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Need help deciding on new Interface and Mic

Discussion in 'Recording' started by dpatric3, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. dpatric3

    dpatric3 Guest

    so my crappy firepod finally bit the dust so i'm in the new market for a recording interface. I run logic pro 9 on my macbook pro and record mostly garage rock and jazz so i need something with 8 inputs. The interfaces i was looking at where

    Echo Audiofire Pre8 - $699
    Mackie Blackbird - $499
    Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 - $399

    I was trying to stay away from presonus only because my firepod was made so poorly (it lasted barely 3 three while never being moved or handled) but if they have increased in quality then i am open to suggestions as well as any other interface around this price point.

    What i was wondering is if it is worth it in the long run to make the jump from mackie to echo? This is of course considering quality, pres and software. I've haven't had any experience with either company.

    I was also looking for a cond. mic suggestion. Like i said i record 60s rock and jazz so guess im looking for a warm lush tinge. I was thinking Rode NTK tube mic? I would be using the mic for everything imaginable haha. Any other suggestions for mics around the $500 price point that do it all?

    Thanks so much for taking the time to help me out
  2. M-Audio Fast Track Ultra USB 2.0 Audio Interface and more Audio Interfaces at GuitarCenter.com.


    TASCAM US-1641 USB 2.0 Audio/MIDI Computer Interface and more Audio Interfaces at GuitarCenter.com. You can get this for about 210$ on some sites.

    For a mic...

    AKG AKG C2000B/H85 Microphone With Shock Mount and more Microphone Packages at GuitarCenter.com.

    Hope that helped :D
  3. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I think any of the three interfaces you list will be adequate. I like Mackie gear personally (Onyx and better) so that would probably be my choice of the three you list. They are built like a tank, and it seems Mackie finally got some of their driver issues worked out for 64 bit. The NTK gets some love around here. Other mics to look at would be the AT4047/AT4050/AT4060. Of course the AKG C414 is always a stalwart. For guitars you might take a look at Cascade microphones as well.
  4. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    John has some great mic suggestions...

    My pair of 414s always get used (~$600 for one on feeBay), recently got my hands on an NTK and it has been popular for vocals and room mics, and the Cascade Fatheads are great ribbons for the price, and my M39s are fine pencil condensers, whether on acoustic instruments or as drum OHs (when I want an SDC versus the LDC of my 414s).
    You could realistically grab a 414 OR an NTK, or both pairs of Cascades for around your price point.
    Any condenser is going to provide a fair amount of detail, and both the 414 and M39 can be a little crisp (realistically so). The NTK is much smoother, IMHO
    So perhaps it's dynamics and ribbons you really want for lushness?

    In short, any full-band session I do (rock, indie, jazz, metal, acoustic) will see at least one of each of these mics. Pretty much any session.

    Can't speak to the AT line...
  5. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    AKG 414 has been used in (tons of) famous recordings, few, if any, engineers will say it's a bad purchase. there's a reason why they cost more every few years. Your first interface is your mic, so an sm7, 424, 58, 81(pr.) 451 (pr.) all work nice too, from my experience. I think most interfaces to the computer aren't designed w/ color, or characteristic, in mind. They all seem to aim at transparency. I think converters are the question(s) when it comes to 'fullness' and signal integrity. It's too difficult for designers to incorporate 'color' into a multi-channel interface that must be computer compatible, and have up to like 56 ins-outs, AND be accepted by the masses. I do think mackie makes nice stuff in general, and am probably partial to them as i own their monitors/mics(57,81's,58), and use there vlz mixer live regularly.(onyx is even better, i've read)
    Shure, Mackie, AKG, products have never let me down in, reliabilty, quality (good/great), or versitility. As a modest working engineer, i don't think you'll go wrong. Is there better? Yes. Are the prevoisouly named brands used professionally everyday? Yes.
  6. freeslave

    freeslave Active Member

    Also looking for mic

    Fairly new to recording here. I'm also interested in something around the $500 price point. I have a AKG 200, but would be interested in a 414. Are there comparisons/real tests of microphones so that people don't have to get/buy them to see how they work? Or in my case, the difference between the 414 compared to the 200.
  7. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    The AKG 200 is in the AKG budget line and isn't even in the same ball park. The C414 in all of it's variations has been a studio staple since it first hit the market. I don't think there is much need for an audio comparison of the two.
  8. dpatric3

    dpatric3 Guest

    thanks guys!

    I know that the 414 is considered a studio standard but the only thing that has me a little concerned is its crispness. When people say it is crisp do they mean "brittle" or "accurate"? Do you think the NTK is too mushy or is it just a warm tinge? I can snag a used 414 for around the same price or possibly even a Neumann Tlm 103. What do you guys think? Are there any significant differences in the sound of the TLM 103 and the 414? It kinda stinks because im not really in a position where i can try out either of these mics before purchasing. Again im going for absolute versatility and if possible as close to vintage 1966 british rock sound as possible (im not sure how realistic that is) Here is a modern band that has the sound im going for http://www.myspace.com/theurges
    I understand they used all vintage gear but i was wondering what mic would get me started towards this sound. I really like the vocal sound but i don't have enough experience to hear if they are using a crisp mic or a warmer sound. To me it almost sounds like a crisper sound. The mic would primarily be used on a vocalist with a similar voice as the one in the link if that helps at all.
    Thanks again!
  9. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    There is nothing brittle about the C414. It is an accurate microphone that does well if not phenomenal on most things. Also it is a very versatile mic with regards to polar patterns.

    The TLM103 is not comparable other than it is another quality mic. It is not as useful overall in my opinion due to it's single cardioid pattern and it's particular response and coloration. I would not refuse one if it were gifted to me by any means, but if I were looking for versatility the C414 is the clear winner there. There are multi pattern Neumann microphones but not in the 103 price range.

    If you want to sound like 1960's British rock then you need to design your guitar sound and orchestration/layering to that end. The mic isn't going to be the deciding factor there IMHO.
  10. dpatric3

    dpatric3 Guest

    alright thanks guys. I ended up going with the new mackie blackbird and a used akg c414 b-xls. im still waiting for the delivery to come but if anyone is interested i can let you all know how everything sounds. I know there isn't much in terms of reviews on the blackbird yet but i decided to go with it in hopes i wouldn't have driver problems with my mac.

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