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Expanding my mic kit for live and recording
Old 15th August 2022
  #1
Expanding my mic kit for live and recording

Hey all. Sorry this is going to be a long post but I need advice on completing my mic kit so I need to describe what I'm trying to do

I've been putting together a personal mic kit, primarily for live work but I am also launching a mobile recording rig. I'm buying the mics they never give you, ones that improve the overall mic-up; there's no point my buying the basics every venue has, these are supplements. I make my living as an in-house, freelance and occasionally touring mixer/engineer; live mixing is what I'm best at but I also do system engineer work, live and studio installs and wiring, all sorts, and the better my personal mic/hardware kit and knowledge of them is, the better for all my clients and me.

I'm looking for suggestions for some great mics to round out my set. It has to be mics I can still buy new, or at worst easily find used AND be able to get parts and service for if needed. As even my recording service will be mobile I don't need exotic LDC's and fancy ribbons, they're lovely pieces but I'd rarely ever use them. That said, once the mobile recording thing gets going, I'll be learning on the job a lot of new situations where I might want alternatives to what I've grown used to. (As to cool mounts for drums, amps etc, I've probably got enough new good ones but if there's something new you think is the best you've seen, by all means chuck it in). I feel like I've already got some great options but I'm wondering what I'm missing - I know the well-known brands, but what else should I check out?

I'm expecting the recording service to do church work with choir and organ obviously (very traditional Church of England stone cathedral, others of similar acoustic type and performers), school bands and choirs esp. at their end-of-year do's, and I'm hoping especially student audition tapes when they want to get into the advanced music schools and academies, mostly soloist singers/instrumentalists with piano accompaniment.

First, here's what I've bought myself already. I bought a bunch of Oktava as for obvious reasons they are not getting re-stocked at any suppliers in the west, and I tried to get all the ones I'd like to own while they're still around (and I'd still love a 2nd MK-103 if anyone's got one to sell, I could only get one). I'll post a full list of these later.

Here's what I'm using regularly for live work:
- Oktava MK-102's, for overheads, 2 pairs
- Oktava MK-012's, general SDC (with card, omni and hyper capsules) 1 pair pre-amps, 1 pair of each capsule
- EV ND46 x3, I am really liking these for toms esp. floor. Not bad either for bass amp, bass drums without a hole in the resonator head, brass, very good on most percussion.
- EV ND44 x1, I've come to respect this little mic. It's probably closest to an e904 and I actually heard that designer came to EV and designed this, so there is a link and it addresses the same market. Pretty cool on snare (great "ping!" but lacks air), good on rack toms but I'd like more bottom end, not deep enough for floor tom for my needs. Haven't tried on guitar amps but I wouldn't expect much, except on clean tone eg jazz.
- Senn. e906 x2, a recent standard on guitar amps, common enough at long-term installs with a decent mic kit but some venues only have 57's etc so it's handy to keep a couple of these, and they're cheap. Not bad on percussion and even toms, some say for brass too.
- Beyer M88TG, can be a fantastic kick mic but it's touchy about placement and doesn't suit EVERY job, but no mic does. But it's a damn fine all-rounder as we all know. Just got one again after years without, I think I need a few more to use on... just about everything
- Beyer M201TG x2, another classic. I'm a latecomer to this one, and I love it. This is my snare mic now unless I really need bright and/or heavy attack, in which case I might go Beta 56. (Since getting M201's I am over all those presence-boosted types on snare, I love the full-bodied lows and mids equal with the highs now for a snare sound, esp. for a big "boofy" 80's snare with gated rev. A lot of 80's hits had bigger, more bassy snare than the kick drum in the mix and this mic can do that)
- Beta 56 x1, sounds like a Beta 56 (or B57). For me this is one I got not because I wanted it but because some of the clients do. It does have a place for that amazing attack on snare, I can recognise a Beta 57 snare sound every time (and it's the same capsule on the 56). But I use it more for vocals for drummers. Good for some guitar and snare situations, but really the venues should supply this standard (I mean as a Beta 57) <sigh> I suppose I should get another one.
- EV RE20 x 1, tried it on kick, didn't have time to really get to know it but it was obviously good. Was the best I ever heard on trombone and a baritone sax but the noisy staged kinda trashed it. I do a little VO work myself and it's obviously ideal for that. I'll probably use it more with the recording rig so I'm trying not to use it too much on kick before then. I'm likely to get at least one more (I'd love to try 2 on OH's...)

Oktava, the MK-102's in X-Y on a single stand is now my go-to overhead mic setup. I use the swivel adapters and a stereo shock mount. Whenever I go back to spaced A-B now all I hear is phase problems usually.
Oktava MK-101-8 (bidirectional) x2. I wanted a couple of figure-8 mics for years just to try and I find them useful actually, I get brass sections and percussion where they can be used for great isolation between the lobes, and one venue they work well as OH's because there's so much padding and damping in the ceiling. Obviously cool for M-S miking which I have never actually used in a live setting except just to try it out with my Zoom recorder, I've got the hardware etc. for it though.

Other Oktava, 2 x matched MK-101 cardioid, 2 x matched MK-105's I'll use for room or general stereo recording, maybe vocals/inst. soloists. MK-103 x 1, I would love another and use them for OH, I like one in mono (PM me if you want to sell me one in good shape!). 1 x MKL-2500, mostly for fun at home but I'll do some VO with it and maybe record soloists. All this recording stuff is for later, haven't started up yet.

AND, here's what I'm considering, I'd appreciate some input if you think it's a worthwhile addition for my needs or not:

- at least one more M88 and M201 (probably gonna anyway).
- 2 x Beyer M160, I'd love to try them for OH's, guitar, and when I'm recording probably piano and general instruments.
- should I really bother getting MD421's? If I had one, I'd use it mostly on a bass amp, but the ND46's do well enough, as would an M88. If I get them I really need at least 2, then they'd get used on toms, followed by brass (I don't get brass THAT much, maybe every 2-3 months). Anyone like them on other common sources?
- how about MC930's? Later, doing other than rock bands, would I appreciate using MC950's? For now SDC's are really just overheads and hi-hat mics but if you know an application for an SDC that really works then please LMK.
- a kick mic. For every kick mic, you'll get as many "love it's" as "hate em's", and there's usually a Beta 52 wherever I go so not buying one of those. I was thinking EV ND68 (yes, I do quite like EV). One drummer swears by his Lewitt but I don't know the model; they make 2 AFAIK, I assume it's the more up-market one. What do YOU use?
- I'm considering a Beyer TG D71 boundary mic, for kick. I hate Beta 91's but I see a few reviews saying the D71 is much smoother/nicer. Opinions?
- What else for guitar? The M201 really suits some players and amps, and really doesn't for some others. Or maybe it's fussy about position, I haven't owned them for long.
-EV RE520. A well-respected Australian sound guy with maybe the biggest mic collection in Australia, and possibly the best private EV mic collection in the world (he says *every* model made) rates them very highly for choir, large percussion sets (eg. those bell/gongs from Vietnam that they set up big groups of), lectern etc. I get a lot of jobs like these every school graduation "season" and then Xmas carol time. Heck, I could even use them as a vocal mic! But I don't see much need for me to provide a vocal mic, unless the house and/or singer only provide poor ones. I don't really need their COVID/alien flu/T-virus all over my personal stuff either, but I think 4 of these might really help me with choir/school band/"weird stuff" jobs, being supercardioid, detailed condensers and known to perform well here by ppl I trust.
- I've read several people raving about the Shure KSM-8. So, would that help me? What's it best on, what advantage would I have over what I've got for my application? How about KSM-9? And is the 8 a dynamic, a condenser or a hybrid of both?

If I had the money, and if I could get them I'd buy MD441's. But that's an expensive mic for a dynamic, plus they seem to be having trouble supplying any. I think of the M201 as a "poor man's 441", being neutral and detailed, though with different polars and other characteristics. Would anyone with both agree/dispute?

