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Old 05-07-2021, 06:15 PM
AllHat,NoCattle AllHat,NoCattle is offline
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Default advice please- high end LDC for single mic set-up?

Iím hoping to tap into the collective wisdom of this Board, whose members have forgotten more about recording than Iíll ever learn.

Iím looking for a high-end LDC that can be used for single mic recording of vintage Martins (Ď38 D-18) and singing. I do a lot of cross picking and strummingó rock, folk and bluegrass. Voice is high baritone. This mic will be used 90% for solo recording, but Iíd like something that also works well for an acoustic duo or trio, gathering Ďround the mic.

Iíve been impressed with the Milk Carton Kidsí work on a single Ear Trumpet Labs Edwina, and Iím wondering if thereís a higher end mic that can be used in the same way. For simplicityís sake, Iíd rather avoid the large external units of the classic tube mics.

So with that background and a $5K budget, Iíve been looking at the U89 (new), U87Ai (new), and Gefell UM900 (new). How do you think those mics would perform in that scenario? Any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated....
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Old 05-07-2021, 08:42 PM
Gordon Currie Gordon Currie is online now
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I've used some of these microphones on single sources, never on multiple - hopefully someone has used them in that way and can comment.

More important to me is the question of your recording space. How does it sound and are you controlling for bass buildup, nodes and nulls?

Using more distant miking will insert more room sound into your recordings.

I enjoy the Milk Carton Kid's approach, but on a stage they don't have to worry as much about room sound as you would in a (presumably) smaller room.

Most of us with small spaces need to do significant bass trapping and diffusion, as well as close miking techniques, to reduce the negative effects of room sound.

If you have a good space, then all this doesn't apply...
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Old 05-07-2021, 09:45 PM
alohachris alohachris is offline
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Default PM'ed Ya, John!

Aloha John,

PM'ed Ya!

Mic selection, in fact all quality gear selection, is a matter of taste, preference & application. Choosing the right mic, for the right voice or instrument, in the right moment is the ultimate goal in every studio. Therefore, always try to audition quaility condenser mic's on your voice first, especially vocal LDC's, before you buy anything. I know it's harder to do that with COVID-19 restrictions, but it's the only way I have ever selected high-end mic's & gear - by pre-auditioning. Saves money, time, dead-ends & headaches.

I do have opinions about the mic's you mentioned. What have you auditioned in your current search for a "one-mic set-up?"

Is your recording space adequately Room Treated? That's THE key to maximizing mic's & gear.

Also look at the Blue Kiwi, Soundelux U99 & of course the Neumann U87ai multi-pattern LDC's to start your higher-end search. I auditioned them all. They're all in the $2-3K range, each would work for your stated application. Not too expensive, IMO The U87ai is the most popular LDC in the world. Although I prefer the vintage U87's to the ai series, it's still a great sounding, versatile, 'do-it-all' LDC mic with a full sound & lots of patterns. Great on vocals or guitar, Probably heard on more voices than any other LDC in the last two-plus decades. Try 'em first on YOUR voice, John.

THe Microtech-Gefell UM-900 is simply a dream tube LDC. You have to audition it to truly appreciate its design & sonic excellence. My all-time favorite on my once-decent voice. $4-5K.

Also, go over to gearslutz.com for some lively discussions RE: Quality LDC's. Of course, you get lotsa BS opinions, but also some great truths & knowledge from real working engineers The slutz' 'high-end' forum is really interesting.

Let's talk, John. PM me.

alohachris

PS: IME, the Neumann U89 is darker & less lively sounding than the U87. But it can sound great on many female vocals.-alohachris-

Last edited by alohachris; 05-07-2021 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 05-08-2021, 10:15 AM
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Al Acuff Al Acuff is offline
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With your budget there are so many good microphones in your range that it would be hard to go wrong. Bock and Josephson both make excellent mics.

Apart from sound quality I would consider resale value. I don't have a warehouse so from time to time I sell off the gear that I no longer use. Classic mics from well established companies have the best resale value.

Before you buy it's also a good idea to check out the available customer support and service options. Some companies provide better service than others. Hopefully you'll never need service but if you do you won't want to wait months to get your mic repaired.
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Old 05-08-2021, 10:49 AM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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About the Milk Carton Kids -- they only do that in very dialed-in situations, where there's great house sound and they can hear themselves really well. I've never heard them live, but in every video I've seen, the audio pickup from that mic is very compressed, which counts for a lot. And you can tell that they've worked very hard on their singing and playing and "choreography" to be able to pull that off.

