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Vocal mics again

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by tripnek, Aug 31, 2003.

  1. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    I'm really having trouble deciding what to do about a vocal mic. I would really like to have a U87 but that is one heck of a lot of money to put out right now. I've heard much talk about the AT mics but I've not heard one myself. So here are a few questions.

    1. Which of the following AT mics would you choose if you could only have one?

    2. Is there an AT or other brand mic that you would rather have around the same price range?
    -Rode NTK
    -SP T3
    -SP TB1
    -GT AM61
    -GT AM62

    3. Are the AT mics good enough to be used on a commercial recording?

    4. In your opinion, how well does your mic choice from above compare overall to the following mics for vocals?

    -AKG 414
    -Neumann TLM-103
    -Neumann U87

    [ August 31, 2003, 12:01 PM: Message edited by: tripnek ]
  2. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    trip, just answered your PM
    Nice week
  3. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    1) 4050
    2) 4060 (but it is tube mic and sounds different than a 4050. Which one is better depends on many things like which singer, preamp, song style, ect.
    3) Yes
    4) Like the 4050 and 4060, they are all different. I liked and thought they were all good enough that I own at least one of each.
  4. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    AudioGaff, is the AT4050 even close to the U87 in sound quality?
  5. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Close? No. I guess I would say it gets you 60%-75% there. The 4050 is a good mic. Like any mic, even those in the $5000 range, it has it's strengths and weakness. If you want the sound of a U87 you have to have U87. No shortcuts. If want something cheaper and that is as close as your gonna get to a U87, I have found the TLM-103 to be a good candidate. Buying a great mic like U87 is not expensive and really cheap if you consider that with a little care, it is an invstment that will last your whole career and more. It is and has been one of the best and most used mics for a variety sources for many years. It is well worth having in your mic collection.
  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    If you have the opportunity,check out the ADK's...specifically Area51 TC,or for the tube sound the Area51 TT.....you will be more than 75% of the way to an 87 at half the cost or less...
  7. white swan

    white swan Guest

    I guess I'm really out of the mainstream on this one, but i don't think the u87's that i've had the opportunity to use were any big deal. Not that they were bad, just nothing to get excited about.

    I've had the chance to work with Soundelux's, B.L.U.E's and Lawsons that I thought were far superior mics to the U87. Even other Neumann's like the m149 were superior. I've never had the opportunity to use any of the Brauner line, but I'm guessing I might prefer some of them as well.

    I'm not saying my opinion is anything more than my opinion. My only point is so many people who haven't even tried one seem to view the U87 as the ultimate mic... and I'm just saying the feeling isn't unanimous.
  8. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Soundelux's, B.L.U.E's and Lawsons are also all great mic's no doubt. It's not that The U87 is the greatest mic as much as it has been around long before any of them though and is more of the SM57 of the condensor world. The U87 at one time was one of the cheapest professional mics you could buy.
  9. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    That is part of my reasons for asking, "is the U87 really worth it for me now. I would love to have a C12, M149, U47, ect.., but the U87 is the only "professional" st mic within my grasp. But even it will put me over the high water debt mark. And I do realise there are more facters to think about than just the mic, but thats what I need to concentrate on right now. And I guess thats part of why I'm researching the situation so hard now. If I can buy a mic like the AT4050 or the KSM44 and get 80%-90% of the quality you would expect from a U87, then I would rather buy the cheaper mic and save my money for the killer preamp and or buy more than one mic so I'm not stuck with only one sound. But if I can't acomplish a professional sounding vocal track with the cheaper mic, then I'll just have to go with the U87 and buy the preamp even further down the road. I'm really hoping that I can find people who have A/B'ed these mics and can give me a good comparison. Or give me an MP3 of there stuff using the mics in question.(AT4050, TLM103, AKG414, KSM44, ect...)

    What would you do?
  10. drbam

    drbam Guest

    If you don't have a good micpre, then there's no way you're going to get what you want even with a closet full of high end mics. I'd suggest going for the 4050 ,or something similar, and spend the rest on a really good mic pre. A good preamp will make even an average mic sound extremely good. You'd probably be shocked at how good an SM58 sounds through a really fine mic pre.


  11. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    I'm using a DBX 376 right now. I would like to get the Avalon 737. What other pre's would you suggest and whats the best place to buy them?

