Favorite Large Condenser Mic...

jdavis

Member
Might not be what you want to hear, but I'd rather put my $500 into a world class dynamic mic than a mediocre condenser. At least the dynamic mic will retain it's resale value. Just saying...

Good luck with whatever you choose. (y)
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Might not be what you want to hear, but I'd rather put my $500 into a world class dynamic mic than a mediocre condenser. At least the dynamic mic will retain it's resale value. Just saying...

Good luck with whatever you choose. (y)
Such as? My favorite dynamics are the Beyer 201 and the Senn MD441, but those are about $200, and $1000, respectively.

I bought my first C414 15 years ago. Paid $750, and can still get more than $500 for it.
 

jdavis

Member
Such as? My favorite dynamics are the Beyer 201 and the Senn MD441, but those are about $200, and $1000, respectively.
The 441 is also my fave dynamic. You have good taste! (y)

There are so many, though. If you look around, you might be able to find the 441's little brother, the 541 for less than $500. Tele M80's are half of that. Both great mics.

Then, there's the EV RE20 or the Shure SM7B. Beyers are great as you already know. Actually the M160 (which is a hyper-cardioid ribbon) is terrific and very versatile. So many great dynamic mics available within that price range.
 

OSDrums

Active member
If you look around, you might be able to find the 441's little brother, the 541 for less than $500.
The BF541 is exactly the same mic as the MD441-U3. Basically they don’t have the bass rolloff Filter which you don’t need anyway and they are black instead of silver/black. No need to call it a little brother :) I had both of these mics and they are certainly among the best dynamics at all. I liked them much more than for example the RE27N/D which always had a metallic resonance to it. The 441/541s were very close in sound to a C414B-ULS, the EV never came near to that level for my taste at least...
 
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jdavis

Member
The BF541 is exactly the same mic as the MD441-U3. Basically they don’t have the bass rolloff Filter which you don’t need anyway and they are black instead of silver/black. No need to call it a little brother :) I had both of these mics and they are certainly among the best dynamics at all. I liked them much more than for example the RE27N/D which always had a metallic resonance to it. The 441/541s were very close in sound to a C414B-ULS, the EV never came near to that level for my taste at least...
Again, good taste! Agreed about the 541. I'd only call it that because the biggest difference is the absence of the filter. But, you're right about It being pretty much the same mic. A great deal for those in the know! ;)

Agreed on the RE27, too. Always preferred the RE20 if given the choice. The only thing we seem to differ on is the 414. Great workhorse mics but never really dug them too much. Just a personal thing.
 

jdavis

Member
BTW, another great dynamic that comes up occasionally on the used market for not much money is the Beyer Soundstar MKII. It sounds really close to an SM7B (to my ears), has a hotter output and they're pretty durable. I had several and when it came time to unload a few of them I actually made a profit. Good stuff so keep your eyes open. (y)
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
Thanks jdavis and OSDrums for the heads up on those dynamics-and you are correct, I wasn't even think in that direction. I'd never heard of the Beyerdynamics before. I checked a few YT vids on that Beyer 201-and "wow", seems absolutely killer on snare drum.
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
OK....so usually these threads never resolve with the OP wandering off into the sunset and things just kinda left hanging. Well not this time!

After giving this whole "throw an LDC at it and see if it sticks" thing a few days. And reading over all the replies...a bulb went on...

In short: *I don't know what I'm doing*

I mean, yea I can press "record" and hear drums being played, but not the whole "why?, what-for?, and how to?" picture of what's going on. All the advice above was helpful in getting me to a place where I could see THAT light. So thanks to all for your help with that.

Most people can\should bail out now, but if you want to see what I intend to do from here, read on...

First, I bought a notebook. I must have 100 recordings with no record of what I did, what I used, where, what mics-positions, heights, settings etc. It was sit down hit 'record' and go. So the notebook is for keeping a journal of what I am doing so I can start to learn what is working and what is not, what I've already tried and what I have not.

Secondly, I spent an hour listening to people who know more (way more) than me using similar gear and some of the mics I already have. This is how I found out I don't need to buy MORE of anything at the moment. I already have some decent stuff, I just haven't learned how to use it properly. It's not the axe stupid...it's the Lumberjack! Now, having said that, the Beyerdynamic M201TG really caught my attention. More on that below.

OK...so what next?

1. Work on "the room" and a better setup to make recording, moving mics etc. easier.
2. Work on learning as much about the LiveTrak L12 AWAY from the kit so I am not tempted to say "bag it" and just play.
3. Go over my kit and cymbals top to bottom and tweak and tune everything properly. No lazy or sloppy equipment to drag down the recording.
3. Work on reaching the best sound I can from each component of my kit (within reason and the constraints of my gear). Spend an hour or two just working on the bass drum, the snare, hi hats, etc. Work on getting the kit balanced.
4. Pick one tune or project and stick with it until I am able to get some semblance of a mature recording.
5. Work on learning the software. Not just using it, but taking the time to develop process to work through to get that "final cut".
6. Share samples and get opinions from the people who know more (way more) than me to help me "get there".

