Recording Irish Sessions in a Pub

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by Graek, Apr 8, 2005.

  1. Graek

    Graek Guest


    I was wondering if I could get some input as to what pair of mics (or a single stereo, but probably not) ) would be good for doing a live stereo recording of Irish Sessions in pubs.

    The sessions usually include from 5-15 people on various instruments: fiddle, banjo, tin whistle, Irish flute, squeezebox/accordion/concertina, guitar, mandolin, cittern, voice, etc. It's all acoustic, no amplification.

    I'm looking for a couple mics that aren't TOO I'm on a budget, and if they get stolen or damaged I won't be TOO terribly hurt...

    Any recommendations?

  2. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    If I were you, I'd just stick up a pair of Rode NT5s, or something like that. Maybe the Audio Techinca AT3031 would be good as well, or if you want a bit more ambience (i.e. drunk people in the background!), the AT3032 omnis might do the trick.

  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I would get some PZM mics, mount them on plexiglass and hang them on mic stands and place them in front of the band as high as possible.

    The plexiglass will help isolate the mics and make them more directional, while increasing the pick up pattern, making it wider.
  4. Graek

    Graek Guest

    They're on the cheaper end of the spectrum, perhaps too cheap, but any opinion about the Marshall Electronics MXL 603S? I actually wasn't aware of the Rode NT5's....and I'll bet the 603S's don't measure up....but any info would be great.
  5. Graek

    Graek Guest

    Any opinion on the Studio Projects C4?

    I've been out of the recording sphere for about 10 years...boy, am I behind on things!
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    C4's rock ...
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Yeah, given the right application, the C4s are a safe bet. Personally, for budget mics, I'm a big fan of the 30 series of pencil mics from AT. They can be had for around $300-$350 for a pair and they are excellent.

    The Marshalls are very decent mics too. I wouldn't use any of the above over an orchestra, but for a situation where I was sure about beer flying around AND I wanted good fidelity at the same time, you can't go wrong with these.

    Check out the SE series of mics too. They have a couple SDCs that are great for the money too.
  8. Graek

    Graek Guest

    So, the Marshall's are worth a look? You can get a pair (unmatched) of those with a hard case for $200. Not a bad deal if they're decent. I'd like to make pretty good quality recordings.....considering the environment... ;-) Are these capable? I'd be going straight to Harddisk with my laptop. Probably using something like a M-Audio Firewire 410 or similar interface. Thinking about getting a mic preamp too...

    You can get the Marchall 603's in a mathced pair or unmatched. Obviously a matched pair is better...but what about stereo recording with an unmatched pair. In a studio setting I'd say no, but live? Hmm....

    Hmm...seems like I'm stuck among the G4's, AT3031, Marshall 603s, and the Rode

    Btw, and advice on preamps for this type of application....or not to worry, considering the setting????
  9. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    If you want to do it on the cheap, you might consider some of the Edirol interfaces. They are excellent value for money. I would choose these over M-Audio, but you must beware that both Edirol and M-Audio interfaces can present some problems when you try to use them with your computer. The M-Audio devices have driver problems, while Edirol USB interfaces don't like the chipsets found on some computers. I wouldn't bother with outboard preamps, as you are unlikely to find any significant improvement unless you are going to spend more money than your current budget would appear to allow. The pres on the Edirols are surprisingly decent (for the money).

    Irish music setups like those you have described provide a lot of difficulties, as anyone who has ever recorded a bodhran will tell you. The best you can do is experiment with your mics and hope to make the right compromises, and you might be pleasantly surprised by what you can do on a budget.

  10. sloop

    sloop Active Member

    The 603s sound pretty good on there own. If you change out a few of the caps on them it tames down the highs and makes them very nice for the price. There is a mod somewhere online. If you are really interested I could probably dig it up.
  11. Ellegaard

    Ellegaard Active Member

    That's a bit simplified, I think. I'm using M-Audio converters, a FireWire 410 more specifically, and from I opened the box, installed the version 1 drivers included on the CD and connected the unit, it ran nice and smoothly and hasn't caused any problems at all, ever, not even minor ones - and I keep updating every time new drivers are released.

    It's my theory that whenever computers are involved, there'll be trouble somewhere! Frequently, questions pop up at message boards regarding difficulties with drivers, but as often as the questions concern M-Audio gear, other products are also mentioned - RME, Edirol, Pro Tools, MOTU, whatever. 90% of driver problems also seem to be incorrect installations.
  12. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Hi Ellegaard

    Yes, it is indeed simplified, but in my opinion true. I can use the FW 410 and Edirol USB devices with no problems at all, but not everybody can.

