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Two Good Mics?

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by Ryan Chamberlain, Aug 25, 2004.

  1. I'm in the market for a pair of mics that I can use on everything which I know is impossible (except for my beloved sm57) I'm upgrading from a pair of SP C-1s and I want a serious mic that will work in a rock setting for electric guitar and vocals (as well as 'gasp' overheads, bass, and acoustic guitar). I was seriously looking at the AT4060 having used them before, but I was wondering if its better to hold off for a while and get a U87 or U67. I haven't even heard a 414 and I was wondering if there are any other high end mics that would be suitable for a number of jobs. I'm not too concerned about noise as I generally love tubes and tape. I'm not after a "modern" sound, whatever that means, but I do like "punch" and "warmth" more than clarity though muddiness is unacceptable and I don't really want a vintage sound either, especially if its going to fall apart in front of my monster mesa rig. I suppose everyone will want to know what else I'm using: its a minimal rig, my laptop running logic 5 with a motu 828mk1 using a tc finalizer plus as A/D, dbx 160x compressors and a Great River MP-2NV fed by the little C1's. I know what you're thinking "he said he likes the sound of tubes and tape, what kind of contridiciton is this" well, fact is I can't afford a good tape machine and I wans't sure about a tube mic pre for fear of losing transient response which is why I was interested in tube mics. See, I really think that tubes are better for creating sound and transistors are better for reproducing them. I dont want a really colored sound because my guitar rig already sounds good but anything that makes it sound better is fine with me. Thanks for your help, this is a great forum.
  2. Fruition2k

    Fruition2k Active Member

    Look into a Royer ribbon or the stereo version, friend of mine has one and loves it, covers most if not all of your application needs.
    It might be a better alternative to a condenser especially if the room you're in hasnt been professionally acoustically treated. Condensers give so much detail, its almost a works against you depending on whats been done if anything in the recording space.
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    ATM 4033's the best all purpose mic around ... cheap too!
  4. Mumbles

    Mumbles Active Member


    I have never found anything thing that didn't sound great through a pair of 414u/bls. Bass cabinets, vocals, drum overheads, kick drum, classical, jazz, speed metal... you name it. 4050's can be good, too, but I find them to be a little harsh on some things.
  5. frob

    frob Well-Known Member

    hey kurt i coulnd find an ATM 4033 please elaborate.
  6. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Kurt means the Audio-Technica 4033, but I much prefer the workshorse 4050 from them as a much better sounding mic with additional patterens to use. The AKG 414 like mentioned above, new or older ones are good multi-purpose work horses also.
  7. What about the tubes?

    I really appreciate everyones input. I'm a little concerned that the 4033 wouldn't be much of a difference from the C1's since its only a 100 bucks more and I've also heard from a lot of people that the 4050 is harsh. Of course I've also heard that Alan Parsons loves the 4033 and I'm sure if the 4050 is used with the right gear it sounds great. So what gear is the right gear? What were you using in your chain to get a smooth sound out of your 4050, gaff? And Kurt, I really respect your opinions on gear but do you really use a 4033 all the time or is that just an ok mic that works ok on everything like my C1's are (not that they work great on EvErYtHiNg but you get the idea) I'm would really like to buy things once and not have to replace them no matter how long I have to save up. I know I'm not demonstrating this in my recording setup (which was kind of rushed together) but I feel that I should start with some serious gear at the input. (I know you'll probabally say that monitors are the most important but right now I have the ability to mix in a professional studio for free, I just can't record in it.) I really want to make sure I get a good sound and I suppose I kind of have it in my head from being a guitar player that warm sounds come from tubes not transistors. Is there any specific reason that no one said to use a 4060 or a U67? Are they not compatible with certain instruments? or is it just that they're unreliable and too expensive? Or should tubes be used more in the mixdown process in things like compressors to ensure that you don't color the sound on the way in? I know these are some really general questions, especially since it started about mics but I was just suprised that everyone told me to go with cheaper mics than I had planned on (with the exception of the ribbon mic recomendation which is a little more than I planned on spending) Also, are there any excellent dynamics that are very sensitive that could be used on a lot of instruments? What about other lesser known companies? I mean is Neuman just IT? or are they just the tip of the iceburg? I worry that it's like I'm asking what kind of computer to get and everyone is telling me to get a Dell but everyone I ask has custom built rack-mount liquid-cooled quad-Itanium servers running linux. Not that I can afford a $12,000 mic but I really am looking at the $1k-2k range unless you guys are serious about it not being necessary or making that much of a difference. (still, even my tc2290 isn't necessary but I sure do love it) I just want to be able to go into the studio to mix and hear something I can be proud of rather than feeling embaressed of my mics. Thanks in advance!
  8. rmccam