What about little mini condensers for toms and snare? Are they tricky to tune for the tone you want? Which do you use? I don't think I want to clip these on the bell of brass instruments, I'd rather have something on a stand and hear the dynamics of the players' techniques too; this is for live performance after all, recorded or not. Plus... feedback.

And most of all, I'd love to hear what YOU guys use, or want to use! What would you put in your mic kit if you had an important gig and you only want to take a small number of favourites or problem-solvers? While we're at it, why not DI's too?
I'm actually pretty happy with my stuff and it's all getting used, but what else would I be glad to have? I've just earned some extra audio money selling custom cables and I did a short tour that paid well, that's all gravy and I think it'd be good to invest it in myself and my personal gig-kit. Any and every suggestion gratefully received.
Old 15th August 2022
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I assume you are planning to work in the digital realm with one of the outstanding 24/96K processing desks that are now available. To that end there is a need for a high quality U47 flavor tube mic. ( the tube & transformer front end is a magic elixir for todays digital transparency)
Every credible recording studio will have at least one, if not more, versions of the "ubiquitous 47" available for vocals. It has been an industry standard for more than 70 years. I have deployed them for live acoustic SR front end capture of vocal performances for more than 15 years very successfully.
Hugh
Old 15th August 2022 | Show parent
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse ➑️
I assume you are planning to work in the digital realm with one of the outstanding 24/96K processing desks that are now available. To that end there is a need for a high quality U47 flavor tube mic. ( the tube & transformer front end is a magic elixir for todays digital transparency)
Every credible recording studio will have at least one, if not more, versions of the "ubiquitous 47" available for vocals. It has been an industry standard for more than 70 years. I have deployed them for live acoustic SR front end capture of vocal performances for more than 15 years very successfully.
Hugh
Not at first with a console, I better explain. My portable recording system will in no way be a mobile studio, it's a rack with an interface and laptop, and decent cabling, stands, hardware etc, for now that's all. The recordings and processing will all be by DAW within that laptop. When that starts it will be low track-count stuff, a couple of stereo pairs and singles, school and church work. Pre-amps and stuff to come later, I am financially constrained. I live in a tiny 1-bedroom apartment and I've only got monitoring here, where I intend to do all post-recording processing, I don't have or want any facility to record performers, strictly portable. A recording truck is a fantasy at this stage, that's for later. My intended clients will mostly be schools, churches and certain private clients, I will have to say no if they want to do stuff beyond my gear's capabilities. If I had to record a vocalist now with what I have, I've got an MKL-2500 about to arrive which is probably my best bet, other Oktava LDC's, but I will need a main vocal mic and it'd probably have to be something with "47" in it. Very much a starting out, low-money operation for now, which I hope will make revenue to build itself.

I think an important market for me will be student auditions but really the majority of these will be instrumentalists, aiming to get into the best tertiary music courses, for jazz, orchestral and chamber training. There will be some singers wanting to do musical theatre and certain other courses but my talks with these schools tell me these are in the minority.

My mic kit right now needs to do live rock, pop, folk and whatever-type bands in local small to medium venues. Not electronica, not much metal either. This is what I live on, and it's what has to fund building the recording service to where I can launch it. All the other hardware is about taken care of. So I'm looking for a kit of mics that gets used now, and grows depending on what direction the recording service needs to go later.

My SR mic kit now has some of the ones it's nice to have that they never give you but how to improve it? More I thought of... SM81, other hand-held vocal condensers, KM184, MC930 or other SDC, I'd like to be familiar with some Audix dynamics, more options for rock and jazz drums, and I wish I knew more about Audio Technics dynamics and condensers, Beyerdynamic other than the M-series, Sennheiser but NOT e-series (that's mainstream, don't need to buy them), maybe Shure KSM series, ie does anyone use LDC Shures on choirs, or what else do you use? EV don't have a lot of options these days but I like them. So I guess to most gearspacers this isn't enough their niche to care about but I'd like to hear ppl's experience in their applications. I'm probably asking on the wrong site really.

My immediate applications are obviously bands but also corporate and school events, which means kiddy choirs and school big bands, also various ensembles, not a distant pair in a big hall but say 4 mics on stage wtih the choirs, something for lectern, what to spot-mic stuff like orchestral woodwinds, strings and brass with, stuff like that. I'm pretty good for percussion and stereo pairs, that is to say for my immediate needs and budget I've got what I need for now. Esoteric ribbons, high-end LDC's and 500-series pre-amps are not really viable for me now, maybe a year after the recording thing gets going. This is not to make content for general release but mostly for internal use by local institutions and clients, and it does need to be of commercial grade.

A "47-type" mic for main vocal and of course instrumental soloists could just about be most of the mic kit for many small recording jobs, plus something for piano, including upright for school music departments. Upright piano in particular, I've never mic'd up though I've done some grand pianos live, and I will need. I've heard of various solutions.

Thanks for getting the ball rolling, maybe I need to re-think this thread and frame the questions differently, but please anyone tell us what's in the mic kit you take to ANY job, that you can carry.
Old 15th August 2022 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
i'm essentially using the same mics (desk and outboard) in the studio, for location recording, live mixing and broadcasting - unless it's a very loud stage with a hot backline/dozens of wedges/sidefills: then, i'm swapping some condenser mics for dynamic mics...
Old 16th August 2022 | Show parent
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➑️
i'm essentially using the same mics (desk and outboard) in the studio, for location recording, live mixing and broadcasting - unless it's a very loud stage with a hot backline/dozens of wedges/sidefills: then, i'm swapping some condenser mics for dynamic mics...
Yes, that's what I had in mind, I was hoping you would reply If you can be bothered wading through my long post then the 1st one has my current list, are there any you would suggest to add out of what is available now? I know you have some great classics but for now I want to just consider what is still being produced. What would you get yourself? My needs are not too different from yours, they will get the most regular use in live sound and I wish to use mostly the same for location recording
I have one specific question I was hoping to put to you, what would you use to record an upright piano, in a school music department or private home? The rooms might be small and not ideal, but if you had to get it done what mics would you select there? Thanks
Old 16th August 2022 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by BernieW ➑️
Yes, that's what I had in mind, I was hoping you would reply If you can be bothered wading through my long post then the 1st one has my current list, are there any you would suggest to add out of what is available now? I know you have some great classics but for now I want to just consider what is still being produced. What would you get yourself? My needs are not too different from yours, they will get the most regular use in live sound and I wish to use mostly the same for location recording
I have one specific question I was hoping to put to you, what would you use to record an upright piano, in a school music department or private home? The rooms might be small and not ideal, but if you had to get it done what mics would you select there? Thanks
i don't think that individual experience (who, when, where, which gear and under which circumstances etc.) can be transferred so the choice (to acquire) mics can vary greatly and i don't think that specific mics play a decisive role as long as they are suitable in principle (suitable type, suitable pattern, decent quality, error-free function).

in this respect, it is difficult for me to judge or even recommend someone else's microphone collection. the same applies to the pickup of specific instruments such as upright piano* - i'm sure there are several threads dealing with the topic though...

short: i own a large variety of mics and pick whatever i think will work best in any given situation - or i'm just using whatever mics are available!** (ime it's often more important to have something available at all and in sufficient quantity than to have selected gear but too little).

___


* i can easily use half a dozen of mics on an upright piano but i've successfully also used just a single pzm at the bottom, two dynamics looking in from the top, a pair of condensers on the soundboard, a combination of close and more distant mics...

** the latter doesn't necessarily lead to inferior results (and it also keeps you fit!); it certainly helped to shape my conviction that it's (almost) never about the gear: i achieved some of my best mixes with relatively modest equipment and under less than ideal conditions...
(...although i admit that - based on bad experience - i started carrying a set of 'spare gear' for peace of mind in tricky situations a long time ago)
Old 16th August 2022
  #7
I'll make it shorter.

