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thereedeffect
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« on: November 18, 2008, 03:34:37 AM »

Now that I've decided on and purchased a TASCAM FireOne, thanks to the recommendations of you fantastic forum members, I need two microphones. I will use one for vocals and one for my acoustic guitar to record separate tracks simultaneously. Although at this point I find it difficult to play and sing very closely to microphones, I think dynamic microphones may be beneficial to track separation more so than the super sensitive nature of condenser mics -- or so I hear. The SM57 seems to be a very affordable microphone of which I hear good things. Are they good for both vocals and acoustic guitar? Should I still consider condenser mics for the fact that the FireOne's preamps are reportedly quiet?
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tuffythepug
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« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2008, 04:19:50 AM »

The SM57, though primarily an instrument microphone can be use for vocals as well but there are better options for that.  My personal preferred mics are the SM57 for guitar and the SH55 for vocals.  I kinda like the old-school styling of the SH55 and it just works for me.   I'm sure that other members have their own favorites too.  At least the SM57 and SH55 are both reasonable price-wise.   You can pay a lot more and get even better results if you've got the budget for it;  especially as far as the vocal mic is concerned.


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Dale_I
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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2008, 04:34:49 AM »

The vocalist equivalent of the instrument SM-57 is the SM-58. Very similar, just geared to vocals with the windscreen and all. Neither are probably "the best", but both are very good and solid as a tank. They've earned their reputation through touring and gigging.
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thereedeffect
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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2008, 04:40:38 AM »

I suppose my largest concern is whether or not the FireOne preamps will generate enough gain for this type of mic for my acoustic guitar and fairly weak vocals.  blush
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Dale_I
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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2008, 04:51:44 AM »

I'm not familiar with the exact unit you are using. However, if they have mic inputs, then I would say yes.
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« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2008, 11:23:50 AM »

Buy one mic first; make sure it WON'T work for both tasks, then see about getting the 2nd mic.

I would recommend you get a large diaphragm condenser mic.  Nothing that says you have to track both guitar and vox simultaneously - record your guitar tracks while singing the song in your head, then come back and record the vox.

This will give you the best separation, of course.

Several good choices for rather inexpensive LDC mics - I have a CAD M-177 that I really like.  Audio Technica makes one, SE, many others.

-Scott
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« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2008, 11:28:05 AM »

I suppose my largest concern is whether or not the FireOne preamps will generate enough gain for this type of mic for my acoustic guitar and fairly weak vocals.  blush

The manual indicates 53db of gain for the mic pres, which is on the low side for your application, although likely OK. Make sure you try before you buy, or buy where you have a return option.
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thereedeffect
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« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2008, 06:34:26 PM »

Yeah, I'm a bit weary of the dynamic mics with this unit. I'm now strongly considering the AT2020 as my vocal mic. I hear it's not too sensitive to pick up room noise much and so may still preserve enough separation of vocals and guitar. Guitar Center sells this mic in a package with the small diaphram AT2021 for $149. I don't know anything about the 2021 or its ability to record an acoustic guitar. So I don't know if I should jump on this package deal or not.
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jeremy3220
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« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2008, 06:38:20 PM »

I would not use a dynamic mic for recording. I have an M-Audio DMP3 and it's barely enough to get the signal of the SM-57 up where I need it. Besides it just doesn't sound that great. If you are worried about separation record them separately.
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Michael T
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« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2008, 06:47:40 PM »

Here is a inexpensive condenser set:

http://www.guitarcenter.com/MXL-990-MXL-991-Recording-Microphone-Package-102543741-i1126981.gc

The MXL line is pretty decent, you do need to get right up on them but they isolate very well. The vocal mic is very warm sounding (not scratchy) which you may or may not like.

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« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2008, 07:08:45 PM »

Yeah, I'm a bit weary of the dynamic mics with this unit. I'm now strongly considering the AT2020 as my vocal mic. I hear it's not too sensitive to pick up room noise much and so may still preserve enough separation of vocals and guitar. Guitar Center sells this mic in a package with the small diaphram AT2021 for $149. I don't know anything about the 2021 or its ability to record an acoustic guitar. So I don't know if I should jump on this package deal or not.

