Studio Projects vs Rode

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Burstplayer, Jan 28, 2005.


  1. Burstplayer

    Burstplayer Member

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    I am looking to purchase a new condenser mic for rock vocals.

    I use Sonar with an M-audio interface to record.

    Does anyone have experience with comparing the Rode K2 or NTK with the Studio Projects T3?

    Any help would be much appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    There's a thread further down in this forum regarding the NTK. Interestingly enough, there's a thread on the Gearslutz forum, also regarding the NTK, only the general consensus is that it blows, especially for vocals.

    The K2 is supposed to be much improved over the NTK but I haven't heard one yet. My only experience with Rode products is with the original NT1, which I rarely use for anything, and never on vocals.

    The ADK line seems to be getting excellent reviews across the board. I'd look at those first for a mid-range condenser.

    Check the Listening Sessions site for some comparisons.
    http://www.thelisteningsessions.com/sessions.htm

    FWIW, I think the SM57 and a decent pre is tough to beat for rock vocals.
     
  3. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    One of the best vocal, and all round mics in the Studio Projects line is the C3, which is the same as the C1, but with 3 patterns. I got mine a few years ago for $330 and it's probably less now. It gets the most rave reviews of all their mics and it deserves it. For me it replaced a $2,500 CAD tube mic. It's not a 'cheap' mic by any means. It's well made and has excellent sonic qualities - you can't go wrong with it. Highly recommended.
     
  4. loudboy

    loudboy Supporting Member

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    I've A/B'd the C-1 against a slew of mics and was really not impressed, nor was anyone else in the room. I know a lot of people dig 'em, but they didn't do anything for me.

    Loudboy
     
  5. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    For a review of the Rode NTK by a professional in the industry who does more than write reviews (he also scores picture, produces, does commercial tracks, as I do, and tours as a sideman), instead of a bunch of self-styled internet experts, go here:

    http://www.prorec.com/prorec/articles.nsf/files/60D13B8C0E0AFA5986256A1D005425AB

    Not much more needs to be said, but here's a quote from the review:

    "The proof is in the listening, for sure. They sound fantastic. Startlingly fantastic, perhaps as good as any mic in the world. Certainly as good as any mic I have ever used, and yes that includes the obvious"

    If you want to hear what the NTK sounds like, and decide for yourself, I have a sample track from the recording I referred to in my thread that I'd be happy to email you.

    I was surprised at how much I liked the mic, and yes, I also own some very expensive mics.

    Remember that which mic to use will depend on the application you need it for. There is no one all-around "best" mic that works for every single application.

    Anyone who decides that the NTK "blows" based on an internet thread -- or that it's good based on one! -- is doing himself or herself a disservice. Especially in the case of a vocal mic, which has to be matched to the singer, the only way to judge a mic is to do some recording with it.

    For 15 years, I've made my living working in front of a pair of monitors in the studio, and I've won quite a few awards for my work as a composer and producer, and while I may be a fossil, I ain't deaf! ;) I think I can tell a good mic from a ****** one by now.

    >>The K2 is supposed to be much improved over the NTK but I haven't heard one yet.<<

    It's a dual diaphragm condenser with variable polar patterns, so it's a different animal. I haven't heard it. My experience has shown that a dual diaphragm condenser sounds a little different from a single diaphragm cardioid mic, even from the same manufacturer using similar electronics and capsule mounts. I wouldn't think of it as a mic designed to improve the NTK as much as a different mic that does more things.

    I may pick one up in the next few months just to try it, like I did with the NTK.
     
  6. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    I've never used an NTK, but I've had a C3 for more than 2 years now and love it.

    Having said that, I'd probably never use it for vocals any more - I certainly did when it was my #1 mic. But now that I've got some better ones, I don't pull it out for vocals - ever.

    I've used it on electric & acoustic guitar, bass, and cello and it does the trick quite nicely. Excellent buy-in point as well :)

    --chiba
     
  7. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    Yeah, that's how I feel about the NT1. It was great when I first bought it but now I have better mics that I go to first. The Rode was relagated to an acoustic that I've since sold.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the NTK blows. Not at all, just summing up the gearslutz thread. Mic opinions are subjective and the NTK opinions in particular seem to vary wildly.

    I did read some comments I thought were interesting. One, the tube can make a big difference and two, the NTK is picky about impedance.

    Les, is the stock tube working for you or have you tried some others? And does the NTK seem to differ more than other mics with different pre's? I thought I read that you used a different pre this last time around.

    Burstplayer, since you're looking for primarily a vocal mic, you might want to focus in on single diapham mics first.
     
  8. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    I've gotta believe used Shure KSM32s can be had these days for a couple hundred. Now there's a versatile condenser. I've gotten some great sounds on vocals, acoustic, bass cab, even kick drum with mine.

