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Author Topic: Advice on Mics for cassette recorder  (Read 706 times)

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Offline pcmancini

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Advice on Mics for cassette recorder
« on: March 07, 2018, 08:05:17 AM »
Hi all, I have been lurking and searching so decided to join ad participate. Thanks in advance for the advice I am sure I will receive. 

I have a question regarding microphones

I have been taping a band I volunteer roadie/drive for using a Zoom H2n going direct into the soundboard.

I just purchased a Marantz PMD430 and want to use it to analog record the same shows.

My questions are:

1. what is a good budget stereo mic setup I could use for both the digital recorder and the cassette recorder
2. how do I connect the mic(s) to the recorders (I think this is pretty straightforward but figured I'd ask)
3. what type of stand will I need for the mic(s)? (These venues are small clubs, recording is non stealth)
4. What type of cables should I get.

I am looking to do this all on a very low budget and then upgrade as I can.

I realize these are pretty basic questions but I am new to this.

Regards,
Paul

Online heathen

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Re: Advice on Mics for cassette recorder
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2018, 11:52:59 AM »
For budget mics to go with those, you're probably best off with either the small ATs (AT853 for example) or Church Audio mics, and a battery box.
Mics: Core Sound TetraMic | AT4031s | CA-14 omnis | AT853s (C/SC) | Line Audio CM3s | AKG 460/ck61 | Studio Projects CS5
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Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: Advice on Mics for cassette recorder
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2018, 12:34:22 PM »
Ok, a bit general but:
1] The mics will be your key choice. "stereo mics" (those with 2 capsules in one body) are generally not low budget unless you go with the Sony ECM series or similar.  Church Audio can be a good choice, but they are separate microphones not a "stereo mic". Here is an example of a currently available budget stereo mic: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1183909-REG/rode_videomicro_compact_on_camera.html    (i know zero about this mic).
 Here is a "lowish-budget" one from one of the TS affiliated microphone builders: http://naiant.com/studio-electronics-products/microphones/x-y-stereo-microphone-capsule-amplifier/
If you e-mail Jon at naiant Dig around a bit, but I think most users here would recommend two microphones as opposed to a one point stereo.
   1A} if you go new CA, check with Chris about shipping schedules; otherwise buy CA products used from the YS here.
   1B} definitely learn the differences between using microphones with battery boxes or pip power (and/or phantom power), which for the Cassette deck will require some form of external power battery box to  power the mics.

2]As long as the input connectors on each deck are the same (XLR or 1/4 inch or 1/8" mini) the mics can  work on both decks.  The PMD430 has 1/4" inputs I believe. Not sure of the zoom.

3] There is a great current thread about a compact stand- http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=185096.0;topicseen
     otherwise look for lighting stands which extend at least 7-10 feet.

4] Some mics will have cables with them. This is a personal choice of course. the analog deck will have RCA outputs/inputs as well as the 1'4 inch mic inputs. Grab a set of high quality RCA's.

One point leading to a possible discussion between you and some of us: Why Cassette? The main reason for asking (as a taper with a HUGE cassette master collection) is that blank tapes are getting very expensive as they are not being manufactured by any company in the world. I understand that "analog" is getting a lot of use or discussion amongst musicians and fans again, but the cassette medium is certainly more difficult to deal with if blank media is hard to come by.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2018, 03:36:59 PM by rocksuitcase »
music IS love

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Mics:         AKG460|CK61|CK1|CK3|CK8|Beyer M 201E
Recorders:Marantz PMD661 OADE Concert mod; Tascam DR680 MKI

Offline rigpimp

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Re: Advice on Mics for cassette recorder
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2018, 12:41:52 PM »
You don't mention the definition of a "good budget" and also call it a "stereo mic".  This is typically two capsules in a single housing as opposed to two separate mics to put into a stereo configuration of your choosing.  Those will both need some clarification.

If it is a stereo mic and your budget is low you could try and find an AT 822 as it is self-powered and does not necessarily need phantom.  It is a simple low budget stereo mic.  If your budget is moderate then see if you can find a Shure VP88.  It is an often overlooked stereo mic that is adjustable and makes really good recordings.  If you won the roadie lottery then race over to the Yard Sale and get the AKG C426B that is posted there.  It is only $2,300!!  My preference would be the Neumann SM69.

Cables will depend on the mics that you buy and what inputs are on your deck.  Most of the time it is XLR > XLR.  If it is a cassette recorder they are probably analog RCA so maybe XLR > RCA but from pics I looked at it appears to be 1/4 TRS in for mics.  My suggestion is to carry two sets of cables (XLR & RCA) and a bunch of adapters so you do not keep carrying lots of wire weight.  Although, if you are a roadie this is what you do anyway...

A stand is also subjective and will depend on the crowds typically present at the shows you record.  If you have punk rock mosh pits use a heavy duty stand and bring a sand bag.  If it is a bunch of gentle hippies of bluegrass fans then use a light stand.  (literally made to elevate a light for a photo/video shoot).  It is not totally unheard of to just use a stage stand.  If you end up with a pair of omnis flank either side of the SBD with a nice spacing and then mix that with what you pull from the console.  Remember to delay your mic pull by approximately 1 millisecond for every foot they are from the stage or your final product echos.

