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Best VERSATILE Overhead Mics. Expert?!
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NateSmith
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10th February 2006
Old 10th February 2006
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Cool Best VERSATILE Overhead Mics. Expert?!

I'm looking for the best pair of drum overhead mics that can also double as a solid stereo pair and specifically as solid vocal mics. Is this too much to ask? I've heard good things about an number of cheaper mics, specifically the Thomann rb500, CAD m179, at4040 but obviously have some reservations about them based on their price. I'm using a good ol' sm81 on my hi-hats but would prefer to pick up a stereo pair that adds a slightly different color (than the sm81)to the drum mix. Has anybody tried ALL of these mics AND MORE and can give me an idea of my best options? Thanks a ton.
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10th February 2006
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are those mics typical of the price range you want to spend in?

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10th February 2006
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I can't help much, but I will say that if you're considering the AT4040 for overheads, I would suggest the AT4047 instead (I have both). The 4040 has a presence peak at 5-6KHz which could be harsh on cymbals. The 4047 is more flat... I think there was a thread this past week about the 4047 available in a 'B' bulk version from Full Compass for about $390 compared to about $300 for a 4040. And I think the 4047 is also available in an 'end-address' / 'hand-held' format under a different model number (someone posted this a while back). It's also decent on vocals (not that I have a lot of nicer mics to compare it to) but I think the 40 series is respected as having a good value / price ratio.
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10th February 2006
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i'd like to keep the limit to no more than $500 each. if there is solid quality for significantly less, I obviously wont have a problem with that.
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10th February 2006
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I've also heard the at4047 is a solid vocal mic but have yet to hear it's review has an overhead mic. thanks!
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10th February 2006
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sE Electronics Z3300A are very nice mics with good presence and none of the harshness.

The M179 is a good choice, the Z3300A having a somewhat "better than real life" sound to it that is real but...slightly hyped in a good way.

War
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10th February 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead
sE Electronics Z3300A are very nice mics with good presence and none of the harshness.

The M179 is a good choice, the Z3300A having a somewhat "better than real life" sound to it that is real but...slightly hyped in a good way.

War
I liked the SE 2200 a little better myself and it doesn't have the 5k and up rise like the Z3300 does. You could do overheads with these LDC's but if you wanted to go SDC I would look into the other SE mics, like the SE1A Matched Pairs, or getting 2 SE2A's which have Cardioid, Omni, and Hypercardioid capsules to choose from.
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10th February 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NateSmith
I'm looking for the best pair of drum overhead mics that can also double as a solid stereo pair and specifically as solid vocal mics.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast420A
You could do overheads with these LDC's but if you wanted to go SDC I would look into the other SE mics, like the SE1A Matched Pairs, or getting 2 SE2A's which have Cardioid, Omni, and Hypercardioid capsules to choose from.
The sE1A or sE2A kits won't double as solid vocal mics though in my experience, maybe you've been having luck with them on voice.

War
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I agree... those sd SE's are probably not the best route to go if you want something that can double on vocals and be forgiving.

I think you might get some answers that would be more productive if gave an idea of what else you have knocking around in the mic cabinet, and what your desired tone is...

I have not used the Thomann's but I have used ribbons on overheads quite abit... the SE's and the Audio Technica's that are being mentioned are worlds apart from your average ribbon mic.

This is off the beaten path, and not considered the hippest thing, but if I was in your position I would pick up two SM7's. Hahah, I know some might think I am crazy but some of the best drum sounds I have ever heard have come from using SM7's on overhead. It would certainly sound smoother and more useable than any number solid state condensers.
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AT4040's are indeed a bit too harsh on cymbals. I'm not much of a fan of the AT4040 in general.


might i suggest the AT4041's instead? that peak in the 6khz range is much smoother,
there's another peak around 11khz but its not as rough as the AT4040, its quite musical IMO...


i prefer the AT4041 over the AT4047 as well. and the AT4051's are way too bright.
the 4047 rolls a bit too much off the top starting at around 14khz, and progressing all the way to -7dB @ 20khz. And i've found that alot of the air that i like in the 4041's is in the 17khz and above range. (i know, i've been spoiled by my Earthworks TC30k's )

8thstreet.com has a deal on a pair of AT4041's for $450.
i couldn't pass it up.

