Beginner Recording Setup

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by Christopher Jones, Apr 16, 2015.

  1. Christopher Jones

    Christopher Jones Active Member

    Apr 16, 2015
    Fort Smith
    Hello all,
    I am looking to enter the world of audio recordings: specifically, recording band/orchestral instruments either in an actual group or just as a solo. What is a good stereo matched pair of microphones that aren't expensive?
    I am also looking for a reasonable two to eight channel interface.
    Thank you for your replies!
  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Nov 25, 2012
    Akron/Cleveland, OH
    Home Page:
    Your statement is somewhat oxymoronic... In that you're asking for a "good" matched pair of mics for stereo use, and then following that up with... "that aren't expensive".

    Good gear is never cheap and that goes for everything connected to professional audio recording, but especially with microphones.

    Although, it depends on what your definition of "good" is. It also depends on what your definition of "inexpensive" is.

    A "Good" mic - for the application(s) that you have stated - to this room of audio engineers, would be something like an AKG 414, which is an LD (large Diaphragm) condenser mic.... or, if you preferred an SD condenser mic, the Neumann KM 184 is also a good mic, and for either of those, you're looking at a price of around $800 - $1000 each. You may be able to save a little if you purchase them in set pairs, as opposed to purchasing them one at a time.
    For what you want to do, you don't want to mismatch LD's with SD's though.

    Great mics, such as those made by Schoeps, can easily run anywhere between $1500 - $3500 ... each.

    Cheap mics are out there... by the boatload. They are plentiful. You can get some for as low as $50. But, the quality of these are what you would expect them to be for the price.

    By and large, as with anything else, you get what you pay for. Buy good one time -as opposed to replacing or upgrading several times down the road. The mics mentioned above, treated right, will continue to be good mics, are useful for virtually any professional recording application, and 20 years from now, you're still going to like them, because they're still going to work, and they're still going to sound good.

    If you want to record in stereo, you'll need a multichannel preamp/audio interface... at least 2 channels. If you want to eventually get into multi mic arrays - such as XY pairs with additional omni room mics to capture the environment, you'll need a model that provides 4 channels or more, depending on what you are doing and what you want to accomplish.

    Preamp/I-O qualities vary widely, with factors for consideration like the amount of gain the pre can provide to the mic ( which matters depending on the mics you use, as dynamic mics and ribbon mics require more gain than condenser mics do), the quality of the converters, the format of the digital connection (USB, FireWire, Thunderbolt or even proprietary) the number of outputs, balanced vs. unbalanced on the line inputs, headphone jack(s), phantom power for condenser mics, polarity reversal, Hi-Pass Filtering ... and the overall quality in the design and build of the unit.

    Again, if you provide us with your budget, we can be of more assistance and make recommendations accordingly, as there are many different makes and models available.

  3. Christopher Jones

    Christopher Jones Active Member

    Apr 16, 2015
    Fort Smith
    Hello, thank you very much for your quick response.

    I am a student pressed for money, so I've only got about $1,000 to spend on a setup. I realize I'm not going to get the best quality this way, but I'm just looking to get my feet wet in learning the ins and outs of how it works.
  4. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

    Feb 21, 2013
    Quebec, Canada
    Home Page:
    Quite frankly, audio quality can't be better than the weakest part of the signal path. 1000$ to record a band is very tight. You can either go for quantity cheap, or not enough quality mics. let alone the interface.
    Having just a few mics for a whole band (1 omni or a stereo pair) is great when you have a room that sounds good. if you are in your untreated basement, the room ambiance alone could ruin your recording. That's one reason that someone like me with a far from ideal space to record is doing fairly good recording with close mics techniques.

    Have you tought of renting mics and buying just a good interface?
  5. phatbeatstudio

    phatbeatstudio Active Member

    May 18, 2015
    I would recommend a cheap digi002 003 interface or Motu 2408.
    Get a matched pair of Rode NT5 or buy 2 shure ksm27 is even better and cheaper.
    You can get all this on ebay or craigs list for about 600/750 used.
    Do not even waist your money on cheap studio monitors just use your stereo if possible.
    You will like the Shure ksm27, for 140 each used you can not go wrong on a low cost budget project.

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