Euphonic Studio ™

Recording studio and music instruction adventures since 1979

Microphones

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Euphonic Studio
Mount Vernon, Iowa
Serving the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City Corridor
Call 319.895.8002 for a tour or recording appointment or write bill@euphonic.us
We record all types of music and your satisfaction is guaranteed!

We have a great selection of mics for all applications, but if you needed something different I am not above buying or renting a special mic for your project if you absolutely have to have it.  But I think you’ll like what you find here in Euphonic Studio’s mic locker.  

This long ribbon microphone is smooth and present, great for vox, strings, and brass

This long ribbon microphone is smooth and present, great for vox, strings, and brass

Joly MJE-LR-44

Ribbon mics have a long history as the go-to mic for ultra-smooth vocals, acoustic string and brass instruments, and anywhere you need a lot of great presence without the pushy kind of high end you get with some condenser mics.  So, you could say, possibly a bit less detail, but a whole lot of silky smooth character.  I’ve used this mic for vocals (entire CD by Abe Vaughn) and it works well for recording amplified instruments.  I’ve used it on a Fender Twin with JBLs for recording pedal steel and various amps for recording electric guitars.

This is the most expensive mic we have… and it sounds expensive.

Michael Joly MJE-K47

MJE-K47 modded by Michael Joly

This is not your mother’s MXL, it’s a MJE-K47 modded by Michael Joly

Michael Joly is the award winning designer of boutique mics who started the company OktavaMod.  As the name implies, his business is modifying (in the old days we’d say “souping up” or “hot rodding”) mics to make them perform better.  His site indicates to me that he knows as much or maybe more than anyone on the planet about what parts of a microphone affect the sound of the mic and how to change them to get the best sound.

Mr. Joly has designed his own capsules which he has built for him and are key to his mods.  The ones I have started out as MXL 990s but there is nothing left from MXL now except the shell and the shock mount.  The entire mic has been gutted and fitted with a K47 capsule and custom-designed electronics.  This mic is functionally equivalent to a Neumann microphone costing several thousands of dollars more.  You can check this out on OktavaMod’s website; there is a “mic shootout” which is a test where 2 or more mics are placed in close proximity and a singer sings into them (or plays an instrument).  The results are recorded, and you get to guess which mic you’re listening to.

It’s amazing how many seasoned professional mixers cannot hear the difference.  The response curve for the two mics (a Neumann U-87 and a MJE K-47) are nearly identical until around 10k where the MJE gradually gets a dB or so louder.

Shure SM7B

Shure SM7B. This is a great vocal mic for vocalists who don’t need or want the extra detail provided by a high end condenser mic

Shure SM7B

This mic started out as an industry standard in a different industry… radio.  Disk jockeys love the SM7B because it is smooth as silk and very sensitive if properly preamped.

I keep this mic in reserve for vocalists who don’t like the detail you get from a good quality condenser mic.  Surprisingly, some vocalists are really distracted by hearing their voice reproduced as if their ear was inside of their mouth.  Lip smacking, tongue clucking, whistling, glottal noise, and so forth are all fair game for a great mic.  So the SM7B is a bit more forgiving.  It’s got detail, but not truly drastic detail so the mic is more forgiving.  If you are looking for recommendations, I was told that Bono records or used to record through one of these, so take that for what it’s worth.

The mic has a bass roll-off switch and a midrange emphasis switch on the back, clearly marked with little line legends so you can tell how your mic is set up.  These switches give you a couple of different sound combinations to try when you are trying to get everything just right.

I should tell you that if you are going to buy one of these you had better be ready with a preamp that will give you a solid, clean 60 dB gain.  Otherwise you will not be able to use this mic the way it’s meant to be used.

Oktava MK-012-01

Oktava MK-012-01

It’s amazing what you can do with a pair of Oktava MK-012-01 mics and an acoustic guitar

I bought a pair of these from a friend (yes, they are the Russian ones, not the Chinese ones).  Oh, if you haven’t heard, there is a controversy over Chinese knock-offs of these being sold as the genuine thing.  I honestly don’t see what the fuss is about, if they work the same.  You can’t buy a piece of computer equipment made in the US any more.  Why should we get excited about whether something was made in the former USSR?  Their economy was caving in, anyway.

Sorry.  I digress.   When I bought the mics they came with the standard cardiod capsules but I bought a pair of hyper-cardiod capsules as I was trying to record a singing guitarist and keep the vocals out of the guitar mics and vice versa.  I have since learned that there is a way to do this quite well with a pair of figure 8 patten mics, but I don’t own any of those so you go with what you’ve got.  The hypercardiod solution was OK, but it made the mic placement critical and if the artist moves you might have an audio mess on your hands.

