What XLR to XLR cable/s do you suggest?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by Greenone, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. Greenone macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    #1
    Hi -

    In case you haven't read any of my other researching/inquiring posts, I want to do some home recordings for various purposes ranging from wanting to hear how I sound to help with practicing, to share on forums to get feedback on my playing (esp. regarding new instruments), to making c.d.'s for fun, either alone or with a friend. All my instruments are acoustics with no pick-ups so I'll need at least one microphone (one's enough to start as I'll probably use with the instrument and then record voice in a second track if I need to) and I'll get a second mic later on probably...

    I just bought the Prosonus Firebox (haven't received it yet) and the Sennheiser SD 280 headphones (needed some anyway for other purposes so that's how I justify buying something I hadn't planned on buying - ack!). In a short while here I'll be buying the Sterling Audio ST51 condenser mic (I'll get a stand locally).

    Now all I need are cables for any of these parts, which will be used with my Powerbook G4 laptop.

    Questions:

    1. how many will I need if I'm only going to be using one mic? What if a friend brings over his guitar with a pick-up...will I need a second one for him?
    2. I'll need XLR to XLR, right? Besides length, anything else I need to know in terms of size?
    3. What length would be good (since i have no experience yet, I can't imagine yet)?
    4. What brand is best?

    Thanks very much!
    Theresse
     
  2. Killyp macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #2
    The cable you require is a female to male 3-pin XLR.

    I would want to spend £20 maximum (not sure in the US, never bought any cables there). It is a myth that one cable can sound better than another when it comes to sound, although the shielding around the cable will make a difference in some circumstances, to prevent interference from other devices.

    You will only need one if you only wish to connect a single microphone, and generally XLR leads come in a length which is enough for any home studio. However, one big advantage of XLR leads (like any other professional lead) is that they will simply join together end-on-end (unlike most consumer leads). Length is not something to worry about!

    As far as connecting an instrument with pickups goes, a jack to jack lead will do the trick, again around the same price of the XLR. The disadvantage of a jack to jack lead is that they are not extendable, so get a good length if you don't want to then buy a coupler (widget which joins two together) + another lead.

    Lastly, you only mention it briefly, but if you want to record vocals, you'll be wanting to get a pop shield to go in front of that mic, or else it's gonna sound like drunk-karaoke. ;)

    Hope this helps!
     
  3. Greenone thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    #3
    Thanks very much.

    Two questions:

    1. I was told XLR to XLR is what I need for the mic cable. When you say female to male, that's not contradicting XLR to XLR, right?

    While I believe you about the end-result of the music not sounding differently, i've read in several places that -- as you mentioned -- shielding and maybe some other factors *do* make a difference in the quality of sound if it prevents interference or popping noises or whatever else...so I definitely want to get a "good enough" mic cable, whatever that means!

    2. What is a pop shield...is it really necessary and how does it work?

    Thanks!
     
  4. Tosser macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #4
    Nope. It's a female XLR to Male XLR.

    Yes, buy a shielded one because of interference. But with a very short length it shouldn't matter unless some strong interference is _very_ close t your cable (cell phone, fr instance).
    And no, no cable will help you with the pops and so on. Only bass roll off (on condenser mics) and a foam/fur over the microphone will. Oh, and how you use the microphone.


    It differs. But it can be a "nylon sock" over a suspended ring in between your mouth and the mic, it can be foam, it can be fur, or it can be a zeppeliner, and it can be combinations of them all.

    When using a condenser mic ( I mostly use mine for interviews and ambience and such), if you only want to use some foam, but still get up close (thus reducing background noises or room resonance) AND make use of the proximity effect (if done properly, that effect is great), you have to point a little bit to the right or left of the mouth, so the mic doesn't pop (implode). That way you can get really "personal".
    Anyway, it all depends on what you want, what you have, what your room is like, and what you like. But just realise, that even if you had half a mill to buy the best of the best for your home studio, you'll still get crap unless you consider microphone placement, room resonans and so on.
     
  5. Greenone thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    #5
    ...and a little bit of talent doesn't hurt, either! :p

    I guess I'll just make do for now with the interface, condenser mic, halfway decent cable (still waiting for recommendations on brand name/model name please, or else specific terminology in its description/specs) and headphones...and then if it's not working out well enough I'll look into a pop shield.

    Are they expensive?

    Thank you!
     
  6. Tosser macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #6
    Hehe, true, a little bit of talent doesn't hurt :)

    You want a decent microphone cable –*i.e. one with as little microphonics as possible (it will have a "deadening" rubber cover), and ask that it is shielded (most are, but if you can't tell, go for the thicker one (shielding is just that, shielding.
    Plugs-wise, I'd go for Neutrik. Pro XLR-plugs that will take a helluva beating. I use it - also on my field recorder(s), and musicians use them as well, plugging in and out at every gig. They're no-nonense plugs.
    Going with what the pros use. Cables aren't expensive. Even with Neutriks, you shouldn't go above 30-40 dollars. I am willing to bet you can have one made for around 25US$ over there.


