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Rational List of Good Microphones 34mm LDC or smaller / Ribbon / Tube for Vocal in Home Recording !!
Old 29th March 2021
  #1
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umbral's Avatar
 
~ Rational List of Good Microphones LDC or SDC - Ribbon - Tube for Vocal in Home Recording ~

Hello everyone,

I have read a lot the last couple of days about microphones. There are simply too many models. I researched many brands : http://recordinghacks.com/microphones and more.

As someone said about microphones : numbers, self noise, frequency graphs do not tell anything regarding the: tone, depth, character, texture, grittiness a microphone produces or how much it flatters the voice.

The most desired sound is probably from vintage U47 i believe and if something at good price is closer to that it is probably good i suppose, that warm pleasant sound of old times.

Lets make a list of microphones for a rational budget that not only work for vocal but are great at it and are worth to pay for them for home recording.

If these Microphones are also available in Europe it is a plus.

The current preliminary list:
CM4 - http://www.lineaudio.se/CM4.html
Around €139.00 euros.



All comments welcomed.
Old 29th March 2021
  #2
Lives for gear
First realize that "warmth" begins with a good performance, proper mic placement, a recording space that isn't crap, and a real understanding of compression and eq.

If this is all under control than even a basic cheap bright mic should be able to capture a pretty decently passible recording.

If you want to work with mics that are on the less bright then ribbons or dynamic mics are an option but there are things you can look for in a cheap condenser that can put you on the path to a "warmer" sounding mic as well.

Many, especially cheap mics are bright because that sells people. When somebody without much microphone experience compares one of these kind of mics to their SM57 or whatever other basic dynamic that many people start out with doing live sound or even recording there is a huge WOW factor at least initially. This can be a pretty brief honeymoon phase though as the user eventually starts to hear all kinds of not so good stuff, some due to the mic but often due to poor sounding room and/or bad technique and general lack of understanding of recording.

If one has truly sorted through all these things and a smoother sounding less bright condenser is truly what you want then there are some that are voiced a bit more in this direction.
Old 30th March 2021
  #3
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Try to find straightforward, useful audio A/Bs. Or A/B/Cs, etc.

You’re right, in that specs ain’t everything. That said, as for “character”, some of that comes down to “inherent EQ”, as it were. Which all mics have; it’s just a matter of placement and degree.

Detail is a thing you can’t easily/cleanly add back in, so I would be looking for that quality, personally.
Old 30th March 2021
  #4
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esldude's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
The Shure KSM 32 is a MDC, but not bad on voices. I wouldn't call it warm, but it definitely isn't bright. Rather neutral. Good deal 2nd hand.

Don't know about the Warm WA47, but their WA84 is a warm sounding SDC which also works with voices.
Old 30th March 2021
  #5
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
LDC tube, Look at Advanced Audio

SDC Line audio CM1,4
get some SM57, the older the better
Get either SM7B or RE20
Stagger or CAD Vinjet for ribbon
Shure stuff is bombproof and good
AT is a good value at all levels
Buy everything used except ribbon mic's
E906 is decent all around mic.
Old 31st March 2021 | Show parent
  #6
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umbral's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLast ➡️
First realize that "warmth" begins with a good performance, proper mic placement, a recording space that isn't crap, and a real understanding of compression and eq.

If this is all under control than even a basic cheap bright mic should be able to capture a pretty decently possible recording.

If you want to work with mics that are on the less bright then ribbons or dynamic mics are an option but there are things you can look for in a cheap condenser that can put you on the path to a "warmer" sounding mic as well.

Many, especially cheap mics are bright because that sells people. When somebody without much microphone experience compares one of these kind of mics to their SM57 or whatever other basic dynamic that many people start out with doing live sound or even recording there is a huge WOW factor at least initially. This can be a pretty brief honeymoon phase though as the user eventually starts to hear all kinds of not so good stuff, some due to the mic but often due to poor sounding room and/or bad technique and general lack of understanding of recording.

If one has truly sorted through all these things and a smoother sounding less bright condenser is truly what you want then there are some that are voiced a bit more in this direction.
Thank you very much for your knowledge. I agree.
Any recommendation for a good microphone at a rational price for vocals that is clear and pleasant ?
Old 31st March 2021 | Show parent
  #7
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umbral's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pimket ➡️
Try to find straightforward, useful audio A/Bs. Or A/B/Cs, etc.

You’re right, in that specs ain’t everything. That said, as for “character”, some of that comes down to “inherent EQ”, as it were. Which all mics have; it’s just a matter of placement and degree.

