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  #46  
Old 02-06-2013, 05:08 AM
Scott Whigham Scott Whigham is offline
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Originally Posted by moon View Post
Creativity never makes any kind of financial sense or any other kind of practical, "real-world" sense but it's important to follow your dreams, to push yourself and find out what you can really do. If you're serious about music, I think you should spend every last penny (first) on a great instrument and (second) on great recording gear.

You won't get another chance...
But there are plenty of other chances when you own the studio, you are the player, and you have the luxury of recording yourself as often as you like. So I don't quite understand your point, I think.

I stand by what I said: I think it's utterly crazy that people are advising an admitted newbie that he should spend $3700 on a pair of his first mics. It's just absolutely nutty. I get it - we all have a pair of Schoeps CMC641s. Cool. But were they your first mics that you were going to learn how to record with?!?! Given what I've seen on this forum in my short time here, I would've thought the thread would've been full of people saying, "No, you don't need to spend $3700. You just need a $100 this or that and you'll get the same results." Why? Because that's what darn near every other thread turns into by page 2 here haha. I'm sure that, if I was of a mind to, I could pull up 50 posts over the past 90 days or so where someone said, "You don't need that expensive microphone, this little USB/iOS mic/handheld recorder will do just as good" (or something to that effect). And then there would be 5 replies right behind each one saying, "Yep, same here!" So why is this thread different from almost all the other threads on this forum?

I have a theory as to why: that the usual people who chime in and say, "You don't need to spend that much" are a bit intimidated by OP's original budget. They've never even considered spending that much on all of their gear, let alone just for mics. They probably didn't spend that much for their guitar even. And that's fine - I'm not trying to suggest anything at all w/ respect to "The more money you spend, the better person/player/recordist/etc you are" (so please don't side track the thread with some reply thereof). But because those people aren't in the thread, I'm thinking that it's become the cult of Schoeps owners and we're all being enablers. "Come join us! It's wonderful here! You'll love it! Such warm and crisp sounds await..." And those of you who know me from here and other forums know that I'm an absolute gear slut - totally. So for me to be telling someone, "Whoa, there, pardner..." is just a real strange experience!!!

And again: I want to make sure Mike doesn't feel that I'm trying to disrespect him (or anyone with this sort of budget) in any way. That's 100% not my intent. Kudos to anyone who can even consider affording such masterpieces of gear - I'm happy for such people.

One last point - Mike, if you are going the Schoeps route, you might want to read this thread that I started over on GS last year: Schoeps CMC6 Shockmount Suggestions
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  #47  
Old 02-06-2013, 05:37 AM
redavide redavide is offline
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Scott, personally, I agree with you. You seem to be the voice of reason in this thread . . . But I guess money, whether it's a lot or a little to spend, reasonable or unreasonable, is always relative to the person spending it . . .
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  #48  
Old 02-06-2013, 06:57 AM
SpiritShooter SpiritShooter is offline
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Scott, personally, I agree with you. You seem to be the voice of reason in this thread . . . But I guess money, whether it's a lot or a little to spend, reasonable or unreasonable, is always relative to the person spending it . . .
I read your and Scotts comments with a lot of interest. If I was 21 years old (no offense to anyone just out of school), and I was on a very limited budget, then yes, there seem to be a multitude of options that may provide amazing results for the dollars spent.

However, I am not, I have the means to obtain whatever I like but that doesn't mean I want to throw gazillions of dollars at something that makes absolutely no sense. And even more, I feel that there is significant value in what you guys say about learning to record well with tools that may not be top end.

What I am looking to do, is obtain tools that will allow me to learn and not become frustrated by limitations of what I am using. IMO, there isn't enough time in a day for work, playing, learning to record, running, swimming and cycling. I do a lot, I don't want to fight with things that perhaps can be controlled.

When I was in high school, I had a Gibson L7c. It was a lovely guitar, I worked weekends for 2 years to save up enough money to buy it. I also had a 5 year old 65' Fender Jaguar that I bought used for pennies and sold for a Tele. I wish I still had them both now, but I don't, but I learned that getting good instruments allowed me to focus on my music and not fight a fretboard or poor action on inexpensive guitars as did most of my friends.

I appreciate the direction and advice that everyone has provided. I have not made a decision on mics as of yet. I am waiting for the interface and cables to arrive as I begin working on the acoustics of my studio. I have a friend bringing me a few pair of mics to audition. He has AKG 451, Shure KSM141, and Earthworks 40 something or other. He said I can use the Shure and AKG for a few weeks.

