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How far can $620 go?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by lathqe, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. lathqe

    lathqe Guest

    I'm new here and have taken my time to read many posts before asking my question.
    I have done plenty of live sound over the years, but don't know much about recording. I'm wanting to record myself and some friends - mostly acoustic / folk-rock / celtic, but one guy likes to do electronic and I figure he'll be in the "studio" (if it ever earns that name) at some point.
    I have cubase "lite" for windoze, but mostly enjoy Ardour/Linux audio.
    I use a Presonus Firepod, and was just given a little Presonus tubepre.
    Unfortunately I have to mix on headphones (Sennheiser HD-280's). I can't control that one yet. Maybe someday.

    Enough background: my question is this: with a budget of $620 what would be the best mic setup I can get (I've been borrowing until now).
    My thoughts were:
    Shure SM57 - $85.00
    Studio Projects B1 - $120.00
    Which leaves $415 for a.... what? Fill in the blank. AT4033? ADK Vienna? Blue Baby Bottle?

    These will most commonly be used on Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, and Violin (celtic fiddle, actually). I'm not married to the first two mics, they just seem to get a lot of hype as bang-for-buck.

  2. lathqe

    lathqe Guest

    I suppose I should clarify. My question is not strictly "which of these mics is available for this price point?" - I can figure that much out by spending an hour on ebay :)

    My question is more of the "what is the combination of mics that will give me the best start-up home studio?" ie: would it be redundant to get a 4033 if I get a B1? Are they covering the same function? That's more the type of question I don't know the answer to. Everyone seems to think that it's important to have an SM57 hanging around, so I think I'll still go with that, but is the remaining money better spent on a couple different mics or a matched set of ADK Vienna's? What do all of you smart people in this forum think?
  3. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Distinguished Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    South Florida
    Home Page:
    I was just looking at this this weekend. I have a 4040 and like it and was thinking of getting another. This package seems like it would fit nicely into what you are looking for.
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    I pondered this for quite a while before answering. You have obviously done your homework and have an idea about what you want to see sitting on the stands in your room.

    I think about it like this when choosing a mic for a use......... What are the characteristics of the instrument or voice I'll be using it on primarily? What does the mic exhibit in its polar pattern and its frequency response?

    To simplify.......Using a mic that is strident in the upper frequencies and slow to respond to low-mids is going to make any instrument that plays counter melody in an arrangement kinda blurry and muddy while having a nasty kind of treble to it. Bowed instruments have little subtle (sometimes not so subtle) harmonics going all the time and depending on the skills of the player, these can get very dicey with sensitive mics pointed at them. Those who know, know all about 'wolfing'.......

    Strummed acoustic instruments are ripe with 'hot spots' throughout the physical construction of the instrument. They sort of beg for a Small Diaphram mic to either accent these hot spots or eliminate them from the fray entirely.

    Vocals are yet another entirely different set of parameters to deal with, and have caused a great deal of baldness and teeth gnashing amoungst audio engineers for quite a while now.

    While I really like your choices....I LOVE the Viennas and a matched pair goes a long way to dealing with most anything audio, I also LOVE the 4033....NOBODY'S getting mine!!!!... but we have a long history and its not a real 'forgiving' kind of mic until you learn its nuances. The 57 is a no-brainer, though I dont know what you'd be using it on. But it is only $75 new and whattheheck.........

    Programs' post was interesting as the package he was pointing out contains TWO very very good mics at a very good price, and the aspect of an LDC as well as an SDC is very interesting as well as leaving you enough to buy both a 57 AND a 58.

    My only thought on the 4040 is it might be too bright for the kind of fiddle you'll be recording. And I could be wrong.........hearing is believing.

    Okay..... I have decided. The pair of Viennas' is going to do all you could ever want with your rig. Buy a 58 not a 57 and have a dynamic vocal mic just in case.

    Or, you COULD find a Shure KSM32, a Heil PR40 and call it good.

    Nope this IS a dilemma.........
  5. davidonut

    davidonut Guest

    Is there honestly such a thing as a terrible mic in that price range? I mean, now a days there's so many mikes to choose from, it'd be impossible to find out which would make the best combination. I know this isn't very helpful, but trial and error is the only way I guess. And if you have faith in your fellow human beings, try finding user reviews for different mikes and going on the average. (Not fail-proof, but it's something)
  6. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL
    The answer to this is dependent on the source you're looking to point it at.
    A mic that's terrible on a sax may be perfectly suited for your voice, and vice versa (which is exactly what Dave said...).

    This is the very reason why most of us do not "trade in" one mic for another. The more mics you hang onto, the more choices you have.
    It kills me when folks post here that they want to sell their (insert mic here) so they can buy (insert another mic here).

    The hardest part when you're just starting out is selecting your first collection of mics - this is why most of us suggest the basics (57, 58, 421, etc.) and avoid talk of the boutiques.

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