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Old 02-06-2012, 05:47 PM   #1
drewnewton1995
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Condensor Mics

Just wondering if anyone had any suggestions on a good condensor mic i could use to record vocals and guitar?
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Old 02-06-2012, 07:54 PM   #2
Seafroggys
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Neumann U67 is pretty good.
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Old 02-06-2012, 11:20 PM   #3
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I have 2 AT2020's and love em, especially for the price.
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Old 02-07-2012, 03:47 AM   #4
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Really?
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Old 02-07-2012, 06:18 AM   #5
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Neumann U67 is pretty good.
Bet you've never been near one.
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:27 AM   #6
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Bet you've never been near one.
Accusation! Scandalous!

But it's an interesting point to consider: I'm at the point now where I'm basically 5 years removed from using any microphone that wasn't in my personal mic locker (to be fair, I have a pretty good personal mic locker).

Obviously it's going to boil down to needs/budget, but here's a quick run-down of what's in my inventory, vis-a-vi condensers:

MXL 990: It's pretty cheap (though not as much as it used to be), and actually can be a very nice sounding mic on the right voice/instrument. One of my favorite guitar takes I've ever done only used a pair of 990s. However, it does have some issues with self-noise compared to higher-end models and I'm finding I use it less and less now that I've expanded to more versatile mics. However, I do have 4 of these, and I have no intent to get rid of them (they're worth more to me than I could get for them used).

MXL V63M: Also pretty cheap, though this one I only have because it came with an interface I bought a few years ago. The V63M has always sounded more "harsh" than anything else to my ears, and while that can be an interesting quality, I haven't used it for anything that ended up getting kept on record. I don't really recommend this one, but like the 990's it's not worth enough on the used market to warrant me selling it.

AKG C430: Small diaphragm condenser, which is a style I've always liked for drum overheads and acoustic guitar sounds because transient response. The C430 is a pretty good choice because it has a strong high-end, so if you are looking for a very bright guitar sound, this is a strong option.

Shure PG81: Another small diaphragm model, I've had these a long time and they've gotten a lot of different uses. The PG81 is a little bit mid-rangey, which is a nice flavor for pronounced speech frequencies, though it's not the most "transparent" mic in my locker.

R0DE NT5/Shure SM81: I've got a pair of each of these, and honestly I find them to be different flavors that are good for the same uses. I might be inclined to use the NT5's more for reed instruments than the SM81's, and conversely tend to prefer the SM81's for "group" or "room" mic configurations. I've tossed both on guitar amps, but will normally default to dynamics for that (mostly because I don't do a lot of work and don't get a whole lot of time to experiment on this kind of stuff when I do).

R0DE NT2000: Great bright-sounding microphone. I've used it with good results on a lot of different sources, including a wide range of vocal styles and generally it does quite well. It can be a little bit harsh for alto/soprano range singers if they're kind of aggressive, but generally a few extra inches of distance and a pop filter evens that out.

AKG C414 XLS: I'm very biased towards this mic, because in my mind it is the closest thing to "transparent" that I'm ever going to have in my locker (I did have some experience with the 1000-series of DPA's that I consider even more transparent, but I can't reasonably foresee myself plunking down the cash for those, even used). It's pretty close to a cure-all mic so far as I'm concerned, though it does have a bit of wonkiness on certain ranges for pianos, and it can be brutal up-close for breathy sounds (I've found it ill-suited for spot miking reed instruments like clarinet, even in the low registers). However, if you've got the budget to pick up 1-2 of these, I generally recommend it.

Lastly, if you're not married to the idea of a condenser on this, I also really like the Electro-Voice RE-20 and Sennheiser MD421 and consider them very close to "catchall" solutions also.

The RE-20 in particular does a great job on signals with lots of low-end energy while still sounding very natural, and since I've gotten it I have noticed I've found a place to use it on basically every project I've worked on. In particular, it does a great job for heavy male rock vocals. The 421 is a good mic for dealing with lots of low-mid energy (one of the reasons it's a "standard" in pro facilities on rock toms), and also does pretty well on most male rock voices.
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Old 02-07-2012, 10:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrumIntoTheNight View Post
Bet you've never been near one.
No Been around lots of U87s though, but everybody has them.

To give an honest answer, my two main condensers are my pair of Rode NT2-a's ($400 appx.) and my AT4047 ($750, although I picked mine on ebay for $350).