I am also beginning to work with ProTools. I downloaded the 30 day free trial and need to put in some serious time. This is all a big project, it will take time and I am looking forward to the experience. I may have to give up Triathlon racing, that would make my wife happy as she says "you am getting too old for this stuff".

Perhaps she's right. I am pleased that everyone can discuss this objectively without blasting me or anyone else for asking the questions and not pre-judge any of us for what we can or can't afford to spend.

Thanks.
Mike
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  #49  
Old 02-06-2013, 07:38 AM
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Congrats on the new setup. You will have a blast getting to know these great pieces of equipment. Look forward to hearing some recordings.
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  #50  
Old 02-06-2013, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by SpiritShooter View Post
However, I am not, I have the means to obtain whatever I like but that doesn't mean I want to throw gazillions of dollars at something that makes absolutely no sense. And even more, I feel that there is significant value in what you guys say about learning to record well with tools that may not be top end.

What I am looking to do, is obtain tools that will allow me to learn and not become frustrated by limitations of what I am using. IMO, there isn't enough time in a day for work, playing, learning to record, running, swimming and cycling. I do a lot, I don't want to fight with things that perhaps can be controlled.




Thanks.
Mike
I am going to also respectfully voice a bit of a counter point to Scotts points, while I do definitely agree with much of what he points out and yes there are certainly many considerable less expensive alternatives that will produce completely acceptable sound.

However I disagree that the notion of buying a pair of mics that in all likely hood will be a one time life long purchase is nutty or unwise, (Simply) because of lack of experience.

In fact I would have to proffer that the inexperience of user (by itself) has no bering on the advantages or advisability of a piece of high end gear.

That said there are some things I do agree with

One being that because recording and engineering are learned skills with a pretty (steep and long) learning curve that no amount of money or High Eng gear is going to make up for. In all likely hood even with top gear the first 100 to 200 recording results are going to less than optimal and personally fulfilling. And the point I agree with about experience is, that it will take some time and experience to be able to really begin to take full advantage of the top % of what better quality brings to the table.

Also because of the learning curve there will be plenty of frustration. Even with top flight gear , And the bad news is you will not be able to blame the gear!
And one thing Scott is correct about, is the unrealistic expectations possible with inexperience which can in itself be very frustrating.

The second key point that does relate to cost is that, it is always a matter of weakest link ( to a point, because there are certain types of gear where gradients of better are more and less import sound quality wise).

Mics are right up there in providing significant grades of improvement BUT understand that if for example:

You have a pair of Scheops and a great pre and great converters but also have untreated room with significant slap back, standing dead waves and bad resonances issues that you are recording and mixing in.
What you are going to get is a really accurate recording of crappy sound.

While close mic'ing and cardioid and supercardioid will help it will still be less than what is possible.
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  #51  
Old 02-06-2013, 11:48 AM
SpiritShooter SpiritShooter is offline
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You have a pair of Scheops and a great pre and great converters but also have untreated room with significant slap back, standing dead waves and bad resonances issues that you are recording and mixing in.
What you are going to get is a really accurate recording of crappy sound.
Appreciate your thoughts,

BUT, we are in the process of designing the room for acoustic treatment. What makes you think we will get crappy sound? In fact, I believe that when done, we will be in good shape with respect to acoustics.
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  #52  
Old 02-06-2013, 01:33 PM
ombudsman ombudsman is offline
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For any new interest - and, I'm a guy, so all of my hobbies require tools - I like the approach of starting with something modest but good and versatile, and then "earning" upgrades through establishing that I will put in the effort and get results.

People have an innate attraction toward tools and objects and I think it's important to keep that in mind, particular in an area where you aren't an expert. It's easy for a beginner to read a few things and assume they should be recording in stereo or using matched pairs of mics, and reading forums online you might get the impression that it's only worth recording if you've got the gear that is hip according to people that sell boutique gear.

These influences are so strong that I've seen home studios collecting dust, owned by people that play or write little and record less, with better gear than some fairly well known long time professional studios. And, you know, fun was had while shopping for all that stuff, and I'm sure all of the intentions were awe inspiring.

I like the Schoeps stuff that I am familiar with but it's not for garden variety home recording, even if you want to have pro quality results for eventual release. For a lot less money the smart shopper who really needs to be in the market for a pro pair of SDC's might end up with Beyer, Gefell, or MBHO. One good strategy is to arrange a side by side comparison, so that if you can't tell and prefer the more expensive one from your own results, you don't buy it.

The well informed spouse might have a response like "start with a 421, a 414, and an old 451 and show me what you can do with that, and we'll see about the matched pair in a couple of years". (Or even "start with an SM58"...) Bearing in mind that those mics are never going to become useless or non professional.

