My Mic Closet - anything missing?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by idiophone, Jun 26, 2005.

  1. idiophone

    idiophone Guest

    I'm going through the mics, trying to fill holes. Here's what I have:

    421 (4)
    57s (lots)
    414 (pair)
    BLUE Mouse
    BLUE Ball
    451 (w/ CK1 cap - pair)
    Earthworks SRO (pair)
    Crown PZM (the good one - I forget the model)
    Beta 57A

    Other than ribbons (which I sold because I never used) what's missing?

    Specifically, I'm looking for a vocal mic that doesn't sound like a U87. Something good for nasal singing with a bit of a sheen to it. The RE20 is currently the go-to mic for guys like this (and occasionally the 441, believe it or not), and I'll continue to use it because it's awesome, but I want the option of something without that closed top that dynamics have. I know I lack a tube mic, so your recommendations might need to start there, though I do have a 2-610 for "warmth", so it's not essential that I have one, IMO.

    Budget is below three grand. I'm totally willing to buy used, and would prefer it, since it will probably save me a month's rent. Brand name is somewhat of a factor, but people are beginning to trust me to put up what I know sounds best. Quality is definitely a factor.

  2. chriscavell

    chriscavell Guest

    I'd recommend the Lawson combo deal with the fet body, tube body, L47 capsule, and L251 capsule. The variations available through that package should cover around 95% of your vocal duties.

    Cost iirc is around 3400 USD new.
  3. mcguin

    mcguin Guest

    We just got our KORBY Kat4 - unbelievable - while you won't get the complete setup for your budget, i have recently seen 2 - a Kat1 and Kat2 go for about your price. Check around.
  4. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2004
    Quakertown PA
    Id, So you've found the RE20 to be a great mic for nasaly male vocalists. I've been searching for a mic for this since I suffer from this problem in the higher registers. I never thought to try the RE20. I haven't used one in many years but I guess I'll have to pick one up.

    Chris, any suggestions from you on other mics for this problem? $3400 is way out of my budget (personal studio) but I could swing $1000+ if it gets me the vocal sound I'm looking for.

    Might the AT 4047 work?
  5. JBsound

    JBsound Guest

    I haven't compared it to the RE20, but the 4047 works pretty well to tame the high end. It's got the whole "vintage but modern" thing going on. Plenty of clarity, but it's noticably different from the multitude of hyped condensers out there. I love mine.
  6. JBsound

    JBsound Guest

    I also want to agree with Chris about the Lawson. I've got the L47 tube and it is a wonderful mic. I'd like to get a FET body for mine at some point and possibly the 251 capsule. It would make for a versatile microphone system. attention to Chris's comments...this guy knows his stuff.
  7. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2004
    Quakertown PA
    Thanks JB, I'll put the 4047 on the short list also.

    Yes he does!
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    BigD...I would add to the 4047,ADK TT,and a Rode Classic...Warm and clear.Budget is right too.............
  9. chriscavell

    chriscavell Guest

    I'm the oddball non-fan of AT and Rode mics in general. (Although the Rode opinion has less to do with their sound, and more to do with the market at present.)

    Honestly, judging by the description...if I were in a session situation I'd be hunting down a vintage Norelco C12 to rent. (or similar: vintage 251 or very early brass capsule AKG C12, C24, or at the very least a 414eb with a brass cap.)

    None of those would get rid of the nasal quality...instead they'd shape it into something that sounds more intentional and therefore a bit more flattering.

    However, all of those are probably a bit out of budget except on the rental scene. (Actually, C24's come up from time to time on ebay for FAR LESS than C12's surprisingly. If you spot one, contact the owner to find out about the condition, create a clause for return if it turns out to be in poor condition, and gobble it up straight away. Even if the body is shot, the capsules could be a gold mine find if in usable/restorable condition.)

    But, what about the low budget issue...okay...I'll let you in on my secret swiss army knife...extremely low budget and comes with Baskin Robbins 31 flavors: made by ADK, the Generis GT-2.

    It's a 9 pattern remotely selectable true dual di tube mic from ADK that can often be found around $300 to $350 retail. It is by no means a phenomenal mic by anyone's standards, but when you can't seem to find the right mic (sound-wise) to match a source, this thing and it's 10 flavors to browse through can usually get you pretty close and definitely in the usable range.

    The first thing to do if you get one is to put it in figure 8, drape a heavy moving blanket over a boom stand behind the mic, and another behind your head, and decide which side of the capsule suits you best. If it's the rear side (the negative polarity side of the fig-8 ), open her up and flip the capsule around (or have a tech do it for you, or send it to ADK asking them to do it).

    As is, it's got 10 flavors really, all nine positions and the backside in fig 8.

    I don't think you'll find that level of variety or versatility in another mic anywhere under $1500 at the bare bottom...and this thing's only around $300 to $400.

    I like the ADK-TT, but I personally find it somewhat better suited to acoustic instruments, but works pretty good on vox too.

    Thanks for loaning your gear to Jon for that couple of days...It was difficult to mix to say the least. I can't imagine what a chore it would have been on this end had you not lent him a hand in the gear department.

    Regarding your Lawson:
    The lawson tube body is a virtual identical clone of the C12/Ela M 251 circuitry, and as such really doesn't sound anything like a real 47 (original or nuvistor) when used with the L47 head. To really hear it shine, you've got to get your hands on the L251 head. With the FET body, the L47 head is a darn good match...not really the same as the old PVC capsules used in the originals, but a damn fine mic nevertheless. I typically use the 251 w/ tube body for vocals and instruments in need of both warmth and shimmer, and use the 47 w/ fet body for voiceovers and instruments that require accuracy. In terms of vintage "clones", the L251 head+tube body combo is probably the best bang for the buck available today. Nothing really compares to the originals in good condition, but it's a mic setup that'll give any in that price range a run for their money today.

