Dynamic mics for serious recording?

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Typo Szar
Member Since: Jul 04, 2002

I know its best to have a condenser mic for serious recording, but its really not in the budget right now. So i was wondering if people have any tips on using dynamics for:
The room mics on drum kits
Room mics for amps

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Since: Jan 12, 2004

May 25, 2005 04:14 am

There is no need to buy a condenser for vocals - it does HELP but it is not actually required.

I know folk on here who dont use em and get fantastic results.

Until Xmas, I had nae condenser. Every song Ive recorded (all on my profile) was done using a Shure SM58(dynamic) and I think, isny too bad. I am now experimenting with using the 58 with the grille unscrewed (which pretty much turns it into an SM57) - ideal for mic'ing guitar amps etc.

Experiment with EQ etc and you can get sounds from say a 58, 57 (I know of folk who use em for vox too) and various other decent dynamics.

That said, condensers do pick up more - but, alas, the way I sing (or try to) suits a 58 - I like to belt it most of the time!!

Ultra Magnus
Since: Nov 13, 2004

May 25, 2005 06:02 am

Dynamics and condensers have different properties and so different suitabilities, it's not that condensers are for serious recording and dynamics are not. There are cases when a condenser is more suitable for something than a dynamic and vice versa.

Sure, small diaphragm condensers are generally more suitable for overheads on kit, but i've got some good results with a pair of 57s (and two more: one on kick and one on snare) when that was what i had, it depends on the sound you want, the kit you have and the room you're in. If you're talking about room mics on kit as in ambient micing, then i think you may struggle with getting the volume you're after, dynamics work best at close range, their SNR (signal to noise ratio) gets pretty poor at very high volumes, which is part of the reason condensers tend to come out for quieter instruments and distance micing. If you have a bright room, one of things that may help with this is to set up one or two dynamics and roll off the top end in mixing, this will make for a dark sounding room, but otherwise you'll have hiss issues. You can also record with the treble increased so when you roll off the top to decrease the noise you're left with some treble. It's not ideal, but sounds like you're working within your means which is totally better than forever waiting for that new piece of gear before you ever press record.

When you have limited gear (as most of us do here to some extent)i tend to think it's best to keep it simple, maybe using room mics on amps isn't necessary and will just cause more noise, complications and headaches. Keeping things simple means that you have a greater deal of focus on the matters at hand, which tends to lead to a better sounding and more cohesive recording.

Hope that's some use,

living in the comatorium
Since: Mar 23, 2005

May 25, 2005 08:28 am

i agree with rigsby that the two types offer different unique characteristics. i find myself usually turning to pencil condensers for room mics like drum overheads because they keep more sound at a further distance (that is what theyre designed to do) and dynamic mics for just about everything else. room mics for amps ive never done, so i cant give you much input there, except that unless you have a nice, deadend studio room, you might be getting a little more noise than you bargained for. ive used dynamic mics on vocals with pretty good results as well, but i find a condenser generally gives a clearer, more transparent sound. also, you dont have to be an inch away to get a decent level, which helps in keeping the singing volume a little more even (of course, if thats what youre going for). there are some very nice condenser mics for very cheap, so i would look into them. just heard about MXL releasing new ones...

Hold 'Em Czar
Since: Dec 30, 2004

May 25, 2005 11:24 am

yeah Small Diaphragm Condensors are alot more responsive to small transients than dynamics....this yealds more 'detail' in reproducing the sound....when you're mic is tucked back in the room, the dynamic will sound a bit more 'round' because it's design (and even lower output signal than a condensor) this gives the room sound a bit of 'blandness' you'll notice placement is a bit more forgiving with dynamics. don't rely on boosting the highs after recording for clarity, moving them a bit closer to the sorce will yeald much better results.



Ultra Magnus
Since: Nov 13, 2004

May 25, 2005 01:21 pm

You can get some fairly priced omnis, but yeah, it does mean you have to spend. I personally like large diaphrapm condensers for ambient mics, on an omni settign generally, but sometimes on a cardoid pattern a fair way back just to capture some reflections. Anyway, i'm getting off-topic.

Since: Dec 15, 2004

May 25, 2005 01:25 pm

Large diaphram condensors are only about 69 bucks for ones like the MXL990.

Answer:On a good day, lipstick.
Since: Jun 24, 2004

May 25, 2005 02:11 pm

Careful there....The MXL990 is not a large diaphragm condenser. It's diaphragm isn't that large.

I believe the MXL663 (correct me here, someone)is the large diaphragm version.
That said, some nice sounds to be had with the MXL991 small diaphragm mic. Even vocals.

If you just have dynamics for now, you'll find that the Shure SM58 and 57's are handy little suckers to have around. I'm having a tough time right now rerecording a song onto my PC that I'd previously recorded (and lost due to a data corruption)with an SM57 on my BR532. The sound I got with an SM57 was fantastic. Just can't get the same response with the MXL990, or MXL991. Might have to resort to some creative patching...

I am not a crook's head
Since: Mar 14, 2003

May 25, 2005 03:07 pm

Yeah the 990 has a 3/4" diaphragm, and I'm not sure where that fits in to the large/small equation...too small to be called large and too large to be called small.

I also have to say that I'm extremely impressed with the MXL 993 SDC mics. Very accurate and detailed for such cheapies.

I think that MXL has made everybody that said "I can't afford condensors for my home studio" put their foot in their mouth. They're right on par with most quality dynamics as far as price goes, and the added sensitivity and detail makes them worth the purchase.

Answer:On a good day, lipstick.
Since: Jun 24, 2004

May 25, 2005 05:39 pm

Right, Tadpui, the MXL990 isn't a LDC, so it really doesn't quite behave like one, even though one is drawn into using it as if it were a LDC. The MXL991 I have is amazing, just not right for that one song...
I love the way they sound, and the price is great. I got the set for my birthday from 'er indoors. $99 for two condensers?
I'm definitely into their stuff. I'd like an LDC someday, but I might go for the Behringer B1.

Back to the original thread, a 57 and/or a 58 will get you rolling (but save your pennies for a condenser down the road). Or, as Coco would say, "Doon tha rood."

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