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Can you have too many microphones?

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Can you have too many microphones?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:38 am
by Arpangel
I guess no, if you're Skywalker Ranch, or Abbey Road etc.
I'm thinking of "rationalising" my mic collection. I use my handy recorder more than ever these days, and on the advice of folks here I bought a Rode stereo mic, which has been really useful with the handy recorder.
So I'm going to do an experiment on our next session, I'm going to set up my usual rig, Sennhiesser MKH40's, plus the Rode/Tascam set-up. And see if the Rode can make an "acceptable" result. Bare in mind we are a free-improv group recording in my living room, so "acceptable" can have the bar set pretty low! :D
I need funds to populate my Buchla case, and if the Rode and handy recorder can do a reasonable job then I might exchange some of my mic's for modules. I'm not sure yet, but I'm just not using some of my mic's anywhere near enough, well have to see how the next session goes. But no doubt, if I let some of them go, I'll need them a couple days after, obviously!

Re: Can you have too many microphones?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:42 am
by Aural Reject
No.

Or sometimes yes. :bouncy:

Re: Can you have too many microphones?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:53 am
by The Elf
La la la - I can't hear you... :beamup:

Re: Can you have too many microphones?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:11 am
by Sam Inglis
Hear who?

Re: Can you have too many microphones?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:21 am
by Wonks
You can certainly have too many C1000s.

Just having one really oversteps the mark.

Re: Can you have too many microphones?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:25 am
by Mike Stranks
Oh yes; almost certainly...

But let me know if you're selling any!

Re: Can you have too many microphones?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:29 am
by Watchmaker
what you really need is more sessions

Re: Can you have too many microphones?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:32 am
by Tim Gillett
It seems we can never have enough microphone "flavours", just not "that" flavour...

Re: Can you have too many microphones?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:04 pm
by Aural Reject
Just to be semi-serious for a minute, the answer really is - as it often is - it depends.

If you're only ever recording yourself or a known collective (including your own releases), then you can get to a point where your inventory covers what you want to do to the standard you want to achieve.

I seem to remember there was talk in an earlier post from you about recording for others, though, and that's where things can quite quickly become skewed.

If you ever do find yourself going down that route (or indeed expand your own requirement) then having flexibility and options is important. I have a particular market in which I (mainly) work, and over time I've picked my gear such that I can generally cope with most things my client base will throw at me - and if I'm just using my own gear I'll run out of channels before I run out of mics.

Having either different flavours of the same polar pattern, different patterns, modular or switchable pattern mics means that I can either fine tune stuff or be able to deal with problematic things that come when you don't expect ("the pipe and drum band is due to join us for Highland Cathedral after lunch...where are we putting them?"), or indeed actually put up enough microphones such that I can satisfy the client's desire to change the balance in post drastically away from that which they agreed on a session (that will obviously upset the minimalists like JW :tongue: ).

I guess the bottom line is you need to define exactly what it is you want to be able to do and how you'll do it.

Re: Can you have too many microphones?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:30 pm
by Random Guitarist
Yes you can.

One specific scenario is where budget models of one type are bought and then a slightly different budget model. Eventually the penny drops and a decent model is bought, but there is a pile of, now unused, budget mics.

I have done this in the past, but not too badly. I do know a guy who bought enough cheap LDCs that he could have bought a pair of good ones for the same money.

Re: Can you have too many microphones?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:34 pm
by Bob Bickerton
In one sense, no you can’t have too many microphones, but it’s also a question of being pragmatic and owning the right microphones to deliver what you need in the environments where you work.

For me, microphones have come and gone but the keepers have always been the top notch models, the ones I wouldn’t want to work without.

It’s these models (your mkhs would fall into this category) that I consider to be an investment. They’re not likely to lose value, so unless cash flow is a serious issue, I’d be inclined to keep them.

Rode NT4 (well 2x NT5s) versus a pair of MKH40s - no comparison in my mind........

Bob

Re: Can you have too many microphones?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:37 pm
by Aural Reject
Random Guitarist wrote:Yes you can.

One specific scenario is where budget models of one type are bought and then a slightly different budget model. Eventually the penny drops and a decent model is bought, but there is a pile of, now unused, budget mics.

I have done this in the past, but not too badly. I do know a guy who bought enough cheap LDCs that he could have bought a pair of good ones for the same money.

It's a good point, actually.

One relatively recent entry into my competitors list believes that using lots of lower end mics is a great plan...and thinking that various surround arrays can just be bodged from them is also acceptable...I've got better things to be doing than EQing 32 channels of dodgy mics just to get rid of the presence peaks :tongue: (or indeed ducking when things are moving around due to phase instability just in case something hits me).

Thing is he's superseded really bottom end stuff with just slightly higher up and uses the number of mics he's got as his metric (something like 48 now I think)...

Re: Can you have too many microphones?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:00 pm
by John Willett
If the microphones are good microphones - then, no.

I still have every microphone I ever bought (except the very first pair) and would use any of them now.

I still add to the collection.

If you have MKH 30, 40 series, I would NEVER get rid of those. :thumbup:

Re: Can you have too many microphones?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:22 pm
by Arpangel
Bob Bickerton wrote:In one sense, no you can’t have too many microphones, but it’s also a question of being pragmatic and owning the right microphones to deliver what you need in the environments where you work.

