The Microphone Folder : LUSENET : 3D Audio's Music Business Forum (SSS Temp) : One Thread

Heard any good microphones lately? How about some of the new inexpensive tube mics that are showing up? Let us know what you think.


-- Lynn Fuston (, February 10, 1998


I'm looking for a couple of suggestions for live mic usage. I'm working with a female singer who has a great but small voice. Are there other options for capturing a great voice in a fairly loud (bass,keys,guitar and drums) scenario other then the typical Sure SM58 or Beta 58? I have an AKG 414, Rode NT2 and a Stedman mic at my disposal. Any suggestions?

-- Rob Chanter (, February 10, 1998.

A 414 won't work that well for live vocals, same with the NT-2, too sensitive and it'll feed back like mad. A lot of companys make small diaphram condensors like the Shure Beta 87, and the AKG 535EB among others. You can find these new for $300 and under and would work well in a live setting, you can also use them on acoustic guitar or as overheads if you get a pair.

-- Jay Kahrs (, February 10, 1998.

Does anyone know anything about the Radio Shack condenser mics? they are on sale for $39.99 this week, and i'm thinking of getting a couple.... also, how good is their boundary mic? looks like the PZM, but is it as good?



-- Ben Mesiti (, February 13, 1998.

I've found out something a little un-nerving about some good mics that you WON'T hear in the near future...specifically wireless mics. It seems that the new HDTV channel assiignments are going to cause massive interference in wireless land. I thought that the FCC was moving everyone to UHF channels, but it turns out that is not the case in many TV markets. In Dallas, where I live, Channel 8 is going to start broadcasting on TV channel 9, maybe as soon as six weeks from now! I've confirmed this with the station's engineering stafff. It is not a rumor. It is fact. This here-to-for unused channel is the happy home of THOUSANDS of wireless mics! I've personally sold hundreds on this unused, nice quiet frequency. The crap ought to really "hit the fan" when the new station signs on with a digital signal. I wonder what it will sound like??? modem, maybe or a hyper-active FAX machine? Who knows. Maybe we won't even be able to hear it. I've contacted several major manufacturers of wireless products (Shure, Samson, Telex, Vega, AT, etc). and they are not aware of any problem. They all believed what the FCC told them, that all was moving to UHF channels. To say the least, none of them were very happy to hear this news. In fact, most stations are moving to UHF, but a few are going to use those nice VHF frequencies, which should really give those of us in the rental or touring business all kinds of grief. If you'd like to find out frequency allocations for your area, go to It's real interesting if you deal with wireless mics. Remember, you heard it here first! Feel free to email me if I can help.

Chuck Conrad Crossroads Audio, Inc. Dallas, Texas

-- Chuck Conrad (, February 13, 1998.

Looking for an alternative to the trusted 57 for miking a guitar amp, I bought one of those Audix D3s on a whim. To my surprise, I really like it, especially off-axis, close miked in front of the speaker cab. It sounds a bit brighter, and a little more three dimensional. A nice addition to the mic cabinet.

-- Les Schefman (, February 26, 1998.

Any suggestions for good vocal mics for guy vocals in the under $1000 category? I am not very familiar with all the new mics coming out and hope someone will have some good suggestions and observations they can share.


-- Lynn Fuston (, March 12, 1998.

The Audio Technica line has a lot of bang for the buck, I believe you can find the 4055 for around $700. The 4033 (cardiod only) doesn't have quite the same headroom but might be fine for the voice you are trying to capture. If you can afford the luxury of a rental it's always nice to audition a mic to see if it compliments a particular singer.

-- Ken Beltrone (, March 14, 1998.

I made a boo boo on the model number above -the 4050 is the $700 mic that I was impressed with. (I think the 4055 is a cardiod only version desingned for stage use ie less handling noise etc.but I have no direct experience with it.) Sorry for the confusion.

-- Ken Beltrone (, March 14, 1998.

I'm getting ready to do a session with a 3 piece band. I'm thinking about using 2 AT 4033's for overhead drum mics and a Rode NT1 for the kick drum. Any opinions on this?

-- Rob C (, March 18, 1998.

Lynn, my budget, or lack thereof, usually dictates stuff in the $500 or under category, and two mics that I can really recommend for that price or under for male vocals (at least my sad excuse for a voice) are the CAD Equitek E-200 (Multipattern side address, large element, seems to be able to record a trainwreck at six inches without overloading, but touchy about P-pops, easy to work the proximity effect), going for about $500 street price, and the Rode NT-1. The NT-1 just showed up, Single pattern big element, sorta baby U-87 looking, preliminary tryouts sound real good, got it for $300, but most folks are getting $400 for it.

-- Tom Armbruster (, March 19, 1998.

