Newbie in market for mic's & cables needs a clue

Discussion in 'rec.audio.pro' started by Gregg Garfinkle, Aug 19, 2003.

  1. I am just getting into home recording and am thinking about purchasing a
    couple/few mics and some cables, but don¹t know where to start. I¹m looking
    for mics that are $500 or less and will provide me with as much versatility
    and ³future-proofing² as possible. Not sure what I will be recording in the
    future, but imagine a range of sources‹vocals, acoustic & electric guitars,
    congas/percussion, sax, and more.

    I¹m also curious about which people think are the ³best² (subjective I
    know...) mic cables‹I¹ve heard Mogami, Canare and Monster mentioned. Are
    they worth the extra money?

    Thanks for any and all feedback.

    Gregg
  2. Ron Charles

    Ron Charles Guest

    Newbie in market for mic's & cables needs a clueEverbody on this group has their own opinions, so I will start by giving you mine.
    In terms of good mics under $500 USD, there are many choices these days.
    I suggest getting at least 1 condensor mic and 1 dynamic mic, as these have different applications that are often not interchangable. In the future, a ribbon mic will also come in handy but these are a bit fragile and expensive.
    Start to look, and if possible listen, to mics like.....
    Rode NT1A large condensor $225 USD
    Studio Projects C1/C3 large condensor $255-$415 USD
    Oktava MC012a (3 capsule set) small condensor $325 USD
    Pearl CL22 square diapragm condensor $495 USD
    MXLV67G large condensor $85 USD
    Sennheiser 421 dynamic $275 USD
    Sennheiser 441 dynamic $355 USD
    Shure SM57 dynamic $99 USD
    Many other brands such as Neumann, AKG, Schoeps, Josephson, and others also make superb mics, but these are usually above the $500 mark.

    In terms of fancy cables, these may make a subtle difference with high end ($1000 +) external mic preamps, but with regular mixing consoles-the difference is very very very hard to notice. Don't go cheap, but get good shielded Canare mic cable by the reel (18 to 65 cents a foot) at a pro audio supply shop, and save a bundle of cash by doing your own soldering of the XLR connectors.

    Next you will hear a thousand other opions, all valid, but many which disagree. After more than two decades of recording studio and film recording production work, the above info is accurate in my opinion.
    RON CHARLES



    "Gregg Garfinkle" <CAdestiny@comcast.net> wrote in message news:BB674859.DBD8%CAdestiny@comcast.net...
    I am just getting into home recording and am thinking about purchasing a couple/few mics and some cables, but don't know where to start. I'm looking for mics that are $500 or less and will provide me with as much versatility and "future-proofing" as possible. Not sure what I will be recording in the future, but imagine a range of sources-vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, congas/percussion, sax, and more.

    I'm also curious about which people think are the "best" (subjective I know...) mic cables-I've heard Mogami, Canare and Monster mentioned. Are they worth the extra money?

    Thanks for any and all feedback.

    Gregg
  3. Clancy

    Clancy Guest

    Newbie in market for mic's & cables needs a cluehttp://www.itrstudio.com/4-track.html

    "Gregg Garfinkle" <CAdestiny@comcast.net> wrote in message news:BB674859.DBD8%CAdestiny@comcast.net...
    I am just getting into home recording and am thinking about purchasing a couple/few mics and some cables, but don't know where to start. I'm looking for mics that are $500 or less and will provide me with as much versatility and "future-proofing" as possible. Not sure what I will be recording in the future, but imagine a range of sources-vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, congas/percussion, sax, and more.

    I'm also curious about which people think are the "best" (subjective I know...) mic cables-I've heard Mogami, Canare and Monster mentioned. Are they worth the extra money?

    Thanks for any and all feedback.

    Gregg
  4. Newbie in market for mic's & cables needs a clueWith regard to cables:

    Be prepared to solder your own and you'll already be ahead of the game
    (cables with internally crimped connectors are disasters waiting to happen).
    Use Neutrik or Switchcraft connectors, and Belden or Canare cable. If you
    want to splash out a bit for something special, get the starquad variety
    from either of these cable manufacturers. Spending more than what this would
    cost is silly money.

    Ryan
  5. > I¹m also curious about which people think are the ³best² (subjective I
    > know...) mic cables?I¹ve heard Mogami, Canare and Monster mentioned. Are
    > they worth the extra money?
    >


    I'll leave the mic questions to others. When it comes to cables, the
    pro audio world is a lot less silly than the audiophile folks. You
    rarely see companies trying to sell you diamond-encrusted mic cables
    with "high speed, time aligned, directional electron flow." The name
    brand cables you mentioned are all worth their small premium over the
    no-name stuff. Also, you might find that your local electronics
    supply shop sells a "house-brand" made from Mogami or Canare cable
    with Switchcraft or Neutrik connectors. They often provide lifetime
    warranties on these cables and they'll build custom cables to your
    spec's for just a little more than the standard price. I've been
    buying all my cables from a couple of places here in LA because they
    use the same components that I would and they only charge a few
    dollars more than what I would pay for the raw parts. Although I had
    assembled my own cables for a few years, I finally did the math and
    realized that I wasn't really saving any money. Now I only build
    weird one-off assemblies that I need NOW; everything else I buy.

    steve
    lex125@pacbell.net
  6. Greg:

    Another poster gave you a link to Harvey's studio. He has steered a
    lot of people in the right direction. Probably due to the number of
    steers normally in Texas, but I digress.

