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  1. #1

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    I have an SM57, E609, and a Samson VR88. I use a Scarlet 2i2 and purchased Reaper.

    I just play around with recording in my little music room. Nothing professional. But new gear is fun!

    Preferably something versatile that I can use on cabs, acoustic, or vocals.

    What should my next mic be in the $400-$500 range? SM7B?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    get a nice multi pattern large diaphragm condenser mic...ala neumann...but one of the less pricey versions like cad, audio technica, aston, etc

    ability to have mic do cardioid/directional, figure 8 and omni directional is real plus

    and large diaphragm condenser sound quality is hard to beat

    van gelder was one of the first studio guys to go from the old classic ribbons to neumann condensers...top end tones immediately emerged..why his recordings are still pristine sounding to this day!


    cheers
    Last edited by neatomic; 08-19-2020 at 01:46 PM. Reason: typo-

  4. #3

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    I just got an ev re-20 because I needed to record my voice (thank you covid-19 ).
    Preferred it over the sm7b. Must say i'm very impressed but haven't tried it on guitar.

    I have some cheap ribbon mics from thomann on the way (rb100 and rb500) to see what they are all about. I’ll let you know what i think.
    These are chinese microphones sold under a different name in the USA.
    But my house isnt exactly the greatest recording room, lots of city noise and kids running around,
    so the re-20 works great so far.
    Last edited by waltf; 08-18-2020 at 06:43 PM.

  5. #4

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    I'd get a condenser mic, medium or large diaphragm.

    I've been trying to get people to try out Audio Test Kitchen, go listen to the mics there. I just did a screen capture video, but this is youtube, the quality is not good enough, just showing the site. Wav files when you listen from the site. Listen on good equipment.


  6. #5

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    great place to learn about mic tech/science

    Microphone Database | RecordingHacks.com

    (aside from bein on the road)

    cheers

  7. #6

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    My standards have become the Heil PR30 and the Audix SCX25A.


    PR 30 - Heil Sound


    Audix SCX25A - Large Diaphragm Condenser Mic

    Edit: It looks like the Audix is over that price range, but I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a large diaphragm condenser.

  8. #7

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    Large diaphragm condenser is a must have.

  9. #8

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    If you play around with music in a little room then you probably don't need a multi-pattern condenser as you won't want any of that room sound in there. Supercardioid, hypercardioid or cardioid will be all you need. And when I say 'any', you will still get a bit of room sound even with a super or hypercardoid, it's just that it'll minimise it. Less mud.

    SM7B is a good vocal mic, but as far as instruments go I'd rather hear a condenser than a dynamic. Especially string instruments. Some particularly shrill instruments can benefit from the sort of warming up/de-shining that a dynamic or ribbon can give - like sax, trumpet or sometimes violin. But I've never liked my own guitars recorded via a dynamic mic, they just don't capture pick up the attack, they're not fast enough.

    Agree with the person who prefers RE20 to SM7B, it's personal taste but I much prefer the RE20. It's brighter, just sounds more like I expect a source to sound. But again, more a vocal mic than an instrument mic in my humble opinion.

    Ribbon mics tend to mostly be figure 8 pattern, so not much use if your room doesn't sound great.

    I'd treat yourself to a nice large diaphragm condenser like the AT4047 or AT4033 (the latter is 'medium' diaphragm); or AKG214, 314 or C414B. Or Aston Origin or Spirit. Or an Oktava MK012 (this is a 'modular system' - you can buy different pattern heads for it)

    Or a nice pencil mic like the AKGC451B (some consider it too bright, but I think if you position it right it is quite versatile). Small diaphragm pencil mics can be wonderful things in terms of great clarity on instruments, lots of good cheap ones too.

  10. #9

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    Thanks everyone...I've been searching and watching videos of the suggestions.

    The Heil PR30 and the Aston Spirit both seem like interesting options.

    Does anyone have experience with the SE2200 or Lauton LA-220 or the LA-320? They come up in a lot of searches and 'related products' for inexpensive, large diaphragm condensers. The LA-320 seems really cool...top of my price range but that's okay.
    Last edited by morroben; 08-19-2020 at 02:23 PM.

  11. #10

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    the various se2200' s have been well rated for many years now

    heres vid of 2200A II..multi pattern



    cheers
    Last edited by neatomic; 08-19-2020 at 08:01 PM. Reason: typo-

  12. #11

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    I got a CAD M179 multi-pattern large diaphragm condenser mic a few years ago and was pleased with it for amateur recording. They now go for about $200. Some reviewers complain of noise, but mine is quiet.
    https://www.cadaudio.com/products/equitek/m179

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by morroben
    Thanks everyone...I've been searching and watching videos of the suggestions.

    The Heil PR30 and the Aston Spirit both seem like interesting options.

