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Heres my particulars, any suggestions?

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by Lost in the Mix, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. Lost in the Mix

    Lost in the Mix Active Member

    I am a musician establishing a home recording system to record my music with as much fidelity as my limited funds can muster. My needs are rather specific and I was hoping that, if given that information, those with way more experience in audio engineering than I have might help me to make some wise choices. My own engineering experience is limited to some studio work in LA as a young man at Cherokee and The Record Plant as a second engineer, needless to say I am not young anymore and my nominal engineering skills have not been exercised in quite a while.

    I have my studio in a master bedroom about 15' by 12' with two tall bookcases and a tall wardrobe and a long desk as well as a queen sized bed up against the walls of the room. Popcorn ceiling. Laminate wood flooring with thick 9' by 6' rug.

    The room is right next to the garage and I have run speaker and a mic cable through the wall to reach my guitar cab in the garage to get some isolation for recording. The cab is a 4x12 mesa boogie rectifier connected to a simulclass 290 mesa power amp and triaxis mesa preamp with a TC electronics G-force for signal processing. I will run this into my DAW with an RME Babyface.

    I also sing. I am 5'7" and 135#, no huge chest cavity here thus my range is somewhat limited lacking baritone resonances. Due to my own limitations I have developed a style relying on tone and a breathy articulation over raw power (think peter gabriel or roger waters rather than sammy hagar or ronnie james dio). The guitar work is varied from clean jazz tones to monster crunch. Also will be recording a bass cab (trace elliot) and an acoustic guitar.

    I have a few thousand dollars left and need a mic(s) to handle the instrument/voice duties, a preamp (do NOT need a lot of inputs 1 or 2 is fine), and some near field monitors (preferably sealed enclosures so the bass isn't skewed by porting).

    I have an SM58 already (woohoo).

    Any suggestions on a mic/set of mics/preamp/monitors that would serve this particular project studio would be appreciated. I am worried about the lack of resources, but things are what they are and I have put this off long enough.

  2. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    We'll I'd grab an sm57 which is a a great electric guitar amp mic, and maybe a shure sm81 for acoustic guitar. One area you'll need to look into is acoustic treatment, some fiberglass panels like from ats acoustics, or Gik acoustics, will do wonders and not break the bank. If your reasonably handy u can make you own panels and bass traps.

    There are just so many options available for pres, and monitors, but you might want something really clean like a millennia, and some colorful like a neve or an API. As far as speakers go, Alesis, monitor one are decent, in the lower price brackets.
  3. thewonders

    thewonders Active Member

    If you have a few thousand dollars left for your project and feel that vocalizing is important to you, I'd get a great mic like an AKG 414 - really good vocal mic plus sounds great on acoustic guitar or for distance-micing amp cabs. Some might consider this overkill but if you want good equipment that would be a fine and multi-purpose addition.

    As kmetal indicated, you probably should look at some acoustic treatment as well especially for vocals. And you probably need to narrow down your needs as far as monitors, there are so many to choose from. For example, how big do you want your near-fields... 5", 6", 8", larger?
  4. Lost in the Mix

    Lost in the Mix Active Member

    The AKG414 was actually one of my considerations, I know it comes in a few flavors (eg XLS vs XLII)..do you know what the difference is in practical terms?

    As far as near fields go I don't need huge power. In a general sense (I realize it will vary from model to model), what impact on the sound representation does the speaker size actually have? I assume more power and volume and possibly accuracy to the bass end---does a mix using a larger speaker tend to translate better across play back systems? Ultimately, knowing your speakers and how they translate is more important than getting the perfect representation right out of the box (which wont be possible in my price range), but I will want something that is easy to know (if you know what I mean). I have considered Blue Skys Sat6D with Sat12D woofer.
  5. Lost in the Mix

    Lost in the Mix Active Member

    Some preamps I am considering include the UA 710 Twin-Finity and the Focusrite ISA one. For mics I also have thought about a Royer Labs R121 (a ribbon).
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    don't waste any significant cash on recording.

    you already have an sm58. that will do for most anything you need to record. go on craigslist and look for a cheapo bherringer u22 interface. you can get them for under 30 bucks. while on c/l search out an inexpensive mic pre. download a free copy of studio one or aurdour DAWs. get some M Audio or KRK rokit monitors and you should be set.

    take the cash and invest it in a dogs of the dow type no load fund. you will be old and need it sooner than you think.
  7. Lost in the Mix

    Lost in the Mix Active Member


    My retirement is well taken care of, thanks for your concern.
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    LOL right back .... well then go on a nice vacation ...
  9. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    If your vocal style is more tonal than power, you may want to consider a ribbon mic. 58's are great for rock vocals as they can handle huge SPL's, and because you can use that mic on many different sources - guitar amps, kick drums, snares, etc. But a Ribbon will give you a warmer texture - it's going to be tonally darker than a 414 - but it might be a good choice to have in your arsenal if you have $1000 or so laying around or burning a hole in your pocket. ;)

    The differences between the 414 models are pretty much just slight variations in the top end, the presence frequencies. I wouldn't let that deter you, as none of them are that dramatic, certainly nothing a bit of EQ can't handle. I like the 414, I have an older EB model and it's one of my favorite go-to's on my own voice. It's also a great mic to use in a room to catch the ambiance of guitar cabs and drums. You can also use it on acoustic guitar, flutes, horns, violins, cellos... there's very little - if anything - that you can't use a 414 for...

