advice for noobie

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by leonin, Oct 1, 2006.

  1. leonin

    leonin Guest

    This is my first post.
    I hope that this is the right forum to post this.
    I appologize if it is not.

    At present I have no equipment. I am going to be recording choirs and small instrumental ensembles. I do not have a suitable laptop so I thought that I would not go the DAW route.

    I plan on spending 2000 to 3000 usd. I know that you cannot get much for so little. Worse yet, I would like to purchase some equipment that is worth keeping as I get better stuff (and I do not mean just the mic stands).

    Any suggestions?

    I figure that good mics are out of my price range. Should I invest in a good cd recorder? Or maybe a good preamp? Will I outgrow a two channel preamp too quickly?

  2. DIGIT

    DIGIT Guest

    Within your budget limitation you can actually put together a two-mic setup that will work very well for live recordings.

    You can get very decent 2ch mic pre and 2 ch A/D converter and then, you'd have to go the (used) DAT route. Since the mice pres and A/D will be done externally it won't matter what quality pres or A/D conversion the DAT has, as long as it does have a digital input. You would then, go out digitally from your DAT into your computer for editing. That's assuming you already have a computer.

    IF you don't have a computer then, you might have to get one if you plan to edit and burn CDs.

    If you do NOT plan on editing anything and simply want to go straight to CD then, an HHB CD recorder would do. But, again...without knowing exactly what you are going to do with the material, how and when you need to deliver it to your clients it's hard to really give you more specifics.

    I'd ck some of the all-in-one recorders as well. I don't use them so, I haven't kept up but, there are some fairly affordable ones which do NOT compress audio and therefore could serve you well, to start with. Even though you'd still get mic pres and A/D converter if possible.
  3. leonin

    leonin Guest

    thanks for the info.

    I do have a computer, its just not a laptop. So I will do the editing at home.

    How important is a good da?

    I was thinking I could get a millennia hv3, an alesis masterlink, and some cheap mics like the studio projects C4s.

    Also, would it be worth considering the sound devices 702 or 722?
  4. TeddyBullard

    TeddyBullard Guest

    Yes, the sound devices 722 with a pair of good mics is probably your best bet in terms of ultimate portability and function! basttery powered, super easy, and wonderful! you could get that, and a pair of Mics such as the AT4050 or a single point stereo mic such as the Studio Projects LSD2(which is a great piece) and plug directly in, and be good to go!!

    The sound devices 722>>>>mics is a first rate setup.

  5. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    May 25, 2004
    I can second the Sound Devices 722. I have one and use it as my "small" rig on location, mostly classical acoustic music. The sound quality with a good mic is quite up there with the best. It might be a little high in price though, but I really think you get what you pay for in this case.

    The prices of CF cards has gone done quite a bit recently, so just maybe you would save a little on going with the 702 instead.

    There is also a rather large group of stand-alone recorders a little lower in price. I cannot say anything about the quality really as I have not used them. Some examples are:
    - Fostex FR2 or the newer FR-2 LE
    - Marantz PMD 660/670/671
    - Tascam HDP2

    Personally I have a bit of a suspicion that these units does not really have the quality of preamp and DA that I personally look for. In short I find it difficult to recommend them.

    A different route might be to get a good preamp/AD and connect it to a unit that stores the sound as digital. A possible combination, again not one I tried myself, could be Grace Lunatec V3 + M-Audio MicroTrack.

    An alternative pre/AD migth be Audio & Design DMA2."Audio & Design DMA2"

    I think the options are opening up rather quickly at the moment, quite a few units has been placed on the market lately. I still am wary about the quality of the preamp/AD side though (which is not the case with the Sound Devices units where both are top-notch). Doing the analog side is stil going to be costly and taking expertize, the digital side benefits enourmously from the great improvements in computer technology.

    Well, anyway, my two cents.

    As for mics, they are much more about taste and what you want to record. The really good ones tend to be a bit expensive. A good pair, even if you buy them used, will last your life-time though. My favourite setup right now is the 722 + a Schoeps MSTC64.