You can search what folks here use and someone else can post links.
Mics: Schoeps MK5 G MP, Schoeps CCM 4 Lg MP, Schoeps MK8 MP, nBob cables > PFA, KCY 250/5 > PFA
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Offline IMPigpen

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Re: Advice on Mics for cassette recorder
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2018, 01:12:16 PM »
I'm with others here and questioning cassette first of all.  Doing a quick look on the web, it looks like blank Maxell XL-II cassettes are going for $8-9 each on amazon/ebay since they aren't produced any more.  So you are going to be spending $8-9 a night ($16-$18 if they play longer than a 90 minute set) just in blank media.  You can get a SanDisk extreme pro 64gb SD card for $35 which would probably fit an entire tour on it (if it is compatible with your deck) and you can reuse it.

As far as cables go, it looks like the line in on the H2n is 1/8 stereo and the mic inputs on the PMD430 are 2 X 1/4 inch or if you go the external battery box route, you may want to go line-in on the PMD430 which is RCAs.  Cable adaptors aren't a huge deal depending on what you settle on for mic/mics and a battery box or not. 

If you are looking to make SBD/AUD matrix's down the road, that will be a bit of a headache since you will have the SBD in a digital format already and the AUD in cassette with the timing slightly off due to motor speed/tape stretch, etc.  And you will have to convert the cassette to digital in real time which is a process (I've been converting hundreds of cassette masters and low-gen tapes that don't circulate and it's time consuming).  So my advise would be to sell the PMD430 and either pickup another small 2-track deck like the H2n, etc or a 4-track digital recorder and pair it with some Church Audio or ATs or Naiant mics and a battery box.
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Offline goodcooker

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Re: Advice on Mics for cassette recorder
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2018, 02:35:30 PM »

For a cheap stereo mic that is battery powered I would go with the Sony ECM MS907 or an Audio Technica AT822.

The Sony is terminated in a mini plug 1/8th inch stereo so you would need some sort of adapter cable (female 1/8th to dual 1/4 inch) to feed your deck. I made some surprisingly good recordings with one of these when used up close. They are very light in the bass and roll off around 100hz. Sometimes that's not such a bad thing. Around $50 used.

The AT comes with an XLR breakout cable so you would need to adapt XLR to 1/4 inch. I would say the AT mic sounds a little more balanced and is better quality. Can be had for around $100 used.
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Aerco MP2 || RAD MS2
Marantz PMD706 || PMD620

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Offline pcmancini

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Re: Advice on Mics for cassette recorder
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2018, 07:23:22 PM »
Thanks, I doubt I'll sell the cassette deck as I just bought it - but really more as a vintage addition to my home setup than anything else and I just wanted to try out some analog recordings.  I do not plan on merging or anything too elaborate.

Thanks all.  I'll address the other comments separately.

Paul

Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: Advice on Mics for cassette recorder
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2018, 07:59:15 PM »
Thanks, I doubt I'll sell the cassette deck as I just bought it - but really more as a vintage addition to my home setup than anything else and I just wanted to try out some analog recordings.  I do not plan on merging or anything too elaborate.

Thanks all.  I'll address the other comments separately.

Paul
Well as the one who started the questioning, given your answer, I'd say go for a few analog recordings just because you have the deck. Why not? Have fun with it.
OTH, when you posed this as a roadie/taper question I assumed regular use like 2-3 times per week, and the cost of blanks would make that costly. 
music IS love

When you get confused, listen to the music play!

Mics:         AKG460|CK61|CK1|CK3|CK8|Beyer M 201E
Recorders:Marantz PMD661 OADE Concert mod; Tascam DR680 MKI

Offline pcmancini

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Re: Advice on Mics for cassette recorder
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2018, 10:00:39 AM »
The shows are more like 1/month. And yeah, the cassette tapes look expensive.  I have a couple boxes of new Maxell blanks but not enough to sustain a long-term effort. I will try some "taping" just for fun.

But that all being said, I do appreciate the mic advise. And I think you guys are right, money is better spent on  upgrading the digital recorder.

Any additional advise is appreciated and I'll continue to search these forums for ideas and gear.

Paul

Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: Advice on Mics for cassette recorder
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2018, 10:40:00 AM »
The shows are more like 1/month. And yeah, the cassette tapes look expensive.  I have a couple boxes of new Maxell blanks but not enough to sustain a long-term effort. I will try some "taping" just for fun.

But that all being said, I do appreciate the mic advise. And I think you guys are right, money is better spent on  upgrading the digital recorder.

Any additional advise is appreciated and I'll continue to search these forums for ideas and gear.

Paul
Yes- Welcome, glad you found us. The YS is a good place to locate gear (if not great for your wallet!). Great advice can be had from some of the microphone experts here.
music IS love

When you get confused, listen to the music play!

Mics:         AKG460|CK61|CK1|CK3|CK8|Beyer M 201E
Recorders:Marantz PMD661 OADE Concert mod; Tascam DR680 MKI

Offline splumer

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Re: Advice on Mics for cassette recorder
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2018, 09:49:35 AM »
As a former cassette taper, I've been tempted to record a few shows on cassette just for fun (in addition to digitally recording). But the thought of losing music to the tape flip, the possibility of the tape running out before the set ends, using the stopwatch on my watch to time the tape side, etc., soured me on the idea. I still have some sealed XLII's, and they likely will remain sealed for a while yet. Seems like a lot of work for not a lot of payoff. If you want to do it, go ahead, more power to you. I find I enjoy getting an unbroken recording more than I enjoy taping on cassettes.
"God love you, Dr. Dre, you’ve made some amazing music and some forward steps in the digital era, but that sound is fake. "
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Offline wehideandseek

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Re: Advice on Mics for cassette recorder
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2018, 12:37:05 AM »
I'll take your MaxPoints...

 

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