    Touchy subject, but you want closed headphones. That way you're better able to concentrate on what comes in through the microhone and not what comes in through the headphone. Especially if you're in the same room as what you're recording. Personaly, I use mostly the Sennheiser HD25-1s (not the SP-version). But lesser can do. Just remember that those things are monitors, and as such, they're a pretty important part. Almost as important as the microphone and certainly as important as the preamp (mic-stage) in your recorder/interface.



    Well, even a foam pop shield will do wonders. Especially on a condenser microphone where someone is breathing onto it. For instruments bass roll off and foam shields aren't that important (unless it's an instrument you blow into, of course).


    It depends, but you can go a long way with diy. It won't be the best, because of the materials used, but a nylon stocking (litterally) on a ring will go a long way.


    No problem :)


    Add/edit: Btw, the reason I don't recommend in-ear monitors is that you will then have to take them out and insert them constantly, and that's a bitch while setting up "shop". The HD25-1s can "twist" the left can so you can listen properly to what people say if you wish, and with the divided "head strap" you can control how tight you want them to sit on your head ("adjust the isolation").

    Another Add/edit: You should check out the australian microphone manufacturers Røde Microphones. They have some great cheap microphones. And their stereo-mic might just be what you want later on (micing in stereo makes you able to adjust how much of the fingers sliding down the neck of the guitar versus the attack on the strings and so on. Plus you'll get much more "space" on your recordings.
    I have used both their nt3 and nt4 (now I use a Schoeps CMXY set up in a very short zeppeliner for most of my recordings, even for mono recordings and interviews).
     
  7. Killyp macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #7
    One of the mics I bought (Rode NT1-A) came free with a pop shield and seems to do as good job as any other pop shield I've heard.

    I also bought one (which is slightly smaller) for ~£4.99 a few years ago which again, does the job fine.
     
  8. Greenone thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    #8
    Tosser -

    I already ordered the headphones. Can you look at the specs and tell me if you think they'll be good enough? They're the closed kind, right? No nifty nob thingie to turn to listen to people but wouldn't the swiveling ear cups help a little (or did I get that part wrong, darn it!)?

    Here's the info:

    http://www.sennheiserusa.com/newsite/productdetail.asp?transid=004974

    Thanks for the info on the pop mics. This one has decent reviews and is a good price:

    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/reviews?base_pid=426600&page=1&sc=date&so=desc

    This - on pop shields and how they work - was a quick and informative read:

    http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may05/articles/popshields.htm

    Definitely appears to be worth the relatively little money they cost!

    I'm a little confused about the stereo mic thing you wrote about. Is it still a condenser mic - but just a condenser mic in stereo? And I also didn't understand what you were saying about how they work w/ regard to guitars (sliding down the strings and such) as well as what you mean by "space." Could you explain in a different way please? :eek:
     
  9. Tosser macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #9
    Yup, the HD280pro are closed too.
    Now, bare ("bear")? in mind that the following is from specs alone, and that I - as a starting point- I have a problem with anything named "pro". That monicker is in itself suspect (says the fella who types this on an MBP). I would have to make a direct comparison in order to establish "precision" and so on:
    First off, there's a difference in size. The HD25-1s are "supraaural" (on-ears) and the HD280s are circumaural ("around-ears").

    The plastic on the 280s are a harder type from the looks of it, and my bet is that it's not as hardwearing as the plastics used on the 25-1s. The 25-1s are a workhorse, the 280s doesn't strike me as one. Not just because of the plastic (more on that in the next few paragraphs).

    The 280s weigh twice as much as the 25-1s, and when you couple that with a headband that doesn't seem to be able to put much pressure on your ears (well, around your ears, in this case), you might drop them if you move quickly and are bent forward. I'm serious, it's annoying as hell. Btw. the 25s can put 2.5newton of pressure on your ears if you open the headstrap fully (which is rarely needed, but in a noisy environment this is superb). [Added: Found a place that states that the 280s put a pressure on your head of 4 newtons. That's a lot. Unfortunately, you can't simply adjust it: It's either on your head, putting that pressure on it, or it's off]

    Another difference, also to do with being a workhouse, is that the 25s have a pivoting arm holding one of the cans. The 280s don't. The cans on the 280s "autoadjusts" to the angle of the head, but even though it doesn't look like it, so does the 25s. And all this brings me to the following:

    The 280s are huge headphones (which is great if you like that), but since you cannot swivel one of the cans, you will pull them back and have them sit around your neck, or the most annoying: Have to take them off entirely and hang them somewhere (or put them on a table). If you put them on a table, you have to get them each time, or perhaps you will hold them in your hands, leaving just one hand to fiddle with cables or whatever.
    If you pull them down, so they hang around your neck, those cups will restrict your movement, and if something is playing in them, they might be too loud to feel you have actually taken them off. Imagine having to look at your recorder, while wearing them around your neck. It's really annoying. I know, this is coming from someone usually using a Sound Devices 722 which is hung around my shoulder, so it may be less annoying for you.