    In my experience, a no brainer would be to buy a Shure SM57 dynamic.
    Vocals, snare drum, guitar cab -- there will always be a use for it.

    Next, also from experience (and based in part on Harvey's reviews) get
    a smallish diaphragm (70mm or so) condensor: the Marshall MXL603s and
    a large diaphragm condensor such as the Marshall MXL67.

    Each of these mic's is under $100 and all will remain useful no matter
    how far you progress. If you buy 'em and don't like 'em, you can
    always find a buyer. Even 'though I have seven SM57s and 2 MXL603s'
    I'd consider buying more.
  7. On Tue, 19 Aug 2003 14:55:06 +0200, "Ryan Mitchley"
    <rmitchle@removethis.worldonline.co.za> wrote:

    >Newbie in market for mic's & cables needs a clueWith regard to cables:
    >
    >Be prepared to solder your own and you'll already be ahead of the game
    >(cables with internally crimped connectors are disasters waiting to happen).
    >Use Neutrik or Switchcraft connectors, and Belden or Canare cable. If you
    >want to splash out a bit for something special, get the starquad variety
    >from either of these cable manufacturers. Spending more than what this would
    >cost is silly money.
    >
    >Ryan
    >


    five?
  8. Mike Rivers

    Mike Rivers Guest

    In article <3f421e34$0$7101$a32e20b9@news.nntpservers.com> rmitchle@removethis.worldonline.co.za writes:

    > Be prepared to solder your own and you'll already be ahead of the game


    I wouldn't recommend that a newbie start out by soldering his own
    cables unless he's experienced at soldering and electronic assembly.
    Would YOU trust your connections to someone who wasn't experienced at
    soldering? Why should he? I agree that learning how to solder, repair,
    and build cables is an important skill, but not one that's important
    to learn when you need cables. Learn it when you DON'T need cables and
    can practice on scrap.

    > (cables with internally crimped connectors are disasters waiting to happen).


    Properly crimped connectors are at least as good as soldered. Sez a
    lot of people who need a lot of high reliability connections.

    > Use Neutrik or Switchcraft connectors, and Belden or Canare cable.


    That's a good place to start if you're building. Neutrik and
    Switchcraft make a lot of different connectors, and Belden and Canare
    make a lot of different cables.

    > If you
    > want to splash out a bit for something special, get the starquad variety
    > from either of these cable manufacturers.


    Star quad cable has its uses, but it's not always better than two
    conductor shielded cable. As general advice, this is bogus.

    > Spending more than what this would cost is silly money.


    Wasting your time troubleshooting cables that you made yourself
    incorrectly is silly time. Have you forgotten what "newbie" means?



    --
    I'm really Mike Rivers - (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
  9. Newbie in market for mic's & cables needs a clueAlot of people have said the SM57... but I will make a suggestion to get the Beta version of the SM57... I put the SM57 up against the Beta57 yesterday in the studio and it blew the SM57 out of the water... the Beta is fuller and doesn't have the annoying spike at the upper midrange...

    For voice Id check out the Neumann TLM103... Its around $700 but its totally worth the money... You can hear a cricket farting in the next room with that mic...

    Just suggestions...

    Ryan


    "Gregg Garfinkle" <CAdestiny@comcast.net> wrote in message news:BB674859.DBD8%CAdestiny@comcast.net...
    I am just getting into home recording and am thinking about purchasing a couple/few mics and some cables, but don't know where to start. I'm looking for mics that are $500 or less and will provide me with as much versatility and "future-proofing" as possible. Not sure what I will be recording in the future, but imagine a range of sources-vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, congas/percussion, sax, and more.

    I'm also curious about which people think are the "best" (subjective I know...) mic cables-I've heard Mogami, Canare and Monster mentioned. Are they worth the extra money?

    Thanks for any and all feedback.

    Gregg
  10. TAPKAE

    TAPKAE Guest

    Hey, even a Studio Projects B1 could get you started on a good note. Get
    that and a 57, or a pair of either type, and you're still in budget, and
    have the basics covered well. A B1 is the same cost as a 57, is a large D
    condenser and sounds damned good for the price. It would be a little more
    suited to vocal and acoustic instruments than the 57 in most cases. It can
    do most of what a 57 can do as well, but the 57 is just too useful to
    ignore. Both can be had for less than 200 bux.


    --

    TAPKAE
    http://tapkae.com

    "We're the cleanup crew for parties we were too young to attend"
    (Kevin Gilbert)
  11. If I were starting out anew, would budget part of that $500 towards a
    nice parametric EQ unit like the DBX 242. (around $100 or less used).

    Then if you get something like a SM57, you could "EQ" it to fit in a
    mix
    better (as needed). Some of the "budget" condensers won't take to
    EQing as
    well as some others. So far the Studio Projects B1 has been fine as
    far as
    this approach is concerned, whereas the (original) Rode NT-1 still
    sounded
    quite harsh despite (this amateur's) best efforts. (NT-1 long since
    sold BTW)
    Supposedly, the new, revised Rode NT-1A, is an improved version.

