Mics to fill out a studio on a budget

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I have a small home studio at, uhm, my home where I have done mostly
jazz groups. I had some mics but all the good ones were on loan.
After about 3 years my friend stopped by yesterday and took them all
back. So now I have VERY few mics and not good ones at that. Here are
some specifics.

After the Senn. MD421, 2 Neumann KM184's, and 2 Beta 58's walked away I
am left with:

1 SM58
4 SM57s
1 Beta 52
1 Oktava MK219
and a Samson R11 (just put that in for flavor)

I have an 8-channel interface into my computer.
I have the passion and I'm learning stuff everyday, I just lack some
experience and years of playing with stuff. I don't know much about
Sennheiser, AKG, and Beyerdymamic mics, but I've heard some good stuff
about some of their lower priced models. I would love to get more mic
than a 58 for less money than a 58.

Thanks.

- Steve
22 answers Last reply
More about mics fill studio budget
  1. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    we need specifics:
    1) your budget
    2) the ensembles you intend to record
  2. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    we need specifics:
    1) your budget
    2) the type of ensembles you intend to record
  3. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    I will mainly be doing recordings of jazz groups since that's the scene
    I'm the most plugged into, but I would also be able to record a band
    with a singer if I need to.
    My budget is a much harder question. I just decided I had bought
    enough equipment and I was finished for a long period of time, then
    most of my mics walked away. So ideally I want to spend $0. Basically
    I'm looking at under $100 per mic, perhaps a little more for some small
    diaphraghm condensors if I have to. I don't make much money from the
    studio (at least not yet), so I want to get it back up and running and
    sounding ok for as little money as possible.

    I was talking to a guy tonight and he suggested the AKG D880. Is that
    a good idea? Or is that you (Predrag Trpkov) meant by "enough of the
    SM58 variety."?
  4. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    <sseifried@fuse.net> wrote in message
    news:1105139761.778059.208700@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
    > I have a small home studio at, uhm, my home where I have done mostly
    > jazz groups. I had some mics but all the good ones were on loan.
    > After about 3 years my friend stopped by yesterday and took them all
    > back. So now I have VERY few mics and not good ones at that. Here are
    > some specifics.
    >
    > After the Senn. MD421, 2 Neumann KM184's, and 2 Beta 58's walked away I
    > am left with:
    >
    > 1 SM58
    > 4 SM57s
    > 1 Beta 52
    > 1 Oktava MK219
    > and a Samson R11 (just put that in for flavor)
    >
    > I have an 8-channel interface into my computer.
    > I have the passion and I'm learning stuff everyday, I just lack some
    > experience and years of playing with stuff. I don't know much about
    > Sennheiser, AKG, and Beyerdymamic mics, but I've heard some good stuff
    > about some of their lower priced models. I would love to get more mic
    > than a 58 for less money than a 58.


    You have enough of the SM58 variety. You need a a pair of small diaphraghm
    condensers. See if you can get a pair of Oktava MC012s or similar.

    Predrag
  5. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    sseifried@fuse.net wrote:
    > I will mainly be doing recordings of jazz groups since that's the
    scene
    > I'm the most plugged into, but I would also be able to record a band
    > with a singer if I need to.
    > My budget is a much harder question. I just decided I had bought
    > enough equipment and I was finished for a long period of time, then
    > most of my mics walked away. So ideally I want to spend $0.
    Basically
    > I'm looking at under $100 per mic, perhaps a little more for some
    small
    > diaphraghm condensors if I have to. I don't make much money from the
    > studio (at least not yet), so I want to get it back up and running
    and
    > sounding ok for as little money as possible.
    >
    > I was talking to a guy tonight and he suggested the AKG D880. Is
    that
    > a good idea? Or is that you (Predrag Trpkov) meant by "enough of the
    > SM58 variety."?

