Cheap mics questions

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by tfarny, May 26, 2020.

  1. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    I'm just getting a home recording setup started, it's something I had been meaning to do even before all this happened.
    I own precisely three mics:
    1. Sennheiser E835, my live vocal mic of choice.
    2. Cheap large diaphragm condenser mic that came as a package with my IO / DAW (Presonus two-input thingy)
    3. A Blue snowball USB mic intended for podcast-level work

    None of them are terrible, but none of them are great, that's for sure. Both the Blue and the no-name condensers seem to give me a pretty sterile sound. The main things I need a mic for are:
    1. Electric guitar amp micing (old fashioned, I know).
    2. recording acoustic guitar
    3. Vocals
    4. I may at some point get myself a resonator or a mandolin.

    Pretty basic! This is going into Audacity for now, as I learn to use my DAW (Studio One). I'd like to maybe get ONE more mic that will significantly improve what I lay down without spending a ton of money. I'm not even sure what type of mic to get.
    Overall, I'm happier with more of a warm organic sound even if it's a little noisier and even kinda low-fi. I don't have a lot of time or patience for EQing or other studio magic, and I have no intention of marketing myself. This is for personal enjoyment and to facilitate songwriting and band communication. Ideally I would like to push a couple of buttons and be recording, and not have to futz around much afterwards.

    Any recs? I thought about a Rode NT-K at the higher end of what I'm considering, I also wondered if a small diaphragm condenser might be a better choice. I don't have a lot of knowledge and I really, really don't want to get deep in the weeds of the process.

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  2. Martin R

    Martin R Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    We have a NTK. You'll need to replace the stock tube, it's a little fizzy. A Genelex(?) is decent and not pricey. It made a huge difference.
    Also, look at ADK large condensers. We have a Vienna that's pretty amazing. There are a lot of good choices from ADK.
    As for what kind of mic, a good LDC will cover a lot of ground. You really need one for vocals and it will work just fine on your acoustic.
    Your E835 will work on your amp. (If you want to get fancy, close mic the dynamic mic and put the LDC four or five feet back.)
    And because you're just getting into home recording, say goodbye to life as you know it.
     
  3. t-ray

    t-ray Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    It is worth the effort to spend some time with the mics you have. I discovered that I really like using my SM 57 for my vocals and acoustic guitar. It depends on the room, the source and the placement of the mic. My LDC sounds great with my daughter's voice but not with mine. Your DAW also will give you a lot of options to shape the sound with compression and EQ, etc. If you like the E835 on your vocals, there is little need to make an immediate change. Work with it for a while, post your results here, and listen and learn.
     
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  4. Treehouse

    Treehouse Tele-Meister

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    if you want a sm57 on the cheap, Pyle has an awesome clone. I bought two for $12ea. Looks like they're going for $14.50 right now
     
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  5. Steve 78

    Steve 78 Friend of Leo's

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    +1 on using the E835 for amp miking. It's a good mike, it'll do the job. Sounds like you need to invest in another condenser but I don't have enough experience to recommend a good / cheap one.
     
  6. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    The mics you have are fine. You can fix any inadequacies with EQ.
     
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  7. MrClint

    MrClint Tele-Holic

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    I don't use the term cheap, I prefer the term "High Value" because decent quality is still there. My studio is built on Behringer. Whatever you're looking for Behringer has a high value mic for that application. Are you mic'ing an amp, singing, acoustic guitar?
     
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  8. tatertot

    tatertot TDPRI Member

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    Rode Nt1a is a great budget large diaphragm condenser
    Rode M5 pencils are stellar
    Sm-57 great for amp micing

    Now one to do them all, I'd say get an SM7B or an EV RE-20 and a cloudlifter (or similar device). Some good acoustic guitar tracks can be cut on these mics with enough preamp power, and they'll be killer on most vocalists.
     
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  9. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks all - for now I like the idea of an inexpensive large diaphragm condenser and using the E835 for the guitar amp. I'll check out the Nt1a and the ADK brand stuff.
     
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  10. GibbyTwin

    GibbyTwin Tele-Meister

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    For $99 you can get an Audio-Technica AT-2020 LDC. Inexpensive and a good bang for the buck, speaking for myself.
     
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  11. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    a better cheap sm57 style mic is its little brother in the Shure line, the PGA57 which SW has for $54.
     
  12. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Afflicted

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    Hi.

    I too am going to suggest also looking into Audio-Technica mics. They tend to make very good quality products for the price they charge.