    What kind of pre/mixer are you planning to use?
    That'll have a big impact on the final quality of a recording too.

    Chris

    P.S. The Studio Projects VTB-1 mic pre is an upgrade from
    Mackie/Behringer
    mixers and the like, if you're currently using/planning to use
    either.
    I think it's still $129 at www.bpmmusic.com
  12. HenryShap

    HenryShap Guest

    2 shure sm57 =$160
    2 mxl 603 = $160
    1 used sennheiser = $200

    Canare or mogami are very good and will last you for years. Monster is no
    better and may end up costing more.
    5 cables = $100

    oops you're over budget by $120.

    If I had $500 I'd recommend:

    2 shure sm57 =$160
    1 symetrix sx202 mic pre(used) = $200
    xlr and 1/4" cables +$60

    6 months to a year to use ONLY these and record strickly in stereo. When you've
    learned how to use them, take the money you've earned recording with them and
    buy more stuff. Or better yet, be sick of the whole process and find something
    more productive to do with your money, like betting the lottery.



    >I am just getting into home recording and am thinking about purchasing a
    >couple/few mics and some cables, but don1t know where to start. I1m looking
    >for mics that are $500 or less and will provide me with as much versatility
    >and 3future-proofing2 as possible. Not sure what I will be recording in
    >the
    >future, but imagine a range of sources‹vocals, acoustic & electric guitars,
    >congas/percussion, sax, and more.
    >
    >I1m also curious about which people think are the 3best2 (subjective I
    >know...) mic cables‹I1ve heard Mogami, Canare and Monster mentioned. Are
    >they worth the extra money?
    >
    >Thanks for any and all feedback.
    >
    >Gregg
  13. Rob Adelman

    Rob Adelman Guest

    Ryan Richards (Diesel Breath) wrote:
    > Alot of people have said the SM57... but I will make a suggestion to get
    > the Beta version of the SM57... I put the SM57 up against the Beta57
    > yesterday in the studio and it blew the SM57 out of the water... the
    > Beta is fuller and doesn't have the annoying spike at the upper midrange...


    Compare them in the context of the mix. In some cases that annoying
    spike is just what a track might need to give it more presence in that
    mix. Sometimes not.

    -Rob
  14. xy

    xy Guest

    Aaah... the endless variations on "what's the best vocal mic under $500?"

    two in one day!

    for the newbie: that question gets asked so often here it's literally hilarious.
    i'm practically in tears right now!



    I¹m looking
    > for mics that are $500 or less and will provide me with as much versatility
    > and ³future-proofing² as possible. Not sure what I will be recording in the
    > future, but imagine a range of sources?vocals, acoustic & electric guitars,
    > congas/percussion, sax, and more.
    >
    > I¹> --
  15. "Mike Rivers" <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
    news:znr1061324002k@trad...
    >
    > I wouldn't recommend that a newbie start out by soldering his own
    > cables unless he's experienced at soldering and electronic assembly.
    > Would YOU trust your connections to someone who wasn't experienced at
    > soldering? Why should he? I agree that learning how to solder, repair,
    > and build cables is an important skill, but not one that's important
    > to learn when you need cables. Learn it when you DON'T need cables and
    > can practice on scrap.


    Disagree. We're not talking about digital RF boards with 196 pin SMD devices
    (which is the first thing I was thrown into doing as a vac job in 2nd year,
    ouch!).
    Audio leads are *not* hard to do properly given 10-20 minutes of proper
    instruction and the right tools. Soldering *is* a real skill and can almost
    be an art (when I see what some of our workshop guys can do), but typical
    audio cables are not that bad unless you are totally hamfisted. XLR pins are
    nicely spaced and pretty hard to mess up. I didn't detect any particular
    urgency in the original post.

    > Properly crimped connectors are at least as good as soldered. Sez a
    > lot of people who need a lot of high reliability connections.


    I'm sorry, but I have not come across reliable crimped *audio* cables. At
    their best they could, maybe, work as well as soldered. Perhaps you could
    name some manufacturers I should check out, though? Crimping seems to work
    fine for UTP connectors, battery terminals, etc., sure.

    > Star quad cable has its uses, but it's not always better than two
    > conductor shielded cable. As general advice, this is bogus.


    Are you implying that it's any worse? I agree that it's characteristic
    impedance tends to be marginally more capacitive. I said "if you want to
    splash out" and was clearly not being general. In a home studio with less
    than great grounding, stray RF from monitors, etc, starquad cable may make a
    difference.

    > Wasting your time troubleshooting cables that you made yourself
    > incorrectly is silly time. Have you forgotten what "newbie" means?


    The original poster didn't seem to mention any great rush. And we're talking
    about a newbie into home recording, which usually means low budget (although
    I could be totally wrong in this case). The price/performance ratio of
    cables I've soldered myself has been pretty unbeatable, although that could
    be a function of our economy and the range of manufacturers we're exposed to
    here (South Africa).

    Ryan

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