  6. hughesmr

    hughesmr Guest

    The 722 is by all accounts a fine unit and a worthy investment. But I agree with Teddy about mics. If at all possible, try not to "skimp" on your mics, as they are immensely important. I'm not saying to go out and drop a load on Schoeps or DPA, but really think hard about getting the best mics you can within your price point for your application.

    Best wishes,
  7. leonin

    leonin Guest

    Thanks for all of the advice. The sound devices 702 or 722 seem to be well regarded. They are also very portable. My only concerns in purchasing one of them would be that I would outgrow the 2 channel input, or want to upgrade to a better mic preamp or a/d converter. Thus I would be using it like a $1000 hard drive or cd unit and have spent $2000.

    In terms of getting a pre/ad, I hear that millennia is going to have one for the hv-3. Does anyone know what it will cost, and if the ad is as good as their pre?

    I suppose another route would be to buy one of those cheap all in one recorders and spend the big money some good mics. A matched pair of earthworks qtc 40s would be in my range. I think that the royer sf 12 would be just out of my price range, as I would only have about $400 for the rest of the system.

  8. TeddyBullard

    TeddyBullard Guest

    I also suggest contacting Doug Oade at Oade Brothers Audio.(EDIT: oades site is down, but his numbers at the store are 229-228-0093 or 229-228-4480, just ask for Doug).he has made a living modifying popular remote recording gear with upgraded components. He mods the Tascam HD-p2(2 channel all in one recorder...), the Marantz pmd671(2 ch all in one), the fostex fr-2 and fr-2le(2 ch all in one), Edirol R-4(4 channel all in one)...and the modifications are simply stunning! He is a legend of mobile recording from back during the days of the Grateful dead tours, when he used to mod his PCM f1. You could get one of his hot rodded recorders for less money than the 722, and have more to spend on mics!..and when you upgrade to a large multitrack, you will still have a killer backup deck!
    I think the Millennia HV03 ADC has been out for a while...

    I have 6 channels of millennia, and use them for niche tasks.(some voices, some brass) overall I dont enjoy the sound as much as my other gear..(pendulum, DAV, electronaut)..i find them sort of "thin" or "harsh", especially in the HF response..

    go for the hotrodded recorder from Doug, or the 722 and get some good mics and youll be hassle!I assure you that both the modded units and the SD722 are nothing to sneeze at. They are great! itll be a great way to get familiar with stereo techniques too.


  9. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Jan 9, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    Home Page:
    There's lot's of good advice here. The most important things for good sound from gear, in this order is Mics, Preamps, A/D. After that it doesn't matter, DAC's you only worry about for monitoring, and the recorder just has to record the bits correctly and give them up correctly for transfer to PC.

    So spend your money on the mics first, and then buy one of these:
    as a recorder.

    Then when more funds become available get a DAV BG1, and a decent A/D converter and you are set. For mics that are excellent sound quality for the money, look at the Rode NT5's or Neumann 183's. If you are not too concerned with noise level the DPA 4090's are also worth a look. But if you are mainly in crappy acoustics, ie long RT churches, gyms, school halls etc you will need a pair of cardioids.
  10. Plush

    Plush Guest

    In order to learn this craft get good mics, a good mic amp and record straight to cd.
    Forget all the rest--d/a's, mumbo-jumbo, tweaks, special liquids dripped onto xlr plugs etc.

    That's the least expensive route. I cannot endorse buying an expensive recorder in lieu of buying better mics. Buying used gear is fine.

    Then, after doing recordings with that set-up for a few years and listening to 3000 hours of top notch commercial recordings in the genre you're interested in, you will be able to make a judgment about what your requirements are.
  11. Zilla

    Zilla Active Member

    Mar 29, 2005
    WY / CA
    Home Page:
    $2,400 mics
    $200 cables
    $400 stands/misc. hardware
    $1,000 micpre
    $1,500 ad/da interface
    $1,500 laptop
    $700 software
    $150 headphones

    So my opinion is that it takes about $8,000 to get a real 'keeper' 2-channel rig. With only a $3000 budget you will have to accept compromise somewhere. But that is okay because, being a newbie, it is unlikely that your technique will be hindered by equipment quality for a while. This gives you time to learn and build a rig as your abilities and preferences develop.

