Must have microphones?

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply

Re: Must have microphones?

Post by forumuser653351 »

My personal choice of mics are as follows:
Neumann TLM 102
Lewitt LCT 441 Flex
These seem to be of similar quality and they sound a bit different so I feel that between them I can cover a wide variety of sources - what doesn’t work on one, works on the other. I wish I could have afforded better LDCs but they give a good performance and I like them (until I listen to more expensive mics).

MBHO with diffuse omni capsules - matched pair. Really nice open sounding mics that I got for recording classical music.
Sontronics STC-1S - matched pair. Good for overheads and a general purpose SDC (yes KM 184s would be so much better!)
Line Audio CM3 (wide cardioid) - matched pair. Very very good for the money

XAudia XM10 ribbon mic. I do love ribbon mics and this is one area I want to upgrade and expand, the XAudia is nice but a bit noisy for anything critical and exposed.

Sennheiser 902 kick mic. Not used this yet but it was on special offer!

Audix i5. I find the Audix i5 to be nicer for my ears that the SM57.

I have tried to buy the best I can afford, I’m sure that as and when I can afford it I will update my mics but I hope that the ones I have chosen will still be useful and used. As has already been mentioned by others mics are a long term investment and it’s worth getting the best you can afford.

I think most people would agree that a U87 is a studio standard (although I can’t help feeling that other mics of a similar sort are equally as good and a certain amount of the popularity is down to the name and the fact that everyone uses them - a topic for another time when I am feeling brave to open it up, oh, I just have!). Then a pair of quality SDCs, such as KM184. Then it’s down to what you intend to record and making sure you have mics to cover your needs. Bob's comments above are excellent as usual.

Great question and responses all round, good luck with the studio :)
forumuser653351
Regular
Posts: 119 Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2016 10:39 am

Re: Must have microphones?

Post by James Perrett »

forumuser653351 wrote: I think most people would agree that a U87 is a studio standard (although I can’t help feeling that other mics of a similar sort are equally as good and a certain amount of the popularity is down to the name and the fact that everyone uses them - a topic for another time when I am feeling brave to open it up, oh, I just have!).

Do a search on previous posts from people like myself and The Elf regarding the U87. There's a good reason for it being a studio standard...
User avatar
James Perrett
Moderator
Posts: 11976 Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2001 12:00 am Location: The wilds of Hampshire
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration. JRP Music Facebook Page

Re: Must have microphones?

Post by forumuser653351 »

James Perrett wrote:
forumuser653351 wrote: I think most people would agree that a U87 is a studio standard (although I can’t help feeling that other mics of a similar sort are equally as good and a certain amount of the popularity is down to the name and the fact that everyone uses them - a topic for another time when I am feeling brave to open it up, oh, I just have!).

Do a search on previous posts from people like myself and The Elf regarding the U87. There's a good reason for it being a studio standard...

I knew I shouldn’t have said anything!

Just to clarify my U87 comment. I love the U87, I’ve used it a lot and it is a brilliant mic. If I could afford it I would buy one. I just feel that there are other mics that are equally as good but the U87 seems to steal the headlights. Also it could be said that the U87 gives a certain sound to the recording, which is fantastic and justifiable a standard. This is great and can be used to ones advantage, however, I also feel it’s interesting to expand the sound palette by using non standard and less familiar sounds. If everything sounded similar it’s arguable not so interesting (but makes good commercial sense). e.g. why should we use a SM57 on a snare just because it's the sound of a rock snare - let's not get stuck into thinking that only one sound is right. Of course it all comes down to using the right mic for the source and to achieve the sound you want to achieve.

Yes The Elf uses the U87 and I respect him greatly (and the mic and others who use it).

No offence was meant towards the U87 or those you use it. I reiterate, I love the U87, I just don’t want to be limited by a standard, no matter how good it is. This is just my opinion as it is now, and is neither right nor wrong :)
forumuser653351
Regular
Posts: 119 Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2016 10:39 am

Re: Must have microphones?

Post by Wonks »

I doubt that anyone who uses one would argue with you or would use it exclusively for everything and everyone, or fail to have a number of other mics around to try out and then use the best one for the job.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12629 Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am Location: Reading, UK
Reliably fallible.

Re: Must have microphones?

Post by ore_terra »

I also think that no matter how “standard” a mic, I dont see how you can consider it always gives the same sound when it’s used with completely different voices or instrument each time, different gear and mixed with different ears ;-)
User avatar
ore_terra
Frequent Poster
Posts: 873 Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2016 12:56 pm Location: Seville - Spain
casmoestudio.com

Re: Must have microphones?

Post by forumuser653351 »

ore_terra wrote:I also think that no matter how “standard” a mic, I dont see how you can consider it always gives the same sound when it’s used with completely different voices or instrument each time, different gear and mixed with different ears ;-)

Hi Ore Terra

If your post is related to my previous comment, please may I clarify, I did not say ‘always gives the same sound,’ I said ‘it could be said that it gives a certain sound’ - so not quite so definitive and I was referring to what could be perceived to be the inherit sound of the mic. Of course you are completely right, the same mic on different sources, gear, and ears will sound different - I apologise if I seemed to be suggesting other wise.

