monitors or better mics?

Discussion in 'Monitoring' started by tr3eman9, May 3, 2008.

  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

  1. tr3eman9

    tr3eman9 Guest

    hi everyone, first post, joined specifically to ask this question:

    im just a high school kid trying to record his band, i've recorded my other bands before in a sort of hap-hazard way, but i want to do this upcoming EP a little better. I do intend on staying involved in music production after high school so any expensive purchases i might now aren't as much of a waste as they will seem for a high school band, becaus i will use them later. Other wise i'd just use what we already have.

    So. My question is, given about a $400 budget, maybe 450, what's more important:
    -Getting some nicer condenser mics (we already have a bunch of SM57s, an SM58, and acceptable drum mics)
    -Getting real studio monitors (we dont really have any now)
    -Splitting the $400-450 between both nicer mics and monitors

    What we already have for a setup:
    The mics i listed above
    A PV20 16-channel mixer (well, really 20 channels, you know how it works)
    A MOTU 8pre audio interface, i dont really see any need for it since the mixer acts as an audio interface
    Garageband software (perfectly acceptable for us)
    No mic preamps besides those in the mixer
    Some crappy headphones
    Some pretty crappy, normal, computer speakers

    Right now basically to mix music I use my house's surround sound system, which is at least detailed sound quality, although obviously not flat/honest sound reproduction since its primary use is for movies, CDs, etc.

    My basic question is should I spend the money to get a decent condenser mic, for recording vocals, acoustic guitar, bla bla bla (I'm the vocalist and rhythm guitarist), or would my money be better spent on some legitimate studio monitors? Or could I split the money between them? keep in mind I could use the stereo amp i already have, to power some monitors, so I could get passive monitors and bring down the price a bit (right?).

    Obviously i can eventually buy which ever one i dont later on, but most likely, whichever one i decide, ill have to live with for at least an EP.

    If that's too confusing, sorry, i just wanted to make sure you understood my situation.

    Thanks and I look forward to being a part of this community!
  2. tr3eman9

    tr3eman9 Guest

    oh, also, reccomendations for specific mics/monitors/whatever is good too. thanks!
  3. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    Acoustics and monitors first, IMO. I get acceptable sound out of PG58s and BrandX XM5s (these were available for $25 each recently) so mics aren't a concern for me anyway (Church band).

    A quick search for "monitors" on this site, and maybe throw in "$400" or just set the search to the budget gear forum, should give you some suggestions.

    The mix location is important too. Where do you want to mix? Ideally you want a non-square room with not too much clutter, and get some stuff up to improve the room acoustics.
  4. tr3eman9

    tr3eman9 Guest

    as far as room acoustics, etc., im pretty much stuck with the normal rooms in my house as they are, most likely i'll use my basement TV room or something. not really worth it for this type of project.

    eventually, obviously, ill need a mixing room, etc., but for right now im a high school kid, i'll deal. besides, the music is pretty rough-and-tumble, very Nuggets-esque, big Stooges and MC5 influence, very raw (hopefully). In fact we're recording the drums and lead guitar in my garage to get a big wet sound.

    I think what I'll do, is go to the store and check out different condenser mics and monitors, how they sound, and evaluate from there. But what would make the most sense would be to get an AT2020 mic, which is supposedly pretty a pretty decent and versatile large-diaphragm condenser for $99, and then spend the rest in monitors. Unless some more expensive mics (I'm going to check out the Rode NT1-A, AKG Perception 220, Blue Bluebird, others) really convince me, then maybe ill buy those and keep saving for some monitors.

    Hey, ultimately it comes down to the music, right? And no one who is ever going to hear this EP will know the difference (unless we get lucky!)

    but, any other input would be greatly appreciated.
  5. tr3eman9

    tr3eman9 Guest

    last question (yeah right)

    could i get away with using some nicer headphones instead of monitors? could i spend $150 on headphones and hope to get anything that will give me some sort of accuracy of the mix?
  6. multoc

    multoc Active Member

    Jun 18, 2005
    You'd want to mix with monitors, but who knows you could go to a garage sale and getl ucky like i did and find some decent speakers. I mix with (circa early 90's) Design Acoustics with new woofers, and look for my mixes and they turn out just fine, tho that could be because I've tuned my ears towards them and finding out how 'flat' sounds on them.
  7. Piccadilly

    Piccadilly Guest

    I've got some Mackie MR5's that work beautifully (for my price range anyway) that, if you haggle with the salesman, you can get for just under $300. You'd probably have enough left over after that for a decent condenser, but if you already have some, you may as well spend the whole $400 the monitors.
  8. Sheehan-J

    Sheehan-J Guest

    I bet Remy will recommend the KRK RP5 monitors. They're small, inexpensive, and she seems to like them. I have the RP8's which I love, so I'd recommend the RP (rokit powered) line of monitors. If you look through craigslist, I'm sure you could find a deal.
  9. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    Another vote for monitors over mics. The 57s and 58s are good mics. The only thing I'd use budget condensers for in place of them would be drum overheads and acoustic guitar. I think a 58 is better for most vocals that any budget condenser I've heard. And 57s will do a good job at acoustic guitar. I still use it live all the time even with pretty good condensers available.

