Cheap mics and almost no gear! HELP!



Hello fellow engineers and producers.
I have some questions for anyone,
who would like to through in some input.
First of all... let me explain my situation.

I'm recording an independent album for some
friends of mine. However, I dont have any good
mics. I have a Shure BG 1.0 and a 2.0.
The rest are cheap, old, worn down mics.
I'm working with an old Peavy 24 Channel console,
and my Roland VM-3100 Pro.
I usually track and edit in Cool Edit Pro 2.0a,
and then mix in Logic Audio Platinum 4.
Other than this, I dont have any other
gear at all. No compressors, expanders, limiters,
etc. All effects, EQ, and compression have to be
done in post.

Does anyone have some tips for recording this band, with the equipment that I have?
I've been trying to recording each instrument with multiple mics, and capture every piece of
sound that I can. Then I go back and use only what
I like. Sometimes there are 10 guitar tracks in a song. All are miced and recorded seperatly.

Anyway, I would appreciate any advice available.
Thanks for listening. Take care.

M Brane

Here's a few tips from a fellow bottom-feeder. :D

#1: Get to know your mics. Experiment a lot, and find out just which mics are best suited to which instruments. This is a never ending quest, but after a while you'll get a good idea what mic to reach for for a particular sound.

#2: Get to know your board/mic pres. Experiment, and test to find out just how much headroom you really have, and don't worry about recording things as hot as possible. Just make it sound good. ;)

#3 Mix the tune as a whole. Don't EQ things solo'd. You need to listen to the instruments in the context of the mix. If you make all the instruments sound "huge" when solo'd you'll probably end up with mud when you put 'em all together.

#4: Beware of "Pluginitus". If you find yourself tweaking endlessly and not getting the right sound seriously consider re-tracking. One thing I always do is make a dry mix of my tracks to listen to after I've done my full mix. I then ask myself if the full mix reallysounds better. It can be very enlightening. :eek: If you can't get a listenable mix going without plugs, return to #1.

#5: Have fun learning, and do the best you can with what you've got. Don't get too caught up in "gear lust".


Dave Nyberg

Yeah, gear lust is what makes us all sick hehehe. I'm affected and it's the end really. They didn't yet find a cure. I hope they never will also :s:


Well-Known Member
Apr 9, 2003
Fairfield County, CT
Techno-lust is the bain of all musicians and engineers. We always want the latest and greatest toys. But that latest new box will not make the performances better or improve your technique.

As has been mentioned, HAVE FUN!

All of your experimentation and creativity may lead you to the next big New Sound. The Techno style of music was started by guys with zero budgets who bought Roland 909 drum machines and TB303 basslines for $25 or $50. The same with rap/hip-hop, an 808 and a cheap sampler. Those items/sounds are now ubiquitous to those syles.

Granted that they had all the money and time that they could want, but (at least according to an article I read many years ago), every single instrument/track on Sergeant Pepper by the Beatles had some sort of effect or processing.

Sometimes there are 10 guitar tracks in a song
Just as a mixing tip, the more instruments you have the drier you want the mix. That includes chorusing. Use a lot of panning and EQ to give each instrument its own space. Try panning all of the drums dead center to leave room for other sounds.


Uncle Bob



Feb 23, 2003
I've done a lot of mixes in the past with 1 mono reverb unit and just the eq on my board that came out pretty good.

Make sure you watch your input gain on the board. You can do more damage by setting that 1 knob too high or too low than almost anything else.

Play around as much as possible with mic placement. Just try different things and remember the ones that work.

Pick the mic that sounds the best for the job. Don't be afraid to try an old radio shack mic. You never know what's going to happen till you try it.

See if you can borrow a mic or 2 from friends. See if the band knows anyone with a mic or 2 that can be borrowed.

Pray the band has practiced and doesn't show up too drunk.

Press record and have fun.

Repeat as often as necessary!


Feb 23, 2003
Oh yeah, I forgot.

Buy a Shure SM-57 you won't be sorry!

Here is a link to an instrumental song recorded with only SM-57's. (the bass was direct into the board)
It's just bass, drums, and guitar. I can't say the mix is perfect (it ain't) but the sounds aren't bad.

[=""]Greeny Bluz[/]


I sincerely wanna thank everyone for the advice.
However, I dont think I'll use it on this band.
They're just looking for a really quick 'half-ass', quality demo. I'll use your advice for my own personal solo recording, and with other bands in the near future.
Thanks guys.