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Recommend a mic under £35 for recording live music?

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Recommend a mic under £35 for recording live music?

Postby L James » Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:21 pm

I video a lot of stage musicals (usually shows I'm in). For the audio, I've been using a Zoom H1, leaving it in a position where it can pick up the orchestra, singers and audience. (I could record from the soundboard but I want the real live sound.)

For my purposes, I'm more than happy with the quality of the Zoom H1. Trouble is there isn't much stereo as I can only position it on one side of the stage or the other. So I was thinking I could plug two external mics into it (one each side of the stage), for a much wider sound across the whole stage.

The mic would have to be about £35 or less though, because I'd need to buy two, and for about £80 I could just buy a second Zoom H1 which would be a far neater solution.

Also, I don't know much about power. Not sure if the H1 provides phantom power, or even if that would be needed?
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Re: Recommend a mic under £35 for recording live music?

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Re: Recommend a mic under £35 for recording live music?

Postby jaminem » Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:29 pm

or

http://www.thomann.de/gb/behringer_c2_stereoset.htm

hard to recommend anything in this price range, as you're basically buying the cheapest mic available, so as long as you adjust your expectations to the same level as your budget you'll probably be ok with a cheapy...
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Re: Recommend a mic under £35 for recording live music?

Postby ef37a » Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:04 pm

I am with J on this one, results are going to be poor but I am not even sure the H1 can power the Behringers? That leaves only dynamics and I doubt the pre amps will be up to them for "distance" work. A small mixer would transform the results here.

In any event I would question your whole "MO" for recording a stage show. You really want at least an XY pair on the case...Where you put it I would not like to say!

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Re: Recommend a mic under £35 for recording live music?

Postby humandrums » Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:35 pm

you could get 35 of these
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Re: Recommend a mic under £35 for recording live music?

Postby ef37a » Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:55 pm

You jest Humandrums?

But our "Gang Show" rig was about 8 very cheap Eagle 200Ohm dynamics. They had plastic bodies so each had about 100mm of heavy copper pipe inserted and the capsule wired out as balanced. These were hung from a lighting barrell over the stagewidth. All were wired in parallel and fed a Brennel 15ips mono tapedeck and a Wimbledon 100V line PA amp via a transformer.

We got quite decent voice cover and not a lot of "feet"!

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Re: Recommend a mic under £35 for recording live music?

Postby turbodave » Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:05 pm

ex-reid wrote: Image

Is that one of those German Nowaymann microphones? Dave
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Re: Recommend a mic under £35 for recording live music?

Postby chris... » Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:46 pm

L James wrote:IThe mic would have to be about £35 or less though, because I'd need to buy two, and for about £80 I could just buy a second Zoom H1 which would be a far neater solution.

How are you planning to sync the files from two separate recorders, to create a single stereo file ?
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Re: Recommend a mic under £35 for recording live music?

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Re: Recommend a mic under £35 for recording live music?

Postby tacitus » Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:27 am

So, why would you want two Zoom recorders? You might as well buy two pairs of wellies and wear one from each pair when it rains.

Seriously, if you're not concerned about sound quality too much you might as well continue as you are. If you do want to get better sound in a believable stereo image, get a pair of condenser mics and a small mixer. At least that way you're adding functionality to your setup. Even if you buy a pair of Behringer C2's. Myself, I'd spring for something like a Soundcraft Notepad mixer (I have the ancient model and it still gets used more than all my other mixers as it's small and handy). Add your cheapo condenser mics and sling the pair up somewhere in front of the stage - you'll most likely be able to get them high up and pointing down into the stage. Depending on where the band is that should work quite well with a bit of fine tuning. I'd use cardioid mics set up in a crossed pair - i.e. the two mics at the same place but pointing left and right because if you use them spaced apart you'll get more asides than solos.

There are lots of cheap pairs of small condenser mics - I have a load of Samson CO2s, largely because they were on offer when I needed a lot of mics quickly. But the same few Chinese mics come round again and again with different badges on and mostly they're OK if not spectacular. Given what you're recording I think pretty well any matched pair would be a big improvement as long as they're set up right. As indeed would your Zoom recorder if you hoist it up there where the mics would go, but I'm assuming you wouldn't be able to operate it then.
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Re: Recommend a mic under £35 for recording live music?

Postby James Perrett » Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:52 am

While a few people don't seem to be taking your idea seriously, I actually tried something very similar many years ago. Unfortunately, placing the mics either side of the stage facing inwards will give you a very strange perspective and dialogue will vary in volume in a very unnatural way. Whenever a character faces forward the dialogue will be quiet while it will increase in volume whenever the character faces one of your mics. It would be much better to find somewhere central that you can place the Zoom - possibly on the front edge of the stage or maybe above the stage on a lighting gantry.

If you still want to give it a try then I'd look at mics similar to the ones at

http://cpc.farnell.com/jsp/level5/module.jsp?moduleId=cpc/261840.xml


This has an internal battery so you won't need to provide phantom power. I've not used that particular model but I've used similar mics which have been fine although the maximum sound level that they can handle probably isn't up to recording extremely loud sounds.

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Re: Recommend a mic under £35 for recording live music?

Postby L James » Tue Oct 25, 2011 3:34 pm

Thanks for the responses, guys.

Thanks for the links, Jaminem!

tacitus wrote:Given what you're recording I think pretty well any matched pair would be a big improvement as long as they're set up right. As indeed would your Zoom recorder if you hoist it up there where the mics would go, but I'm assuming you wouldn't be able to operate it then.
Thanks for all your advice and recommendations.