    The D880 is a neat stage dynamic, but you've got that covered
    by the 58. I would be concerned about replacing the function
    of the 184's:
    pair of Octava 012's -or-
    " Rode nt5's -or-
    " Studio Project C4's -or-
    " AKG c391's -or, you get the idea-
    Jazz just about demands a clean pair of drum overheads.
    Don't let any more of what you have get away,
    and later on you can get another 421 or something like
    that and maybe one of the ribbons. You may also get
    some use of an omni dynamic like a EV 635A for $50 or
    less.

    good luck
    rd
  6. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    I've seen a number of people recommend the EV635A, but what would I
    need an omni for? I don't tend to do much live recording so I don't
    need to mic an audience.
  7. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    ok, now we can party:

    1) jazz groups. this means quieter sounds (compared to a heavy metal
    rock band). so you can use a mic that captures subtlety, a sense of
    space, and detail. you're going to want as many condenser mics as you
    can get your hands on. forget dynamics, except maybe for a kick drum
    spot mic or a spot mic in other situations. basically you are going to
    want to get some condenser mics, and then have your existing mics fill
    in the holes around the condensers.

    2) budget. the Octava MK-012 is a great small diaphragm condenser mic
    for the budget. guitar center was pumping them out at insanely low
    prices for a while. but i don't think they are carrying them any more.
    it used to be $99 each, then it was 2 for $99, which was completely
    insane.

    the other mic package is to look into the MXL 990/991 package that
    guitar center/musicians friend carries for $99. the 990 is a large
    diaphragm condenser mic, and the 991 is a small diaphragm condenser
    mic. the 990 actually has quite a good amount of high-end "air" that
    engineers typically crave, and it's also not noisey. the 991 the
    small-diaphragm condenser that comes in the package. its decent too,
    but not quite as killer as the 990.

    so i would do this:
    a pair of Octava MK-012's,
    plus either two MXL 990s ($60 each)
    or the MXL 990/991 package for $99.

    if you have to go super cheap, just get the single MXL 990 for $60,
    which comes with a shockmount and a nice case. you need at least one
    condenser mic in there. then add the others over time.
  8. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    In article <1105160432.140357.310300@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com> sseifried@fuse.net writes:

    > My budget is a much harder question. I just decided I had bought
    > enough equipment and I was finished for a long period of time, then
    > most of my mics walked away. So ideally I want to spend $0.

    Well then, you have a problem. At least the mics walked away with the
    friend who was loaning them to you rather than walking away with a
    thief.

    When it comes to $100 mics, they're all different (even if you bought
    all of the same model) and probably the best ones for you are those
    that you can buy locally, from a dealer who trusts you and will let
    you exchange them if they don't work out. It doesn't matter if he
    doesn't carry five different $100 small diaphragm condensers. If he
    carries one, buy it and try it. If it doesn't work for you, probably
    a different one wouldn't work either and you need something else.

    Since you're talking about jazz groups which, in general, balance
    themselves pretty well, you might be ahead of the game by buying
    fewer, higher quality mics and learning about minimalist recording
    techniques - a good overall stereo pickup (two $500 mics), a mic for
    the singer, and maybe one for the bass drum.

    --
    I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
    However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
    lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
    you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
    and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
  9. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    <sseifried@fuse.net> wrote in message
    news:1105160432.140357.310300@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
    > I will mainly be doing recordings of jazz groups since that's the scene
    > I'm the most plugged into, but I would also be able to record a band
    > with a singer if I need to.
    > My budget is a much harder question. I just decided I had bought
    > enough equipment and I was finished for a long period of time, then
    > most of my mics walked away. So ideally I want to spend $0. Basically
    > I'm looking at under $100 per mic, perhaps a little more for some small
    > diaphraghm condensors if I have to. I don't make much money from the
    > studio (at least not yet), so I want to get it back up and running and
    > sounding ok for as little money as possible.
    >
    > I was talking to a guy tonight and he suggested the AKG D880. Is that
    > a good idea? Or is that you (Predrag Trpkov) meant by "enough of the
    > SM58 variety."?

    No mic is a bad idea, but the dynamic mics that you already have should be
    enough for close miking of the elements/shells of an average drum kit, even
    if the music is pop/rock. However, you don't have a suitable pair of mics
    for area miking, from drum overheads on. Since area (distant) miking is a
    widely used technique in recording jazz, I believe that (at least) a pair of
    small diaphraghm condensers should be a no-brainer decision in your
    situation.

    Predrag
  10. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    <sseifried@fuse.net> wrote:
    >I've seen a number of people recommend the EV635A, but what would I
    >need an omni for? I don't tend to do much live recording so I don't
    >need to mic an audience.

