noob needs mic help



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noob needs mic help

Postby MechaGodzilla » Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:18 am

i reckon i want a mic that i can just strum a guitar at, mumble some words and get halfway decent demos. the list of options has grown annoyingly and i'm paralysed by indecision.

At2020
SE x1r (ribbons sound cool i think but, really, i have no idea)? or x1s
cascade fat head
rode nt1

really don't want to spend more than an expensive pedal, so the ceiling is probably £170. gonna be into a scarlett 2i2 in an untreated room.

please help, i feel so stupid.
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Re: noob needs mic help

Postby crochambeau » Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:26 am

What is your preamp situation?

My understanding of ribbons (I am sadly still a virgin in this regard, it will be remedied once I start buying mics again) is that they benefit from having lots of gain on tap at the preamp; and most any self respecting condenser microphone is going to demand you have phantom power available. So, depending on what is at hand you may need to leave budget allowances for that as well.

I cannot weigh in on any of those mics. I do find grabbing a condenser (in my case an Oktava MK219) a pretty fast and easy "capture the entire room" set-up, but as stated above, ribbons are on my short list with respect to microphones.
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Re: noob needs mic help

Postby coldbrightsunlight » Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:41 am

Disclaimer: Total noob but I do have a few mics and record guitars from time to time. Please disregard if someone knowledgeable shows up.

I have a Cascade Fat head ribbon and it's great for recording guitar amps (loud things) but I find it pretty uninspiring for recording things that aren't loud (as in it sounds fine but nothing special compared to a bog standard dynamic mic e.g. SM57). So that probably fits in with the above - either loud sources or lots of (nice) pre-amp gain. And if it's close to a guitar amp, I'm never gonna hear myself speaking through it unless I put my head right near the speakers :lol:

I would also recommend a condenser for the sort of thing you're talking about, capturing guitar and some voice. Looks like the Scarlett has phantom power so you should be good to go (btw don't feed phantom power to any mics that don't need it!!!!).

For condensers I have a rode... something (NT3? It's definitely a small diaphragm condenser) that is currently out on very extended loan to a friend so can't check which one, and a thing that looks like a pipe bomb that drodriguez made. :lol: They do a better job of the 'general purpose' recording but the Fat Head is my go to for mic'ing guitar amps at any decent volume.

I don't have any direct experience with the other mics you're talking about so IDK. But either of those condensers (Rode or Audio Technica) looks like a respectable choice to me for general purpose stuff.
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Re: noob needs mic help

Postby Chankgeez » Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:47 am

crochambeau wrote: (in my case an Oktava MK219)


That's what I've used. Was gonna suggest that as well. :thumb: I've always been able to get goods sounds out of it easily.

(I'm mic noob too though. :lol: :idk: )
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Re: noob needs mic help

Postby MechaGodzilla » Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:39 am

crochambeau wrote:What is your preamp situation?

other than the aforementioned 2i2 interface, zero preamp. it has phantom power tho?

crochambeau wrote: I do find grabbing a condenser (in my case an Oktava MK219) a pretty fast and easy "capture the entire room" set-up, but as stated above, ribbons are on my short list with respect to microphones.

these don't seem to be available anywhere at the minute :idk: i have logged the recommendation

coldbrightsunlight wrote:I have a Cascade Fat head ribbon and it's great for recording guitar amps (loud things) but I find it pretty uninspiring for recording things that aren't loud (as in it sounds fine but nothing special compared to a bog standard dynamic mic e.g. SM57).

cool, that kind of eliminates the cascade for me coz i have a 609 i use for gigs and if i was to close mic a speaker (unlikely in my tiny flat with neighbours during quarantine) i could probably make do with that. i am after something specifically for guitar + voice demo/guide tracks.
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Re: noob needs mic help

Postby crochambeau » Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:48 am

My morning brain overlooked mention of the 2i2, sounds like a condenser would be the fastest path to satisfaction.
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Re: noob needs mic help

Postby coldbrightsunlight » Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:51 am

Agreed!
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Re: noob needs mic help

Postby coldbrightsunlight » Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:53 am

MechaGodzilla wrote:
crochambeau wrote:What is your preamp situation?

other than the aforementioned 2i2 interface, zero preamp. it has phantom power tho?

crochambeau wrote: I do find grabbing a condenser (in my case an Oktava MK219) a pretty fast and easy "capture the entire room" set-up, but as stated above, ribbons are on my short list with respect to microphones.

these don't seem to be available anywhere at the minute :idk: i have logged the recommendation

coldbrightsunlight wrote:I have a Cascade Fat head ribbon and it's great for recording guitar amps (loud things) but I find it pretty uninspiring for recording things that aren't loud (as in it sounds fine but nothing special compared to a bog standard dynamic mic e.g. SM57).

cool, that kind of eliminates the cascade for me coz i have a 609 i use for gigs and if i was to close mic a speaker (unlikely in my tiny flat with neighbours during quarantine) i could probably make do with that. i am after something specifically for guitar + voice demo/guide tracks.