    Does anyone have experience with the SE2200 or Lauton LA-220 or the LA-320? They come up in a lot of searches and 'related products' for inexpensive, large diaphragm condensers. The LA-320 seems really cool...top of my price range but that's okay.
    Based on playing around with the Audio Test Kitchen app, Aston Spirit and Aston Origin are two of my favorite under $500 mics. The Origin is a bit more of a flat response on the low end, the Spirit adds a bit of low end boost.

    Using the Audio Test Kitchen and soloing the voice on the song Deja Vu (the closest voice to my voice), I can hear a bit of bass boost on the Spirit. The La-320 has a bit of bass cut. The Origin is flat. (I'm most interested in how a large diaphragm mic sounds for voice.)

    You could save $150 if you go with the Origin (which is only unidirectional), but the Spirit has extra features in that it's Bidirectional, omnidirectional and unidirectional.

    So far my choice is the Aston Origin... damn I'm getting GAS.

  14. #13

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    That Audio Test Kitchen app is fun! But it kinda highlights how unrefined my ears are. It's really hard to find a preference among the mics mentioned in this thread. They all sound good.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by morroben
    That Audio Test Kitchen app is fun! But it kinda highlights how unrefined my ears are. It's really hard to find a preference among the mics mentioned in this thread. They all sound good.
    Ditto on that. It really highlights how minor the differences are between mics. I solo a voice and just listen over and over, then I do it again while looking at the EQ curve and then I think I'm hearing a difference. There was an AKG C214 in your price range that had a slight midrange bump, on the male vocal of Deja Vu that gave it a bit of nasal honkiness that was noticeable to me. I fight that nasal honkiness in my own voice so that is a mic I wouldn't want. This is dependant a bit on ones instrument, but eq can adjust for things like nasal tone.

    The Spirit vs. the Origin for example, a minor adjustment with eq on one of them and they would sound even more identical. They have a lot of the same components.

  16. #15

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    Here’s a great overview of large vs. small diaphragm condenser mics. The bottom line is the small diameter should have a flatter, more accurate response, while large diameter colors with variations in frequency response.
    What Is the Difference Between Large and Small Diaphragm Microphones?

    But there are obviously other factors besides diaphragm size. The choice of pattern can have great effect on frequency response, with omni typically flattest and hyper-cardioid the most colored and subject to proximity effects.

    I imagine that unit-to-unit variations are much smaller for higher end expensive mics than for mid- or low-price mics. An amateur with on mid-range mic can become familiar with their mic’s unique voice and learn to get acceptable results. A pro recording engineer is likely to have at least two of each mic they own, and need them to be as closely matched as possible to speed up their workflow or for stereo imaging. As an amateur I was never too worried about that, so I was happy with budget mics.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by KirkP
    I imagine that unit-to-unit variations are much smaller for higher end expensive mics than for mid- or low-price mics. An amateur with on mid-range mic can become familiar with their mic’s unique voice and learn to get acceptable results.
    I'm not so sure - I've found the differences between mics, the way they colour a source, to be just as noticeable on expensive mics as cheap ones.

    The comment above where someone described a mic emphasizing a nasal honk in their voice, is something I can definitely relate to. But I've had this with expensive mics as often as cheap ones. I have actually worked to reduce that element in my own singing voice, which has helped the most with that. But I've found that the AKGC414B (in all its variants), the AT4047, and the RE20 generally work well in terms of minmiizing that nasal honk. One mic that worked on my voice unexpectedly was the JZ Black Hole - a crystal clear icepick of a mic which is anything a bit harsh. By rights, that ought to have made any nasal or honky qualities apparent but for some reason it just worked.

    I know for a fact that the industry standard (expensive) microphone Neumann ai U87 - a workhorse staple of many many recording studios - makes my voice sound really lifeless. It's just 'my voice: the cardboard 2D version'. No idea why it does that, but I've used it enough times to know it's a fact.


    All of the above is about vocals though. I do think the voice is a very unpredictable, subtle and unknowable instrument. It's also the most important element in most forms of popular music, so it's the one thing that really deserves time and attention lavished upon it. Frankly if I'm recording myself doing vocal music (jazz or folk) then as long as the voice sounds good, I almost couldn't care less what mic is used on the other instruments. Almost.

    When it comes to mic'ing a guitar amp for jazz, which I assume is what we're talking about here, I'd be a reasonably relaxed about what mic to use because you have a lot more possbilities (the amp's tone controls, the guitar's tone controls, the option to send a DI out as well and mix that in). I have a store of good mics to try out that I've assembled over the years. I would use a condenser though - my bedroom where I record is untreated and muddy so I always want a mic that will be as clear and, paradoxically for jazz guitar, as trebley as possible. I would probably start with my AKGC451B pencil mic then try either AT4047 or AKGC414B.

  18. #17

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    Well, the Sweetwater rep emailed yesterday about some sale they're having but I took the opportunity to ask about some mic prices.

