn't have been bothered to do that.]

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Bill Terry


From:
Bastrop, TX
Post Posted 20 Mar 2017 5:34 am     Reply with quote

Ian, glad I wasn't too busy to skip your anecdote.. Smile very interesting.
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James Quillian


From:
San Antonio, Texas, USA
Post Posted 23 Apr 2017 7:30 am     Reply with quote

For $20.00 I am amazed at how well this mic works. The cord that comes with it is useless but the mic itself is extremely sensitive. It sounds about as good as some fairly expensive condenser mics.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/191625327997?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
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Godfrey Arthur


From:
Philippines
Post Posted 20 Jul 2017 11:35 am     Reply with quote

The MXL 603 used to come free with an MXL 2001 large diaphragm condenser from Musician's Friend. But that was like 17 years ago.

These are now $100 each and are sold in pairs for $199 at places like B&H photovideo out of NY:



They look like the KM84.

As unassuming as these condenser freebies were, they are go-to overhead drum mics for FOH engineers like Gordon Mack who used them for a John Legend concert I helped with production.

I use the 603 on Leslie top rotor in my studio. It can handle the sizzle.

The SM81 is another good condenser but as mentioned it's not cheap.

You acquired an SM7, unless you have a preamp that has at least 60db of gain, you will need a Cloudlifter to get proper use out of the SM7("B") I surmise is the model. A good mic for not only DJ work but rock and hip hop.

The SM57 is not only a live mic, its a studio mic as well and you have heard hits with singers using this mic. But mics are like flavors and no one mic is good for every singer. This is reason many studios have mic cabinets.

It's not always the most expensive mic that gets the job done.


Metric Halo if you're talking software makes good Channel Strip.
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Brett Lanier


From:
Vermont
Post Posted 22 Jul 2017 9:56 am     Reply with quote

Thanks for the great suggestions! Been really digging the Metric Halo 2882 I got a little while ago. I love recording and mixing on my friend's analog board, onboard gear, and tape machine but the digital stuff is really sweet for capturing recordings that I'd otherwise not be able to get.

I may just have to pick up a few of those MXL mics before spending real money on other mics. Haven't pulled the trigger on anything big since i have access to a lot of great mics through friends.
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Butch Mullen


From:
North Carolina, USA 28681
Post Posted 24 Jul 2017 3:21 pm     Reply with quote

Sorry to high jack the post. I got one quick question. Can you mic a TV speaker to an amp? Any idea what mic to use? Your thoughts. Thanks
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Butch Mullen


From:
North Carolina, USA 28681
Post Posted 25 Jul 2017 3:17 pm     Reply with quote

Any I deers???
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Jack Stoner


From:
Inverness, Fl
Post Posted 26 Jul 2017 2:41 am     Reply with quote

I hate MXL mic's. They all sound too "trebly" for vocals. I used to have a couple but they are long gone.

For my home studio I'm using an AT2035 which (to me) is a big step up from the MXL's for vocals. I'm doing a song demo session today for an ex-Nashville songwriter and will be using it. The client only wants vocal, "low volume" drums, bass and rhythm guitar on the demo (the song demo is going to someone in Muscle Shoals).

I also have an AT2050 which is basically the same at the 2035 except it has directional or Omni patterns.

I'd love to have some high $$ mic's (or at least one) but can't justify it.

A TV speaker is "lo fi" so just about any mic will work.
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Godfrey Arthur


From:
Philippines
Post Posted 28 Jul 2017 6:37 pm     Reply with quote

Jack Stoner wrote:
I hate MXL mic's. They all sound too "trebly" for vocals. I used to have a couple but they are long gone.


I also have an AT2050 which is basically the same at the 2035 except it has directional or Omni patterns.

I'd love to have some high $$ mic's (or at least one) but can't justify it.



The AT mics are good quality budget mics. I have the AT4033a condenser. But I also have a U87, an M147 tube, and a few other higher priced mics but even the cheap ones come in handy.

When I first got the 603's as giveaways with a cheap condenser MXL large diaphragm you won't be afraid to park in front of a 100 watt Marshall, I thought they were a joke. But if you know how to use them, they work fine and it's uncanny how that happens.

Sometimes lo-fi is what the doctor ordered.
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