For me, microphones have come and gone but the keepers have always been the top notch models, the ones I wouldn’t want to work without.

It’s these models (your mkhs would fall into this category) that I consider to be an investment. They’re not likely to lose value, so unless cash flow is a serious issue, I’d be inclined to keep them.

Rode NT4 (well 2x NT5s) versus a pair of MKH40s - no comparison in my mind........

Bob

You're right there! Made a recording of percussion and piano this morning, the Rode and the handy recorder are now relegated to field recordings only! It's not even worth talking about, the difference between these two systems is chalk and cheese, you'd have to have a damn good reason to ditch the MKH's.

Re: Can you have too many microphones?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:33 pm
by CS70
Well , as others say, you may end up with a bunch of cheap and cheerful mics which you no longer need as you've got better ones.

The issue with unloading inexpensive stuff tough, it's always the same - if you bought it new, it's unlikely you're gonna recover any of the money. Beginners won't know where to look for used stuff and won't trust themselves in buying it, and more experience people know that they're inexpensive so they won't give u much.

So in the end of the day you're usually better of keeping them for the odd occasion when you may need them.

Re: Can you have too many microphones?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:36 pm
by hobbyist
Arpangel wrote:I guess no, if you're Skywalker Ranch, or Abbey Road etc.
I'm thinking of "rationalising" my mic collection. I use my handy recorder more than ever these days, and on the advice of folks here I bought a Rode stereo mic, which has been really useful with the handy recorder.
So I'm going to do an experiment on our next session, I'm going to set up my usual rig, Sennhiesser MKH40's, plus the Rode/Tascam set-up. And see if the Rode can make an "acceptable" result. Bare in mind we are a free-improv group recording in my living room, so "acceptable" can have the bar set pretty low! :D
I need funds to populate my Buchla case, and if the Rode and handy recorder can do a reasonable job then I might exchange some of my mic's for modules. I'm not sure yet, but I'm just not using some of my mic's anywhere near enough, well have to see how the next session goes. But no doubt, if I let some of them go, I'll need them a couple days after, obviously!

Yes.

For me ten is enough.

Re: Can you have too many microphones?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:20 pm
by blinddrew
CS70 wrote:Well , as others say, you may end up with a bunch of cheap and cheerful mics which you no longer need as you've got better ones.

The issue with unloading inexpensive stuff tough, it's always the same - if you bought it new, it's unlikely you're gonna recover any of the money. Beginners won't know where to look for used stuff and won't trust themselves in buying it, and more experience people know that they're inexpensive so they won't give u much.

So in the end of the day you're usually better of keeping them for the odd occasion when you may need them.
Having a couple of cheap mics around can give you a few more options sometimes to either take a bit of a risk (microphone in an exposed position perhaps) or to try something more experimental (gaffa a length of hosepipe onto a mic and trail it round the drumkit).
If there's a situation where you're after an effect, rather than fidelity, sometimes a cheap mic with a less-than-flat, or poor off-axis, response can speed you towards that sound.

Re: Can you have too many microphones?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:58 pm
by Hugh Robjohns
Arpangel wrote:.... you'd have to have a damn good reason to ditch the MKH's.

You're not wrong -- they're absolutely superb microphones. I actually have ten altogether -- 4x20s, 3x40s, 2x30s, and 1x50 -- and I use them all the time for all sorts of things.

I think you probably can have 'too many' mics, But that threshold will obviously vary enormously depending on what you need/want to do with them. I think I've got over 40 mics in my collection at the moment, covering all the bases from the venerable SM57 up to a Soundfield ST450mkii, with (mostly pairs) of all sorts of high-quality mics in between -- SDCs, LDCs, ribbons, and dynamics.

But I think that's the point, and I agree with Bob and JW here, that it's well worth buying the best you can because then you won't outgrow them, they'll last your whole recorsing career, and they will hold their value well for when you finally decide to downsize.

I have a policy where I review my equipment each year, and if I haven't used something for a couple of years I seriously consider disposing of it. And on that basis I did sell a couple of Neumann TLM103s last year that I wasn't using. They were/are very good mics, but I just found I always preferred using other LDC mics in my collection, and I no longer do the kind of big jobs where I needed the extra pair of mics.

Re: Can you have too many microphones?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:04 pm
by zenguitar
Mike Stranks wrote:Oh yes; almost certainly...

But let me know if you're selling any!
Now that’s what I call ‘entering into the spirit of things’. :clap:

Andy :beamup:

Re: Can you have too many microphones?

PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:05 am
by Arpangel
That's a good point Hugh about reviewing your stuff every year, makes sense.
I made a couple of buying mistakes early on, I bought a couple of cheap SDC's and they were tonally notright, also noisy. But I used them and they "did the job" but maybe not ideally. It wasn't until I managed to buy better ones like the MKH's that I realised there was a huge leep in overall quallity. My advice to anyone is save as much as you can, and buy the best mic you can afford, you just can't get away with cheap mic's, it's easy to make a good mic sound bad, but its impossible to make a bad mic sound good.