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Nice mic to record with?


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#1 owen

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 11:33 PM

I have had lots of nice mics waved at my bass in the past, but find myself wanting to record at home. What to use that wilp not break the bank but will sound nice? I tried an SE2200 from work but did not care for it. There are all sorts of mics which would be lovely, but what would work for 150-200? I am fully aware that nice mics are expensive for a reason.
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#2 Beedster

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 11:35 PM

Keep an eye out for a Heil PR40 on ebay mate, mine was about £200, although I may have been lucky
C

#3 philparker

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 09:04 AM

I would also consider a second hand Shure SM81 or a Rode NT5, both of which should be in that price range and are very good for recording acoustic string instruments as well as being equally good for using live.

#4 benbastin

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 11:48 AM

A SE Electronics Z3300A should shoudl fairly nice, £185 on dv247

a used AKG C 214 could be a good bet also.
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#5 owen

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 03:06 PM

Thanks for the input so far everyone. I have spent some time reading reviews and stuff and now have a clearer view of what is out there.
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#6 geoffbassist

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 11:06 PM

View PostBeedster, on 17 January 2014 - 11:35 PM, said:

Keep an eye out for a Heil PR40 on ebay mate, mine was about £200, although I may have been lucky
C

+1 I'm using a Heil PR40 for my lessons and am really happy with it. Great mic!

#7 benbastin

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 11:43 PM

The PR40 looks very nice, might have to try one out.
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#8 owen

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 11:46 PM

I must admit the PR40 does look attractive.
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#9 skej21

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 08:49 AM

View Postbenbastin, on 18 January 2014 - 11:48 AM, said:

A SE Electronics Z3300A should shoudl fairly nice, £185 on dv247

a used AKG C 214 could be a good bet also.

+1 for the AKG C214. Lovely mic and about £299 new so you should get one second hand at a reasonable price :-) I use one for recording double bass, acoustic guitar, vocals, my bass cabs for electric bass and always get a great outcome.
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#10 owen

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 03:53 PM

And then my brother turns round and says I can have his AKG C12A on permanent loan.
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#11 Dad3353

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 06:04 PM

View Postowen, on 19 January 2014 - 03:53 PM, said:

And then my brother turns round and says I can have his AKG C12A on permanent loan.

I trust you said "Thank you"..? B)
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#12 owen

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 06:46 PM

View PostDad3353, on 19 January 2014 - 06:04 PM, said:

I trust you said "Thank you"..? B)

I was very gracious about it!
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#13 Marc S

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 09:12 AM

View Postowen, on 19 January 2014 - 06:46 PM, said:

I was very gracious about it!

Good. What a cool brother!
next question: Hey brother, is your car big enough to transport a DB about? ;)

#14 51m0n

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 12:03 PM

Line Audio CM3 (sdc) (~ £125 new)
ADK S51 MK5.2 (ldc) (~£165)
Heil PR-40 (ldd) (~£200 second hand if you look hard)
NoHype Audio LRM-1 (ribbon) (~£105 new)

That would be a flat small diaphragm condensor, a large diaphragm condensor, a lovely large diaphragm dynamic, and a hand assembled long ribbon, depending on the sound you want they could all sound great on a bass in the right room, in the right position.

The ribbon would possibly be abit too boomy on a lot of db's, and is a figure of 8 pattern mic, so you need a nice souinding room for it, it will sound killer on the right bass though, especially if you are looking for a vintage sound, amazingly smooth sounding mic for vocal too.

The ADK is a cheaper LDC that definitely punches above its weight

The Heil PR-40 is out of your price band, so you could pick one up second hand, and if its not be mistreated they are fantastic mics, really exceptional at the low end.

The CM3 is a seriously well kept secret, extremely flat, and a rather wide cardioid mic, its tiny, yet brilliant at capturing the real sound of a source in a room. I've had tremendous success recording all sorts of things with these, if you could fashion a gooseneck to attach to your bass the CM-3 is so small you could put it anywhere (not that I would advise recording DB from that close with any mic if at all avoidable).
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#15 Beedster

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 01:06 PM

View Post51m0n, on 21 January 2014 - 12:03 PM, said:

Line Audio CM3 (sdc) (~ £125 new)
ADK S51 MK5.2 (ldc) (~£165)
Heil PR-40 (ldd) (~£200 second hand if you look hard)
NoHype Audio LRM-1 (ribbon) (~£105 new)

That would be a flat small diaphragm condensor, a large diaphragm condensor, a lovely large diaphragm dynamic, and a hand assembled long ribbon, depending on the sound you want they could all sound great on a bass in the right room, in the right position.

