Home-recording Microphones

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AndrewMeronek
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Home-recording Microphones

Post by AndrewMeronek » Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:10 am

I found some nice reviews of microphones specifically for trombone here:

https://www.altobone.com/microphones-fo ... -trombone/

https://mynewmicrophone.com/recommended ... /trombone/

But more personally, I want to get myself set up without spending too much money with a home-recording specifically for trombone, but at this point I can't justify spending $5000 on a nice Neumann M149 or a Coles 4038.

I am thinking something more like the suggest MXL R77. I've also seen good reviews of the RE 20, which seems to be meant more for a combo home and public performance mic. But, the MXL R77 seems to show a better low range response. Things I feel are important: a nice, flat frequency spread, with that flat frequency response down to at least double-pedal B-flat for bass trombone, which is about 30Hz. Yes, people say that pedal notes don't actually sound the fundamental, but it seems reasonable to think it's still important to have sensitivity in that range so that the sound remains balanced. And that range certainly will become more relevant if I get a tuba.

Browsing through eBay, there are some other mics from that series that sell for cheaper . . . but that doesn't mean that they are similar, earlier versions. What are peoples' experiences with mic'ing trombone, specifically with regard to what are now used microphones that I may be able to buy for less than $400?
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Re: Home-recording Microphones

Post by Finetales » Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:05 pm

I really love the Cascade Fat Head for all brass (including trombone). I once recorded in a nice studio with six figures worth of mics and the engineer ending up picking a Fat Head to record my bass trombone. It sounded amazing! I got one for myself not long after and it's been great. The original silver version is just $159 online, and the Fat Head II can be had easily for less than $500.

I have an MXL R144 ribbon microphone as well, and it's just ok. The R77 is probably better though. Some of the MXL mics have really good reviews.

Agreed about the Coles 4038...that's my endgame microphone. I absolutely adore how it sounds.
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Re: Home-recording Microphones

Post by harrisonreed » Mon Jul 27, 2020 5:45 pm

For distant miking, 3 meters, the CM4 from Audio Line is beyond insane for the value. There are so many examples of engineers placing two in a hall and walking away with a perfect recording.

It adds nothing and takes away nothing from the recording, unlike mics you'd use close up.
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Re: Home-recording Microphones

Post by JLivi » Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:45 pm

Any time I'm in the studio I'm always put on a ribbon mic. Either a Royer or the Coles Ribbon.

At home I rock with a AT4050 (Audio Technica) and I have a bunch of Shure 57's and 58's that I use too. If I remember correctly, when I was looking for mics I was searching for large condenser microphones for voice that didn't boost too much in the 2-5k range. If you're looking for something flat, it looks like the Shure KSM44 has a fairly flat frequency response, except there's a weird 10k boost. I always felt the KSM mics were too bright for trombone. But then again, EQ will fix a lot.

What do you want to get out of the recordings you plan to make? Is this for pro level stuff, or just to mess around?
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Re: Home-recording Microphones

Post by AndrewMeronek » Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:07 am

JLivi wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:45 pm
What do you want to get out of the recordings you plan to make? Is this for pro level stuff, or just to mess around?
More to mess around, although I do want a decent chance at getting a somewhat decent sounding recording of myself. Basically, I am looking for a mic where the capabilities are a kind of sweet spot for getting a good sound but without the mic being so good that it requires a sound-isolated recording room, without any other household noises like a refrigerator in the next room.
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Re: Home-recording Microphones

Post by AndrewMeronek » Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:15 am

harrisonreed wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 5:45 pm
For distant miking, 3 meters, the CM4 from Audio Line is beyond insane for the value. There are so many examples of engineers placing two in a hall and walking away with a perfect recording.

It adds nothing and takes away nothing from the recording, unlike mics you'd use close up.
I think I'll want something highly directional, to help deal with random background noise.
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Re: Home-recording Microphones

Post by AndrewMeronek » Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:17 am

Finetales wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:05 pm
I really love the Cascade Fat Head for all brass (including trombone). I once recorded in a nice studio with six figures worth of mics and the engineer ending up picking a Fat Head to record my bass trombone. It sounded amazing! I got one for myself not long after and it's been great. The original silver version is just $159 online, and the Fat Head II can be had easily for less than $500.