First, here's my current list of mics I'd like to get (priority is live sound):

- M201TG, at least 1, maybe 2 more
- M88TG, 1 or 2 more.
- EV RE520 x 2, maybe a 2nd pair later if they are a success
- MC930 stereo set, maybe. I'm pretty happy with my Oktavas but some alternatives wouldn't hurt. Also got Rode M5 and NT5 pairs.
- a kick mic, possibly EV ND68, or Lewitt. Need suggestions.
- Beyer TG D71 boundary mic, for kick inside
- a Beta 57 for snare and some guitar amps. This one will be an option, I'm a bit "meh" about it as my go-to's for those are M201 and e906
- ND44. I've got one, I respect this little mic as an alternative to e904's, like it on snare and they're cheap. 1 or 2 more.

And now the maybes:
- MD441 - this is actually more of a "hell yeah!" but also an "I wish" as they're just too expensive and they'll only get damaged.
- M160's, for guitar, room ambient mics, overheads and general. Is this a good choice for upright piano recordings? (yes yes with a FET head or similar)
- another RE20. Mostly for my own fun, I'd love to try 2 as OH's, and have them available for brass esp. bari sax, trombone etc. I've got one, it's fun on kick but I don't want to burn it out in that role.

After that, I really need ideas. What would you guys choose within these constraints:
- needs to be in current production or at least readily available with spares and service options
- needs to cost in the hundreds, not thousands
- can't be so special-purpose I only use it twice a year and never earns back what it costs me. *Versatile*, for SR and location recording.
- What would you put in your gig kit / spares bag for a recording session? Let's say no more than 4 mics to supplement the standard ones they give you at the venue, what would you take with you?

DI's, so far Radial has ticked all the boxes for my needs, the one I like most is the PZ-DI and I'll buy one more for stereo sources (IMO it's what the J48 should have been), and I've got 2x JDI's for passive. Any other vital little boxes you'd take? I like the look of the sE DM2 TNT, if I get M160's I will definitely get 2 of those. I wish Radial still made that little M-S decoder box, wish I knew an alternative as I've got cool mid-side options. I'll buy or build a good 8-channel iso/splitter box too.

So any other goodies I'm missing here? I'm mostly interested in classic dynamic mics right now, yes MD421 but... blehh, bulky, pricey for what they are and what they can do, and those mic clips!! I think I've got alternatives already, but then again I haven't used one in years.
Who's used a KSM8? I hear good things, but used on what? Audix D-series dynamics, what else should I know about?
What Lewitt kick mics in particular but other good ones do they make? Are you USING them? I know very little Audio Technic stuff except headphones, what's going to be good for my needs? I'm not after vocal mics to loan to singers and I know the hand-held market well enough. But, if any of those mics are useful for other applications I'd love to know.

Thanks
Old 16th August 2022 | Show parent
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➑️
... in this respect, it is difficult for me to judge or even recommend someone else's microphone collection. the same applies to the pickup of specific instruments such as upright piano* - i'm sure there are several threads dealing with the topic though...
Of course, that's perfectly reasonable. I think I haven't asked the right questions here; what I need is to increase my knowledge of what are the "general purpose" mics people are really using now, if there is such a thing (some in the above list probably are), and then spend some time deciding which ones, if any, would help me. Of course I cannot just ask, "what mics should I get?" or even "what are you using?" and get the same, that is pointless and I understand that. But what I DO need to do, is be aware of what is out there, and make decisions about what might be useful to me.

My mic kit now is a success; it's not meant to be a complete mic-up of a band or any type of act, it's a collection of tools I find handy for certain jobs. In that way it's been working well for me. At the venues where I regularly work, I generally start with the in-house mic kit, and use some of my own instead. ALways my OH's, probably a snare mic, maybe guitar and DI's, never vocals, but I am just supplementing these with what has proven useful to me. I need versatility, not specific pieces for specific jobs.

And then later, I hope to use it as a starting point for my location recordings. I think I will likely start using very different mics then as I gain experience with that different job, but as I say, I have a starting point. It is more important that I am experienced and familiar with what I have, so I can decide what to use, than to try to get a "best" mic for any source; there is no such thing! So again, I just need to find out about as many useful mics that would be candidates for various sources, and find ways to integrate them with my working style and techniques, and get better at knowing what will likely work *before* i buy them.

Therefore, what I should have asked might be just some suggestions that I could look into... have you guys seen any good new releases that have impressed you? Have you started using any classic or well-known mics you hadn't tried before, and found them a success? (that's the M201 for me right now). What DIDN'T work too, was there something you bought for a certain job and it was not what you expected? I just need ideas, directions I can go and investigate for myself.

I could get all U*7's and expensive ribbons and so on, standards in their own right, but I am not at that stage with my recording service. That would basically be a waste of money; they're great mics but I don't even know who my regular clients will be yet. But what am I missing, what are other standards now that at least other people do use?
For example, would M160's for guitar turn out to be something I could only use with certain players, or have you guys found them to be versatile? Are MC930's sometimes NOT good for overheads, acoustic guitar and so on, or did they turn out to be just what you wanted for something you hadn't expected? Was there something you tried on a sax one day that was better than what you'd been doing before? That sort of thing. And I know full well they may NOT be that good for me; I'm just looking for suggestions to investigate for myself, anything I should at least audition. All ideas welcome...
Old 16th August 2022
  #9
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Progger's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
It sounds to me like you have your bases pretty thoroughly covered and you're in the right mindset. Fancy LDCs won't make sense for this kind of work, and you've already listed the workhorse dynamic mics I'd like to see while I set my band up to perform or record. Aside from the usual suspects by Beyerdynamic and Sennheiser, the only company I might recommend investigating would be Heil – their PR30 and PR40 get a lot of love for pretty much all applications. I don't know if they can do anything your M88s and M201s can't already do, though... maybe just get more of those!

Of everything you listed that you don't already own, I think it makes the most sense to invest in as many pairs of REALLY high-quality SDCs as you can. The MC930s would be good, for sure. If you can afford it down the line, particularly if you're working in traditional church services, a pair of Schoeps with a variety of capsules would make a ton of sense. That's the money you might have spent on a fancy LDC for prima-donna songwriters in the studio, but with infinitely more practical application and utterly top-quality sound. I'm sure the Oktavas are just fine, and I've liked how they sound on overheads, for sure – but if you're recording a choir with a pipe organ in a beautiful-sounding room, some well-placed Schoeps will capture everything with as much quality as you could ever want, and you might not need anything else.

Either way, I'm gonna follow this thread since I'm curious what other experienced folks think, too!
Old 16th August 2022
  #10
Thanks Progger, I will absolutely investigate Heil for sure, thanks for the tip. I do need to know more about some of these newer/smaller brands as I'm sure these are some great new products out there. sE is fast becoming a new staple too. Among the established makers, the toughest part is the mics they've *stopped* making, what a shame! Other older M-series Beyers, any number of ElectroVoice RE- and PL-series, there's a trade in old Oktava dynamics and more brands than I'll ever remember. But for me the practical and economical way to go is mics in production now. I do want to own a few classics, once again not exotic LDC's so much as *useful* dynamics, ones I can take to work and when I hear them think, yep, good to have!
Of course when I start location recording a main-type LDC will be important, but I'll cross that bridge when the time comes. I'm totally spoiled for choice out there; it's many months away but I'd probably hope to try OC818's or possibly one of the AT's (I love the MKL-2500 recordings I've heard anyway, I might be OK for a while!)

I wish I had a number for the drummer who swears by his Lewitt kick mic; I think it might be the hybrid dual diaphragm one and there's an AT like that too. I'd like to *try* one but it might be hard to arrange an audition, Perth isn't a big market and it's extremely remote. I probably should own a kick mic <sigh>, but if I do it's gotta be one *I* like. Really my kick mic is an M88, but I should at least try one of these tailored things <sigh, again>.

I suppose I could have titled this thread, "I need to learn some more good all-rounder mics". I seem to have underestimated the MD421; I know they are exactly the versatile classic I was asking about but I think I'm just prejudiced against them because they're bulky. I remember looking at a 431 too once when I was just learning and I thought it was the silliest, most "mid-century" looking thing ever; now that I know what they can do I would LOVE to have snapped that up for the cheap price I could have then, whatever it was.