    One thing that I feel strongly about, and which has not been suggested yet: Do not skimp on your headphones. Every decision you make as an engineer in all phases of the recording process are influenced by your monitors. Most likely if your headphones are mediocre, so will your recordings. Good headphones will allow you to make critical listening judgments about your own technique as well as that of quality commercial recordings. You will learn faster. Suggested HPs: Sennheiser 580, Grado 125, Sony 7506.
  12. leonin

    leonin Guest

    well it looks like my original idea was all wrong. I will be looking for some better than average mics, and go with a modded unit from oade, or a cd player.

    I will have to wait to get a good pre or a/d.
  13. TeddyBullard

    TeddyBullard Guest

    if you go with the oades, you will have a good pre and ad...he does magnificent work, for low money.

    for earphones...I highly, HIGHLY reccomend the etymotics er-4..I have stax, and sennheiser hd600s, and have used the "best of the best" but these etys are the hands down best ive ever used for live recordings. :cool:
  14. dementedchord

    dementedchord Well-Known Member

    May 11, 2006
    $ .02

    as afr as mics youmight want to consider a pair of akg 414's.... would give you options in terms of stereo techniques since your interested in small ensembles and choirs do a search on ortff m-s and x-y... welcome to the club... good first post...
  15. rfreez

    rfreez Active Member

    Jun 17, 2006
    Chennai, India
    Home Page:
    $3000? try this:

    alesis masterlink $800
    apogee mini me $900
    shure ksm 137 stereo pair $600
    headphones, stands, cables $600
    beer $100

  16. Plush

    Plush Guest

    Right ON!

    Good recommendations! Shure 137 is a very good mic. The Shure factory is right near me. Buy American! Chinese junque not our bag!
  17. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2003
    How about a pair of AKG 414s, some cables, stands and an HHB CD Recorder with XLR as well as balanced and unbalanced inputs and optical and/or Spdif outputs. You should also be able to get a couple of quality channel pres with the $ left. I think you should be able to do this with 3k.

    This gets you up and going right away with stuff you can use later on and also transfer over to the computer as you plunge into editing. It also allows you to do quick burns of rehearsals and practice recordings with a unit you won't outgrow.

    You should eventually be able to go with just about any interface and software program you would like and still never have to get rid of anything.

    Lots of great options already offered.
  18. hughesmr

    hughesmr Guest

    How about that other thread where it is mentioned that you can get the Tascam DV-RA1000 for under $800? Record in DSD for under a grand? :cool: You have to record to DVD-R or CD-R, but it has USB for connection to PC.

    I use a Masterlink on location (mix live to stereo) and really like the big HD onbaord and the DSP/editing functions. The A/Ds are pretty good, but I use a Lucid outboard most of the time. Downside is lack of firewire/USB/etc.
  19. hughesmr

    hughesmr Guest

    Here's another option:

    Alesis Masterlink (or Tascam DV-RA1000): $800
    DAV BG-1 preamp: $800 (I think)
    DPA 4061 omnis: $800/pr (Rich loves these)
    Stands/cables: $300
    Cans: $300 (Jerry at Posthorn has good isolation cans using the 7506)

    Use the A/Ds in the Masterlink (they are pretty good at 24 bit). The DAV gets raves all the time, the DPAs ... well, you know their reputation. JTL has a nice tallboy stand for only $130, and you can get plenty of cable for the remaining $170.

    Sorry, no $ left for beer :(
  20. dementedchord

    dementedchord Well-Known Member

    May 11, 2006
    $ .02

    Question about the DPA's you recommended... as i remember itlotsa their stuff runs at a considerably hotter bias ( phantom power) like 150V or somesuch thing... true on these???
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