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Gear upgrade - Chamber Music and Solo recording for auditions Condenser Microphones
Old 19th September 2018
  #1
Gear upgrade - Chamber Music and Solo recording for auditions

I record mostly strings (violin, viola, cello) in solo settings and with piano accompaniment. Occasionally, I record solo piano, vocalists (with piano), and chamber groups, i.e. string trios/quartets. These recordings are for either auditions (Summer Festivals/University Entrance Exams etc) or personal archival.

My current gear is:
- Lumix G7 (video)
- Line Audio CM3 (pair)
- FetHead Phantom (pair)
- Zoom H6

What should I upgrade next? I think it's the H6 -- probably going for a MixPre 6. But I can't decide on doing that, or getting another pair of mics (another pair of CM3? A pair of OM1? A pair of KSM141 (so I have options on card/omni)? Ribbon mic?)

I have about $500 usd I could spend on it now, but keeping on saving and not buying anything immediately is definitely an option.

EDIT: I know my stated budget does not cover any of the gear I listed (with the exception of the LineAudio mics), but I like to plan....

Thanks for your input!
Old 19th September 2018
  #2
Don't spend more for an audition recording than the gig pays.
Old 19th September 2018
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Get A pair of KSM137 you will not regret it.

Shure KSM137 Stereo Pair | Sweetwater

Last edited by jammate; 19th September 2018 at 07:00 PM..
Old 19th September 2018
  #4
Lives for gear
 
avare's Avatar
 

Nice current system! You are correct in that the H6 is your weak link. If you feel a need for more mics, I would go with the OM1s. One that stands out by its absence is mounting. What mic stands do you currently use and what could expand the capabilities?

Enjoy!

Andre
Old 20th September 2018
  #5
Thanks for the response - I guess my stands and cables are a weaker link than the H6, now that I think of it... the stands are flimsy (musicians’ gear), and the cables are no brand... stands and cables from “stupid deal of the day” at Musicians’ Friend... but they do work, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by avare View Post
Nice current system! You are correct in that the H6 is your weak link. If you feel a need for more mics, I would go with the OM1s. One that stands out by its absence is mounting. What mic stands do you currently use and what could expand the capabilities?

Enjoy!

Andre
Old 20th September 2018
  #6
Here for the gear
I find that CM3s are very sensitive to mechanical noise and would recommend you use Rycote or similar quality shock mounts on the stands if you are not doing so already. Excellent mics though.
Old 20th September 2018
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solderon View Post
I find that CM3s are very sensitive to mechanical noise and would recommend you use Rycote or similar quality shock mounts on the stands if you are not doing so already. Excellent mics though.
I use the shock mounts that came with the CM3.
Old 20th September 2018
  #8
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by VlaVlnPlayer View Post
I use the shock mounts that came with the CM3.
If that’s the clips that come in the box with the mics, they are not really shockmounts, though Line Audio do supply some as an optional accessory I believe Line Audio CMEH - Sound, Light, Rental, Event, Media, Studio - Acquris Media & Security

Mine are Rycote INV-7 MKlll that came as part of the stereo bar kit.

Last edited by Solderon; 20th September 2018 at 02:30 PM.. Reason: Typo
Old 20th September 2018
  #9
Unless you have over $3000 to spend, all you will really be doing is cross-grading, not upgrading. Sturdy stands and cables are good to invest in, maybe some soft-box lighting to help with your audition videos. But for what you are doing, I would wait until you can spring for some Schoeps, Sennheiser, Neumann (etc) mics. What you have is certainly a major step up from a student DIY attempt.
Old 23rd September 2018
  #10
The CMEH is what I use -- it seems to be working fine, so far!

Thanks!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Solderon View Post
If that’s the clips that come in the box with the mics, they are not really shockmounts, though Line Audio do supply some as an optional accessory I believe Line Audio CMEH - Sound, Light, Rental, Event, Media, Studio - Acquris Media & Security

Mine are Rycote INV-7 MKlll that came as part of the stereo bar kit.
Old 23rd September 2018
  #11
Thanks for the input! How about the recorder? Should I save for a SD Mixpre6, or keep the Zoom H6 and use the $ for better mics later on? For audition videos, would the listening panel be THAT discerning on the quality of pre-amps, or the recorder upgrade would be more for my own satisfaction (for a lack of better word)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
Unless you have over $3000 to spend, all you will really be doing is cross-grading, not upgrading. Sturdy stands and cables are good to invest in, maybe some soft-box lighting to help with your audition videos. But for what you are doing, I would wait until you can spring for some Schoeps, Sennheiser, Neumann (etc) mics. What you have is certainly a major step up from a student DIY attempt.
Old 23rd September 2018
  #12
Lives for gear
 
hbphotoav's Avatar
 

IME, transducers (mics, on the acquisition end... and headphones/nearfield monitors on the playback end) were my primary focus. Everything else (above a certain minimum quality) becomes matters of nuance and convenience. I'd definitely buy good support (stands, booms, sandbags, shock mounts, etc) before looking at "better" recorders (my run'n'gun is a TASCAM DR-60D which does fine in its place) or interfaces/computers/DAWs/high-end preamps. For example, I bought my MKH8040 and M296 pairs, and my Tannoy nearfields and UltraSone cans before I bought my Apogee Ensemble (started on a Mackie Onyx 1220FW) or BG8 mic amp. I'd been on Apple products since the '80s, a MacBook guy from its inception.

One old guy's opinion...

