Must have microphones?

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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?

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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! :-)
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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.
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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!

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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!
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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
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Re: Must have microphones?

Post by John Willett »

Jadoube wrote: - 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!

Well, Neumann has just re-released the U67 at a price of over £6,000 and there are none in the shops yet, as they still have not made enough to meet all the pre-orders. :mrgreen:
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Re: Must have microphones?

Post by Humble Bee »

John Willett wrote:
Jadoube wrote: - 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!

Well, Neumann has just re-released the U67 at a price of over £6,000 and there are none in the shops yet, as they still have not made enough to meet all the pre-orders. :mrgreen:

When I saw the price on that one I desided that if I really need a U67 I will buy a clone, for certain.

Or decide that I don't need a U67 and buy a genuine Gefell UM92 for €2500... that's pretty Neumann as well...
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Re: Must have microphones?

Post by Funkyflash5 »

I'm also in the "just started mic'ing up" stage, but here's what I've got, and some thoughts:

Sm57 x3 Currently used for snare and rack toms, but will be getting better tom mics soon.
Sm58 x2 I do some live sound as well, so having a couple for live vocals makes sense for the money
Beta58 My favorite dynamic on my voice
Beta52 Kick drum, about a 3rd of the way from the batter head, slightly off-axis
Senn 835 Sounds good on my friend who has a more Robert Plant type voice, mostly for live or scratch vocals
Audix I5 x3 Guitar cabs and snares, also works well on sax
La120 x2 Sdc with card and omni capsules, drum overheads and room mics
Apex 205 x2 moded, used for drum overheads, rooms, and Violin/viola
Fathead Guitar cabs, vocals, strings including upright bass, currently on loan to a friend who has a much more expensive and large mic locker, because it just sounds that good
Audix f12 Low tom, and sometimes cab for bass or baritone guitar
MXL V67N Hung from the ceiling as a room mic, mostly for capturing rehearsals so we remember what we came up with
AT853 x3 Don't know what I'm going to use these for, but the price was so low I couldn't resist

My approach has been to mostly find mics that can do several things well, making sure that I've got enough to have something adequate for everything, and buying them all used. At this point, the only mics I bought new were the pair of LA120s. I've got the backup of my friend with a bigger locker, that if there's something I need for a bit, like LDCs for vocal overdubs, I can borrow it.
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Re: Must have microphones?

Post by John Willett »

Humble Bee wrote:
John Willett wrote:
Jadoube wrote: - 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!

Well, Neumann has just re-released the U67 at a price of over £6,000 and there are none in the shops yet, as they still have not made enough to meet all the pre-orders. :mrgreen:

When I saw the price on that one I desided that if I really need a U67 I will buy a clone, for certain.

You mean a copy - a clone is exactly the same as the original, a copy isn't. and there is no real clone of a U 67.

Oh - the price of a new U 67 is about the same as a good second-hand one - so, pretty fair really.

Humble Bee wrote: Or decide that I don't need a U67 and buy a genuine Gefell UM92 for €2500... that's pretty Neumann as well...

Well, as Gefell is still owned by Georg Neumann KG - the company Neumann started in 1928, you could almost say that Gefell is more Neumann than Neumann (as Neumann Berlin - the 1946 company - is now owned by Sennheiser) ;)
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Re: Must have microphones?

Post by John Willett »

Funkyflash5 wrote:I'm also in the "just started mic'ing up" stage, .....

My approach has been to mostly find mics that can do several things well, making sure that I've got enough to have something adequate for everything, and buying them all used. At this point, the only mics I bought new were the pair of LA120s. I've got the backup of my friend with a bigger locker, that if there's something I need for a bit, like LDCs for vocal overdubs, I can borrow it.

Sounds like a pretty sensible way to start to me.

Just remember that a microphone is mature technology and good ones last for decades - so buy wisely and spend the maximum yo can afford on mics - that way you won't have to keep buying again. :thumbup:
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Re: Must have microphones?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

John Willett wrote:You mean a copy - a clone is exactly the same as the original, a copy isn't.