I'm pretty sure I am going to get more M201's and M88's, at least one more of each, why not more? I tend to save up some money for a few mics and stuff at a time, so I could get 1 more with each order for a while, of those and other worthwhile mics. Versatile is the word.

I'm curious about the KSM-8 as some folks were all agreeing how fantastic it was on all sorts of things, but then to read its specs on paper made me think, what on? I'd want to hear it first. If anyone can tell me how they use theirs I would be keen to hear. The KSM-9 looks good too but isn't getting the same wild reviews.

As I mentioned I'm pretty keen on the EV RE520, a handheld supercardioid condenser which I expect to use for everything except vocals It's also made me wonder about other similar condensers, even a Beta 87, and what they could do on instruments and as "area mics" over a stage with percussion or an instrumental section. Maybe I haven't seen them that way because they're no good, but who knows.

Yes some more good SDC's are always a great tool. The only common application for them in most pub/club band gigs would usually be overheads and hi-hats, it'd have to be some odd-ball original, folk or specialty group with unusual instruments to properly exploit them. For that matter I do have a decent set of Oktava SDC options (but how I wish I'd been able to get two matched MK-103's and not just that one...) but again, over time I'd probably find applications where I love to use one type and others with different mics, just like with dynamics. If I do get any more SDC's I think MC930's are next. I'd be interested in the MC950's being supercardioid, because I get school, church and other "funny" jobs late every year where I think they'd be worth trying, live on a small to medium PA system. I think I'm getting a bit obsessed with supercardioid now, hyper I'm wary of (except for my beloved M201's) but that's just needing more experience.

I *need* some EV 635A's, even an RE50 to compare with them, as I've heard some knock-out recordings with them. Everyone should get to play with not just different makes/models of mics but *types* of mics, and especially different polar patterns. An omni dynamic that isn't a cheap piece of drek has to be worth having (well, TWO of them). Using my figure-8 MK-101-8's has been great fun too, I've never ever seen any bidirectional mics with ANY house or touring system to my knowledge, and they're so great! Now I want to go omni dynamic on acoustic guitar, percussion and whatever else I can, super super close-mic'd so I can keep the gain low and actually have LESS feedback than cardioids, getting away with it thanks to no proximity effect. Fig-8 overheads rock! So since I know I want M160's, I'd better chuck a couple of M130's on the list too. I want to try A-B omni room ambients at a rock/pop gig... and so on, get away from the same old same old and expand my experience. Recording is fantastic, don't get me wrong I DO want to be doing more, but I love the challenge of live sound and making the best performance I can by putting my experience to work. Human musicianship is my passion in sound.

Oh that reminds me, many years ago I saw an engineer mic up a snare drum with a Sennheiser shotgun, on a tall boom stand behind the drummer over his shoulder and down onto the snare skin. Remembering that is what prompted me to try my MK-102's in X-Y on one stand like that with the Oktava stereo shock mount and swivel adapters, and now I need them every gig and I can't use anything else!! So smooth, and I know no other end-address LDC like that. That's my must-have OH setup now, I'm doing rock covers bands like a jazz trio in small bars, with just those and a kick mic, and it's *better* than close mic'd, what a revelation after >30 years of traditional live sound. A-B overheads just sound like phase problems to me now. The shotgun-snare gig was an Aussie band called My Friend The Chocolate Cake, in Fremantle, fondly remembered. The mixer told me next to no spill, and that drummer played all styles and weights, from heavy sticks to light to brushes to rimshots, the mid-field shotgun caught it all (there must have been off-axis spill with ugly colouration, but I just remember a nice snare sound).

So, bring it on guys, where's your mic-up stories? What mic on what source, how set up? How mixed, did it work, do you still use it? What disappointed you til you changed what, all that stuff. Live, recorded, whatever. I'm hoping for currently produced mics but if there's something I've got to try and the original mic's out of production, I'll see if there's an equivalent now (eg. the old EV N/D408's actually made a great school choir mic being supercardioid and dynamic as they didn't want to feed back and the light diaphragm gave them amazing top end for a dynamic... now I've got ND46's they're quite similar, can't wait to try that again).

Thanks again Progger for getting this thread moving some
Old 16th August 2022
  #11
Heil does look interesting! The PR31 with a large diaphragm has raised my eyebrows... ever since the EV N/D408 I have loved "LDD's" and I bet it's a great kick mic, but if it is fast enough to have some transients and tops this could be just what I like for all sorts of instruments. PR48, 30 and 40 all look interesting though the latter 2 might be more VO-types. If they do nice guitar and brass I'm interested.
At last, something new to me that's really different and is known to work very well on some of the sources I use all the time... I think I just learned something! Keep bringing 'em on guys!
This could be one I just buy and try, the price is low enough
Old 16th August 2022 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by BernieW ➑️
Of course, that's perfectly reasonable. I think I haven't asked the right questions here; what I need is to increase my knowledge of what are the "general purpose" mics people are really using now, if there is such a thing (some in the above list probably are), and then spend some time deciding which ones, if any, would help me. Of course I cannot just ask, "what mics should I get?" or even "what are you using?" and get the same, that is pointless and I understand that. But what I DO need to do, is be aware of what is out there, and make decisions about what might be useful to me.

My mic kit now is a success; it's not meant to be a complete mic-up of a band or any type of act, it's a collection of tools I find handy for certain jobs. In that way it's been working well for me. At the venues where I regularly work, I generally start with the in-house mic kit, and use some of my own instead. ALways my OH's, probably a snare mic, maybe guitar and DI's, never vocals, but I am just supplementing these with what has proven useful to me. I need versatility, not specific pieces for specific jobs.

And then later, I hope to use it as a starting point for my location recordings. I think I will likely start using very different mics then as I gain experience with that different job, but as I say, I have a starting point. It is more important that I am experienced and familiar with what I have, so I can decide what to use, than to try to get a "best" mic for any source; there is no such thing! So again, I just need to find out about as many useful mics that would be candidates for various sources, and find ways to integrate them with my working style and techniques, and get better at knowing what will likely work *before* i buy them.

Therefore, what I should have asked might be just some suggestions that I could look into... have you guys seen any good new releases that have impressed you? Have you started using any classic or well-known mics you hadn't tried before, and found them a success? (that's the M201 for me right now). What DIDN'T work too, was there something you bought for a certain job and it was not what you expected? I just need ideas, directions I can go and investigate for myself.

I could get all U*7's and expensive ribbons and so on, standards in their own right, but I am not at that stage with my recording service. That would basically be a waste of money; they're great mics but I don't even know who my regular clients will be yet. But what am I missing, what are other standards now that at least other people do use?
For example, would M160's for guitar turn out to be something I could only use with certain players, or have you guys found them to be versatile? Are MC930's sometimes NOT good for overheads, acoustic guitar and so on, or did they turn out to be just what you wanted for something you hadn't expected? Was there something you tried on a sax one day that was better than what you'd been doing before? That sort of thing. And I know full well they may NOT be that good for me; I'm just looking for suggestions to investigate for myself, anything I should at least audition. All ideas welcome...
i don't want to be the stubborn troublemaker, but imo the choice of mics is and remains something very personal, unless one goes by market acceptance/rider-friendliness/potential resale value or whatever's hot in a specific community - which aren't necessarily bad criteria! however, i think it's more important to gain as much experience as possible with a couple of mics than to run after every available model (as there are far too many different models available).

anyway, my 'emergency' mic kit consists of enough mics, di's, stands and cables - enough means 'one can never have enough'...
[next is a splitter and a small mixer (that can get used as a submixer or as a matrix mixer), a (self-powered) monitor speaker, a headphone amp (with crossfeedmatrix) and a pair of closed headphones so i can hear what my mics are doing even if the pa, recording or broadcast is down/not up yet.
then there's an analyzer, a peak meter and a goniometer as i want to see what mics are doing if i cannot hear them - a vocal mic with a switch at foh for communication cannot hurt either.]
...so if you think you'll need 12 mics, better take 16-20! this gives you room for changes at the last moment and a few options to select from, say to please a demanding artist or to get more confident about a mic in a specific use case! - here's what i'm taking with me for a typical blues rock/band:

