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Next investments? Condenser Microphones
Old 7th September 2011
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Next investments?

Hi everyone,

I'd like your advice on my current situation. I have a small home recording setup which I use mostly for recording myself and some projects with my friends (mostly pop/country style). I record mainly acoustic guitars, vocals, bass guitar and electric guitar. Over the years, I've assembled quite some stuff:

- different flavours of electric guitars (strat, tele, les paul, 335, something with p90s)
- two very nice Takamine acoustics, and a bass guitar
- an AxeFx for live and recording
- iMac with Logic 9
- RME fireface UC
- Adam A7 monitors
- novation sl49 midi keyboard
- a few microphones: sm57, rode nt1a, rode nt5 stereo pair

In addition to this, the room I work in is nicely treated, I am quite happy with what I hear in my mixes and I feel that I can really explore my creativity in this room.

I have some extra cash to spend, and I am wondering what would be a wise investment for me. There are several possibilities as I see it now:

- buy a more expensive microphone, such as AKG414 XLS. This would give me higher quality condenser mic with multiple patterns
- buy a good mic preamp, for example I like the LA610. It would give me an extra dirty sound next to the RMEs clean preamps + a compressor to use on the way in
- buy some other external hardware such as a distressor for compressing vocals and acoustic guitar on the way in. I don't mind taking these decisions partly during the recording phase if they augment the sound
- invest in a couple of good plugins such as Waves SSL or any other nice analog-sounding channel strip plugin. I do not use any third party plugins inside Logic at all at the moment, and I'm not completely happy with having only the very clean EQ and compressors in Logic.

All of the things I mention seem like reasonably good investments to me, but I am curious what your opinion is on this matter or if you have any other insight that could help me narrow down my options. Thanks for your help!
Old 10th September 2011
  #2
Here for the gear
 

Bump... No one?
Old 10th September 2011
  #3
I would get one nice LDC. The akg is nice but a used neumann would be my personal pref. Better yet you could mod that Nt1a for $400 and then buy a buy preamp like the Daking mic pre one also for $750. I would personal go the mod route if I already owned the rode.

Award-winning microphone engineering from Michael Joly
Old 10th September 2011
  #4
Lives for gear
 
jmikeperkins's Avatar
The first thing you need to buy to get better sounds would be more and better microphones. Nothing wrong with an AKG 414. If you have more money to spend, a nice used Neumann U87 would really take you to the next level. 1-2 high quality small diaphram condenser mics would also really help when recording acoustic guitars. After the mics, if it were me, I would get a high quality outboard compressor next for tracking. Then some 1st rate mic pres. Getting the best sound possible, up front, before any kind of digital processing should be your goal. No plug ins and/or digital processing can make a cheap mic sound like a U87 on a lead vocal.
Old 10th September 2011
  #5
Lives for gear
 

Hmm.. to some degree I think maybe it's personal, and it probably depends on how much money you have to spend.. but I'd look at microphones and preamps, that would be my first stop.

Microphone wise my philosophy is to have one high end all rounder.. and then augment that with less expensive mics. I'd probably do that before the preamps.

On the other hand.. depending on the roll electric guitar plays.. SM57 is pretty ideal on its own and so a preamp makes a lot of sense.

In terms of compressors on the way in, and all of that good stuff.. I suppose it should be an open debate between that and software.

I'm not a Logic user.. but.. I can't imagine being totally satisfied by that which comes with a DAW... I'm very mix centric in what I do.. and so.. I look very closely at those puzzles pieces.. and it doesn't sound like you have a lot going on there.

I don't want to rehash analog vs digal / software vs hardware.. but at least from certain perspectives there's various price vs performance advantages to software.. and ya really ought to at least look at it right?
Old 10th September 2011
  #6
Here for the gear
 

Thanks everyone for your replies. A Neumann U87 is out of my budget unfortunately. I have around 700 euros to spend, which should be more than enough for a used 414.
Old 10th September 2011
  #7
Gear Nut
 

Identify what it is about your mixes and songs you want to improve that'll help narrow the list...
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