Condenser Mic for digital recordings

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I have been recording my own stuff for about six months now.  Ive got there by trial and error really.  I bought an M Audio 2x2 interface which has been good and record in Audacity.  Electric guitar is fine but vocals and acoustic guitar I have been recording via a cheap £25 Dynamic microphone and whilst its ok its not great.  A bit dead and thin.  I think I need a Condenser mic so Im looking for some recommendations that will improve my set up.   Someone sent me a link to the Rode Microphone NT1-A kit. www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Rode+Microphone+NT1-A+Vocal+pack and I also read some great reviews for the MXL 3000 but dont think they are available in the UK.

The M Audio interface has 48v Phantom power I believe.

Budget as always is a problem and I Was hoping to pick something up off Ebay but was hoping £50-£120 mark.  Is that unrealistic?

Any recommendations appreciated.

Thanks
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Comments

  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 11413
    The Rode NT1 is great for vocals, but there's something about the SE Electronics SE2000 which I prefer. I've also found that the SE2000 is a bit more detailed when using it on a guitar cab in conjunction with a dynamic (I use the Superlux PRA628 mk II, which is about £30 from Thomann).

    The SE2000 seems to go for about £50 on average. Definitely worth a go!

    If you fancy going stereo, you could also try the AKG C1000S (another personal favourite of mine).
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • digitalkettledigitalkettle Frets: 270
    I'm just gearing up to sell some recording kit...amongst it is a Rode NT1-a, AKG C1000s, Lexicon interface, various mic-preamps, etc.

    Drop me a line if you're interested...or I could post here if you prefer ;)
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  • barrydbarryd Frets: 4
    Thanks for the replies. Its mainly for vocals but I might want to record acoustic guitar as well.  I never thought of using it to record electric guitar from a PA cab as the results through my Boss GT5 and into the M Audio interface are not bad but perhaps they would be better recorded through the mic I dunno.   Do I just need the Rode NT1 or the SE2000 and nothing else?
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  • pintspillerpintspiller Frets: 436
    Electro acoustic? I'd just DI it.
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  • sweepysweepy Frets: 1562
    edited April 3
    Rode do a pair of stereo matched M5’s, they sound great on acoustic guitar and are v reasonably priced
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  • digitalkettledigitalkettle Frets: 270
    barryd said:
    Thanks for the replies. Its mainly for vocals but I might want to record acoustic guitar as well.  I never thought of using it to record electric guitar from a PA cab as the results through my Boss GT5 and into the M Audio interface are not bad but perhaps they would be better recorded through the mic I dunno.   Do I just need the Rode NT1 or the SE2000 and nothing else?
    You can get good results for acoustic guitar with a single condenser mic...aim it somewhere between fingerboard and soundhole from a couple of feet. Two mics expands the possibilities of course...you can move up to that when you're ready.

    For electric guitar, I'd stick with the Boss direct to your interface...nice and easy...and quiet ;)
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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 260
    Yes one mic on acoustic is fine. It's worth experimenting a lot with positions though. I like it pointed just below the player's right hand, or below the lower bout of the guitar looking up.
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  • barrydbarryd Frets: 4
    edited April 4
    Thanks again but for the acoustic guitar will I get a better sound and results with a condenser mic than my dynamic mic Ive used for live stuff that ive been making do with for recordings?  I find with the dynamic you have to be right on top of it with the gain quite high to get anything decent and there is a fair bit of hiss.

    Digital kettle, thanks for your help and kind offer by the way.  Now that you mention sticking with the Boss GT5 and the interface, I agree but I do have a separate issue with that.  On certain effects, particularly ones with high distortion Im getting a constant clicking pulse. Almost exactly in time with a ticking clock, shows up on recordings and Im dammed if I Can figure out whats causing it.  Must me something electrical somewhere. 
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  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 744
    sweepy said:
    Rode do a pair of stereo matched M5’s, they sound great on acoustic guitar and are v reasonably priced
    I've got a pair of these. They're great for the money, do an acoustic guitar very nicely. I've also done a string quartet with them and gotten decent results, too. 
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 11413
    barryd said:
    Thanks again but for the acoustic guitar will I get a better sound and results with a condenser mic than my dynamic mic Ive used for live stuff that ive been making do with for recordings?
    Short answer: Yes.

    Longer answer: Maybe - you might prefer it, you might not.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • dogloaddogload Frets: 1275
    barryd said:
    Thanks again but for the acoustic guitar will I get a better sound and results with a condenser mic than my dynamic mic Ive used for live stuff that ive been making do with for recordings?
    Short answer: Yes.

    Longer answer: Maybe - you might prefer it, you might not.
    I agree. I think that as with all things recording-related, there is received wisdom (i.e. 'yes it will') and personal preference as to what sounds good or suits the track.

    It certainly doesn't do any harm to have decent gear, but for years I recorded into my Portastudio using a Tandy PZM mic for everything that I didn't D.I. 

    These days I use the Rode NT1 and an AKG C1000 plus a variety of dynamics. The NT1 is a fine no-frills, general purpose mic IMHO. I have considered upgrading but always shrug my shoulders and think 'what's the point?' lol
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  • digitalkettledigitalkettle Frets: 270
    barryd said:
    Thanks again but for the acoustic guitar will I get a better sound and results with a condenser mic than my dynamic mic Ive used for live stuff that ive been making do with for recordings?  I find with the dynamic you have to be right on top of it with the gain quite high to get anything decent and there is a fair bit of hiss.
     