The ribbon would possibly be abit too boomy on a lot of db's, and is a figure of 8 pattern mic, so you need a nice souinding room for it, it will sound killer on the right bass though, especially if you are looking for a vintage sound, amazingly smooth sounding mic for vocal too.

The ADK is a cheaper LDC that definitely punches above its weight

The Heil PR-40 is out of your price band, so you could pick one up second hand, and if its not be mistreated they are fantastic mics, really exceptional at the low end.

The CM3 is a seriously well kept secret, extremely flat, and a rather wide cardioid mic, its tiny, yet brilliant at capturing the real sound of a source in a room. I've had tremendous success recording all sorts of things with these, if you could fashion a gooseneck to attach to your bass the CM-3 is so small you could put it anywhere (not that I would advise recording DB from that close with any mic if at all avoidable).

Good info. Do you rate the Samson VR-88 Si?
Chris

#16 owen

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 10:49 PM

Ooh! Thanks for that Si. I have the small AT condensor on a gooseneck which has always struck me as underwhelming. Perhaps I should try it further away.
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#17 51m0n

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 11:38 AM

View PostBeedster, on 21 January 2014 - 01:06 PM, said:

Good info. Do you rate the Samson VR-88 Si?
Chris

Interesting, a lot of people think its scarily similar to the Superlux R102, which again, a lot of people really dig. I've read a few negative reviews on the Superlux though, compared to the 'expensive' ribbons (Coles and Royer), but that could be sour grapes from people who have spent the earth on great mics only to hear almost as good from something far cheaper.

The active ribbon idea is unusual, and is there to help if you dont have a enough clean gain on your mic pre - ribbons need a bunch of clean gain, their output is lower than a dynamic or condensor typically, and they can have trouble if the impedance of the pre isnt high enough. Any decent pre should be OK with a decent ribbon. A cheap audio interface may well not cut it.

The thing to remember with these ribbon mics (ie most of the non-specialist modded or very expensive ones) is that they are made consumer friendly at the expense of the sound they produce. Ribbons are seriously delicate mics, a strong gust of wind will damage the motor (ie stretch it enough to slaken the corrugations in the ribbon, which is very bad indeed) storing one on its side (esp a long ribbon motor) will damage it over time even!

To help deal with this most of the available ribbons on the market go for the cheap and easy option of serious wind shielding in side the headbasket. This makes it safe to move the mic around uncovered, but it really damages the top end that the mic can pick up. Its a tradeoff. Most ribbon mic mods involve removing the headbasket, taking out at least a couple of layers of the protection, and replacing the headbasket, a good service invloves carefully checking the ribbon tension at least, or better yet replacing the usually rather thick ribbon with a far thinner one (we are talking in microns here!).

The reason the LRM-1 is so good is it is effectively a hand assembled ribbon mic, put together by a single guy, who is a bona fide expert on mic tech (worked for ADK at some point IIRC). It sounds absolutely gorgeous on voice, very much radio presenter deep and smooth territory even on my voice, which is staggering since I dont have a very deep voice, yet it has plenty of top end for clarity - I cant wait to try it on trumpet! The mic you get is essentially fully modded to extend top end, and has a thinner ribbon out of the box, for less money than any other ribbon on the market - sounds to good to be true, but he is selling direct which saves 30% straight away. The downside is that you cant even move it on a mic stand without covering the mic up first, because you may easily damage the ribbon with the air pressure on it. And you absolutely must use a pop shield if there is any chance that the source is going to be puffing and blowing (singers, horns, vacuum cleaners etc) - with a double bass you should be fine without the pop shield. Also it is a long ribbon mic, and that means it is not a small microphone, looks the business on a stand behind a pop shield!

One last point you absolutely must NOT use phantom power with the LRM-1 (and many other ribbon mics), you will release the magic smoke if you do, resulting in one pooped mic, still it'll always look nice on the stand....

For more info on Chinese made ribbon mics generally there is great info here:-
http://recordinghack...ophone-designs/

Edited by 51m0n, 22 January 2014 - 05:25 PM.

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#18 51m0n

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 01:41 PM

View Postowen, on 21 January 2014 - 10:49 PM, said:

Ooh! Thanks for that Si. I have the small AT condensor on a gooseneck which has always struck me as underwhelming. Perhaps I should try it further away.