Thank you for your perspective :)

Ian
forumuser653351
Regular
Posts: 119 Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2016 10:39 am

Re: Must have microphones?

Post by ConcertinaChap »

I think the problem is there are lots of mic makers who will tell you their mic is special and sounds just like a U87 but at a fraction of the cost. And quite likely a few of them might do, but the majority don't. That's marketing for you. So, if you want a mic that does general purpose vocal as readily as a U87 what do you do? Do you rake through loads of mics or do you buy a U87?

CC
User avatar
ConcertinaChap
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10944 Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 12:00 am Location: Bradford on Avon
Making music: Eagle Alley
Recording music: Mr Punch's Studio
"Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls" - John Donne

Re: Must have microphones?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

blinddrew wrote:Shure Beta 87A - my main live mic. Doesn't seem to get much love round here but I like how it works with my voice.

I've got a pair of Shure SM87As and I really like them. Good sounding and very versatile. I also like the styling... so you're not completely on your own! :-)
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 33815 Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound...
(But generally posting my own personal views and not necessarily those of SOS, the company or the magazine!)
In my world, things get less strange when I read the manual... 

Re: Must have microphones?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

ConcertinaChap wrote:I think the problem is there are lots of mic makers who will tell you their mic is special and sounds just like a U87 but at a fraction of the cost. And quite likely a few of them might do, but the majority don't. That's marketing for you. So, if you want a mic that does general purpose vocal as readily as a U87 what do you do? Do you rake through loads of mics or do you buy a U87?

There is all that... But there's also the longevity/maintenance aspect as well as the potential resale value to consider.

A U87 can be serviced and repaired with a guaranteed quality, and will continue to be so for many decades to come. The same is much less likely to be true for many of the low cost 'as good as' mics.

And should you decide to give up your studio in the future, there's a very good chance that your U87 will sell on for something close to (or more than) your purchase price -- such is their on-going demand. Again the same is much less likely to be the case for an 'as good as' model.

All of the above is not to veto the alternatives, many of which are well made, sound good, and are attractively priced... But long-term support and future value should at least be carefully considered, even if subsequently decided irrelevant.
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 33815 Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound...
(But generally posting my own personal views and not necessarily those of SOS, the company or the magazine!)
In my world, things get less strange when I read the manual... 

Re: Must have microphones?

Post by ConcertinaChap »

Hugh Robjohns wrote:But long-term support and future value should at least be carefully considered, even if subsequently decided irrelevant.

There's support and support. I'm not going to tell the story again, you'll find it on the forum if you go back a bit but Neumann's support is amazing!

CC
User avatar
ConcertinaChap
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10944 Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 12:00 am Location: Bradford on Avon
Making music: Eagle Alley
Recording music: Mr Punch's Studio
"Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls" - John Donne

Re: Must have microphones?

Post by Jadoube »

I read through all of this for fun and games... "Must have microphones?"
Name me a recordist that can't go on about her\his microphones all night long? No such animal.

I have to agree with some meat and potatoes standard mics like the u87, AKG c414, 451, Shure SM7,57,58 and one I always use, the Sennheiser MD421.

You may find other choices (and I sure do love to try!) but I know if I just need to "get it done" because music awaits, I've got enough and more with these microphones. I don't actually own any of them... if I am in a studio then it's usually a sure bet they will have most of these "standards" or my local music gear emporium will rent me some for a reasonable rate. My own microphone collection contains oddball or lesser known mics that resonate with me; they have strange quirks and subtle differences I enjoy, My "sound" perhaps.

So OP I think if you are building a commercial type recording studio there is a bit of an expectation that you will have some or most of these microphones... although 2 thoughts;
- might be a difference regionally? For example Europe Vs North America? Your market might have some expectations.
- Trends come and go; when I started the studio I worked for had two Neumann U-67s that no one liked or used except for me...(I recorded all the 'weird' bands). It sounds like total madness now, but then the U87s were in constant demand and the U67s got dusty. No one wanted their darker sound because it was the 80s! So you may need to consider that a bit. Your mic collection is a draw to engineers... or at the least, you don't want it to put them off.

Or has it all changed drastically since I really paid any attention? It's possible!
User avatar
Jadoube
Regular
Posts: 397 Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 12:00 am Location: Calgary, Canada
_________
David

Re: Must have microphones?

Post by Dave B »

Jadoube wrote: Name me a recordist that can't go on about her\his microphones

(Coughs discreetly)

:D
User avatar
Dave B
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5930 Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2003 12:00 am Location: Maidenhead
Veni, Vidi, Aesculi (I came, I saw, I conkered)
Post Reply