    M-Audio must be given credit for being open about any driver issues that arise, but I know some people for whom stability remains an issue. With Edirol USB devices some people have problems that can't be solved due to hardware compaitbility problems (as the company admits on its website).

    Of course people have problems with RME and other more expensive gear, but I was talking about what I believe are the best budget options.

    While I can use both Edirol and M-Audio equipment without any problems, I think it is important that the attention of any potential buyer should be drawn to the most common difficulties experienced by other users. Of course these issues are only a problem for a small minorty of users, and I would be inclined to agree with you that the majority of these problems are caused by incorrect installations

    PS Have you used the 1814? I'm curious to know how it compares to the 410. I tend to ignore SOS reviews.
  13. Graek

    Graek Guest

    Hm.....maybe I'll go with the Edirol then. Looking at the Edirol site, perhaps the FA-66 or FA-101. I'm using a new Apple iBook with 1.2GB of RAM and an external 160GB firewire harddrive for recording. Anyone heard of compatibility issues with Macs>Edirols? Are the pres in the Edirols better than M-Audio? ...or is it about equal, given the price?

    Anyway...still not sure if I should go with the cheaper Marshal 603s or spend the extra for a pair of matched Rode NT5s or maybe even the SP C4s.

    I want to use them for studio recording too, so if there's a definite audio quality difference with the Rode's or StudioProjects, I may spend the extra...more input from anyone is good, but I'm sure it's about time to go listen for myself at the local music shop.... :)
  14. Graek

    Graek Guest

    The best deals I've found...all are matched pairs....

    MXL603s with shockmounts and case: $199

    Studio Projects C4s with shockmounts and case: $319 (free shipping)

    Rode NT5s with case and 2 cables: $399 (free shipping)

    Hmm...I'm starting to think about the C4's. I do like the fact that they come with interchangable caps to switch from omni to cardoid patterns. Nice feature...not to mention the switchable -10db pad and high pass filter.

    So, if it were Rode's vs. SPs??? Which one has a fuller warmer tone? I'm been reading about the extra, sometimes harsh, high end on the MXL603s and I'm starting to side away from them...but the price IS good. But when I record acoustic guitar ot octave mandolin, I usually prefer a warmer, darker
  15. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Fuller/Warmer = SP
    Bright (not brittle)/Articulate = Rode

  16. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    That's a difficult one to answer. Ellegaard has made some lovely recordings with his FW-410. I have been very pleased with recordings made with an Edirol UR-80 that I bought to use as a control surface.

    The FA-101 has some advantages over its nearest M-Audio counterpart (FW1814) in that it has balanced I/O. The FW1814 would probably considered to be higher up in the food chain than the Edirol, whose flagship interface is the UA-1000, but I think it's a little over-priced considering it has some major design flaws in my opinion -you can't use ADAT inputs along with its native converters, or at least that was the case at its launch, but the converters are extremely good for the price, as are the four mic pre-amps.

    The FA-101 offers a lot for the money, and that would be my choice.

    I have absolutely no idea about how well these devices work on macs. If they offer Mac support, you are less likely to have differing problems from computer to computer. If you have two PCs, chances are you will have an entirely different set of drivers on each machine, which is a cause of a lot of problems for PC users.

  17. Graek

    Graek Guest

    Wow, was I in luck...I ran into an old friend of mine who just happened to be selling his FA-101. It's only a month or so old. He bought it, found out it wasn't enough for what he wanted to do, decided to upgrade to a MOTU traveler...

    I was just reading the post about the AT4040 on recording violin. I've checked out several other posts on here about the 4040 as well. How would those work in recording a stereo session... Or is a SD condensor more suited to this application?
  18. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    That IS a stroke of luck!

    Many people will tell you that you should use SDCs for this, but you can use any condensers. I don't know if anyone here agrees with me on this, but I think the price/performance ratio is better for LDC mics in the price range of the AT4040. That is a generalisation of course, and in most cases you are limiting yoursef to cardioid. LDCs and SDCs will give fidderent results, but one is not necessariy better than the other.

    Good luck with it!


    PS let us know how you like your FA-101.
  19. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Yeah Joh, I tend to agree. The LDC market in the $300-$600 is incredibly competetive and filled with quality products. The entire AT 40 line is a good example. Rode mics are another great example.

    I'm glad to see I'm not eht only dyslexic person on the draob.

    ...J :-?
  20. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Yeah, during my Black Sabbath phase, I slod my suol to Santa!

    Isn't it funny the way decent LDCs start off fairly cheaply, but can be WAY more expensive when you get to the serious high end stuff?

    BTW does the M296 have a 1" diaphragm? I was always curious as to how I never came across an LDC pressure mic.


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