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sm80808
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#1
24th March 2006
Old 24th March 2006
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Choosing a good first mic

I posted earlier about the AKG Perception model mics and have since done some research and found some other choices that are generally in the same price range (i.e. cheap)

I guess the choice is between Studio Projects B1 and B3, AKG perception 100 or 200, or CAD M9 which is more expensive but has recieved good reviews elsewhere.

Are there any others I should consider? $275 is the max that I would really want to pay.

I saw deals on 8th Street Music selling the B3 and the Studio Projects preamp for around $260 as well. What do you guys think about that deal?


Thanks
#2
24th March 2006
Old 24th March 2006
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zradioman is offline
Wink I just went though this

Let me say, buying the right mic is more frustrating than buying an EQ, COMP, etc.
The best way to find out which mic is right for you is to first test a shit-load of mics in and out of your price budget. . .Go to a Guitar Center and ask to test the most expensive, and least expensive vocal mics available. See what makes them tick. . .then buy a Groove Tubes GT66.
#3
24th March 2006
Old 24th March 2006
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Without a doubt, you should buy one Shure SM57 as soon as possible. The reason for this are:

1 - they are cheap (just don't buy a sucky chinese counterfeit - pick an authorised dealer)
2 - they are a constant reference point when discussing mic's - if you don't know, you don't know
3 - they are very versatile, and while maybe not the best choice, they hardly suck on most things
4 - countless classic guitar recordings have been made with them'
5 - countless classic snare tracks have been cut with them'
6 - countless classic vocal tracks have been cut with them
7 - they reject surrounding sound very well - ideal if your acoustics aren't great
8 - they are warm and not harsh - great for harsh, essy singers

There is a lot of marketing aimed at selling cheap chinese LCD mics at gullible young recording artists. Sometimes these are ok for the money - but very often they are too harsh and essy and pick up too much bad acoustics.

I went for years using cheap AKG mics - I considered them 'better' than dynamic mics. Because at a quick test, the condensor mic's appear hotter and brighter. And with a crap mixer preamp, that can fool you.

When I found many experienced people constantly refering to SM57's - I bought one. I couldn't believe what i'd been missing all those years. Warmer, fatter, less trouble with feedback on stage.

It's a cheap mic, but it isn't a cheap mic. To get the best results you really need an excellent mic preamp. Consider the combination of mic and preamp together.

If you try an SM57 in a Behringer or Mackie and consider that they 'suck' - you don't have any idea what i'm talking about.

So many famous artists have cut amazing lead vocals with SM57s - buy choice. They could have used any expensive mic, and ended up with an SM57.

In perspective - it's not always that great. Often you can do better - but if you don't know, you don't know.

Many great studios have dozens of SM57s and use them. They don't usually have dozens of cheap chinese LCD - and if they do, they probably don't use them.

Get one and see what I mean. (After you've got a decent mic preamp).
#4
24th March 2006
Old 24th March 2006
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zradioman is offline
I guess I jumped to conclusions

We don't even know what the source is yet. . .my source is voice. . .that's why I went with the GT66 and "the brick" for a pre. . .SM57's are good but they lack character. . .to my ears. . .harmonic distortion can be flattering for vox. . .and even a gear manic should know what's going to be recorded through a mic before he suggests a mic. . .what if the source is a fart? An SM57 may make the fart "muddy" or "add to much shimmer to the fart" How many famous artists have recorded a fart with a SM57? What are you a SM57 sales rep?
sm80808
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24th March 2006
Old 24th March 2006
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Source

Thanks for the replies.

It is mainly for recording acoustic guitar and voice demos. Chain will be:

Mic>Samson mixer>Echo Indigo card

As you can see, not the greatest set up.

Thanks for the advice about Guitar Center. The staff at the one nearest to me wasn't very helpful.

I was thinking the same as kiwiburger about the SM57. Seems like a mic every studio would need at some point and I would probably get good usage out of it for the time being until I can afford more. Like I said though, it is mainly fo recording ideas for guitar and vocal stuff.
sm80808
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24th March 2006
Old 24th March 2006
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Preamp

About the mic preamp.

I am not really a sound engineer. I only really aspire to have a set up that will allow me to work on ideas at home for the moment, and my budget is pretty sad actually.

I read a review on recording.org about the studio projects VTB1 saying it was pretty good. It is reasonably priced for someone like me. Any feedback on that?

I am checking out the GT66, thanks for the recommendation. I know the Brick is like $300 right? How much is a GT66?

Also, I found this article in case anyone else is having this same problem:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/Jul0...s/firstmic.asp
#7
24th March 2006
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Bump Music is offline
I second the 57. Love this mic. I've used tons of great mics and the 57 has it's place up there.