  10. idiophone

    idiophone Guest

    That Lawson was a brilliant suggestion. I hadn't thought of that, but I know Lawson mics are tip-top.

    That Korby might work, too. I've admired those mics for a while. I want to wait and get the KAT-4 if I get that one, though.

    If my clientele keeps improving, I'll be ready to jump on the Lawson (maybe the Korby) by Christmas.

    Thanks, fellas.

  11. BDFitz

    BDFitz Active Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Lake Arrowhead
    Home Page:
    The Lawson is great and I've heard very good things about the KAT-4 recently but again $3 grand!!

    For your specific vocal requirement I rate the cascade ($499) v55 over:

    Neumann TLM103, RODE NTK, RODE CLASSIC, RODE NTV, AKG 414, GT55, GT66, and the Royer R-121 (personal use)
  12. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Again great takes Chris. I agree with you 126.8% on the usability of the ADK TT on acoustic instruments. Recently I've been auditioning mics for the upcoming new record, and on the mandolin,banjo and acoustic guitar it really shines. I recorded several tracks (same part) of an acoustic guitar, and was very happy with the ability to separate them and for the lack of freqency buildup and creation of mud in that context. For my vocalist it was outstanding. I didnt like it as much as I thought I would on my voice or as a backing harmonies mic. It was a bit too intimate for the chorus. I always wind up tracking the backing vox with an ATM 61 HE anyway. Hope you've had a chance to hear this little gem of a mic. We use em live also. And you are really on the mark with that particular Generis mic. But now the cats outta da bag!

    So what is your opinion of the Neuman TLM 170? I've used it a bit but not in a lot of context. I'd like to know more about your beef with Rode. I have a chance to get a Classic (the original one) at a decent price and am wondering. I will get to audtion it quite a bit but would like some insight. Email me eh.....
  13. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2004
    Quakertown PA
    Dave, as always thanks for the great advice. I'll be in center city tomorrow and right around the corner from 8th street music so I'll try to audition the TT and Classic and a 414 and RE20 as well. You Da Dog!

    Chris, awesome write up. Thanks for taking the time. I will check out the Generis as soon as I locate one. I was wondering, I have always liked the 414's (never owned one) and you mentioned the EB. How similar or disimilar are the EB's to say the ULS? I ask because if I can get close with a ULS it might be a great pickup for the mic locker.

    Thanks again gentleman for all your help
  14. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    Houston, TX
    I haven't used it, but JJ Blair over at PSW/REP HIGHLY recommends the Langevin CR-2000 in this price range (I think it is like $700 or less).

    This may be my next LDC. As far as its effect on harsh or nasaly vocalists - I couldn't tell you... Just bringing this Langevin Mic into the picture for consideration...

    Whas-sup, D?

  15. chriscavell

    chriscavell Guest

    Dave, check your mail. :wink:


    The 414 has a long twisted history. Here's a rough (and probably really forgive me if I'm off in spots) breakdown:

    Norelco C12 (similar in look to a 414, but tube, not solid state...squarish...different suffixes distinguish fixed or variable pattern)
    AKG buys Norelco's audio division and manufacturing plant in the area
    AKG releases the first C12 under the AKG name - looks pretty much identical to the original/similar to the 414 we know of today
    AKG releases the first solid state version of the C12, the 414, which is made of plastic and has awful RF interference issues
    AKG releases the familiar tube shaped C12 for a short time while various revisions to the 414 take place...switch to a metal housing, a few revisions to the electronics...eventually leading to the EB model.

    Up to this point, all of these capsules were identical...but then they ran out...and realized they'd never be able to recreate them, and even stop servicing them after a time. They stop manufacturing the 414's and C12's alltogether after making a small run with plastic/teflon mounting rings for the capsules instead of the original brass mounting rings.

    AKG increasingly automates manufacturing processes...goes almost entirely to surface mount componentry where possible.

    In an attempt to further decrease costs and in some cases improve the clarity/non-coloration of the circuitry, almost do away entirely with transformer based designs.

    Due to popular demand, the C12 VR was created. Awful. A ridiculously sibilant capsule sounding absolutely nothing like the original. That's all I'll say about that.

    People were ticked...and wanted what they reminisced about...they split the 414 line into two halves, both transformerless now: the ULS and the TLII. The ULS was an attempt at recreating what the public thought the capsule should sound like, and the TLII is what AKG thinks the capsule should have always sounded like (and used the same reissue capsule used in the C12 VR). Neither are really anywhere near as good as the EB. But, the ULS is generally considered an acceptable and very versatile mic despite this fact.

    Maybe a year ago - the ULS and TLII are dropped to be replaced by teh XLS and XLII. Again, following a similar logic to the prior model. However, these are FAR better at their intended purpose than the previous model. I can honestly say that most guys who were active when they dropped the EB have been waiting what, a good 20 years for them to come out with the XLS.

    I'd go with an XLS if you can afford it...but the ULS is still an extraordinarily versatile mic worthy of "studio workhorse" status despite it's lack of similarity (other than look) to the earlier models...and can be found on clearance new at many a retailer at a steal of a price. There's no point in not getting one if you find it at a good price (I love intentional double negatives). But it may not be a "go-to" mic for vocals with any singer. It will however be a pretty good all-around work horse on instruments, cabs, drums, etc. The XLS is even better, but might be a bit too "pure" sounding for nasally vocals.

  16. slicerecords

    slicerecords Guest

    Check out the Shure SM7B---everyonce in a while it really does the job for up-front thick male vocals---but obviously it doesn't work on everyone--
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