    I ended up getting an sE2300 (it's the multi-pattern version) for $299, which is the normal sE2200 price. Not a steal, but a pretty good deal.

    It should give me a chance to learn more about mics and what I like or don't like. I've mostly been using my VR88 so this will be pretty different.

    I knew microphones were a pretty deep rabbit hole, but I was surprised by how many decent affordable options there were. I thought my price range would be more limiting than it ended up being. Maybe I'll go deeper down the hole next time.

    Thanks for all the help and suggestions.

  19. #18

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    I have a bunch of cheap mics:

    - Shure SM 35 headset mic (been using that for streaming performances; had to get an inline pre-amp/transformer for it work with XLR mic pres, so in the end not so cheap)
    - Shure SM 57 and 58. The 57 works on everything. The 58 is a good live vocal mic, but I don't like it on my voice for recording.
    - Behringer C3 - pretty good on both vocals and acoustic guitar (better than the 57, IMO)
    - Radio Shack 33-3017 electric condenser (amall diaphragm electret made by Audio Technica) -- good on acoustic guitar
    - Blue Snowball - I just got this (used, cheap) to try with streaming and calls when I don't want to bother with setting up my interface. The built-in mic on my computer (Macbook Air), sounds truly dreadful for music, and this is a huge improvement.

    I've also done a reasonable number of recordings with good mics (U87, some Neumann Tube mics), and various other mics in other people's studios. I honestly don't hear all that much difference. I think musicians go into the mic conversation with the expectation that mics offer the kind of timbral variety that instruments and amps do, but they really don't. The differences are a subtle, and selecting a mic is more an exercise in matching the mic to the voice or instrument than it is about creating a tone. A Twin Reverb on 3 is a fundamentally different sound from a tweed Deluxe on 7. You don't get that kind of difference out of mics.

    John

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    A Twin Reverb on 3 is a fundamentally different sound from a tweed Deluxe on 7. You don't get that kind of difference out of mics.
    Hmmm, well, yes and no... A dark ribbon mic will sound noticeably different on the same source to a crystal clear small diaphragm condenser. And then there's the room sound. If you are in a very reverberant echoey space or one with no room treatment then a recording via an omni pattern mic will sound very different to a hypercardioid pattern mic.

  21. #20

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    AT4050, Beyer M88 are two of my faves

  22. #21

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    I am considering to do also to buy a mike, record archtop acoustically and sometimes amped by DV Mark 12. Is any AKG around $100 - $150 a good idea? (then which?)

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabor
    I am considering to do also to buy a mike, record archtop acoustically and sometimes amped by DV Mark 12. Is any AKG around $100 - $150 a good idea? (then which?)
    It depends on how high a sound quality you want in your recording and what other sound equipment you have (especially whether you have a recording system/mixer with phantom power).

  24. #23

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    2 good pick akg's in the under 200$ range...

    AKG C1000 S MK4 Small-diaphragm Condenser Microphone-dual pattern

    AKG P420 Large-diaphragm Condenser Microphone-multi pattern

    cheers

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by KirkP
    It depends on how high a sound quality you want in your recording and what other sound equipment you have (especially whether you have a recording system/mixer with phantom power).
    you are right, I did not posted the context, I already have a Focusrite Scarlet with two mic input, and it has phantom power. I use it with my desktop computer. I would like the best sound quality which can be achieved with this budget, I am not professional, just journeyman,

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabor
    you are right, I did not posted the context, I already have a Focusrite Scarlet with two mic input, and it has phantom power. I use it with my desktop computer. I would like the best sound quality which can be achieved with this budget, I am not professional, just journeyman,
    I think your first condenser mic should be small diaphragm, such as the AKG C1000 suggested earlier, since they typically have the flattest response. Since small condenser mics all tend to be fairly flat, I think the main considerations would be self-noise, and ruggedness. Here’s some info on self-noise specs:
    What is Self-Noise (or Equivalent Noise Level)?

    I have a CAD GXL1200. It was much cheaper than the AKG, but it’s very basic. I didn’t need switches for padding, bass cut or the hypercardioid pattern.
    Last edited by KirkP; 08-23-2020 at 02:31 AM.

  27. #26

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    Rode NT1-A

  28. #27
    Warm audio makes some budget friendly Neumann copies. This U87 copy is probably my next purchase - WA-87 Condenser Microphone | Warm Audio

  29. #28

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    The SM7b is great on an amp for more aggressive sounds. On vocals it’s solid for a gritty voice and awesome if they are a real rocker. Like many others suggested a decent and versatile ( read as multi pattern) condenser mic would be an excellent addition to your setup. Consider the AKG414 series- a bit more than your 500.00 ceiling but if you spend 900.00 to 1k you could get into a mic you’ll use for all kinds of stuff. 413 has nice rejection for more noise challenged spaces and can deal with fairly high SPL. I’ve used it in front of big loud amps for detail along with a dynamic for the mid range punch. Maybe look for one used?