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Budget Mics help

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Budget Mics help

Postby tca » Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:16 pm

Hello people!
I'm a newbie here and also a relative newbie regarding production but would like to get some opinions on some entry level equipment. basically i want to record my kids playing guitar and singing giving them a tiny bit of "studio environment experience". i can get around most things but microphones are the dificult area for me. I need two to record vocals, one for acoustic guitar and maybe one for ambience, don't have to be the cheapest but keeping in mind that for now this is only for fun. I've just got a Soundcraft EPM8 at the moment and would like to build up from there. Any help on the mics?
Many thanks!!
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Re: Budget Mics help

Postby ConcertinaChap » Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:35 pm

Hi and welcome.

The Rode M3 is an excellent mic for the price, but as you can imagine this topic comes up a lot, so it'd be worth your while using the forum search button

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Re: Budget Mics help

Postby Skerrick » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:32 pm

i have these mics and theyre great, although theyre cheap, you get a pencil condenser mic for instruments and a large condenser mic for vocals.
MXL990's are great for beginners like myself, plus thay have an awesome case that they come in so theyre transportable and storable without having to worry too much about the condions theyre being kept in.

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/MXL-990-991- ... 2ea&_uhb=1
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Re: Budget Mics help

Postby tomdot » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:20 pm

Personally I would steer away from the M3, and look to the recently reissued NT3 - its a great mic and the M3 was the lower rent replacement for the NT3.

Also, look to a Studio Projects B1 - I use the B1 for lead vocals and acoustic guitar, and I also use it as a brighter electric guitar mic. I even press it into service as a mono drum overhead. It's my general purpose capacitor and it will stick with you as you progress. It got a very good review in SOS a couple of years back.

I've used the NT3 in the same capacity as the B1, but because the mic has a presence suck out at around 3k it's used as a gloss mic - ie with an SM57 it goes on electric guitars, it mics over the shoulder for acoustics alongside the B1, I use it as my external Kick mic alongside a D112, I also use it for background vocals due to that presence suck out too and works really well to keep out the way of the lead.

So between the B1 and NT3 you will spend about £250, and they will both cover all the bases you need, and will also stick around for general purpose uses as and when the kids grow and turn their hand to new recording tasks.

Hope this helps!
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Re: Budget Mics help

Postby tca » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:00 pm

Thanks people, this really is such a great help and i appreciate it greatly.
As i said i'm staying away from the high end stuff. At the opposite end i had already a budget option that has been reccomended to me at http://www.hifi-tower.co.uk/Wired-Microphones_c253.htm. Might just get the bits and pieces from them then, like the mic reflection shield, cables and what-not (always wanted an SM58 for some reason) and look for the options mentioned which seem to be exactly what i need.
Many thanks!!

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Re: Budget Mics help

Postby tomdot » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:10 pm

Actually the first two mics I bought were an SM58 and SM57 - the idea was not too far from yours in that I needed something suitable and cheap that I knew would get the job done and balance out my weak skills - the SM57 will literally be the only mic you would need for a number of (non-bass heavy or hi-fi) applications. For example it's the industry standard for electric guitars and snare drums and pretty much every guitar and snare on record for about 30-40 years has quite likely been brushed with a 57.

The SM58 is industry standard for live vocals, but that doesn't stop you using it for studio applications. Bono uses one for all of his studio vocals, and there will be plenty more too.

So if you bought a SM58 and SM57 you would again get two great mics!

EDIT : That webiste looks expensive. Use someone in the industry like Digital Village. If you go to their website and search for an SM58 and see the price you will quickly see that you can spend even less of your money!
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Re: Budget Mics help

Postby The Elf » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:12 pm

It's OK having four microphones, but how are they getting to the computer? Do you have an audio interface, or are you plugging the output of the mixer into the computer's built-in audio input? At a pinch this will probably let you make a simple stereo recording.

If you want to record all of the mic's simultaneously, then have the ability to mix them later, then that mixer isn't going to be much help. You will need an audio interface with four mic inputs.

I carry an MXL stereo USB mic around with me for grins - useful when parents want me to record little Johnny/Jenny doing their party piece. Plug it in, load your DAW and hit 'record'. It's crude, but it would be good for 'entry level'.

I'm also quite a fan of some of the MXL range. Some of their mic's, such as the V67 and 603, are far better than their price suggests (though I'm not a fan of the 990). Bargain mic of the moment for me are the K-Micro 'Silver Bullet' mic's that come as a 'matched pair' for less than 50 quid and would do a great job on guitar.