Ah yeah if you have the 609 I probably would recommend a condenser for this, as said above.

Don't get me wrong the ribbon could probably do the job, sort of, and is a great guitar mic (much fuller, better sound than my dynamic mics in a home environment). But sounds like you want a condenser.


Oops double post I am clever. :picard:
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Re: noob needs mic help

Postby MechaGodzilla » Wed Apr 29, 2020 5:28 pm

i did the stupid thing i knew i'd do... i went on gearslutz, now just about every mic i was looking at has "too much high end" and i have absorbed that bias unto myself. god damn.

i DO think that, for the purposes of getting the nicest acoustic guitar sounds possible, i need to avoid any trebly or harsh mic. i can't stand trebly acoustic sounds, and coz i play a small body (not-quite a parlour), i have to work to balance the sounds from it.

so currently i'm thinking of
se2200(a)
or something else. still curious about ribbons, or shotguns. you see videos of people playing OUTSIDE into a shotgun like 2 feet away and it sounds incredible. can i just... do that in my living room?
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Re: noob needs mic help

Postby wafl » Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:27 pm

A large diaphragm condenser will probably be your best bet. It will be the easiest to set up and sound pretty good on everything as long as you know how to mic that thing up. Which is really the most important thing. As long as your mic isn't absolute shit you can make it work if you get to know it and the source you're capturing.
I'd recommend Roswell Pro audio or Rode for inexpensive but really stellar mics. Mini K47 is killer on guitar I hear.

Ribbon mics are also really sick and have the best transient detail by far (the high frequency hyping in a lot of cheap condensers is to try and fake a detailed transient response), but they are fickle beasts. Phantom power will kill them, if you store them on their side the ribbon will stretch from gravity and it will sound dull, and they are overall the most fragile. But they sound the best so idk. Especially when you want to catch the detail of an acoustic guitar. With condensers its best to have an LDC and SDC but one ribbon and you're done.

The bumblebee audio RM5 is a great mic if you can DIY.

Shotguns take a bit of practice to really be able to use in a way that works well and are really not going to be a do it all recording at home mic.
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Re: noob needs mic help

Postby coldbrightsunlight » Thu Apr 30, 2020 4:40 am

The se2200(a) or similar large diaphragm condensers as suggested by wafl seems like the right call.
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Re: noob needs mic help

Postby MechaGodzilla » Thu Apr 30, 2020 9:20 am

wafl wrote:The bumblebee audio RM5 is a great mic if you can DIY.

:eek: these seem great and looks within the realms of my diy skills, just an expensive kit to potentially fuck up i spose

thanks for the help everyone. will let you know what i end up with.
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Re: noob needs mic help

Postby friendship » Thu Apr 30, 2020 7:16 pm

How much ambient noise are you getting in your recording environment, e.g. street noise, fridge buzz, things of that nature? It's something to consider when thinking about a condenser, because they pick up A LOT. Wafl is right, many cheaper condensers have a lift in the upper treble to give the impression of crisp attack and sometimes that can sound pretty harsh, at least for my tastes. Incidentally, that high frequency lift is especially good at picking up ambient noises you may not realize exist in your place.

I've used the Fat Head in the past and I think it's gorgeous on guitar, especially electric amps. Maybe I'm biased because I favor warmer, mellower sounds these days, but maybe your aversion to harshness amounts to a similar thing. It's a nice mic at any price imo and I don't think you'd be making a mistake getting it.

I started getting back into writing guitar & voice songs over the winter, and I ended up getting an Aston Stealth. I arrived at it because my apartment is noisy, so I wanted something that had great rejection from its null points, but a wide frequency response. And it does both of those things! Plus, if I can't get my mic placement quite right, it has a few frequency curve settings to work with.

That's not in your price range, but I would gently suggest that spending a little more might give you more wiggle room. On the other hand, you probably heard this elsewhere so much it sounds like a platitude, but it's very real: mic placement and your performance are doing 90% of the work. So invest more time in experimenting with those things than with which mic you buy.
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