  12. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Seeing as you have the dbx 376, if I had no mic at all right now, I would likley get a cheap mic so I could record now and then save up for a real good mic and preamp in the mean time. While your saving up, keep researching and find a way to listen to mics your interested in. Buying a cheap mic now and using it, you will learn what to listen for and how to appreciate the more expensive mics.
  13. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    I have an AGK C3000b now, but I'm not happy with the results thus far. I guess I should ask those who can compare: just how much better is the AT4050 than the C3000b? A little? A lot?
  14. acousticsman

    acousticsman Guest

    1. Which of the following AT mics would you choose if you could only have one?

    AT 4050.

    2. Is there an AT or other brand mic that you would rather have around the same price range?

    -Rode NTK

    This microphone has very high bang for the buck factor.

    3. Are the AT mics good enough to be used on a commercial recording?

    Yes. The AT 4033/4050 has been used on countless platinum recordings. Like any microphone, however, there is no 'perfect' mic for all seasons.

    4. In your opinion, how well does your mic choice from above compare overall to the following mics for vocals?

    -AKG 414 Sounds good on some voices, thin on others. Are you asking about the TLM or ULS?

    -Neumann TLM-103 Same as above.

    -Neumann U87 Good general purpose microphone, but again, the real test is to put it on a specific voice and listen to how it sounds.

    It is common today for young engineers to look for a 'magic bullet'. I've been in audio since 1972 (I was 13 and making coffee) and I've never seen a mic that sounded 'good' on everything. I've used everything from SM57's to U47 tube and fet mic's and I've gotten good results from almost all of them.

    When I'm teaching an audio class, I give my students an interesting assignment; I have them record a band but allow them only 3 SM-57 microphones for the project. It forces them to learn how to listen before placing a microphone.

    The real 'secret' to making a good recording is learning how to use what you've got to best advantage. Your most important tools are your ears. Everything else is secondary to this. The high end tools are great, but are probably the least important part of a great recording. Even in this Pro Tools age (when we almost CAN fix it in the mix) the art of recording is to be found in 'capturing the moment'rather than in trying to polish a terd to 'perfection'.

    Good players, good singers, good songs. Even a beautiful sounding piece of technology cannot make up for a lack of any of these other factors.

  15. white swan

    white swan Guest

    I think you will be far happier with the 4050 even without upgrading your preamp. There may be voices in this world that sound good recorded by a C3000, but I've never met one.
  16. white swan

    white swan Guest

    This is the exact opinion I was trying to disagree with before. There are many professional options these days in the sameprice range as a
    u87, some of which you might find a lot more interesting on your voice. Ormaybenot.

    All I'm saying is the choices aren't limited to "something cheap vs. U87", and to think of it that way may be depriving yourself of some better options.

    By the way, an interesting "compromise" mic might be the AT4060. One studio I know got one on e-bay for $700.
  17. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Details dude? WHAT is it EXACTLY that you are not happy with? Describe it.

    While it is very likely that the C3000B is not a good match for your voice and/or signal path, there are many other variables that could be the cause and you may find it is not even the microphone that is the real problem. For instance, if you are unhappy with the mic because you suck as a singer, or if the mic is capturing artifacts in your voice you don't like, no mic expensive or not is gonna fix that no matter what the dork at Guitar Center says...
  18. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Bravo! :c:
  19. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    A double bravo to you mr.acousticsman......

    Mr tripnek...dude....all of your list of mics will do a fantastic job on particular sources...they are all different...some quite different than others.There are many quality replys here to your question but no one can make up your mind for you...Its best that you go to your local professional audio dealer and give these selections a listen.this will be the only way you will know whats best suited to your own needs.If there is no professional audio dealer near you, then you will have to come up with another way of determining what you need.Since you have yet to answer the question posed to you,"What type of music would you be recording?"...its going to be hard for anyone to give you a more definitive suggestion than has been put forward. To me, it seems you are a bit stuck on brand names...there are lots of mics in your budget range which may do a splendid job for what you need.....some are cheap enough that you could upgrade your signal path....it would help to know what you're recording into....tape,DAW,hardisk w/a desk...standalone...If it was me, I would find a better preamp than that 376....there are a few...some cost less than that thing......

    so if you want an answer that encompasses your needs then be a little more forthcoming with info about your setup and the type of music you want to reproduce...elsewise, no one can really help you at all.....dont you see.
  20. white swan

    white swan Guest

    In a lot of cases I'd agree. But if trippy had written in and said: "I've been using a radio shack mic and am not happy with the results" I'm willing to bet at least a few people (myself included) would have written in and said: "Try a more appropriate microphone."

    To anyone who is unhappy with a C3000 on their voice, I think the same advice applies. Note that "more appropriate" doesn't always mean "more expensive".

    Judging by how I've sounded on a c3000, I'd personally just as soon take my chances at Radio Shack! :p

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