Mics and Preamps to Die For

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by Cucco, Jul 11, 2005.

  1. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Okay, so here's another sticky based loosely on the request of members.

    The concept here is to provide positive information about a mic or pre that you find indespensible. Give us the skinny - tell us why you like it and what you've used it for.

    Here are the guidelines:
    *As your subject, post the name of the device and the model number (eg. Schoeps Collette - CMC 6/MK 2 h). In the body, tell us your opinions.
    *Feel free to reply with your thoughts regarding these products.
    *Try to keep it positive. If you disagree, try posting a new thread and link to it here in the sticky. That way, we can keep the positives and the negatives clearly seperated. (Less confusing that way.)
    *When possible, provide sample recordings of the gear your touting.
    *Provide substance - please don't post "I like the X mic cuz it sounds good." Give use some details, tell us why you like it. Tell us how you've used it with success. Also, try not to reply with "Yeah, what he said." Let's not have to wade through a bunch of "me too"s to get to the meat of the conversation.


    J. :cool:
  2. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member


    OK Jeremy, you'll hardly be surprised to find that my vote will be for the AT4060.

    This mic is astonishingly good. First of all it is very clean and clear, but when thigs take off, it makes things sound HUGE. Natural yet euphonic. Of course no mic is really neutral, but it can only give the impression that it is. This mic can take the edge off things, but makes them appear that that is the way they sounded in the first place. It also does that intangible expensive sound thing that I associate with mics that cost a whole lot more.

    Voices in a good location sound amazing, but the only limitation is that it is cardioid only -I rarely use multi-pattern mics in cardioid mode. This mic sounds like it was designed to record small vocal groups. I have yet to put it up in front of an operatic soloist, but I can imagine that the results would be great.

    My favourite trick is to mix in a little U87 (positioned a few inches underneath) just to give a hint of that crispy midrange detail.

  3. took-the-red-pill

    took-the-red-pill Active Member

    OK I'll bite.

    I know I've mentioned this in the past in an odd place or two, but here seems to be the actual place for it. I include it here because even though you can't walk into 'Pre's R Us' and buy this thing, they are occasionally to be had used, and it's tough to beat as far as bang for buck.

    The pre is called an Altec Lansing 1567A. It was made just after the earth cooled. All hand wiring, and tubes.

    I scored mine at a garage sale for $5, thinking it was a regular amp and we could mic the band and make noise! I didn't even know what it really was and it almost got chucked about 3 times, except that...wait for it...I liked the look of it, oh and the smell when you open it up. A bit of lurking here and a Google search and I found out what this thing really was.

    It has 4 channels of mic pre, using 12AX7's, (as well as a 5th, line in pre that I ignore). It takes those 5 channels and mixes them into one. That doesn't sound too useful, until you do a few mods.

    I took it to an electronics guy and for 600 'Dollars Light"(about $500 US) he went in and bypassed all the mixing section so it's now a 4 into 4 pre. Each channel now only has XLR's in and out, and it's own attenuator.

    So for $150 a channel I have 4 channels of all tube pre. I tell you this because even if you were to pay 4-600 on the unit, by the time you did the mods, it would still be a gret deal.

    Why do I like it? Well I'm not supposed to say, "Because it sounds good" so I won't...Ito my ears it sounds great. I'm willing to bet the music in heaven is run through 12AX7's before it goes to the Holy Amplifier.

    Now the spec sheet says it only goes to 15K. Boo hoo. There's more to life than high end. I figure any loss in range is more than made up for by the fact that I'm here to make music, and tubes, in my opinion, make music sound better.

    So to start my studio with 4 channels of tube and stick within my very limited budget, I couldn't be happier.

    Check it out. Here's what the unit looks like. If you buy one you gotta do the mods though. I don't think they're even that technical to perform.


    Cheers mates
  4. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    My choices would be for the following

    B&K (now called DPA) 4006s

    Neumann M-50 microphones

    AKG Blueline series


    RCA 77DXs


    I like all these microphones for the simple fact that they all work well, they sound good and I have used them for a number of recording session without any technical problems and they do well with what they were designed to do.

  5. _basso_

    _basso_ Active Member

    I have a dream

    Millennia HV-3D Eight Channel Microphone Preamplifiers :cool:

    Im just waiting for some one to sponsoring mee :roll:

    That would bring up my recordings a level :shock: or ????
  6. sdemott

    sdemott Guest

    Schoeps CMC621 - just astouding transparency, especially in a wide ORTF configuration.

    Audio-Technica 4050 - I just get alot of mileage out of these, so much so I have 3 now and can always find a use for them. Close micing strings (particularly mandolin) in omni mode is just one of my favorite uses for a 4050.

    I don't know if it's "to die for" but the True System Precision 8 is a wonderful pre...just every so slightly on the "juicy" side of transparent.