2x kick (in/out)
2x snare (top/bottom)
2x hats
2x oh
4x toms

2x bass (di/mic)
2x a-guit (di's)
2x e-guit
4x keys (di's)
2x horns

4x vocals
2x spare

2x ambi
2x clip mic
2x variable pattern ldc

i'll probably disappoint you one more (and hopefully last) time by not naming any microphone types/models: as i said before, i don't really care about them as long as they are of reasonable quality and have the characteristics i want (especially regarding pattern - max spl, self-noise, frequency response etc. are only of secondary interest to me).
of course i don't mind if all these mics are schoeps (well, except for toms for which i much prefer using dynamic mics, both live and in the studio, for toms or timpanis); whether they are sponsored by a brand or come from a carefully curated collection, with enough experience you can usually tell relatively quickly what a mic is good for (or completely unsuitable for).

one more thing: imo it doesn't make much sense to ship equipment halfway around the globe if there are locally (or at least somewhat closer) manufactured alternatives - and to have different models sent to you just for a short comparison, and then to keep only one model, i also find a completely unnecessary (because harmful) behavior...
Old 16th August 2022 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➑️
i think it's more important to gain as much experience as possible with a couple of mics than to run after every available model
Given my much smaller collection than most/all professionals, especially those working live gigs.. I've probably still fallen into this trap, as my curiosity about different mic makers/models gets the best of me, and keeps me curious and learning.. but at this point, with more than I really need, I'm going to take this to heart..

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➑️
here's what i'm taking with me for a typical blues rock/band:

2x kick (in/out)
2x snare (top/bottom)
2x hats
2x oh
4x toms

2x bass (di/mic)
2x a-guit (di's)
2x e-guit
4x keys (di's)
2x horns

4x vocals
2x spare

2x ambi
2x clip mic
2x variable pattern ldc
Thanks for sharing this. There's always more to your posts than I can possibly internalize in a short amount of time. Kind of wish GS let you 'save' posts.. but this is another of your (many) posts I'll be referring back to as I continue to build experience tracking..

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➑️
i'll probably disappoint you one more (and hopefully last) time by not naming any microphone types/models: as i said before, i don't really care about them as long as they are of reasonable quality and have the characteristics i want (especially regarding pattern - max spl, self-noise, frequency response etc. are only of secondary interest to me).
of course i don't mind if all these mics are schoeps (well, except for toms for which i much prefer using dynamic mics, both live and in the studio, for toms or timpanis)
Again, thank you. Interesting and such a great reminder for us learning folks. Would you include the insanely affordable line audio cm4's on list of reasonable quality mics? I would not expect the same calibre of clean pickup, off-axis response or performance from such affordable mics as something priced as the CMC6/mk22 or the like.. but my expectations are very often misaligned with reality, particularly when paired with a total lack of experience. At these prices a pair (or more) is tempting.. contradicting my admission at the very top of this post .. where I acknowledge that I probably have 'too many' mics for my needs.. at least as they stand today.

Thanks as always for sharing @ deedeeyeah
Old 16th August 2022
  #14
Lives for gear
 
David Rick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I see that you're mostly thinking about dynamic mics, as one would tend to when miking everything on stage. I can't add anything to @ deedeeyeah 's comments on a "close mic kit" as enumerated above. Each of the categories he lists has many possible solutions, depending on availability and budget.

When doing those kinds of gigs, it's very important to have a good strategy for handling mic splits. That used to be a Radial splitter rack, but it's now possible to use direct Y-splits together with a digital stage box that sits on the same power distro as the club gear. Either way, you'll want a well constructed breakout and snake system to patch into the club gear in a way that's expedient and doesn't look scary or jerry-rigged, lest the house engineer tell you to p!ss off.

I did notice that your original post expressed an intent to take on church, choir, and audition work. Those kind of gigs, together with classical concert and recital capture, constitute the majority of my business. If you desire to go that route, the required kit is entirely different than above. I own many of the top tier dynamic microphones: RE20, 421, Beyer ribbons, etc., but unless I'm called out to a brew pub, they all stay home. When my destination is a concert hall or church, 80% of what I bring will be small-diaphragm condenser mics. The other 20% will be multi-pattern large-diaphragm condensers. If I throw in a RE20, it's my talkback mic! I do take a Radial PZDI and stereo DI that can take a computer feed or house feed, because when someone "plans" to use a pickup or a pre-recorded backing track, they usually haven't planned at all, or bothered to tell me in advance.* I take a precision stereo bar, a very tall stand with an articulating leg to level it on raked floors, and several boom stands tall enough to deal with a choir on risers. (I never put an expensive mic on a venue's stand.) Also 50% more cables than you think you'll need, in a variety of lengths, and enough snake or network cable to reach the green room.

* They will also never have the right cable to patch into their laptop. Bring your own, properly labeled and preferably a color not found in nature so it will be harder for them to steal.

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
Old 16th August 2022
  #15
Registered User
 
🎧 5 years
Maybe look at the AKG D12-VR kick mic. I have an Audix D6 but it's really tuned for more a of rock metal kick tone as are some of the Sennheisers to my ears.
Old 16th August 2022 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by themiracle ➑️
Would you include the insanely affordable line audio cm4's on list of reasonable quality mics? I would not expect the same calibre of clean pickup, off-axis response or performance from such affordable mics as something priced as the CMC6/mk22 or the like.
i am not in the position to judge the quality of equipment i have only used a few times under uncritical conditions...

...and it seems more interesting to me to answer the question, why a schoeps is about 10x as expensive as a line audio/why a line oudio mic is dirt cheap compared to a schoeps - for the price of schoeps, there are a couple of good reasons which are not only based on the stellar audio quality but have to do with reputation, (rider) acceptance, (rental) availability, long-term support, widespread use, wide range of capsules, modularity etc.

when working with classical music, i mostly compete with very well-equipped state broadcasters so - even if this may sound nonsensical - i simply cannot afford to use cheap sdc's!* now since i already have a bunch of excellent sdc's (the majority from schoeps but also quite a few from akg, neumann, b&k etc.), i'd be stupid not to use them with other genre/in other situations!**



* the same goes for the rest of the gear...
** the same goes for the rest of the gear...



p.s. the cheapest mic i'm occsionally, yet regularly using (in amplified live situations with non-classical music) is the akg d-58e btw...
Old 16th August 2022 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Guru
 
🎧 20 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by BernieW ➑️
MC930 stereo set, maybe. I'm pretty happy with my Oktavas but some alternatives wouldn't hurt.
you will be even happier with Beyers. Nice mics.

Quote:
- MD441 - this is actually more of a "hell yeah!" but also an "I wish" as they're just too expensive and they'll only get damaged.
IMO, you lists have too many of the "the same" type of mic. It seems like a lot of duplication to me. If you aren't going to be capable of using all these mics simultaneously, then I believe you should start switching to a quality over quantity philosophy. I think you might be going overboard on 'alternatives' and I don't think having these alternatives will be making that a big difference in your ultimate Sonic Bottom Line.

Quote:
- can't be so special-purpose I only use it twice a year and never earns back what it costs me.
a great mic is a great mic. If you had a 441, I bet you would find it useful every single day. You should apply this "earns back what it costs me" to your purchasing strategy as a whole, not just to this or that expensive mic.

Quote:
So any other goodies I'm missing here? I'm mostly interested in classic dynamic mics right now,
since you have not actually won the lottery, no matter what you do, you will still be 'missing' 99% of the available mics in the world. Just like everyone else. FOMO is a disease. Don't approach your gear from the point of view of 'not missing' something.