A word on gear...

1. More important than another mic would be a good pair of monitoring headphones. My "good" headphones are too bass heavy and while fine for listening to tunes, I don't trust them to give me an accurate picture of how I actually sound. Any suggestions?

2. Having said that...lol, I am looking at an Audix D4 for my floor tom, and the Beyerdynamic M201TG to replace my Audix i5. I like the D4 samples I've heard for floor toms and even bass drums, and that Beyerdynamic just sounds so killer on snare drums...

Just in case anyone had any last thoughts or comments, I want to include the mics I have. I already mentioned the Zoom LiveTrak L12 so that's pretty much not going anywhere, at least for now. But the mics may be open to trade or sell so here they are-

Audix D6
Audix ADX51 (2)
Audix i5
Sennheiser e902
Sennheiser e604
Sennheiser e835 (2)

I will probably begin the process with a three mic system...

THANKS AGAIN GUYS!
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Audix D6
Audix ADX51 (2)
Audix i5
Sennheiser e902
Sennheiser e604
Sennheiser e835 (2)

I will probably begin the process with a three mic system...

THANKS AGAIN GUYS!
You're not going to speed your progress by trying endlessly to achieve with three mics, the sound that is typically created using eight. Adding a condenser to your present collection is a great idea. A room mic can sound great in figure 8 or omni, and is more important than you probably think it is at the moment. You can do some serious recording with what you have. You have a pair of condensers for overheads, which is good -- dynamics tend to sound harsh from a distance.

If you're going to bother to set up everything, and do a take, you may as well do overheads plus kick, snare, and tom mics. Learn to gate and EQ them so that the close mics still sound natural. Add in a "crotch" mic; the e604 is worth trying out in this position, it's rolled off high end could work in your favor. Add in a room mic. Mic the bottom of the snare. Use two mics on the kick (on inside and one outside). Use all your channels. All of them. You can't add that stuff in afterward, so get it while you can.

Much of your micing decisions need to reflect your vision for the WHOLE SONG, not just the drums. Micing decisions are essentially MIXING decisions, before you've started to mix. The drums will sound fine on their own, unless you do something really silly. Is the material mellow, singer-songwriter stuff? Consider moving the overheads up a bit, and add a room mic instead of the crotch mic to get a more ambient, less aggressive sound. The natural reverb of your room (undesirable though it may be) is almost certainly better than reverb from a plug-in, though you'll have to EQ and compress it a bit to get a usable sound.

Is the material heavy rock, with Marshall-Les-Paul-type guitars? Move the mics a bit closer, because you'll want the presence and punch to be there, in order to poke through the wall of dirty guitars and bass. If desired, you can raise the fader on the room mic during "kick only" parts, tom fills, etc. You might want to use a bottom snare mic here, too. The snare will be plenty snare-ey when it's just the drums, but you'll be surprised how much snare tone get swallowed up by a dense, heavy mix.
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
You're not going to speed your progress by trying endlessly to achieve with three mics, the sound that is typically created using eight. Adding a condenser to your present collection is a great idea. A room mic can sound great in figure 8 or omni, and is more important than you probably think it is at the moment. You can do some serious recording with what you have. You have a pair of condensers for overheads, which is good -- dynamics tend to sound harsh from a distance.

If you're going to bother to set up everything, and do a take, you may as well do overheads plus kick, snare, and tom mics. Learn to gate and EQ them so that the close mics still sound natural. Add in a "crotch" mic; the e604 is worth trying out in this position, it's rolled off high end could work in your favor. Add in a room mic. Mic the bottom of the snare. Use two mics on the kick (on inside and one outside). Use all your channels. All of them. You can't add that stuff in afterward, so get it while you can.

Much of your micing decisions need to reflect your vision for the WHOLE SONG, not just the drums. Micing decisions are essentially MIXING decisions, before you've started to mix. The drums will sound fine on their own, unless you do something really silly. Is the material mellow, singer-songwriter stuff? Consider moving the overheads up a bit, and add a room mic instead of the crotch mic to get a more ambient, less aggressive sound. The natural reverb of your room (undesirable though it may be) is almost certainly better than reverb from a plug-in, though you'll have to EQ and compress it a bit to get a usable sound.

Is the material heavy rock, with Marshall-Les-Paul-type guitars? Move the mics a bit closer, because you'll want the presence and punch to be there, in order to poke through the wall of dirty guitars and bass. If desired, you can raise the fader on the room mic during "kick only" parts, tom fills, etc. You might want to use a bottom snare mic here, too. The snare will be plenty snare-ey when it's just the drums, but you'll be surprised how much snare tone get swallowed up by a dense, heavy mix.
Can't thank you enough for THIS^ Brent. Your time and expertise are very much appreciated. I don't take people's time for granted, so again-THANKS!

