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  #1  
Old 08-31-2008, 02:36 PM
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Default Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

Hi

By band is looking to do some recording soon. I can't afford studio time and nor can I afford mics but I figure mics are a better investment if I'm gonna gather a little bit of debt.

I'm gonna get an AKG D12 for the kick and I can borrow enought SM57s or Beta 98s (I think) for the snare and toms. The only thing I'm not too sure about is overheads. Last time I recorded I used AKG C3000s and they were way too sensitive, it was really difficult to stop them form peaking so I'm wondering what would make good overheads?

I'm looking at AKG C1000s as they are within my price range. Anyone have any thoughts or knowledge about these mics?
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Old 08-31-2008, 06:46 PM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

Wes I have been using these with much success with the little bit of recording I have done. They are about 18 inches over my head and pick up the snare, toms , and cymbals fine.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/produ...air?sku=273171
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Old 08-31-2008, 08:34 PM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

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Wes I have been using these with much success with the little bit of recording I have done. They are about 18 inches over my head and pick up the snare, toms , and cymbals fine.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/produ...air?sku=273171
Hmm. The UK store I was looking at didn't sell that make but I'll have a look around.
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Old 08-31-2008, 09:21 PM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

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Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
Wes I have been using these with much success with the little bit of recording I have done. They are about 18 inches over my head and pick up the snare, toms , and cymbals fine.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/produ...air?sku=273171
+1..

those are nice mics...

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Old 09-01-2008, 12:51 AM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

C-1000's are decent, but there's a lot of debate about them being sensitive as well. I thought they were fine, but I wanted a bit more dynamic range.

Sterling Audio is a fairly new brand but the make some kick-butt mics for fairly cheap. Check them out if you can find them.

MXL's are definitley unbeatable for the price though.
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Old 09-03-2008, 02:20 PM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

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C-1000's are decent, but there's a lot of debate about them being sensitive as well. I thought they were fine, but I wanted a bit more dynamic range.

Sterling Audio is a fairly new brand but the make some kick-butt mics for fairly cheap. Check them out if you can find them.

MXL's are definitley unbeatable for the price though.
Hmmm well the overheads are purely gonna be for cymbals and I've got Projection crashes which I'm using all the time so if they're too sensitive I may not go for them.

I'll have a look round for Sterling Audio.
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Old 09-03-2008, 02:43 PM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

Can anyone explain exactly what these terms mean?

I've been looking at the specs for some mics and they list Max SPL and Sensitivity
E.G.

AKG C3000 B
Max SPL: 140/150 dB (k=0,5%)
Sensitivity: 25 mV/Pa (-32 dBV)

AKG C1000 S
Max SPL: 137 dB (k=1%)
Sensitivity: 6 mV/Pa (-44 dBV)

Rode NT5
Max SPL: 143dB SPL (@ 1kHz, 1% THD into 1KΩ load)
Sensitivity: -38 dB re 1 Volt/Pascal (12 mV @ 94 dB SPL) +/- 2 dB @ 1kHz

When I used the C3000 for overheads they were too sensitive but from the looks of the specs they can handle a higher SPL?
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Old 09-03-2008, 03:04 PM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

Max SPL is the volume they can take. All of these have decent Max SPL and unless you use them for a bass drum, they'll be fine.

The sensitivity isn't the problem. What I suggest you do is to simply use a lower gain setting on whatever preamp you are using and then you won't have such a hot signal. You can still use the C3000's and get what you want out of them this way. Just use less gain. It looks like the C3000's also have a -10dB pad. Use that when you're micing.

Of the three, I'd use the C3000's - although if you really don't like them (and I suggest it's probably the way you were using them) the C1000's and NT5's are very similar and there really is very little to choose between them. I'd probably get the C1000's because they can be battery powered for field operations, but there's very little between them.

Incidentally, if you bought a D12 for the bass, hats off to you because those are excellent mics. You probably meant the D112 though - which is the newer model of the D12 and in my view is inferior to the original. Still pretty good though.
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Old 09-03-2008, 03:22 PM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

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Originally Posted by Mediocrefunkybeat View Post
Max SPL is the volume they can take. All of these have decent Max SPL and unless you use them for a bass drum, they'll be fine.

The sensitivity isn't the problem. What I suggest you do is to simply use a lower gain setting on whatever preamp you are using and then you won't have such a hot signal. You can still use the C3000's and get what you want out of them this way. Just use less gain. It looks like the C3000's also have a -10dB pad. Use that when you're micing.

Of the three, I'd use the C3000's - although if you really don't like them (and I suggest it's probably the way you were using them) the C1000's and NT5's are very similar and there really is very little to choose between them. I'd probably get the C1000's because they can be battery powered for field operations, but there's very little between them.