And about the Edwina -- if you had one in hand alongside one of the many decent U47 clones available now, you might not think the Edwina sounds all that great. Looks cool, though.
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Old 05-08-2021, 11:36 AM
j3ffr0 j3ffr0 is offline
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I have not used any of the mics you're looking at. However, I will say for that my own experience in looking for a vocal microphone, I've found I needed to try different things and see how they actually sounded on my voice. I didn't plan it that way -- I wanted to buy one and done too, but that's how it turned out. I'm a low baritone, a bit nasally. Turns it it doesn't work well with a lot of LDCs (including ones that I wanted it to work with). A lot to do with the inherent presence boost, but there is no way to know until you actually try it and listen.

FWIW -- I've found my voice to work well with the AEA R84 (the current favorite), Beyer M69TG, and EV RE20. Honarable mentions to AKG C414XLS, Shure SM7b, and Beyer M88TG. Meh: AKG460, Shure SM57, AEA R92. Not at all: Shure KSM44a, SM58, SM81, Royer R10

I would skip buying new and buy used with the plan of selling what you don't like. Any of those mics will do fine recording the guitar IMO, but the voice is a tougher thing. I think you might do better getting a couple different mics than one top end LDC that will still sound like and LDC and might not have the sound you really want.


If you are really looking to record voice and guitar at the same time with one mic, you will be mixing at some distance. The room will come into play. The frequency response plot at 18" is not the same as the frequency response plot at 3 or 4 feet. Bass response tends to roll off at distance with lots of mics. With that kind of recording you may well do better with a longer reach mic like an AEA r84 or even one of the 44 series although they are ribbon, not LDC.... but then you will need a good preamp as well..

Sorry to give you more to think about.
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Old 05-08-2021, 04:42 PM
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As far as recording an ensemble, I've seen good results with Ear Trumpet Labs mics in online performances.
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Old 05-08-2021, 09:55 PM
alohachris alohachris is offline
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Default Not With The Edwina Dan!

Aloha DanR,

Could you provide the links to the ensemble music you think was well-miked by an Ear Trumpet Labs microphone?

Just curious.

In a recent audition at a friend's studio, I found the Edwina to be the 'anti-christ'' of ensemble mic's with a huge drop-off in off-axis performance & only working VERY close-miked for singers - like a hyper-cardioid SDC almost. SOS has said the same about other Ear Trumpet Labs models as well.

Very cool looking & unusual mic & company philosophy though. Worth the $500 range its in. But not a great recording vocal or ensemble mic at all. Should appeal to Generation Zer's & younger Millenials though. Ha!


alohachris
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Old 05-09-2021, 08:03 AM
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ETL mics can sound good from what I've seen, but they are clearly meeting a kind of look market, as well. Folks like them, and it wouldn't put a huge dent in your budget to have one laying around for the vibe . I've seen them used more in places where the gain could be turned up without inducing feedback, i.e., not an amplified, inside venue.

But, if you want to record multiple sources with a single mic, whatever you do is going to be a compromise. Get a good mic and start working on technique. Anything from Shure, AKG, AT in that $1k range should be fine, TBH.

[curmudgen-mode]I spent part of last year trying single mic recording with guitar+vocal. It's a PITA, IMO. Very, very sensitive to mic position, singer vs. instrument levels and then everything else going on, because you've generally ruled out close micing. Really, I don't get it... [/curmudgen-mode]
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Old 05-09-2021, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllHat,NoCattle View Post
I’m hoping to tap into the collective wisdom of this Board, whose members have forgotten more about recording than I’ll ever learn.

I’m looking for a high-end LDC that can be used for single mic recording of vintage Martins (‘38 D-18) and singing. I do a lot of cross picking and strumming— rock, folk and bluegrass. Voice is high baritone. This mic will be used 90% for solo recording, but I’d like something that also works well for an acoustic duo or trio, gathering ‘round the mic.

I’ve been impressed with the Milk Carton Kids’ work on a single Ear Trumpet Labs Edwina, and I’m wondering if there’s a higher end mic that can be used in the same way. For simplicity’s sake, I’d rather avoid the large external units of the classic tube mics.

So with that background and a $5K budget, I’ve been looking at the U89 (new), U87Ai (new), and Gefell UM900 (new). How do you think those mics would perform in that scenario? Any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated....
Hi AH, NC

Back-in-the-day I used to mic/record Bluegrass Bands with an AT 4050, or AKG 414, or my Shure KSM-44. In a well treated space they all did a great job.