    rmccam Guest

    Hey Ryan,

    I think that you might be coming at this the wrong way. Mics to us are like paint brushes to an artist - it's not a question of what's "better" but rather "appropriate". Buying a all purpose mic at your stage but don't judge it by it's price tag. I would debate that there are as many $100 sm57's on commercially released albums (with large budgets and such), as there are $2000 u87's. Here is lies the reason that we visit this thread: to learn more about gear so we can buy more stuff so we have more options to meet what's "appropriate" when we record.

    On that note, the reason why no one suggested a mic like the 4060 is because it's a tube mic which doesn't always suit the source. Furthermore, you were on the right path when you talked about coloration, however, it's not that coloration is a bad thing (because it's not at all) it's just that certain sources sound better colored in certain ways. All mics "color" things in one way or another - just some more so and in varying degrees. The other issue is that coloring all of your sources the same way can get boring... once again, that's why we buy gear.

    Having said all that, I would agree that the 4033 is the way to go for now. It's pretty neutral sounding so it works on alot or sources. I would avoid ribbon mics and tubes until you have other mics in your cabinet.

    Just my opinion... hope it helps.

  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Yes I do find myself using the 4033 quite often. I use them as overheads whenever I want something that is a bit wider in its pickup pattern than the SD AKG 460's, 451's ... and I have found the frequency response of the 4033 to be reasonably flat ... not harsh at all . There is a presence peak between 5 and 10kHz. but I would prefer to be rolling a bit of that out at mix rather that having to boost it.

    As far as any comparison of the 4033 to the SP C1/C3 or even the B1 they are different animals. The build quality of AT's stuff is difficult to beat. Go to a Guitar Center and compare a 4033 to a SP B1 or C1/C3 ... check the shock mounts too! I am a fan of Studio Projects mics but they are what they are ...

    The 4033 is also good on vocals as well as acoustic instruments. It is a mid sized diaphragm mic ... the capsule is 3/4 " instead of the usual 1" or more found on LDs like the B1 and C1 / C3's ... so it fits nicely into a niche' between the LDs and SD's..

    I personally wouldn't want to do without mine. A bonus is AT has great customer service. Phil Ramone endorses them too.

    The ATM 4033 was discontinued for a while but was brought back into production due to customer demand ... that speaks volumes.
  10. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Don't believe everything you are told. The 4050 like a lot of other mic's can be harsh if not used in the right application or used with the best fitting pre amp. What has be described as harsh with that mic is more like a mic with a bit of a bite that on it's own may not sound best but in the context of the mix can be and is often the right thing needed. The 4050 works well and is often used by me with my Focusrite Red-7, Neve 1272, Vintech x81, API 512C, Manley and even a Joe Meek VC1Qcs. I tend to use it with mic pre's that have a tranny in and out. I also usually couple the mic pre with a great compressor.

    Ya, mostly because they are more expensive and they are also not really work horse type of mics. The are much more hit and miss as to if they will be the best choice and there are many others that are more appropriate to be used in various applications more of the time. I have and love the 4060, but it doesn;t get used much for more than vocals. Even then it is not always the best or proper choice.
  11. Thanks!

    Thanks alot guys, you've really helped me zoom out and get a better overall view of what I'm trying to do. Spending tons of money isn't my goal, recording good music is. without everyone's input I probably would have wasted a bunch of money on expensive tube mics that would have only been good for vocals. here in kansas city there are some people offering lets just say not such insightfull opinions. Its awesome that I can get professional advice from by bedroom! This website rocks! I hope you guys realize how much good you're doing by spending your time here helping others not make mistakes.

    Ryan Chamberlain

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