    For anything you'd ever want to record where you don't want a presence
    peak, you don't want proximity effect, and where you want the low end
    cut. It's probably the most versatile dynamic mike around. It's great
    for vocalists that can't stay on-mike because of the omni pattern. It's
    great on guitar amps. It's even a nice choice on electric bass when you
    want to tailor the bottom end off. If you had to own only one dynamic,
    the 635A is probably the one to have.
    --scott

    --
    "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
  11. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    Anybody know anything about the Samson C-02 small diaphraghm
    condensors? Through a connection I have I could get a pair for
    something in the upper $60's. Thanks.
  12. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    sseifried@fuse.net wrote:
    > Anybody know anything about the Samson C-02 small diaphraghm
    > condensors? Through a connection I have I could get a pair for
    > something in the upper $60's. Thanks.

    Raspy, bumpy response. Inconsistent.
    Basisally fails the 'keys test'.
    A cheap knock-off of a copy of an imitation
    of a real mic.
    Mics like this should _not_ be sold in pairs
    unless you get to select the pairing, which is
    what I would suggest anyone do anyway ...
    You can whole lot better.
    Buy mics made by a mic company.

    rd
  13. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    Because of the physics involved in building a directional mic,
    an omni will generally have smoother response, as well as
    the lack of bass boost when used close up (proximity).
    No proximity effect and less directionality combine to make
    the omni a little more forgiving about placement.
    Some omnis do have 'presence' (such as the 635a)
    but it's a gentle broad rise rather than a sharp peak.

    rd
  14. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    You might be happy with a couple of the Chinese built mics. These vary
    in quality, but many have their advocates. I like some of the
    Marshalls, specifically the MXL 603, the V67G and the V69ME (all on
    the recommendation of Harvey Gerst). Others here like various Nadys,
    and Rodes.

    You can do a Google search on this group for various models and
    brands.

    OTOH, you could re-post your question by specifying what you theed the
    extra mics FOR. Horns? Keys? Drums, etc. Buy what you need for a
    specific purpose rather than what you think you need. This, however,
    is a piece of advice that I must admit I have followed hardly at all.
    The one exception is a Beyer M160 that I got to record trumpets.

    On 7 Jan 2005 15:16:01 -0800, sseifried@fuse.net wrote:

    >I have a small home studio at, uhm, my home where I have done mostly
    >jazz groups. I had some mics but all the good ones were on loan.
    >After about 3 years my friend stopped by yesterday and took them all
    >back. So now I have VERY few mics and not good ones at that. Here are
    >some specifics.
    >
    >After the Senn. MD421, 2 Neumann KM184's, and 2 Beta 58's walked away I
    >am left with:
    >
    >1 SM58
    >4 SM57s
    >1 Beta 52
    >1 Oktava MK219
    >and a Samson R11 (just put that in for flavor)
    >
    >I have an 8-channel interface into my computer.
    >I have the passion and I'm learning stuff everyday, I just lack some
    >experience and years of playing with stuff. I don't know much about
    >Sennheiser, AKG, and Beyerdymamic mics, but I've heard some good stuff
    >about some of their lower priced models. I would love to get more mic
    >than a 58 for less money than a 58.
    >
    >Thanks.
    >
    >- Steve
    >

    Willie K. Yee, M.D. http://users.bestweb.net/~wkyee
    Developer of Problem Knowledge Couplers for Psychiatry http://www.pkc.com
    Webmaster and Guitarist for the Big Blue Big Band http://www.bigbluebigband.org
  15. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    Paul Stamler wrote:

    > Then, if you want under $100 mics for multimiking, I'd start
    > haunting ebay, looking for some Electro-Voice RE-15s, Beyer M201s and M260s,
    > if you're *real* lucky an M88. The M260 will sound great on many female
    > vocalists, the M88 will sound great on many males.

    With the caveat that an M260 wants a real preamp. It's not as
    insensitive as the M160, but it wants more than, say, the M500. It's not
    a pretty thing with the low-end "prosumer" pres with which I've tried
    it. Great mic, though. Seems to have a slight midrange distortion in
    combo with certain pres, including my GR MP2-MH. I think it's to do with
    how the transformers combine, but what do I know, besides that it's
    there. Sometimes it's a nifty bite and sometimes it just bites.

