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8 inputs / mic lines. What mics would you choose?

scenario; recording to analog tape. 8 mic lines from the studio into 8 mic inputs in C/R. recording bands live. rhythm section, then overdubs, horns if needed, vocals last.

assume there's 5 - sm57's and 2 - 414's in the collection already. we're on a tight budget. what 8 additional mics would you choose for the mic locker?

Comments

paulears Thu, 02/18/2021 - 15:19

Do you mind second hand? AKG451's are often on ebay and really nice mics on acoustic instruments and easier to get them into tight spaces. I am also a great lover of Chinese LDCs - the ones that are cardioid and big I really like. I've got quite a few for when we used to do big band stuff and I know people slate them, but some are rather similar to the 414 type of sound. With your 57s, 451s and some other cheap condensers could be cheap(iso) and very useful. For the warm sound - the 57's would be enough for me.

Nobtwiddler Thu, 02/18/2021 - 18:00

Haha
this is a great question.
I returned to my roots so to speak about 15 years ago, putting together a system that would allow me to do 8 track recording,
in remote locations out of the usual studio confines. I figure if you can't make a record on tracks, then you should be recording!

So I designed and built a little setup, that later grew a bit bigger.

And when I was setting this all up, and specifying the gear I wanted for this endeavor, I asked my neighbor (at the time) and dear friend
Eddie Kramer, if I was only gonna have 8 mics, (give or take) what should they be?
And here's what we came up with:
1- AKG-D30
2- AKG-451
3- AKG-414
4- Neumann-U67
5- Coles-4038
6- Neuman-Fet 47
7- Neumann-KM 84
8- Neumann-KM 56

And of course a few more as options.

Here's a few shots of the eight track set up.
First pic showing the mixer with the 8 x Helios modules / Neve mixer / API mixer
Second pic showing the Radar 6 loaded with 1 x 8 channel Ultra Nyquist Card, for 8 in / out.
Third pic, showing the mics I actually ended up with for this remote rig project
Since then, the rig has expanded a bit ....

Attached files

Kurt Foster Thu, 02/18/2021 - 18:13

interesting choices, both. gotta love the Eddie Kramer reference. nice mic locker!

the 451's are beyond my pay scale and a D30 would be too if i could find one. i can't invest in vintage gear at vintage prices.

i'm thinking i want something a little newer to stand the test of time cause obviously i must think i'm going to live forever.

the 47 and 67 and the KM84s are cloned in various versions. i would consider them .., both for price as well as reliability.

i don't know about a Coles. they are cool but again so expensive for such a delicate mic. this is going to be a tight space crammed with a lot of musicians at the same time trying to cut a side an hour. ribbons scare the crap out of me. again i'd go for some cheaper clones if they were decent. that way i wouldn't feel to bad if they were bumped into or a wind blast stretched the ribbon or if phantom power were acedentally applied. or maybe a Royer or two?

i already had a pair of 414's on the list. imo desert island mics. a pair makes for a perfect m/s mic'ing rig. ....

thanks for the suggestions Paul and Nobtwiddler.

Nobtwiddler Thu, 02/18/2021 - 19:50

OK, I gotcha.
Affordable, and in a tight small space...
(buy used)

Kick - AKG D12 Reissue. Amazing mic, many sounds NOT THE 112~!
Snare - Beyer 201, Audix D-3, D-2.
Toms - 421, 57's, Shure Beta 98's,
Overs - 414's or 451's, or a clone of Km- 84
Gtr - 57, Sent 421, Senn, 609, Beyer 160, or Cascade ribbons, (don't be afraid of them!)
Shure SM-7 or Senn 441 for cutting vocals live in room.

dvdhawk Thu, 02/18/2021 - 21:39

It depends on just how tight the budget is and the genre. Of course you could do a lot worse than just buying 8 more SM57s or 58s for under $800, but you wouldn't be here soliciting opinions if you wanted to do that.