Detail is a thing you can’t easily/cleanly add back in, so I would be looking for that quality, personally.
Yes, i heard that microphones especially the cheaper ones compared to the more expensive ones lack certain details.

Check this : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vFCj9S4-i8 at 8:15.
Old 31st March 2021 | Show parent
  #8
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umbral's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude ➡️
The Shure KSM 32 is a MDC, but not bad on voices. I wouldn't call it warm, but it definitely isn't bright. Rather neutral. Good deal 2nd hand.

Don't know about the Warm WA47, but their WA84 is a warm sounding SDC which also works with voices.
Two contradictory positions on this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by M Ryan ➡️
be aware the KSM32 is a back electret and will wear out in approx 20 -25 years - so watch out for old ones
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenny ➡️
This from the Neumann site:

To be fair, electret condenser capsules don’t have to sound bad; nor do modern specimens lose their electric charge like some of their ancestors of the 1970s did
https://www.soundonsound.com/sound-a...-mics-any-good

So what you are saying is that the SDC Warm Audio WA84 : https://warmaudio.com/wa-84/

Is a superior product that can be used on vocal too and sounds warm and vintage ? Similar to u47 vintage tube ?

The price is not bad :
355 € for black
395 € for nickel
Both of them are the same thing just different finishes i suppose, right ?

So do you think SDC can be used with no problem instead of LDC without any losses in details, tonality, character ?

Aren't all these SDC electret type of microphones ? How is WA84 in this regard ?

Thank you so much for your opinions.
Old 31st March 2021 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by umbral ➡️
Aren't all these SDC electret type of microphones ? How is WA84 in this regard ?

Thank you so much for your opinions.
The the Warm Audio WA84 is a copy of the Neumann KM84 which was a true condenser not an electret.

Both mics have output transformers and as I understand are similar at least in the big picture.

Not sure just how close or not Warm got on the capsule and other exacts of the circuit but the WA84 is an externally polarized condenser mic not an electret.
Old 31st March 2021
  #10
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+1 on Line Audio CM4's and OM1's
Extensive reading around suggested to me that these were "inexpensive" mic's that could stand alongside DPA & Schoeps' finest as being at least in the right ballpark. I have no experience of a pair of 4011s or Mk2's, but early explorations are very favourable of these LA's ... I believe the AA (Austrian and Advanced) LDC's could be similar...
Old 1st April 2021 | Show parent
  #11
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esldude's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by umbral ➡️
Two contradictory positions on this.





https://www.soundonsound.com/sound-a...-mics-any-good

So what you are saying is that the SDC Warm Audio WA84 : https://warmaudio.com/wa-84/

Is a superior product that can be used on vocal too and sounds warm and vintage ? Similar to u47 vintage tube ?

The price is not bad :
355 € for black
395 € for nickel
Both of them are the same thing just different finishes i suppose, right ?

So do you think SDC can be used with no problem instead of LDC without any losses in details, tonality, character ?

Aren't all these SDC electret type of microphones ? How is WA84 in this regard ?

Thank you so much for your opinions.
The WA84 is a true condensor as already noted.

My impression of the KSM32 is the balance is very close to dead neutral.

The WA84 is very detailed and nice sounding, but in a warmer balance than neutral. Not by a lot, but enough to notice. Yes, it can be used for voices with maybe the use of a pop filter being a good idea.

The fellow who reviewed the WA84 for SoundOnSound had a Neumann K84 on hand for comparison. His opinion was the WA84 did a good job mimicking the K84 and was perhaps warmer with more bottom end than the K84.

Again it is on the warm side of neutral yet a rather neutral honest sounding microphone compared to most.
Old 2nd April 2021 | Show parent
  #12
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umbral's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum ➡️
LDC tube, Look at Advanced Audio

SDC Line audio CM1,4
get some SM57, the older the better
Get either SM7B or RE20
Stagger or CAD Vinjet for ribbon
Shure stuff is bombproof and good
AT is a good value at all levels
Buy everything used except ribbon mic's
E906 is decent all around mic.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TobyB ➡️
+1 on Line Audio CM4's and OM1's
Extensive reading around suggested to me that these were "inexpensive" mic's that could stand alongside DPA & Schoeps' finest as being at least in the right ballpark. I have no experience of a pair of 4011s or Mk2's, but early explorations are very favourable of these LA's ... I believe the AA (Austrian and Advanced) LDC's could be similar...

