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Microphone Help

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by JamesFaust, Sep 26, 2009.

  1. JamesFaust

    JamesFaust Guest

    I'm currently in the market for large diaphragm condenser... my budget is about 1k although i don't want to spend what i don't have to. I've been looking at the Shure KSM44 and it seems to be the a good choice. Is there any other one's I should look at. I'm planning on going in and testing them in the next week and i want to know what my options are. Please let me know I'm using it primarily for Vocal recording although it would be nice to have something that worked well for acoustic as well.

    ~ J Faust
  2. apstrong

    apstrong Active Member

    You may also wish to try a large diaphragm dynamic, like the Heil PR30 or PR40. Considerably less money, less fragile than a condensor too, and can do a very good job on vocals, depending on the vocalist I'm told, but also good for things like kick and bass (pr40), acoustic guitar (both) and a wide range of other acoustic instruments. I have the 40, and I'm experimenting with it this week so I can't say too much about it yet, but if you're going in to test mics, give them a shot, nothing to lose.
  3. rockstardave

    rockstardave Active Member

    thats terrible advice.
  4. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    "Terrible advice"...a PR-40 or PR-30...really???
    Nobody here (so far) has qualified the situation. First off, is this mic going to be used in a live environment or in a recording rig? If it's a live scenario of any type, I'd skip the LDC route altogether (but what do I know, I used a pair of KSM27's on a nice Kawai grand last night at a jazz recital...). What "acoustic" sources are we talking about, anyway?
    If it's in a recording environment, LDC's are nice IF the room is decent. Otherwise, the off-axis pick-up of a sensitive mic like that is going to make all of the sources sound like CRAP because it will pick up the bad reflections of the room. Keep in mind that the multiple patterns on the KSM44 will aggravate this (and the 44 IS a very nice mic, just not appropriate in a bedroom or garage studio type of environment).
    For acoustic instruments like guitars,mandolins, upright piano, etc., check out an SDC like a Shure SM81, a Rode NT55, or an A-T AT4041. SDC's have much less off axis coloration, which comes in handy in a less-than-friendly room, and they provide greater detail to the sound of the instrument. If the acoustic instrument(s) are something else (like horns, bagpipes, upright bass, blah-blah-blah), let us know, there are better choices for those.
    For vocals, will this be for a male or female...or both? I have a pair each of the PR-40 and PR-30 (plus a PR-35). PR-40's are great on a deep male voice (and kick drum, as was previously mentioned), but not on a delicate, breathy female's voice. Both the PR-30 and the PR-35 are good on a reasonably strong vocal, either gender. The E-V RE-20 (or RE-27, which is a tad brighter and more sensitive) is a great vocal (or anything else) mic because it has a very tight pattern (minimizes the room). It also has no proximity effect, this may or may not help you. Some vocalists need that bass fattening when they get close-up, some don't.
    If you are dealing with a breathy chick jazz singer (think Diana Krall), and you want detail without the room, then a Shure Beta 87. If you're a metalhead with leather lungs, the Shure SM7 is a better choice.
    Have I confused you enough? GOOD :lol:
    Give us some more info, OK? Peace.
  5. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Studio Projects, Mojave Audio
  6. apstrong

    apstrong Active Member

    "Go light your pants on fire" is terrible advice. "Put your tongue on that wire to see if it's live" is terrible advice. All I did was suggest he try something different and see what happens. At no cost. I'm fairly sure that trying something a little different without actually spending any money isn't really that terrible, but I could be wrong. After all, that's how the first guy who ate a handful of bees got into so much trouble.

    ps. Don't light your pants on fire. Or eat bees.
  7. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I meant to add this. When you go in to do the testing, don't get fooled by what mic is "louder" or "brighter" on your voice. Try to go into an area that is quiet. You want to hear the residual noise of the mic. If the store is a GC, have them set you up in the glassed-in control room they have. Use a pair of headphones you can trust (Sennheiser HD280, Sony MDR's, etc). Listen to how much of the equipment noise in the room the mic picks up. Compare that.
    Take a ring of house/car keys with you. Ones that jingle-jangle a LOT. Rattle them at the mic- the front, the sides, the back- of the mic (if the mic is multi-pattern, put it in cardioid). Listen carefully to the changes in TONE of the jingling. If the jingling becomes noticeably duller as you move the keys to the sides/back of the mic (it should get less loud, that's ALL), that can indicate poor off axis response. Not good in a "normal" (read:untreated) room.
    Finally, ask them what their return policy is ON MICROPHONES. In many states, there are "health laws" that the dealer will cite to refuse returning a mic. Kind of BS, but be forewarned...
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    As always....sage advice from another 'Olde Guy'....Moon is so right on about this.

    Ambiguity in describing your situation leads to this sort of generalization about which is best.....or not....