    (But don't take my word for it - Roger Nichols has raved publicly and in print about 'em. And most of us have heard of him).:p
     
  9. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

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    Yeah, didn't he play second base for the Cubs? Throws right, bats left, but couldn't hit the curve? Or was that that other guy?

    :)
     
  10. thesedaze

    thesedaze Member

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    It's been my experience that, depending on what style of rock, tube mics for vocals aren't always the best choice. Especially for a really powerful lead singer. Tube mics tend to bring out the nice subtle calm singers, especially grouped with a tube pre, but I'd rather go with a SS condensor for a powerful vocalist.

    This might be why the gearslutz guys hated the mic...Especially depending on what pre they grouped it with.

    Always good to have a SS pre, tube pre, tube vocal mic, SS vocal mic.

    People load up their mic cabinets, but for those of us on a budget, we have to scramble to make ends meet. This 4 piece variation alone will give you enough options to survive.
     
  11. elambo

    elambo Member

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    This wins an award for most deceiving comment of the month. And I have nothing against the NTK, but it's not even CLOSE to the top mics. Perhaps the author of that comment didn't have access to a decent preamp to make any comparisons even worthy of an opinion. After a comment like the above, I'd expect nothing other.

    For the record, I've heard equally glowing raves about the Studio Projects gear. In fact, I've heard more of them.

    Sorry - not trying to be harsh, but I can't let something like this go by without speaking up.
     
  12. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I've heard Rode mics and they are excellent. That's a fact.

    I've never heard a track recorded with a Studio Projects mic that I thought was any damned good. Same for the KSM32.

    However, listening to a less-than-pro recording is not necessarily a valid way to judge a mic. The better the mic, the less forgiving. The less forgiving, the less likely to be universally wonderful for "every" vocalist and the more care has to be taken in placement and EQ. Also, the more of the sound of the room it will pick up, and in many home studios the vocal room is hurting. So if a mic seems to bite ass, it might not be the mic's fault at all. It could be for a number of reasons that would be difficult to ascertain without actually being there.

    EDIT - afterthought: A good engineer might be able to make a not-so-great mic sound "better" than it actually is, by creative placement and EQ to tape. Which is a good thing!

    IMO you can't pick a mic for your vocalist by soliciting opinions on the internet. All you get a list of what people own. Whatever the responder spent his money on is always "the best." You need to try some out. JMO.
     
  13. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    >>"The proof is in the listening, for sure. They sound fantastic. Startlingly fantastic, perhaps as good as any mic in the world. Certainly as good as any mic I have ever used, and yes that includes the obvious"
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This wins an award for most deceiving comment of the month. And I have nothing against the NTK, but it's not even CLOSE to the top mics. Perhaps the author of that comment didn't have access to a decent preamp to make any comparisons even worthy of an opinion. After a comment like the above, I'd expect nothing other.<<

    Actually, Bruce is a university lecturer on audio.

    However *I* have top mics - U89i, Blue Kiwi, Blue Mouse, 414, etc. I also have an NTK, and not only is it close to the top mics, on some voices I like it better, such as Patrick Thomas; I produced Pat's record with several mics, including the NTK, and the record was nominated for 5 Detroit Music Awards, including Best Pop-Rock Album.

    As to decent preamps, I use a Focusrite Red preamp with it, and a Focusrite ISA220, which I consider pretty decent. I have also used vintage Neve 1073s with it, and a Manley VoxBox, and the bottom line is that I like the mic a lot.

    For reference, I've written and recorded soundtracks for television, and many, many commercials over the last 15 years. My music, recorded in my own studio, has been on national ads for clients like Ford, Cadillac, Chevy, Pontiac, Buick, Jeep, Daimler Chrysler, Budweiser, GM Goodwrench, Lincoln Mercury, Michigan and Ohio lotteries and tourism, GoodYear, Kumho tires, Kelly tires...well, I could go on and on, but maybe you get the picture. I think I actually DO have a clue. My work has won two emmys, many ad awards, etc. I've done a lot of work in studios like Right Track, Record Plant, Wisselloord, Plus Triente, and other world-class places. I like to think I have a good ear. Maybe I don't.

    Elambo, reasonable minds differ on gear, but as a point of reference, perhaps you could share your recording credits with us? I don't mean to sound challenging or harsh, but your post is quite sharply worded, and implies you have significant experience in the studio, and enough recording experience with this mic with good preamps, and a variety of vocalists/instruments, to have a knowledgeable opinion.
     
  14. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    >>Les, is the stock tube working for you or have you tried some others? And does the NTK seem to differ more than other mics with different pre's? I thought I read that you used a different pre this last time around.<<

    Stock tube. But the second NTK sounds a little nicer to my ear than the first one. Yes, I do have a new-ish mic pre, the Focusrite ISA220 (the blue one), and I've also used it with my Red7, but honestly, the two preamps sound quite alike to me, the difference being that the ISA220 also has a nice onboard EQ.
     
