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Old 12-28-2017, 04:01 PM
Scoobtay Scoobtay is offline
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Default Critique my potential modest Recording Set-Up

Hi all,

I apologize, as many of the threads in here are similar, and I’ve done lots of research, but trying to piece together everything for someone not incredibly tech-savvy is proving a little overwhelming at this point. So for a quick background, I want to do two mic high-quality video/audio recording for Solo fingerstyle with no vocals. I have the camera/computer set up already (27” iMac with ProTools and Premiere Pro, and a Canon 7D). Now the real question is, with a modest budget, will this work?

2x Shure SM57 mics
Focusrite 2i2 Interface

Will this set up be atrocious compared to say, a single ribbon mic (active or passive) with a nicer interface? I want the stereo sound, and the two mics to pick up the nuances of different sides of the guitar, but if one better mic would sound better than two “ok” ones I am all ears.

There’s such a price spread on mics and interfaces it’s a little crazy before taking that initial plunge.

Thanks everyone.
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Old 12-28-2017, 04:07 PM
sdelsolray sdelsolray is offline
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Speaking only to the two mics you listed (Shure SM57), I would suggest getting a pair of small diaphragm condenser mics instead, such as a pair of the Oktava MC-012 (with cardioid capsules). Those (and many other SD condenser mics) will be easier to work with and more accurate, detailed and honest.
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Old 12-28-2017, 04:35 PM
Scoobtay Scoobtay is offline
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Thank you for the advice. To confirm, it’s the Oktava MK-012-01 MSP2, for 450.00ish?

I think I’ll pull the trigger this weekend, but that sounds like a really good mid-grade option and I do appreciate the insight!
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Old 12-28-2017, 04:52 PM
sdelsolray sdelsolray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoobtay View Post
Thank you for the advice. To confirm, it’s the Oktava MK-012-01 MSP2, for 450.00ish?

I think I’ll pull the trigger this weekend, but that sounds like a really good mid-grade option and I do appreciate the insight!
Yes, I believe that is the two mic set. But before you buy, you may want to wait for posts from other forum members with suggestions they might have. There are numerous SD mic pairs in the $100 to $500 price range. Many of them are good mics for the price.

As to the Focusrite interface, again there are many budget interfaces. If you get the Focusrite, make sure to get the second generation one.
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Old 12-28-2017, 06:27 PM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
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I would consider something more like this: http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/wi...28e/index.html

It may be more than you want to spend, but it would be a huge upgrade in sound quality over SM57s or even budget mics.

I come from the camp of "buy it once" and would really urge you to consider spending a little more & only spend the money once. I'm willing to bet you will be unhappy with cheap mic options.
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Old 12-28-2017, 06:39 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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SM57s are fine for dynamic mics, but you'll notice a huge difference in sound over any low budget dynamic by using most any SDC mic.

If you're not interested in just throwing out large sums of money I can highly recommend AKG P170 sdcs at about $80 each.

A pair of sdcs will allow you to arrange them in X-Y or spaced pair configuration, or use them in conjunction with other mics; something a dedicated stereo mic won't let you do.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...gaAiFEEALw_wcB
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Old 12-28-2017, 08:10 PM
DukeX DukeX is offline
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As already mentioned get two small diaphragm condenser mics. IMO the Oktavas are excellent mics.

Here are some inexpensive but high quality mics that consistently receive high praise from the folks over at the Gearslutz forum:

3U Audio: CM1 and Warbler 127
Line Audio: CM1 and CM3
ISK: Little Gem and Pearl

Here's two interesting and informative threads:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/low-...cings-178.html

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/low-...nd-heaven.html
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Old 12-28-2017, 08:54 PM
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I've settled on the Shure KSM137's (pair) and haven't felt the need to shoot for more. They perform very well for my set-up.....instrumentals/no vocal. These might split the price difference you're looking at so far in this thread. I believe several AGFer's use these mics with very good results.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/KSM137
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Old 12-28-2017, 09:20 PM
midwinter midwinter is offline
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You say your budget is "modest." How modest? And does it *have* to be stereo?

If it's $200 for mics, then either go with the 57s (which honestly sound pretty good) or go for the best single condenser mic you can afford. Without knowing your budget for mics, it's difficult to know what to recommend.

Last edited by midwinter; 12-28-2017 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 12-28-2017, 11:26 PM
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You have the right idea about recording solo guitar in stereo. A pair of small diameter condenser microphones in spaced pair microphone position arrangement suggested.
There are many fine mike choices in many price ranges. If you can, improve the recording space acoustics with absorbing wall panels, etc., - many prior threads exist on
this topic.
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Old 12-29-2017, 08:26 AM
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I agree with your choice of stereo recording for solo guitar, as well as with the multiple recommendations of using sdc condenser mics. I'd suggest getting two of the same model mics. You can experiment with different mic setups, such as X-Y or spaced pair (A-B) and see what works best and sounds best to you. I'd suggest getting mics with a cardioid polar pattern, but some mics will allow different capsules to be attached (i.e. Omni, supercardioid, etc). Mics with swappable capsules tend to be a bit more expensive due to their flexibility in configuration.

The Focusrite Scarlett interfaces are nice, and as suggested make sure you get a 2nd generation model. The 2i2 you listed is the lowest end model that will do what you said it needs to do. Depending upon how you may eventually use your setup, the 2i4 might be of benefit (you can monitor previous tracks you've already recorded along with directly monitoring what your playing/recording). When you get to models above the 2i4 you get more inputs and outputs, and greater control over monitor and signal routing, but you have an added layer of complexity (Focusrite Control software) this 'resides on your computer' in between your interface and your DAW.

