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I've been thinking about useful reviews for my Youtube channel, and the stats show that people like comparisons with counterfeit or just plain and simple dirt cheap mics, up against the usual branded products. Years ago, I played the cello, and just laid my hands on one for the first time in 40 years. I thought of doing a recording of this using expensive, mid-range and cheaper mics, but then read an internet post on recording guitar cabinets - so I thought about maybe combining recording a cello vs an electric bass? The obvious mic is always a Shure 57, so I'm wondering if there is any use in a real 57 vs the cheapest one of the counterfeits I can source. I found one that cost me £12 including shipping, so as there will always be people who are cash strapped, this might work. I've also just swapped a Beta 58 with a Sennheiser 906 - I've never had one of these square mics but you often see them on guitar cabs, so at a show the other night, their sound guy mentioned he'd like a Beta 58. He had a few 906's in the mic box and I'd got a few spare Shares, so we did a swap. So what do you think? Cello and bass with 57's, 906 and other mics? I could use expensive and cheap condensers. A quick list of what would be available would be U87, 103, 414, Samson C01, Oktava 319, AKG 414, 57, 58, beta 57 58, Samson C02?


If I do the cello, that suggests maybe the condensers vs dynamics but on the bass guitar, I don't know, or should I use a 6 string. So far, when I've done comparisons, the expected favourites still come through, but often the 'wrong' ones that should be awful come much closer than we'd expect. Assume the video is for people who don't have many mics - so could the £12 for the dodgy Shure (ignoring the moral implications, as these are fine if you have lots of money) actually be worth at least having. My mic box has one 57 from 1976 or so - my first ever mic, and it's in use just as often as recent ones, because I can't tell the difference!

Opinions on what would be most useful appreciated here.


paulears Fri, 08/26/2022 - 00:03

The Shure 57 and a half has arrived and even though I’ve not plugged it in, the results are not going to be good. Even the sticker saying 57 and Shure is horrible. It weighs less than a 57, obviously, and I wonder if it’s going to be a warning that the current copies are really horrible. Watch this space.

paulears Sun, 09/11/2022 - 08:39

My idea is moving on, spurred by the need to record a real cello for a project I've got running. I usually use cello samples - and I have some very nice ones, but they didn't fit.


I'm not sure who plays string instruments here, but the cello I have records rather bad. Kind of shrill and it has some nasty resonances. So bad that some individual notes sort of start to sing on the wrong note, then sort of catch up like a bad autotune. I'm not attached to the cello, so wondered if maybe I should experiment with it? Cellos, and violins and violas are tuned in Perfect 5th intervals, so C-G-D-A. Basses, including electrics and acoustics are tuned in 4ths - so E-A-D-G, but I wondered if I could do C-F-Bb-Eb? That bottom C is a nice sounding note - that oddly this cello does seem to like. So far, I've done the retune, and the side effect is to make the string tension on the three higher strings is also reduced and the tone has mellowed. My cunning plan will now be to record it with a number of mics to see how they respond.

It's going to take a while to get this done, but I've done a pre-edit to check the sound I hear can be captured, and I think it seems to work. If you want a quick listen to the sound the 414 managed to capture - flat, no EQ or processing at all - have a sneaky listen to this clip. Once I get the four tracks of four mics recorded they'll feature in the proper video. I think I'll record the part for the project I'm working on then let people hear each one with and without the other tracks in the project.


It would be nice to find out what you can hear at the moment. Are those resonances I hear obvious to others - is the roughness in the raspy bits evident? I can hear it, but I am used to it - and I don't like it. The other thing I'd appreciate is about the 5th and 4th thing. Is this something non-string players even know about? The whole cello thing is a bit ironic as I've just been working on a really nice project with a  famous choir and orchestral composer and it was organised by my old school music teacher.…