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did i waste my money?

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by nunieboy, Apr 29, 2010.

  1. nunieboy

    nunieboy Guest

    Hi. Im actually new to recording.org
    this is my first official post and i am completely new to recording but i do have some gear and i enjoy it extremely. its just a hobby.
    i bought the mxl 990/991 combo and the shure pg42 condenser mic.
    i was wondering if i wasted my money on it, or ist good enough to get decent sound out of it..
    i've been tryin to record my friends and i but it just sounds.. so fake.. like not natural at all and im scared its the mic
    any advice would be of great use=D
  2. llatht

    llatht Active Member

    What instruments are recording? Are you using an audio interface that was made for recording to get into the computer, or is it like a soundblaster card or something to that effect?

    Well, I guess that was a stupid question from me, because you couldn't power those condensers with a soundblaster card..... Just keep in mind that like anything else, the more you do it the better you get at it. I've never used the mics you're speaking of, but I'd be willing to bet you can get usable results with the right techniques. It just takes time. There are many good books you can invest in that will help you learn. Also, I'm sure you could find lots of good tutorial video's on youtube (I've never looked, but I'm sure they're on there..lol).

    -What else do you have to work with besides those mics?

    - If I were to recommend a 1st mic for anyone to obtain. It would be a good dynamic, like a Shure sm57, or an Audix i5. Either one will set you back about $100, brand new.
  3. nunieboy

    nunieboy Guest

    well here's my set up

    m-audio fast track pro interface
    pv6 mixer
    mxl 990/991
    Shure pg42

    i wanna record me and my friends, but i want it good enough to be put on a cd and ppl would actually want to listen to it... (yes i know if garbage goes in garbage goes out, me and my friends are not THAT bad)
    i just want that clarity, the sound that i hear, or even studio quality...
  4. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    As a (newly) previous owner of a pair of 990s, I can say that usable tracks are achievable.
    But it's not a good mic.

    Three points to take away:

    1. What are you recording, and how? Most important to give any concrete advice.

    2. You're putting too much emphasis on a condenser.
    Yes, all the big artists use them (though not necessarily on the sources you think), but they are using $2000 mics into $2000 preamps.
    Point being, condensers do their own thing.
    Unfortunately, the ones that do it well typically cost much more than a dynamic or a cheap chinese condenser.

    3. You've probably wasted your money in the long run - unless you make the most of it and learn mic placement techniques and gain staging while using those mics, like llthat implied.
    Use them to develop your skills, then get a few more 57s, a couple 58s, and a nice $300+ condenser mic or two.
    At which point you'll be sitting pretty.
  5. planet10

    planet10 Active Member

    the cool thing about having crap gear is that you will learn fast on how to make the most of what you got...for me my first home thing was a teac 4 track cassette. (mind you , at this point i have been exposed and worked in large LA studios). the teac made recording hard but i had to apply my teachings to the principle of the product i was using and compensate for its short comings.
    all mics have their place, i have 5000.00 mics and 99.00 mics and i use them in sessions all the time.
    you have to get to know your gear, see what it does and doesnt, how far you can push it before it collapses. this in of itself will make you a better engineer because i know alot of guys that can use a 4 track cassette to this day and make it sound good.
    keep on recording and learning from your mistakes and if this is what you want to do for a living i HIGHLY suggest getting a formal education at a commercial studio as an intern and move your way up in the food chain of the studio to get to engineer one day.
    at this point in time, dont charge anyone for recording them, your doing a dis-service to them and you.
    in this business its all about reputation.
  6. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    I started out a few years ago just like you. I was just jamming with some friends in my basement and wanted to put something down that people could listen to and get something out of it. Take it from me, return the MXL and PG48 and grab yourself an SM57, an SM58 and get working on USING them to your best advantage. There is a lot of technique to be learned here so once you learn it your recordings will come out much better. That mixer doesn't have recording capabilities and it doesn't have digital outs. You're not going to want to hear this, but it bears saying. That mixer is no more than a volume control for your mics and isn't really doing anything for you. Sell it all and use the money on the aforementioned mics and use them with your M-Audio. Are you using quality XLR cables? You don't want to have nice mics and then screw up your sound by using cheap cables.

    You have sinned, but you have come to the right place for penance. Now go forth my child, and do good unto others.
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Here is one of the things I absolutely believe in doing. I believe in cutting vocals, through a decent preamp, then into a hardware limiter/compressor before I cut the track. Lots of people have mixed feelings about this method. But I wholeheartedly believe in it. While setting levels, you play with your limiting and/or compression. When the vocal starts to sit right, you'll know it. You won't want to undo it so don't worry. If you really want to, split the preamp output, record the preamp output and have the preamp also feeding the compressor and record that also to a separate track. These can be used together in a composited manner to provide a consistency with greater guts, balls. All that. Since part of the art of recording is in envisioning the final product I like to build my mixes as I record. You might even consider two different microphones and two separate tracks for the same vocal. This can provide for different timbre as the phrasing changes. This of course would be manipulated through the mix to stereo mix down. I don't like too broad of a dynamic range it becomes difficult to listen to comfortably. We're not talking explosions or car crashes, gunfire nor science fiction soundtracks. We are talking music here.

    Try it you'll like it
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  8. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member


    Thread is about budget gear?
  9. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    It's in the microphone forum, perhaps it should be in budget gear. Me personally I don't care where she posts I always learn something from her take on whatever she writes about.
  10. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Couldn't agree more w/ both Ms. Remy and jg49.

    I too have been terrified of "printing" compression/limiting to any track.
    What goes in, you're stuck with, and compression >is< destructive.

    And all of Remy's suggestions are completely w/in budget -
    If you don't have a decent comp/lim, the dbx166 series is a good place to start for a couple of hundred dollars. Two nice channels.
    Play w/ it before you do anything permanent, but you'll quickly see the value, esp. for vox.

    Regarding the two mic technique:

    I have used this many times myself, w/ varying degrees of success.
    You need the right pair of mics for the vocalist.
    Anyways, I often used a dynamic (58, 835) and a condenser, & placed to get the tones I wanted from each.
    Keep the diaphragms of the mics as close together as possible, but otherwise play w/ positioning.

    The more I do this, the more I understand that's what it's all about.

    Measure twice, cut once.
  11. planet10

    planet10 Active Member

    printing with compression is a must in some situatuations such as vocals, bass and acoustic guitars. im only talking LIGHT compression unless your looking for an effect from the comp/lim. for me putting a bit of compression on the vocals allows me a better mix down when working the fader, my fader moves dont have to be that extreme as the inserted compressor on the mix track really has a chance to work the vocal well with a bit less chance of ****ing up the track, therefore allowing you to have a nice final mix of that vocal. i use it to allow me the sound of the compressor with less ratio and threshold applied to it , am i explaining my self correctly??

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