I will cut and paste your post to save it...

A couple notes: Currently my "best" bass drum sound is using the D6 in the reso port, and the Senn e902 on the batter side at the beater. I have done this before using the D6 inside and a Senn e835 (vocal mic, but with a 20-18hz spread) on the batter side. I tend to like my bass drum more in the midrange. Seems everyone else is taking the midrange out...lol.

Had a drum sound I really liked using the Glyn Johns over the shoulder\over the snare\bass drum. That's why I mentioned three mics. But I see the sense in what you suggested. So I will go forward with using it all.

As far as sound-I like Garibaldi's sound with TOP, and at the opposite end, the Russ Kunkel sound off of Tapestry and the whole 70s singer-songwriter vibe.

Thanks so much.
 

jdavis

Member
Had a drum sound I really liked using the Glyn Johns over the shoulder\over the snare\bass drum. That's why I mentioned three mics. But I see the sense in what you suggested. So I will go forward with using it all.
As far as sound-I like Garibaldi's sound with TOP, and at the opposite end, the Russ Kunkel sound off of Tapestry and the whole 70s singer-songwriter vibe.
Not to throw a wrench in the mix, but I'd advocate for a "less is more" approach. Sure, you can mic everything and have way more channels than you need for the sake of coverage. But, is it necessary? Personally, some of my favorite recordings were made with fewer drum channels - not more.

You might also consider the down side of having so many drum channels. For instance, using lots of mics can quickly introduce phase problems into your recordings. Instead of making things sound better, you could be making things sound thinner and worse.

Not to mention how much more work you'd be making for yourself - you'd have to start worrying about the mic technique and processing (gating/eq/compression/reverb/etc) of each of the extra channels you wanted to use. Why not make it easy on yourself?

If you like the Glyn Johns technique, go for it! If you want to emulate Garibaldi & Kunkel and go for a drier, 70's sound, awesome! Just not sure if going in the direction of more drum channels is necessarily going to get you there any quicker. Instead, your idea of focussing on the basics like the sound source and your room is probably time better spent, IMO.
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
Just a quick post of a vid demonstrating what I have been getting with my current set up. Just straight out of a cheap Mackie DFX6 straight into an even cheaper Canon SL1 DSLR lol. No editing, smoke, mirrors...possibly a touch of cheesy onboard reverb?

Mics-Audix ADX51 overheads (2), Audix D6 inside the bass drum right at the batter, Sennheiser e902 on the floor tom. Drums are Rogers Holiday-20" 13" 16", Snare is a Tama Starclassic Performer (birch). Cymbals all Zildjian new As-16, 18, 21 Sweet ride, 14" NB, A Custom 14".

Note: this is NOT a drum cover...lol, it's a drum "play-along" to a Rockband drumless track I found on YouTube.

 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Not to throw a wrench in the mix, but I'd advocate for a "less is more" approach. Sure, you can mic everything and have way more channels than you need for the sake of coverage. But, is it necessary? Personally, some of my favorite recordings were made with fewer drum channels - not more.

You might also consider the down side of having so many drum channels. For instance, using lots of mics can quickly introduce phase problems into your recordings. Instead of making things sound better, you could be making things sound thinner and worse.

Not to mention how much more work you'd be making for yourself - you'd have to start worrying about the mic technique and processing (gating/eq/compression/reverb/etc) of each of the extra channels you wanted to use. Why not make it easy on yourself?

If you like the Glyn Johns technique, go for it! If you want to emulate Garibaldi & Kunkel and go for a drier, 70's sound, awesome! Just not sure if going in the direction of more drum channels is necessarily going to get you there any quicker. Instead, your idea of focussing on the basics like the sound source and your room is probably time better spent, IMO.
Don't get me wrong, I like a good miminal, Glyn Johns thing, too -- but only if it's right for the song. And not all songs deserve the same presentation. You wouldn't record Pantera as if they wanted to sound like the Rolling Stones.

But, when you're just getting started, and if you have the equipment -- don't just assume that one approach is "best". Recording techniques are tools used to achieve a sound. You can have the best wrench in the world, but if you need a screwdriver, well...

So try a bunch of different techniques and sounds, like Glyn Johns, close mics, Blumlein, Mid-Side, Spaced Pair, room mics in stereo, room mic in mono, one mono overhead, crotch mic, tea towels on the snare and toms, cover the snare with a t-shirt, take the front head off the kick, non-ported bass drum reso head, parallel compression, side-chain compression -- try it all. Don't get too attached to any one approach, but instead relate each approach with a style, band, or genre, and its potential to sound good in the final product.
 
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