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Author Topic: Looking for recommendations on a budget  (Read 2833 times)

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Offline vault2008

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Looking for recommendations on a budget
« on: January 20, 2024, 01:56:53 PM »
Hello folks!

I'm looking to get into taping. My dilemma is I don't have a ton of money to spend on the hobby but I also want something that sounds better than my smartphone. I don't have any gear at the moment - no recorder, mics, or anything like that. I'm trying to keep my setup simple, but I understand that this is intricate and complex.

I'd like to do a stealth-based setup so I can be hands-free while the show's going. Can anyone recommend some beginner gear that will sound decent without breaking the bank? Even something like $500 would be a stretch and require me to save up a bit.


Offline Chanher

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Offline vault2008

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Offline HealthCov Chris

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Re: Looking for recommendations on a budget
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2024, 12:10:10 AM »
I suggest you get something (within budget) that will serve a purpose if/when you decide to upgrade down the road.  Meaning, buy mics and a recorder now, that you can use later, in addition to, more expensive mics/recorder if you choose to upgrade. 

Scenerio 1: Small 32 bit float recorder with small (stealthy) mics (cards or omni).  You can get into this setup for around $250, learn the ropes of taping, and if/when you upgrade you will always have a small (stealthy) portable rig.  Or it can be good for a soundboard patch; or 2nd stage at a festival...etc.  In my case, I got a stereo pair of Church Audio C14 omni mics ($125), which I now use as a split omni pair mixed with my AKG hypers that I upgraded to.  I will always have these to split out for capturing additional bass and ambience of the venue (typically for outdoor festivals).  They are small and fit in my pocket if needed.  Can be taped or clipped to rails or colunms in a pinch.  With this option you can always pick up a quality used preamp from the YardSale (several available now for $250 or less) when you upgrade your mics to phantom 48 condensers.
Ex) Recorder: Zoom H1 Essential ($99)
      Mics:  Church Audio CA-14 ($125)

Scenerio 2: A 4-channel 32 bit float recorder that has 3 recording options.  2a- internal mic pair; 2b- external xlr (phantom 48) pair; 2c- external plug-in-power 1/8" stereo input.  With this, you can start with just the small mics like the CA-14 previously mentioned and be able to mix with the internal mics or a soundboard patch for a matrix recording.  This also leaves you with the ability in the future to add a better pair of P48 condenser mics into the xlr inputs when your budget allows.  You could also just get a decent budget condenser mic pair for a little more to go with this recorder, and be able to mix them with a soundboard patch for quality matrix.
Ex) Recorder: Zoom H4 Essential ($199)
     Mics: sE Electronics sE7 matched pair ($219)

Here are a few examples of the sE7 mics from recent recordings.  These mics were set relatively close to the source, but give an example of what is possible with matched pair budget mics.
Kitchen Dwellers:
Rosebud (Jerry Garcia Tribute):

Here is an example of scenerio 2c (recorder $199) above with the CA-14 omni mics ($125) and a soundboard patch mixed together.
Kitchen Dwellers @ Hillberry music festival:

« Last Edit: February 07, 2024, 12:12:57 AM by HealthCov Chris »
Mics: AKG ck61/ck63 (nBob actives, Naiant PFA) | AKG 568 | CA-14 omni | Studio Projects B3
Recorders: Sound Devices MixPre-6 | Zoom F3 | Roland R-07
Camera: GoPro Hero 4 Silver


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