    On the other hand, even within your budget monitors will make it much easier for you to improve your mixes. An acoustic guitar recorded with a 57 and EQed correctly is going to sound better than one recorded with a condenser and EQed badly because you were listening to it on headphones or a consumer stereo system designed to hype the low and high end.
  10. tr3eman9

    tr3eman9 Guest

    you truly think these would be worth it, even if they sell for just $200 for a pair of RP5s and $340 for RP8s? I've heard that you really get what you pay for with monitors more than any other type of equipment. Do you think buying a pair of these would really be worth it?

    This would be great as it would save me a few bucks to spend on a new mic, either somehting like a Audio Technica AT2020 or a SM58 or 57 since its actually my drummer who owns all the mics we have.
  11. Crankitup

    Crankitup Guest

    I'll recommend some AKG headphones for mixing. I have a pair of AKG K271 Studio headphones, and my mixes are turning out great. I think you can find them for around $130 or $140 on eBay. Also, maybe instead of investing in more mics, invest in one decent mic preamp. I think you'll hear more of a difference in quality if you go that route
  12. Audiol0gic

    Audiol0gic Guest

    I say go out and buy a decent set of headphones and figure out how to get a good mix on them.. your room acoustics aren't perfect.. so monitors in your case might not represent what you'd want it to.
    and train train train your ears my friend....

    you can monitor and mix on anything with an awesome set of ears...
    I own pair of audio technica ATH m40 fs and I love them to death. they mix beautifully

    as for the sm57's they speak for themselves.. industry standard mics pic up nicely with little effort really.. just put a few where its most important,, i.e. the snare, kick, and two overheads to blend..

    thats about the best youre gonna do with a budget like that... you need good monitors, but if you cant mic for $*^t, its never going to sound good. Your first goal should be to just walk around the kit while the drummer plays and put your ear up to things and put the mic where it sounds best to your ear... you need a foundation for your mix, and how you mic things can make or break a recording.
  13. Sheehan-J

    Sheehan-J Guest

    You need to get Remy's take on the RP5's, however I have thoroughly enjoyed my RP8's. Really, you can get good mixes out of most monitors, its just learning how they reference other material in your room and translating that to your own mixes. A large part of getting a good mix from any monitors is having an acoustically well-treated room, or at least knowing the sonic deficiencies of your room as is, and adjusting your mix appropriately. The RP8's are clean and clear and have good bass response. They look nice, they're powered, they have a variety of input connectors (RCA, TRS, XLR) and not only that, they're pleasant to listen to. I use them to play music in the studio when we're just hanging out. The only flaw I've seen with mine so far is that the plastic surrounding the woofer and tweeter has sort of 'come unstuck' but a little superglue fixed that right up. With that said, they're my first and only pair of monitors I've played in my room so far, so use my opinion as you wish. For the price though, they're a great deal, IMO.
  14. leftajarandy

    leftajarandy Guest

    Get monitiors.

    I spent months trying to mix my bands demo with it constantly sounding "different" (ie worse) on other peoples speakers. Hi-Fi speakers are designed to make the music sound "better" and usually have some eq already so your then mixing to your own speakers and not a default image.

    I've got some Tannoy 5A's and they really made my job 500000x easier. I take them to other peoples systems and they sound miles better instead of worse!.

    Deffo get monitors.
  15. jonny9720

    jonny9720 Guest

    Ok. your using a Peavey PV20 for all your recording when you have a MOTU DAW sitting around doing nothing!

    Are you insane!

    You will get a great sound out of the MOTU and since you can record the tracks individually. you can then create a better easyer mixdown!

    oh and by the way... go for monitors... 57&58 will do all the stuff you need for now and you will still get a good sound out of them..
  16. tr3eman9

    tr3eman9 Guest

    yeah, johnny, im going to use the MOTU, only use the PV20 for submixing some probably unnecessary tom and cymbal mics, mostly to appease the drummer.

    and yeah im gonna get monitors...when i get anything (someday).

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