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Microphone (for band practice recording) help

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by TimBosby, Nov 3, 2006.

  1. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    I need a mic (or two) that will pick up everything in the basement during band practice for recording purposes. I have a Fostex digital 8 track recorder that I bought from Musicians Friend. It only has two inputs, Input A and Input B. Each input has a balanced and unbalanced option. What would be the best way to go about recording practice to get a decent-quality recording? The other day we hung a mic from the ceiling and it picked everything up, but it was a vocal mic, not the best choice.

    Also, I cannot figure out how to get a signal from our PA's mixer (it is an EV PSX2000 - pretty old) to the recording unit. I tried the main output and mono output and nothing. But there has to be a better way to record vocals than simply having a mic hanging from the ceiling picking up whatever comes out of the mains....

    Any help appreciated!
  2. el_Kabong


    Jul 11, 2005
    They might be out of your price range but a pair of rode NT5s (they come as a matched set) makes a fabulous set of room mics. I don't know what else you could get for the money that is near as good. They need phantom power.
  3. Daytona955i


    Feb 17, 2005
    Albany, NY
    We just did a pretty good pre production recording so our producer could hear us all together before recording. We just used a single (decent) condenser mic about 20 feet away, and ran a line out from the PA to make the vocals come through clearly.

    If your PA doesn't have a line out, which is different from output, maybe you could get a cheap DI box and run the vocals like this.

    mic => DI Y PA/8 Track

    ETA: Depends on how loud your PA is compared to everything else.
  4. markjazzbassist

    markjazzbassist Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Lakewood, OH
    any decent or pair of decent mics would work. try a shure sm57, ive used them to record practices before and they do a decent job. just make sure you place them far away and opposite the drums (since they are the loudest)
  5. I've yielded great "practice" results with just one condenser mic (like a $300 AudioTechnica) Just mess with room placement a bit and you should get a decent sound.
  6. Koushaku

    Koushaku The artist never sleeps, only dreams

    Mar 10, 2005
    Albany, NY
    +1 on the NT5s, I use them as drum overheads...if I need them too they'll pick up the snare better than even the pair of 57s I place on them.

    Never tried them with a full band, but I'm confident they'll catch the whole broad range of frequencies if you need them too, just again need phantom power.

    Though at about $400 for a stereo-matched pair, can't lose as long as you have phantom power at your disposal.

    If you don't have $400 to spend, then of course the do-it-all sm57 can work alright, but in general a small diaphram condenser with phantom power will do the trick better.

    Also, did you consider getting a small mixer to run your instruments through with maybe a mic over the drums and a mic for vocals? Then you could run everybody through the mixer and just run from the outputs on the mixer to your recording device.
  7. snappytom

    snappytom Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2005
    We have been using a single Audio-Technica AT822 Stereo condenser mic that has done very well in a similar situation. Not too much fussing over placement and the results with an Edirol R1 have been very good.
    Got it off eBay for about $115. For the money, I highly recommend this mic.
  8. bishopthomas


    Nov 20, 2004
    I have a matched pair of MXL 603's I'll sell you for $125. These are an excellent bang for the buck, and I would recommend them even if you don't buy them from me.
  9. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Consider a used pair of Crown PZM mics. Should run you $200-250 for a pair if you're patient. The PZM6D tends to go a bit cheaper than the PZM30D on eBay, but both sound the same IME. There's an application guide on the Crown website that's very helpful in figuring out how best to place them.

    The Crown-licensed Radio Shack version which has been out of production for years used to be a sleeper, but nowadays you can find the actual Crown ones for not that much more.
  10. fenderx55


    Jan 15, 2005
    We were talking about this in my recording class (read: arguing.) and the consensus seemed to be a pair of 57s with the business ends 90 degrees from each other, and panned left and right (respectively). this way you get stereo and you'll get the full room sound. Balanced=mic level, unbalanced=line level (ie, instrument cable, go balanced if you can).

  11. tribal3140

    tribal3140 Inactive

    Nov 9, 2004
    near detroit...uh
    we do the same an akg long silver condenser mic.
    202 or something like that it was $200 and works great!
  12. bishopthomas


    Nov 20, 2004
    This is called NOS mic'ing technique, where the angle is 90 degrees and the mic capsules are 30 cm apart. Widen the angle to 110 deg. and move the capsules in to 17 cm and you've got ORTF. SM57's aren't the best mic for this purpose, but if it's all you've got....

    You're comparing apples and oranges. Balanced has to do with the wiring (positive, negative, neutral). Mic/line level has to do with voltage. What is this "recording class" you speak of? :)
  13. Brad Maestas

    Brad Maestas Sono est omnia Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2003
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    Here's my favorite reference page for stereo mic placement techniques:

    For simplicity's sake, my initial suggestion would be to check out some affordable binaurals (miniature omnis) such as:
    By themselves, they can handle 105dB which is not quite enough for a loud drummer.

    Since your recorder doesn't provide "plug-in power" or bias voltage for the mics, you'll need a battery module or an adapter to properly use the phantom power. With proper voltage, the mics perform even better and you can hit them with 120dB before clipping which is quite good.

    Battery module (you'll still need a mini-to-XLR adapter for recorder) http://www.soundprofessionals.com/cgi-bin/gold/item/SP-SPSB-1
    Mini-to-XLR adapter (with optional phantom-power capabilities lets you power your mini-mics with phantom power without damage) http://www.soundprofessionals.com/cgi-bin/gold/item/SP-XLRM-MINI-2

    Clip them on the ceiling or mount them on a T-bar like this one:
    and you're done!
  14. I'll vouch for the MXL's, they're great mics for the price. If he includes the shock mounts and case, think about it.
  15. bishopthomas


    Nov 20, 2004
    I lost the case and need to keep the shockmounts. I sold them on eBay a couple of days ago. I still recommend them for this application. Tim, did you get anything figured out?
  16. Jwrestler


    Oct 25, 2006
    SM 57 should do it.
  17. I think the original poster has vaporized but I'll throw out another suggestion for a small condenser stereo mic set, the Joemeek JM27. I see matched sets on ebay with shock mounts and stereo brackets going for less than $90. I have a JM27 and used it for recording acoustic instruments (close to soundhole) and it works well.
  18. For the last few practices I've borrowed a Beyerdynamic MCE86 from work. Its a rifle mic needs phantom power, I believe it will take a AA battery. Pretty darn good picks everything up clearly, and quite cheap too.

  19. Gegatso


    Jan 16, 2006
    St. Louis, MO

    I'll vouch as well. Remember, you're just recording basement practices but these are excellent even when you get more serious recordings going.

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