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Microphone - Suggestions needed

Discussion in 'Studio Techniques' started by ryguy76, Mar 25, 2010.

  1. ryguy76

    ryguy76 Member

    I am going to be buying an apogee duet pretty soon, to record an album. I have 2 cheap LDC's (studio projects C1 & MXL 2001) that I've always managed with to get decent results with. But I'm upgrading all my equipment and figure a new mic should be included too.

    I think that the duet deserves better, but of course, I'm lost as to which mic I will choose for my #1 vocal mic. I realize that a great mic may not sound great on all sources, and I'm not able to audition mics because I'm situated in a small town with limited music resources. So I was hoping that someone may have an insight into which quality mic ($700-$1000) might sound good on my voice if I provide a sample of my tone.

    I hope someone has some would be hugely appreciated.

    Here's a sample song I recorded using my SP C1 mic.

  3. AJRussell

    AJRussell New Member

    For that kinda price range you could get something from the Neumann TLM range. Can't go wrong with a Neumann.

    The AKG C414 is also definitely worth your attention.

    I'm no expert in mics at that price range, but this is definitely a question for Gearslutz. The guys on that forum would have no problem writing you 10 pages of replies or more on what obscure and esoteric mics you should check out.

    Just remember to shop around. Don't take what they say and go straight to Zzounds. It's your ears and your money.
  4. Markdvc

    Markdvc Administrator Staff Member

    I would agree with the suggestions of a Neumann TLM 103, or AKG C 414. Both are similarly priced, the C 414 offers the additional (and IMO very important) feature of having a variable pattern. Either would make an admirable start to a mic collection, and will outlast several generations of computers. My pair of C 414's are now around twenty years old and still get used regularly. My one TLM 103 (purchased second hand about 8 years ago) is one of my "go to" microphones for recording male vox. It often wins out over a Brauner VM 1, which is a superb microphone for Female Vox, Saxophone and a wide variety of other signals.

    I hear what you are saying about living in a small town, nevertheless, it is advantageous to try to test whichever microphone(s) you may be interested in, to see how well they match up with your voce, preamp, room acoustics.

    Gearslutz may be full of threads about microphones, but this is the sort of question we set up the "studio techniques" forum here for. We have plenty of highly competent and experienced people here who I am sure can offer good advice :)

    kind regards

  5. ryguy76

    ryguy76 Member

    I've read some threads at gearslutz, and find the extreme difference of opinions on everything, tiresome. I'm no further ahead for the time I invest into reading any specific topic of discussion.

    The TLM 103 is THE most bashed mic I've ever read about. Now, with no experience with it, I don't have an opinion on it, but I do know it also gets lots of praise. So hence, my frustration with the threads at gearslutz. Maybe it's because it's an entry-level neumann and its lower pricepoint clouds the ears into thinking it's not great for those "bashers." Who knows... I just know that I'd like a decent mic, but don't have an ability to try a selection, which is why I was hoping that someone may have recorded a voice similar to mine with great results with a specific mic.

    From what I gather, the apogee duet is quite transparent and pristine, probably not unlike a grace 101 and other pre's of that nature. So I'm hoping maybe I can shortlist 2 or 3, and at least narrow my search in this vast market of mics.

    Keep the suggestions coming, I appreciate what I've got so far. I am also waiting for more reviews on the new TLM 102. Could be promising! :)

  6. bradbass

    bradbass Member

    Which mic pre/convertor setup are you using right now??
    I listened to one of the tracks, and thought the SP mic sounded pretty decent on the vocals...
    Remember the old adage "If it ain't broke...don't fix it"
    FWIW, you can seriously go broke chasing after every last "latest and greatest" mic, mic pre, etc, etc if you put too much credence in!
  7. bambony

    bambony Administrator Staff Member

    Mics are a funny business...

    For example I hate the sound of 414s - the top end sounds all synthesised to my ears. The TLM103 has that Neumman sound which is the single most used vocal sound certainly of the 70s and 80s. I've tried MXL stuff and it sounded great for the money. And Rode stuff sounds good too. If you are looking at buying one-mic-fits-all then neutrality is your friend. Neutral mics will respond better to EQ as they will impose less of a sound.

    There are many here and other fora who will have tested loads of mics who might give you good advice... I am afraid I ain't one of them.

    Mics are a funny business

  8. ryguy76

    ryguy76 Member

    The mic pre I am using is the Studio projects VTB-1 and the internal converters within the Roland 2400 recorder.

    The C1 was used on all those tracks, except "washed away," which I recorded in a studio and don't remember what was used. Probably a U87, if I recall.

    I just want to make sure I don't have a weak link in my signal chain. Is the C1 bad, no... but I really don't know how much better it could be with a better mic. The C1 is all I know when it comes to recording myself.
  9. bradbass

    bradbass Member

    The track that I listened to was named "tomorrow" if I am not mistaken. The point here is that you should consider using the Studio Projects mic with the Duet ( or whatever else) before chasing your tail around... I think that the SP suits your voice quite well!
  10. ryguy76

    ryguy76 Member

    I totally get what you're saying Brad.

    Not having recorded myself with a more expensive mic, I wasn't sure if I was missing a key ingredient. I've always been happy with the C1, but I have nothing to compare it to other than another cheap mic. I was just wanting to make sure I wasn't doing myself a disservice by using an inexpensive mic through a preamp/converter unit that was begging for more.

    I finally have enough songs written deserving of good production and I am slightly uneasy of relying on El Cheapo C1 as my vocal mic. Know what I mean?

    Did the vocal sit right when you listened to the track? (tomorrow is recorded with C1 & VTB-1 preamp)
  11. steve_awesome_wells

    steve_awesome_wells New Member

    Hi Ryan,
    I agree that your voice sounds pretty damn good with your current mic. I have had a lot of experience (though you won't see my name on any famous albums), and one thing I have learned is not to make too many changes at one time if you want to keep track of what you are actually doing. I like Apogee stuff and I think you will be happy with the effect the new preamp has on your existing mics. It will be like a veil is removed from the sound, and considering it sounds good already, I think it is going to sound ****-hot, to use a technical term. The acoustic guitar sounds good too. I'm only listening through the speakers on my I-Mac, which is actually quite a good indication if you know what I mean. The only thing I noticed (I only listened to about one minute of the first track), was that your voice may be just a little loud. Sometimes self-producers habitually mix themselves too loud or too soft. Get some opinions from a range of people, water them well and add a pinch of salt. Remember, your fans can read the lyrics on the record sleeve!
    Good work.


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