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Mic upgrade choices in the $650-$700 range

I realize that this might be considered by some to be a question about semi-pro gear, but I want to make it clear to anyone working for the IRS that this is definitely a question about pro gear. Most of my "most profitable" work comes from recording singer-songwriters or contemporary Christian artists. Lately I've been doing some "low income" gigs for my daughter's HS symphonic band that have highlighted the weaknesses in some of my gear - in particular, my pair of NT5s used in ORTF. I've been happy with them on acoustic guitars, but I had to roll some highs off to tame them on the orchestra.

Ok. So here are some ideas in about the same price range that will (I hope) improve my orchestra gigs and be helpful in my singer/songwriter and contemporary Christian (otherwise known as music that sounds like Elton John or the Eagles, but talks about Christian themes) gigs.

1. A pair of Shure Sm-81s.

2. An AKG C414 B-ULS (to match the one I have) to do Blumlein or MS.

3. A Studio Projects LSD-2

4. Tell my daughter that she has to go to VT and buy a whole bunch of Schoeps and Gefells with her tuition money.


JoeH Tue, 12/19/2006 - 18:49
I like the SM'81s a lot; good all-round SD mics with adjustable pad. They're a little big, but they look good.

I'm a big fan of all the AT mic series; esp the 4040's and 4050's. They sound great on just about anything you throw them at. I recently used just a pair of 4040's on an entire jazz band section; five saxes, four bones and five trpts. I spaced them about six feet apart, eight feet up, looking down on the saxes. Everything else "bled" into the front mics, yet still sounded crisp and smooth, very little off-axis sounding at all; a little compression and they smoked.

The 4050's are an even better deal; selectable pattern, pad, and bass rolloff. I always go for these instead of AKG 414's, but that's just a personal preference.

Studio projects has just redesigned (or repackaged?) their line of mics, seem pretty good already, and the price of the LSD-2 seems to have dropped a bit, too. (It's a BIG mic, though...beware! ;-) )

Scoobie Tue, 12/19/2006 - 19:38
I have never done any recordings of a symphonic band, but I will say that I have never liked the Small diaphram NT5's. I would choose the Oktava MK-012 over those any day.

The SM-81's are great pair of mic's to add to any collection, but still might not be a very good choice in a symphonic band recordings.

Love the AKG C-414 B-ULS too, Can't go wrong with this mic.

Someone eles will have better opion than me on this one, that's for sure.