Rock, Blues, Country, Pop for ≤ $1500:

KICK / BASS: Audix D6 Large Diaphragm Dynamic Cardioid $199 each
SNARE / INST / VOC: Heil PR20-UT Dynamic Cardioid Inst/Vocal $99 each
TOMS / PERC / INST: Sennheiser e604 Dynamic Cardioid Drum Mic $350 3-pack
PAIR of SDCs: Rode NT5 Small Diaphragm Condenser $429 matched pair
ALTERNATIVE (to your 414) VOCAL MIC: Shure SM7B Dynamic Cardioid Vocal Mic $399 each

HI-HAT / OH / ACOUSTIC GUITAR: Either the Rode NT5s or your AKG 414s
GUITARS / HORNS / LESLIE: Your Shure SM57s

You could get that down to under $1100 if you substitute Shure SM57 / SM58 or Heil PR20 / PR22 for the drop the SM7b and also substitute A-T Pro37 or similar SDC for the the Rode NTs (which are already a good value for money).

Potential Alternates or Upgrades:

DYNAMICS:
E-V RE20 $449 Kick / Bass / Low Brass
Shure Beta52a $189 Kick / Bass *I'm not a fan, but some people like them
Senn MD421-ii $399 Kick / Bass / Horns
Heil PR-22UT $119 Utilitarian Dynamic Vocal / Instrument
Heil PR-30 $259 Almost Anything
Heil PR-31BW $269 Almost Anything
Audix D4 $179 Toms / Percussion
Audix D2 $129 Toms / Percussion

SDC:
A-T Pro37 $169 HH / Overhead
AKG 451 $549 HH / Overhead / Acoustic Inst
Shure SM81 $349 HH / Overhead / Acoustic Inst
A-T AT4033 $399 All-Purpose LDC / Vocal / Overhead / Acoustic Inst
A-T AT4050 $699 All-Purpose LDC / Vocal / Overhead / Acoustic Inst

paulears Fri, 02/19/2021 - 01:28

I picked up two 'faulty 451's last month, one was 42 pounds, the other 55 (which I thought a bit much). My hope was one good preamp and one good capsule, and one crackled like mad - but the centre pin was tarnished and the spring a bit weak. 5 mins later it was perfect, and the other worked perfectly - so I guess the seller didn't know about phantom!

One question - Never even seen a D-30 in real life, what's the attraction? Not having heard one, I need a steer - like the Shure 61 and 63's I bought recently - always open to new useful mics. The D-30 is maybe just not popular in the UK?

Kurt Foster Fri, 02/19/2021 - 03:25

ok folks. clarifications. i won't be multi mic'ing the drums. it will be kick / snare / 2 overheads at most, Abbey Road - Glyn Johns technique. very minimal mic'ing techniques for the rest of the instruments as well. will most likely be taking bass direct. thinking a lot about how Motown used to di instruments through a monitoring amp in the L/R.

it's gonna be drums, bass, 3 guitars, 2 keyboards (piano / organ or Rhodes - Wurlitzer electric pianos) first pass. horns, vocals any additional tracks will be overdubs. i am planning for 8 mic lines into C/R from the floor (i may decide to go with 12), so it's gotta be a minimal set up. i may mod some older Shure mixers to pre mix 3 or 4 mics or lines into one input.

think 1966.

pcrecord Fri, 02/19/2021 - 07:23

Kurt Foster, post: 467604, member: 7836 wrote:
scenario; recording to analog tape. 8 mic lines from the studio into 8 mic inputs in C/R. recording bands live. rhythm section, then overdubs, horns if needed, vocals last.

there's 5 - sm57's and 2 - 414's in the collection already. we're on a tight budget. what 8 additional mics would you choose for the mic locker?

I'm not sure I follow, you record on a 8 track tape and you already have 7 mics. You want the last one mic to add or 8 more to have alternatives ?

