Best 2 Mics for Home Studio

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by cosmo, May 15, 2005.

  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

  1. cosmo

    cosmo Guest


    I'm in the process of setting up my first home studio and need some assistance in choosing the most suitable mics for recording mainly acouctic guitar vocals. First of all, I live in a place where the choice of mics is very limited and I would have to trust a pro's opinion and then purchase them online.

    I've done a lot of reading on the web to find the most suitable mic, but as the case with other equipment it all boils down to personal preference. I have a budget of $600-800 for each mic and have considered the following models:

    Sennhieser MD 441
    AKG C414b

    I will use them mostly to record guitar and vocals simultanoulsy but will occasionally record other instruments like the flute, piano and percussion. I've based my decision mainly on the reviews I've read saying these mics give somewhat a warm and vintage sound. Which is what i'm looking for as apposed to bright and crystal clear.

    The sound on Beck's - Sea Change closely match's what I'm looking for. I know this could be a rather subjective topic but I'd appreciate any opinion. Thanks.
  2. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    I would not have described the 414 as a ... warm and vintage sound.

    and I think you find there are a few models in that range

    I'm probably confusing current models with discontinued models ... but hey ...check the various models

    The 441 is an old faithfull workhorse
  3. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    get the c414 xLII
  4. cosmo

    cosmo Guest

    Thanks maintiger, Kev... I believe the c414 xLII sells for around $2000 which is way over my budget. I'd rather spend it on other gear...

    Any other suggestions?....
  5. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Good choices, all!

    The AKG C414B comes in two models - XLS(Formerly ULS) and XLII(Formerly TLS - Trans-Former-Less). The XLS is the "flatter" of the two, the standard version, as it were, used for almost everything for many years. The XLII, is said to be tailored specifically to vocal use, frequency-wise. You'd really have to try them - in the same place, at the same time to see which might be "perfect" for you... That said, if I was just getting one, I'd still get the XLS, and use it for my vocals(Or about anything else), no problem.

    Far as a dynamic, I'd likely go with the Electrovoice RE-20(Simply what I like.), though the Sennheiser 421(sted 441) would be it's European counterpart and is preferred by some. The 441? Nice! But, look carefully(Listen if possible!), the 421 may be the one you want?

    With any good mic, make sure to get the factory shock mount(Which I believe is included, these days with the AKG's?). It's generally optional on the RE-20(And pricey, but worth it!).

    By the way, in the latest catalog/flyer, BSW(Others?) is offering a "free shockmount with 421 purchase", as well as what I believe is a low price...

    Approximate street prices:

    RE-20 -- 400 + 150 shockmount.
    SN 421 -- 350 to 400(Maybe with free SM.)
    AKG C414B -- 700 ULS, 800 XLS(Just 100 more. Both include SM.).

  6. JBsound

    JBsound Guest

    The 414 will probably me a little more versatile with the vox and acoustic guitar than the 441 would be.

    I would recommend getting the akg c414 b-xls version. It can be had for around $800 if you get a deal on it.
  7. dynomike

    dynomike Guest

    Beck's Sea Change, while a great album, is far from "warm and vintage" in sound. The acoustic guitar sounds great, but it's SUPER bright... and super loud, which a lot of people find kind of off-putting. The 414 is generally regarded as a fairly bright mic, but its not as bright as that acoustic. If you want to record acoustic guitar and vocals at the same time (with two different mics?) your 441 and 414 idea sounds alright, but you'll probably prefer the 414 on both vocals and acoustic.. then what?

    For the instruments you're mentioning: "flute, piano, percussion, vocals, acoustic guitar" you're probably better off getting two different condensers, or perhaps a condenser and a ribbon mic. For $1500 you could really get 3 mics, used at least:

    1. akg 414 uls/xls
    2. at 4050
    3. beyer m160

    All of these are fairly versatile mics - the 414 of course being a standard, the 4050 being a more modern multi-pattern condenser which excels in similar applications to the 414, and the m160 being a hypercardoid ribbon mic - great rejection if you're recording 2 instruments at once, and sounds great on percussion/overheads.
  8. took-the-red-pill

    took-the-red-pill Active Member

    Jan 10, 2005
    Near Clagary
    Home Page:

    I too am in the same process of setting things up. After lurking and posting silly questions here for a few months, it seems to me that the guys are advocating big money on pres and lesser on mics, but that's just my impression.

    So what if you were to score the multi pattern Rode NT2A, as your LDC for $400 and get a pair of KEL HM-1's at $100 each to cover the smaller condenser stuff, then you'd have more $ for pres? Apparently Studio Projects mics are getting good reviews too, and they're cheap like borsht.

    I have a very old all tube pre and it just seems to not matter much what mic I put in front of it, the results are excellent to my ears. Very happy am I.

    My 5 cents
  9. cosmo

    cosmo Guest

    Thanks guys ... I'm pretty convinced to get the 414.

    As for getting good mic pres Keith, I did get the same impression after doing some reading here and there.. Good mic preamps and okay mics will give you a decent sound ... I did consider getting a Focusrite Red 8 as they give excellent sound for recording acoustic guitars, but then I decided to go for the RME Fireface.

    RME has a good reputation for converters and their mic pres are amongst the best when it comes to interfaces.. although I'm sure they're not as good as the presonus, apogee, tube tech etc. single units.

    Now with that said, is the sound quality better when using an 'OK' mic with an excellent mic pre. or a 'GOOD' mic with an ordinary mic preamp?

    I suppose it all depends on the sound you'r looking for ....
  10. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Good pre? Good mic? Not possible to say. That's why we do the best we can, always. You might "pick a plan", and start from the inside to the outside or vice versa... I started at the computer, worked out to the sound card, and continue to upgrade as I get farther out the chain - at least I can sort've remember what I'm doing that way......

    I'd love to try an M160! From what I hear it would be a great 3rd. mic(Or 3rd. mic type.). The only ribbon I ever used was an RCA BK5, and it was n-i-c-e...

    Excellent condenser - excellent dynamic - excellent ribbon... In that order(?). Good plan. After that, an excellent tube mic... Interspersing pre purchases competent enough for each mic. A Grace, John Hardy(Or maybe one of those Sebatrons?) should be an excellent start for the first 3, at least, with a Pendulum Quartet or a Doug Fern, as we move up the ladder......

  11. omaru

    omaru Active Member

    Sep 8, 2004

    I'd go with this one too - or suggest you purchase a KEL HM 1 ( you will most definately use it somewhere - they are a great mic ) and give it a try.

    Good luck


Share This Page