    The cable: I couldn't find anything about it, but it leads me to believe the cable on the 280s are an "ordinary" cable, whereas the 25s have a steel cable (it's strong as hell=longevity). Also, it doesn't look like you can simply buy another cable for it?

    All things equal audio-wise, I'd rather buy the 25s than the 280s unless it was for sitting at home listening. Simply because the 25s are that much more rugged and perfected to monitoring, as opposed to listening. They're almost the same price, and I'm willing to bet you can find the 25-1s at prices which will rival the 280s.

    But how do they sound? Well, I don't know, lol. It's quite difficult to say anything when I don't have them. I'd like to suggest you read some reviews, but the thing is, most reviews are done by the type of people who frequent head-fi, and it's not that they don't know anything there, it's just that there's an awful lot of people there who buy into snake oil and will swear that their $4000 dollar signal cable is better than a proper sized $10 cable (it isn't. Not unless their ears can hear differences in the gamma spectrum).

    The sound, the sound (or the specs):
    The 280s goes from 8Hz - 25kHz
    The 25s goes from 16-22.000Hz
    Obviously the 280s must be better, right? Well, no, not exactly. It shows that they're CAPABLE of going up there (far beyond a baby's capacity) and all the way down. The thing is, 8 hertz is just 8 oscillations/second, and 16hertz double that (yes, I know: Duh!), but that's an awfully long way down, and if you use even a tad bass roll off, you won't touch the bottom of either. Also, there's the microphone to consider: How low does THAT thing go? How high?
    Also, those specs doesn't say anything about how WELL they do their job repsectively.

    Ohms (impedance): 280s: 64ohms, 25-1s: 70ohms.
    – the 280s are a tad easier to drive, but both are pretty easy to drive, so it shouldn't matter. Nor should they be mcuh different when it comes to suppress hiss and so on.

    Characteristic SPL (it's a measuring method):
    280s: 102db
    25-1s: 120db.
    Now, although this method can be said to say that much of how precise a headphone is, one can specualte that the 25-1s is helping you listen to subtle sounds, being more responsive and all (but not necessarily).


    Distortion: 280s: 0,1%, 25-1s: 0,3%
    Now, there's something! I'm surprised, quite frankly. However, there's more to the story, but it has to do about "space" and so on (more about that in a minute).

    [I'm so sorry for the length of this post]

    About pop filters etc:
    Yup, especially with condenser mics.


    Yup, it's set up in a traditional X/Y. But you can also use, say, an M/S setup, requiring two mono microphones (I won't explain too much about this, as I think you will have to gain some experience, and to that end, the X/Y micrphone is much simpler)

    I'll try. An X/Y setup has the micrphones set up above each other (mostly), the right one pointing the left, and the left one pointing to the right at an angle. The Røde has an angle of 90 degrees the mics in between them, and an angle in relation to the body of the mic of 45 degrees
    .As you go off-axis (this also happens on your mono-mic) it attenuate (you will loose volume, basically). But the neat part of a stereo set up (in this case a very easy to use stereo mic) will allow you to have, say, the right microphone pointing towards the guitarist's fingers and body of the guitar on your left, and the left microphone pointing towards the guitarist's finger and the board on your right. When you record, you choose which level you will record each channel with and if you choose to, you can mix it down to mono afterwards, with just the right amount of "guitar body" vs. "finger board", if that makes sense?

    Space …
    Well, in short (I have to cut it short at some point, right?), you should find a stereo recording, listen to it, and then have a copy, only with L and R mixed down to mono. You will notice, that you loose warmth, you loose much more of the room, and you will not be able to hear how the room "resonanses", for instance (you can still hear the resonance, but that hard wall will just be "somewhere" instead of, say, "to the right of the talker/singer". If it's music, "space" is the same, but also how far apart the individual instruments are and so on. It can cheat, because in post production you can do a lot to alleviate mono-recording, placing instruments into a spatial "room". However, if the different monomicrophones are used in the same room and the instruments play at the same time you will loose some of this "interacting".

    "space" is what it sounds like. It's how much "air" you have around the instruments and where they are in "the picture", so to speak. With a good, well planned, well set up stereo recording, one can almost hear how high (as in literal height!) the different instruments or sounds are in relation to each other and the surroundings.

