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owen

Nice mic to record with?

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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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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.

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A [url="http://www.dv247.com/microphones/se-electronics-z3300a-condenser-microphone--20585"][font="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"][color="#000000"][size=2][b]SE Electronics [/b][/size][/color][/font][color=#920001][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2][b]Z3300A[/b][/size][/font][/color][/url] should shoudl fairly nice, £185 on dv247

a used [url="http://www.dv247.com/microphones/akg-c-214-large-diaphragm-condenser-microphone--51651"][font="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"][color="#000000"][size=2][b]AKG [/b][/size][/color][/font][color=#920001][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2][b]C 214[/b][/size][/font][/color][/url] could be a good bet also.

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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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[quote name='Beedster' timestamp='1390001701' post='2340547']
Keep an eye out for a Heil PR40 on ebay mate, mine was about £200, although I may have been lucky
C
[/quote]

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

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[quote name='benbastin' timestamp='1390045714' post='2340803']
A [url="http://www.dv247.com/microphones/se-electronics-z3300a-condenser-microphone--20585"][font="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"][color="#000000"][size=2][b]SE Electronics [/b][/size][/color][/font][color=#920001][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2][b]Z3300A[/b][/size][/font][/color][/url] should shoudl fairly nice, £185 on dv247

a used [url="http://www.dv247.com/microphones/akg-c-214-large-diaphragm-condenser-microphone--51651"][font="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"][color="#000000"][size=2][b]AKG [/b][/size][/color][/font][color=#920001][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2][b]C 214[/b][/size][/font][/color][/url] could be a good bet also.
[/quote]

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

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[quote name='owen' timestamp='1390146837' post='2341916']
And then my brother turns round and says I can have his AKG C12A on permanent loan.
[/quote]

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

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[quote name='Dad3353' timestamp='1390154642' post='2342043']
I trust you said "Thank you"..? B)
[/quote]

I was very gracious about it!

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[quote name='owen' timestamp='1390157181' post='2342101']
I was very gracious about it!
[/quote]

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

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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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[quote name='51m0n' timestamp='1390305823' post='2343731']
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).
[/quote]

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

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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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[quote name='Beedster' timestamp='1390309617' post='2343802']
Good info. Do you rate the Samson VR-88 Si?
Chris
[/quote]

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:-
[url="http://recordinghacks.com/2008/11/01/chinese-ribbon-microphone-designs/"]http://recordinghack...ophone-designs/[/url] Edited by 51m0n

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[quote name='owen' timestamp='1390344576' post='2344445'] 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. [/quote]

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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[quote name='51m0n' timestamp='1390398078' post='2344905']
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.
[/quote]

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 :)

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[quote name='Beedster' timestamp='1390407422' post='2345086']
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 :)
[/quote]

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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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

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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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[quote name='51m0n' timestamp='1390411027' post='2345171']
I doubt it, but we'd have a lovely cup of tea, and shoot the breeze for hours. It would be fun!
[/quote]

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

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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.

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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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