    While not a pre or a mic - my Metric Halo Mobile I/O is an indespensible part of my location rig and deserves an honorable mention.
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Here's an interesting one (err, 2)

    I just recently purchased a rather famous variety of stereo ribbon microphone and after trying it on just about everything under the sun, I just couldn't dig it. As a matter of fact, on some things, I just downright hated it. Considering the $$$$, I was quite disappointed. Fortunately, I was able to recoup all my hard-earned dough and drop it on a couple other mics.

    Still wanting a ribbon, I purchased a Beyer M130 - a mic which I'm quite familiar with already as I've used it numerous times before. I just don't have enough positive things to say about it. The price is AWESOME and the sound is smooth, lush, full and as realistic as it gets. It's also a damn cute microphone! Output really isn't a problem - it's hot enough to use just about any preamp and of course noise ain't an issue. I'm hoping to publish some recorded cello samples soon.

    The "sleeper" was from Rode. I'm already familiar with many Rode mics too (I've still got one of the original NT-1's from way back when...) After having made up my mind on another mic, my sales rep at sweetwater suggested that I try the K2 Tube mic from Rode. Of course, if I didn't like it, he'd take it back. Uhh, he ain't getting it back!!!!!

    I haven't been this impressed with a mic in a LONG time! The K2 should cost $4,000 - not $600! For solo voice - male or female in just about any flavor, you can get an amazing sound! I tried it in the studio the other night on 4 different vocalists - each of them loved it and I loved the sound too! What should have been a 1 hour session quickly turned into a 3.5 hour session since EVERYONE kept on wanting to use it. We tried it on all of the voices, acoustic guitar, amplified electric, kick drum, toms, room mic, marimba, clarinet, key jangles and even a flatulant (that guy's not allowed to have pizza in the studio any more!).

    There is a magical sheen to this mic. Not brightness, not forced EQ sound all too common on lesser-grade "me too" mics that try to emulate classics. The sound of this mic simply makes things bigger, more lifelike and open.

    I don't know how the Aussies are doing it for so damn cheap, but if you're looking for a tube mic or any LDC - BUY IT NOW before they figure out just how good of a mic they have and then jack it up to the same price as a M149. (Which was, consequently just bumped from my short list of mics to buy! I don't need it now with the purchase of the K2. Not to say they sound identical, cuz they don't! I just now have a great sounding tube condenser with switchable patterns which will work for so much - I don't need to drop the $4K+!)

    Everything about this mic screams quality! The shockmount, although mostly plastic, is big, sturdy and quite effective. The cable is rugged and LONG! The body of the mic is finished as well as any German competitor and the CASE....The case could fit all your fishing gear and a game rifle with room to spare!

    I'm thinking a couple more of these might be in order so I can:
    Decca Tree
    or whatever the hell else I wanna do for the moment.

    BTW - this mic will do JUST fine in an orchestral situation. It should be great for soloists (vocal or instrumental) or woodwinds/strings. For brass, it would not be my first choice, but I'm sure it would work. As for orchestral percussion - this might THE mic.

  8. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    C'mon, Jeremy, what mic. Name names. And what preamp did you use with it? SF12? SF24?
  9. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    hey Jeremy

    I concurr on the k2. I bought one when they first came out and soon after I had to get a second one. Great on male & female vox and I've been recording congas and percussion with these mics a lot with great results. A real treasure for about 6C a piece (or a bit less if you look around- I think I paid around 550 for each of mine)
  10. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Sorry, didn't mean to tease. I just recently got beaten up by a software manufacturer whose multi-thousand dollar product I compared to a $40 product from a partner of thiers.

    Though, I would expect that the fine gentlemen who make these particular mics would gladly accept my opinion.

    I will say:
    For me, I replaced
    1 stereo Mic with
    2 mono Mics

    I used True, Grace, Summit, Millennia, and Amek

    They were smooth sounding, but IMO, to a fault.

  11. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Jeremy, stop speaking in code. Spill the beans, man. What are you afraid of? ;)
  12. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    deciphered?? :D
  13. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Indeed. But I am wondering about your conclusions. What sources did you record, what sort of room, and how close were you?
  14. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Well, I certainly don't mind going into those details...

    Trial 1 -

    Male voice through mic into Summit 2BA-221 in my studio.

    Unusable. The mic did not interface with any of my Summit Pres. The otherwise quiet pre was presented with a loud electrical hum (high frequency, not 60hz.) Trying to isolate the pre, the cable, the mic etc, I moved everything around. No matter what, I got this buzz. I increased the resistance (on this pre, it's variable) to its highest setting (10K ohms) and still problems.

    Trial 2 -

    Same male voice through mic into True Systems at around 45 dB of gain.

    Very usable. Sound was full and smooth. This got me excited, I REALLY liked it on this one instance.

    Trial 3 -

    Light picked dreadnaught through mic in blumelein configuration through Grace preamps and gain at ~ 50dB. Placement altered to get best sound where possible - ended up only about 10" away.

    Sound was unclear. Warm - yes, full - yes but the articulations were virtually non-existent. The whole sound was, to my ears, dull.