The Audio Technica package is a nice starter set that doesn't cost a lot. You will definitely have better recordings using them as compared to the SM57, or similar dynamic mic.
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« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2008, 11:21:51 PM »

Does the FireOne have a high-pass filter built in?  If not, you might consider opting for a mic that has a switchable high-pass filter.  It can be a real boon not to eat up all your dynamic range in your A/D converter with low frequency rumble either from your acoustic guitar or vocals.

I really would recommend getting a package that has a mic with a HP filter, perhaps a pop-screen and shockmount, before buying a 2-mic combination.

Here's an AT2035 that has a built in High-pass filter switch (80 Hz), and a shock mount - for the same price as the kit you refer.  The mic also has a 10 dB pad switch if you need it.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/AT2035/

BTW Sweetwater sells the same kit for the same price as GC - but with a better return policy.

Here's a CAD M-179 mic that has a continuously variable selectable pattern, shockmount, 10 dB pad and 80 Hz HP filter.

http://cgi.ebay.com/CAD-M179-Dual-Dia-Multi-Pattern-Condenser-Mic-M-179-NEW_W0QQitemZ280284847133QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item280284847133&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1205|66%3A2|65%3A12|39%3A1|240%3A1318

I have the CAD M-177 (doesn't have the variable pattern feature) and I've always thought the sound was quite nice.



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thereedeffect
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« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2008, 12:04:03 AM »

Whoa. The things of which you speak are beyond my knowledge level, rockstar_not!
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rockstar_not
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« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2008, 05:25:31 PM »

Whoa. The things of which you speak are beyond my knowledge level, rockstar_not!

Not true - you need to know these things to make decent recordings.  Very basic stuff here.

1.  Low frequencies will make their way into your recordings in several ways - sometimes through the mic stand, sometimes through the air.  A couple strategies to take care of this - use both for a great chance of success:  a.  Use some kind of shock-mount isolator between your mic stand and the mic.  Don't buy a condenser microphone without this - my recommendation.  b.  Many mics or input channels of microphone pre-amps/mixer channels will have a High-pass filter switch which will eliminate the lowest end of the audible spectrum - typically below 80 to 100 Hz.

2.  Condenser microphones are quite a bit more sensitive than dynamic microphones.  To prevent overloading the pre-amp, it's often nice to put a 10 dB pad (reduce the signal level by 10 dB) in line with the signal.  Having it available on the microphone is very handy and can be had for the price range you are looking at.

3.  The microphone pattern that you choose is pretty important when recording either guitar or vocals.  The SM 57 is quite uni-directional (cardioid) in pattern.  If you move at all while recording with it, you will notice some significant changes in volume.  You must remain quite still.  If you can stay still, that's cool.  A condenser with a less cardioid pattern is more forgiving in this regard.  Having access to multiple recording patterns is very useful if you want to experiment a little with your recording techniques.

If these are over your head, then recording vocals and guitar at the same time, with two different mics, is likely even farther over your head to be honest.

Here's a good reference to get started:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microphone_pick_up_patterns

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thereedeffect
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« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2008, 09:27:33 PM »

I just picked up an AKG Perception 120 on a bit of a whim.
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rockstar_not
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« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2008, 01:02:47 AM »

I just picked up an AKG Perception 120 on a bit of a whim.

That will do you fine.  You'll want to almost always use the bass cut filter whether recording acoustic guitar or vocals.

For vocals, you might want to pick up a pop-screen - or go old-school and make one from a coat-hanger formed into a hoop with a section of pantyhose stretched over it.  I used one of those for years before I bought a kit with my M-177 that had the shock mount and a pop-screen included.

AKG is a european company - the mount for the mic might come with a european mic stand insert (3/8" coarse thread) threaded into the adapter - a flat blade screwdriver or a dime will help you unscrew it for a US mic stand.

Some other tips:

Set up a makeshift 'vocal booth' or if you are lucky enough to have a clothes closet in your 'studio', they make for a great non-reflective surface (doors open of course) to put behind the mic stand.

Enjoy.  Don't forget to switch on the phantom power switch on the FireOne!

-Scott

Hey, that mic's bass cut is at 300 Hz.  You won't want to use it actually, that will cut out too much character from the low end.
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