    And this leads me to the end, to the headphones:

    Just like microphones, it's "sensitivity" (not the technical term here) and precision, and thus how well it will perform as monitors is (amongst ther things how much (or little) "bleed" it has from one channel to the other. It should have as little as possible, whereas "hi-fi" phones tend to have a bit more (same goes with amplifiers).
    Then there's how well they "resolve": The better the "resolution" is the better the monitors. Resolution is how well they're able to distinguish between different sounds playing at the same time, how well they differentiate. Are you able to listen to them and place the instrument at the exact spot it's supposed to? Are you able to hear that little "nugget" way down in db all the while there's many other things going on? This determines in my book if a pair of headphones or speakers are monitors. The better they are at that (besides "just" precision), the better a tool, resulting in less guess work.

    Okay, I'll stop now. I'm sorry for length of this post, but I hope you got your answers, although none of them are in-depth. Feel free to ask for clarification if I'm incoherent or if you simply want to know some more.
     
  10. Killyp macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #10
    I think I just wore out the scroll wheel. :rolleyes:


    As far as Mics go, if you haven't ordered yours already, I very very strongly recommend the Røde NT1-A. It's become a standard microphone as it's affordable and performs well. If you can afford an NT2-A, then they're even better, but they do cost ~$400...
     
  11. Greenone thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    #11
    BTW, what country are you both in, out of curiosity?

    Anyway, THANK YOU for taking the time to explain all that, and I understand most of it now. ;)

    I guess the bottom line for me is the dollar. I'm not usually one to be frugal necessarily but you see this all started simply because I wanted to be able to share my instrument playing (just one instrument!) on a forum where we're given homepages to upload our own music to share with other members in order to critique each other. And then it evolved (or devolved, depending on how you look at it) into this flurry of research and cyber "keeping up with the [gearhead] Jones's!"

    I mean I have a built in mic and soundcard/Garage Band for cryin' out loud which isn't great but for recording just one instrument it would have been enough. But noooooo... I entertained the idea of maybe eventually making c.d.'s (amateur of course - for fun) or jamming with friends and recording ourselves, etc. and therefore wanted the better sound, and so then needed the option of recording both instrument and voice or more than one instrument, and so on and so on. It's great - I mean I'm not sorry I've gotten into all this (yet ANOTHER hobby!!!!!!!!!), but if I DON'T get the nicer headphones and the nicer microphone that you guys suggest, and get what i'd planned on getting instead ($200.00 less total), I will still have spent a little over $500.00 (and this all started out that I was going to spend no more than $200 cause I thought i'd just be needing a cheap interface and cheap mic) for the interface, mic, headphones, cable, mic stand and pop shield. So the different between $500 and $700 is fairly significant if you hadn't budgeted for the $500 in the first place and can't afford to go in debt for these things (or should be ashamed to go in debt for these things anyway...I'm no saint when it comes to money)! Or put another way, do I REALLY want to give up my trip to Hawaii in October, sans fam, which is what I have planned to do? I THINK NOT! :eek::p

    Re-cap: the Sennheiser HD25-1's cost $200.00 (that's a hundred moer than the ones I ordered) and the Rode NT 1-A's cost $200.00 (a hundred more than the one I was planning on getting. Ah damn - did i just write "was planning?" That's not a good sign)!

    What i would like to know is whether either of you are willing/able to compare the Sterling AT51 to the Rode NT-1-A for me, by looking at their specs? I won't know what it all means but you're good at explaining the points that matter. I guess my biggest fear re. the Sterling is that it will have self-noise that will actually be audible - but that fear might be unfounded.

    Here's the review I found on it which has some specs:
    http://emusician.com/hardware/emusic_budget_mics_big/index1.html

    More specs and good reviews:
    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/prod...-Large-Diaphragm-FET-Condenser-Mic?sku=271090

    As for the headphones, I'm in a pickle. I love music and could really stand a good pair just to listen to music with in general, so I *could* convince myself to upgrade (which would mean sending the others back since they're already on the way - ugh!) but on the other hand is it *really* worth it?! This is nothing I'll be taking so seriously that I'll be spending hours upon hours, day after day and will be so immersed in it that putting them around my neck will be that big of a deal. I can't imagine it would be but then I haven't begun yet so I don't know. I just find it hard to believe life could suddenly become that difficult and unpleasant because of having to do that little extra thing. Are both the cheaper and the more expensive ones considered noise blockers? What's the difference between "noise blockers" and "isolating"/"ambient noise"? And I thought the ones that go over the ears as opposed to right on the ears were supposed to be better for these purposes or more comfortable or something positive - according to others' advice/suggestions on this forum. So far the only real concern i have is whether the ones I ordered will be too tight. That right there would be cause to return them but I might as well wait and see if that's the case.