I've had the Focusrite 6i6 (1st generation) in the past, and I also used to have an Oktava MK-012, a Cascade ribbon mic, and a pair of ADK A6 (not sdc). The Oktava's are very nice for the price, and you can get them in various packages (singles or pairs, cardioid capsule only or with multiple capsules (cardioid/Omni/hypercardioid )). The Oktava's can also be purchased from Michael Joly; these have upgraded electronics. I currently use a pair of 3-Zigma CHI mics with sdc cardioid capsules. These are a bit pricier than the stock Oktavas and there are many other sdc mics in every price range.

Most importantly, and as other have suggested, you will get the best information if you give us a range of what's a reasonable budget for you as well as what you think might be longer term goals (if you have other longer term goals). Some people like to start minimal, see where it leads them, and upgrade if desired. Some people have higher expectations and like to start at a higher level. Your choice.
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Last edited by ChuckS; 12-29-2017 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 12-29-2017, 12:02 PM
Scoobtay Scoobtay is offline
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Wow, thank you everyone for your words of advise. In terms of budget, I have no desire to monetize my recordings, just more of a hobbyist level interest at this point, so I want to steer clear of full, “professional grade” equipment. I’d like to stay under 1000.00 for the mics and Interface if possible.

It seems like the way to go still may be the Oktava matched pair, the MK-012’s. As soon as I get everything ordered and together, whatever it may be, I’ll have to share a recording with all of you!
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Old 12-29-2017, 12:18 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoobtay View Post
Wow, thank you everyone for your words of advise. In terms of budget, I have no desire to monetize my recordings, just more of a hobbyist level interest at this point, so I want to steer clear of full, “professional grade” equipment. I’d like to stay under 1000.00 for the mics and Interface if possible.

It seems like the way to go still may be the Oktava matched pair, the MK-012’s. As soon as I get everything ordered and together, whatever it may be, I’ll have to share a recording with all of you!
You might want to watch Doug Young's "Home Recording Advice" video:

https://youtu.be/oNBRCam2YxQ
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Old 12-29-2017, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoobtay View Post
Wow, thank you everyone for your words of advise. In terms of budget, I have no desire to monetize my recordings, just more of a hobbyist level interest at this point, so I want to steer clear of full, “professional grade” equipment. I’d like to stay under 1000.00 for the mics and Interface if possible.

It seems like the way to go still may be the Oktava matched pair, the MK-012’s. As soon as I get everything ordered and together, whatever it may be, I’ll have to share a recording with all of you!
I sent you a PM regarding pricing on some of the mics talked about in this thread.
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Old 12-29-2017, 05:37 PM
midwinter midwinter is offline
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Oh man. Assuming that's USD, that's actually a good bit of money.

For a grand, get you the interface that someone upthread mentioned. There are tons in the $150 range that will do two channels. I have never used one, but folks seem to like the Focusrite. At that price point, I think they're all pretty similar in terms of the preamps (I could be wrong; I don't know).

That leaves you $850 for mics, and there are a lot of good options that will just depend on your own personal preference. That's kind of the problem with mics; you never know what's going to work on THAT application on THAT guitar in THAT room on THAT song until you try it.

Most of the cheap mics are very, very bright. You can work with them, but they're very bright. My advice is simply this: don't cheap out on mics, no matter what your application is. You wind up spending a lot of time correcting the deficiencies of the mic and it's very frustrating. A good instrument, played well, into a good mic, means you have to do very little in terms of editing/EQ/etc. My recordings got MUCH easier and sounded VASTLY better when I ditched the cheap mics I was using.

So.

Here are some thoughts:

A pair of Little Blondies. $150 each. (I have a pair and use them from time to time. They're neat. I didn't like them for recording my guitar, but that's just personal preference at this point). They got recommended to me by an engineer friend; this is the video that convinced me to get a pair of them.

Lately, I've been using my Warm Audio WA-14 on just about everything. $500ish. It was used to record everything on this except the keyboard. (Not a guitar song, but you get the idea. I can send PM you partly-finished guitar recordings with it, if you like).

And seriously, you can find used Neumann KM184s for $600ish. They're great on just about anything. I have one that I used a lot when I first got it, but, as I said, lately I've been using that WA14 on everything.

Fellow AGFer Rockabilly69 is nuts for the MXL Revelation. $400ish. He and I haven't had a chance to nerd out in his studio with it, but if he says it's good, I trust him.

Edit: I should also recommend some of the nicer Rřde mics (my music partner has an NT1 that sounds great) and older Blue mics. I don't have any Blues (although I have a Violet designed by their former mic guy), but I've used them and heard them and they can be affordable and sound great.

Finally, you could still have enough left over to grab a couple of SM57s. $60ish used. They're cheap, but they're a) bulletproof and 2) sound pretty good! When I was trying to decide on a mic for my instruments, I shot out about 10 at Rockabilly's studio—ranging from 57s to my blondies to nice Neumanns. The 57s fared quite well, to my ears. They sound like every acoustic guitar recorded in the early 70s.

Don't be afraid of "professional grade" equipment. Future you will thank past you for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoobtay View Post
Wow, thank you everyone for your words of advise. In terms of budget, I have no desire to monetize my recordings, just more of a hobbyist level interest at this point, so I want to steer clear of full, “professional grade” equipment. I’d like to stay under 1000.00 for the mics and Interface if possible.

Last edited by midwinter; 12-29-2017 at 06:03 PM.
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