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mics or a pre/ for bluegrass Ribbon Microphones
Old 10th September 2007
Here for the gear

Question mics or a pre/ for bluegrass

hi, i mainly record bluegrass type stuff in my spare bedroom i have a aea r84 a at 4050
rode nt-5s and a gml 2032 mic pre, i like the pre cause it lets the mics color the sounds if i want dark i use the aea, cleaner i use the 4050. and it keeps the results sounding as live as possible, like a bluegrass band around a couple of mics. i dont know if i should get another pre, or another mic the rodes are the weakest link as a small diaphram condenser. i have some extra cash and was just wanting some opinions on what to buy ive looked at the great river, and the chandler germanium pres as a more colored pre option, to go with the clean of the gml. thanks all help appreciated
Old 10th September 2007
Gear Maniac

You may want to look at any of the John Hardy pres. KM84 and Hardy M1 is a VERY nice combination.

For mandolin and banjo, I really like the Royer SF series (I use the SF12). On most fiddlers, I like the Royer R121, usually the backside. For Martin D guitars, I use the Blue Woodpecker. For other acoustic guitars, mostly vintage gibsons, I often use the Royer R122V.

Can you tell I'm a ribbon fan?

Last edited by Petimar; 10th September 2007 at 09:13 PM.. Reason: add content
Old 24th October 2007
Here for the gear

I was asking myself the same question about 8 months ago and it sounds like my recording interests fall in line with yours. At the time my pre section consisted of Grace, True & Chameleon Labs and I still have no problem with any of them. My better mics at the time were Neumann 103 and km184 and AKG 414. Though one day a friend came over with an old Neumann M582 and I was blown away by it and ever since then I've been on the vintage Neumann hunt. I decided to pursue the mic collection first and I think it's made a very noticeable improvement in the tones my modest project studio produces. I'd recommend the mic pursuit. Try checking out the older Neumann KM84 or KM85 for a good sounding guitar and mandolin mic that could cost around $1K.
Old 9th November 2007
Gear Maniac

My experience has been that the mic will make a more dramatic difference than the pre. The KM84 or a Schoeps CMC6/MK4 or MK21 (I think I prefer the latter) would be good choices for naturaness and personality. I also like the Wunder CM7 (though not with the M7 capsule) and the Horch RM2J (with the red light on), but these are rather expensive - lovely though, even moreso than the 84 or Schoeps. If you're deeply moved by beautiful tone, get the mic that stirs you regardless of cost. It makes for a more meaningful life.
Old 15th November 2007
Lives for gear
Another vote for finding a good KM84 here. They just work really well in this context. I run mine though a Focusrite Red 1 or ISA220.

Old 30th November 2007
Gear Addict
BluegrassDan's Avatar
Here's my opinion:

Obviously every instrument is going be different - but here are some of my "go to firsts".

Mandolin: Ribbon mic like a Beyerdynamic M160, RCA DX44, or even a Coles - paired with a transparent pre like a Grace 801. It will put that mandolin RIGHT where it needs to be in the mix! If it's a cheap "thin" sounding mandolin, you might mic it at the lower F-hole. If it's a good mandolin, listen to someplace out in front.

Banjo: THE MOST DIFFICULT OF ALL BLUEGRASS INSTRUMENTS!!! Start out with a Sennheiser MD441 (not a 421). Or try a ribbon like the ones above. Listen for "punch" with the banjo. Might be someplace around the outide edge of the head about a foot away or more. DON'T COMPRESS THE BANJO AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ya hear me??? NO COMPRESSION ON A BANJO FROM NOW UNTIL FOREVER!!!!

Guitar: Lots of info in the forums. Whatever sounds best for the guitar.

Fiddle: Lots of info also. Something that sounds good.

Upright Bass: read my post here -

Lots of luck!!!
Old 30th November 2007
Gear Head
jmanjet's Avatar

There are some bluegrass pros that use Forssell Tech preamps. There are tube and non tube versions. They look very nice!
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