    I bought an AT2035, which possibly has a slightly larger diaphragm (capacitor / condenser) than the AT2020, and also a switchable high pass filter and a -10dB pad switch. They can handle sound pressure levels of up to 148 dB (158 with the pad on), so while I use it mainly for vocals, I also sometimes use it with my amp, at times up close for double mic-ing and blending, sometimes set back for room ambience. I haven't really used it with acoustics too much at all, but it definitely does duty there too. So, I feel it is pretty practical all round.

    I'm super frugal, and I researched the backside out of this before I bought one. In Japan, this was to my mind the best choice in my price range, giving the best specs, features, performance and general reviewer approval for the price - local prices may not make this the case in other places of course.

    I liked some of the ADK ones too, but they were more expensive here. My research also revealed a consensus on there being a difference in sound quality / character between some of the Rhode NT model mics, but I cannot remember which ones now (probably the NT1 and NT1-a), nor which one was thought of as the (contentiously contended) better one. I did consider the 'gooder' Rhode though.

    Overall, I'm really happy with the AT2035.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
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  13. mojek

    mojek TDPRI Member

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    100% agree tried many vocal mics and sm57 is the winner for stage and recording.. best overall budget mic for drums too
     
  14. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

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    I would sell both condensers and put the money towards one really good one.

    A good dynamic like that Sennheiser and a decent condenser will do all you need.

    In my case I had a very low budget at the time, so I did a lot of research into mods with the idea of getting something affordable and making it sound more expensive. I ended up with an sE 2200a that I got for less than half price used. The mods (which a friend did for me) were installing a capsule that suited the circuit better (a K67 type capsule), replacing a ceramic capacitor with a polyester cap, and taking out the inner mesh of the headbasket. There are two layers of mesh. you just pull out the inside layer with pliers.

    The K67 capsule was taken out of a Studio Projects C1 mic I had. It's a great capsule but that mic circuit needed a K47 capsule so I replaced it and the K67 was laying around spare.

    That sE mic is my go to for almost everything, and it seems to fit every voice I've tried it on, especially my own. Sounds very natural.
     
  15. Hari Seldon

    Hari Seldon Tele-Meister

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    The SM57 is awful.

    You think this is nonsense? Of course it does it's job, since decades.

    But just compare it directly to some decent other microphones in that league. You'll hear that in most cases the old shures sound worse. The solidness of the shures is great, but others are as solid, too. And the sound we got used to since that formed the taste of the rock generation is easily achieved in a better way with newer mikes.

    For example: I use a Beyer TG58 for live vocals that has everything thats great with the shure, but sounds much more powerful and clear.
    I use a Sennheiser E906 for guit amp that is more powerful and clear than the 57 and has not the mid honk of the shure. It's like a 10" transistor amp (with the 57) compared to a 12" tube combo.

    All those cheap condenser mikes use chinese capsules that are way too bright and harsh. At first impression this sounds "brilliant" to unexperienced ears, but it's not a real good sound.
    If your budget allows it, why don't you try a professional AKG C214? This is a very inexpensive large diaphragm FET condener mike that can handle everything from vocals to drums and guitar. This one has no chinese capsule.
    The Audio-Technica mikes are a good place to start with, if the AKG is too expensive.

    Edit: To the OP. Just found out your budget isn't too low.
    Consider one of the Aston models. Spirtit or Origin. These are next on my list.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2020
  16. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

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    This is an accurate description of the mics, but not necessarily the capsules. In a lot of cases a K67 copy capsule is paired with a flat response circuit. The K67 was designed for a circuit with built in EQ compensation. In a flat response circuit it sounds too bright and peaky. As I posted above (about a second before you) I got great results out of a Chinese K67 capsule when it was paired with the right circuit.

    That's my statistically insignificant sample of one!
     
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  17. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

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    I haven't heard this particular mic but I'd say this is a very good suggestion from what I've read about it. I'm a massive fan of AKG dynamics, especially the D880. I thought modern AKGs were made in China?
     
  18. tweeet

    tweeet Tele-Afflicted

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    SM57 for guitar mic...a must ! I've used an AKG C3000 for 25 years for acoustic guitar and vocals...never let me down and you can get a good price on a second hand one. ..also a Rode NT2 is good too for the same.
     
  19. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    For 1 your 835 will be more than fine.It is a fantastic mic and a definite SM58 killer.

    For 2 ,3 ,4 get a RHODE NT1 and call it a day.

    If you want to get fancy and know basic miking techniques you could also use them (835&NT1) in conjunction for 1,2,4
     
  20. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    At last.
    Someone speaks the truth!

    The Sennheiser 836,E609 & of course the absolute king (E906) MURDER the SM57 in all aspects.
     
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