    In my experience, you'll most definitely feel that moving to a condenser is an improvement. You'll want to experiment with positions, etc. It's more sensitive so that will take some getting used to...it might be more revealing too ;)

    You'll probably need phantom power (which you say you interface has)...so you need to add that step to your turning stuff on/off sequence.
    barryd said:
    Digital kettle, thanks for your help and kind offer by the way.  Now that you mention sticking with the Boss GT5 and the interface, I agree but I do have a separate issue with that.  On certain effects, particularly ones with high distortion Im getting a constant clicking pulse. Almost exactly in time with a ticking clock, shows up on recordings and Im dammed if I Can figure out whats causing it.  Must me something electrical somewhere. 
    Is it present in the GT5 or the audio interface? Exactly what are you using and how are you connecting it up?
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  • barrydbarryd Frets: 4

    Digital kettle, thanks for your help and kind offer by the way.  Now that you mention sticking with the Boss GT5 and the interface, I agree but I do have a separate issue with that.  On certain effects, particularly ones with high distortion Im getting a constant clicking pulse. Almost exactly in time with a ticking clock, shows up on recordings and Im dammed if I Can figure out whats causing it.  Must me something electrical somewhere. 
    Is it present in the GT5 or the audio interface? Exactly what are you using and how are you connecting it up?
    Thanks again everyone.  Great info.

    Electric guitar plugged into the GT5, Mono output of GT5 plugged into M Audio interface, M Audio plugged into PC.  I dont think its just the GT5 picking up the click but ill check.  Im pretty sure I moved the interface into another room and tried it with a laptop and it was ok a while back.  Ive tried plugging it into different electrical sockets, still get it.  If your using a mild clean effect like a mellow solo you wont hear it but anything with high tone bright frequencies with lots of distortion its much worse.  Its really odd.  There is a telephone line in there but ive tried unplugging that, still get it.  I even took the batteries out of the wall clock which seemed to be ticking in time to the click.  :#

    Most odd.


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  • GrangousierGrangousier Frets: 89
    I've used these for things like acoustic guitar and they're basically fine: https://www.dawsons.co.uk/behringer-c-2-condenser-microphones-matched-pair (that link just for an example - I have no opinion of the retailer at all, so they might get cheaper if you shop around). As an X/Y pair and also just one pointed at where the neck joins the body on an acoustic guitar. For vocals you'd need something with a larger diaphragm. The Behringer C-1 is also fine for that. They're definitely things you'd want to grow out of (and if you have the money bypass immediately), but if budget is very restricted they work perfectly well in my experience. 

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  • thermionicthermionic Frets: 4441
    I also grew up in the era of 4-tracks and cheap and nasty dynamic mics. Getting hold of a Tandy PZM was a revelation - I put it on the desk to record a bit of acoustic and heard, through the headphones, the sound of a car driving through the street outside!

    Yes, I recorded some fun and acceptable stuff like that, but with half-decent condensers available for as little as £30 these days, there's no excuse not to try one and learn a bit about miking an acoustic to get a range of sounds.
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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 1641
    Following the maxim "go big or go home", I got one of these:



    It's rather good :)
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  • wave100wave100 Frets: 98
    purdy...

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  • mrleon83mrleon83 Frets: 68
    I’m using an Aston origin these days, it’s awesome !
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  • IMC1980IMC1980 Frets: 15
    mrleon83 said:
    I’m using an Aston origin these days, it’s awesome !
    I have been eying one of these recently, have you also used it on guitar cabs by any chance?

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  • barrydbarryd Frets: 4
    I just wanted to say a big thanks to Digital Kettle who's Rode Mic I purchased recently.  He has been super helpful and everything is in perfect order.  Ive bought myself a Pop Shield and its made a big difference.  I now feel a bit easier about not having to add loads of effects to my voice than when I was recording with a dynamic mic.  I still cant sing of course but there isnt a mic on the planet that can probably do anything about that.   :#

    Some of the vocals on bigger tracks could do with fattening out a bit though.  Any tips for that (apart from getting someone else to sing)?  

    Recording acoustic guitar on it sounds good as well.  I Found the problem with the ticking noise by the way.  It is the phone line. Everything has to be removed from it, even my ADSL filter otherwise it interferes with any recording although less so on my new Zoom G3 pedal than it did on the now broken G5

    Thanks again for all the support, great forum.

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  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 667
    edited May 6
    I've got a used SE Electronics Z5600a MkII over here, they are worth the extra dosh IMO if you can up your budget just a little.

    http://www.homerecording.be/forum/attachments/f28/5607d1274865399-se5600.jpg
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  • digitalkettledigitalkettle Frets: 270
    barryd said:
    I just wanted to say a big thanks to Digital Kettle who's Rode Mic I purchased recently.  He has been super helpful and everything is in perfect order.  Ive bought myself a Pop Shield and its made a big difference.  I now feel a bit easier about not having to add loads of effects to my voice than when I was recording with a dynamic mic.  I still cant sing of course but there isnt a mic on the planet that can probably do anything about that.   :#

    Some of the vocals on bigger tracks could do with fattening out a bit though.  Any tips for that (apart from getting someone else to sing)?  

    Recording acoustic guitar on it sounds good as well.  I Found the problem with the ticking noise by the way.  It is the phone line. Everything has to be removed from it, even my ADSL filter otherwise it interferes with any recording although less so on my new Zoom G3 pedal than it did on the now broken G5

    Thanks again for all the support, great forum.

    Glad to hear it ;)

    Yep, it’s great for acoustic guitar.

    For ‘fattening’, check out the ‘Produce Like A Pro’ Youtube channel...I’m sure one of the recent ‘top tips’ videos covered some ideas for this.
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  • victorludorumvictorludorum Frets: 203
    For fattening, duplicate the vocal track and delay it by 30ms. Leave one take in the centre and pan the other one out to one side (50% or more). Drop the volume of the panned one so that it's about 5db lower than the main one and then add effects to your taste on both tracks. Quick and fairly easy for simple demos etc
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