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  #53  
Old 02-06-2013, 02:05 PM
Scott Whigham Scott Whigham is offline
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Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
However I disagree that the notion of buying a pair of mics that in all likely hood will be a one time life long purchase is nutty or unwise, (Simply) because of lack of experience.
But the thing is - and you know this so I'm not telling you for your sake, but really for others reading this later - a pair of SDCs is just one way. Is it the best way? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe on Tuesdays only. Maybe you only like it with a particular guitar. Maybe, with this guitar in that spot on this song, you prefer a warmer mic, or one with less detail. Maybe you prefer an LDC over the shoulder w/ the SDC out front. Maybe you like just a single mic on some songs. Maybe, just maybe, you want "a little vibey and grunge-y for this song". Once you've spent $3700... well, quite frankly, are you "done"? Is that why you are buying those mics? Or are you still planning on buying additional "mics to play with"? Where's that pic of McManus with six mics on his guitar when I need it... Or where's that interview with Pat Metheny in which he talks about how he used a $300 mic and his on board pickups for "One Quiet Night"?

I guess the most important thing I'd ask someone to take away from this discussion is this: Don't think that, just because you spent a lot of money on mics that you bought the only mics you'll ever need. As they say in venture capitalist circles, "Make sure you have some dry powder." In other words, make sure you have enough cash on hand ready to buy more in case you find that your expensive purchase doesn't satisfy like you thought it would. If I had $5 for each purchase that I thought was going to be "it", hell, I'd be rich!!!
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  #54  
Old 02-06-2013, 04:28 PM
SpiritShooter SpiritShooter is offline
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Originally Posted by Scott Whigham View Post
"Make sure you have some dry powder." In other words, make sure you have enough cash on hand ready to buy more in case you find that your expensive purchase doesn't satisfy like you thought it would. If I had $5 for each purchase that I thought was going to be "it", hell, I'd be rich!!!
No question about it. Perhaps, if nothing else in this discussion has value to some future reader, this is the greatest truth of all. Great advice that has been registered, understood and rest assured - it has hit home quite decisively.

Thanks,
Mike
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  #55  
Old 02-06-2013, 05:30 PM
sdelsolray sdelsolray is offline
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As one who has acquired many different expensive mics, preamps, converters, monitors, etc., for the single purpose of recording solo fingerstyle acoustic and classical guitar, I can say this:

1) Different front end signal chains vary in sonics and behavior, sometimes very little and sometimes quite a bit. Those differences diminish from to the following components in the following order (leaving aside player, instrument, room, room treatment, mic placement and engineering skill) (i) mics, (ii) preamps and (iii) converters. In other words, current converters don't make much difference on the AD side. Mics usually make a much larger difference.

2) Different signal chains of high end gear are merely different flavors of nice. One is not better than any other, although one may be preferred over another. Any one of them will quite work well alone.

3) Although the adage "It's not the gear" can be true in many situations, it is not true in all situations. It can easily be the gear when the result desired is a meaningful expression of emoted music. Cheesy gear has faults that often interfere with that creative goal. The faults are often difficult to identify, yet are ever present. High end gear has fewer faults, sometime none. Using high end/quality gear tends to remove the choice of gear out of the creative recording endeavor. It is not in the way, not fighting the desired goal.

4) I see nothing wrong with starting out with high end gear. Indeed, we should all be so lucky. I know this from personal experience. I started about 13 years ago with the following front end: (i) pair Neumann KM184 mics, (ii) Pendulum Audio MDP-1a and Pendulum Audio SPS-1 preamps and (iii) RME ADI-8 Pro converters. That's a high end front end, at least for year 2000. Obviously, other factors come into play - monitoring chain, room treatment, engineering skill. Still, the gear I originally selected did nothing to impede my learning and growth. I believe it actually accelerated and assisted with them.
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  #56  
Old 02-06-2013, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by sdelsolray View Post
Those differences diminish from to the following components in the following order (leaving aside player, instrument, room, room treatment, mic placement and engineering skill) (i) mics, (ii) preamps and (iii) converters. In other words, current converters don't make much difference on the AD side. Mics usually make a much larger difference.
I agree, except that the things you excluded from your list make 10X as much difference (each!) as the things on the list. Everything's important, and if you can make all 9 or 10 things on this list as good as possible, from player all the way thru to converters as good as you can, the results will be really nice. The things on the end (mics, pres, converters) are just a matter of money. Some of the other stuff is much harder to obtain.
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  #57  
Old 02-06-2013, 09:52 PM
Fran Guidry Fran Guidry is offline
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Here's my response:

http://www.dougyoungguitar.com/mp3/AB_MicCompare/A.mp3
http://www.dougyoungguitar.com/mp3/AB_MicCompare/B.mp3

These are oldies but goodies, but I did suggest in a much earlier post that it's entirely possible to find audio bliss with the lowly AT2020. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=REG&A=details

One of the above clips was recorded using those mics. The other clip was captured using a pair of handmade Brauner tube LD mics. http://www.soundpure.com/p/brauner-v...-microphone/91

If price were a performance factor, what difference in performance should we notice?

