Cheap(ish) vocal microphone

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by Isaac Adni, May 5, 2016.

  1. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Distinguished Member

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    Lol. Don't get me started bro.

    From what I could gather with these clones is the hard part is finding the parts. Oem stuff is not cheap even if it's available. Heck half the parts on 'real' ones aren't oem or original spec for one reason or another.

    That's where the electronics expertise comes in. Someone like boz or Danny zellman would know what sufficient substitutes there are.

    But all that aside, it'd still be super fun even if it wasn't very close to an original or current design. They just look so cool!! And it's bound to outperform many budget compressors.

    They have some really cool point to point wired versions which seen more simple to make since you don't need a circuit board, and forgiving if your like me and melt stuff!!!

    I've been planning for some time to make a lot of my OB. It wasn't until Marco made his mics that I even knew it was realistically possible. I'm gonna start w an ISA 828 cuz it's a steal for 2k on Amazon and it's got digital outs. Plus I know it's good and works.

    Jave any of you checked out the 7th circle audio stuff? It has a real good reputation.
     
  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    I think our collective love for great gear comes more from our own personal preferences and our passion for our craft, than it does as an actual "business investment" anymore.

    So yeah, if "The Wizard" appeared to me, and dropped a million dollars into my lap tomorrow, I could buy a Neve, Trident, SSL or other hi end LF desk - along with some great OB gear and mics - and doing so would please me - and perhaps some professional friends of mine who share my love for the craft - but that investment is not gonna make me any money, or at least not any more money than what I'm barely able to squeeze out of clients now.

    Too many big studios are closing their doors these days, and it should be an alarm bell for those who are convinced that building a pro studio is a good idea as a business ... because if the big, established, beautiful studios, with track records of hits and gold and platinum records on their walls can't pay their bills anymore - and being located in the big entertainment mecca metro areas that they are ( Nashville, LA, NYC, Toronto, etc.) - then what would make me think that I could do any better?
    I'm certainly not going to be able to be any more successful in NE Ohio, where very little happens in the music biz any more, and where I don't have a backlog of engineering or production credits on hits that people can listen to.

    That doesn't mean I wouldn't like nice gear for me. Of course I would. I do miss tactile mixing, and there's certainly a sonic magic to pro analog ... but buying something like a Neve desk, or having a collection of sweet mics and a rack of excellent OB gear, would really only be a personal indulgence that satisfied the audiophile in me.

    It would be foolish and naive of me to think that I'd be able to recoup even a small percentage of that kind of investment through client revenue, at least in my geographic locale.

    The other futile battle would be expecting your "typical" clients to be able to even hear the difference between something like a Behringer mixer and a Neve or SSL ... that's far too high of an expectation, because most people can't.
    It's not as much that they "won't", it's more that they can't. There's no doubt that we can hear the differences, but that's because we've all been honing our ears for decades, because it's just what we do.

    Some clients - although very few, I think - might be able to discern the differences - but then, you gotta be able to turn that awareness into actual revenue, and that's where it gets tough, because music has been so devalued over the past several years, that few people are willing to pay for quality that they know the vast majority of music consumers won't be able to hear, or, for that matter, really even care about.

    FWIW
    -d.
     
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  3. miyaru

    miyaru Active Member

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    +1 for Donny Thompson........ No one in the chain of music wants to spend a cent. Music can be downloadloaded for "free". Software can be hacked and spread for "free". I'm a guy who spends money on buying music, music software etc. I see the value of things around me in my studio, altough being a small studio - not to say mini. If I had more money to spend, I would buy more expensive monitors and mics to start with. But not extreme as it has no use in a mini studio. But I would buy Adam A7x monitors and a Neumann U87 to start with.

    Then again, for an hobbyist studio, I'm well equipted. Revenue is not a concern for me, altough if I would do an external project, I would ask some money for it. Maybe to give a signal that not all is for "free"!

    Robin.
     
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  4. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    People that have untrained ears won't ! It's true, but it's not to say that if presented both sound they won't choose the highend one.

    I think we discredit people too much. The better exemple is the difference of a tight band with a drummer who plays in the Pocket vs one that doesn't
    People won't say ; hey that drummer isn't tight. But they might not be incline to dance or enjoy the show as much.
    You know, they get the feeling something isn't right even if they can't say what.

    I think sound quality is the same, specially with our customers who are musicians.
     
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  5. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    It certainly is one of the factors that separates really high quality gear from the upper levels of the next class down.

    I was involved some years ago with the design of a no-compromise high cost piece of gear, and there was one section of it that had to have very low noise parts. The company's production department drew the line at having one of their assembly techs sitting at the measuring bench all day, so, in the end, I built them an automated test rig. Some batches of bought-in parts were reasonably good for noise and we could use maybe 30% of them, but one batch was terrible and we got fewer than 1 usable part in 100. It serves as an example of attention to design detail that makes the top gear (a) expensive and (b) better than most of the rest.
     