In your place, I would ask how many different models of 'classic dynamic mics' can I use at one time? You can record toms with a set of 421s, you can record toms with a set of M201s or a set of Beta 58's. It might be nice to use one set on Tuesday and the other set on Wednesday, but is it necessary?

Be a bit more careful about duplication of effort and you could use the saved money to go after a few of your "I wish" mics. There's GAS - Gear Acquisition Syndrome and then there's GAS - Gear Accumulation Syndrome.
Old 17th August 2022
  #18
Hi Joeq, yes I wondered if many of my mics were actually kind of the same thing, though they were chosen for specific tasks. I guess I do have duplication in that I HAVE got a bunch of all-rounder dynamics, certainly that's what an M88 is but same could be said of the ND46's and B56, even e906. But they tend to live on certain things - the 46's are toms mics to me, M201 is good but not *always* great for guitar amps, so it's become my snare or hats mic (I know they can do so much more but I'm talking about my band gigs), e906 is basically seen as a guitar amp mic, though it can also do OK elsewhere. So there's no reason I couldn't use any of my mics on almost any source, but they were chosen because they do best on certain things.

Of what I've got, at least in dynamics, I don't think I've got the set for brass I really want yet. I'll usually have either one sax, or rarely a trumpet, but more likely a 3-piece brass section. I'm still working on that. I think I like my Oktava figure-8 capsules best in that role, I might get a 3rd one. So maybe I'll try a different figure-8; that means 2 possible roles for M130's and that gets them on the list. I expected the ND46's to be great but they were only good. But dynamics would be way easier as I'm often working with floor wedge monitors.

I don't think it's FOMO but more eagerness to learn, try out stuff that is in use elsewhere, see what it can do for me if anything. Or find out it's not for me, that's OK too.

What I know I will buy so far will be a couple of RE520's, maybe a 2nd pair later if they work out. Definitely one more M201, and I will get a pair of MC930's but it's a question of when - I might decide I would prefer to spend the funds elsewhere first.

Please be assured, I'm good for cables, looms, links, stage boxes, splitters, hardware... I've been in live sound for years, I'm really trying to fill in gaps in my experience. I have a side hustle making and selling traditional instrument, mic, PA, DJ and other audio leads and looms, that's funding some of this. I've done some studio wiring jobs, terminating installed multicores to DB25 and XLR mostly, soldering patch bays, making adapters, that sort of thing. In fact, between quitting tobacco (though I vape now) in October and the profit on the leads I've sold this year, that's paid for my whole mic collection inc. all the condensers I'm not really using yet. Smoking is an expensive hobby in Australia. I have a modular multipin snake system I made years ago with LK multipins, I did make a 16 and an 8 channel transformer iso/splitter rack that worked with it though I no longer have that gear, and I have ordered a Radial OX8 splitter. Everything I make I would call touring grade, it's made to not come back for a warranty claim There are no cheap crappy components, it's all the right brands, built like the production companies make for themselves (or get me to make).

What I'm finding though, is that outside the studios you really just keep seeing the same equipment over and over. I'm also looking to gain an advantage; even my low-end to mid-range mic kit does put me ahead of what most venues and even a lot of touring engineers are using. They'll often turn up with a particular vocal mic, pre-amp, DI or FX they depend on, but more often these are actually the performers' preference; otherwise it's very standardised. You would think my $150-300 EV's and Beyers would be nothing special but they get oohs-and-ahh's from all sorts of crew and performers. Just because they're uncommon IMO. The only other M201's I've ever seen were twice in my life with the biggest, best-funded tours I've been crewing on. One of those also had the only M160's, as ambients for a recording. So it's pretty stodgy out there.

A few newer brands are starting to turn up, like Lewitt and sE. So far I think what I want to investigate further are some of the Heil dynamics, but it'll be hard to audition them in Perth, and I'd like to try a couple of Audio Technic LDC's. What's the great classic good value one they all talk about, was it the 4030 or 4050, something like that? I've got them in mind for live OH's, and they would then be an asset for location recording once I had them. I need experience with more of the viable mics on the market now, and if I find something that's going to help me, go for it.

Let me throw in something: I was a heavy smoker, that remained after certain other bad habits in my life and I did need it for a long time. I deliberately avoided adding up what it cost me to smoke, but after recent tax hikes, when I finally did an accounting it was easily $AU 200 a week, probably more. I smoke roll-your-own coz it costs like 60% the price of ready-made, but I might buy a pack for certain gigs. Say, $US 140 - 150 a week. More sometimes. So I've been saving and diverting that much just to mics this year, I'm specifically using cigarette money for a mic kit.
So there is that without touching my net finances from where I was less than a year ago. I've made other savings too. I would *love* to turn this into a better personal audio toolkit. My recording interface, rack, some software, stands and hardware, I bought with the surplus I made from extra jobs in the last 3-4 months of last year, as COVID actually made Perth and West. Aust. a good place to be in 2021 for ppl like me.

I look at it like this: I can invest a small amount in myself and for not too much longer, it's audio stuff. Apart from anything else, I'm just enjoying it too. It's already helped my standing among the venues and other clients. I hope when I launch the recording service, that earns itself, say, a rack of fun 500-series gear and some classy heads, I know I'll enjoy that too. It's business and has to be commercially viable... but I do what I do because I LOVE IT!! I truly do.

Anyway enough of that. I'm hoping I'll pick up some pointers to worthwhile stuff to check out and learn about, I might re-launch this thread as what you'd like to be using across multiple live, studio, location recording, VO or broadcast applications, whatever. And I'll get to pick the best fruit of that
Old 17th August 2022
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Progger's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
@ BernieW – If you're specifically interested in mics for woodwinds and brass, I would be more than happy to talk your ear off... that's my primary area of extreme nerdiness.

(If you want sheer practical professional advice, I can't really contribute anything on top of the wisdom deedeeyeah and David have already dropped in this thread! But I do know the brass/woodwind mics I like, personally, at least.)

You already have one of my top recommendations, which is the Beyerdynamic M88. If I were recording a live concert, I wouldn't hesitate to pick that as a main mic for any brass instrument or saxophone. I also quite like the RE20 and 441, of course. In the studio, I'd hope for a good LDC, however, along the lines of at least a Neumann u87 or u89 (or, honestly, a TLM67). On trumpet and trombone, the TLM170 is usually an excellent choice, and the TLM193 would be a fine (cardioid-only) alternative. I've heard good things about the TLM107 but haven't ever experienced one in person. Another seriously good contender would be a Gefell M930, which has captured recordings of saxophones, woodwinds, and piano that have blown me away.

If you wanna PM me about this noise, please feel free, I don't need to clutter your thread with eternal saxophone mic geekery. But I could tell you what many of my favorite recordings are and how they were made, in case that's of any use to you!

EDIT: It might be worth mentioning – I really do NOT ascribe to the common audio engineer mentality that ribbons are always the best choice for brass and woodwinds. They can be a nice flavor on occasion and I own a ribbon I like quite a bit, but I'll always choose a good-quality LDC or SDC over a ribbon any day for nearly every application.
Old 17th August 2022
  #20
Progger, yes please! I do need to get on top of this, brass and woodwind instruments are always going to be important. Please post away, notice I may have some tolerance for longer posts...

Sorry but suddenly I have to race off and start preparing for something, I'll be able to post a bit later. I've been pressured into some fly-in-fly-out jobs in mining towns in the north-west (Aust) that I'm wary of; seemingly innocent but out in the sticks like that I know what always happens, it's always a shemozzle and I end up stuck with doing a long, slow, short-handed mostrous packup after some difficult gig. They're promising good money but it's always late and you end up having to spend much more of your own first to get by... but it'll buy some mics I did one of these last week and quit just to get out of having to do this one... but I seem to be gullible I guess so I'm back.

Go for it Progger, talk to you soon.
Old 17th August 2022 | Show parent
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rick ➑️
...I do take a Radial PZDI and stereo DI that can take a computer feed or house feed, because when someone "plans" to use a pickup or a pre-recorded backing track, they usually haven't planned at all, or bothered to tell me in advance.* ...