I'm not convinced the definition of those terms is that exact (if you'll pardon the pun)... The Oxford English dictionary defines Clone as: A person or thing regarded as an exact copy of another and Copy as: A thing made to be similar or identical to another...

So a Clone is an exact Copy... and a Copy could be identical like a Clone :-)

The point is that people use the terms interchangeably and context is crucial as either could mean an exact, identical device or something that barely resembles the original but shares some desirable key characteristics. For example, people talk about 'Hammond Clones' all the time, yet the clones all use entirely different technology and few even look vaguely similar!

H
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Re: Must have microphones?

Post by Albatross »

Hugh, what's your desert island mic? I mean if you could only have just one microphone, which would you choose?
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Re: Must have microphones?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Hmmm... that would be a tough call.

A Shure Beta57 can do pretty much everything tolerably well, doesn't need phantom power, and would survive desert island conditions...

But if I had phantom power available it would be a toss-up between a Neumann KM84 and (slightly cheating here because it's a stereo mic) a Neumann SM69FET.

...But then I also really love my Royer active ribbons, and my Sennheiser MKH, and my Gefell M930s, and my Soundfield ST450-2, and my DPA 4060Cores, and... and...

:ugeek:
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Re: Must have microphones?

Post by ore_terra »

To be fair, since you’re imaging that there’s electrical power in that desert island, I dont see why we shouldnt be considering phantom as well :lol:
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Re: Must have microphones?

Post by John Willett »

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
John Willett wrote:You mean a copy - a clone is exactly the same as the original, a copy isn't.

I'm not convinced the definition of those terms is that exact (if you'll pardon the pun)... The Oxford English dictionary defines Clone as: A person or thing regarded as an exact copy of another and Copy as: A thing made to be similar or identical to another...

So a Clone is an exact Copy... and a Copy could be identical like a Clone :-)

The point is that people use the terms interchangeably and context is crucial as either could mean an exact, identical device or something that barely resembles the original but shares some desirable key characteristics. For example, people talk about 'Hammond Clones' all the time, yet the clones all use entirely different technology and few even look vaguely similar!

H

I know that people do seem to use the two interchangeably - but saying "close" does seem to imply a product equal to the original, and very few "clones" seem to be fully equal.

That's why I prefer to say "copy".

There are a very few companies that try to make exact copies of discontinued mics - FLEA for example - and I am happy with using "clone" for these types as they are very close to the original - and you pay the price for the quality.
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Re: Must have microphones?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

John Willett wrote:That's why I prefer to say "copy".

Hang on -- you're confusing me now. :D I can't cope with this stress on a Sunday afternoon!

John Willett wrote:...a clone is exactly the same as the original, a copy isn't.


John Willett wrote:...very few "clones" seem to be fully equal

:?
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Re: Must have microphones?

Post by John Willett »

Hugh Robjohns wrote::D I can't cope with this stress on a Sunday afternoon!

:mrgreen:

All I was really trying to say was that I am very weary of the word "clone", as it implies that the copy is fully equal to the original - whereas, in most cases, it isn't.

That's all. :thumbup:
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Re: Must have microphones?

Post by Wonks »

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Re: Must have microphones?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

And the Sharks with the frickin lasers.... :bouncy:
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Re: Must have microphones?

Post by Aled Hughes »

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Hmmm... that would be a tough call.

A Shure Beta57 can do pretty much everything tolerably well, doesn't need phantom power, and would survive desert island conditions...


This is interesting. You'd take it over dynamics like a Beyer M201 or M88, or a Sennheiser MD421 / 441, for instance? I've never used the Beta57 much, only on a few live gigs, and never given it much consideration... but now I'm intrigued!
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Re: Must have microphones?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

The M201 is a fabulous mic indeed,, but I'd be upset by seeing it get scratched and ruined by the sand, and the MD421 is a great mic ruined by a stupid clamp that annoys and frustrates me every time I use it! :-) I just think the 57 (orig or beta) would cope better, and I'd be less upset if it got damaged!
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Re: Must have microphones?

