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Looking for advice on purchasing overhead mics and other qns

Member for

21 years
Hello there.
I'm looking to buy a pair of overhead mics.
My budget is 700ish at max for a pair, but I don't want the "best" for my budget, in the sense I don't want to spend alot more for an improvement that isn't significant, but I am willing to spend that much if it's at least somewhat of a significant improvement.
I want something that will last, something I probably won't upgrade unless I was able to spend alot more.
Some comments on the characteristics (if any) of the mics would be of help as well :)
If possible, I'd like something that would work really well with acoustic instruments as well. But still, the prime concern is their quality as overhead mics.

My other question is regarding bass drum mics.
I'm looking at two. AKG D112 and Shure SM Beta52a since I heard lots of good things about both and they aren't too pricy.
What are the key differences between them?

Two other things.
1.How much should I expect to spend on cases for drum mics, and do I really need proper cases to take care of them or is there a DIY way of bringing them around while providing sufficient protection?
2.How much should I expect to spend on stands and do I need to purchase anything else? (screens,etc)

Thanks in advance :)


Member for

15 years 11 months

RemyRAD Fri, 08/22/2008 - 06:15
Welcome to swiftiey! Congratulations on your first, second & third posting. To be a little bit more swiftiey , I'd recommend waiting a few moments before meshing the submit button more than once.

You've got a good budget for your overheads. There is a myriad of excellent microphones within your budget. Almost too many to mention. One of my favorites are the AKG 414, large capsule, multi-patterned. A little too costly for you, for a pair. They did recently come up with a cardioid only version called the 214.

Another wonderful choice would be the Shure SM 81 small capsule, cardioid. That is definitely within your budget.

And there are many fine sounding budget oriented microphones by Audio Technica which many folks seem to like.

One shouldn't discount the totally usable Latvian, Russian, Chinese variety either. What I like most were my first two suggestions. But I'll use virtually anything. I just generally follow a couple personal rules of thumb. If the guy's cymbals sound like trash can lids? I'll use small capsule condensers. If he as really good sounding cymbals like nice thin zingy Ziljians, I'll use large capsule condenser microphones. So really, you need four. Unless your drum set is the only drum set you'll ever record? Think about that. Some studios have a special set of studio drums. But cymbals are something very personal.

Bass drum microphones? I have 5 different bass drum microphones. My favorite bass drum microphones aren't necessarily considered bass drum microphones. And those would generally be the Sennheiser MD421 and the Crown PZM. But I also like Shure SM57/58 just as much. I really don't like most of the so-called bass drum microphones.

Cases? Most of us use some type of impact resistant, foam filled, type of cases. I use multiple cases depending on the type of microphones i.e. the A case are my good condenser microphones. The B case are all my dynamic microphones. The C case are all my lavalier, PZM & specialty microphones. The D case are the wireless. The shotgun microphones don't fit in anything!

By the way, swiftiey I deleted your 2 repeated posts. Please try not to double or triple post.
Ms. Remy Ann David

Member for

13 years 8 months

sshack Fri, 08/22/2008 - 06:38
A set of NT5/NT55's can be had for less than the 81's and would thus let you pocket some cash for another future purchase. That's just a thought btw.

Not to insinuate that one mic is 'better' than the other either, thats just something that you'd have to decide or take a chance with yourself.

I think 81s are smokin', but I'm very happy with my NT5s too.

Member for

21 years

Member Fri, 08/22/2008 - 07:07
Hi. Yea I'm sorry for the multiple postings.
However I did that because I wasn't quite sure where to put this. I'd like the most viewings so maybe you could move this to the "Recording Studio" section? That place seems like it would have more people viewing it. Once again I apologize for the multiple postings.

Anyway, getting back onto topic.
I've heard bad things about both the NT-5 and SM-81 for overhead mic'ing.
NT-5 I heard was too noisy, and SM-81 is supposedly too bright.
I actually really wanted the SM-81 initially. But the SM-81 is actually pretty expensive where I am, going over by my budget abit even. And reviews I have read mostly praise it, but for it's clarity in recording acoustic instruments mainly, not much about overhead mic'ing. That's why I figured if it has flaws and it'll eat my budget up, I might as well head for something that doesn't have a significant difference and is less.

I've found two cheaper mics that I might decide to purchase, in particular the Oktava 012 and the SM94. I've heard lots of good things about the Oktava. What is your(and anyone else's) opinion on those? How would they compare with the SM81 and stuff priced close to the SM81?

What's the NT5 like?

Member for

13 years 8 months

sshack Fri, 08/22/2008 - 07:50
I've not heard the Oktavas, though I have heard good things about them.

You can't get caught up too much in reviews. I mean, they're 'ok' in general, but don't let the Internet determine your choices. Ideally, you should try to either 'borrow' a set from a local store or even buy some choices at a GC (or the like), take em home and try them out. There are too many other factors involved when considering microphones to just take a few reviews as law.

I'd say that a good 40% of the recording gear than I now own 'sucks' or is inferior to the general Internet community, but it works just fine for me.

I think my NT5s sound great...and for $250, I like them even more. I was expecting, based on reviews, that they were going to be bright and harsh, but alas, they're very neutral to my ears. It could be my room, it could be my preamp, it could be my voice, it could be my guitar, it could be my amp....get the point?

Member for

15 years 2 months

JesterMasque Fri, 08/22/2008 - 09:54
The way I have experienced Oktavas and SM81s is like this:

I own a pair of Oktava MK-012D's (the Russian versions, not the Chinese, notated C instead of D) and have used them for years on a variety of instruments. I love them because of their specific sound they have.

When I have used SM81's in the past, I have always found them to be more... (careful with my choice of words) true to the actual sound, but I still found myself wanting and attempting to EQ the signal to bring out certain tonal characteristics that like the MK's would. They just seem to have a bit more life and character to their sound, while the SM81's have a more clear, yet less lively sound.