* They will also never have the right cable to patch into their laptop. Bring your own, properly labeled and preferably a color not found in nature so it will be harder for them to steal.

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
David, absolutely true to all of this and I'll reply later, but I own and use a PZ-DI and it's become a favourite. My next order will probably include a 2nd one so I can do stereo. It's what I believe the J48 should have been. But since I got it, every time I decide I don't need to take it, THAT'S precisely when someone finally turns up with a piezo pickup... (sigh) predictable.
Talk soon
Old 21st August 2022
  #22
Progger, yes I played clarinet and sax during school and for a bit after graduating, I love chamber music esp. string quartets but small ensembles with woodwinds, some brass bands, double reeds, all that sort of stuff is what I WANT to be doing, but I'm not there yet. I do get some of that stuff at certain venues, mostly horn sections with jazz groups, and a much larger section with a swing big band I only do occasionally. What I have could probably get me a nice result, and I know there's little point buying equipment to service a market I don't really have. But, part of the point is I just want a nice personal mic kit to record what I do find just for pleasure, even if I don't get to build a business around it yet. Simply not buying tobacco or cigarettes has funded most of my gear anyway. The stuff I'd love to be recording would be like the title music I hear on obscure old British TV shows, real boring history or fiction only a few people watch and they rarely even keep in the archives... I should probably be over there, because at least I know that's where they're playing it. I know that sort of musician here, but how would they get hired to play this stuff? It's not exactly trending on Spotify if you get my drift.

I don't believe I need expensive, fancy exotics like high-end LDC's and the finest ribbon mics. I think what would count for more would be to record this material in the right room with the right players, with what I've got. And I want to hone my chops, whatever equipment is available, I should be able to at least get the best it CAN do. I've come a long way with my mic techniques since I decided to do more than just go to work and operate house gear. But this is all OT.

I could get a good deal on a pair of MC930's. I'm still wishing I could hear a comparison of the 930 and 950, because all my mics have to do multiple duty to earn their keep and supercardioid is better for me on most of the commercial jobs that justify buying them (I make a good income from end-of-year school events, Xmas carols and stuff, so I need to do choirs and big bands over a PA and avoid feedback). For similar money I could get Austrian Audio CC8 as a stereo set with accessories, I'm sure they're nice too but I know little about them and what applications they do best on. I am currently in love with my Oktava MK-102's, I just put them over a drummer last night for this quirky, arty, clever arty duo thing and could not believe the sound I got with a light-playing drummer, like it was the natural acoustic sound only louder, very realistic. I use them in X-Y on one stand, I bet I could do those little ensembles nicely with that pair too.

I despair over all the classic dynamics that are no longer in production and have mostly been snapped up on the used market, those golden days of getting great gear for next to nothing are over. So what mics of today will people save to keep using in 30 years time? Not endless budget C414 clones I'm sure.

Pre-amp and outboard-wise I don't care about character, flavour and special-purpose saturation simulators, I just want clean. Accurate, bland, boring, call it what you will, but I just want to *record*, not affect. For my current needs I'm starting with a Clarett+ 8Pre, seems about right for me. I would like to be using ISA 4 or 8 ch. pre's, if I really need to juice up a singer or something I'll get a channel of API or something and select one of the mics I've got, but I don't think this will be a big part of my business.

I think I really need a broader knowledge of what mics working engineers and producers consider part of their toolkit. I know they consider mics and pre's as part of a package but that's not where I am, all my stuff has to serve live production to earn its keep first. Of course I do know all the common ones, but in different parts of the world they are different too, because here it mostly depends on what the big distributors import. For example, I don't know anybody else with an M201 here at all, and I consider it essential now. M88's are rare, they used to be commonplace but now everybody's buying much more modern designs. I'd prefer to buy new, but I want a broader experience.

Sorry once again I've written a 3-page post to try and explain a simple idea, and failed But I'd welcome any waffle about mics, anything, just talk about what you're using, or used to use, or would like to. For live, location, theatre, corporate, whatever, but esoteric studio stuff I don't think I can use.
Old 21st August 2022 | Show parent
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq ➑️
...
IMO, you lists have too many of the "the same" type of mic. It seems like a lot of duplication to me. If you aren't going to be capable of using all these mics simultaneously, then I believe you should start switching to a quality over quantity philosophy. I think you might be going overboard on 'alternatives' and I don't think having these alternatives will be making that a big difference in your ultimate Sonic Bottom Line.


a great mic is a great mic. If you had a 441, I bet you would find it useful every single day. You should apply this "earns back what it costs me" to your purchasing strategy as a whole, not just to this or that expensive mic.
...
I have dearly wished for a 441 or 2 for years. The price I can get right now is about as good as I'll ever get, but it's still high. They weren't available for almost a year, now I can get them I'm interested but it's just hard to pull the trigger on that much cash for one mic.
I bet I'd use one all the time if I had it too... there's another thing, I work in various commercial audio fields, but what I'm best at is live mixing. I'm good at it and it's what I love the most. I'm starting to get a new reputation, that guy who obsessively mics up and get all particular about it, and brings nice mics to do it. It is really coming good for me now that I don't just rely on the house mic kit at these venues. The idea is, they should be able to say, well it DOES actually sound pretty good. That can get me some good gigs, and THAT justifies owning some good ones.
So now to stew and worry for a while but I know I'm probably going to get one sooner or later.
Old 21st August 2022
  #24
OK I just went ahead and bought a 441 If for no other reason, to save me having to spend the next days/weeks/longer worrying about whether I should or not. Then they'll just be out of stock again before I decide, or more likely precisely one day before I would have decided to get one anyway. I just had 2 well-paid fly-in/fly-out jobs to mining towns in the Pilbara, and when I got back there were messages on my phone saying Help Help we need a sound guy like NOW!! So I just had time to get changed and call a cab and go. That gig pays decently and I sold a bunch of my cables to that band, so I made extra income this weekend.

I figured that expensive as they are, the price I can get right now is likely the best I'll ever get, and they won't be in stock for long. I'm sure JoeQ is absolutely right that I'll be glad to have it... but as others said elsewhere, I could also have had a matched set of MC930's or CC8's for actually less than this one mic cost. But, I can put those off for now, as honestly my Oktava SDC's are pleasing me and with the MK-102 capsules on them they are real favourites. So I decided to prioritise the 441.

Now my only real problem is, what's left to get out of basic and classic mics with an emphasis on dynamics, that I haven't already got! I figure SM58's are like children, there are more than enough of them out there already without me adding to the problem. But I'm not interested in buying mics every venue already has anyway, the idea is to get the interesting ones they never give you and expand my experience.
Old 21st August 2022
  #25
Lives for gear
 
pencilextremist's Avatar
 
9 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
I spotted a few austrian audio OC818 mics at glastonbury this year, mainly on guitar amps, and they sounded really good too on a 4 x 12.
Old 21st August 2022 | Show parent
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by pencilextremist ➑️
I spotted a few austrian audio OC818 mics at glastonbury this year, mainly on guitar amps, and they sounded really good too on a 4 x 12.
Cool, yes what a great mic. I'm pretty sure one day I'm going to get a pair of these. I did own a set of C414-XLS and they were my first higher-grade mics, later I needed money and sold them and severely regretted it. But now I don't actually like them that much any more... instead of those now I'd probably buy OC818's. That's interesting that they were being used to close-mic a guitar amp on a festival stage, generally I've had a hard time getting good guitar sounds with condensers in that application but I haven't tried them with LDC's on stage. But then there's not really any problem with using a well-chosen dynamic for that either, the e906 does alright. One guy had a bit of a dull tone so I tried the top boost setting on the e906, I expected it to be too shrill but then it was gentle enough to be just right. Now I've ordered a 441 I bet that'd be great on a guitar amp too, but I have other options so I'd probably save that for when I get a really great guitarist... I don't want my best dynamic getting battered to bits doing cheap local gigs.
Old 21st August 2022
  #27
I keep thinking M160's next. Thomann estimate about a month and once again, living where I do that's the best option price-wise. I would have a pretty luxurious mic option for just about any role that might come up at that point, I would like something good for room ambient mics and these would do nicely (I know they need a decent pre-amp, in the meantime for live work I'd probably get a couple of SE DM2 TNT's, which i want anyway so I can try playing with different input Z's)
Old 21st August 2022 | Show parent
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rick ➑️
I see that you're mostly thinking about dynamic mics, as one would tend to when miking everything on stage. I can't add anything to @ deedeeyeah 's comments on a "close mic kit" as enumerated above. Each of the categories he lists has many possible solutions, depending on availability and budget.