Mic postion interesting points/rules of thumb/ stuff to know:-

The larger the instrument the further away from it your mic needs to be to capture the entire sound of the instrument, rather than an aspect of the total sound that eminates from the part of the instrument your mic is closest to. This distance from an instrument that a mic needs to be from it to capture the entire the soiund of it evenly is the boundary between close micing and distant micing an instrument.

In any room as you back off a mic from an instrument the level of the direct sound picked up from the instrument drops at a rate of 1/dxd (so if you move twice as far away the volume drops by a quarter).

At some point (unless you're in an anechoic chamber) the level of the reflections from the room boundary become louder than the direct sound from the instrument. This is called critical distance.

In order to capture a decent recording the mic needs to be within the critical distance, specifically a cardiod mic needs to be within 2/3 of the critical distance, whilst an omni (or a fig 8 for that matter) should be within half the critical distance, otherwise the recording will sound like its from miles away from the instrument, down a well.
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#19 Beedster

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 04:17 PM

View Post51m0n, on 22 January 2014 - 01:41 PM, said:

Mic postion interesting points/rules of thumb/ stuff to know:-

The larger the instrument the further away from it your mic needs to be to capture the entire sound of the instrument, rather than an aspect of the total sound that eminates from the part of the instrument your mic is closest to. This distance from an instrument that a mic needs to be from it to capture the entire the soiund of it evenly is the boundary between close micing and distant micing an instrument.

In any room as you back off a mic from an instrument the level of the direct sound picked up from the instrument drops at a rate of 1/dxd (so if you move twice as far away the volume drops by a quarter).

At some point (unless you're in an anechoic chamber) the level of the reflections from the room boundary become louder than the direct sound from the instrument. This is called critical distance.

In order to capture a decent recording the mic needs to be within the critical distance, specifically a cardiod mic needs to be within 2/3 of the critical distance, whilst an omni (or a fig 8 for that matter) should be within half the critical distance, otherwise the recording will sound like its from miles away from the instrument, down a well.

As I've said before, everything I learned in two years of Electronic Musical Instrument & Recording Technology in the 1980's I could have learned in one weekend round at Si's :)

#20 51m0n

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 05:17 PM

View PostBeedster, on 22 January 2014 - 04:17 PM, said:

As I've said before, everything I learned in two years of Electronic Musical Instrument & Recording Technology in the 1980's I could have learned in one weekend round at Si's :)

I doubt it, but we'd have a lovely cup of tea, and shoot the breeze for hours. It would be fun!
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#21 51m0n

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 05:21 PM

One more point that i hope a little thought about the previous post will have already come into your heads.

If your room is small or overly live (too much reflected sound) the critical distance is very close to the instrument you are recording.

So if you try to record an instrument in a small room (or with a low ceiling) you may find you have to close mic it to stay insode critical distance by a large enough margin to get a good sound.

This is why a lot of recordings in small rooms sound distant, its not that the mic is far from the instrument, its that the amount of reflected sound energy compared to direct sound energy hitting the mic is too high, because the room boundaries are close to the source instrument.

Edited by 51m0n, 22 January 2014 - 05:22 PM.

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If your source sound isnt fantastic you cant make a fantastic recording of it....

#22 lowlandtrees

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 06:27 PM

Hope that you don't mind me jumping in here. I have a Kania contrabass....small bodied acoustic upright. I use a realistic piezo pup but want to record both pizz and slap. Should I use a large or small diaphragm condenser. Have AKG 714BULS and a small AKG pencil (can't remember model...silver colour). Have a few others but these are my most used. Room is bright but I use traps (framed duvet covers). So far been disappointed with the sound of the bass..muddy...tried close and distant miking
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#23 Beedster

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 08:16 PM

View Post51m0n, on 22 January 2014 - 05:17 PM, said:

I doubt it, but we'd have a lovely cup of tea, and shoot the breeze for hours. It would be fun!

Si, I'm moving back down south soon so if that could be arranged, I'd bring the Ginger Nuts!
C

#24 geoffbassist

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 09:37 PM

This thread is awesome, thanks for the great info Simon.
I've found that the sound improves when it was further away from the bass than I expected. It seems to make a big difference.