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  6. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Distinguished Member

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    I agree except in the case of a drummer, or someone who records drums often. Then an LF makes sense financially assuming you could afford the electricity, and maintenence.

    An ssl E series can be had for like 35k. That's a 32 channel desk.

    If you avg 16 channels of drums for recording. The cost of 16 decent preamps would be easily 16-20k. Add to that 16 ch of eq and it's another 16-20k, ditto for compressors. So that's somewhere in the realm of 45-80k.

    Now obviously nobody has that much OB eq or compression in standalone form. But when it's part of a LF console it's useful.

    That is the absolutely only justification I could see financially for a LF console.

    Typically even in the big studios I'm recording 1-4ch at once. At home it's about the same. The way I see it is once you have your basic pre amps flavored covered (transparent, transformer,tube) you've got generally enough to make competitive recordings. Especially if they're channel strips or include some eq. A couple of nice compressors go a long way. Between DBx, TLA, and UA, I've fulfilled most of my compression desires home and studio.

    If you've got 4-6 ch of eq compression and pres your cooking w some serious heat, especially at home. Now this isn't cheap either but it's something you can add with time, and purchase new or well taken care of. Vs console wich is all at once and likely heavily used commercially.

    Mics don't have to be expensive just good. I've got about 2k worth of shure mics on my list and some fat heads and one tube mic. I have no doubts I can make solid recordings with them.

    I think a lot of times the down industry is a bit of a cop out for people who know better not using better gear. Obviously you get what you can afford at any time or level, but just ' becuase everyone else is doing it' doesn't always mean it's right or a good reason.

    A perfect example is one time Chris (Audiokid) ran a 4 track mix of mine through his rig to show me something. There was an immediately noticeable 'something' about it that was better. Come to find out it was some high end gear. But there was an instant improvement that was otherwise unattainable with the mid level pro gear I was working with.


    True very true. It's shocking how well some people know there own material. I think a lot of them notice the difference between gear.

    I'm not sure how many would be willing to pay more for said gear or sound, but they'll happily use it if you do.

    The other angle is many people will see iconic things like UA or an Avalon in the pics of mags and call around or pick a studio just becuase they've got that. It's happened quite a few times at the studios.

    Freakin genius!!!'
     
  7. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

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    I see owning a few pieces of nice outboard similar to owning a few nice guitars. I would rather play a nice Gibson or Fender over a Samick for instance, as I'm sure we all would.

    I suppose it comes down to motive, if you are buying good outboard gear for yourself, I see it as investing in yourself and your music to acheive better outcomes sonically...this is the only real return on your investment you will see. An indugence, sure, but so too is that Gibson, or Fender, or stable of them.

    If you are owning good outboard gear to make money recording others as a return on that investment with a view of making a profit, then thats different.

    Really good outboard gear IMO will in most cases will see a good return at resale, and in some cases a profit, if the time ever comes...you only have to look at how the prices have jumped for things like LA-2A's, 1176's, LA-3's and the like since the mid 90's. I think you could say the same for most pieces found in any typical pro studio.

    When the switch to digital was happening you could pick up some classic outboard pieces starting from a couple of hundred dollars, but now the pendulum has swung back in a big way as the demand increases from those chasing an analog sound.

    I think the market price for pro outboard gear has grown due to more and more home or project studios starting to dip their toes into the pro-gear market and increasing the demand for classic outboard gear...this is only my opinion but this is how I see it.

    An example here in Australia I saw recently was a pair of silver faced Rev H 1176's from the late 70's which were advertised on ebay for $2600 each....thats $5200 for the pair, with 30-odd people watching so there was a lot of interest. As the demand for these pieces increases, supply decreases and in that market a seller can ask what they want as it becomes a case of not what a piece of gear is really worth, but more a case of what someone is prepared to pay for it in the current market.

    Like most of us I'm sure, I would like to have a nice array of outboard gear to choose from, but in todays' market for me price is the prohibiting factor for classic pieces and if you are not looking at it from a business sense with a return on investment, which in this market is near impossible to come buy, then you are really only doing it for yourself.
     
  8. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Distinguished Member

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    Really it's the computer based hardware that offers no long term return. That's just 'cost of doing buisness' column in the tax reports. But you account for that depreciation.

    Look at how many big studios held on the digi 192s. It took a while. I heard some big studio manager (female for get her name) say they upgrade the computers every two years!!!!!!

    The problem with a mid level pro studio like the ones I work at is while the rooms are fantastic, the mid level peices don't do them justice. It's when you plug our good stuff in the equation becomes balanced.

    And frankly with an average band and me an average engineer it's difficult to outperform the end result by much, relative to a typical studio. Impossible by a cost vs benefit perspective. But that killer room and gear and monitoring does lend a better result. A result otherwise un attainable.