If it's only one more, I'd say, you need a good vocal mic. An LCD that can work with most voices. Usually a U87, a clone or one inspired on it is the first best choice.. But then I read no vocal ??

So I guess a good bassdrum mic.. A D112 if you want it flat or a E602 or E902 for a pre-eq one. (depend on the style of music)
I suspect the keyboards goes DI.. If there is an acoustic guitar, maybe a small conderser... if not sm57 are good.. or E609

Boswell Fri, 02/19/2021 - 09:11

I can't imagine having a mic collection without at least one ribbon, especially if you are playing the traditional recording card.

The last addition I made to my growing ribbon collection was an AT4081. This is really sweet as a mono drum overhead, on brass and on amplifier cabs, and also copes well with shrill instruments or voices. Not the quietest of microphones, but is fine when used close to the source. It needs phantom power for the internal buffer. The extra half-octave at the top end over a normal ribbon is like the difference between a Beta57A and an SM57. A recording friend who has both the 4080 and the 4081 says he was amazed when he used the 4081 for a pair of female backup harmony singers, one each side of the fig-8, where the resulting tonal quality fitted so well with the solo artist belting it out into an LDC.

paulears Fri, 02/19/2021 - 09:45

I had a couple of really old STCs - 4033's which I sold quite cheaply because I just didn't like the sound. They were a combo design. Dynamic and ribbon that could provide different polar patterns, but I found them thin and uninspiring - so somebody got a bargain - they also weighed a ton! I've now only got one ribbon - kept for the occasion al M/S, but I wished I had got a pair (always how I do things now - at least two of the popular ones - is my unwritten rule.

Kurt Foster Fri, 02/19/2021 - 09:46

thanks again people. i am getting a better ideas as to what to buy. you all have brought some ideas to the table that hadn't occurred to me.

Marco, i want a selection to choose from for different things. and just cause' there's only 8 tracks doesn't mean there won't be more than 8 mics. i'm thinking sub mixers. i agree i'm going to want something along the lines of an 87. that's why more than 8 mics. Bos, i actually agree about having at least 1 ribbon. i like to buy mics in pairs if possible. for the AT4041 that would be healthy chunk of cash ..... (thinking) ....

Boswell Fri, 02/19/2021 - 09:56

Kurt Foster, post: 467618, member: 7836 wrote:
Bos, i actually agree about having at least 1 ribbon. i like to buy mics in pairs if possible. for the AT4041 that would be healthy chunk of cash ..... (thinking) ....

The AT ribbons are the AT4080 and 4081.

The friend I mentioned borrowed my 4081 and used it with his one in X-Y Blumlein on a string quartet in a very reverberant hall (no audience these days!) I haven't heard the result, but he said it came out with a little too much natural reverb, although the imaging was excellent.

Davedog Fri, 02/19/2021 - 10:48

I'm surprised at this question coming from you especially with your mic collection history.

Here's my suggestions.

Kik Mic: ATM25 It will be used. Don't bother with the overpriced reissue. One will be available if you're diligent and quick on the trigger. They never last long and for a good reason. Another for KIK would be an EV N/D868. I have all the regular kik mics...D6, Shure 52, etc....These two will get YOU what you look for in a kik drum mic. They didn't scoop them or fiddlefuck around with the frequency response. You get everything in a mic capable of handling 140dbs.
SDC pair: AT4041 electret condenser. Bullet proof and new generally discounted below 500 a pair. I have 4. They are sweeter than the 451 AKG, a bit soft in the high-end but clear so it's all there. Very good in an X/Y drum overhead and will be more than acceptable on most acoustic instruments.
Budget RIBBON: Royer 101. Discontinued so it too will be used. They retailed for 800 and the prices are still 800. THIS is a real ribbon for everything you can imagine a ribbon on including vocals. I use this as half of my guitar setup along with an ancient Unidyne III Shure. I've tracked every kind of horn know to man with it. Superb mic. The new budget ribbon Royer R10 is reportedly awesome also although I've yet to try one. Heck its a Royer.....
LDC: An U87 clone at your budget. But I fear that you would tire of most of the ones I have heard including the Warm Audio. Although to their credit they did voice their original release as the pre Ai 87. They sound great out of the box but after a bit if you have any kind of ear and ,of course, any kind of history with the originals that you start to notice the deficiencies. I would go with the Mojave 200 or even the Microphone Parts 87 clone. Marco can tell you more about them. I recently bought an SE-12 and it sounds great. Very early 414ish. They are kits but they also will build them out for you which I recommend. The BeesKnees mics are interesting. They make very high-end stuff but there are budget mics in the line. I have heard a recent recording with all the vocals done with an ELLY model which is one of the budget models in a U47 fet clone.