>I'm getting ready to do a session with a 3 piece band. I'm thinking about using 2 AT 4033's for overhead drum mics and a Rode NT1 for the kick drum.<

I wouldn't recomend using the NT-1 on kick unless it's on the front head. If you have a D112 or and RE-20 that would work better. The Problem with using a condensor on kick is that it usually overloads and it isn't good for the mic. A plain old SM57 works well too, you just have to move around untill you find the sweet spot and/or eq the hell out of it. I would also drag out a 57 for the snare. Usually the snare needs it's own mic unless you want it to sound "distant" for lack of a better term. Are you cutting with everyone in the same room or do you have iso booths?

-- Jay Kahrs (, March 20, 1998.

Does anyone have any advice on a good mic for recording a bass cabinet. I'm looking for the growl of a disco bass or a 70's soul bass like James Brown.

-- Chad (, March 21, 1998.

For a bass cab, go with a 421, or an RE-20 for that classic sound. A 57 or 58 works pretty well too, as does a D112 or a PZM. The best way to get that classic sound is to start with the right bass and amp. Usually a P-Bass or a Jazz. Although a fair number of people also use Music mans although I have trouble getting them to sit right in the track. They have tons of bottom and a click on top thats hard to subdue without killing the definition. But I digress... The right amp is alos way important. A SVT into a 8x10 sounds great as does a small Ampeg B-15 (My favorite for a rock band.) But i've also gotten good results with the Peavey combos everybody seems to have.

-- Jay Kahrs (, March 22, 1998.

Thanks for the input Jay. I'm recording in a living room with custom soundproofed moveable walls around the front of the drums. We recorded last night and I used a 414 overhead, A Rode NT2 in front of the kit about 3.5 ft up tilted towards the kick and toms, a Stedman N90 on the kick and 57's on the toms and snare. All in all it sounds real good. Also, does anyone have any experience with the Electro-Voice RE27 N/D mic? I've heard it's good for bass and kick but wonder if it can be used in other applications (vocals guitars, etc?)

-- Rob C. (, March 24, 1998.

Well, I finally got to hear a few cuts recorded with the new Neumann TLM103; heard a cut where it was used on vocal trax and acoustic guitar and I gotta tell ya, I think Neumann scored again with this one... very warm, transparent, classic tone, and from what I understand under $1k List.....

Haven't bought one myself yet..but sure considering...

Just a thought..


-- Donny Thompson (, March 25, 1998.

I have only heard the TLM 103 through headphones at the NAMM show, which doesn't really tell much of anything, unfortunately. On the newsgroup, either people are raving about it, or complaining about how dark it is. Same with the reviews I've read so far. Keyboard said that it was so dark that it was more of a "specialty mic", while others said that Neumann had a winner. I imagine it ultimately depends on what your tastes and applications are (the usual pat answer, I think...).

-- Ken/Eleven Shadows (, March 31, 1998.

I haven't heard the TLM 103 yet, but from what I've heard it sounds sort of like an 87. That's good if you like 87's. I like em, I just don't know what they sound good on, toms maybe??? Vocals sometimes, acoustic guitar? I dunno, but I like the mic sometimes. I digress, anyway a mic like the TLM 103 or the U87 are way darker then things like the CAD's and the NT-2. Most of those mics have a boosr around 8-12k in an effort to make things sound "sexier" and more exciting and to give the impression of capturing more detail. Don't get me wrong, I like the NT-2 (overheads a few weeks ago) but it's a diffrent animal then a 87.

-- Jay Kahrs (, April 01, 1998.

I raved about in this mic in another discussion, but I've got to say it here, I love the Rode NT-2. It is very open, clear and bright. And yet is is warm enough to fit a variety of applications.

I set up an A/B test with the Rode and a U-87 on acoustic guitar and actually liked the Rode better. The high end was perfect to capture a bright, chimey tone without sounding artificial. Likewise I have found the high end really helps male vocals cut through a mix, without the need to EQ much (if at all). For some female voices the high end was a bit much, but in general I really liked the way it sounded.

I have a project studio and it is my only "decent" mic. I've borrowed AKG-414's and AT4033's for various recordings and have been really unimpressed next to the NT-2. I now bring my Rode with me for tracking in "real" studios and have used it in place of a U-87 on several occassions. I must admit that the U-87 does seem to capture a bit more space (if you know what I mean) when you need a full intimate sound vocal or solo instrument sound. But for the price of a U-87 you could pick up a pair of NT-2's and and a nice stereo tube preamp to boot. That's really hard to beat! My humble opinion...

-- Lance Gibbon (, April 07, 1998.

I'm wanting to record acoustic guitar and vocal simultaneously and am wondering what good mike would complement my 4033. I'm currently using the 4033 to track the acoustic guitar and then overdub the vocal. Anyone have experience with the ATM 4041 on an acoustic guitar?

