Mic Locker Expansion Time?

Frank Lee

Member
Messages
72
I recently posted something like this on an older, almost mirror-image thread, but it's been crickets... (old, decrepit thread? uninspiring question? perception of a potential high-jacking?) So, I thought I'd start my own thread to see if I can inspire more than crickets to congregate.

As I’m exploring more and thinking about expanding my mic locker, I thought I'd see if I could uncover some insights and get a few recommendations, though.

Right now, I only have a handful of mics (and almost all are of the budget-friendly variety): a Nady RSM-4 ribbon (modded), a couple SM57s, an e609 (from the late 90s-early 00s and it sounds very different from the new ones, don’t know why...), an EV 767 dynamic, an AT-2020 and an AT-2021 condenser as well as a Sterling ST77 large-diaphragm condenser.

For vocals, strings, woodwinds and acoustic guitars, I'm getting the best results with the ST77 and AT-2020 (the Sterling is a bit warmer; the 2020 is a bit brighter). On acoustic guitar and bowed strings, sometimes I double mic with both the ATs (2021 on neck, 2020 on body), sometimes one AT (room-kinda) and the 767 (close).

For amps, I’m getting my best results with a combo of the e609 and AT-2020 as well as a combo of the 767 and RSM-4, depending on the amp, what I’m going for.

What would you guys and gals suggest I look at next? My eyes are liking the Telefunken M80 as a new do-most choice as my first addition. I also like the super-cardioid, condenser-like dynamic concept that the M80 supposedly offers (a wonderful thing for home studios).

Mostly, I’m looking for new additions that will work for vocals, woodwinds, strings, amps and acoustic guitars. And though I can make what I have work, I‘m curious where I might look to improve or expand. Any and all insights and suggestions are welcome.

Side note: genre-wise, everything I do hovers around old-timey blues/jazz, surf/spy, soul, psychedelia and indie-rock.
 

cubistguitar

Member
Messages
5,585
You are well on your way with mics. You would really love a decent small diaphragm condenser, it’s a much bigger sound than you may think. A couple of Oktava MK12 or a pair of Shure KSM 137 or 141s would open up big possibilities.
 

Frank Lee

Member
Messages
72
You are well on your way with mics. You would really love a decent small diaphragm condenser, it’s a much bigger sound than you may think. A couple of Oktava MK12 or a pair of Shure KSM 137 or 141s would open up big possibilities.
That’s a great suggestion, Cubist! Thanks!

I always think of small diaphragm condensers as stereo spread mics (particularly for a string trio or small ensemble of some sort, where you want blend and ambiance) and acoustic strings (including guitar) neck-placement mics. I don't use the AT-2021 for much else than the latter, but I have been thinking about getting a second 2021 to get ensembles, do the former.

Now, you have me thinking I should try the 2021 on a guitar cab, maybe vocals, see what happens.
 
Last edited:

56Tweed

Ge Fuzz-o-holic
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,960
I've heard good things about the Tele M80, but its pretty low down on my priority list.

I can tell you that one thing I struggle with when reading a lot of mic reviews is that a lot of mics like the ATs have a great reputation for modern mics and modern sound. I bring this up because your music tastes for vintage vibe (warm and fat with rolled off highs) is the opposite of modern tones and vibe (much brighter, high end detail). I found that most mic reviews are not that helpful to me because the traits they are looking for are different than what I'm into.

With all of that said, a good pair of small diaphragm condensers could be good. The Oktava Mk12s are a great value as @cubistguitar suggested. A large diaphragm condenser I would recommend looking at is the Roswell Mini k47 which is inexpensive, works well for the vintage vibe, and offers great detail without being hyped or harsh on the top end.
 

charley

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,278
My favorites on a realistic budget are:

Vocals: Shure SM 7B (and a Cloudlifter)

Acoustic Guitar: Neumann KM184 (2 in stereo, or 1 and a DI)

Electric Guitar: SM57 and Royer 121 (plus Cloudlifter

A set of nice mic preamps or channel strips are really helpful to have to enrich the sound. I like the Neve 1073 sound, or else a set of Universal Audio LA610’s


I’d mix and match from the above for any strings or
 

sants

Supporting Member
Messages
2,217
I really do like the m80 but it has a pretty solid roll off and may not give you the beef or thickness you are looking for on studio vox. It could be what you are particularly looking for though. The clarity is great. It’s a killer mic on snare and can bring out some nice sparkle on guitar amps that aren’t overly bright and shrill.

My main live vocal mics are m80 capsules on Shure ulxd wireless and there is always an m80sh on snare.

The m80 is one mic I think everyone should try. L Another is a sennheiser 945, in fact these mics are similar with the 945 having a little more in the low end and a slightly more balanced sound. Both are great mics.
 
Last edited:

Frank Lee

Member
Messages
72
I've heard good things about the Tele M80, but its pretty low down on my priority list.