Incidentally, if you bought a D12 for the bass, hats off to you because those are excellent mics. You probably meant the D112 though - which is the newer model of the D12 and in my view is inferior to the original. Still pretty good though.
Thanks MFB

I had the -10 pad switched on and the mics were about 1.5 metres above my kit, the preamp volume was off (which confused me) and they peaked every now and then. I am a very crash heavy player and it was that was causing them to peak ( was using rides as crashes at the time). The ceiling was low and reflective as well so I guess that won't have helped.

I meant the D112 cos that's the only one I know about and it seems to be what a lot of people rave about. I take it the D12 is not available any more, I'll check that out myself though.
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Old 09-03-2008, 04:08 PM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

A good old trick is to get a blanket and to suspend it between the two stands, with the blanket going over the back of the mic capsules. That'll help prevent any ceiling reflections. You really need to record in a room with a slightly higher ceiling. If you have any samples of those recordings, I'd be interested in giving them a listen.

You might want to use a slight compression on the overheads to help prevent some of the peaking, but really you'll need to use a minimal gain setting and raise the mics up. About four feet plus above the cymbals is probably about right for something of this nature. Just play around until you get it right - it's just about playing around.

The D12 is actually from the 1950's and has a separate isolation mount for the capsule within the windshield, it's really handy for helping prevent any excess rumble.
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Old 09-03-2008, 04:22 PM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

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Originally Posted by Mediocrefunkybeat View Post
A good old trick is to get a blanket and to suspend it between the two stands, with the blanket going over the back of the mic capsules. That'll help prevent any ceiling reflections. You really need to record in a room with a slightly higher ceiling. If you have any samples of those recordings, I'd be interested in giving them a listen.

You might want to use a slight compression on the overheads to help prevent some of the peaking, but really you'll need to use a minimal gain setting and raise the mics up. About four feet plus above the cymbals is probably about right for something of this nature. Just play around until you get it right - it's just about playing around.

The D12 is actually from the 1950's and has a separate isolation mount for the capsule within the windshield, it's really handy for helping prevent any excess rumble.
I recorded everything straight with no compression and no gating - we had five hours to set up, check everything, record 8 tracks and pack down. There wasn't much time to run tests and stuff so I didn't want to compress or gate anything before hand in case I messed it up. We were doing the guitar and drums at the same. I learnt a lot of lessons that day!

You can hear the whole lot on last.fm here - http://www.last.fm/music/Trippy%2BWi...Imaginarianism

Next time we'll be in the live room of a studio - they hire it our for rehearsals so I'll be using that for recording ourselves. The blanket idea sounds good and I'll keep that in mind.
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Old 09-03-2008, 04:30 PM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

Actually these recordings aren't too bad. In the future (amongst the other tips I've given you) you're going to have to ensure that the drums are more widely panned and that your mix levels are better balanced.

http://www.myspace.com/disturbancewithin

The first two tracks are produced by me, although the band is nothing to do with me particularly.

This is an example of something I did a good while ago. This was all done in my dining room. I want you to guess what I used for the drums. Warning: it's a trick question. I had some problems with the vocals that day and in retrospect I would've done a few things differently. Not perfect, but a reasonable job for me given the time I had. If you listen to the drums (the playing isn't great, again, not me) they're deceptively high in the mix - something I think yours are actually suffering from. Incidentally, I played a bit of bass on one of these tracks.
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Old 09-03-2008, 04:39 PM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

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Actually these recordings aren't too bad. In the future (amongst the other tips I've given you) you're going to have to ensure that the drums are more widely panned and that your mix levels are better balanced.

http://www.myspace.com/disturbancewithin

The first two tracks are produced by me, although the band is nothing to do with me particularly.

This is an example of something I did a good while ago. This was all done in my dining room. I want you to guess what I used for the drums. Warning: it's a trick question. I had some problems with the vocals that day and in retrospect I would've done a few things differently. Not perfect, but a reasonable job for me given the time I had. If you listen to the drums (the playing isn't great, again, not me) they're deceptively high in the mix - something I think yours are actually suffering from. Incidentally, I played a bit of bass on one of these tracks.
Cool. I'll have a listen to it later (MySpace is blocked at my work). Yeah I agree about the drums being too quiet - my mixing mistake. I was initially dissapointed with it but I'm treating it as a good learning exercise. Next time I'll have a better kit, better mics and a bit more knowledge.
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Old 09-04-2008, 10:04 AM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

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Originally Posted by Mediocrefunkybeat View Post
Actually these recordings aren't too bad. In the future (amongst the other tips I've given you) you're going to have to ensure that the drums are more widely panned and that your mix levels are better balanced.

http://www.myspace.com/disturbancewithin

The first two tracks are produced by me, although the band is nothing to do with me particularly.