Post by John Willett »

Hugh Robjohns wrote:... the MD421 is a great mic ruined by a stupid clamp that annoys and frustrates me every time I use it! :-)

Actually I LIKE the clamp on the MD 421.

It locks in and holds the mic. safely in any position - if the mic. is hand-held there are no protruding bits. It's a much more elegant solution than having a big fat traditional type of clip that would not hold the mic. safely when pointing downwards (eg: for a saxophone).

It's easy to put on and remove and I like the design very much. :thumbup:

But my mic. body and clip do come from the 1970s (or 80s) and they may have made them better back then. ;)
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Re: Must have microphones?

Post by twotoedsloth »

I'm really surprised that you like the mount for the MD421.

We have four MD421s and I rarely used them because I would get frustrated with the mount, so I'd go and grab something else, usually a Beta57 (for drums) or a 441 (for trumpet or trombone).

We got some new Rycote mounts, and I've rediscovered the MD421s, I use them on most of my Jazz recordings these days.

Back on point, my must have microphones would probably include an AKG c422, or pairs of DPA 4006s and Neumann TLM 193s.
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Re: Must have microphones?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

John Willett wrote:Actually I LIKE the clamp on the MD 421.

I knew somebody must! ;-)

It locks in...

...and most struggle to figure out how to release it!

if the mic. is hand-held there are no protruding bits.

There aren't on any other handheld mic either. ;-)

It's a much more elegant solution than having a big fat traditional type of clip...

I get what they were trying to do, but the fact that no other manufacturer adopted a similar idea suggests it wasn't really that elegant or practical...

...that would not hold the mic. safely when pointing downwards (eg: for a saxophone).

I've used lots of other mics on saxophones, and can't think of any that have fallen out of their clip! I take the point in principle, but I've never found it a sufficient problem to make me wish every mic had a 421-style clip! Quite the reverse in fact...

I like the design very much.

That balances my loathing of it nicely, then! :-D
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Re: Must have microphones?

Post by John Willett »

Hugh Robjohns wrote:[
...and most struggle to figure out how to release it!

Really? I'm very surprised ???

The first time I used it (back in the 1970s) I found it very easy to clip in and remove.

Removing is a doddle - press the button with your thumb and slide the mic. up with your fingers.

I got it instinctively the first time I used it and thought it a great idea then.

But - remember - this was invented in the days before Hytrel and mic clips were stiff plastic and did not grip the mic. at all. So - when it was invented - it was actually an excellent way of securely holding a mic.

The original clip for the MD 441 also had a sliding button to hold the mic. in so it would not fall out when pointing down.

When Hytrel came along manufacturers redesigned their clips with Hytrel so they hold the mic. tight at any angle. Shure redesigned all their clips and I do not think that any are now supplied with the hard plastic clip that were supplied when they first came out - horrible clips that did not hold the mic. firmly enough and could scratch the mic. with use.

Nowadays mics come with Hytrel clips - even the MD 441 now has a Hytrel clip. It was only the design of the MD 421 that made a large Hytrel clip a bit unsightly (though I think one is available now).

When it was invented, the 421 clip was actually an excellent idea and certainly worked very well originally - but the original 421 clips were made of metal and were better than the modern ones made of plastic.
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Re: Must have microphones?

Post by Wonks »

I find it all too easy to knock the clip button on my 421s and the mic fall downwards when they've been set up for miking toms.
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Re: Must have microphones?

Post by ore_terra »

It looks like there’s a market for NOS or reissue MD421 metal clips :lol:
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Re: Must have microphones?

Post by Wonks »

Or a better locking version.
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Re: Must have microphones?

Post by twotoedsloth »

The Rycote Invision mount works great with the MD421. In fact, it is probably superior to the stock mount as it is not as prone to vibration and you can use the mount on other microphones if you're not using the 421.
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