I can tell you that one thing I struggle with when reading a lot of mic reviews is that a lot of mics like the ATs have a great reputation for modern mics and modern sound. I bring this up because your music tastes for vintage vibe (warm and fat with rolled off highs) is the opposite of modern tones and vibe (much brighter, high end detail). I found that most mic reviews are not that helpful to me because the traits they are looking for are different than what I'm into.

With all of that said, a good pair of small diaphragm condensers could be good. The Oktava Mk12s are a great value as @cubistguitar suggested. A large diaphragm condenser I would recommend looking at is the Roswell Mini k47 which is inexpensive, works well for the vintage vibe, and offers great detail without being hyped or harsh on the top end.
Thanks 56! I don’t recall hearing about the Roswell Mini k47. It’s a wonderful new-to-me recommendation.

And you’re right. Getting the classic, warm, 60s and before era tones can be a bit of a challenge. Using ribbon and tube mics for everything can also get real expensive. Pre-amps-wise, UA is a bit of a lifesaver though. Personally I have no idea how the real UA and Neve preamps compare to the plugins, but the plugins definitely help.

By the way, let me know how the Mesanovic works out for you. I’ve had an eye on the Model 2, too, but I don’t think I’ve leveled up, recording and mixing wise, to that price point yet. Next year, though, maybe I will be able to justify the cost.
 
Last edited:

Frank Lee

Member
Messages
72
My favorites on a realistic budget are:

Vocals: Shure SM 7B (and a Cloudlifter)

Acoustic Guitar: Neumann KM184 (2 in stereo, or 1 and a DI)

Electric Guitar: SM57 and Royer 121 (plus Cloudlifter

A set of nice mic preamps or channel strips are really helpful to have to enrich the sound. I like the Neve 1073 sound, or else a set of Universal Audio LA610’s


I’d mix and match from the above for any strings or
You hit three of my wishlist, one-day mics... the Royer 121, the Shure SM7 and the Neumann KM184. I suspect the 7B will arrive first.

For preamps, right now, it’s mostly UA plugins. The Neve and UA models are working for me, certainly better than the old Art MPA Gold that I started off with.

Excellent point on the Cloudlifter, too. One of those should be my next addition, before another mic.
 

Frank Lee

Member
Messages
72
I really do like the m80 but it has a pretty solid roll off and may not give you the beef or thickness you are looking for on studio vox. It could be what you are particularly looking for though. The clarity is great. It’s a killer mic on snare and can bring out some nice sparkle on guitar amps that aren’t overly bright and shrill.

My main live vocal mics are m80 capsules on Shure ulxd wireless and there is always an m80sh on snare.

The m80 is one mic I think everyone should try. L Another is a sennheiser 945, in fact these mics are similar with the 945 having a little more in the low end and a slightly more balanced sound. Both are great mics.
Thanks Sants! I haven’t really looked into the Sennheiser 945. Before I go for another dynamic, I will have to learn more.

The thing that really grabbed me on the M80 is how good it sounds in front of an amp. Though I like the EV767 better than a 57, it leaves a bit to be desired. Probably lazy talk, but I kinda want to keep two amps mic’d up, all set to record, too. And I can’t find a second e609 that sounds as good as the one I have. Thus... M80.
 

56Tweed

Ge Fuzz-o-holic
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,960
An interesting new-ish alternative to the Cloudlifter is the Soyuz Launcher: https://soyuzmicrophones.com/launcher

I recently picked up one of these and it seems to really add some weight and color to the tone. Works really good on dynamic mics like the SM57 (sound clips on that link). I've also used it with a Sennheiser MD 421mkii and the Mesanovic Modal 2 where I need more clean gain. Its especially helpful with interface pre-amps that are essentially transformerless and super clean/sterile.

If you are using UA plug-ins for mic-pres, check out the UA 610. I really like it for a vintage vibe. I'm considering buying the HW version, but its really nice to be able to just queue it up on demand with the unison pres. I'm currently using an A Design Pacifica as my primary interface.
 

charley

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,278
You hit three of my wishlist, one-day mics... the Royer 121, the Shure SM7 and the Neumann KM184. I suspect the 7B will arrive first.

For preamps, right now, it’s mostly UA plugins. The Neve and UA models are working for me, certainly better than the old Art MPA Gold that I started off with.

Excellent point on the Cloudlifter, too. One of those should be my next addition, before another mic.

The Cloudlifter works really really well with the SM7B, SM57 and Royer 121. I’d say essential for those mics. The UAD plugins are great, I use them too alongside the real things.

I might then suggest getting a great vocal chain in order first. The SM7B is really hard to beat as a studio vocal mic. I don’t think you can do better without adding a few more 0’s to the price. An SM7B with a Cloudlifer, through a UAD Neve 1073, with a touch of compression (I use the UAD 1176 since I’m using a hardware mic preamp) is a top notch vocal chain.
 

slayerbear17

Member
Messages
2,919
During Co-vid I went on a real mic bender spree. We started recording again and I discovered quite a few surprises that are working out great.

