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Okay so I'm about buy either a RODE K2, Shure KSM44, Blue Baby Bottle, or the Sennheiser e914 and md421(together as an option). I'm recording acoustic guitars, electric guitars, piano's, harmonica's, mandolins, and both male and female vocals. I'm just wondering what you guys would pick and what your thoughts are on them.


Mckey Fri, 01/05/2007 - 10:02

I have another question of opinion from anyone who reads this. I'm considering buying a a new preamp in the 200-350 dollar range, my friend has the Brick so I'm not gonna buy of those yet. Right now I'm using an M-audio DMP3 which I honestly really like. I know its cheap but in a back to back test its very similar to my friends Brick, but the Brick wins hands down. So my options are either an Art Pro Channel Tube Pre, Presonus BlueTube DP, Focusrite TrakMaster Pro, EH 12AY7 or an M-Audio Tampa. Basically my question is, are these just gonna have more features but really deliver the same sound as my cheaper M-audio? I'm just wondering if I should hold off on a preamp until I'm ready to get a top notch one.

moonbaby Fri, 01/05/2007 - 13:47

OK, well, my $0.02 on this, too. Several people here (Coyotetrax, for one) have sung praises for the E-H 12AX7 box. Sounded kinda like a "poor man's version" of the Brick. I have a couple of Bricks, and I like them when I want a more "in-your-face" edge to the sound. When I want "clean and transparent", I go to my Grace 101's-the best for under $1K (more like $550). As for the others, especially the PeeSonus, keep your $$$ and save up. I understood the TAMPA was no longer available, but they do still have it on their site. That has a good rep. The Focusrite Platinum line is over-priced and over-hyped, and my personal experiences with it were horrible. There are some ART fans out there, but many of them have had to mod the gear from Black Lion to get it decent. Keep in mind that build quality matters, too, and the Brick is a gem in that regard.
MANY pre's out there are nicely packaged with crappy guts. If you can find a Brick at your price range, do it.

BobRogers Sat, 01/06/2007 - 05:44

Read the recent thread on the K2. I have one. I love it for several things (upright bass, male vox on some ballads, female vox if they have some edge to their voice that you want to tone down), but it can sound soft and indistinct at times. So it might not be the kind of "cornerstone" mic you are looking for.

The KSM44 is where I'd look, but there are several multipattern LDCs in the same price range, and you should try to get to a store a do a shootout.

Of the preamps you mention, I'd pass on anything but the Brick. I own a Brick and the Presonus blue tube, but the blue tube is used as a front end for my Nord Electro when I go live to the PA to give the B3 clone some dirt. I've never used it as a recording preamp other than with the Electro. My advice on the preamps is to get decent mixer - Mackie or A&H (Mackie Onyx seems to get the best reviews on this board). Gives you a bunch preamps as good as anything in the $200 range and has a lot of other uses. Keeps you from buying disposable gear.

anonymous Wed, 01/10/2007 - 14:53

In my experiences, the best pres I've owned in your price range are the ART DPSII and TPSII. The DPSII has a S/PDIF out and inserts for both channels. The V3 voicing knob gives you a lot flexibilty tonality-wise, and you can play with the gain to get a wide range of "squish," depending on how hard you hit the tube.
Last I saw the TPSII was going for $225 and the DPSII for about $300 (Canadian)

Davedog Wed, 01/10/2007 - 15:39

Here's the deal.....MOST preamps, with the same mic or line input, through the same monitors, solo'd up, won't sound very different. Until you get to the high-end stuff. And then this whole thing repeats itself. A bunch of high-end pres with the same- ol same- ol going in and out wont be distinguishable ....for the most part.

Where the BIG difference starts to show up is in a dense recording of many different sources with lots of varying dynamics and tones. Its here that the blurring and the inaccurate reproduction will be evident. The larger amount of difficulty in getting particular parts to 'stick out' with clarity and space with get to you. Of your choices, the Brick is a fine piece. Not and end-all-do-all, but a very professional preamp for most sources. I am one of the forementioned ART likers. But only the MPA and the ProChannel. The rest arent any different than the multitude of cheap budget kits. While its true that an upgrade kit for these pieces will do wonders for them, used in their range of ability, they make very decent reproductions and have depth and clarity most others in this price range simply do not. As far as upgrading them, they get really good at that point, the choice being whether they're worth the cash to do this to. If you plan on keeping something for a long time, then by all means do all you can to it to bring up its level of performance.

As for the mics, the KSM44 is a great NEUTRAL mic. It will faithfully reproduce the sound of the source. The K2 is a very nice mic. I have tried a couple and found them to be very sensitive to the; some things GREAT, some okay. None bad. The Baby Bottle is much the same. Very subjective. The MD421 is a Swiss-Army-Knife mic. Sounds great on everything...a MUST for any serious studio.

There are so many really good mid-budget mics right now. The new ADK Viennas and Hamburgs are really good. Thats the newest ones....Vienna II- HamburgII. The originals are sweet also but these new ones are great.

The new Heil mics are incredible. PR40= killer.

The new Studio Projects lines are clearer and less hyped than before.

Hearing is knowledge. Try em all out to decide.

Mckey Wed, 01/17/2007 - 14:00

I just wanted to say thanks to all of you for your input and wanted to let you know I bought a brick, md421, and the ksm44 (which you can get cheap from ebay stores by the way). The md421 makes the best mic for bass end piano recording! Again thanks for the input... im really happy with the mix I got!