I have used these Oktava mics for stringed instruments, including violin, acoustic guitar, and piano, and gotten excellent results.

Rode NT-1a

Rode NT-1a

Rode NT-1a. This is an amazingly fine and versatile mic for the price.

These Australian mics are an excellent buy.  They are tough, versatile, and they sound good in a wide variety of applications.  I have used them for piano mics, vocal mics, and drum overhead mics and they were great at all 3 jobs.

The last few times I’ve seen these in catalogs they’ve tried to increase their profit by including  some accessories that are perhaps handy but maybe not the best thing to buy… and raising the price, of course.  Nonetheless, I recommend them at around the $200 price point, so if that’s your budget, this is a good candidate for a condenser mic.

Shure SM57 and PE54

Shure SM 57 and PE54

Shure SM 57 and PE54. These are a standard microphone for drums and instrument amplifiers. Strangely, they got their start as vocal mics. I sang through one for years.

Shure pencil mics came into my consciousness as I was beginning to play in bands.  Prior to the SM58 ball mic, the PE54S was the reigning king of stage mics although once in a while you’d see some other oddball mic like and ElectroVoice 664 which were in high school gymnasiums all across America.  Not a great stage mic, though.

The PE54s were also known as “Unidyne III” mics, and Shure came out with a Unidyne IV that didn’t sell well.  So they reworked the PE54 and the end result was the SM57 and SM58.  Now those mics are everywhere… the 57 is a standard studio mic (although I sang through one for many years) and the 58 is a standard stage mic.   SM57s (and their ancestors, the PE54s) are excellent for micing drums and instrument amplifiers.  Every studio worth anything will have at least one or two of these kicking around.

 

 

 

These inexpensive dynamic mics are as good as Shure SM57s at one third the price.

These inexpensive dynamic mics are as good as Shure SM57s at one third the price.

GLS Audio ES-57

These microphones came into the studio when I needed to record a big drum set and didn’t care to lay out another $500 for Shure SM-57s.  They are a well-kept secret.  These Chinese mics are every bit as good as if not better than the Mexican Shure SM-57s and they are 1/3 the price.  I have done mic shootouts on drums, bass, and guitar and they are outstanding.  I actually like these on bass amps better than my Shures.   I haven’t shopped for these lately, but you could pick them up for about $33 each when I was looking for them, so I bought a bunch.  Try one of these out if you’re looking at 57s, you won’t be disappointed.

Audio-Technica ATM87R Boundary Mic

Audio-Technica ATM87R Boundary Mic – designed for bass drums, works well for other things as well.

Audio-Technica ATM87R

AT calls this a “high sound pressure directional condenser boundary mic”.  OK.

So what’s it good for?  It was originally designed to be a kick drum mic.  I have used it for that since I bought it and it works great for that purpose.  It ALSO works great under the piano.

Crown PZM-6LP

Crown PZM-6LP. This is a very early boundary mic in a PZM form factor. The platform height from the mounted surface creates a 6 dB boost.

Crown PZM -6LP  boundary mics

More boundary mics.  Boundary mics are an omnidirectional mic that work by collecting sound off of a flat surface.   I’ve mounted these on Plexiglass and used them for ambiance mics on acoustic instruments.  Honestly, a reverb unit is better.

 

Sony Realistic branded 33-1080

Realistic 33-1080 back-electret condenser mics

Realistic 33-1080 back-electret condenser mics. These are built by Sony and rebranded for Radio Shack back in the 70s. They are very flat but a bit noisy.

These cardioid condenser mics were built by Sony for Radio Shack in the late 1970s.  They are a back-electret condenser mic and can be operated either with the furnished 1/4″ TS terminated cable or a standard XLR cable.  They are a weird impedance, I think 600 ohms, which is neither hi nor lo impedance but it works for either.

Compared to the dynamic stage mics I was used to, these were a giant step up for some applications.  They are very flat, sensitive, and detailed compared to a SM57 or 58.  They run a bit noisy, but for some applications where the sound is inherently noisy they work very well.

 

Other mic stuff

I have a couple of other specialty mics laying around here; a lavalier mic and a DBX measurement mic.  Oh… and a Nady ball mic that’s really surprising for FREE that works good for talkback.

 

Euphonic Studio
Mount Vernon, Iowa
Serving the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City Corridor
Call 319.895.8002 for a tour or recording appointment or write bill@euphonic.us
We record all types of music and your satisfaction is guaranteed!

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Written by Mr. Bill

June 30th, 2012 at 5:28 pm

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