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Microphones Which microphone? (microphone 101)

VirusKiller

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I want to start recording my playing and need to get a microphone (or microphones). I already have a Tascam USB audio interface which has phantom power and balanced/unbalanced inputs for two mikes. I've read Pete's recording page which is a very useful primer.

I would like to be able to record my playing with and without the ambience of the room and I would also quite like to record in stereo (as an exercise for testing my hi-fi's ability to reproduce the room acoustic).

Sound quality is important as I have good equipment to playback on.

I have a number of questions:

1) If I want to do stereo recording and pick up the ambience and acoustic of the room, should I go for a coincident pair of cardioids or a pair of omnis? If a coincident pair *is* suitable for capturing room ambience, then getting a pair of, say, Shure SM57s would seem to be a good option as I'd also be able to close mike.

2) Please can I have some recommendations for cardioids and omnis at up to the £50, £100 and £250 price points? Shure, Audio Technica, AKG, etc., etc.

Thanks,
Joel
 
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Two Voices

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Well, you know what I'm going to say ...

Nothing beats the Shure SM-57 and SM-58 in my opinion. The 57 is more directional. Both are industrial standards! I like using the a Soundback Acoustic Reflector when recording or in certain venues. It cuts out the annoying feedback that can happen sometimes!

Stereo recording!!! Nutter :)))

Best of luck!

Paul

EDIT: Forgot to mention that neither require phantom power but if it is connected the mic will automatically cancel it out anyway so don't worry ;}
 

Pete Thomas

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Interesting option though a bit pricey for a pair (I might have to trade in my Cadillac...).

Is a coincident cardioid pair fine for recording the room (is that the whole point of a coincident pair) or do you need omnis for that?

I think you'll get more room from the omnis, a coincident pair will pick up more room the further away from the instrument, but the further away they are the less wide the stereo image probably. But that is not necessarily a problem, especially with a saxophone as there isn't much stereo stereo anyway, apart from the room sound.

Are you sure you want to record the room? I would never do that unless it is a great sounding room, because you can't get rid of it. But recording a signal fairly dryt, you can always add artificial room ambience, which these days sound very good for not much money.
 

VirusKiller

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Are you sure you want to record the room?
No, I'm not! I may be making wrong assumptions.

What I actually want to do is to record the sound of my sax as I hear it. It sounds very different to me (obviously) depending on where I play it - in the middle of my room, hunched in a corner ;}, or in front of a window. How can I achieve this? I want a flexible recording set-up, because I've not done anything like this before.
 

Pete Thomas

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No, I'm not! I may be making wrong assumptions.

What I actually want to do is to record the sound of my sax as I hear it. It sounds very different to me (obviously) depending on where I play it - in the middle of my room, hunched in a corner ;}, or in front of a window. How can I achieve this? I want a flexible recording set-up, because I've not done anything like this before.

Well, theoretically then an omni might get the most natural sound, I would worry about stereo too much, but for experimenting something like that SE would be good because you can get an omni capsule as well as the default cardioid. Then later get another one if you want to get into stereo recording.

If it's for recording with a backing track then I would just use one mic. A stereo pair would be nice if, say, you found a lovely big hall or church to record in.
 

VirusKiller

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Throwing out a random idea (from an eBay search), what about something like this £129 ribbon mike which seems to have good reviews (e.g. SoundOnSound and here). What's the implication of the figure of eight pattern when recording a sax?
 
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Chris

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Audio Technica AT8033 £157.00, you would have to go a long way to beat it..

Chris
 

VirusKiller

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Apart from the possibility of buying an omni module, would the SE4 be superior to an SM57?
 

Pete Thomas

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Apart from the possibility of buying an omni module, would the SE4 be superior to an SM57?

I haven't actually tried that model, I only mentioned them and the review because SE in general seem to be very good for the money, plus that was a mic with interchangeable capsule for different polar patterns. It was the different polar patterns mostly as you seem to be keen to experiment in that regard.

Also it's a condenser mic, as opposed to dynamic like the SM57. Most people tend to think condensers are best fro studio due to being more sensitive to delicate transients that dynamics aren't, however dynamics are great for live work as they are much more rugged.
 

Flipper2008

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No, I'm not! I may be making wrong assumptions.

What I actually want to do is to record the sound of my sax as I hear it. It sounds very different to me (obviously) depending on where I play it - in the middle of my room, hunched in a corner ;}, or in front of a window. How can I achieve this? I want a flexible recording set-up, because I've not done anything like this before.

tuck the mic. behind your ear
 

Flipper2008

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Has anyone ever come across a way of attatching an SM57 to the sax ?
 

VirusKiller

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Simple question: If you had up to £250 to spend on one microphone (not a pair) for studio recording (not gigging), what would you go for?
 

Pete Thomas

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Simple question: If you had up to £250 to spend on one microphone (not a pair) for studio recording (not gigging), what would you go for?

Not sure exactly, I would do some research, but if it was to be my only mic, I would want a couple of polar patterns (cardioid and omni) so I'd look seriously at the SE we discussed.


Other names in the budget but good category are Golden Age projects.
 

VirusKiller

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Any other recommendations? I know there are lots of you out there recording yourselves!
 

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