    --
    ha
  16. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    The Beyer M201 was also labeled as the Revox 3500 and sometimes that
    version slips under the radar & sells for a lower price, worth
    searching for on ebay. The EV RE-15 is a great little mic, I had a pro
    male vocalist cutting a demo & the $50 RE-15 sounded way better on him
    than any of the more expensive condensor mics I tried.

    Al

    On Sat, 08 Jan 2005 19:32:55 GMT, walkinay@thegrid.net (hank alrich)
    wrote:

    >Paul Stamler wrote:
    >
    >> Then, if you want under $100 mics for multimiking, I'd start
    >> haunting ebay, looking for some Electro-Voice RE-15s, Beyer M201s and M260s,
    >> if you're *real* lucky an M88. The M260 will sound great on many female
    >> vocalists, the M88 will sound great on many males.
    >
    >With the caveat that an M260 wants a real preamp. It's not as
    >insensitive as the M160, but it wants more than, say, the M500. It's not
    >a pretty thing with the low-end "prosumer" pres with which I've tried
    >it. Great mic, though. Seems to have a slight midrange distortion in
    >combo with certain pres, including my GR MP2-MH. I think it's to do with
    >how the transformers combine, but what do I know, besides that it's
    >there. Sometimes it's a nifty bite and sometimes it just bites.
  17. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    In article <1105226160.684971.326370@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com> sseifried@fuse.net writes:

    > Anybody know anything about the Samson C-02 small diaphraghm
    > condensors? Through a connection I have I could get a pair for
    > something in the upper $60's. Thanks.

    Any mics that you can get for $30-$35 are worth that. Go for it.

    Don't expect that they'll be any competition for mics selling for
    $1,000, but you might get lucky and they'll compare favorable with
    mics selling for $100.


    --
    I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
    However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
    lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
    you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
    and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
  18. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    "hank alrich" <walkinay@thegrid.net> wrote in message
    news:1gq2ec1.1sa3uc313fultpN%walkinay@thegrid.net...
    > Paul Stamler wrote:
    >
    > > Then, if you want under $100 mics for multimiking, I'd start
    > > haunting ebay, looking for some Electro-Voice RE-15s, Beyer M201s and
    M260s,
    > > if you're *real* lucky an M88. The M260 will sound great on many female
    > > vocalists, the M88 will sound great on many males.
    >
    > With the caveat that an M260 wants a real preamp. It's not as
    > insensitive as the M160, but it wants more than, say, the M500. It's not
    > a pretty thing with the low-end "prosumer" pres with which I've tried
    > it. Great mic, though. Seems to have a slight midrange distortion in
    > combo with certain pres, including my GR MP2-MH. I think it's to do with
    > how the transformers combine, but what do I know, besides that it's
    > there. Sometimes it's a nifty bite and sometimes it just bites.

    Right you are, on all counts. One other thing to know: sit down at a clean
    bench with a pill bottle and some micro-screwdrivers, and an M260. Take out
    the screws in the ring around the ball, and remove the front of the ball.
    There's the ribbon assembly, with a light plastic frame on the front holding
    a very light mesh screen. See if that frame is attached tightly to the
    assembly -- I think it was originally glued. If it's loose, it'll vibrate at
    certain frequencies. Use a couple of tiny pieces of 3M StripCalk to hold it
    in place and damp vibrations. Cleans up the mike like nobody's business. Oh,
    yeah, the pill bottle is to hold the tiny screws.

    Peace,
    Paul
  19. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    In article <1105201336.029631.263630@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
    genericaudioperson@hotmail.com wrote:

    > the other mic package is to look into the MXL 990/991 package that
    > guitar center/musicians friend carries for $99. the 990 is a large
    > diaphragm condenser mic, and the 991 is a small diaphragm condenser
    > mic. the 990 actually has quite a good amount of high-end "air" that
    > engineers typically crave, and it's also not noisey. the 991 the
    > small-diaphragm condenser that comes in the package. its decent too,
    > but not quite as killer as the 990.

    If you actually look into it, both mics have teh same size diaphragm


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  20. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    Paul Stamler wrote:

    > One other thing to know: sit down at a clean
    > bench with a pill bottle and some micro-screwdrivers, and an M260. Take out
    > the screws in the ring around the ball, and remove the front of the ball.
    > There's the ribbon assembly, with a light plastic frame on the front holding
    > a very light mesh screen. See if that frame is attached tightly to the
    > assembly -- I think it was originally glued. If it's loose, it'll vibrate at
    > certain frequencies.