    At a grand, you have a LOT of choices. If you're going to guitarmart, then realize that there are different markups on different manufacturers and the sales guys commissions will vary accordingly.

    This doesnt mean you'll get 'bad' advice....just be aware if you're suddenly being 'steered' towards a particular brand.

    If you are equipping a project studio and you will be using this mic as your centerfold vocal mic, you need to find a mic that is as neutral in character as possible. Also one that isnt prone to enhancing any untreated areas.

    Perhaps the Shure KSM44 is the PERFECT mic for you. Certainly they are a high quality and very neutral sounding mic. I love them personally. If you have an untreated area perhaps a reflection filter is in order. I tried one and its really quite okay. I think they pinch the sound a bit but they certainly give you control over room nodes in an untreated area especially for intimate vocals or acoustic guitars.

    If this mic is ONLY for your voice then you need to try ALL the mics you can get your face close to.

    You'll be surprised at what sounds 'best' for you.

    And as to the Heil mics.........they are very very good and perfectly described by my compadre earlier. The PR40 may be the best LD dynamic on the market....certainly ONE of the best and a tool that stands up to any of the most popular. AND the advice on a LD dynamic in place of a condenser for a specific voice is gold. Until you do your mushmouth shoutin on one, be it a Heil, Shure, EV, or whatever, you cant really understand what they bring to this scene. Usually a type of solid presence that a condenser just wont do. And a lot less fuss.
  9. rockstardave

    rockstardave Active Member

    whatever. i'm just trying to help the guy avoid poor advice.
  10. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    RSDave.....it isnt poor advice at all to recommendsomething that works as well as the aforementioned mics.

    And Moon is a pro and USES his gear a lot. So, it is sound advice. I could tell the OP that the ONLY mic to try is____________(insert anything) but THAT would be poor advice due to the constraints of the OP's actual needs and usage may not be something I or anyone else is familiar with.

    So this isnt meant to harsh yer gig, but its also not something you need to assume that such advice is good, better, or worse.

    And besides, I dont see any of your suggestions put forth....just a slam at someone elses desire to help in a good way.

    Ya got a suggestion? Batter up.
  11. JamesFaust

    JamesFaust Guest

    Ok to be more specific It's for a male tenor voice for studio work only. Room sound will not be a problem
  12. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    The studio I used to work for had a frequent male tenor who sounded just lovely through a Tube Condenser, can't think of the make or model though... But at 1k I don't think there any Tube Condensers that will knock your socks off, I am thinking about 4-5k for a great one. You could get away with a ribbon or double ribbon mic.
  13. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Tube.....ADK Area51 TT.....Audio Technica 4060.....Rode K2.....These can all be found for under a grand if you are diligent. They are all very good mics. There are others, but these I have heard or tracked with.

    Theres a lot of fet based LD condensers right now. A bunch under a grand and a lot under 500. Hearing is believing though and you should try out as many as possible.

    I will say that the ADK is phenomenal. I like it as much on most sources as my early 80's U87. Of course its a different sounding mic but the intimacy and depth you get from it is far more complete than the price would indicate. Continous pattern selection lets you dial it in for you needs. As an acoustic instrument mic it may be my favorite...slightly less than the KM84 SD. But it has that old German voicing in its character. Its not bright and spitty like some newer mics...its not that dark either....the highs are controlled and prescent not overbearing.
  14. jackthomas

    jackthomas Guest

    need to know

    Whenever I use either the integrated microphone or an external microphone with my dv9005us laptop the audio is low and almost completely drowned out by static/hiss. I've gone through all the usual solutions (uninstalled/updated drivers, searched online knowledge base solutions, Google, etc.) but none have worked.

    I'm running Windows MCE 2005 as my OS. Supposedly that is the same as Win XP, but I have noticed that some features are not available. In particular, one of the KB solutions for Win XP says to go to the Voice tab of the Sounds and Audio Devices under control panel and click on the *Advanced* button under Voice Recording -- however, that button is grayed out on my system! Does anyone have a workaround? I suspect that my problem is a software configuration issue, but I'm running out of ideas.

    data entry india
  15. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I own the Rode K2, and I find it very useful. It works well on vocals with several of the people who frequently use the studio. I've used it on horns and acoustic guitar to good effect, but I use it less for those applications now that I have the Beyer ribbons.

    It's got the kind of warm sound that you expect from a tube mic. Doesn't have the top end clarity and precision of many higher priced mics and some in the same price range ($700). I really liked the Mojave MA-100 that we threw in as the "mystery mic" in the ribbon shootout. Miojave has several condenser mics in the under $1K price range. I'd definitely check them out.
  16. GHENGUS23

    GHENGUS23 Guest

    Mojave Audio MA200.. trusted and proven for years. The mic was dropped and send back after a years use. Owner David sent one out to us right away, NQA. Good peeps indeed.

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