Kurt Foster Fri, 02/19/2021 - 10:49

Davedog, post: 467621, member: 4495 wrote:
I'm surprised at this question coming from you especially with your mic collection history.

no man is an island ..... lol.

thanks for the recommendations Dave. insightful and just what i am looking for.

does anyone have any thoughts on the Golden Age Project 87 clone?

Davedog Fri, 02/19/2021 - 11:05

One more thing. I'm sure you can appreciate where this suggestion is coming from. IF you have the numbers to go sorta all-in on an LDC, the Soundelux/Bock family especially the older ones are incredible mics. I use my U195 for so many things even ahead of my older U87 (pre Ai). Buy once etc etc.......A couple of my fellow producers tend to borrow my U195 for those special voices and they have plenty of high-end kit to choose from.Lots of reviews over the years on these. The U99 is also a very very special mic. Of course for around the same numbers you can get a Cathedral Pipes Saint Jean Baptiste which is a mic voiced like a U47fet. I forgot to mention their ribbon, the Seville. It is my 'other' quality ribbon mic in the collection. A bargain at the price. Seriously.

Kurt Foster Fri, 02/19/2021 - 11:24

after more research and opinions, i am thinking i should scale down my expectations and just get a few real classics.

i'm leaning towards a U87ai, a pair of 414's, a pair of Royer ribbons , a pair of 421's, 3-SM 57's the ATM25 and a pair of the AT4041's Dave recommends. i think that these mics will do the job. i may skip on the 87 for the moment. that will shave almost 1/3rd off the total.

Davedog Fri, 02/19/2021 - 12:26

If thats the case then I seriously have to recommend the Cathedral Pipes Regensberg Dom It chews up ALL U87 Ai's period. It's not the dark murky beauty of an original U47 but a more modern and fast mic while still keeping its vintage nature. The thing is, you get in contact with Charles and tell him what you want it voiced like and he builds that. Look at the reviews. He's been around for a very long time and it REALLY doesnt get any better. At this level its just a matter of taste or preference not build quality or sound.

I'm really not kidding about how good these mics are. I have heard 'several' different models and builds and own one myself. Superb doesnt quite cover it. There are no 'used' ones for a reason.

kmetal Fri, 02/19/2021 - 12:28

What about a beyer m160 ribbon? I think Mr. Kramer used it on Jimmi Hendrix guitars, Eric Valentine has done some great sounding drums with just that mic alone, 6ft or so away from the kit. On Peter Wolf's sleepless album, my former co-worker used it in bass tracks thru a Jazz Chorus amp.

M160 is on my list in the future.

A beta 91 is a useful mic to have around, and a beta 57 can be a good one too.

Cascade fat head has a jensen xformer option, is is a well liked ribbon with a friendly price tag.

I like the sm81 too.

The AT 4050 is sort of a modern classic with a reasonable price tag. Its top end might sit well on tape.

Kurt Foster Fri, 02/19/2021 - 12:46

i've paired it down to 12.

2 / 414 EB (used) while not the same, these will do the job the 87 would do. not exactly but it will be fine. 87 can come later.
with the 414's i can use them for MS mic'ing, drum overheads, acoustic instruments, vocals, room mics and a plethora of other applications.