Now, if its in your budget.... Get a pair of AT4060's.
i was able to talk musiciansadvocate.com down all the way to $745 for one of them, new.
so you should be able to get a pair, shipped for around $1550 tops.
email brad at musiciansadvocate dot com.
the high end on the AT4060 is sooooo damn smooth, its hands down my favorite vocal mic.
i like ALOT as a room mic as well. I've been mulling over getting a 2nd so that i can use them for OH. I'm confident they would sound nothing short of amazing.
You know how a great preamp will make crappy mics sound good? Well this mic will make crappy preamps sound good too.

good luck.
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12th February 2006
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You say you can manage $500 for each mic? How about getting one dedicated vocal mic for around $700 and another SM81 to complement the one you have? The SM81 is a staple for drum overheads and stereo micing acoustic guitars, as well as many other stereo micing needs. That way you'd be getting the best of both worlds without making compromises based on trying to cover too many grounds with the same mic.
Jay
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12th February 2006
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I would consider the ksm 32. They are good all arounders and they sound nice on overheads. Just my two cents.

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12th February 2006
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I've tried a lot of different mikes. Many sound stunning by themselves but I often end up using mostly my U-67s with the appropriate eq. for the final mix.

I know, it's a '60s thing...
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12th February 2006
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U67's for overheads..!!! Thats what im talking about!

Bob you advice is always much appreciated. Your work is awesome!

Do you have any other mics that could be a 'ghetto fabulous' u67 replacement?

I used to have a Lawson L47mp which was said to be u67-ish..?

Do you think the old groove tubes large diaphram mics, pearlman, or maybe some lower end ADK's could come close enough for rock n roll?

Any other suggestions...as far as mics go?
Thanks

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13th February 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead
The sE1A or sE2A kits won't double as solid vocal mics though in my experience, maybe you've been having luck with them on voice.

War
No, can't say they work well for voice, my view is more along the lines of finding a matched pair of mics that work both for stereo recordings and drum overheads is going to be easier and closer to his budget than finding not just one excellent vocal mic but two of them, to do the job that a cheaper pair of SDC's can do for overheads and stereo recording. If you want a vocal mic, buy a vocal mic. If you want to do overheads or stereo recordings, buy for that.
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13th February 2006
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I'm like a broken record but...

Kelaudio HM-1's. I have used them for overheads and, with their controlled high end, have had incredibly good results. They are also great on usually thin, harsh sounding instruments (violin, for example).

they are incredibly useful and forgiving--and at $99 a pop, you can't miss.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iflyinmymind
U67's for overheads..!!! Thats what im talking about!

Bob you advice is always much appreciated. Your work is awesome!

Do you have any other mics that could be a 'ghetto fabulous' u67 replacement?
Check this thread, especially posts #4 and 5

http://gearslutz.com/board/showthread.php3?t=33848
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by jayjames
You say you can manage $500 for each mic? How about getting one dedicated vocal mic for around $700 and another SM81 to complement the one you have? The SM81 is a staple for drum overheads and stereo micing acoustic guitars, as well as many other stereo micing needs. That way you'd be getting the best of both worlds without making compromises based on trying to cover too many grounds with the same mic.
Jay
I think you're right. I feel dumb for not even considering that. I think i was just overcome with this feeling that a couple nice LDC's would give a super fat warmth to the drums. But, again, the sm81's must be the standard for a reason. So I'm gonna pick myself up another sm81. Any suggestions for a vocal mic up to about $600 or so? Thanks a ton guys, your posts are awesome!
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22nd August 2006
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T-Bone SC1100 Aka Se z3300 Aka Feilo z3300

For my money I would take the T-Bone SC1100 (Aka Feilo z3300) for all round best Microphone for most applications and the T-Bone SCT 800 aka ( Feilo SET 5500 Aka SE5500) for that warm tube sound. It was designed by two disgruntled Neumann employees after they were fired by Sennheiser when they bought out Neumann. They are a fraction of the cost of Neumann and IMO much better. Just my 2 cents worth.

