LD Mic Choices

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by TheArchitect, Sep 18, 2005.

  1. TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Active Member

    Mar 26, 2005
    Looking at LD condensors for mostly instrumental pursposes although there could be some vocal applications.

    How does the group feel about these options in my short list?

    ADK Hamburg
    Rode NT1A
    Shure KSM27
    AT 4040
  2. Angstaroo

    Angstaroo Active Member

    Jul 1, 2005
    DeKalb, IL
    Home Page:
    I've been posting a lot about it lately, so I'll continue the trend.

    I've got a Shure KSM27, and every single day I kick myself for not spending just a little more and getting a Groove Tubes GT55, GT66, Rode NTK, BLUE Baby Bottle or BLUE Bluebird. That's not to say that the KSM27 is garbage, but the old adage is absolutely true: You get what you pay for. I just wish I would paid a little more and gotten a little more.

    The KSM27 is kinda wooly. I wish I could say it was "fat" or had "warmth", but the truth is that it just sounds thick in the low end. It's top end is very bright and clean, but it doesn't have much presence in the high-midrange area.. so what you end up with is kind of a smiley, scooped sound.. and I happen to prefer the opposite. It's actually brighter and warmer than it's big brother, the KSM32. I've not had a chance to compare it side-by-side with a KSM44 though.

    I've used my KSM27 on vocals, acoustic guitars, acoustic bass guitar, electric guitar cabinet miking, mono overhead, supplemental overhead, room miking, and I've used it to mic the strings of electric guitars and basses (to mix in some extra definition to amped sounds). It has worked best as a room mic and as an overhead for percussion, and worked really well for miking the strings of electrics. It picks up EVERYTHING in the room very well. I've got some scratch vocal tracks with all kinds of click, furnace/air conditioner, computer, and even cicada (from outside the house, yeah.. it was that loud) bleed. I generally don't use it on acoustic guitars anymore, because I really like the sound of a SD condenser better on them, but occasionally I'll distance mic with the KSM27 as well and use it for blending if the track's going to be enough of a focal point.

    It's a very versatile mic, and built like a brick. But it just doesn't sound "great". Again, you get what you pay for, and it's a good mic.. just not great. I like it better than my friend's KSM32s though, I will say that. They're a little more flat in response, but have the same sonic drawbacks as the KSM27, just not as emphasized.

    One thing to watch out for, and this happened to me, is the little rubber bands in the shockmount tend to dry out and crack over time of sitting on music store shelves and whatnot. If you get one, stretch them out and look at them. If they have cracks or separations, they're going to fail at some point. If they don't, get some silicone spray, armor all, or something else with silicone in it and protect them. Otherwise, you'll have to go on a hunt for replacements. I found out the hard way, when I came into the studio to find the shockmount only hanging from two bands. I replaced them with simple rubber o-rings from the hardware store, and I shouldn't have the same problem for years. But it's something I look for on -every- shockmount these days.

    And lastly, if you're actually still reading this far, and still want more information, here's a couple mp3s of my KSM27 in action. These are demos for an upcoming album of an original project I work with, so they're still pretty rough.. The KSM27 is on the vocals, acoustic guitars, room mic, and electric guitar cabinet miking on these tracks.

    http://www.angstaroo.com/audio/Soulvasq - 05 - Call It Something Else.mp3
    http://www.angstaroo.com/audio/Soulvasq - 12 - Before The Law.mp3

    Good luck in your choice!
  3. TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Active Member

    Mar 26, 2005
    Thanks for the detailed response on the KSM27. Very enlightening.

    Either here or on another board there was a blind test of 18 mics on voice in a blind test. I picked the KSM27 along with a U87, AKG C3000A and an SP B1 as my top 4. The Rode NT1A was 5th. the AT's and others weren't in the contest.

    A GC guy actually recommended the GT55 to me today. Need to find out more about it before final choices are made.
  4. Boltino

    Boltino Guest

    I'm a big fan of the AT 4040. I have a pair that I use on a lot of sources. It's a fairly transparent mic, so I can use it repeatedly on a project without everything sounding the same. I think they are a great buy. Good Luck!

  5. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    I have an NT1A and its a mic that sounds real good with a good pre- It sounds great with a brick, a grace a sytek, among others. When you pair it with a cheap pre (like behringer, ART) it sounds very thin and shrilly. Now if you get a NT2A, that's another story. The NT2A has the capsule of the K2 and that is a very good mic.
  6. TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Active Member

    Mar 26, 2005
    Well, The Brick, is my preamp of choice so that sounds promising. In a pinch the pre's in my mackie are 2nd in line.

    My buddy has an AT4033a which is available to me at any time so I will probably not go with the 4040. The ADK is very intriguing to me but I haven't had an opportunity to try it or even hear a clip of it.
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    The ADK line of mics is in a word Surprising. Its unusal to find a complete line that almost every mic has a very defined and quality sound at an affordable price..... Audio Technica is another. The 4040 and the 4033 are different animals so having acess to one doesnt mean you will have the sound of the other.

    Google for 'the listening sessions' I think Dan has some clips of the ADK's. I really like em.

    Theres one thing I can say about your list. If you had one of each, you would have a very decent mic collection for not a lot of money.While I'm not an NT1 fan ..mainly for the very reasons that Xman stated, I am a fan of all the others. That 'wooley' sound as described about the Shure is somewhat true. I've used one a few times and never was overly hyped about em but thought they were a good quality mic that would find its way into some sessions and some not.

    Of all those mics, the chances of using one on every recording session with multiple instruments would go first to the 4040 and then to the ADK with the NT1 being last.

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