    They have excellent reviews ALL OVER the internet though...way more than the more expensive ones (which obviously doesn't mean much if it's all about bottom-dollar shoppers/amateurs). I really like cnet so here's the cnet review:

    http://reviews.cnet.com/headphones/sennheiser-hd280-pro/4505-7877_7-30235462.html?tag=prod.txt.1

    Switching gears here, I have a question about using the laptop's internal mic with Garage Band and how if you record a second track you hear the loud noise from the laptop's motor or room noise or whatever and then that just gets louder with each track added (the first track you don't hear it). My question is this: if you turn down the track volume on the first track while recording the second track so that during the second track you won't end up also recording the noise from the first track compounded by the noise in the second track, how are you supposed to -- for example -- sing along with yourself in the first track (e.g. if you're doing a round with yourself or singing along in harmony)? Because if you can't hear yourself singing in the first track cause you've turned down the track volume, you may jump in to sing your part in the second track at the wrong time (even if you have the little waves to look at, it doesn't really help you get the timing right)?

    Thank you!!!!

    I'll write you under the table! :D
     
  12. Tosser macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #12
    Okay, I hear you.
    Money makes the world go round, and I guess I got carried away a bit.

    Opinions may differ, but here goes (before I try to address specifics):

    If it were me, I'd rather use a Røde NT3 (it's a mono-microphone) add a 9-volt battery inside it (there's room for it - and it givs you the power to use a recorder without 48 volts of phantom power), and buy a cheap(ish) recorder instead of using an audio interface. The reason being, of course, that it will allow you to record your voice and instruments in places it would be awkward to do otherwise. But then again, my background is properly a big influence here.

    The internal microphone sucks. It's that simple. The microphone, and it's placement, is what really, really matters. It's akin to saying you will be using laptop speakers as your monitors. The only difference being, that the recording itself CAN be better than the speakers, but if you use the internal microphone, it will sound as those lappy speakers no matter how good equipment you play it on, if that makes sense?
    Also, using the internal microphone will go you no way to record close-up and so on. It's even worse than using a dictaphone for this – I kid you not. If you're willing to look at cheap recorders (I'm thinking with inbuilt microphones with a jack for an external self-powered one), just ask and I'll try to recommend something (with prices). Don't worry, I won't recommend what I use ;-)

    Here's the thing, if you start with something with an inbuilt microphone, you can add a microphone along the way. However, I truly recommend you buy at least one part the best you can afford, and here I am thinking of the headphones. If you buy, say, an Edirol R9 (the newer) or a Tascam DR-1 you will hav fetures in thm just for blokes like you, and you can later add a better microphone. However, if you buy the 280s headphones, you might want to swap them later on.

    Okay, specifics:
    You speak of jamming with your friends. You definately want a stereo microphone later on. And you also want to consider acoustics in your recording room (i.e. your room). Not that I want you to change anything, but you might want to be able to choose a different place to record. On the other hand, it might be the greatest room since the toilet was invented (lol), but beware of annoying reflections, background noises and so on.

    I agree that there's a long way from $500 to $700. I used the Senny USA MSRP as a guide, and then went looking for cheaper HD25-1s. That's why I said you could get 25-1s to rival the price of the 280s. I can see why you don't want to up the spending that much.
    Don't buy the NT1-A to begin with (your holiday is safe!), either go the recorder-route sans microphone or go the "internal battery" route. Or go both.

    And now I need to quote you, so you know where I am in your post:
    First off, I'm not even sure I would recommend the NT1A, even though I consider it a much greater microphone than what the price would suggest. The reason being, I'm almost sure you cannot add a 9volt battery to it.

    Anyway, specs:
    SPL (Sound pressure level. This is how much sound pressure it can take with imploding (plosives):
    NT1: 137db (pretty damn good, to tell you the truth.
    ST51: 134db: Almost as good. However, one has to recognise that for each 3 db, the power is doubled.

    Anyway, both are good in this respect.

    Selfnoise ("equivalent noise"):
    NT1: 5db
    ST51:22db.

    22db is just "so-so". But then again, the NT1 has very, very little self noise. It's amazing.

    Sensitivity:

    I couldn't find numbers that I can directly compare. I'm not sure how the Sterling was measured (there are numerous measuring methods). One thing that worries me, though, is that both give out the mVs here, but on the ST51 it doesn't say anything about dBs. The reason I'd like to have dB's on the ST51s is that that is actually useful. The NT1 has one of -32dB, meaning that that is how low a sound can be when recorded at the exact same time as a louder sound. One could think of it as carrying a stick, 32dB tall, and using that to whack the sound with. LOL, I know - crap image.

    Frequency range:
    NT1: 20Hz-20kHz
    ST51: 20Hz-18kHz

    Again, just like with your headphones, this doesn't say it all. It matters how WELL they respond.

    One of the reasons I like microphones to go above the human threshold for hearing according to the Nyquist theorem) is that the closer I come to the end of the equipment's limits, the more distortion an imprecision it will introduce. So even if one can't hear all the way up there, it can be useful.

    This lead me to frequency response and polar patterns. For the life of me, I cannot find either on the St51 mic. If you can help me, I will do a direct comparison.

    In the meantime, click here:
    http://rode.com.au/microphone.php?product=NT1-A
    Then click "images", then "frequency response". You will notice that it's really really flat (You want something that resembles a flat-liner the most).