The thing is, I don’t want to operate the mics during the show. I just want to hit record, then hit stop at the end. Remember that for most of the shows I’m recording, I’m on stage during them! So for my purposes, the Zoom H1 is fine.

chris... wrote:
How are you planning to sync the files from two separate recorders, to create a single stereo file ?
That part seemed quite straight forward to me. I was planning to stand in the middle of the stage moments after hitting record, and shout “synch” then clap my hands. Or even just use any piece of dialogue that I know is delivered centre stage. Then just match the two waveforms so the peak of the clap is in the same place.

James Perrett wrote:Unfortunately, placing the mics either side of the stage facing inwards will give you a very strange perspective and dialogue will vary in volume in a very unnatural way. Whenever a character faces forward the dialogue will be quiet while it will increase in volume whenever the character faces one of your mics.
Good point! You know what, I never thought of that and that has made me re-think my whole plan.

Now I’m thinking that an XY pair is the way to go, as other people have advised. So my Zoom H1 is probably good enough.

ef37a wrote:I would question your whole "MO" for recording a stage show. You really want at least an XY pair on the case...Where you put it I would not like to say!
James Perrett wrote:
It would be much better to find somewhere central that you can place the Zoom - possibly on the front edge of the stage or maybe above the stage on a lighting gantry.
The front edge of the stage would be too near to the orchestra, so I’d have to get the ladders out and put it up with the lighting as you say, but it’s not very convenient to do that every time.

ex-reid wrote: Image
Ha ha! Perfect!
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Re: Recommend a mic under £35 for recording live music?

Postby ef37a » Tue Oct 25, 2011 3:54 pm

Re "flying" the Zoom.
Could you not fabricate some sort of holder and attach to a barrel clamp? Then just get the stage crew to drop down a convienient barrel to hook it onto?

IMEXP ASMs will do almost anything for beer.

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Re: Recommend a mic under £35 for recording live music?

Postby Henry-S » Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:56 pm

Well the Silver Bullets cost $50 delivered which is a bloody bargain in my eyes. Only got them today so not had time to test, but will give them an acoustic recording test on thursday, which I hope will be good.

So could be worth having a look at those
http://www.karmamics.com/shop/K-Micro-Matched-Pair.html
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Re: Recommend a mic under £35 for recording live music?

Postby turbodave » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:17 pm

Henry-S wrote:Well the Silver Bullets cost 0 delivered which is a bloody bargain in my eyes. Only got them today so not had time to test, but will give them an acoustic recording test on thursday, which I hope will be good.

So could be worth having a look at those
http://www.karmamics.com/shop/K-Micro-Matched-Pair.html


Me too!!
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Re: Recommend a mic under £35 for recording live music?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:46 pm

+1 for a pair of Rode M3, which would also make good general purpose mics (for the budget).

Poster also looking for a budget vocal mic (noted from another thread).

The M3 would be a start at this budget, possible the Rode NT-1a (though I find it overly bright).

Best budget vocal/instrument mic I've tried recently is the Sennheiser MK4 - might be worth saving the pennies................

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Re: Recommend a mic under £35 for recording live music?

Postby turtles » Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:20 pm

Two Silver Bullets arrived a couple of weeks ago and I've had a good play around with them.
These things are small, really small. Drop them in a box of old-style XLR connectors and they'll be lost forever. Very light as well.
They sound a lot better than they should, for less than £15 per mic. Pleasing noises as overheads, also on acoustic guitar which was a surprise.
I've stuck mine on the end of two long XLR cables and slung them over the top of the stage drapes. They hang just over the front either side of the stage, are indistinguishable from silver curtain fixtures, and presto- stage width and audience ambience.
I will be buying more!
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Re: Recommend a mic under £35 for recording live music?

Postby Mister Natural » Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:29 am

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Re: Recommend a mic under £35 for recording live music?

Postby James Perrett » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:09 am

turtles wrote:
They sound a lot better than they should, for less than £15 per mic. Pleasing noises as overheads, also on acoustic guitar which was a surprise.

Those of us who have experimented with cheap condenser capsules won't be surprised at all. At one point, much of my mic collection was salvaged from old cassette recorders. The really cheap ones are a little inconsistent but the Panasonic capsules are supposed to be much better and they're available for well under a fiver.

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Re: Recommend a mic under £35 for recording live music?

Postby Pete Kaine » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:19 am

turbodave wrote:
ex-reid wrote: Image

Is that one of those Geordie "Nowaymann" microphones? Dave

FTFY.
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Re: Recommend a mic under £35 for recording live music?

Postby IvanSC » Fri Nov 25, 2011 8:57 am

Re the Silver Bullets, did you read my review?

Still loving my pair.

But you do have to set them up right.

The most fun I had was recording an acoustic with both mics set up over the players shoulder pointing forwards.

Actually works really well in terms of capturing what the PLAYER hears.
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Re: Recommend a mic under £35 for recording live music?

Postby turtles » Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:35 pm

I think I probably stumbled across your review, along with several others from similarly reputable sources which were all equally positive... and thinking 'they can't All be wrong, and even if they are these things are seriously cheap'.

I haven't tried that over-the-shoulder thing, but will definitely give it a go. Agree they are lots of fun- so small that they can go pretty much anywhere, and therefore the limit is really imagination rather than physical space!
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Re: Recommend a mic under £35 for recording live music?

Postby Guest » Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:22 pm

Behringer C-1 or C-3 Condensers are under £30 and £40 respectively. Not sure on the quality.
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