    My M260's were bought new just before they offered the "improved" model
    without low end response, so I don't think they're rattling, yet. <g>

    But My M500's have been opened several times to put that little mesh
    quonset hut back in its place. They weren't just vibrating; they doubled
    as baby rattles.

    > Use a couple of tiny pieces of 3M StripCalk to hold it
    > in place and damp vibrations. Cleans up the mike like nobody's business. Oh,
    > yeah, the pill bottle is to hold the tiny screws.

    Tiny is right; I think they stole 'em from a watch repair shop.

    --
    ha
  21. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    I do lots of jazz recordings. A couple of good little mics are the MXL 603s
    for overheads, piano, even acoutic guitar. For anything horn related I like
    a nice Shure SM7 but an RE20 is fine. I use another MXL (V67G) for sax and
    vocals if it fits.

    One of my better SM57 replacements is the ATM63He, but it's a little more
    than a standard 57 purchase price. Much better though and worth the money,
    IMHO. I also picked up a pair of MXL 990s (LDC transformerless) and they
    have worked on virtually everything I've tried them with (well, not so much
    that good for an upright bass). These are most certainly inexpensive, but
    they did a good job on acoustic steelstring guitar in an XY at 24" and for
    both lead guitarists at a country show right in front of the amps (had space
    problems). I also used them in my main room at a local jazz festival (5
    days of festival) on a Steinway and they did a fine job. Not quite the same
    as the 603s in past years, but probably fit the sound of a Steinway better.
    The 603s would sound better on a Yamaha C7 though (speculation or at least
    my first choice).

    AKG 535s are an excellent multipurpose condenser but they are around the
    $200 range. It's nice to have some multipurpose mics though, and these work
    as well for vocals as they do for guitar amps, which can't be said of a 58.

    Or check ebay and see if you can come up with some beyer M130 ribbons
    (figure of eight which works well in Mid-Side stereo applications as well as
    regular side address). Again, more money, but really nice if you run into
    jazz with horns or reeds. Even nice on guitar amps but ribbons are fragile,
    so be aware. They also typically don't like phantom power, so if you only
    have global phantom that could be a concern.

    I guess the point being that you can pick up a lot of different mics to fill
    out your studio, but I would look to things that fit more into the
    multipurpose, or things that most exactly fit specific requirements. The
    latter are generally more expensive, but it's always better to save your
    money and get what works rather than just buying mics and then having to
    work with just what you have.

    Also, check around. You may find a rental service that supplies larger
    facilities with quality mics. Sometimes it's almost as good as having the
    mics in your mic closet anyway and you get to charge the exact cost directly
    to your client.

    --


    Roger W. Norman
    SirMusic Studio

    <sseifried@fuse.net> wrote in message
    news:1105160432.140357.310300@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
    > I will mainly be doing recordings of jazz groups since that's the scene
    > I'm the most plugged into, but I would also be able to record a band
    > with a singer if I need to.
    > My budget is a much harder question. I just decided I had bought
    > enough equipment and I was finished for a long period of time, then
    > most of my mics walked away. So ideally I want to spend $0. Basically
    > I'm looking at under $100 per mic, perhaps a little more for some small
    > diaphraghm condensors if I have to. I don't make much money from the
    > studio (at least not yet), so I want to get it back up and running and
    > sounding ok for as little money as possible.
    >
    > I was talking to a guy tonight and he suggested the AKG D880. Is that
    > a good idea? Or is that you (Predrag Trpkov) meant by "enough of the
    > SM58 variety."?
    >
  22. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    >In article <1105226160.684971.326370@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>
    >sseifried@fuse.net writes:
    >
    >> Anybody know anything about the Samson C-02 small diaphraghm
    >> condensors? Through a connection I have I could get a pair for
    >> something in the upper $60's. Thanks.

    I'd stick to the old stand-by's, SM 57's etc. I do have a pair of Studio
    Projects C1's that are a real good sounding mic for $200.00 (US).
    There is a Behringer (forget the model) small condenser that I've seen some
    good revues on but I have not used.
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