More mic babble

Asked re a new mic either as a 1st vocal condensor or as similar to a SM57, I posted at TOMB:

The AKG C414 UL B is said to be a good mic, but at $700 it may be more than you need to spend – BTW, ” To be 300 under a quoted price, after being discontinued seems rare” – hmm, not so much, mebbe.

If you really want a decent condensor for vocals, there are tons available at US$300 and even well under that price; I usually reco the AT4040 or the KSM27 for nuetralish, or even a CAD GLX3000. For an “older” type sound, I think something like an M-Audio Luna or Solaris, or the tube Sputnik. There are many tube mic’s, of course, but I’ve been very happy with the MXL M69ME that you can find used; I usually reco that as the easiest to find, most flexible inexpensive tube mic that “sounds tube-ish”, and I reco that means it could fit yer requirement for “old tone”.

Dynamics – again, there are many. Usual reco’s include the Sennheiser MD 421 (orig. or II) or really, just about any Senn MD mic; the 500 series handhelds I’ve used are all cool. The EV RE20 (I like the transformerless 320) or somewhat similar to what you already have but generally considered superior, the Shure SM7b.

I have never met an EV mic, other than broken ones, that I don’t like, and some of the handheld N/D’s sound great on vocals, even the 267, and all of the RE’s I have used have been very cool and kinda “old tone”.

I have only really used the Audix OM2, but like that, as well as the AKG D5. Those and the above EV’s are not totally dis-similar to the 57.

Also, XXX mentions the CAD M179 condensor and it is very nice and very flexible, and I have even seen it compared to the 414; it’s a great mic not even considering it’s awesome price. There is a cardoid-only version called the 177 that might be cheaper, yet. Altho’ I would mebbe feel weird calling any mic, “cute”… Twisted Evil


Asked about “at-home mastering”, I answered at TOMB:

You do realize your post may start a firestorm, right? Laughing

I’ll answer as a long-time bedroom recordist, too prolific to afford professional mastering myself, by telling you what I try to accomplish by engaging in what I call, “masturding”.

Your mileage will certainly vary, and what I do is certainly not “mastering” in the accepted sense, or mebbe even in any acceptable sense.


First, I shoot for as much congruity in the 2-mixes (mix-downs) as desired, and “top and tail” the tracks, such that extraneous noise is gone, fades are perfect, etc. I usually like .1 second of silence at the head of every track – it just works for me – and I like to end tracks on a whole second number rather than a decimal, as it’s easier for liner notes.

Then, I decide on sequence.

Next I shoot for consistent EQ on the 2-mix of each song in comparison to the others, or at least the ones right before and after in the sequence. Starting places include high-pass (I usually do 40Hz as a default, fairly gradual shelf slope), and then stuff like “air” (10-12kHz, sometimes, gradual shelf up, sometimes, sometimes a wide peak, sometimes none – depends on the track) and mebbe cut mud around 350 or 450Hz by a couple db, usually at a Q of 1.3 – these are just figures I find I adjust sometimes more than others, as a starting place, with my material, ears, and equipment … There’s nothing the matter with using using similar settings most of the time, BTW, but you have to find them according to your given material, ears and rig. And you might not be able to …

Next I go for peak-limiting (I personally don’t mix into or apply compression to the 2-mix), usually setting peaks at -.3db (which ensures no digital overs in my DAW if I convert to *.mp3 or FLAC later), but always listening to the tracks in sequence to make sure apparent level is correct, i.e., that they sound consistent when played in order. You can’t use digital data to set average loudness levels because the average loudness of an acoustic number, for example, is usually gonna be lower than an electric number, digital data-statistically speaking. So, listen.

Finally, I listen to everything on various playback set-ups, ex., in the car, headphones, I-Pod, the kitchen and bathroom and den stereos …

And I start all over, or just adjust, as necessary.

Hope that’s helpful.

Re compressors

I poste at TOMB:

The slutz seem to prefer the WA, for what it’s worth.

I bought a 1176 Gyraf clone offa someone here – it’s awesome, tho’ ya gotta build one, at about the same cost as the Warm.

The Purple is quite a bit more $.

Not at all the same, but somewhat similar in being colored (tube make-up stage), is the VLA2. I like it sometimes, but find it noisy sometimes …

I also like the RNLA. I like it a lot on vox, and guitars, especially.

Simple compressor-color wise, a dbx 160 or 166 can be great, typically on bass and vox for me, altho’ the 166 can be excellent on stereo stuff like keys and acoustic guitar.

A DOD 866 is very similar, somehow related to the dbx 166, but a lot cheaper.

I really like Meek stuff, also, and the MC2 and C2 are tons of fun and I use ‘em on everything.

You don’t ever hear about the Symetric 522, but now that I have one, you just did. Cool I especially like it on electric guitar.

All of the above except the Gyraf are under US$300 used, some closer to US$200, and all capable of effective compression as well as some cool coloration.

Re small amps, again

Just posting about ‘em at TOMB, probably repeating myself:

I have a Pro, Jr. and really like it, use it for practices and recording.

Same with a Electar 10, what compliments the Pro, Jr. for recording, sounding a little different.

I’ve been looking for a Terror used, but they are more’n I wanna pay.

I have a 1960 Rickie M8E that’s awesome, Neil Young “Down By The River”/Keef “Brown Sugar”, Page “Custard Pie” tones … never leaves the house.

S/S I really like the little Vox Pathfinder and the Tech 21 Trademark 10- they record very well.

I also have a Peavey Audition with their “transtube” that is usable, especially for the high-gain sounds.

I have a couple others that are 1-trick ponies (Kustom, Mini Mouse, Harmony) as well as some of the little 1 w. S/S things like the Zues and the tweed Epi, a First act …

I have a Marlboro 25 w. 12″ bass amp, also. records aiight, especially when combined with a DI.
vlayman; THD; blog; TFP



Vlayman’s Last Album of the Year: *Bad Candy*

<— click

1. The Dark (I Taste) 03:26
2. Bad Candy 04:21
3. Fed Up_w_Grankspoine 03:55
4. Cabrone (Go On Home) 04:18
5. The Window 03:26
6. Woman of Mine_w_Sepak 04:13
7. The Fear Saw Me 04:02
8. Left Us 04:19
9. My Black Dog 04:01
10. IBT_w_Sepak 04:30

released 13 December 2014

The last of 2014’s wankage, a little sticky, somewhat catchy, and it kinda smells like it.

England’s Grankspoine on # 3
Chicago’s Mr. Sepak on #’s 6 & 10
M. Vezina on # 10
Vlayman all else
vlayman; THD; blog; TFP

Sennheiser MK 4

I like this mic on vocals, a lot. Sennheiser now being owned by Neumann, I’ve read that there is some definite TLM influence on the MK 4. I don’t know about those mic’s, but this one has a very expensive-sounding low end,a flexible proximity effect, and a nice clarity to the top, with no distortion when a pop filter is used. It’s not hugely different than an AT4040, or a Shure SM27, but a nicely different color, very natural, sounds much more expensive than it costs, German and not at all Chinese.


5/5 olives

Aiight, behold the Bedio!

Bonus, gtrs&CD’s&crap:
vlayman; THD; blog; TFP


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