I have an MXL R144 ribbon microphone as well, and it's just ok. The R77 is probably better though. Some of the MXL mics have really good reviews.

Agreed about the Coles 4038...that's my endgame microphone. I absolutely adore how it sounds.
Hmmm, that Fat Head isn't super cheap, but looks interesting. It does seem to have a noticeable dropoff in the very low range. https://www.cascademicrophones.com/ribb ... e-fat-head
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Re: Home-recording Microphones

Post by vetsurginc » Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:23 am

At the low end, what are the thoughts on the Blue Yeti, either the USB only or the Pro model? I've been using one at home doing tracks and recording practice sessions. It's a bedroom "studio" situation but the cardioid pattern seems to reject extraneous noise.
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Re: Home-recording Microphones

Post by timothy42b » Tue Jul 28, 2020 1:06 pm

At ATW some time back, might have been March (usually is) Christopher Bill was asked about his equipment.

He described his journey upgrading equipment along the way to becoming famous on youtube.

About microphones though he said something interesting. He said (hope I remember this right) that the trombone is not a particular complex sound and not all that hard to mike, a shure 57 is plenty good enough (although he had some high dollar ones also.)
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Re: Home-recording Microphones

Post by MagnumH » Tue Jul 28, 2020 1:51 pm

timothy42b wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 1:06 pm
At ATW some time back, might have been March (usually is) Christopher Bill was asked about his equipment.

He described his journey upgrading equipment along the way to becoming famous on youtube.

About microphones though he said something interesting. He said (hope I remember this right) that the trombone is not a particular complex sound and not all that hard to mike, a shure 57 is plenty good enough (although he had some high dollar ones also.)
You remember correctly! He said that, if played properly and well, a trombone is not all that different from a pure sine wave, so low budget mics work well.

For me, I use a clip-on (Shure Beta 98) for perfectly adequate home recordings, as well as excellent live sound (its main purpose). You’ll also be grand with any basic mic, probably.
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Re: Home-recording Microphones

Post by Finetales » Tue Jul 28, 2020 2:22 pm

You certainly don't need anything more than a 57 to get a decent sound. You don't really need more than a 58 for anything - lots of Jacob Collier's amazing-sounding early stuff that launched him to stardom was done entirely on a single 58. My first mic purchase was a 57 and it served me well. The 57 is a forever mic that there are always uses for, even when you have a closet full of expensive mics. And it's the ULTIMATE live gig mic.

But for trombone and brass specifically, for me the MXL R144 ($100 new, same as the 57) sounded better than the 57 and the Fat Head I now use ($159) sounds way better than that. So if you're only recording trombone, you can find better mics for the same price and much better ones for not much more. That said, every player's sound is different and every player's idea of what they want their recordings to sound like is different. Mics are a very personal thing, just like our instruments and mouthpieces.

But still...everyone should have a 57!
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Re: Home-recording Microphones

Post by harrisonreed » Tue Jul 28, 2020 2:33 pm

AndrewMeronek wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:15 am
harrisonreed wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 5:45 pm
For distant miking, 3 meters, the CM4 from Audio Line is beyond insane for the value. There are so many examples of engineers placing two in a hall and walking away with a perfect recording.

It adds nothing and takes away nothing from the recording, unlike mics you'd use close up.
I think I'll want something highly directional, to help deal with random background noise.
Those are pretty directional. Definitely not omnis.
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Re: Home-recording Microphones

Post by JLivi » Tue Jul 28, 2020 2:40 pm

AndrewMeronek wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:17 am
Hmmm, that Fat Head isn't super cheap, but looks interesting. It does seem to have a noticeable dropoff in the very low range. https://www.cascademicrophones.com/ribb ... e-fat-head
My guess is that it has a built in bass roll off. I always have my bass roll off engaged to make way for other instruments that live in that range (tuba or electric bass in my case).