http://dancetech.com/aa_dt_new/hardw...id=1750&lang=0
http://fr.audiofanzine.com/produits/...ne_sc1100.html
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24th August 2006
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i'm a total convert to the rb500s as overheads. I wouldn't swap them for anything right now - although i might be tempted someone wanted to trade some AEAs or vintage Coles ribbons! I would compare the sound you get to the nice open, ballsy drum sounds on early 70s records such as the first few Zep albums. They reduce the need for close mics as they capture more of the body of the drums and less of the detail than most LDCs. The cymbals sound clear and natural without overwhelming the rest of the kit, which was the bane of my life before. They take to eq a lot easier than other mics, although on some sources(such as vocals) you need more than you would with other mics. They're also very cheap for what they are and there's a mod available at oktavamods that extends the frequency response and increases the sensitivity if you don't mind having to treat the mic like a priceless air-sensitive ming vase. They're also really good on some voices, on guitar amps(when used in a two-mic technique with an LDC) and as room mics. You need a lot of gain though - i get by with using the preamps on my A&H desk flat out at +60dB, which sounds good to me, but i'm getting a pair of Baby Animal kit pres with 72dB gain on it soon(when funds allow) which should theoretically get a bit more out of the mic and allow me to try it on quieter sources. There's a few companies making the same mic or subtle variations on it - the shinybox versions look promising if you can afford the extra cash, and the Nady RSM is pretty much exactly the same mic as the t-bone for more money, although unlike the t-bone it's available outside europe. Or you can just bulk order the original models(search for 'chinese ribbon mic group buy import' ) from china with a group of your friends and stick your own badge on them, which is pretty much what thomann and Nady do, and save a bit of money.
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24th August 2006
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You might also want to take a look at the Audio-Technica 4050's. 3 Patterns (Omni, Fig-8 and Cardoid), built in -10db pad and bass roll off, just above $500 new and certainly can be found for under $500 used. While they would hardly be my first choice for overheads they work quite well. In fact you could even rock one for a mono overhead. The fact that they have 3 different patterns gives them alot of versatility and will allow you to try several different stereo setups. They aren't my goto vocal mic either but they also work well on the right singer. The fact that they can handle such SPLs let's them do wonders on a variety of other sources such as guitar amps as well as a bunch of other applications.
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Well perhaps on budget you wont get the very best overhead mics available however there are many good options. My recomendation would be with a set of DPA 4091's.
They are ideal for recording sounds that produce hi SPL's such as cymbals, snares etc..

Another very good choice for drums is the Hebden Sound HS3000, these are over your budget but there still not expensive compared to mics of a similar quality.
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24th August 2006
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AKG 414B-ULS, great on drum overheads and very versatile. however in your situation, like someone earlier said, i'd consider buying another SM81 to pair up with the one you have, and then get a versatile LDC, like an AT4060.
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+1 for the AT4047's
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24th August 2006
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might be kinda left field

i bought a pair of groove tube GT55 FET condensers at GC a while back, not actually intending to use them as overheads, but i was pleasntly suprised. they still have this mic there but it's brnaded differently. anyway, they sounded pretty good. not great, but good enough.

just my 2 cents

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24th August 2006
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The RB500 is a great open sounding ribbon mic. Can also be easily modded for big improvement. See Michael Jolys site -

http://www.oktavamod.com/othermods.html

Incredibly smooth sounding on vocals. Its the same mic as the Nady RSM2.

Also might be worth checking out a pair of Michael Jolys modded Oktava MK219s/319s. A great vocal mic, vintage and warm sounding with no high end sibilance problems. I have a very fussy drummer friend that also swears by them as overheads. Go for the premium mod version, a tighter sound with extended highs.

http://www.oktavamod.com/news.html#drum

Email or talk to Michael about your requirements he's a true gentleman to deal with.
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25th August 2006
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akg 451
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25th August 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pegleg View Post
I second the idea of 414b-uls. They can be had used for $500 on eBay (or wherever). I quite like them as overheads - and since they're multi-pattern, you can do spaced card or omni, blumlein, x-y, etc. They work well on toms and kick, too. They're also very versatile mics (much more than most of the others mentioned, IMO) - so could be used for vocals, guitars, horns, whatever. Good resale value, fair client appeal.

The 4050s aren't bad, and have all the same possibilities - having owned both, I found the 414s to sound better all around. There was something in the high frequencies on the 4050 that bothered me...


i gotta say the 414 is probably an even better choice than the 451...



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