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Offline W2HX

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Newbie Question for A Newbie Setup
« on: November 09, 2023, 06:12:12 PM »
Hello, I am a new member and a newbie to recording.

I've spent some time looking through this great website and came to the conclusion that this can be a bewildering topic and the level of expertise here is quite impressive.

I am looking to create a simple, transportable set up to record live rock/jam band concerts from the audience without access to the soundboard. Mostly I want to record my son's garage band who play at bars and very small venues.  At this time, I don't see myself going to the tapers section at a big show (yet).

I purchased a Tascam Portacapture X8 and I have been learning the ins and outs. My first attempt for microphones were these low-cost pencil mics from amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002D0KBE  I used them and found that the sound was pretty awful, even for a novice. They were very thin sounding and lacked bass. I did end up mixing these external Samson pencil mics with the built-in mics of the X8 but it still seemed like mixing two bad mics to try to get good sound.

I am not ready to embark on advanced topics such as stereophonic zoom etc, but I did point the pencils to the left and right PA's and I think that is enough sophistication for me at this stage haha.

I am looking to this group for a recommendation on a pair of mics that would be more suitable for this purpose (loud concerts recorded from the audience). I think they should be directional, but I don't know. I am not wedded to pencil or booms, unless the folks here think those are the right solutions. My budget is about $200 per mic but happy to spend less or could stretch a bit if necessary.

I did look at the Sennheiser MKE 440 as the sound seemed really good. But it doesn't seem quite like the right solution. I didn't like that it needs its own batteries. I would prefer something that could use the phantom power of the Tascam (or no power if dynamic) or USB powered, but I think XLR would be the way to go. I also don’t love the idea of the built in cable as others have noted. I should mention that I use a big USB power pack to power the Tascam X8 and it has lots of USB ports to power other gear as necessary so I'm hoping to use this for any power needs I might have (and avoid a separate battery box etc).

I have been spending untold hours on youtube listening to microphone comparisons (with my headphones) and one mic that sorta captured my interest was the AT2035. It seemed to have a good price and sound combination. But I wonder should I get two of these or would I be better off with one of these, two pencils/booms and mix them in post? I've also read that for good bass sound, an omni is better than a directional, but I would prefer to minimize (not eliminate) crowd audio.

Can anyone recommend a pair of mics that sound good, can use either no power or power from the Tascam or a USB-C power connector and XLR if possible.

Ok, enough from me. Thank in advance for your thoughts. I am psyched to have found this website.

Eugene

Offline goodcooker

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Re: Newbie Question for A Newbie Setup
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2023, 01:13:04 PM »
You have a lot of this figured out already so you are light years ahead of many folks who come to the forum asking for advice.  :coolguy:

I would suggest a pair of cardioid P48 (phantom powered) mics. The directionality of cardioid mics will pick up more of what it's pointed at and less of behind and to the sides than an omni or less directional mic. Hypercardioid (narrow pickup pattern) will focus on the front even more. Cardioid mics sound the most natural to me and are somewhat forgiving in their placement and orientation compared to the most directional mics (like hypers or shotguns).

Some that I have used personally and can recommend that fit your budget of $400 for a pair are -

Line Audio CM3 or CM4 - these are "open cardioid" pattern - wider pickup pattern than a cardioid but less than an omni. They sound great and are very inexpensive but may need to be found used since the maker in Sweden can't keep up with the demand.

Audio Technica 4041 - crisp sounding cardioid mic that has a gentle high frequency lift but not bright or harsh like cheap condensers

Studio Projects C4 - multiple capsules included so you can switch to omni if you have the need.

Avantone CK1 - these are cheap but they sound surprisingly good

You can save money by buying used, of course, so have a look at Reverb and resale sites to see if you can get a deal or use your price range to set the search parameters for big online retailers like Sweetwater and Guitar Center for new stuff.

Lots of mic companies have affordable stereo pair small diaphragm condenser mics that are out of production like Rode, Audio Technica, many others and some companies are new to the market with affordable products like Universal Audio, Warm Audio and Lauten.

