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Importance of a Mic Upgrade?

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by thepooch, May 6, 2004.

  1. thepooch

    thepooch Guest

    We have a home studio of which we record produce our rap music. The Microphone that we use now is a Marshal MXL57 or som'n like that. We got it as a hand me down for free, but I'm trying to convince our group we really need to up grade. We had a singer to come in the studio two weeks ago, and her voice sounded beautiful, but the recording was horrible (and that may be the rest of the equipment's fault also).

    As for now, we need a new mic, that is versitile enough to take on what we give it, and give back what we gave it. I feel like it's time consuming for our producer to try and clean up what the mic has dumped on.

    I was considering a Shure KSM27
    or one of the Studio Projects' Mics. I'll say we're on a $300 budget. Can you list all the importances of why we need to upgrade. I think some of our group may think it's not important right now, but I feel that we'll be way more satisfied with our recordings.

    Second Concern:
    We have a Behringer UB1204 Pro Eurorack 12 Input Mixer

    which I've been hearing alot crap about. I know that the pre-amp on these things are like crap, but what can we do about that. I know it would also affect the sound quallity.

    Please give advice on what we should go with, thanks for any response. Please ask questions if need be.
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    It's hard to say what kind of improvment would be gained by upgrading your mic and mixer. You are correct in your evaluations of the pieces you have now ... but in all honesty I have to say that there are many engineers and producers who could do just fine with it. However, they could in theory, do much better with better mics and pres ... but your results shouldn't be horrible, as you discribe. Something tells me you are not using what you have to its fullest capacity or you are doing something terribly wrong with it.

    On the budget you have at your disposal, I don't think any improvment in your mixer / mic pre can be made but either the Studio Projects or the Shure mic would at least offer different results. It would be in the eye (or in this case, the ear) of the beholder if it would yeild an improvment or not.
  3. thepooch

    thepooch Guest

    Well the $300 budget was really for the mic alone. As for mixer I'll say another $300. And my producer is working well with what we have, and for some reason he's comfortable with it, but I know it'll be much easier if we were working with a real mic, instead of a $50 (retail) studio mic.
    And I understand, it's not what you have but it's how you use it, but you can't drag race a Ford Escort, even though we can't afford a Ferrari, a Mustang should do the job just fine.
    I make beats with Fruity Loops, and alot of people love the beats I've made, because I was determined to get the best out of it. But the best out of it, is still limiting my ability and creativity to make the beat sound how I would like it. The quality of the instruments are poor, but w/ the built in effects, I can make it sound mediocre. But I still know it can totally be better with the right equipment.

    Back to the focus of the topic: Our voices sound a little harsh at times to where our producer has to adjust things just to cover it up, or we have to do the track over and over again. Basically, what I'm saying is I don't think the mic we have is versatile enough for each person's voice. It'll sound real good with one person, and sound real bad with another. And now that we're going to have more people who sing come in and lay a track, we really don't have the time to tweak and adjust all night (though I do know tweaking and adjustments are needed). And being that we have the cash flow now to where it wouldn't hurt our bank to cough up the cash for the equipment, I'm just saying, why not get a new mic.
    As for the mixer, I'm still not sure what a pre-amp does. I just keep hearing people on here saying this sounds horrible, this sounds good, and I probably couldn't tell the dif. if I heard it. But I know with the name brand we have, we can work with it, but would it be that important to upgrade?
  4. sapplegate

    sapplegate Active Member

    Mar 5, 2001

    I really like the Audio Technica AT4047 as a crisp vocal mic. It has a nice presence to it without being harsh, and it works for a lot of vocalists. It's a little outside your stated budget, but not by much, and I think it's a real upgrade to a lot of the cheap condensors.

    Alternately, you might try one of AT's 30-series mics. I've not heard one myself, but have read good press on them. The 3035 is well within your budget.

  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    A different mic will help in that it will give you another choice to go to but no mic is suitable for all voices. Even a multi thousand dollar mic can sound like doo doo on some sources. Audio Technica makes good inexpensive mics as does Studio Projects and ADK. Check those out.

    As far as the Behringer, just about anything would probably make an improvment.


    The least expesive mic pre available that is at all decent is the VTB 1 Mic Preamp . You would need a pair to process your stereo loops though.

    As for your loops, it sounds from your discription as if the quality of your original samples is not that good. Garbage in , garbage out ..
  6. dabmeister music

    dabmeister music Active Member

    Jan 11, 2003
    Woodbridge, Va
    Home Page:
    Pooch, this is a follow up to what Kurt & O.H. Scott were saying. I'd say for the money\cost & performance ratio, you can't go wrong with an AT3035. It's a very good mic. IMO, it's a bit boomy (very little though) in the low mids but that's something I can live with considering I use an AT4033 too. Actually, I like the 3035 more than the 4033. So what I'd do is start a fresh mic collection so you'll have access to different mics for different occassions.
  7. Fab4ever

    Fab4ever Guest

    FWIW, I just sold a couple of Marshall-level mics and bought an AT 4047, with precisely the same hope you have - that I will be able to hear a fairly noticeable difference in my vocals.

    Anyone else out there care to comment on the 4047 for vocals in a folk/rock/pop context?

  8. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    Mar 31, 2002
    All mics are good for something. Get what you can afford and make it work. Any alternative mic to the Marshal you currently have will open up new possibilities. Variety is the key with mics.

    It sounds to me like you've reached a point where your ear is hearing the limits of your gear. Trust your ears. Buy something that sounds good to you. I have mics that cost over $1800 that I think are somewhat limited and others that wer less than $700 that are really great.

    Good luck.

  9. ShellTones

    ShellTones Guest

    For $150 the M-Audio DMP3 is a fairly big improvement over the Behringer pres IMO.
  10. Amen!!

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