    The polar pattern shows how a microphone differs in sound, depending where it comes from in relation to the microphone and at different frequencies. But without the same from the ST51 I cannot make a direct comparison. Except t say that they're both cardioids (they are slightly heart shaped in the way they "catch" the sound).

    Anyway, yes, I have no doubt that the NT1 is a better microphone. However, I don't necessarily think it's worth it. Both are (from specs, mind you) good budget microphones, and I'm sure both will be great for what you intend to use them for.

    And here comes the headphones again:
    I have to say this: Although I have both a pair of in-ears (ER·4s with custom moulds) and a pair of Grado PS-1, I keep returning to the HD25-1s.
    However, since the HD25-1s are so "monitor-like" some people don't like them for Hi-Fi (they prefer headphones that colour the sound, making it "softer"). The thing is, they're really revealing, and not in the Head-fi'er sense, but in the monitor sense. Personally, I like that, but I have to say that it's quite possible I'm way too influenced by my background. I want _clean_ and nothing else matters.
    Personally, yes, it _really_ matters.

    To me it matters. Because when it acts like a well designed tool, there's that thing less to focus on.

    Well, it certainly depends how you work (or play, in this case). I like being able to move freely.

    Well, "ambient noise" is "just" the noise that goes in through the headphone shells. Suffice to say, that with open headphones, you get all and every ambient noise.
    The two headphones are both passive isolation closed headphones:
    They're both closed, but the "passive isolation" mostly come from the fact that they're a tight fit, thus closing the gap so it's more isolated than simply have closed back on the individual cans.
    Never heard the term "noise blockers", but I sometimes use mine without anything playing in them, simply to cut down the ambient noise.


    Yes, I hear that often too. I tend to disagree, but it depends what you will be using it for, how you will be using them, and of course where (somewhere really warm, for instance, huge headphones are a pain). The thing is, when most people talk about circumaurals being more comfortable, they think of headphones that put no pressure on you while you sit and listen. Very few would say they're swell having around your neck.

    Just make sure you can return them before opening them. Microphones and headphones are notoriously "unexchangeable" for "health reasons".

    Hmm, yes. The thing is, I can well imagine some even better monitors than the HD25-1s. So if you stumbled upon my review, it wouldn't be all marketing fluff. There are many like me out there, many that are much better than me, have a better ear and so on, many that demand even more than I do, so yes, not all reviews are positive when it comes to the HD25-1s.
    Anyway, I don't like cnet, as they often give rave reviews about something they haven't even heard. In the review you linked to, it seems like the bloke is in awe of just having a couple of headphones sent to him for the review. I sorely miss something detailed, specs, and certainly measurements.
    I am very suspicious of reviews of audio equipment, simply because I have never encountered a business where so many snake oil vendors operate, where so many people are prepared to pay thousands and thousands of dollars on things they imagine (boutique speaker- and signal cables spring to mind).

    I'm not that familiar with garageband – I don't even have it installed, to be honest. But you're using headphones, right?
    Also, if, when you record the second track it records the first track from disk, there has to be a setting somewhere, but I'm not really a garageband afficionado, but it SHOULD be there somewhere.

    Yes, you certainly don't want to rely on the waveform!
    The motor hiss and so on - you know, a stand alone recorder would alleviate this ;)

    Seriously, though, look through all the settings, look at the menu, and see if you can click something that will allow you to listen to it, while it not being rerecorded. Again, I take it you're using some form of headphones, so the speakers won't fedback into the microphone? I cannot emphasize that enough.


    You asked where we were from. I'm from Denmark, hence I sometimes hit the language barrier :)

    I forgot to mention: You want to record in 24bits if at all possible, not 16bits The reason is that the noise floor (the last used "bit" will be so far down in db that when you lift the audio ("normalise" it), the noise floor will be lifted with it. But with 24 bits, it will STILL be so far down it's ridiculous (i.e. you can't hear it). That way you won't having to worry about "going over" (in digital recordings you can't go over -0db, but it will simply cut the audio).

    Haha, any time, but you will NEVER be able to write me under the table! :D
     
  13. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #13
    AT 2020 is better than either the Rode nt1 or nt2, imho.

    goes for about $100USD, iirc.
     
  14. Killyp macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #14
    Never used a 2020 so i can't say either way. The NT1 shows a lot of presence on vocals IMO, which I like, and also works beautifully on guitars, so it's generally a good all-rounder IMO.

    In comparison to that Sterling mic though, it's fairly safe to say that the NT1 would massively outperform it. Rhode are a very renown company, and produce some of the best condensers on the market.
     
  15. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #15
    i disagree. though i've used only the nt1 and nt2, i think they're rubbish. and i don't think their reputation is all that great.
     
  16. Tosser macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #16
    Hmm, even if you (or I, for that matter) would think "badly" about a certain product, doesn't mean it isn't renowned.