#25 owen

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 09:49 PM

The distance makes an awful lot of sense. I was pretty tight in on the mic for the recording which inspired this thread and it was just not a cool sound and certainly not what I am used to hearing when I have done work in "proper" studios. Having said that, the usual venue has a Neumann something or other (U87?) and monitor on 15" ATC monitors, so I am unlikely to achieve that level of lushness :(
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#26 Beedster

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 10:04 PM

View Postgeoffbassist, on 22 January 2014 - 09:37 PM, said:

This thread is awesome, thanks for the great info Simon.

It's going to be very useful I'm sure, not just for recording but for live sound also. I sold my old DB recently and was telling the new owner about a gig I did a few years ago. It was in a long and relatively narrow old '50s ballroom. The sound-guy didn't have a clue and all he was getting from the DB was feedback. The guitarist popped to the toilet and when he came back out I was playing away with the drums, 2nd guitarist and singer, and although the soundguy had cut the DB signal while he tried to work out what to do, the guitarist came back to the stage saying that the bass was actually cutting through loud and clear out front in a way that it certainly wasn't on stage. We did the gig with the DB unplugged and, whilst my hands were pretty f*****d by the end of it, and whilst I had to really concentrate, folks at the gig - a few musos included - appeared to really like the sound. It was the night I realised that DBs weren't designed to be heard close up, but to be heard a distance from the instrument. As Si has made clear above, it's getting the balance between that optimal distance from the instrument and the acoustics of the room that's the challenge for live and recording. And whilst it sounds very scientific, I've no doubt that it's an art in real terms.

#27 51m0n

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 10:12 AM

View Postowen, on 22 January 2014 - 09:49 PM, said:

The distance makes an awful lot of sense. I was pretty tight in on the mic for the recording which inspired this thread and it was just not a cool sound and certainly not what I am used to hearing when I have done work in "proper" studios. Having said that, the usual venue has a Neumann something or other (U87?) and monitor on 15" ATC monitors, so I am unlikely to achieve that level of lushness :(

U87, U47, U67 all superb mics.

You dont need to have that kind of mic to get a great result though, it pretty simple really:-

Find a space where your bass sounds ace, find the place in the space where you bass sounds most ace. Put the mic there pointing at your bass.

To do this the difficult part is that you need to be in two places at once, playing the bass and wandering around listening to it, Hint get someone who can just bang out a decent enough stream of 8th notes on an A string, not so hard, and use that as a guide for mic placement.

A great mic in the wrong place or in a poor space will sound plop as much a a less exclusive mic.

Job done.....
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#28 51m0n

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 10:15 AM

View Postlowlandtrees, on 22 January 2014 - 06:27 PM, said:

Hope that you don't mind me jumping in here. I have a Kania contrabass....small bodied acoustic upright. I use a realistic piezo pup but want to record both pizz and slap. Should I use a large or small diaphragm condenser. Have AKG 714BULS and a small AKG pencil (can't remember model...silver colour). Have a few others but these are my most used. Room is bright but I use traps (framed duvet covers). So far been disappointed with the sound of the bass..muddy...tried close and distant miking

Impossible to answert without being there.

You need to follow what I said in the previous post, find a good space, find the best place fo rthe bass in the space, find the best place to hear the sound of your bass when its in that place in that space. Put both mics there. Record. listen back and see which mic floats your boat best in the mix, nothing else counts, the mix is where it really matters....
Roscoe Century Standard V / Vester Custom Shop 4 with EMG J-Series pickups / Squire VMJ fretless
Markbass SA450 / Bergantino AE410 / Barefaced Big Twin II
Focusrite Compounder / Korg DTR-2000 / Maxon AF-9 / / MXR Bass Auto-Q / Source Audio Tri-Mod Phaser/T-Rex Chameleon
DR SS Lo-Riders

Mister Super Juice

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Recording 101 Blog
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If your source sound isnt fantastic you cant make a fantastic recording of it....

#29 Jecklin

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 12:17 PM

I'm late to this party.

Just going to say that 51m0n offers brilliant advice here.

Also adding that the line audio cm3 mics are great as too are their OM1 mics.
I have recently got a pair to use for Jecklin disc recording (my favourite stereo technique, also my ensemble name, hence the username blah blah)

The place we practice in has STUNNING low end response. Probably not appropriate for anything but chamber and quiet jazz, but every time I hear a recording in the room even on my phone from 10 feet away, I can not believe how good the bass is (as in frequencies, not the instrument as there isn't one per se).

Depending on what music you do and the context of where you record, a Mic a good distance away can really help getting a very natural double bass sound when blended with something a bit closer.





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