  15. loudboy

    loudboy Supporting Member

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    I've never used an NTK, but a band I worked with used one for all the vocals and acoustic gtrs on this record:

    http://www.uncleplum.com/sounds.html

    We have a Rode Classic and on the right voice it's amazing. On others, it sounds like ass. Just like any other mic ever made. <g>

    Loudboy
     
  16. elambo

    elambo Member

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    LSchefman - Here's the deal: I wasn't going after you, and I'm not about to get dragged into a discography contest - no need to post your credits - but I do try to look out for the uniformed shopper who has money in his pocket and is overly excited to buy a mic because someone has said that it's as good as the world's best microphones. It could prevent them from considering other options. In my opinion, and I realize that it's only my opinion, there are MUCH better overall options for that amount of money (James Peluso's microphones come to mind). Not that MSRP has much to do with how applicable a certain mic is for a certain source. Remember that the SM57 is still the world's most popular mic, and one of the cheapest. For certain vocals, even if the microphone closet is packed, it may be the best choice.

    My everyday references - the mics my studio owns - are an AKG C12 (the original), 2 U47s (both with VF14 tubes), a 251, a pair of Schoeps with M4 capsules, and about 15 others, including a few that you also own.

    In a well-accepted and now famous article, it was noted that the most sought after microphones EVER, are the C12, U47 (with VF14), and 251. Only three were mentioned. Since I have all three, I'd say that it makes me very qualified to comment on a comparison to the NTK, which I've also recorded many times. I use Neve, Avalon, and Focusrite (from 1985, the original ISA) preamps - all top-shelf stuff. All connected with cables that would cost more than the NTK itself.

    I don't fault you at all for asking, because you don't know me from Adam afterall, but there's a chance that I could know what I'm talking about. I feel like I do and that I have a valid point. No offense taken, but let's call a spade a spade -- the NTK is not the same spade as the world's best.
     
  17. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    No problem Elambo. I, too, have a lot of experience with the very mics you note that you have, including Schoeps (and B&K, I have a pair here today for acoustic guitar, though I have to say I have no idea what capsule the 47 had on the occasions I used one.

    I guess my point is that the mic must be matched to the singer or instrument. It's no good to say "Mic X is better than Mic Y" if in fact Mic Y works better for the particular singer!

    While this is true of all mics - even the legendary ones you are using - I have had excellent luck with the NTK, as I have all my mics - on the right source.

    If Patrick, for example, sounds better on the NTK than he does on a U87, Mouse, Kiwi, 414 or 89 (this is in fact the case in the context of his current work), then the mic is in their class as far as I'm concerned.

    To me it's a question of usefulness.

    Incidentally, my Red preamp is from the first year of issue, early 90s. I'm guessing it's very much like your early ISA.
     
  18. elambo

    elambo Member

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    You're absolutely right that the singer must match the mic. And then there's the fact that one mic might be better for a certain production style than another. Then there's the synergy that some mics have witih some preamps... etc. etc. There are a lot of things to consider when choosing the best mic for the job. I think most people know this, and it's why it's a bad idea to limit your options to only one mic, even if it's really great.

    FWIW - the Reds from the early 90s are quite different from the ISAs from the mid 80s. I won't dare call one better than the other ;) for the same reasons I mentioned above, but I will say that this thing is a monster!! Unlike the Focusrites of today.

    Another FWIW - I wouldn't normally know the name of the tube in these 47s either, but it's sort of a prize to have one with this specific tube. There's a separation of "best" and "great" 47s, often determined by the presence or lack of this VF14.
     
  19. saros141

    saros141 Guest

    tubeworld.com had some NOS VF14Ms the last time I looked a few weeks ago, I think they were around $1500 each. I just checked and now he's sold out :eek: Maybe some day I'll find one, rummaging through tubes at the flea market... would it be unethical to just pay the $5 the seller asks for it?

    The "big three" mics are beyond my reach from a practical standpoint... anyone have any experience with the Gefell UM57 or the Sony C37A? Those are two vintage tube mics I could conceivably justify springing for... and even then I'd be worried about condition and noise.

    If anyone gets a chance to try a K2 a write a little review, I'm very curious...
     
  20. muddy

    muddy Member

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    we're obviously trying to compare budget, semi-pro (in price. don't jump on me!). i would HIGHLY recommend checking out the adk mics.

    http://adkmic.com/

    what i've heard of some of their mics (tt, tc, ce, vienna & hamburg, even the a-51's), i much preferred to both rode & studio projects. a couple of well-known engineer/producer friends of mine pointed me in adk's direction at an aes show a year or 2 ago. their top mic (the ce), which is lovely btw, is almost $2000. but their range is from $300-$400 for the a-51's, to $6-700 for the st's & vienna/hamburg's, to the $1000-1500 range for the tc, a-48, & tt's. they're easy enough to find, & i'm sure you could find a dealer willing to let you audition them in the comfort of your own studio.


    ml
     

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