    However, I have to question your skills and/or experience if you think Røde's microphones are crap. I'm serious, I don't know anyone in "the know" who thinks of them as crap (or in your words: "rubbish"), even compared to much more expensive microphones.

    So, my question is this: What is "rubbish" about them, in your opinion? Details, please.
     
  17. Greenone thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    #17
    I guess my point is that at what point does the consumer -- who happens to be an amateur musician -- draw the line? They start at something like $20.00 or $50.00 and go up into the thousands, right? So WHERE oh where does one draw the line and say enough is enough? Why is a hundred-dollar model better than a thirty-dollar model? Why is a two-hundred-dollar model better than a hundred-dollar model? Why is a $500.00 model better than a $300.00 model?

    The Sterling has rave reviews so I might be willing to get something else that everyone agrees is significantly better than the Sterling but again...at what point do I draw the line and at what point am I being ridiculous or petty or vain or obsessive, etc. etc.?

    Tosser - I think you misunderstood me...I'm not planning on using the internal mic, i was just explaining how this all started and how I was already upgrading from using the internal mic as it was, and don't want to get carried away getting the very best of the very best. I'm trying to understand why the mono mic w/ 9-volt battery is necessary...i'm sorry I'm being so slow. What do you mean I'd be able to record in places that would be awkward to do otherwise? Can you give me an example? I really do want to know since it's only $50.00 more than the NT 1-A.
     
  18. Greenone thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    #18
    Are you saying that I could use a mic w/ the 9-volt battery with a camcorder e.g. for interviewing -- and that the other type of basic condenser mics wouldn't give me that option? Cause if that's the case, I would totally go for hte 9-volt option just because at some point I might want to do some interviews of people in my family.
     
  19. Tosser macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #19
    I don't know how to begin –*the thing is, just before I wrote to the fella above I came home from a night (evening) out. I still haven't shaken the irish pub, so this might be very short, but I'm willing to expand on things later this weekend if necessary.

    About the "9-volt microphone": You're not being slow at all. I wasn't clear enough. The thing is, the ST51, røde nt1/2/3/4 and so on are all condensers and condenser microphones need 48 volts of phantom power (some can do with less, but proper phantom power is 48V). The NT3 (and NT4 – that's the stereo-version I talked about) have a place in their body to put a 9volt battery – it then ups the voltage on itself). The reason for this, is that you can then use the microphone with recorders that do not supply phantom power, yet still use a phantom powered microphone. Suffice to say, this gives you a wider array of choices later on. For my use, having a recorder that does supply phantom it doesn't matter, but it's great to have it, should I need to connect to a recorder or even directly to my computer if I want to (or need to).
    With such a microphone you can start with a cheap recorder, or a cheaper interface – hell, you could start with an iMic or something, making everything cheaper overall and then upgrade one piece at a time, as money allow (I read somewher you just had twins). This way, while getting a great microphone, you can concentrate on upping the rest of the equipment later on, and perhaps even buy the 25-1s, if you so choose, leaving less parts to be upgraded, if you follow (I doubt I'm clear here).

    You ask at what point enough is enough. The only answer I can give is that it depends. You want the best for the money you're willing to spend, the best you CAN spend – which ever is the lowest. Especially as a start out kit. But the thing is, your stuff will never be better than your microphone, and you can never edit better than your monitors allow. Crap in, crap out. And at the other end: Crappy monitors make for guesswork.
    The recorder? Well, the preamps (the ones for the microphone) is THE thing to care about, but most any hobby-recorder will do for your needs, and you can upgrade that later on. This time around you should focus on working with monitoring and working on mic setup, getting to know your tools. Screw the recorder (sort of).

    About awkwardness: A portable recording rig will allow you to get out of the house and be independant of having to carry your computer, your interface and so on, and choose to, say, record yourself singing in a church, play the guitar in a mall, or record waves on the beach, the metallic clickety-clack from a freight train rolling along (or whatever)*– things that might inspire you, or simply used as samples to make your own music.

    As I mentioned earlier you could begin with a recorder with in-built microphones, a stand, and decent headphones. Later on you could add a better (external) microphone and then later again you could find a better recorder with better preamps if you so choose. You would be totally independent of your computer, giving you more choice.

    One of my microphones is the Schoeps CMXY.
    http://schoeps.de/E-2004/xy-stereo.html

    Damn expensive, but really good. It's a stereo mic, and it's a small package (some of the rpice I paid was for that feature alone). But it truly is a world class microphone. However, I have to admit, that that sort of quality (same goes for my recorder) is far from needed for my line of work. But this "over the top" is for my pleasure first and foremost. I want my recordings to be the best I can muster, and as such I chose to see how well I can do. Within constraints of size and weight, of course. I don't want to be hauling a 25 pound recorder for instance.
    You don't want to go that far before "enough is enough". If it ever becomes a hobby "for real" and you think you lack something, then you have experience to go from there, realsing what you want (or, actually, what you lack), and then it's about research, trying stuff out and look at your wallet to see how much the budget allows for.
    At least that's how I think about "when is enough enough?".