It ain't the gear, as long as it ain't broken. If it's broken, don't use it.

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  #58  
Old 02-07-2013, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by SpiritShooter View Post
Appreciate your thoughts,

BUT, we are in the process of designing the room for acoustic treatment. What makes you think we will get crappy sound? In fact, I believe that when done, we will be in good shape with respect to acoustics.
Oh Sorry to have been confusing, please don't misunderstand I was not suggesting anything about your particular situation, I was speaking in general about one typical mis- notion that great gear will make up for bad acoustics in a recording room.
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  #59  
Old 02-07-2013, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Scott Whigham View Post
But the thing is - and you know this so I'm not telling you for your sake, but really for others reading this later - a pair of SDCs is just one way. Is it the best way? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe on Tuesdays only. Maybe you only like it with a particular guitar. Maybe, with this guitar in that spot on this song, you prefer a warmer mic, or one with less detail. Maybe you prefer an LDC over the shoulder w/ the SDC out front. Maybe you like just a single mic on some songs. Maybe, just maybe, you want "a little vibey and grunge-y for this song". Once you've spent $3700... well, quite frankly, are you "done"? Is that why you are buying those mics? Or are you still planning on buying additional "mics to play with"? Where's that pic of McManus with six mics on his guitar when I need it... Or where's that interview with Pat Metheny in which he talks about how he used a $300 mic and his on board pickups for "One Quiet Night"?

I guess the most important thing I'd ask someone to take away from this discussion is this: Don't think that, just because you spent a lot of money on mics that you bought the only mics you'll ever need. As they say in venture capitalist circles, "Make sure you have some dry powder." In other words, make sure you have enough cash on hand ready to buy more in case you find that your expensive purchase doesn't satisfy like you thought it would. If I had $5 for each purchase that I thought was going to be "it", hell, I'd be rich!!!
Scott , perhaps I was unclear in my post, I was not suggesting that someone might not, or would not eventually add to a mic collection because of a single purchase of a pair of Schoeps.

I was suggesting that once mic's of that caliber are obtained they are likely to held life long, there is less likely hood of being dissatisfied and going through a continuing process of selling and trying something else.

In fact as you say ( Maybe you prefer an LDC over the shoulder w/ the SDC out front. ) this is exactly what I do. I own one CMC6,MK4 and one Brauner Phantom V. The reason being that for me for both vocal and guitar it made more (cents) to got this route. But as I pointed out, I feel no need to consider selling either of these mics because any dissatisfaction or desire for improvement in my recordings,will be a function of my skill and experience or lack thereof. In my situation the good news and the bad news is , as Fran said above "It ain't the gear "
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:07 AM
Scott Whigham Scott Whigham is offline
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I think I did a poor job in my post of explaining what was in my head. It's hard for me to put this into words, for some reason. Maybe this:

Most of us have a "Crazy" meter when it comes to spending money on gear - that's the point at which your brain kicks in and says, "Nope - even though you could spend this much money, it's just plain crazy for you to do so and thus I'm not going to let you." So where is your crazy meter sitting when it comes to microphones? Mine sits probably around the $5000 spot, meaning that I find it darn impossible to see myself owning more than $5000 worth of mics at one time. Yours might be $7000. Fran's might be $2000. alohachris' might be $20,000. Of course, only the player/recordist knows their individual number. But I believe that we each have a number in our head that we don't envision ourselves exceeding anytime soon (and yes, that number expands/contracts throughout our life). We have such a meter for guitars, for mics, for preamps, for converters, etc.[1]

So my point really was more along the lines of making sure that $3700 is well below your crazy meter threshold for mic purchases, otherwise when the next "thing" comes along that you have to try, you are going to be able to buy the new new thing and still stay below your crazy threshold. If, though, $4000 was your crazy threshold, then you might be tempted later on to flip your mics and buy something else just because "gear lust" had you in its claws.

Dang. I don't think that's any better actually lol. Anyway, I've said enough in this thread so I'm going to hush now

[1] And it's entirely logical that your crazy meter is "reset" for the various application of mics - for example, you might have $5000 for "acoustic guitar mics" but $4000 for "vocal mics".
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