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A microphone for recording.

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Captain Jeff, Sep 20, 2018.

  1. Captain Jeff

    Captain Jeff

    May 6, 2018
    Hey there! I wanted to ask you, though you probably get this question a lot. I'm looking for a microphone for about 100-120$ to record a 4 string bass, so 40Hz frequency range is a must.
    And there is only one other thing I'm looking for, it has to be really... Unique sounding? I like warm mics, as I believe these are not that high fidelity. Ribbons are also an option. And I would also love something really vintage. From today's point of view a bit useless, as I love the late 60s and early 70s recording. A bit lo-fi, so to speak. Any ideas?
  2. Mcgiver69


    Sep 28, 2005
    SM57 is your best friend and a DI to record the bass direct, then you blend both tracks to get a full and defined sound.
    ScottTunes, joebar, crios and 8 others like this.
  3. Captain Jeff

    Captain Jeff

    May 6, 2018
    While I agree with what you've said, I want to record dirty hard rock tracks and add a unique, vintage sound to it. You know, everything analog and something that's rather unpopular way of doing things. Beside, sm57 doesn't give that super warm tone.
  4. Captain Jeff

    Captain Jeff

    May 6, 2018
    Beside, I'm not sure if I want to use DI. It will probably be a session on an 8 track, so just a few microphones available.
  5. guts


    Aug 13, 2018
    I'm pretty sure that's got to be one of the most ubiquitous sounds there is. There are really no unique options left for you. You're going to be buying the same microphone and doing the same kind of thing as a whole bunch of other people no matter what you choose.
    JRA likes this.
  6. Captain Jeff

    Captain Jeff

    May 6, 2018
    Theoretically - you're right. I probably can't do stuff that's whole lotta different. But I can try to do something at least less common. I'd love to put a ribbon mic to my bass cab, I was even thinking about sE Electronics one. And that's something not that common, to be honest, is it? If we'd just be doing over and over the same thing, we'd be bored to hell. That's why I can't stand new songs. And that's why I think we should always explore, so while sm57 is great and always have been - I'd prefer something less common.
  7. guts


    Aug 13, 2018
    I'm saying that the idea that you have has been around continuously since the sixties when the things you're wanting to buy were new technology. People have never stopped making that music, so every single possible combination of mic and cab and head within the pool you're making available to yourself has been done and is being done again right now. It's like you're trying to explore a city. It's new to you, but people live there. People built it. We have google maps.
    joebar likes this.
  8. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    So $100 does not get you many quality choices. Dynamic mics like a 57 or 58 and the like, are useful for a lot of things. If you are looking for other technologies like a condenser or Ribbon, your budget is too low to get a good mic unless maybe you find something used or a studio going out of business. Some inexpensive, very good sounding studio mics are Lauten 220 large diaphram condenser for $249, or Sterling Audio ST170 Ribbon for $200, both very nice sounding mics. Hope his helps.

    MDBass, ArtechnikA and Captain Jeff like this.
  9. I used Se X-1 for double bass acoustic recording with a very satisfying sound. On bass amp, it didn't interest me very much. Can't remember why, maybe it was too boomy to my taste. I'd check SM57, SM58 or Senheiser E609. Don't underestimate SM57, it's very accurate and that is what you want.
    joebar and Bassbeater like this.
  10. filmtex


    May 29, 2011
    What mics EXACTLY were "they" using in the late 60s and early 70s recordings? What would be your examples of "warm mics"? Please share some frequency charts on these "warm mics" so we can actually see how "not that high fidelity" they are. Just as a point of reference. And please quantify "a bit lo-fi" so we can make educated recommendations. @NcGuyver had several good observations as did @Captain Jeff and @guts. And just for fun, are you referring to a "four string bass" guitar/amp/speaker combination or an upright or double "4 string bass"? That bit is a little unclear to me as well. Not trying to be snarky here, just trying to sort out your OP.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
  11. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    sounds to me like you want the 'pleasure' of doing things differently even though the end product will conform to what we already know/expect. e.g., "you'll never believe what mic i used for that!"

    good luck on your 're-inventing' quest! :thumbsup:

    not all round things are wheels. but all wheels are round. coincidence?
    Kevnn4 and Captain Jeff like this.
  12. Captain Jeff

    Captain Jeff

    May 6, 2018
    Yeah, sorry, you're probably right. I'm using a 4 string bass guitar, plugged into an SWR amp, plugged into GK cabinet. And to be honest, if I really knew what mics they were using back then, I'd also sit all day and compare charts, unfortunately, I do not. As for the sweet tone, I believe mic should be mostly flat, with no rise at the highs, thay would be slowly fading away and maybe a bit more sensitive at about 60 Hz. But that'd be mostly my imagination, as I've never encountered such chart. A bit lo fi means that the mic should be hearably specific in its tone. And I know that all microphones sound a little different, but what I like about ribbons is that they have this obscure sound. That's roughly what I'm looking for. And thanks for the hints about the specifics!
  13. Captain Jeff