It's not the best choice for everything (no mic is), and it needs a lot more processing (eq, comp) to make it sound great.

But you can't beat the price and durability. And as the previous poster said, they reject surrounding sounds very well.

I'm a mixer, and I get soooo many recordings with too much room noise. 57's would help them out so much. Good luck.
#8
24th March 2006
Old 24th March 2006
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bcproductions is offline
Dude...get a perception 200. it's a great mic for the price...
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24th March 2006
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#10
24th March 2006
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get 2!
a 57 and a 58.

those are the definitive "first mics" for a reason.
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24th March 2006
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Mr. PC is offline
Go with the SM57. Why not buy a classic mic that is used in every studio in the world? Multi million dollar studios are using this $90 mic every stinking day. If you plan to pursue recording long term, you have to know what an SM57 sounds like. If you have a long career in recording, you will still own SM57's 30 years from now. You can't say that about a cheap condenser mic.
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#12
24th March 2006
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ronyrrr is offline
hey sm80808, this is just my opinion...i know a few people that record with Studio Projects mics in their home studios. they're very happy with them and everything i've heard recorded with the C1 and B3 sounds pretty good. i've worked with the C1 and the B3...both are good mics for someone on a budget. i know one guy that uses the C1 on Vocals, Guitar, and even percussion...with great success. his demos sound so good that he's been getting a lot of bands asking him to record their demos. my advice would be to go ahead get one.

as for the VTB1, i don't know anyone that has used it. seems like a decent thing but you might want spend a couple of hundred bucks on the mic pre. someone once gave me some advice and told me to spend the same amount of money on a mic pre that i'm spending on the mic. he said, if you're going to use a $3K mic like a Neumann U87...use a $3k mice pre like a Neve. if you're going to get a 200 dollar C1 get a 200 dollar mic pre. after looking at sweetwater and musiciansfriend i'd go with something like the Electro-Harmonix Tube mic pre or the Joemeek ThreeQ Studio Channel. i'd stay away from Presonus and Behringer. just my 2 cents.
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24th March 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. PC
Go with the SM57. Why not buy a classic mic that is used in every studio in the world? Multi million dollar studios are using this $90 mic every stinking day. If you plan to pursue recording long term, you have to know what an SM57 sounds like. If you have a long career in recording, you will still own SM57's 30 years from now. You can't say that about a cheap condenser mic.
Could not have said it better myself.
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24th March 2006
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aussie_techie is offline
out of your list CAD M9 all the way or any of the M series for that matter, they leave the B1/B3 for dead
but you always need some shure dynamics aswell
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24th March 2006
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Someone mentioned it already...get a 57 and a 58. With your low budget, this will give you a lot of coverage. Most voices will sound better on the 58, but most instruments will be better with a 57. But don't just take my advice, look at the gear list of every studio with a website. Look at what mics people are using on TV.

There are definitely better mics, but you can never go wrong with these two.
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24th March 2006
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I almost hate to do it, but i completely agree with the 57. It's a mic i'd love to hate, but the fact is, it's hard to find a situation you can't use it.(price being a factor, of course... I'd rather have a million other mics, but for the price, you just can't go wrong!) Also, look into mxl microphones. Many of theirs tend to sound pretty good, though i don't have enough exp. with them in particular to recommend which one...

My suggestion, however, is KEL. I forget the website exactly, but this company KEL makes like two different condenser microphones and the lowe priced one, I think it's called the HM-1, maybe seems pretty good. They had sound samples on their website and i thought they sounded really good, and they're like $100 each. It's hard to go wrong at that point, and that's where i'd put my money. Come to think of it, the site's just www.kelaudio.com.

With an sm57 and one condenser mic, you should be completely good to go. You can cut acoustic/vocal takes with those two mics for under $200. Oh, and i just had one of those vtb-1's delivered the other day, if the thread's still alive, i'll let you know what i think of it. Everyone says it's really solid for tracking d.i.'d bass, so...
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24th March 2006
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SM57

the SM57 was my first mic too. and it was a great choice. it has served me well on many, many things. and even now, 12 years later, i'm STILL using this mic NOW on my current recording session. LOVE IT. BUY A 57 FIRST.
#18
24th March 2006
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scwarren1015 is offline
Are you trying to record Acoustic Guitar?


I would get a 57 without a question. Sounds good on almost everything. And in doing live sound, 85% of my stage set up is 57's, and the rest are 58's.

But if you buy a 57 , you could use another $100 to get a MXL studio pack. I also think AT has one too. They aren't the greatest mics, but it is a good start to using condensers and recording.