Thank you very much both of you.
It looks like SDC can be used and replace LDC with no problem.

SDC on vocals, WOW!

If one can use a microphone such as the SDC Line Audio CM4 for vocals too, and sound better than LDC in terms of details i see no need for LDC anymore.

People or companies marketing say all the time that LDC microphones are for vocals and SDC are for instruments but apparently an SDC is more accurate by far, but may not be as "warm" or have a certain "mojo".

As far as i have read the SDC will stand better in the mix, will be much easier to change its character by simple EQ and can sound as expensive as Neumman for example or other high end.

Do microphones such as Line Audio CM4 have comparable details, clarity to higher end microphones but also in tone, depth, character, texture ?

These microphones like CM4 do not flatter the voice in any way i suppose, they just show reality as it is ? Some have claimed that this flatness actually sound much better than other "mojo" & "warm" microphones.

How big is CM capsule ?
What is the maximum sample rate CM4 can record ? 192 kHz 24 bit ? What about the in-between sample rates available to CM4 ?

https://earthworksaudio.com/vocal-microphones/

SV33 is also a smaller diaphragm condenser but very expensive. They use the same principles of SDC for great details apparently.

Thank you so much.
Old 3rd April 2021 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Guru
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by umbral ➡️
What is the maximum sample rate CM4 can record ? 192 kHz 24 bit ? What about the in-between sample rates available to CM4
The CM4, like all the mics on your list, is an analog microphone. It converts sound waves to voltage and can be recorded at any sample rate. Sample rate is not determined by the microphone, but by the interface or converters.
Old 3rd April 2021
  #14
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Neat microphones worker bee and king bee but punch way above their price point. I’ve been very happy with mine.

As much as I am not a fan of Shure mics in general (I realize that I’m somewhat in the minority with that opinion), the times I have heard their large diaphragm condensers I felt they were neutral, meaning not overly hyping the source.

My friend just got two of the monoprice active ribbon mics and they sound good, fairly dark but not muddy. For $99 each they are a great value.

Blue encore 300 is great for live work and in recording.

Last year I was assisting a producer who used a Neumann tlm103 into a neve channel strip that someone racked for him years ago, and it always sounded good on everyone he had there. Whenever I mixed something he recorded, I didn’t have to cut upper mids like I often find myself doing. I was surprised because I always read how bright and annoying the tlm103 is, but it sounded great there. Maybe it was the combination with the preamp, I don’t know. But it worked every time.

In general, and maybe telling from my comments, upper mids bother my ears and I’m generally looking for something flatter in those areas than is typical. That should frame my comments.

I think I’m set with the neat mics until I can take a huge leap financially.
Old 3rd April 2021
  #15
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The best low priced ribbon for vocals is the Samar AL-95. It's not often I'll use the term "the best" - but it is!
Old 3rd April 2021
  #16
Gear Guru
 
It sounds beautiful. I was fortunate to sing/try it at NAMM 2020, with Mark Fouxman listening.

I also think very highly of NoHype ribbons too, based on clips. JP is a cool dude too.

Unfortunately, the Royer Booth didn't have their R10 set up to try out in person. (Marketing mistake IMHO)
AEA always has theirs set up.
Chris
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
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umbral's Avatar
 
I am interested if these very flat microphones with small diaphragms that Line Audio produces if they can be used for solo or duet singers instead of the usual normal LDC that are not very flat but may have some "warmth" especially in case of tube or "mojo" or may be "musical" in sound even with FET and without transformer.

Because the CM4 microphones may sit much better in a mix and the EQ can be done much more easily since they are extremely flat. I am interested if these small diaphragm microphones can replace the Large Diaphragm Condensers ones for all applications. How would you describe Line Audio CM4 for example compared to some big or expensive true condensers microphones in terms of tone, character, texture, grittiness or flattering of the voice ?

Can they be used in any room with no problems ?
The pattern is slightly wide cardioid as far as i understand.
Can they be used with singers that like to sing close to them ? How strong is the proximity effect on them compared to LDC ?

I am also interested how CM4 microphones compares to other microphones on details and clarity ?

https://www.nohypeaudio.com/ is a dealer for Line Audio in Europe ?
One can buy directly from lineaudio : http://www.lineaudio.se/

I will update the initial list with your recommendations.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #18
Gear Guru
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by umbral ➡️
Because the CM4 microphones may sit much better in a mix and the EQ can be done much more easily since they are extremely flat.
They "may" sit better, but they also "may not".