HB
Old 23rd September 2018
  #13
Here for the gear
If it’s any help, I just acquired one of the last of the UK Zoom F8s for just over £600 with the PCF-8 bag thrown in. (With the v.5 firmware it does almost everything the F8n does). The preamps are much better than on the H6 I used up to now, but on the locations I have recorded with it so far it’s not particularly obvious thanks to traffic, noisy organ blowers and the presence of an audience.

Ideally I would have gone for a SD, but this looked like 8 acceptable preamps at a bargain price, and at some point in the future there will be a better location and the difference will be clearer.

If you are happy enough with the H6 for video for now, maybe look to improving something else.

Can you rent or borrow a SD recorder to try it out before committing yourself?
Old 23rd September 2018
  #14
Thank you, everybody, for the input... I guess I'll "sit on the $" for a while and save it for a little while longer, while perfecting my own recording chops with the gear I currently have. I'll invest in better stands/cables, perhaps.

When I'm ready to buy more (better) mics, what's your opinion on what would be better for my application: cardioids, omnis, or ribbons?

Thanks, again!
Old 1st October 2018
  #15
Here for the gear
 

I also do mostly string chamber music recording, and can confirm that the preamps on a MixPre will provide a big upgrade over the Zoom. We had been using a Zoom H6 and a Focusrite Sapphire, and when we upgraded to a MixPre 10T, the improvement was startling. A good pair of omni SDCs should also be on your list. I've been using a set of Oktava omni MC-012s with the Joly mods, and they are amazingly clean and versatile. A good-quality pair of ribbons (or a stereo ribbon) is also a good investment. I've got a Samar VL373A that I use all the time.
Old 25th November 2018
  #16
Resurrecting this thread because of the suggestions for mic stands... This "holiday deal" (On-Stage Stands MS7701B Tripod Microphone Stand Package - 2 Stands | Sweetwater) seems like a good price, but is the quality there? In other words, is it worth it? My current stands are very flimsy, FWIW.

Thanks!
Old 25th November 2018
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by VlaVlnPlayer View Post
seems like a good price, but is the quality there? In other words, is it worth it?
No.

If you can justify spending somewhat more now for K&M, Manfrotto, or similar, you will be rewarded with years of not even thinking clearly about the quality of your stands. They will simply work, reliably and efficiently, every time.
Old 25th November 2018
  #18
Thanks!
Old 25th November 2018
  #19
K&M stands are not very expensive and will give years of service.
Old 25th November 2018
  #20
Lives for gear
 
tourtelot's Avatar
Okay, here's the other view on the viability of "cheapie" mic stands. I have some of both. Do I think the K&M stands are better? Of course! They really will be working long after I sell them to the next guy after I retire. The On-stage stands? Are they clearly less well made? Clearly. Do I use this sort of stand enough to have one perform markedly better than the other. No way.

Do you use these stands every day? Tour them? Once a week? Once a month? Do you need ten stands and can only afford two K&M? See where I'm going with this?

Yeah, lots of questions.

Just sayin' that the On-stage (or similar cheapie Chinese) mic stands will work. For a while. If you treat them well and don't throw them around. They most likely will not fail for a good long time. That is my experience. I take the K&M stands that I can now afford, if I need two stands, or the heavy duty tall K&Ms if I need two tall boom stands. If I need 14 stands, a bunch of the On-stage stands go on the job. It is all part of putting together what you need on the budget you have.

Oh, and for very tall stands, the Savage 13-footers from the NYC camera stores are the bomb. They work well and are really inexpensive. They are light, study, stable and durable. So much so that if one gets dented and quits extending, I just buy another. They last, I would guess, five years of fairly heavy use; a bargain.

D.
Old 25th November 2018
  #21
Lives for gear
 
tourtelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
K&M stands are not very expensive and will give years of service.
$70 each (or so).

D.
Old 25th November 2018
  #22
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
... the On-stage (or similar cheapie Chinese) mic stands will work. For a while. If you treat them well and don't throw them around.
And don't change the angle of the boom by just grabbing it and yanking it -- loosen the damn clutch. (Do I sound like I'm yelling at my kid?)
Old 25th November 2018
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
$70 each (or so).

D.
Right, and sometimes you can get for as little as $48. That's about twice the cost of a "bargain" stand and will last 10+ times as long.

That said, I also have OSS stands and they work... until they don't, at which point they get replaced by a K&M.

And I have the Savage and Impact 13' Stands... it's a similar thing - I think the Savage is a little better built, but the Impact is $38 cheaper (70 vs 108).
Old 25th November 2018
  #24
Lives for gear
 
tourtelot's Avatar
Really just for the record and not to "he said, he said" but the 13' Savage stand is $64 at Adorama. A real bargain.

D.
Old 25th November 2018
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Really just for the record and not to "he said, he said" but the 13' Savage stand is $64 at Adorama. A real bargain.

D.
Wow, and thanks... I think I need another one.
Old 1 week ago
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
Unless you have over $3000 to spend, all you will really be doing is cross-grading, not upgrading. Sturdy stands and cables are good to invest in, maybe some soft-box lighting to help with your audition videos. But for what you are doing, I would wait until you can spring for some Schoeps, Sennheiser, Neumann (etc) mics. What you have is certainly a major step up from a student DIY attempt.
Not sure ifnyou have experience with these mics, but will ask, anyways.... would you consider the Peluso CEMC-6 a cross-grade or an upgrade?

Thanks!
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