2/ Royer 121 ribbons guitar amps, vocals, drum overheads.
2 / MD421's guitar amps, toms, bass amp, kick drum.
ATM 25 kick drum, bass amp, lo freq applications.
3-SM 57's what won't they work on?
2 / AT4041 drum overheads, acoustic instruments.

i gotta admit. it's more $ than i want to spend but at least they will be name brand real deal, not clones. i hope they can be more of an investment than if i got knock offs.

pcrecord Fri, 02/19/2021 - 12:54

Kurt Foster, post: 467622, member: 7836 wrote:
does anyone have any thoughts on the Golden Age Project 87 clone?

I don't know about the GAP but warm offering seems quite nice.
To speak by experience, I made a Micparts S87 and couldn't let it go...

I'm intrigued by the Royer R10.. I may get to try one some day. I'm guessing it would good on brass, strings and distorted guitar..

Kurt Foster Fri, 02/19/2021 - 13:07

pcrecord, post: 467630, member: 46460 wrote:
To speak by experience, I made a Micparts S87 and couldn't let it go...

that's what Dave said. @$600 assembled, that might be a good way to get a u87 thing going. the only thing is ... i can't get out of my head the time someone asked me, "Does that studio have any Neumanns?".

Davedog Fri, 02/19/2021 - 13:19

Kurt. After owning a 414EB for several years I gotta say that were I to look for used 414's I would definitely look to the 414B-ULS or the ULS TLII. The TL being transformerless. The EB-P48 came about when AKG decided that micro miniaturization was all the rage and so the smaller body and no C12 brass ring cap. The ULS came right after the EB's and was more present and even more present without the transformer. The switches were still mechanical at this time. Something to consider.

Kurt Foster Fri, 02/19/2021 - 23:13

Davedog, post: 467635, member: 4495 wrote:
Kurt. Have you picked out a board?

actually, that's what started the whole thing. :rolleyes:

i've specd' out Yamaha M508 and M406 mixers. 508 for playback / monitoring and the 406 as inputs. the intention is to have them both modded. the M406 for post fader direct outs and pre pan summing inputs (insert points), inserts on the pgm buss's, and for the M508, pre eq inserts on the channels and inserts on the pgm buss's as well as switching the jumpers on the cards for a post fade send to the FB buss. the plan is to use DB25 connectors to save space. we've decided not to do any "upgrades" to the opa's. of course, while on the bench we will recap the power supplies and channels where needed.

once connected to patch bays, i can squeeze out 4 buss's, 6 post fader directs, active pannable 6 channel summing and 8 channels for tape returns. i can cross patch reverb sends and returns between the 2 mixers. i will be able to use the pgm buss's on the 406 to sum drum mics and mix in reverb while tracking. both mixers have stacking jacks so they can be interconnected when or if needed.

i also have a TEAC 1 sub mixer that can be multed to the aux returns of both of the Yamaha's to get the reverbs and delay and any other line level signals mixed back in while tracking or mixing . all this makes for 27 inputs.

last, i'm using a Nakamichi 410 stereo pre amp as a monitoring section. it's a quasi-split / modular approach, similar to how it was done in the day before God made dedicated inline recording consoles.

about the Yamaha M series mixers;
the Yamaha M series mixers are transformer balanced in and out, have 24 volt audio and 30 volt power supply rails and offer high headroom in a relatively compact footprint.

they are very easy to modify. channels and pgm buss's are on individual cards with through hole construction.

input attenuation is via 6 position switches that have different input impedance's, dependent on the settings.
really cool little mixers.

for 'verbs i am looking for a Lexicon PCM60, an SPX90 and a Lexicon PCM 41 for delay.

compressors are still in the air but i'm leaning towards some Golden Age Project LA3 Jr's. Tape Machines will be Otari 5050's or Tascam 40 or 50 series machines running @ +4 dB level.

