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About to buy stuff to start recording
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Bacchus
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:45 am    Post subject: About to buy stuff to start recording Reply with quote

Bacchus want to record.

What do we need? We are piano, guitar, bass, vocals, and maybe some drums, and some other things depending on how well collaborations go, such as trumpet and accordion.

So far, I'm thinking

13" MacBook (already have, is it worth upgrading the RAM from 2G to 4G for recording? Will it make things a lot easier? Also, how 'clean' should I have the hardrive? Is it worth bacing up everything I have on it so that the disk is empty? Will this make things run smoother?)
Logic Pro (already have. might get a copy of ProTools from somewhere though, depending on how good I get with Logic)
Presonus Firebox
3 x Behringer 8500's (SM58 clones, and good'uns too, by all (or most) accounts)
3 x Mic Stands
3 x XLR cables (the firebox can only take 2 XLR's at a time, but the deal at thomann.de is a bundle of 8500 + stand + cable)
The drummer that we'll be playing with has a set of cheap drum mics. They are probably shit, and I don't know what all will be in the set, but they might be useful for something or other.


Mics:

http://www.thomann.de/gb/behringer_xm8500_bundle.htm

Firebox:

http://www.thomann.de/gb/presonus_firebox.htm

Review of Firebox on SoundonSound

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul05/articles/firebox.htm

Any help here would be great. I've done a fair bit of work in ProTools and such, but I've never had to record live sound. I've only ever worked with sound that I had sourced somewhere else that was already digital. I think I'll be comfortable enough with the software side of things, but I don't want to go wasting money on the gear side. Also, this is something that I will want to use on other projects too, so flexibility will be a major bonus.
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Bacchus
Whatever's handiest


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, I'm also wondering how worthwhile is it to drop money on decent headphones?

I'm thinking Sennheiser HD 280's for this.
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gaybear
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

budget?
also, get a goat to be the studio mascot
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Bacchus
Whatever's handiest


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

gaybear wrote:
budget?
also, get a goat to be the studio mascot


Probably about three hundred and fifty, four hundred pounds.

I've worked out that I can get the firebox for 170, which is a bargain. 75 for the mics and shit, that leaves enough for headphones.

Hrmm.

Also, good thinking with the goat, I'd not thought about catering.
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gaybear
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

werd. not sure why you want 58 clones. 57's would make more sense? (amps/close miking)
get some condensor mics yo! (for vocals/overheads/maybe piano?)
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Bacchus
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

gaybear wrote:
werd. not sure why you want 58 clones. 57's would make more sense? (amps/close miking)
get some condensor mics yo! (for vocals/overheads/maybe piano?)


I thought that there was very little difference between a 57 and a 58, and it was to do with the cover on them?

I was talking to a friend here who advised me that three 58's (or something similar) would do the job, but that a condenser from a drum kit mic set would be useful too. I have no idea, and I'm wondering what all I'll need.

I was thinking that the SM58 is good for just about everything, except maybe drums, so three of those would be a good start and would be enough that we could get what we wanted.

I would love to have someone tell me I've got this wrong, though, before I go spending money.
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Mike
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems like a good plan, I'd also pickup a large diaphragm condensor, useful as drum overhead, on acoustic guitars, guitar cabs, vocals. the lot.
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James
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The SM58/SM57 being the same other than the cover thing is a bit of a myth. There is no point taking the cover off a 58 when recording guitars or anything else. They're very similar mics still, but the differences are in the overall frequency spectrum and not caused by the windshield. Here's a comparison I made a while back. The removing the windshield idea comes from the fact that they look very similar when you do, there's very little reason to do it from an acoustic point of view and you risk damage to the mic (taking it off wont damage it, but the diaphragm is more fragile than on a 57).



People like them for kick drum (they'd probably be slightly better than a 57 becuase they have that extra bit of low end but it's most likely negliable) and of course you could use one for snare. I've even heard decent drum recordings done with three 57s or three 58s. You could get better results with better mics, but they are very versatile and if you're not buying many mics I'd consider going for those even though I don't like them much myself.