On stage in a large venue, they were all a challenge. I often ended up sweetening the mix by adding a mic to the bass (to get adequate volume), and one on the banjo (to keep his overpowering volume under control). I just accepted 'room' noise as part of the package.

I'm not sure what kind of fine-tuning in a small studio setting doing YOUR SPECIFIED usage that a U-87 would do a better job than an Ear Trumpet.

If I were starting today, I'd have a pair of Ear Trumpet (same model) in the arsenal. That's because I prefer two mics and a stereo mix for recording 'natural' sounding/feeling voice and playing.

While some player/singers can play a solo guitar track and sing over it later, I cannot. I'm much better if the two are captured at the same time.

It's gotta be fun to have the budget to consider more options.




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Last edited by ljguitar; 05-09-2021 at 10:44 AM. Reason: wrong company on one mic model
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Old 05-09-2021, 09:38 AM
DanR DanR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alohachris View Post
Aloha DanR,

Could you provide the links to the ensemble music you think was well-miked by an Ear Trumpet Labs microphone?

Just curious.

In a recent audition at a friend's studio, I found the Edwina to be the 'anti-christ'' of ensemble mic's with a huge drop-off in off-axis performance & only working VERY close-miked for singers - like a hyper-cardioid SDC almost. SOS has said the same about other Ear Trumpet Labs models as well.

Very cool looking & unusual mic & company philosophy though. Worth the $500 range its in. But not a great recording vocal or ensemble mic at all. Should appeal to Generation Zer's & younger Millenials though. Ha!


alohachris
Aloha,

Elderly Instruments uses Ear Trumpet Labs mics in a lot of their videos. If you go to their Facebook site, select 'videos' from under the 'more' pulldown'. It seems that most of their demos are using Ear Trumpet Labs mics. Also, scroll down to the 'in store performances' to see the mics used in an ensemble setting.

I can't vouch for the mics myself, but I have seen them in online videos.
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Old 05-09-2021, 03:04 PM
AllHat,NoCattle AllHat,NoCattle is offline
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Default thanks to all...

What a fantastic community this is. The ďnew guyĒ posts a question that takes more than it gives, and ~24 hours later receives 10 thoughtful responses. A huge thank you to everyone that took the time to respond. Iíll try to give back later in the year, if anyone is interested in following a Circa (John Slobod) custom build.

Interesting that the Edwinas are a little controversial.

Sounds like the consensus is that I need to slow down before I pull the trigger on this, and think carefully about both treatment of the recording space and, as Chris suggested offline, what mic will work best for my voice. Although Iíve played for 35 years, Iíve never seriously pursued DIY recording beyond low cost mics (AT3035, AKG SDCs around same price point) until now. Business pursuits & some luck have made it easier to pursue at 50 than at 20. Although Iím in a home office recording situation right now, I will build out a proper studio space at some point in the future, so Iím viewing this mic as a foundational piece. But the current space constraints point me to a very simple setup that can be easily moved around, but wonít be jettisoned when I improve the recording space. The plan is to start with a great mic and supplement with a pre-amp and audio interface of similar quality.

Another noob question to help move to the next step: is there a practical way to demo a bunch of LDCs in one shot, other than a) visiting a shop like Vintage King when they fully re-open, or b) renting studio time? Are there suppliers other than Vintage King that anyone can recommend that allow customers to try multiple mics at the same time (for reference, Iím in Northern California)?

Thanks again for your generosity in sharing what youíve learned.
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Old 05-09-2021, 03:52 PM
philipgraham philipgraham is offline
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Philip from Ear Trumpet here - I'll just jump in to say that out of our mics, Edwina is NOT the one recommended for small ensembles.

Alohachris is correct that Edwina is actually designed to focus on a near field source - 3 to maybe 16 inches (though it does have a standard cardioid pattern). It works well for one instrument or voice, or one player voice and guitar, especially live, where it helps cut down on extraneous room rumble. But it's not intended for larger groups.

Myrtle, Louise, and Delphina are the ones we recommend for a group. Delphina looks very similar to Edwina, so some things you've seen with groups may be using her.