    Hmm, I propably forgot something …
     
  20. Tosser macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #20
    Yes you can do that if your camcorder have a mic-input – but if it's a phantom powered input, then there's no need for a "battery-mic", so to speak.

    There are so many options about video interviews - you could also use a shotgun microphone, lavallier and so on instead of a cardioid (sorry, I think that confuses more than it helps).
     
  21. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #21
    i own a pair of the nt1a's. a friend of mine has the nt2. i've used them both a good extent, and (shudder) have mixed tracks recorded with them.

    i find that these two models lack body and have a rather unpleasant sizzle. they don't take EQ particularly well and, at mix time, i find i have to do rather a lot to get lead vox recorded with them to 1) sit well, and 2) hold their own in a mix.

    i haven't used my rodes in a couple years now. the other condensers i have are a shure ksm32 (excellent mic, ihmo), a pair of 414eb's and a blue dragonfly.

    the ksm32 is the most consistent of the lot. sometimes brilliant, and decent at worst. the 414's are old and sound somewhat different from each other, but are *very nice* in the right role.

    initially, i was indifferent towards the dragonfly, but it's really grown on me the past couple years. it and my sm7 (combined) are my go-to elec. guitar mics.

    ....

    a songwriter/musician/engineer friend of mine, who i respect very much, uses rode exclusively and gets good sounds out of them. kudos to him, but personally i think he'd be better served by better mics.

    if you head over to gearslutz, there you'll see rode is not respected at all, which is why i mentioned their poor reputation. my personal opinion is based on my use of them -- not the overriding opinion @ GS -- but i mention it as a counterpoint to killy's claim that they are well-regarded.

    hey, their higher-end mics may be decent, but i'd have to be fairly well blown away to send any more money their way.
     
  22. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #22
    i haven't used that model, but i love the schoeps mk41 capsule. i think we've found agreement on a good mic! :)
     
  23. Tosser macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #23
    That's my point exactly: I think you're doing something wrong – Mic placement, proximity effect or something.

    Ah, yes, a poor reputation on gearslutz …
    I'm sorry, but as I said I don't know anyone in the know who think badly of røde microphones, and to be honest, given the price of, say, the nt4, it's not just a 20th (or so) of the quality of the cmxy.
    Btw, the other mics you mention are good choices. I always had a thing for Blue mics especially.

    But they ARE well renowned – that doesn't mean EVERYONE likes them.

    Hm, you'd be hard pressed to find better microphones for the same money at the low end. But anyway, yes, you might disagree based on your personal opinion, but it remains that across the board (and in the respective price ranges) Røde microphones are indeed renowned.
    Your argument is akin to this:
    "XXXX (could be Schoeps for that matter) microphones aren't well renowned, because I don't like them". Sorry, but they still are.

    Yup, they make great mics. :)
     
  24. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #24
    ...plugging in an nt1... :)

    of course not, because this is a game of inches, where the quality of something increases on a much gentler slope than the price.

    i'm in a position where i can afford, occasionally, to drop a couple thousand on a nice piece of gear, but i know it's not 10-20x better than a consumer piece. it's 2x as good, perhaps, and to me it's worth it.

    in the $100 condenser range, i do like the AT 2020, and do recommend it above either the rode nt1 or nt2. and that's an interesting example to me, because i feel AT *is* a respected company which makes really good, medium price mics. after establishing themselves, they made some cheaper models which are still good.

    rode, otoh, started off as a budget mic company, and are now trying to compete w/ AT in that middle tier. to me, they still seem like a budget company. is perception reality? maybe so, maybe not, i just know i don't like their budget mics. i know that, in a studio, i'd reach for an AT 4040 before, say, a rode nt2000.

    okay, maybe i'd try the nt2000, just to see :)

    all i'm saying is that the GS crowd, by and large, mocks Rode, leading me to the conclusion that they're not well-renowned. that's all, it has nothing to do w/ my personal opinion of them. for the most part, that crowd also doesn't think much of the 1176 re-issue, but i love mine.
     
  25. Tosser macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #25
    Just did a search on gearslutz. It looks like there's a few vocal ones who truly dislike Røde mics, whereas most recognise that many people in the industry (industries as it were) like them.

    I truly don't get it why you take only those being vocal against Røde and pretend that by extension Røde cannot be renowned.

    Even though Schoeps is renowned in the industri, there are many who feel they're TOO precise, that they lack "something" (my guess: they want tubes to make it all "warm and fuzzy" :( )


    Anyway, this shouldn't become a thread for us, geeking out about microphones (it's worse than the Mac vs. PC wars on this forum, lol), so I'm stopping here.
     

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