Condenser Mic For Recording Vocals / Acoustic Guitar

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xibalba
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Condenser Mic For Recording Vocals / Acoustic Guitar

Post by xibalba » Mon Oct 29, 2007 8:52 pm

Seeing as how i dont know jack about mics. Anyone know of a decent condenser mic for about $100.00 - $150.00? Could be used or new either or.

Thanks

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Post by xibalba » Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:00 pm

also whats the "correct" way to record vocals? do i just plug in the xlr straight into my mackie 1402 vlz and turn on the phantom power? my setup is mackie mixer to line in of my presonus firepod, firewire to my laptop (logic studio)

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Post by space6oy » Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:11 pm

xibalba wrote:also whats the "correct" way to record vocals? do i just plug in the xlr straight into my mackie 1402 vlz and turn on the phantom power? my setup is mackie mixer to line in of my presonus firepod, firewire to my laptop (logic studio)
there is no "correct" way to record vocals, just depends on how you want them to turn out. you don't even need to be running through your mackie, could start off by just running the mic into the firepod. it provides phantom if you're using a condenser and a preamp you can mess with.

you probably would want to get a pop filter too, though.

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Re: Condenser Mic For Recording Vocals / Acoustic Guitar

Post by ficusrock » Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:24 pm

xibalba wrote:Seeing as how i dont know jack about mics. Anyone know of a decent condenser mic for about $100.00 - $150.00? Could be used or new either or.
I would try too look for a Rode NT1-A. This is what I'll be getting, and it should be in your range. Though I don't know much about mics, I have done a bit of research and this has been the best recommendation thus far.

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Recording Vocals

Post by ficusrock » Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:31 pm

xibalba wrote:also whats the "correct" way to record vocals? do i just plug in the xlr straight into my mackie 1402 vlz and turn on the phantom power? my setup is mackie mixer to line in of my presonus firepod, firewire to my laptop (logic studio)
I just plug straight into my audio interface (MOTU Traveler). I suppose you could experiment with preamps and compressors on the way in; I just do all of that in software.

I agree, definately get a pop filter. To isolate the vocals, I record them it in my bedroom closet, which seems to get rid of room noise and reverb. It's pretty makeshift, but meh...

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Recording Vocals

Post by Absence » Mon Oct 29, 2007 10:03 pm

xibalba wrote:also whats the "correct" way to record vocals? do i just plug in the xlr straight into my mackie 1402 vlz and turn on the phantom power? my setup is mackie mixer to line in of my presonus firepod, firewire to my laptop (logic studio)
The first thing I'll say is that there is no need for the Mackie. Secondly, you can set up what some home-studio heads call a "vocal corner." Get some heavy-a*s blankets and hang them in the corner of the room to prevent reflections. Sing facing the blanketed corner. Use headphones. The rest is advice:
  • 1. Regardless of how shitty the preamps are, the Presonus has phantom power. Use it.

    2. Use a large diaphragm condenser. In your price range I recommend these mics for vocals (in order of best-case to worst): the Rode NT1-A, the Studio Projects C1, the Audio-Technica AT3035, and the AKG Perception 200.

    3. Get a pop filter and place it about two to four inches from the mic. This is NOT only for sound. Pop filters protect your microphones!

    4. Sing two to "what sounds good" inches from the pop filter.

    5. If you don't have a hardware compressor, use mic technique to help with dynamic control (get closer to the mic in the soft parts, and further away on the loud parts.) This will make your vocals much easier to mix.
I recommend saving up a few extra bucks and getting a mic that works something. My favorite cheap mic recommendation is the Rode NT2-A. It's is a worthwhile investment that you'll use in the future. You'll outgrow MOST of the other mics I recommended.

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Post by Stab Frenzy » Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:27 am

Some good advice in this thread, particularly Absence's tip on making a vocal booth with heavy blankets.

I'm going to disagree slightly with all the mic recommendations, because you really have to match the mic up with the vocalist, there's no one mic that's 'the best'.

When I was studying sound production people would generally just use the U87 for vocals, cause it was the most expensive. I found though in a lot of situations other mics sounded much nicer on a particular vocalist, because if you put a bright mic on a dark sounding vocalist it evens things out, same goes with a dark mic on a bright voice.

I've also used a hand-held SM58 through a really nice pre with a rock vocalist before, because the extra expression in his voice that came from not having to sing into a stationary mic with a pop-shield more than made up for the less 'hi-fi' sound. There are no rules, the end product is the only thing that matters. Remember that you're recording a person, so do whatever you need to make sure they're (or you're) in the right frame of mind before you hit record. Make sure the lighting is appropriate, if they're nervous don't have a whole room full of people looking on. Also it's really important to get the headphone mix right, with enough reverb that their voice doesn't sound unnatural in the cans.

These things are probably less important to know when you're just recording yourself, but still remember how you sound when you're singing is going to be affected by how you feel. Get the feeling right and the singing will be easier.

If you're going to be mainly recording your own voice then get yourself down to a decent music shop (if there's one near you) and set up a whole lot of mics in your price range and record yourself singing into each one, then take them away and work out which one sounds best on your voice. A reputable music store should let you do this, after all you wouldn't buy a car without test driving it first.

Most mics these days have acceptable self-noise levels so it's purely up to choosing the best mic for the job.

One thing I think is worth noting is using something to isolate the mic from rumble being picked up through the floor. A shock mount can work well for this, or if you dont have the extra cash for one you could put bits of foam under the feet of your mic stand, which doesn't work as well but at least it's something. Also try not to tap your foot too loudly next to the mic stand if you can help it.

Good luck with it!

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Post by xibalba » Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:50 pm

thanks for the input everyone it is really helpful, although i havent chose one yet its nice to know that there are plenty of factors involved and that i just didnt go out and buy one from impulse. I plan on for the meantime recording old school and underground (what i guess i would call running hip-hop its all verse no chorus or "hook"). I appreciate your input keep responding if you have anymore ideas

thanks

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Post by Absence » Tue Oct 30, 2007 3:59 pm

I second Stab Frenzy's input. Perfectly great sounding cuts from major label artists have been made with SM57s: recording Dust in the Wind.

Knowing that your style is hip hop though, I have to recommend a mic that is sometimes overlooked, but that I think works well for things like death metal and rap: the Shure SM7B. I think Cradle of Filth used it extensively on there last album, though I could be mistaken (not a fan of the Danny Filth material). Anyway, Amazon has a who's who list of the SM7B in action SM7B Testimonials. I admit I'm biased about this one...

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