The Milk Carton Kids started with individual Edwinas for their vocals and Ednas for their guitars (their album Live From Lincoln Theater is a great example of this), then switched to one Edwina for everything for several years, getting REALLY good at playing very close to the mic. Lately they focus the Edwina on only their vocals (keep it tipped 45 degrees up), and add pencil condensers for their guitars, which I think is sensible.

There are lots of examples of groups using our mics here : https://www.eartrumpetlabs.com/listen - especially in our own workshop sessions : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...EUhDJjgdL1dliM - and I'd be happy to answer any questions about the specifics of tracking any of those.

Also, and of particular interest to this forum, examples of where Edwina does her best - all the instrument demos that Carter Vintage does: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...OcXgzb8HYfL_Jt

Hope this helps!
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Old 05-09-2021, 06:17 PM
sdelsolray sdelsolray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllHat,NoCattle View Post
What a fantastic community this is. The ďnew guyĒ posts a question that takes more than it gives, and ~24 hours later receives 10 thoughtful responses. A huge thank you to everyone that took the time to respond. Iíll try to give back later in the year, if anyone is interested in following a Circa (John Slobod) custom build.

Interesting that the Edwinas are a little controversial.

Sounds like the consensus is that I need to slow down before I pull the trigger on this, and think carefully about both treatment of the recording space and, as Chris suggested offline, what mic will work best for my voice. Although Iíve played for 35 years, Iíve never seriously pursued DIY recording beyond low cost mics (AT3035, AKG SDCs around same price point) until now. Business pursuits & some luck have made it easier to pursue at 50 than at 20. Although Iím in a home office recording situation right now, I will build out a proper studio space at some point in the future, so Iím viewing this mic as a foundational piece. But the current space constraints point me to a very simple setup that can be easily moved around, but wonít be jettisoned when I improve the recording space. The plan is to start with a great mic and supplement with a pre-amp and audio interface of similar quality.

Another noob question to help move to the next step: is there a practical way to demo a bunch of LDCs in one shot, other than a) visiting a shop like Vintage King when they fully re-open, or b) renting studio time? Are there suppliers other than Vintage King that anyone can recommend that allow customers to try multiple mics at the same time (for reference, Iím in Northern California)?

Thanks again for your generosity in sharing what youíve learned.
A few thoughts:

1) A single mic for what you said you wanted to do (i.e., (i) solo guitar and vocals at the same time for yourself and (ii) small ensemble simultaneously, both in several genres), would require, as you have already realized, a multi-pattern LD mic (although there are a few multi-pattern SD mics around and a figure-8 ribbon could be considered).

That's putting much on just one mic, perhaps too much. Consider a decent multi-pattern LD mic, for sure, but also consider adding one or a pair of decent SD mics. Even if you record your guitar and voice at the same time, there are many advantages to using two mics to do this. Post-recording mixing is much easier and versatile. You can explore stereo placements and goals.

2) Many folks believe, myself included, that each part of your tracking chain, as well as your monitoring chain, should be (more or less) of the same relative quality level. High quality preamps, converters, monitors, room acoustics, outboard processors and/or ITB processors are expensive, although quite decent products are numerous and exist at lower prices. If you spend $5k on a single mutli-pattern LD, you could easily spend another $20k to $40k for the other components to have them up to snuff (if you buy into the concept).

3) As to which vocal mic. You have to find one that works well with your high baritone voice, the musical styles you play and your personal aesthetic. The last factor is the most important. Yes, you can research the internet to help with that quest, but that is not going to equal trying out the various mics yourself. Some shops (less these days that in the past) offer tryouts or several mics at the same time. You just have to have the funds (or credit) to buy them all upfront with the caveat that you have the no questions asked right to return some or all of them for a complete refund (you pay shipping). Of course, you need to have a space, the gear and appropriate recording knowledge to to make that work. Renting time at a studio with a decent selection of mics is a viable alternative.
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Old 05-10-2021, 10:13 PM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
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I would take the TLM-67 or TLM-170 over the u89. I know the TLMs get a lot of hate, but the TLM-67 and the TLM-170 are both outstanding mics.

Another one to try would be a Bock iFet/Soundelux iFet 7. They started out as the Soundelux iFet 7, but became the Bock iFet when David moved things over to the Bock name. Neither version is made anymore, but it's one of my favorites for deeper male voices.

I've used all of these in challenging situations and they seem to handle things well when there's a lot of bleed on stage or in the studio. Though, for what you're describing the TLM-170 would be my first choice.

Don't neglect to add a good preamp to your purchase. I'm partial to the APIs, but that's a personal choice.
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