I've never heard of a fat head before, but I'm definitely intrigued by the frequency response graph, and what I read online.

Also, if the fathead is "not super cheap", then you should just go with a Shure 57 or 58 and have a really nice quality mic, that will be great for live performances, and will last you forever! As I type this, it sounds condescending. That's not my intention :-)
MagnumH wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 1:51 pm
For me, I use a clip-on (Shure Beta 98) for perfectly adequate home recordings, as well as excellent live sound (its main purpose). You’ll also be grand with any basic mic, probably.
For what it's worth, I actually prefer the 57/58 to the beta 98. The clip on condenser is just too bright for my liking in a recording atmosphere. But I do love the 98
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Re: Home-recording Microphones

Post by ArbanRubank » Tue Jul 28, 2020 2:52 pm

What I do with my recording track post-recording is as important or even more important to the final product than what mic I use, as long as the mic is basically good.
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Re: Home-recording Microphones

Post by biggiesmalls » Tue Jul 28, 2020 6:13 pm

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Re: Home-recording Microphones

Post by AndrewMeronek » Tue Jul 28, 2020 6:34 pm

For reference, a nice overview of how to think about frequency response in a mic.

https://mynewmicrophone.com/complete-gu ... -examples/
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Re: Home-recording Microphones

Post by AndrewMeronek » Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:45 am

Hmmm - looks like I have an AKG C414 B-ULS which is a bit older but seems to be highly regarded. Kind of a long story.
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Re: Home-recording Microphones

Post by harrisonreed » Wed Jul 29, 2020 9:27 pm

AndrewMeronek wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:45 am
Hmmm - looks like I have an AKG C414 B-ULS which is a bit older but seems to be highly regarded. Kind of a long story.
That's an outstanding large condenser
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Re: Home-recording Microphones

Post by bassclef » Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:56 pm

I am also currently researching a home setup.

I learned a lot from this video by a fellow trombonist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12J5qY32CWg

Even though his A/B comparisons were using mics well above my price range, I found the characterizations of different types of microphones to be informative.

I've settled on an Audient iD4 interface and am currently agonizing between a large diaphragm condenser (AT4040) and a ribbon (Cascade Fathead).
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Re: Home-recording Microphones

Post by harrisonreed » Fri Jul 31, 2020 5:42 pm

bassclef wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:56 pm
I am also currently researching a home setup.

I learned a lot from this video by a fellow trombonist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12J5qY32CWg

Even though his A/B comparisons were using mics well above my price range, I found the characterizations of different types of microphones to be informative.

I've settled on an Audient iD4 interface and am currently agonizing between a large diaphragm condenser (AT4040) and a ribbon (Cascade Fathead).
Don't forget that Mike Lake records his stuff with his microphones only about two feet directly in front of his bell. Microphones do a lot more to the sound when they are that close. For jazz, this is great, because a lot of jazz players can't perform with a characteristic sound without a microphone to begin with.

The ideal microphone placement, I've found, is about 1-2 meters in front of the bell, and 3 meters above it in a spaced stereo pair, with the diaphragms aimed down at the bell. This gives you a recording that actually sounds like you, instead of what the microphone sounds like.
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Re: Home-recording Microphones

Post by harrisonreed » Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:44 pm

Correction, he called "distant miking" in that video at just one foot, with the ribbon mic.

For reference:
Screenshot_20200224-130129.png
Screenshot_20200224-130129.png (1.89 MiB) Viewed 463 times
The point is, your ideal placement may be something between those two extremes, as well!

Good luck!
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Re: Home-recording Microphones

Post by JLivi » Sat Aug 01, 2020 11:48 am

That Michael Lake video about mic placement is a good resource too. I think this is the link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tx-z_tPUpVA

For my personal setup, I am in an unfinished basement with all concrete walls & floor. So unfortunately I have to use a close mic technique and have acoustic panels on the ceiling, a sound blanket on the wall, and a rug on the floor to help with sound absorption. The reverb in the room is horrible. I'm probably not able to get the full great sound out of my microphone, but you gotta work with the space you have.
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