If you find something that looks like it fits the bill but is an unknown go to the Live Music Archive and use the search function to see if something turns up. Then you can hear what it sounds like in a concert recording environment for yourself.

Happy Hunting!



Line Audio CM3/OM1 || MBHO KA500 hyper>PFA|| ADK A51 type IV || AKG C522XY
Oade Warm Mod and Presence+ Mod UA5s || Aerco MP2(needs help) || Neve Portico 5012 || Apogee MMP
SD Mixpre6 || Oade Concert Mod DR100mkii

pocket sized - CA11 cards > SP SB10 > Sony PCM A10

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Offline jefflester

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Re: Newbie Question for A Newbie Setup
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2023, 04:20:33 PM »
The Samson CO2 were "pretty awful"? I've got a pair of these that I have used on occasion for stage taping or drum overheads for my own band and they were fully adequate, I would think they would be at least passable as a starter set. Was the sound at the venue any good? I'll admit I don't have that discerning of an ear, but makes me wonder if your expectations are too high?

DPA4061 HEB -> R-09 / AT943 -> CA-UGLY -> R-09
AKG CK63 -> nBob actives -> Baby NBox -> R-09/DR2d
AKG CK63 -> AKG C460B -> Zoom F8/DR-680MKII
Line Audio CM4/Superlux S502/Samson C02/iSK Little Gem/Sennheiser E609/Shure SM57 -> Zoom F8/DR-680MKII (multitracked band recordings)

Offline fireonshakedwnstreet

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Re: Newbie Question for A Newbie Setup
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2023, 07:19:09 PM »
Some great choices already listed. I would also add the AT3031s, which can be found for cheap used. The Samsons are not bad, but they are at least on paper they are supercardioid, so they roll off the bass. They also have a bump in the highs. They are serviceable with EQ.
Mics: AT 3031; AT 853Rx (c, o); Samson C02; Studio Projects C4 (c, o, h); Nak 300/Tascam PE-125/JVC M510 (cp-1, cp-2, cp-3, JVC M510 superdirectional caps)
Recorders: Tascam DR-680 MkII; Tascam DR-70D
Pres: Edirol UA-5 (Oade PMod & WMod); Marantz PMD661 (OCM); Marantz PMD620 (Oade WMod); Naiant MidBox; Shure FP11 (x2)
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Offline W2HX

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Re: Newbie Question for A Newbie Setup
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2023, 10:45:25 AM »
...Lots of mic companies have affordable stereo pair small diaphragm condenser mics that are out of production like Rode, Audio Technica, many others and some companies are new to the market with affordable products like Universal Audio, Warm Audio and Lauten.

Thank you for the reply! You mentioned small condenser mics. Should I prioritize these over medium or large condenser mics? For example I was looking at the AT2035 which I think is like a medium condenser size. I had assumed (you know what happens when you do that) that SDCs have better high frequency response but LDCs  have better low frequency response. Is there any truth to that?

...If you find something that looks like it fits the bill but is an unknown go to the Live Music Archive and use the search function to see if something turns up. Then you can hear what it sounds like in a concert recording environment for yourself.
This is very interesting. I've never looked at that. You're saying I can search for recordings made with microphone "X"? That's very interesting. Thanks again!

Offline W2HX

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Re: Newbie Question for A Newbie Setup
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2023, 10:49:59 AM »
The Samson CO2 were "pretty awful"? I've got a pair of these that I have used on occasion for stage taping or drum overheads for my own band and they were fully adequate, I would think they would be at least passable as a starter set. Was the sound at the venue any good? I'll admit I don't have that discerning of an ear, but makes me wonder if your expectations are too high?

Hi Jeff thanks for the response. I felt there was virtually no bass response in them. The bass was very very thin sounding. The room was fine with lots of bass. Mids and highs were very good with these mics, I really meant to just complain about the bass response.

I have heard that in condenser mics, cardiods have a big drop off in bass response as one gets further from the source. I had attributed the lack of bass to this. Probably if the samsons were mic'ing a bass drum or something close they would have sounded fine.  Thanks again

Offline W2HX

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Re: Newbie Question for A Newbie Setup
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2023, 10:54:28 AM »
... I would also add the AT3031s, which can be found for cheap used.