So, if you are just getting down ideas, get the 57 & 58 for around $200. But, get some cheap Chinese condensers if you want to start experimenting with recordings. Just my opinion.
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24th March 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanvacha
My suggestion, however, is KEL. I forget the website exactly, but this company KEL makes like two different condenser microphones and the lowe priced one, I think it's called the HM-1, maybe seems pretty good. They had sound samples on their website and i thought they sounded really good, and they're like $100 each. It's hard to go wrong at that point, and that's where i'd put my money. Come to think of it, the site's just www.kelaudio.com.
I will second the HM-1. It is a very nice mic...it has a particular color but it is a very musical color (like the RNLA). You will definitely find uses for it.

And if you get the sm57, you will have the coolest looking paper-weight.

I am in the minority for sure, but I never really liked the 57 on anything. Especially guitar cabs but snare included. But countless records have been made with it.
And I think Tom Petty still uses it for his live mic.

Different strokes and all that.

Good luck,
David
sm80808
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24th March 2006
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Thanks guys

Thanks to those who recommended the KEL mic. I am putting in an order for one of those, and I think I will pick up a SM57 as well.

sm80808
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24th March 2006
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Thanks guys

Thanks to those who recommended the KEL mic. I am putting in an order for one of those, and I think I will pick up a SM57 as well. That comes out to about $150.



Do you guys think the EH 12AY7 is that much of a step up from a Studio Projects VTB-1?

I found this review on the VTB-1:

http://recording.org/reviews-14.html
#22
24th March 2006
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ronyrrr is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by sm80808
Thanks to those who recommended the KEL mic. I am putting in an order for one of those, and I think I will pick up a SM57 as well. That comes out to about $150.



Do you guys think the EH 12AY7 is that much of a step up from a Studio Projects VTB-1?

I found this review on the VTB-1:

http://recording.org/reviews-14.html
i'm not sure if it's that much of a difference. hopefully nathanvacha will jump back in and let us know what they think of the vtb1? i'm curious.
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24th March 2006
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#24
26th March 2006
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guitarplayr is offline
This is a good starter package

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/produ...ess?sku=271263

I just picked these up and so far I love the e100 close mic'd on my Marshall cab
(between the rim and cone, 45 degree angle) and so far I've used the e300 for some test vocals and seem to be fairly transparent and well rounded as far as settings go. A great starter pack that you can basically record anything you could think of. The e300 goes for $399 itself, so its like getting the e100 for free

Heres some reviews: http://www.cadmics.com/cad_endorsee_ad.htm

Guitarplayr
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26th March 2006
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aussie_techie is offline
the CAD e series look alright but it worries me having a battery inside they mic. what condition is the battery going to be in 10 years and what happend if/when it leaks
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26th March 2006
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SM57

I saw posts regarding the origin of manufacture of the SM 57. The "Unidyne III" version or something like that.

Is this mic different than a SM 57 from say Guitar Center or Musicians Friend? Does it really make a difference? If not then why the distinction?


Thanks for all the help guys.

PS- KEL is backordered for a while or something apparently, but I put on the list to reserve one when they are available. I will let you know how it goes when I get it.

Thanks again
sm80808
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#27
27th March 2006
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First Preamp to go with first mic

I am seriously considering buying one of those inexpensive preamps. The EH 12Au7 looks interesting, is it good?

I have read mised reviews on the Meek 3q.

The VTB-1 gets a really good review on Recording.org.

Which one would you recommend getting for longevity's sake? I understand the Joe Meek is a bit colored (dark sounding?) which seems like it could be useful for some sources.
#28
28th March 2006
Old 28th March 2006
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2012 is offline
For Cheap Pre's

you should include the M-Audio DMP3 in your gearlust.
it has seen good reviews, and since you like those...
but more importantly, it's $150 and 2 channels.
#29
29th March 2006
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David@MVS is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by sm80808
I am seriously considering buying one of those inexpensive preamps. The EH 12Au7 looks interesting, is it good?

I have read mised reviews on the Meek 3q.

The VTB-1 gets a really good review on Recording.org.

Which one would you recommend getting for longevity's sake? I understand the Joe Meek is a bit colored (dark sounding?) which seems like it could be useful for some sources.
I dont think any of those will be a dramatic step up from the Studio Projects mic pre.

Save your scratch and get a decent pre that will retain its value (monitary and production)...like

FMR RNP
GT Brick
Grace 101
Speck MP

The RNP would be the better of the bang-for-your-buck deals.

All the pres are nice and offer different things from eachother but they are all useful.

Good luck,
David
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30th March 2006
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Two more to consider:

Hamptone HJFP2 (2 channels): $575 unassembled, $875 assembled
DAV BG-1 (2 channels): $675

I built the Hamptone and can attest to the sound and quality.
I'm really curious about the DAV -- plain jane looking but supposedly a high-quality preamp. There's a thread about it on the high-end forum you might want to peruse.

- Jim
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