Until you are actually mixing your vocals recorded in your room into your tracks, you don't know if they will "sit" better or "sit" worse without EQ. For all you know you may be using the EQ to add back in the presence peaks or low mids that a particular LDC would have started out with. "Flat", like "clean", is desirable in a technical sense, but when you are making music, anything goes.

Quote:
I am interested if these small diaphragm microphones can replace the Large Diaphragm Condensers ones for all applications.
If I had to record a song in a studio that had only SDCs and no large diaphragm mics, I am sure I could do a perfectly good job. But I would say the same thing in reverse. All LDCs would also be 'doable'. Still in all, for me it would be best if my hypothetical studio had a wide range of all types of microphones to choose from and I could reach for the one most appropriate.

I have not used the CM4s myself, so I can't comment on what they specifically sound like, but I have several other SDCs including some that cost 4x as much. I tend to use my condenser mics in the "stereotypical" ways, SDCs for acoustic guitars and pianos, LDCs for lead vocals kick drum, guitar cab. Many people like SDCs for drum overheads, but I tend to prefer a large diaphragm mic in that position.

The CM4s get great reviews and IMO you would not be painting yourself into too tight a corner by getting them as your first pair of mics. Even though I have never used one, I say go get them and start recording.

Someday down the line you may want to add other mics, and at that point you could consider an LDC.

Last edited by joeq; 4 weeks ago at 08:56 PM.. Reason: clarity
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by umbral ➡️
Thank you very much for your knowledge. I agree.
Any recommendation for a good microphone at a rational price for vocals that is clear and pleasant ?
Vocal mic's are a can of worms. Most good studio's will have 3 to 7 good vocal mic's to best fit whatever voice walks through the door.

Here are some basics to know

There are 3 common mic flavors and a few variants.
Moving coil
Condenser
Ribbon

Dynamic implies no power needed. Technically includes moving coils and ribbons, but in language, moving coils are often called dynamic mic's. very common misnomer.

Ribbons sound thick, they don't pick up the highs. Very pleasing to the ear. Lack of details except in the highest end ribbons.

Moving coils are the cheapest. They can take high SPL (sound pressure level). Best choice for close up to a drum or screaming vocals....err loud stuff.

Condensers need power of some kind. Most often 48V phantom. There are other power systems, most of them very dated.
Condensers have the most detail. The smaller ones are the most accurate, but lack color. The larger, the more color you get most of the time (Sanken is good exception)

Subsets.....Condensers have many different usable practical designs.

Some are Tube instead of using P48 power. LDC or LDC tube is the most common for recording high end vocals.

Some are electrete. These have a charged plate that can leak charge over time. Very cost effective designs.

Some have one, some have two diaphragms. When you have two, you gain pattern control, or a step up in quality when in cart pattern.

Sizes can be anything. However most use this: Over 7/8" is LDC, Under 3/4" is SDC. Not many are called a mid-size condenser.


Once you start looking at specific models. Each brand has one or more quality levels and each brand goes through changes over time. For example the evolution of a 414 is painful. I will not buy AKG made after 1990. I will not buy groove tubes after 2004. Etc.

The first or second run of any given mic design are typically the best. Takes a long time to get familiar with what's out there. Over time, look for the new small companies making an early run....the good stuff.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I decided to shop for you.


If I was looking for good mic's this week. I would suggest these.

https://reverb.com/item/38605473-sony-c-47
https://reverb.com/item/29264373-neu...ed-and-working
https://reverb.com/item/38444074-neu...0db-pad-filter

They are all old and beat up. That's the good stuff for the price. The ones that got used!
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #21
Gear Guru
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum ➡️
I decided to shop for you.


If I was looking for good mic's this week. I would suggest these.

https://reverb.com/item/38605473-sony-c-47
https://reverb.com/item/29264373-neu...ed-and-working
https://reverb.com/item/38444074-neu...0db-pad-filter

They are all old and beat up. That's the good stuff for the price. The ones that got used!
That KMS 140 looks like the studio it was in burned to the ground and the only thing that survived the fire was that mic.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
Gear Guru
 
Are they still doing nuclear testing on Bikini?

Chris
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq ➡️
That KMS 140 looks like the studio it was in burned to the ground and the only thing that survived the fire was that mic.
Wouldn't be the first person caught out by an unexpectantly hot mic.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #24
Gear Guru
 
(Cue "Disco Inferno")
Chris
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 ➡️
(Cue "Disco Inferno")
Chris
Just as long as the intro is played correctly! 😂
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