I hae a bit of an unusual stance on mics in that I never had to think about the cost. I would just take a booking form up to the studio tech room at uni and leave with the mics I wanted. So if a mic sells for 200 second hand and a 57 for 40, that part of a comparison wouldn't come into it. My only thoughts were which was the better sounding mic. The 58 and 57 are very good for 'you can put them in front of almost anything and it will sound quite good' but they're rarely the best mic for the job, even amongst the 'low end' stuff.

Going back more directly to your original post, I would go for two of the Behringer mics and one 'nice' mic. It might cost a bit more and I didn't compare the cost of things to your budget, but if you could spend say 80-100 on a second hand mic you could get something that you will keep for as long as you'll be recording. Here are a couple of suggestions with links to the Thomann site (though you'd be much better off with ebay or whatever).

Sennheiser E602
This is a great mic for kick drum and bass amps. You could also use it for vocals and possibly even the low end of a piano. After using it a few times I could put it on a kick I'd neve rheard before and be happy with the placement before hearing it. It's a bit like a 57/58 in that it's very easy to use and difficult to get bad results with. It's also a good idea to have a mic for bassier things, even if you don't think you'll get much use out of it. There will be a time when you want to get a different vocal sound than you're getting from the SM58 clones and a different mic is a good way to do it. Also consider the Audix one (think it's a D6) though I've never used that.

Beyer M201
I love this mic. For me it's better than the 57 as a 'just shove it at that thing' mic and I often found it to be the best choice even when I tried a lot of other things. It's a fantastic snare mic and great with guitar cabs too. It's considered an 'industry standard' for recording sound effects though I'm not sure what that says about the mic in practical terms. If I were to buy one pricier mic i'd go with this one.

Beyer M88
A bit more expensive and even the second hand price could be out of reach, but it will do a great job on almost anything, as with the 201, but in a different way. This will do everything you want to record, it's even great with brass. It would still be good to have a couple of condensors. In fact if you had two condensors and one of these (and a way of recording three tracks at once) you would be completely covered to record all you wanted. Also the M69 is supposedly the same mic. Beyer make the mic and if it doesn't meet the tolerances for an M88 they brand it as an M69. They're definitely very similar although I'm not sure how true the statement is.

I think microphones are very important in recording, and often overlooked by people starting out. If you have to add 50 to your budget to replace one of the Behringers with something like those above I don't think you'd regret it once you got some use out of them.
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James
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike wrote:
Seems like a good plan, I'd also pickup a large diaphragm condensor, useful as drum overhead, on acoustic guitars, guitar cabs, vocals. the lot.


It doesn't need to be an LDC, a small diaphragm one would be fine too.

Audio Technica do quite a lot of fairly cheap condensors. I'm not sure the price but I have them as being not too expensive in my head. Maybe they'd be a little too much. The 4033 is good but it's too expensive. Maybe they do some other cheaper ones.

I'd consider the JM27. It's not as versatile as other condensors but it will get you through quite a lot. They're certainly better than most cheap condensers that I've heard.

The Rode NT1 is a common budget condensor. I've used one a few times and I've never felt like I needed to replace it with something better to get a good result.

There are loads of Chinese brands that I know little about because they started coming out as I finished my uni course. You might be able to pick up something cheaper from them but I wouldn't be able to give a comment either way on them.
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Mike
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have those JM27s I bought with you, they're nice but they are a lot more toppy than my AKG C3000B which is a lot more balanced.

I know large diaphram isn't be-all and end all, but I think they make a better allrounder if you're just buying one mic. That said those JM27s cannot be beaten for the price we got them at (40 for 2?!)

Gareth has a Rode NT1 and it is fucking ace. We track all the vocals for Sell Crazy with that thing.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

what spec macbook have you got?

i've been using my macbook for recording using pro tools and i still only use 2 Gb of ram, though the more ram wouldn't harm. i would recommend using an external hard drive and keeping your internal drive streamlined. you can set logic to read and write to the external drive and you won't get any latency from it.
the way i have my storage setup is everything is on the external drive (ie music, video, photos, documents etc) and the internal drive is just for programs. it runs really fast like this, takes about 25 seconds to boot up and is very stable. i'm yet to max it out recording.
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James
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike wrote:
I know large diaphram isn't be-all and end all, but I think they make a better allrounder if you're just buying one mic. That said those JM27s cannot be beaten for the price we got them at (40 for 2?!)