    As newly obsessed w the antelope Orion 32+, I think I've found a level of conversion that's truly professional but not grossly priced. As far as coversion goes it's a good place to be as a working professional. I think at least.

    With computers you'll get more Milage out of a Xeon level computer like a couple years. But really 2 i7 computers in succession would give you better performance over time for the same or less money.

    Basically the 1/2-3/4 mark seems to be the point of significant diminishing returns on electronics.

    With hardware. It's a long term asset and I don't think buying high end is a losing proposition. It won't necessarily make you much more but it does perform at a much higher level the whole time, and when it's time to sell you have something worth something. Even my old ART mpa pre amp sill sells for over %50 of its new retail price.


    The real big problem w hardware, when in be owns a bad investment, is when the cheap overseas stuff actually performs as well as the high end stuff.

    If you could convince a major brand like presonus for example to use boz's auto tester for components, and toss the bad ones, that's a real problem for neve and ssl Ect. Becuase they have the buying power and market share to sell to. A presonus 1176 could easily sell for $500, and with a slight hit at profit ratio, sound every bit as good.
     
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  9. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    Well in a sens they do pay for it. This is why I charged 10$ an hour when I was recording with a peavey mixer and now 30$ an hour with 6 UA preamp and 8 ISA and a way better mic collection...
    It's just that less will do it because few knows there is a difference !
     
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  10. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Distinguished Member

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    Interesting. My first paying gig I charged 5 bucks a song using a 4 track and sound blaster, w house no name drums.

    I've been working at the comercial places for the last 6 years so I'm really out of touch w the home studio cost/benefits. At those places it's basically trying to pay off construction and operating costs. While getting 55-75 an hour outa someone...

    Home I'll own everything.

    Btw I found a new ISA 828 for $2k on Amazon. Seller has been doing it for a while at that price. Think I've decided on that unit for a good starter preamp for the big rig.

    Hearing yours thru some solid mics was the second time I went 'ooooo' that's nice and the ISA had been involved. First time was a 57 at GC some dude had recorded who worked there. I think it gets a bad rap in big places as being 'pro Sumer' cuz of the price tag, but frankly I think it holds its own against any of the better pres I've used. Besides calrec but that's got eq and is vintage.
     
  11. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    Good for you K ! Was the AD converter included ? it's a great option if your interface have adat inputs..

    It's true that the ISA are not on the top lists often.
    Thing is, they come from a good transformer based design that was made by none other than Rupert Neve !! Must mean something right? ;)
    What I like about them is the 80db of noise free gain !! You can record a classical guitar with a ribbon mic any day !
    Now I sound like a seller which I'm not.. I just love those preamps ;)
     
  12. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Distinguished Member

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    No the ad option is not included. But basically adding the card equals 2500 total which is the retail price for the 828 alone usually.

    I think the ad option is a pretty useful option to have, and the coversion I'm sure is just fine.

    Classical guitar w a ribbon!? Now that sounds fun man!
     
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  13. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    Got to get our eyes open for deals these days !
    Did you know I got my ISA 428 mk1 brand new (store demo never plugged) for 1k CAD = 770USD
    I didn't know at the time but the store was gonna close a few months afterward. Dawm, I should have tryed to deal me a few mics !! ;)
     
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  14. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

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    I need to keep my eyes open, you guys sound like you have both picked up some nice toys with these ISA's (y)
     
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  15. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Distinguished Member

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    Holy crap that's like half price!!!


    For the record I haven't bought mine yet. It's gonna show when the baseman studios dusty work is done sometime in the next 6-12 months.
     
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  16. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    Thing is I was very happy to find a new mkI because it has VU meter and the mkII doesn't... (it might have played on the price too)
     
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  17. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Distinguished Member

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    What a score! Those VU meters up the coolness factor so much. I always wondered why the omitted them in mk2.

    Are you using the ADC card on either of yours?

    And also is the input impede nice variable or stepped?

    I notice the 828 uses a selector button instead of knob for impedance. The impedance seems toget mentioned in all the ads / product descriptions. Do you find a useful or significant difference among the settings? My art had Variable impedence but was really tough to distinguish a difference even at the extremes.
     
  18. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    I got the UA 4-710 first so I'm using the converter in it (which has 8 channel ; 4 for the onboard preamps and 4 for external)
    This going via adat to my FF800 makes a great team.

    They are stepped :
    KF3.jpg
     
  19. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Distinguished Member

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    Nice I forgot about the UA. How you like that think compared to the ISA?

    Does the impedence knob do much on the ISA jw.
     
  20. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    The ISA preamps have a clean and solid sound with more gain. But with the compressor and solid state to tube knob, the UA have many sound posibilities. I love it on toms and over heads...
    If I had to start over, I could live with 16 ISA !! ;)..
    But my current mix of flavor setup does a good job so I'm keeping it that for now
     
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