Another option for you might be the Zoom H4N, which is a hand-held recorder with built-in mic's and with inputs for another two mics. It can work standalone, or can act as an audio interface.
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Re: Budget Mics help

Postby tca » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:16 pm

Yes, my limited knowledge knows that. I'm just about to push the button for the SM58 and other bits and pieces. Super cheap prices on some stuff around there, it's too tempting.
Clearly this starts to become a fun project not just for the kids
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Re: Budget Mics help

Postby tca » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:22 pm

The actual recording part is the next step. There's an m-audio 410 that a friend doesn't use on the way, then i'm either moving the imac downstairs or use my macbook pro. we're all learning as we go along here at home.
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Re: Budget Mics help

Postby Skerrick » Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:29 am

DUDE, it seems you missed my post. if youre staying away from hi end, this is what you want.

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/MXL-990-991-Recording-Vocal-Instrumental-Microphone-Package-/25 1188667114?pt=AU_Pro_Audio&hash=item3a7c02e2ea&_uhb=1
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Re: Budget Mics help

Postby Skerrick » Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:36 am

this is even cheaper;
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/MXL-440-441-Recording-Microphone-Mic-Package-Case-/370716273943?pt=US_Pro_Audio_Microphones&hash=item5650696d17#ht_1590wt_1111

i cant say i know much about the quality of these 440's, but the MXL 990 vocal and MXL 991 pencil condenser bundle that i pasted the link for above are heaps legit, i love them. they sound nice and warm, i have a roland DR80C but i personally find the sound of the MXL's preferable. i dont know if its the acoustics of my room or whatnot, but the MXL 990 has softer, warmer sounding vocal tones IMHO.
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Re: Budget Mics help

Postby Exalted Wombat » Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:59 am

tomdot wrote:Actually the first two mics I bought were an SM58 and SM57 -

Unless you need to use them simultaneously, don't forget that a SM58 with the ball removed is near-as-dammit a SM57 - albeit it a rather unprotected one.
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Re: Budget Mics help

Postby tomdot » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:48 am

Exalted Wombat wrote:Unless you need to use them simultaneously, don't forget that a SM58 with the ball removed is near-as-dammit a SM57 - albeit it a rather unprotected one.

I read this a lot, but the frequency plots look different and sound different to me. I'll say that I've never taken the ball end off to try as there's been no need, so I assume that the wind shield alters the frequency response. This is probably for a different thread mind seeing as this is probably going all over the OP's head.

I do try and remember what it was like to begin with all this and really, a beginner would do well not to be taking windshields off and trying a kettle onto this and that etc. What's more important is to get a feel for different mics and their response and what they can do for you.

By having both a 58 and 57 and using them for their designated applications you will see that the 58 will do this, and the 57 will do that and this is how different they sound etc etc etc and you can then try them elsewhere and decide if you need a new mic. This could go on and on until you've bought a Royer on credit card and you decide that the best thing to mic a guitar amp is to take a windshield off of a 58.

Plus, dont ever underestimate the "image" to someone first starting out of singing into a 58 and micing an amp with a 57. Quite often I wanted to feel what the industry standard felt like if I had the opportunity, and of course, by owning these you also get the added bonus of being a hero at gigs when you need extra mics!

I think the OP has bought a 58 anyway, so I may have just waffled on.
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Re: Budget Mics help

Postby tca » Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:24 pm

I'd say there's plenty food for thought here and i thank you all immensely. I'm still on the search for a couple more mics but have purchased the 58 yes. I think if you're getting started on these things you'll have to know/own a 58 for sure. As a beginner i'll certainly come back for help/suggestions to this great forum as my project moves along.
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Re: Budget Mics help

Postby The Elf » Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:27 pm

I've always considered the 58 a live mic and the 57 its studio equivalent. Generally speaking I don't use 58s for recording (though it has been known - nice on toms). I'd take a fistful of 57s over 58s any day - and in a studio situation you can always add a pop shield.
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Re: Budget Mics help

Postby Exalted Wombat » Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:25 pm

tomdot wrote:
Exalted Wombat wrote:Unless you need to use them simultaneously, don't forget that a SM58 with the ball removed is near-as-dammit a SM57 - albeit it a rather unprotected one.


I read this a lot, but the frequency plots look different and sound different to me. I'll say that I've never taken the ball end off to try as there's been no need, so I assume that the wind shield alters the frequency response


Yup, that's what makes the difference. Any comparison without undressing the 58 is hardly relevant!

The size and shape of the enclosure is a LOT of the sounde of a microphone. Just as it is of a loudspeaker.

The capsules, I believe, used to be an identical part number. Currently it's different for each model, and some say the differences between a SM57 and a naked SM58 are a little greater. But they're still pretty close.
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Re: Budget Mics help

Postby Tamika Caleigh » Sun Mar 24, 2013 2:35 am

The RODE M3 is a condenser microphone powered by either phantom power or a 9V battery. This mic can be used as a vocal mic or as a studio mic for drums, guitars or even as a presenter mic, but it is a very impressive and solid vocal microphone! Starting at about £58 online it is amazing value for money! It also comes with a 10 year warranty.

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