-- Adam Vane (, April 13, 1998.

I would imagine that the AT4041 would be really good. The 4051 sounds good on acoustic guitar -- dunno how similar they are.

-- Ken/Eleven Shadows (, April 17, 1998.

>I would imagine that the AT4041 would be really good. The 4051 sounds good on acoustic guitar -- dunno how similar they are. <

I found that the is a little rougher sounding then the 4051 which is more refined. the 4051 has a nicer top. The 4041 sounds good though. I used once as overheads in spaced pair and I got a really good representation of the whole kit with a tad of compression.

-- Jay Kahrs (, April 18, 1998.

I'm surprised that no one mentioned anything about the AKG C3000.

Problems with it huh! Well its extrememly affordable now. Musicians Friend has it for $309 (payment plan even). I purchased one and it blows what I have in the house away! (Shure SM58, Shure SM96, Shure BG 1.0 and the EV BK-1).

With the AKG and the ART MP-1 now, I'm getting closer to the sounds you guys produce. Now how to put it all together.hmmmm

-- gregory howard (, April 23, 1998.

If I remember correctly, the C3000 is sort of like a scaled down version of the 414, which was mentioned in the page above. Glad to hear you're happy with it, and yeah, compared to the other mics that you have, it's probably noticeably more detailed! So far, I've had pretty good luck with stereo micing acoustic guitars with the 4051s, which have a really nice top end -- bear in mind that I like a bit of lift on the top end, and others may not.

-- Ken/Eleven Shadows (, April 26, 1998.

Is the EV re-20 a good choice for miking an upright bass? Anybody know new or used price? What else would be a good choice for this application? (Some live - mostly studio) Thanks Mark

-- mark caddell (, April 29, 1998.

I've never miced an upright bass with an RE-2o, but I would think that it would work pretty well. I have used all sorts of things. I don't know if any of them are considered ideal, but I got a good sound. I've used a Beyer M201 by the bridge and an SM-57 by coming down at the neck, fairly close-miced to get a lot of bow on the string for an odd, really guttural swooping solo. It came out really well. I've used two AT4051s in a spaced pair about six feet away from the bass, and about six feet from each other, if I remember correctly -- I moved around the mics quite a few times this time around. It also came out really well. And I've also used a 421 by the bridge, and a 57 coming down by the neck for a live show, and it worked pretty well.

For what most people's ideal of a bowed bass would sound like, at a guess, I would say some really high-quality condensers that are very full-bodied. A lot of people, I think, use Neumann large diaphragm condensers, such as U87s and U47s, and seem to like them, but I haven't done it with this stuff yet (largely because I don't own them! ).

-- Ken/Eleven Shadows (, May 08, 1998.

I have a question here concerning mic preamps. I am using Mackie 1202s for the mic preamps straight into an Akai MG1214 (12-track analogue). It's a modest setup, but it works pretty well, and somehow still gives me a pretty good sound. I have things like a Rode NT2, AT 4051s, ATM 33Rs, 421s, 57s...decent mic collection, I guess. In your opinions, would upgrading the mic preamps make a *huge* difference from the 1202s that I have already, or is it actually relatively subtle? Are something like, say, Neve preamps so much better that it would be a real eye-opener? It would be really interesting to hear an honest opinion. Thanks!

-- Ken/Eleven Shadows (, May 08, 1998.

"Would new mic preamps make a huge difference?"

I've used the pre's in the Mackie 1202VLZ on several occasions and been quite happy with the results. However, for things like vocals and acoustic guitar there's nothing like a good mic pre. If you're on a tight budget I would strongly recommend the ART Pro tube pre's (which are available in 4 of their products). I've used these on several recording and have never ceased to be impressed with the warmth and depth of sound they seem to capture. Sure, there are better pre's, but your cost/benefit ratio goes way down. If you want something dirt cheap, check out the Art Tube Pac, which combines an ART tube pre with their tube compressor for $250! A real steal!

-- Lance Gibbon (, May 08, 1998.

Mic pre's how touchy... I've used both the Mackie and the ART and while the ART is warmer, I'd have to say it's a "lo-fi" kind of warmth. Kind of gritty sounding but definatlery diffrent then the Mackie which is a little brittle at times. I like the Aphex because it's usually complementerey with most people and the Joe Meek for a punchy rock and roll kinda sound, but it's definatley an effect. I wouldn't get the Meek and use it on a classical or jazz recording. Maybe on a fusion thing, but not for jazz or anything where you want a natural sound. Anyway, Ken the answer is yes. Good mic pre's do make a diffrence in the sound but before I go out and buy a pair of 1073's, I would buy a new console. But getting an ART Dual MP or Aphex 107 would be a good addition.

-- Jay Kahrs (, May 11, 1998.

Well... I got my TLM 103 yesterday. Started to do the blindfold tests...