I use the NT2-a's for drum overheads, and have used them on piano and acoustic guitar. The 4047 I use on vocals and bass drums and bass cabs. The 4047 is warmer and meshes a lot better, which is great for lead vocals. For glassier vocals, I may use the NT2a.
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Old 02-10-2012, 07:23 AM   #8
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No Been around lots of U87s though, but everybody has them.
They're a bit less bland than an 87, similar detail but more coloured upper mids and a gorgeous high end. Lovely mics. If you get the chance to play with one, jump on it.
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Old 02-10-2012, 11:43 PM   #9
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Yeah I've always heard from many guys that the U67 is like the gold standard of mics, especially vocal mics. They tend to go for $6000 a pop, not to mention the cost of replacement transformers and tubes.
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Old 02-11-2012, 07:45 PM   #10
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Instead of breaking the bank, try a Karma prophecy. Imo sounds better than Neuman U87 which is expensive and totally over rated. Specs are almost identical
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Old 02-12-2012, 07:55 AM   #11
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That'll be because the Prophecy has a hyped frequency response. Which is the exact opposite of why the U87 is a classic - it takes EQ perfectly and always mixes beautifully.
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:28 PM   #12
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To add on to that, another reason why expensive mics are always a good investment....is that they work on almost any source. You can stick a U87 in front of anything and it'll sound good.
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Old 02-13-2012, 08:10 AM   #13
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I think it's slightly more correct to say "you can stick a U87 in front of anything and it won't sound bad."

A few years ago I was playing saxophone into a U87. I sounded okay, but just okay. Maybe the placement was bad, maybe the performance was bad. One thing that was tough (and I've had other, better sax players with recording experience confirm this to me) is that pad noise and valve clicks are kind of the sweet spot on the U87. If you're going for "warm" you can do better, and if you're going for "bright" other mics have good high-end without a sensitivity spot right in the "player noise" range.

Definitely a good mic, but I wouldn't say there's really such a thing as a mic that sounds good on absolutely everything.
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:10 PM   #14
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Let me put it this way. A cheaper mic may sound absolutly killer on one thing, but is meh on everything else. With mics like a U87, you can place it in front of an instrument and know the result you will get. Sure, it may not be the best mic for that instrument, but it'll work, and work well.
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Old 02-14-2012, 02:18 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moseph View Post
I think it's slightly more correct to say "you can stick a U87 in front of anything and it won't sound bad."

A few years ago I was playing saxophone into a U87. I sounded okay, but just okay. Maybe the placement was bad, maybe the performance was bad. One thing that was tough (and I've had other, better sax players with recording experience confirm this to me) is that pad noise and valve clicks are kind of the sweet spot on the U87. If you're going for "warm" you can do better, and if you're going for "bright" other mics have good high-end without a sensitivity spot right in the "player noise" range.

Definitely a good mic, but I wouldn't say there's really such a thing as a mic that sounds good on absolutely everything.
I'd never use an 87 for brass myself. Always a 4038 or AEA/RCA. 87 is too harsh and has too much self noise.
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Old 02-14-2012, 07:57 AM   #16
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With mics like a U87, you can place it in front of an instrument and know the result you will get. Sure, it may not be the best mic for that instrument, but it'll work, and work okay or better.
This is what I would say instead. We can agree to disagree on this point, though: it's not particularly important.



Quote:
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I'd never use an 87 for brass myself. Always a 4038 or AEA/RCA. 87 is too harsh and has too much self noise.
Hey buddy, saxophones are reed instruments!

(But it's a common issue of contention. In my case, I was playing through a plastic mouthpiece, with a loose embouchure: it had more reed qualities than horn qualities for that take, IMO).
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:39 AM   #17
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Ahaaa got me there. I am definitely more engineer than musician
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Old 02-14-2012, 11:51 AM   #18
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Don't worry too much about it. I was being jocular. Like I parenthetically wrote, saxophones are sometimes treated as brass, though usually considered reed instruments.

A lot of it has to do with the orchestration/style (they tend to be considered reeds in jazz, brass in marching bands, etc.) and also the type of saxophone (lower-register baritone saxophones tend to be part of the low brass section in most styles, soprano saxes are basically always lumped in with woodwinds since they're very similar-sounding to English horns).
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:33 PM   #19
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yeah I agree with what was said earlier, the MXL 990 has been a good mic for vocals and it is not expensive. Otherwise, I would try a ribbon mic for vocals unless you are recording metal, punk, or something of that nature.

By the way I have a Shure Drum Mic kit for sale, It includes 3 sm57's and one Beta 52A kick drum mic for 300. Case and all manuals included. They are like new and only used once - Band broke up

Well, Im in Kern County, Ca.
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