This is an example of something I did a good while ago. This was all done in my dining room. I want you to guess what I used for the drums. Warning: it's a trick question. I had some problems with the vocals that day and in retrospect I would've done a few things differently. Not perfect, but a reasonable job for me given the time I had. If you listen to the drums (the playing isn't great, again, not me) they're deceptively high in the mix - something I think yours are actually suffering from. Incidentally, I played a bit of bass on one of these tracks.
Yeah they sound ok. Trick question eh? errr....C3000s?
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Old 09-04-2008, 10:22 AM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

DI. They're electronic drums. That was the trick.

Wish I'd been able to use my actual kit, but I didn't have the gear available...
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Old 09-04-2008, 10:32 AM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

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DI. They're electronic drums. That was the trick.

Wish I'd been able to use my actual kit, but I didn't have the gear available...
Doh! I'm gonna have to go back and have another listen now.

I checked out your ambient stuff and it's cool. Very relaxing.
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Old 09-04-2008, 10:47 AM
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Doh! I'm gonna have to go back and have another listen now.

I checked out your ambient stuff and it's cool. Very relaxing.
Thanks. That's what I do when I actually have access to a real studio...
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Old 09-04-2008, 01:13 PM
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Thanks. That's what I do when I actually have access to a real studio...
I had a go at doing some of that kinda stuff myself a while ago. I had some cool sounds and stuff but couldn't really string it together into a piece. It's wicked just setting up a nice trippy delay sound, having a beer and making some noises though.
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Old 09-08-2008, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Mediocrefunkybeat View Post
Max SPL is the volume they can take. All of these have decent Max SPL and unless you use them for a bass drum, they'll be fine.

The sensitivity isn't the problem. What I suggest you do is to simply use a lower gain setting on whatever preamp you are using and then you won't have such a hot signal. You can still use the C3000's and get what you want out of them this way. Just use less gain. It looks like the C3000's also have a -10dB pad. Use that when you're micing.

Of the three, I'd use the C3000's - although if you really don't like them (and I suggest it's probably the way you were using them) the C1000's and NT5's are very similar and there really is very little to choose between them. I'd probably get the C1000's because they can be battery powered for field operations, but there's very little between them.

Incidentally, if you bought a D12 for the bass, hats off to you because those are excellent mics. You probably meant the D112 though - which is the newer model of the D12 and in my view is inferior to the original. Still pretty good though.
Hey MFB

I had a little test with one of the C3000 I'm currently borrowing. We were at our rehearsal studio yesterday so I took my gear along and set up the C3000 about 1.5 metres above my kit. I had the -10 pad switched on, the mic goes into my Edirol UA-25 (contains the mic preamp) and that's connected to a iBook. I had the input volume off on the Edirol and when I was playing it was peaking - mostly on snare hits.

The room we use is a recording room and not just a rehearsal room. It's very well insulated and there is no perceivable reflection - the whole sound in there when we jam is very focused and everything is crystal clear at whatever volume.

Any ideas if I'm doing anything wrong? I can't imagine my playing is that much louder than most although I know I play hard.

Thanks
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Old 09-08-2008, 10:54 PM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

It might actually be the case that you're hitting too hard. On your computer, was it going into the amber or the red? I'm guessing the red. That's too hot - it'd probably be absolutely fine on tape, but going into digital, that's going to clip. EDIT: On second thoughts, I'm guessing the 'clip' LED was going off on the Edirol rather than on your computer...

Again, the only thing I can think of is gain. AKG have the spec sheet on their website and it doesn't appear to have a particular bias for anything snare-related either. One solution might be to actually tilt the capsule slightly off-axis so that the snare is rejected more by the capsule, if that's what is peaking it. You'll have to do some playing around to get the right sound out of that method though.

EDIT: I'm just looking at the Edirol interface. Now, this probably sounds patronising so don't take it the wrong way, but just to make sure we're talking about the same control, it's the 'Sens' control that you're turning down, right? That may sound like a silly question, but stranger things have happened.
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Old 09-09-2008, 02:10 PM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

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It might actually be the case that you're hitting too hard. On your computer, was it going into the amber or the red? I'm guessing the red. That's too hot - it'd probably be absolutely fine on tape, but going into digital, that's going to clip. EDIT: On second thoughts, I'm guessing the 'clip' LED was going off on the Edirol rather than on your computer...

Again, the only thing I can think of is gain. AKG have the spec sheet on their website and it doesn't appear to have a particular bias for anything snare-related either. One solution might be to actually tilt the capsule slightly off-axis so that the snare is rejected more by the capsule, if that's what is peaking it. You'll have to do some playing around to get the right sound out of that method though.