So first up I do confess I don't necessarily buy the conventional mics or what others might consider decent.

I bought a couple 57 cheap copies just out of curiosity. I used them on a snare, and I actually prefer the copy sound I'm getting compared to the real deal, the copy has more attack and doesn't seem to pick up as much over tones and boing from the snare compared to the real 57.

Senny E865. Used for vocals and on my cab. Great feedback rejection, not known as a instrument mic but it works great and my friends love the sound I'm getting from recording guitars.

Senny E835. Not quite as good as a 57/58 but over all good enough to work on a budget and for live work if a mic goes missing or damaged.

CAD D80 (E609 copy ) I picked this up as an alternative to the 609, its a bit bright but handles well.

I use a couple of Apex 325 on kick drums, for $60 each I couldn't believe the results I got, I barely had to do any Eq and got the sound I wanted from the kick.

I,m glad recording is now keeping me busy and seeing most of my mic choices made to the recording chain and I am very very happy with results.
 

Frank Lee

Member
Messages
72
Thanks slayerbear!

The two things I'm primarily looking for right now are a dynamic or ribbon alternative to a e609, the new ones sound thin and a bit tinny compared to the one I have, and a mic that will perform better than an AT2020 or ST77 for vocals and the like. You're hitting the mark twice, above.

I was completely unaware of the CAD D80 and D84. Based on the demo I just heard, the D84 sounds as good as or better than the Tele M80 I was leaning toward. The D80 does sound solidly in the ballpark of an e609, too. In the demo, it did seem to have the same qualities that the newer 609s have, though... a bit thin, a bit tinny. The E865 sounds interesting, as well. I wasn't even looking at the handheld condenser vocal-mic department.
 

Frank Lee

Member
Messages
72
Thanks everyone for the insights and advice. You've all convinced me that though the M80 is a good mic, there are definitely things I should address first... it's no longer anywhere near the top of the list.

The first thing on my list, now, is a SM7B and either a Cloudlifter or the Soyuz (Charlie and 56, you guys really hit the mark on that one). These are two things that have been on my wish-list for awhile, and they really should have been first, at the top, from the get-go, particularly as I do a bit of voice work for extra scratch. The SM7B hits all the marks that the M80 does, only the SM7B seems to do it all much better.

Cubist, last night, I tried the AT-2021 on a guitar cab, alone, and I got excellent results. You knocked it out of the park with that insight. I can't believe I never tried a small-diaphragm condenser on a guitar cab before... what was I thinking?

56, now, the pie-in-the-sky, one-day mic is the Mesanovic Model 2. I really want to hear about how it works out for you, particularly as you and I seem to live in the same music-genre ballpark. Also, once the honeymoon with the 7B is over, and if I'm still looking for something better than the ST77 large-diaphragm condenser, the Roswell Mini k47 and k87 are now at the top of the list. Heck, I'm pretty sure one of the Roswells will be my second new mic locker addition.

Finally, before I go for an M80, I'm definitely going to compare closely with a CAD D84 and a Sennheiser 945. The CAD and Senn seem to hit the same bases, possibly a bit better. Thanks again, Sants and SlayerBear.
 
Last edited:

sants

Supporting Member
Messages
2,217
Thanks everyone for the insights and advice. You've all convinced me that though the M80 is a good mic, there are definitely things I should address first... it's no longer anywhere near the top of the list.

The first thing on my list, now, is a SM7B and either a Cloudlifter or the Soyuz (Charlie and 56, you guys really hit the mark on that one). These are two things that have been on my wish-list for awhile, and they really should have been first, at the top, from the get-go, particularly as I do a bit of voice work for extra scratch. The SM7B hits all the marks that the M80 does, only the SM7B seems to do it all much better.

Cubist, last night, I tried the AT-2021 on a guitar cab, alone, and I got excellent results. You knocked it out of the park with that insight. I can't believe I never tried a small-diaphragm condenser on a guitar cab before... what was I thinking?

56, now, the pie-in-the-sky, one-day mic is the Mesanovic Model 2. I really want to hear about how it works out for you, particularly as you and I seem to live in the same music-genre ballpark. Also, once the honeymoon with the 7B is over, and if I'm still looking for something better than the ST77 large-diaphragm condenser, the Roswell Mini k47 and k87 are now at the top of the list. Heck, I'm pretty sure one of the Roswells will be my second new mic locker addition.

Finally, before I go for an M80, I'm definitely going to compare closely with a CAD D84 and a Sennheiser 945. The CAD and Senn seem to hit the same bases, possibly a bit better. Thanks again, Sants and SlayerBear.
If you are looking into the sm7b I’d also consider the beyer m88. It’s probably the best all around mic I own. It has a fairly flat response (compared to most mics) and goes from 30hz - 20khz.
 




Trending Topics

Top