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Recommendations for a first microphone..

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by Neil27, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. Neil27

    Neil27 Active Member

    Hi there.

    I am looking for quite a versitile first proper mic. I will primarily be recording acoustic guitar vocals but also micing a a piano and guitar amp, but the acoustic and vocal are my priority for now. I asume that narrowing down to just checking out condenser mics is a good idea for this? I figured i could always buy a solid dynamic mic like an sm57/e609 down the line for a good elec. guitar tone.

    I have been looking at the Rode NT5, NT1-a and AKG C1000, how do these compare? and would i be better of with a large or small diaphragm mic?

    My budget is around the £150/$250 max, Would appreciate some recomendations.

    Thanks for any input!
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    You're thinking a little mixed up. Micing a piano is one of the hardest things to do well bar none in the recording world. That will require two good to very good mic's to accomplish.

    All the rest can be done with (and in many cases preferably so) a Shure SM57/58 or Sennheiser 421 or Heil PR30.

    I'd start with a pair of the SM57 or 421 and branch out from there. When I had more budget together I'd go for a pair of the NT55's. Only after I had a pair of each would I worry about purpose only microphones.

    Just my opinion. Worth every quid you paid for it.
  3. Neil27

    Neil27 Active Member

    I'm not really looking for a purpose only mic, however i will be recording mostly acoustic guitar and vocals.

    so you're saying dynamic all the way as a first mic? even if im mostly recording acoustic guitar and vocals?
  4. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    What type of music are you recording? Classical? Light Jazz? Acoustic pop? Folk?
  5. Neil27

    Neil27 Active Member

    Rock/pop struming kind of stuff as well as classical on my nylon strung guitar.
  6. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    In the project I am currently working on the vocalist (singer/songwriter) was in for vocal tracks over the tracks the band had cut. He brought with him a Rode NT1a and said "This is the mic I cut all my vocals with." I thought fine, you know what you want. We tracked through four songs over a period of a couple of hours, various takes, punch ins, etc. I gave him a rough mix of what we had done and got an email the next day from which I could tell he was disappointed ( I had to agree.) He came back Sat. and I asked him to recut the tracks with a SM57 (with a foam windscreen.) I did another rough mix and got a call from him a few hours later, "I can't believe how much better a performance I gave in this recording." While I do believe it was a slightly better performance but the real difference was the mic suited him so much better, a 57 is not the end all be all of mics but does amazing things with almost any source, vocals, acoustic guitar, amplifiers, ad nauseum. At about $100 it is one true bargain. I am not saying the Rode isn't a good mic just not good for his vocal. Anyway the moral of the story is don't be fooled into thinking that a condenser mic is better than a dynamic. If you get 2 SM57 (or any of the other mics on Jack's list) and you will find a myriad of uses for them, they will be in your bag of tricks for years, and will retain resale value. First mic? Make it one of these workhorses.
  7. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    The SM57 will do all close micing tasks you want at least fairly well. It does some things very well. This includes vocals for some vocalists, electric guitar cab micing, snare micing. It is used for live sound support - including micing acoustic guitar - all the time. Other top dynamics are 3-4 times the price and bulkier. It is a rock solid first mic investment. You can buy two within you budget. Eventually you will buy something that will do better on the guitars and you will probably find something better for vocals. But there is almost no chance they will be in your current price range.
  8. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Considering your budget you should listen to what everyone is saying about getting a SM57.

    Consider your mic preamp to be more important since it amplifies your mic.

    If your any decent with soldering circuits and have extra time on your hands you may want to look into building a preamp kit.

    Try a search in this forum, plenty of great resources here!
  9. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    We are all SM57/58 fans here. A workhorse. Good on everything. Good on anything. The 57 in many ways it is more versatile than the 58. Without that large metal ball, you can get it into tighter places. If you want what the metal ball does, get a foam pop filter. Which is all that is inside the metal ball. If you like the metal ball, want to get it into a tighter place, you can unscrew the metal ball. Then it looks like a 57. They are the same internally. And when you think about the fact that folks like Michael Jackson, Bono, Steve Tyler and others have recorded their platinum selling albums with their vocals cut on SM58 & SM 7 (a professional relative of the 57), you know it's good stuff. I tell folks to " buy them by the bag". They are sort of like Lays potato chips. I bet you can't eat just one?

    Tasty tasty 57 & 58's
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  10. Neil27

    Neil27 Active Member

    This thread has persuaded me to go for the SM57, seems to be a more sennsible all round choice over a cheaper condenser.

    Thanks for the help!
  11. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    Good decision. If you buy the 57 just remember to get one foam windscreen (pop filter) so that you can use it for vocals, it keeps your breath from making a popping sound. Shure makes one that is $15.00-$20.00 and locks onto the mic, however any generic one will work. A 3/4" inside diameter one will stretch over the 57 (which is about 1" in diameter) and larger diameter ones can be kept in place with a stout rubber band, doesn't look too professional however. If budget is a concern you can make one from a coat hanger and women's pantyhose.
  12. jrh0283

    jrh0283 Guest

    Great thread, I'm going to grab a 57 soon for my first mic.

    I thought dynamic mics didn't need preamps? I'm probably way off on this one, but thought dynamics don't need a preamp and condensers do. Sorry for the newb question, just starting out.
  13. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    All microphones require a preamplifier to bring the signal up to line level.

    A dynamic microphone does not need phantom power while a condenser microphone has to have phantom power to function.

    Some interfaces have preamps built into them and some don't. Some interfaces have high gain instrument inputs but not all. Some interfaces are also mixers. No cheap mixers combine all of these features well.

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