    You could probably pick up a matched pair of 414's brand new for around $1900, give or take - and that would open up some cool sonic doors for you in terms of stereo miking... and because they have Fig 8 patterns, ( along with cardioid, hyper, omni) you could do some nice stuff with M-S / Blumlein miking as well. Drum overheads, stereo vocal ensemble, etc. would be doable, if you wanted.

    Still, I would at least consider looking at a decent Ribbon. It would add a texture choice to your locker that the other mics mentioned don't have. While I've used classic ribbons many times in the studio, I don't personally own one, and there have been many newer models released in the last few years, so you would want to talk to our other members here that do own them in terms of specific models, if that's a choice you are going to consider.

    It should also be mentioned that Ribbons are traditionally very low output mics, so if you don't currently have one, you would also need a pre amp that would be able to handle a ribbon in terms of level.
  10. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    If ur gonna get some pres, get some. Neve millennia, API, Brent Averill, Manley,. You will hear the diffs. I contend that a decent pre cost a grand. But the dramatic diffs happen on the EQ phase. Like once u match a mic/pre to source, it's cool. But then the thing is EQ, and compression. I dunno a neve thru an 1176 is classic.
  11. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Huge fan of the 414. Own xls, use/prefer more often, the uls
  12. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    The 414 has become as standard in the condenser mic world as the 58 has for dynamics. There's very little you can't do with a 414; it's great on vocals, drum overheads, capturing room ambiance for guitar amps, flutes, violins, cellos, horns, acoustic guitars, mandolin... I contend that every mic locker should have at least one 414. I have two, one is a newer ULS model, and the other one is older, it's an EB model from around 1980 or so, and it has been a fantastic mic. But the newer ones are great too, the only difference between the models is the top end/presence hype, and it's nothing that you can't tame (or boost) with a little EQ.

    I also own a Neumann U87 and a U89i, and they are both great mics, but 9 times out of 10, at least on my own voice, I reach for the 414EB first. It's warm and silky, no harsh or brittle characteristics. It should also be mentioned that I'm not running it through any kind of high dollar pre either. I'm using a Tascam 1641 USB audio I/O. Certainly not considered to be a top of the line unit, and the 414 still sounds great. ;)

    The only reason I suggested at least looking at a Ribbon is because it's such a different texture than that of a good condenser. It would give you a very nice choice if you were looking at certain vocal performances. They are very warm, somewhat dark sounding, but there's a wonderful silkiness to Ribbon mics (I should say "good" ribbon mics. I have no idea how the newer low cost ribbons sound.) I had the opportunity to track a lead vocal last year with a Royer and it was the perfect choice for the song I was working on at the time. Very little was done to the track afterwards, no dramatic EQ, very little compression... it was very "silky" sounding on the top end. It had a kind of "smear" that made the vocal sit into the tracks perfectly.

    Mics are like any other kind of audio recording gear... generally, you're gonna get what you pay for.
  13. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I'm with Donny.

    I actually had a pair of AKG, 414 P-48 EB's. Back in 1983, I swapped them for a new pair of the 414 B-ULS's. Which actually worked out better over a broader spectrum of source material. They were flatter without that presence bump. It's output transformer unlike the later TL series, plays nice with digital. Going 100% transformer less... I don't know? Not for me. So transparent that the sound feels like my gray matter is leaking out my ear canals? Which is why I always go for the Transformers. That electronics may have been cool back in the days of analog tape. When ya needed things to cut through. Today the clarity of digital generally leaves me cold. Oh sure it sounds great. Not like the mush from analog tape, no doubt about that. Where you needed that ultraclean electronics that my buddy George so expertly popularized. And then you had to deal with Dolby A, eh... ya know? Thank God this other guy screwed up his own wiring and came up with APHEX, which played well with Dolby A. To uncompensated, that which has already been compensated for and to, for other reasons. Which is beyond the Scope... of my mouthwash. In a cavity induced rock 'n roll coma. I'm just saying...

    I think the pollen is getting to me? I love Benadryl. And ya get to choose between pink and blue. I feel pretty in pink.
    Mx. Remy Ann David

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