EDIT: I'm just looking at the Edirol interface. Now, this probably sounds patronising so don't take it the wrong way, but just to make sure we're talking about the same control, it's the 'Sens' control that you're turning down, right? That may sound like a silly question, but stranger things have happened.
Yeah clipping on the Edirol (it's either off or red) - didn't look to see if the computer was clipping - I assumed if one was, then the other would as well? I have a feeling that when the Edirol clips, Cubase doesn't though.

and yeah it's the 'Sens' control I'm referring to.
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Old 09-09-2008, 03:29 PM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

Well if the Edirol is clipping, then that is a problem. You could turn down the output level of the interface, but that wouldn't get rid of the problem of nasty clipping in the interface. If it's still doing it, I suggest you try another Mic or try my off-axis capsule idea. Yeah - not great advice I know, but it's all I can think of without putting a limiter before the Edirol, which would mean more outboard gear.

Anyone else have an ideas?
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Old 09-09-2008, 04:44 PM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

I think other mics would be the option. I started out with the idea of getting something like C1000s so that's cool.

I have, however seen some posts mentioning Audix mics. I've had a look and I can get a full set of mics for not a huge amount more than I was originally going to spend on a kick mic and overheads. Without something like that I would be borrowing all the other mics from a mate so it would be good to have them all myself.
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Old 09-09-2008, 06:14 PM
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Audix are good quality. If you can get the overheads (C1000's are good, I'm considering a set sooner or later) then you ought to be sorted.
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Old 09-09-2008, 06:17 PM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

Thanks MFB. You have been most helpful.

When I've decided what I'm getting and then get the recording done I'll let you know how I get on.

Chris.
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Old 09-09-2008, 09:40 PM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

If I understand the problem correctly, it's not a mic problem (except that the mics are too hot). Unless the mics and your interface are clipping simultaneously, the problem is the interface. You might need to get another mixer to attenuate the output of the mics.

What I'll usually do is run mics into my Mackie mixer and then patch the appropriate channels back out into my audio interface. That way, I can turn the gain down as necessary on the Mackie and keep my interface out of the red.

Also, I'll submit that I've used SM-57s as overheads with good success. My MXL condenser mics, however, DO clip with the high SPLs drums exert.
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Old 09-10-2008, 01:38 PM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

Sm57's as overheads? Getouttahere! I joke. I've heard nothing but good news on the MXL's, but I've never seen them. Probably not as popular in the UK.

Obviously having a mix control prior to your interface would be an obvious way of lowering the gain - like Dker says, so if you do have a mixer, use it. This would all be so much easier if we were recording to tape - it probably just wouldn't matter! I miss the 16-track tape machine at college - especially seeing as I was the only kid who knew how to run it and set it up without instruction... damn digital recording...
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Old 09-10-2008, 01:47 PM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

Ok. So I could try putting the C3000s through the mixer of my 4 track. I might give that a go next time.

Basically I can borrow a couple of C3000s or buy something myself. If I can use the C3000s that would be better cos then I have more to spend on other mics. And by more I actually mean less...credit.
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Old 09-10-2008, 02:10 PM
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Yep. Didn't know you had a mixer! Just put it through there and put the level down slightly, you'll know if it's the mic or your interface clipping then.
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Old 09-10-2008, 05:45 PM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

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Yep. Didn't know you had a mixer! Just put it through there and put the level down slightly, you'll know if it's the mic or your interface clipping then.
I figured if the input was clipping then the mic might be being pushed too far as well.

I'll have a go with the mixer next time I'm in the studio which should be this weekend.
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Old 09-10-2008, 06:04 PM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

Well it might still be the mic, but using a mixer to reduce the input level will help work this out.
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Old 09-10-2008, 06:08 PM
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

Is there a chance I'm damaging the mic though? Don't wanna bust something that's not mine.
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  #33  
Old 09-10-2008, 06:27 PM
Mediocrefunkybeat
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Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

It's possible, but unlikely. C3000's are about the same as every other condenser with their maximum SPL before damage, so it's unlikely.
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  #34  
Old 01-13-2009, 07:44 PM
yayrecording yayrecording is offline
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Posts: 8
Default Re: Mic Choice on a budget (overheads)

guys....I bought m-audio pulsar II's for overheads and our band records with them.....absolutely amazing mics for the price....so clear. I use a bass mic and these as overheads and it picks up the set so well, toms sound great, cymbals so clear, and it picks up the snare well too (although i wanna buy a snare mic in the future). seriously....only 250-300 dollars for a matched pair and theyre fantastic.
http://www.zzounds.com/item--MDOPULSARII
look into them theyre great especially for XY and ORTF configurations. They also can be used for other things. When we record Ive miced guitar amps before and acoustic guitar and got terrific results. Just wanted to let all of you know
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