On male vocal (mine) I used a Rode NT-2, Equitec E-200, RE-20, TLM 103, and a SM 57.....

Ran them through mackie Pre. No EQ, unity gain.... This is what I did.

I sang a song all the way through 5 times. Beginning to end. Had it so all I heard through the cans was what I was singing at the time. Hence, I had NO IDEA what I was listening to on playback. My partner in crime had a secret list and punched me in and out on each take. After the 5 takes. I listened back....

First of all... The TLM won hands down. Nice lows WITHOUT boominess! All I can say is that I heard the TLM and it hit me. BAM! I was sweating (cuz I was thinking all along... "I just spent 800 bucks on this thing... That mic I just heard BETTER be it!!!!") Well... It was it. Don't get me wrong. The Rode, E-200, RE-20 all sounded good. They would fare well. BUT the 103 Had a smoothness the way it handled the vocals from low to high. It's funny doing a real blindfold test. Sometimes you don't want to hear your "best" mic sounding lousy, you know?

Anyways.. This is what I heard...

TLM - Full range, pretty tight lows smooth highs. Nice 4 to 5 K presence peak. QUIET!!!! damn!

Rode NT-2 - Lacking a bit in the mids. perhaps it just has too much boomy lows and too much ni end boost after 8K.... With a high pass filter this would get secong place.

E-200 - Tighter lows than the Rode. more presence, BUT wasn't as detailed as the 103. Less highs than the Rode, yet sounded more natural... Honestly. The E-200 sounded hollow too, Which is wierd for this mic. Almost like it was picking up ambient sounds more... Funny Huh?

RE-20 - Natural sounding, but a little bit like flat soda. It is flat soda so it TASTES like flat soda. Not a very exciting mic for vocals. (At least mine)

SM 57 - We'lll leave this mic to James Hetfield and Bob Rock to run through his Neve's..... Harsh.

Have fun.. I'll be testing the 103 through the Mackie, Aphex 107 and ART MP tonite..... I'll keep you posted....

All in all.. It's looks like the most sensible 800 bucks I've spent in a while.....


-- Matt Fortier (, May 12, 1998.

bought a shure 55s at a flea market for 10 works, but i need a cord.... anybody know the history of this one? especially the pin wiring as they are not labeled.... thanks

-- vd king (, May 19, 1998.

The TLM 103 with the ART Tube MP and the Aphex 107 for male vocal...

I got REAL close to the 103 (about 3 inches).... The Aphex was noisy and although it had a more "clear" sound, it lacked sizzle...

The MP had a fuzziness (that's NOT a put down - the lows were tight) and it had more sizzle to it. DO NOT clip the MP!

I'm searching for more pres to try. BTW, I put the 107 and the MP through my blackface LA-3A (with the Audio Upgrades mod)... Same results. I had to run a smidge of EQ on playback. -- roll off at 80hz and +2 at 10K and -2 at 350.. Although the 350 adjustment could be my voice....

The closeness gave me oodles of body... nice, full mic. This mic WILL show shortcomings of your other equipment!!!! ANY body got ideas for a nice pre with an open top end for a G or less?

Sytek? Peavey VMP? Meek VC-1? Neve 1272?



-- Matt Fortier (, May 20, 1998.

What about the DigiTech VTP-1?

-- Rob C (, May 22, 1998.

Would like to have some opinions on the neumann tlm-103 and the at-4050.I was considering one of these mic's for vocals and in the future purchasing a second one for recording a grand piano.Anyone have advice on which of these two mic's would be the best for these two applications? I will be using a peavey VMP preamp. thanks for any help

-- david quave (, May 26, 1998.

>>Sytek? Peavey VMP? Meek VC-1? Neve 1272?<<

The JoeMeek stuff is definaltey an effect. It's not a clean, transparent pre or compressor by any stretch. There is a deffinate color to the sound when you use Meek that is good for anything with a beat, rock, country, hip-hop (wow!!!) etc. I can't commetn on the Peavey b/c i've never used it. The Sytek is similar to the Aphex but without the harshness in the high-mids. The 1272 is a great pre but will run you over a grand for a pair (get the pair for piano, overheads or doing tw ovocals at once, you'll never regret it. Plus it's easier to sell) Try some stuff from the Focusrite green range like the dual pre or one of the channel strips. By the way, the Digitech VTP-1 has been discontinued and reissued by DBX as the 586 with no changes other then cosmetic and all the knobs have click stops on them.

-- Jay Kahrs (, May 30, 1998.

I recommend the AT4050 over the Neumann TLM103.I checked them both on a Peavey micpre, also checked the 4050 against a ton of other mics on an API pre (RE20, Manly tube, soundelux, ShureSM7) and I bought the 4050....


-- (, June 08, 1998.

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