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A Lynx In Search of Wisemen (HELP!)

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Computer Part Metaphor, Aug 31, 2001.

  1. Hi guys,

    I'm first and foremost a musician, and have been realizing more and more the last year or so how essential sound is. This sounds like an obvious conclusion to draw, but I've been totally immersed in the musical, compositional and theoretic world; not really checking out the world of actual tactile, visceral application and end-resultization of sound recording and mixing. =] So I've been swimming in this sea of knowledge the last 3 months trying to figure out what I should get and what does what, and I'm realizing that if I don't start picking my battles and seeking outside advice from people that know better than I ever will, I'll never get anywhere for the next 8 years. Ok, so two of my questions!

    How do I get the best recording sound out of my vocals? What is the difference between the Neuman U87 Ai and the AKG C414BTLII? I understand that these two mics are of the highest praised vocal (is that right, or just general application) studio mics besides the 10,000 dollar anomalies or special customizations that've been known to exist. I'm not rich by any means, but would be more than willing to save up a couple thousand dollars if I knew that I was getting the best possible sound for my vocals. If it at all helps, my voice has a tamber kind of like Thom Yorke/Jeff Buckley I suppose (less low end though I think; my "soundboard's" only 24 years old) without the late Jeff Buckley's near-perfect control and range. =] I currently am using a shure beta 57a, going through a cheap phantom power adaptor, to a barbetta sonar 32 keyboard amp preamp into the sblive line-in. I also understand that an excellent preamp matters almost as much (or just as much?) as the mic one is using.

    Alright, thanks a lot for just reading all this you guys! =]

    Josh Carlson
  2. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    The 58 is a great start. You can teach yourself a lot of techniques using that one. So what if it's not $10,000? If you put that mic up in front of Jeff Buckley when sounds were still coming out of his mouth, what would it sound like? Jeff Buckley, that's what!

    Sort out your mic pre situation before you start looking for a new mic. You might be pleasantly surprised at the extra mileage you'll get out of the 58.

    It might take you 8 years to get it "right"... don't forget to enjoy each one.

  3. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    It sounds like you're not using a phantom power adapter, but one of those XLR to 1/4" transformers. Phantom power is just required to run condenser mics, which the 57 isn't.

    That aside, you really need to figure out where your sounds are falling short. Also keep in mind that for the next year or so, at least, your recording skills will probably be the limiting factor in sound quality, and that's OK. Knowledge and experience count for more than you can buy.

    Don't worry about mics for a few grand yet- if you're bent on buying something, you may look into a small mixer to use as a better mic preamp, and as a general signal router- I'm thinking Mackie 1202. You may also want to get an inexpensive compressor (RNC from FMR audio springs to mind), as that's another piece of gear it will be worthwhile to learn. Lastly, a decent sound card would probably be in order. That signal chain should last you a good while. Upgrade when you truly think you have reached the technical limits of your gear- this will not be *that* soon.

    That said, I will reiterate that the gear is less important than experimentation, asking questions, and trying out suggestions, at least for a while. Don't be afraid to ask things here, and look back through the old posts for good little tidbits!
  4. Well, those are the kind of things I needed to hear! I just wasn't shure (hoho! =]) about the more affordable mics being able to create a really great recorded sound in a mix; you guys are also confirming something I've read on other posts on this site... basically how essential the engineer is as far as getting a good sound. Thanks a lot for the advice and common sense, guys!

    So, a Mackie 1202-VLZ Jon? It's funny you mention that, because I was using someone's for about a month in my room and I loved it. I've always heard great things about them, the swiss army metaphor and all that =]. Okay, and you mentioned a particular affordable compressor, too. I'll go check that out.

    Ang1970, the vlz preamps are great for the price aren't they? Well, from here it looks like I just need to get this affordable equipment and start experimenting and learning!

    Thanks again. =]
  5. Oh, one more thing. I found out that it's a Shure 87a that I have. It was bought for me years ago, and I assumed it wasn't such a pricy microphone. Well, it looks like I'm fine in that department for now, huh?

  6. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Yup, not bad pre's, especially at that price. And not a bad mic either.

    Remember to "eat" the mic, as the 87a already has proximity compensation built into it. Or you can use this to your advantage if you know in advance you'll be dumping everything from 100Hz down. Think of mic positioning as a very expensive, smooth sounding EQ and ambience effect box you don't have to pay any extra for.

    Now, seeing as we just saved you a buttload of money... ahem... There's this um, donation link up there... cough... lol

    Cheers, :)
  7. heheheh.. thanks Ang; I'll definitely donate to this site.
  8. recordista

    recordista Active Member

    You might also consider something along the lines of the or another with onboard mic preamps as your soundcard replacement.
  9. Thanks a lot for the Aardvark reccomendation, man. I'm looking into it right now, and it may be exactly what I'm looking for. By the way, have you personally used their mic pre's before? If so, what do you think of them? Your opinion may be wasted on someone like me that's such a recording novice, but on the off-chance that it helps me, I'd love to know. Thanks again.
  10. recordista

    recordista Active Member

    No, I just ran across them while searching for the right I/O solution for a mobile rig I'm building. The external box uses an AC wall wart which made it unusable for my application.

    I've heard their sonics are pretty good (compared to other A/D solutions with integrated preamps, not compared to high $$ external mic pres.) I'm looking at a higher-end solution overall but as far a bang for the buck it looks pretty nice.

    They just released their beta NT/Win2k drivers so if you depend on either OS you may have to wait a bit. User comments on their Win98 drivers are generally good.

    BTW if you use Win98 or WinME you might want to take a look at 98lite to help speed it up a bit. I've heard good things about it from several laptop users and one DAW guy.

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