    Trial 4 -

    Female vocal through Amek 9098


    Too dark for use. Chose Gefell 930 instead.

    Trial 5 -

    Symphony orchestra with mic as main blumlein pair and Schoeps CMC6 MK2s as outriggers. First and ultimately patched through my Trues. However, to get a different sound, I patched through the house Millennias. (Which, btw, is another topic. The new Millennias sound AMAZING. I like them FAR better than previous versions - solid state HV3D - bass was more realistic but still characteristically full.)


    Tried numerous placements and heights. Ultimately, the only one I could get even remotely satisfied with was, as the cute and funny conductor put it, up her rear. The mic wound up having to be right up on the orchestra or I picked up way too much hall and not enough orchestra. The conductor also picked this mic as her least favorite as she stated it made the orchestra sound distant due to the lack of presence in the higher frequencies.

    I tried it on a few other things too without much luck.

    I know, many of you will think I'm insane on this one, I just really couldn't dig this mic. I wanted to - really badly! IMO, if it did satisfy me, I would have considered this mic to be a sort of holy grail. Instead of a multi-pattern mic, which by its nature is a compromise, you get a real multi-pattern mic by the nature of its design.

    Ultimately, I returned to the Beyer M130 b/c I'm familiar with it, I like it and the price is right. I wouldn't use it for an orchestra (well, I might, if I get a second one and if it were the right orchestra) as it sounds a little dark also. But, considering the price difference, the 130 is a GREAT vocal mic for live and studio, it's great on brass, percussion, woodwinds, strings - well, I guess that's everything...

    Seriously though - the M130 is in my comfort zone both pricewise and soundwise. The other mic was outside of my comfort zone for the sound which in turn made me uncomfortable with the price. I'm sure if I took more time with it and started to better educate myself with it, I could have made it do a lot of what I wanted - I just don't have the luxury of that time right now.

    Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks??

    J. :cool:
  15. clambaker

    clambaker Guest

    Rode K2

    Hi Jeremy,

    Interested in your comparison of a Gefell 930 with a Rode K2 after your positively evangelical experience withe the Rode. I've just convinced a studio I work at to sell a bunch of Rode's (NT 1000's, NT-2's and NT2000) in order to get one decent LDC such as the Gefell 930. Last thing I thought I'd be doing was pondering another Rode but your recent post has got me thinking . . . especially since being a local they're so affordable. My main objection to even demoing a K2 was that it shared the same capsule as the NT2000 which I find quite unremarkable. Rode have definately toned down their hyped top-end along the way but in the case of the NT2000 all that is left IMO is a kind of smeared midrange and tubby lows. My primary application is male and female vocals.


  16. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    The Rodents certainly get a panning (sic) here.

    I just dunno who to believe. :twisted:
  17. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Well, if Tony Falkner likes the NT5's, then they can't be all bad.
  18. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Re: Rode K2

    The Rode and the Gefell are different beasts. Both are useful in numerous scenarios but I find the Gefell to be far more neutral (as that's what it's designed for.) The Rode imparts a flavor - rich mids with a super clean high. If it seems too bright on female vocals (in card mode) drop it down below her chin and aim it back up - also back the polar pattern down to somewhere between card and omni. Both of these things soften the otherwise present high-range.

    In any case, both are fantastic mics and if possible, one should own both. It's just that you can buy 2 of the Rodes for the price of one of the Gefells.

  19. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    For what it's worth, I just heard the RODE NT 4 on a Baroque chamber ensemble, in a fairly informal, "living room" type recording.

    I was impressed enough to consider a trade with the guy...I've got some stuff piled up that he wants (power amps, etc.) and he's looking to sell his own NT4, since his employer just bought another one. Aside from the "Star-Trek Medical tool" look to it, I might give it a try on a few things. :cool:
  20. shezan

    shezan Guest

    I would go for these for souh..

    Hey guys well i have been using these mics alot and definitly i m down with these most of the time..

    Pair of Neuman TLM 103 and U87...for over heads..and other stereo recordings...
    PLus i record sometimes my acoustic guitars with the BULMLein technique using Rode NT2000 they sound amazing..

    SM-57s my fav...
    ok this technique i came across by reading so much materials and listning to some senior engineers... its like to find the sweet spot on the snare...for the best miking position just put your hand on top of snare so that it barely touches it... and start hitting snare as hard as possible try to tell the drummer to do that because he does know the right way probably the way he plays.... now you move your hand over the snare after every hit you will feel air pushing towards your hand...the place where there is maximum preasure thats the sweet spot.. i tried this and i was amazed by the result i did the same thing for toms too...
    and for my kick i most of the time use a low singal tone gated and triggered from the kick track..that sound awsome too some nice bottom end for the kick...
    well i may not know much about live recordings i just like to share thigns no matter how much i know...may be if m wrong in some cases atleast i can get the correction thats wht i come to this forum its helping me alot to improve myself..and everyother day my skills are getting better

Share This Page