When doing those kinds of gigs, it's very important to have a good strategy for handling mic splits. That used to be a Radial splitter rack, but it's now possible to use direct Y-splits together with a digital stage box that sits on the same power distro as the club gear. Either way, you'll want a well constructed breakout and snake system to patch into the club gear in a way that's expedient and doesn't look scary or jerry-rigged, lest the house engineer tell you to p!ss off.

I did notice that your original post expressed an intent to take on church, choir, and audition work. Those kind of gigs, together with classical concert and recital capture, constitute the majority of my business. If you desire to go that route, the required kit is entirely different than above. I own many of the top tier dynamic microphones: RE20, 421, Beyer ribbons, etc., but unless I'm called out to a brew pub, they all stay home. When my destination is a concert hall or church, 80% of what I bring will be small-diaphragm condenser mics. The other 20% will be multi-pattern large-diaphragm condensers. If I throw in a RE20, it's my talkback mic! I do take a Radial PZDI and stereo DI that can take a computer feed or house feed, because when someone "plans" to use a pickup or a pre-recorded backing track, they usually haven't planned at all, or bothered to tell me in advance.* I take a precision stereo bar, a very tall stand with an articulating leg to level it on raked floors, and several boom stands tall enough to deal with a choir on risers. (I never put an expensive mic on a venue's stand.) Also 50% more cables than you think you'll need, in a variety of lengths, and enough snake or network cable to reach the green room.

* They will also never have the right cable to patch into their laptop. Bring your own, properly labeled and preferably a color not found in nature so it will be harder for them to steal.

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
Hi David, I'm pretty well set for all cabling, splits, snakes and so on, I make and sell that stuff too. I made myself the best kit of leads I've seen for miking the jobs I do. I've ordered an 8-ch Radial OX8-J, in the past I'd have built my own but at that price, why bother. You're absolutely right about being prepared not for what they hire you for but for what they *don't* tell you, these days that usually means a mini-jack. Actually I'm finding a cheap Logitech bluetooth receiver is a very handy unit, all sorts of things can talk to it and get me a signal, and failing that I've got physical cabling.

OK so mostly SDC's, fair enough. Really my talking of using general-purpose dynamics from SR-land is of limited use in those applications; maybe if I get some sort of combo with a guitar amp and drums, then maybe, but area-miking with condensers must be the sensible way to go. Because it's going to be hard for the sellers to re-stock with Oktava I bought all of those I thought I would need, so while it's only one brand I have a reasonable set. I can use 2x omni's in A-B, I bought a 2nd pair of cardioid capsules and a pair of the Mini-pre's so I can mount a stereo bar with 40cm A-B omni and possibly my pair of MK-105's in ORTF. But I can set up 4 stereo pairs, 3 of SDC or even M-S, and another pair of 105's with what I've got. I'll get more SDC's when jobs like that start coming through; probably MC930's but I am interested in Austrian Audio CC8's too.
*UPDATE* just ordered an MD441 and I think I can manage another one pretty soon. These will be great spot mics for the types of jobs I'm anticipating, and a great addition to my multi-purpose mic kit. I think I'll really love them for audition work.

I know I'll need at least one pair of good matched LDC's, notwithstanding my position that true exotics are not what I need. I've heard old brass-capsule C414's and liked them, and newer XLS and didn't like them! I've got the 105's which honestly I think are really C414 clones or competitors, they'll work but... meh. So most likely when that time comes I think OC818's. I need to get a good price/performance ratio and right now that's what appeals to me for that amount of money.

You mention having the proper stands, mounts, hardware and so on, yes I am a firm believer that these are of equal importance to the rest of the gear. Good mics are useless if you can't get them in position, mount them stably and protect them from transmitted vibration and so on. Likewise proper cabling, not only performance-wise but the clients I'm aiming at don't want to see a messy, obtrusive tangle, it has to look smart, neat and professional, and it has to be quick and efficient to set up. I've also been thinking about, how can I run cables to a working room for myself where I can close the door and get at least some isolation? And do so running an analogue multicore in there. I have something in mind but it's kind of a trade secret, something I'll sell or hire to others, but yes, proper connections and lines.

The hardest part for me is going to be large stands for choirs in stalls, or possibly to get some elevation for church organ recitals (that's a specific job I think I can get later). I mean, sure, you can get em so just buy em, right? But I don't actually drive, I'm going to have to pay someone for transport until that changes.

For my mic kit right now, I have my music gigs, "corporate" non-music general A/V, and school and church music and speaking jobs. So I'm trying for a balance of equipment given my budget is kinda good but not unlimited. By that I mean, I'm only doing limited location recording at the moment, I think it's unwise to spend a lot on mics I won't be using probably this year. But I will need them. Like I say my Oktavas offer a reasonable starting point but I think next it needs to be MC930's or CC8's, then something like OC818's, and then... see what jobs I get.

Thanks for your insights, that gets me thinking along the right lines.
Old 21st August 2022
  #29
Oh I know... MD431, it'll look great next to its cousin the 441! Another great old design still in production, but I wish you could still get them with the chrome grill. Why would you black all the chrome on a Chevy Bel Air, right?

To me that's pretty much just a vocal mic, but I think I do need at least one OK one of those for soloists. That would do fine. I'm going to get RE520's (that's FIVE-20, I've got an RE20 already) but for other jobs, I'm sure they are a fine live vocal mic too but a 431 would be good to have. (EDIT hmm but it's a modern "mark II" version, I wonder how much they changed the sound...)
Old 22nd August 2022
  #30
I'll keep notes here of interesting mics so I can remember them later.

So how about...
- KSM 141, very interesting.
- SM 81, but probably not, I've got other SDC's.
- a 2nd RE20 and try them as overheads with FET heads
- M160's (as above)
- M130, I mean if I get an M160, get at least one M130, right? So I can do mid-side with ribbon mics for starters. I've been experimenting with bidirectional (not that there's anything WRONG with that) with Oktava MK-101-8 caps, ribbons would be better but I don't want cheap People's Ribbon Microphone Factory Number 17 type stuff. So get two M130's and try them as OH's too.
- just ordered an MD441U, I suspect I'm going to want about 6
- at least one more M88 and M201, possibly more
- TG D71
- RE50 and/or 635a
- 2x RE520
- RE16 but I JUST heard they went out of production less than 2 years ago, is this true?
- do I or don't I want an MD421. I mean, probably, and I know they're highly regarded, but once I've got a 441 and M88's and M160 and my EV's and various condensers... when would I ever use it? I don't see that I would ever prioritise it over the other stuff I've got or will get. I will say I saw it do a nice job on an Ampeg bass rig recently, but so would others I've already got.
- OC818 stereo set
- CC8 stereo set
- KM18* SDC's
- MC 930 stereo set
- MC950's (which I don't think they sell matched)

... and then I think I'll just about have a mic kit! I haven't chosen a "kick mic", because I don't really care about all those tailored-response kick-specific things, but if I had to, just something that the house kits never have, maybe EV ND68 or the Lewitt hybrid dual-diaphragm one... I think I could get a fine kick sound with my other stuff already though

I'm open to suggestions, the only reason there are no AT's in there is because I know so little about them, same goes for SE, Lewitt, Heil and others. Bring em on!
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