I think it may have been 40 each but that's still ridiculous.

People often assume that a LDC will have more bass response than a SDC and be more verstile as a result. It's a common misconception and I thought it myself for a while. SDCs can have a very large frequency response, including lots of low end. Really LDCs and SDCs are very similar with perhaps the main difference (in terms of the acoustic properties) being that it's easier to have a flatter frequency response with a SDC because of the lower inertia of the smaller diaphragm. Practically mics vary due to design more than the SDC or LDC will come into it so it's a bit of an insignificant discussion, other than to point out that an SDC is equally as versatile as an LDC. Anywhere you would put a LDC you can put an SDC.

The JM27 is a bit of an odd one because it's not very flat at all. It has quite a noticeable 'character' in the high end and it makes it not as versatile as other condensors. It's well worth the money but it might be worth going for something else if the mic cuprboard is going to be kept small.
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Bacchus
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks very much for all this stuff, James. It is more or less exactly what I wanted to know about. Plenty to think about, now.

I suspect that I'll go with three of the XM 8500's, and see what's in this cheap drum mic set that the drummer has, and then see what gaps there are. 8500's will be useful and worth having, especially at that price (stand + cable + mic for 25, the mic's almost free).

This information is all dead useful though. Would it be worth stickying it at the top of the forum, or putting it into the wiki? I think so. One place with information about a range of mics on the market (and where possible, samples, now that I think about it) would be incredibly useful in a Recording Forum.
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James
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BacchusPaul wrote:
This information is all dead useful though. Would it be worth stickying it at the top of the forum, or putting it into the wiki? I think so.


Nah, it's just a few opinions on some mics I used a few years ago. There are so many others in that market bracket and the detail is all a bit hazy that it's not really worth much. I would stand by the point of getting at least one good dynamic mic even if your budget is low but the rest is just a bit of 'aim for something like this' rather than anything concrete.
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Sloan
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BUY USED
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Bacchus
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay,

Having heard everyone's advice and carefully considered it I've decided to ignore it...

I reckon James has a very good point about the mic thing, but I'm thinking that an expensive mic will just be too much for the budget. It cam down to a choice between good headphones or a good mic. I decided that it was probably better to be able to hear a realistic representation of what I've recorded and work with that than to buy more expensive mics and not be able to get the full use out of them.

Also, I mentioned that we have a piano. It's digital, so it'll plug straight into the firebox, meaning I don't have the difficult task of micing a pianonono, although I have access to very good pianos, so I might give it a go and see how it sounds. It might be worth getting a DI box from somewhere, though.

Depending on how things go and how long this takes, I might add to the collection with one of the suggestions above (can three Behringer SM58 clones realy be considered a collection?).

Hopefully, things will start arriving this week, we'll record the week after that, be on TV the week after that, and then get a deal with enough money involved that I can convince the people in New Zealand that I'm not a vagrant, and that they should let me in to their nice country.

That's the plan. I'll shout back if I come up against a sticking point and need help.
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Mike
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can achieve great results with just dynamics. Look at Doog, all his home recorded stuff has just dynamic mics on it.
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Bacchus
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I can get anything close to that quality I'll be loured to bits.
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Mike
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Magic Rule:

Track is correctly and the mix will be simpler, fixing stuff in the mix is complicated, and a fucking nightmare.

Get the best perfomance, mic position etc first time around.
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Bacchus
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had heard that before.

So basically zero everything, get as close as you can on the recording and then tweak?

I remember we were told that eq and such shouldn't really be used to drastically modify the sound, rather it should be used to make things fit a little neater.

I have some friends that did the Music Technology course (I did a couple of first and second year modules, but these people actually know things, instead of just having heard people say them, like me). I might shout one of them see if he fancies spending a day supervising.
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