    Captain Jeff

    May 6, 2018
    Hah, you're kind of close of what I'd love to do, but the microphone is only a small part of the whole process, so I can't agree with you on this one. But thanks for hope in my re-inventing quest! :p
    JRA likes this.
  14. filmtex


    May 29, 2011
    Cool. I would suggest you ask around and see if you can borrow some mics from your friends. Then do your own testing. Try for standard set up and take lots of photos and notes about your testing set ups. That way you'll have your own data gathered and can make decisions based on that data. Taking some advice from the above posts, SM57 is a great place to start, and just for kicks, see if you can borrow a SM57 beta, same for SM58's. Lots of folks like AKG D112's . This thread has lots of good advice as.
    Don't discount those "bargain" mics like MXL, Nady and CAD- with some placement experimentation, you can get good results, and might just fit your idea of "lo-fi" too. Also, lots of engineers will use a mic/DI combo and do the final sound tweaking in their DAW. Something else to consider. Personally, I've been recording since the mid 70's and usually go right in to the board and run an additional track from a mic- I let the engineer decide. (If it's my choice I usually go with a 57.)It's sometimes a bit harder to stand in the booth and play, but it's just something else to get used to. Part of the journey I guess! Have fun recording.
  15. Captain Jeff

    Captain Jeff

    May 6, 2018
    Hey, I'm actually super glad you've brought up MXL mics, because I have to add - I'm from Poland, so even if there is 200$ Sterling ST170, which I really loved and I am considering now, for me the price of that mic is 300$ because of shipping and tax. So I'm prepared that most of the great stuff may not be worth the money. By the way, what are your thoughts on sE Electronics? Anyway, I digress. I've noticed many MXL mics that look kind of professional but I wasn't really sure if that's a trustworthy company, I guess I could try them then!

    When it comes to the recording, I've got to say that we will probably do a whole session instead of tracking, just because our lives are great and our record... Well, it was terrible. Probably because the lack of skill, too, so that's why I'm so willing to be the one to explore. And I love the idea of omnidirectional microphone, because if one sound is catched by many devices, they all will build up automatically. Though it will take a bit of setting, as this way we will have to watch the mix carefully, to not be too busy. It's really kind of a new trip into recording and I just want to explore, maybe my direction is wrong, but who cares?
  16. LowFactor


    Jul 6, 2018
    Well the 57 was released in 1965 so that was one of the mics they used back then. Or a 421...
    I wouldn't really say that ribbons have an obscure sound. They are typically the most natural sounding mics. Since the element in them is rectangular it only has a few inherent resonances on the ribbon to color the sound as opposed to the traditional circular elements in every other mic that has infinite resonances to color the sound.
    If you want something unique , buy a Mxl 2001 and find the diy tube mod that David roger designed for it. Or search pawn shops for older carbon element microphones that were used for radio broadcasting back in the 40s and 50s...
    If you do go with a ribbon, don't point it directly at the speaker. They are really sensitive and you can blow out the diaphragm easily. Trust me. I've done it a few times in my career. Put it at about a 45 degree angle so it still picks up the sound but the pressure is able to blow by it. Unless you get a royer....
    Also for the frequency response curve you are wanting, probably not gonna find in your price range. Good luck on your quest.
    Captain Jeff and Bassbeater like this.
  17. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013
    To prove a point to a friend I recorded a song using an oem door speaker from an old jeep. Lots of 20-300hz content. I liked it. I used it again on some more recordings mixed in with some actual microphones. It was neat. You want unique- that'll do it. Get creative. Use different material reflection and diffusion boards. Use HVAC tubes. Mic rooms adjacent to the one being performed in. Stick a mic in the kitchen sink while the amp is cranked in the basement. Or spend $100 on a mic that sounds like mics that cost $300 and mics that cost $30 and aim it straight at the speaker.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
    Captain Jeff and Bassbeater like this.
  18. Bassbeater

    Bassbeater Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    Any large diaphragm mic about ten feet away and then time aligned in the DAW is going to get you in the zone. Mix it with the DI and you'll have complete control between precise clarity and vintage heavy warmth all through the track by changing the relative mix of the two tracks. But all in all, you probably won't reap much benefit unless it is very bass heavy music or has extended passages of just bass and drums. Link up what you record, because you know we all love bass heavy music. :D
    Captain Jeff likes this.
  19. Captain Jeff

    Captain Jeff

    May 6, 2018
    Interesting idea about the MXL, but I'm afraid that's too hard to get in Poland.
    And I also was thinking about the radio broadcasting equipment, but most of it doesn't go below 50 Hz, so that would take away from the recording.
    And I'm aware of the sensitivity of the ribbons, though thank you for advice nonetheless!
  20. Captain Jeff

    Captain Jeff

    May 6, 2018
    Whoa! Sounds awesome! I was actually thinking "What if you bought a cabinet and pointed it at the other cabinet, one would serve as a microphone, and the second one as a cab...". Though I don't know if I will ever do that xD What if the world breaks?!

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