Attached files

Davedog Sat, 02/20/2021 - 10:13

Love the older Yamaha stuff. One of my studios in the deep dark past had the PM-1000 that I had used in my PA. It was a 16 so small footprint...small = 300lbs....LOL. It was modded with direct outs (PM1000 did not come with those) They used the send on the inserts per channel. I think at the time this was a common mod for these old bruisers. I had a Tascam 38 and owned a Otari 5050 8 track for a while too.

Question: How are you planning on monitoring to phones?

kmetal Sat, 02/20/2021 - 10:29

Kurt Foster, post: 467633, member: 7836 wrote:
i notice the ULS's go for a lot less used too!

so here is what i think it's going to cost.

2 / 414 B-ULS 2000 used
2 / Royer 121 2600
2 / MD421 800
3 / SM 57 300
2 / AT4041 350
ATM 25 215

$ 6265

Its interesting to me that 414 uls are selling used for as much or more as the xls is selling for new.

Kurt Foster Sat, 02/20/2021 - 10:36

Davedog, post: 467648, member: 4495 wrote:
Love the older Yamaha stuff. One of my studios in the deep dark past had the PM-1000 that I had used in my PA. It was a 16 so small footprint...small = 300lbs....LOL. It was modded with direct outs (PM1000 did not come with those) They used the send on the inserts per channel. I think at the time this was a common mod for these old bruisers. I had a Tascam 38 and owned a Otari 5050 8 track for a while too.

Question: How are you planning on monitoring to phones?

yeah, i would go with PM1000 except the control area is really not much bigger than a large walk in closet. i already have a large record shelf in there so i really want to keep the equipment down to a minimum. that's why i chose this modular approach.

@Davedog did you find your PM-1000 to be "Nevish"?

Davedog Sat, 02/20/2021 - 10:45

I had a Rane. Bullet proof. A little 'dark' sounding but plenty loud. I also had (still have somewhere) an Oz HR-4 and still have an Oz HM-6 Q mix. Both of these are 120v w/ no wart. They aren't being made anymore nor is the Rane. Presonus has a nice little 4 channel phone power and distro for cheap and they are still able to be bought new. If that matters. I use the Behringer system. P-16i and P-16m. Yeah it's the 'B' word but they work great. But more than you need in your setup. I don't know for sure if the Oz stuff works anymore. I'll check it out and if your interested I'll send it to you when you're ready.

Kurt Foster Sat, 02/20/2021 - 10:53

Davedog, post: 467654, member: 4495 wrote:
I had a Rane. Bullet proof. A little 'dark' sounding but plenty loud

i like dark.

Davedog, post: 467654, member: 4495 wrote:
I don't know for sure if the Oz stuff works anymore. I'll check it out and if your interested I'll send it to you when you're ready.

that might work .....

Kurt Foster Sat, 02/20/2021 - 10:57

Davedog, post: 467654, member: 4495 wrote:
[QUOTE=audiokid, post: 467652, member: 1]
+1 there. I'd be looking at a Royer SF-12 at the very least. You can use it as mono or matched. They are so beautiful. https://royerlabs.com/sf-12-3/

i am getting a pair of the 121's. they will be easier to liquidate when the time comes. stereo mics are always more dificult to re sell because they are so expensive.
[/QUOTE]

Davedog Sat, 02/20/2021 - 11:01

Kurt Foster, post: 467653, member: 7836 wrote:
yeah, i would go with PM1000 except the control area is really not much bigger than a large walk in closet. i already have a large record shelf in there so i really want to keep the equipment down to a minimum. that's why i chose this modular approach.

@Davedog did you find your PM-1000 to be "Nevish"?

Japanese Neve. They're not kidding. It was clear and spacial and had a brown tinge to everything. It was really stoopid simple to dial up things. Guitars were crazy good through it. Drums too. I think your M508 may have the same preamps.