Fire - any opinion on the AT2045? These are not the pencil form factor, but it isnt clear to me if pencil is important or whether it is just directional SDC/LDC that is important? Perhaps the pencil form factor just makes pointing them easier? not sure. thanks!

I guess to the group here, I would ask if I should be looking at pencils specifically, or if I just need to focus on directional mics (ie cardiod) and whether SDC or LDC is something I should focus on.
thanks all!
Eugene

Offline goodcooker

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Re: Newbie Question for A Newbie Setup
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2023, 12:38:15 PM »

The choice of LDC or SDC comes down to practicality for me. I only use my large diaphragm mics when it's easy for me to do so - the weight and size of the mics, basket shockmounts combined with the stereo bar and mounting hardware is sometimes a deal breaker for me. I also find SDCs easier to orient accurately. In general the term "pencil" mic is the same as "end address small diaphragm" mic.

The frequency response of any mic is a factor of it's design whether SDC or LDC. I find the low end response of SDCs to be generally more accurate but this depends on the mic, the polar pattern choice and the recording location. Omnis have the most natural bass response but also pick up more of the things you don't want - excessive room sound, chatter, crowd noise - when recording a concert. I use directional mics that pick up more of what I'm pointing them at and less of the sides and rear. Cardioids are the compromise for me with a balance of natural sound and directionality.

Yes, you can search the Live Music Archive with any search term and narrow your search parameters. If you find a screaming deal on a pair of Avantone CK1 (for example) you can search for that on the LMA and listen to a few shows that pop up noting the recording location and gear used to see how it would compare to how you would intend to use it. There's like 200,000 shows there so something is likely to pop up no matter what you search for.
Line Audio CM3/OM1 || MBHO KA500 hyper>PFA|| ADK A51 type IV || AKG C522XY
Oade Warm Mod and Presence+ Mod UA5s || Aerco MP2(needs help) || Neve Portico 5012 || Apogee MMP
SD Mixpre6 || Oade Concert Mod DR100mkii

pocket sized - CA11 cards > SP SB10 > Sony PCM A10

http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/goodcooker

"Are you the Zman?" - fan at Panic 10-08-10 Kansas City
"I don't know who left this perfectly good inflatable wook doll here, but if I'm blowing her up, I'm keeping her." -  hoppedup

Offline fanofjam

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Re: Newbie Question for A Newbie Setup
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2023, 01:11:46 PM »
Yes, you can search the Live Music Archive with any search term and narrow your search parameters. If you find a screaming deal on a pair of Avantone CK1 (for example) you can search for that on the LMA and listen to a few shows that pop up noting the recording location and gear used to see how it would compare to how you would intend to use it. There's like 200,000 shows there so something is likely to pop up no matter what you search for.

Searching for comparable recordings to the gear I'm looking to buy has been one of my biggest gear buying influences over the years.  I'm pretty sure it's saved me a ton of money in buying stuff that I ultimately decided against. 

One word of advice is to stick with YOU like and don't be swayed by what others like.  That's where the LMA becomes a real difference maker.  Until I learned this concept, I went too much off of what others said, oftentimes against my own better judgement from what I was hearing on the LMA.  If I'd listened to my own ears instead of the advice I was getting, I'd have ended up saving myself.  As much as I really WANTED to love the two different Grace V3s I bought, I just could never make them sound good enough for my tastes. Another example, is that as my critical listening skills improved, I relied far less on how much low end my recordings had and far more on the general quality of the sound.  In the early days, it was all about the bass.  LOL.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2023, 01:17:11 PM by fanofjam »

Offline JeySonic

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Re: Newbie Question for A Newbie Setup
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2023, 01:46:23 AM »
AT2035 mics are a solid choice within your budget. They work with phantom power from your Tascam X8, and two of them can give you a stereo setup. Directional mics are better for isolating sound in live concerts.

 

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