Large diaphragm condenser....

Mongrel

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Recommendations\favorites for large diaphragm condensers for recording drums?

What do you guys like under $500 each?
 
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dsop

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Are you sure you need a large diaphragm condenser? They're pretty expensive. I get good results with small, pencil types. I have heard others speak highly of this one. I've read that Simon Phillips likes using this one. Rode makes nice ones too apparently.
I honestly don't think you can get a great one under $500, but some of those Rode mics might do the trick.
 
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Woody85

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I have a pair of AT4040 mics that I use on everything. I was able to find a used pair for $450 Canadian. They're flexible mics that work for overheads, vocals, guitar cabs, and random percussion.
 

Mongrel

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Thoughts...

Looking to explore some one and two mic set ups, and also bass drum micing with large condensers.

I have two Audix ADX-51s. Just looking to work on using a single mic set up in a really poor acoustic enviroment.
 
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Iristone

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I'm thinking of something similar. That said, my only SDCs are a pair of Samsons, and these sounded a bit harsh on the treble. I guess a pair of better SDCs may help in my situation too. :wink:
 

shnootre

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I know it’s above the price range, but worth noting that that AKG 414s are currently $300 off (but still almost $800). They were actually $717 last week at Sweetwater. These are the go-to studio LDCs for a ton of applications. Wish I had one, but I ain’t got the scratch at the moment.

You can get em used for about five bills.
 

funkypoodle

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I know it’s above the price range, but worth noting that that AKG 414s are currently $300 off (but still almost $800). They were actually $717 last week at Sweetwater. These are the go-to studio LDCs for a ton of applications. Wish I had one, but I ain’t got the scratch at the moment.

You can get em used for about five bills.
Couldn't agree more (including not having the scratch for these)! I'd love to have a pair of these for OH's or vocals, sax. snare bottom, well basically for a bunch of applications. Sometimes I track at a friends' studio & he records me with a pair of AKG 414s and an Electrovoice RE-20 for kick. He's got an Amek TAC Scorpion audio console that would look at home on the bridge of the starship Enterprise & he spends obsessive amounts of time measuring/placing mics. The result really captures my drums like I like to hear them. He has much more expensive Neumanns & other options, but tends to use the 414s instead.

Just for fun, here's an article on the history of the AKG 414:

https://sonicscoop.com/2016/10/27/curing-condenser-confusion-an-audio-history-of-the-akg-c-414-2/
 

dcrigger

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Hey...

Looking to explore some one and two mic set ups, and also bass drum micing with large condensers.

I have two Audix ADX-51s. Just looking to work on using a single mic set up in a really poor acoustic enviroment.
Personally I can only vouch for 414's is that price range (sort of). In that price range, it kind of depends on whether you are looking for a mainline tried and true mic (that will likely maintain some resale value) or any of the many sort of knock-off mics by the small boutique companies (which can vary from incredible to horrible - and either way will retain little resale value). For the mainline mics this could mean buying used... depending on how you feel about that. (Most of my mics are used).

If going the off brand approach, I would suggest buying through anyone with a no questions, 30 day return policy (like most, but not all of the stuff on Amazon) - but even then $500 is pushing you into the low end. Basically microphones - good ones - are flipping' expensive.

Last thought - minimal micing and "poor acoustic environment" really don't go together very well. To use a single mic on a drum set, you have to get it a bit away - in order to "catch" the whole kit... but the further from the source the mic is - the more prevalent the room sound becomes.

And the more demanding it becomes on the quality of the microphone. Multiple mics means multiple signals - each mic only has to do part of the job - and each mic's contribution can then be tweaked individually (trying to minimize the shortcomings). But with one mic - it has to catch it all - and you can't add attack to the BD without making the cymbals brighter (maybe too bright).

All that said - I've gotten some reasonable jazz things out of the pair of 414's and a BD mic. As far as one mic goes, the only one I've ever owned that I felt could do a kit justice in more pop/rock settings is one of my Coles 4038 ribbon mics - set it a few feet in front of the kit and it really does grab it all - and really quite nicely. But of course they go for about $1350 a pop - plus to get that workable effect that mic better be running through a pretty decent mic pre or the whole thing is back sounding puny, small and needing of serious tweakage - bringing us back to needing multiple mics to tweak.

Gotta envy guitar players - a couple of premium mics, a 57 and a high quality stereo mic pre and they are ready to seriously record - in most any room. But drums... sheesh!
 

Mongrel

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I have a pair of AT4040 mics that I use on everything. I was able to find a used pair for $450 Canadian. They're flexible mics that work for overheads, vocals, guitar cabs, and random percussion.
Yea, I was watching these at Sweetwater. That had them for $250 US. Hesitated while researching and they numoed back up to $300!

Good to hear you like them.
 

Mongrel

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I know it’s above the price range, but worth noting that that AKG 414s are currently $300 off (but still almost $800). They were actually $717 last week at Sweetwater. These are the go-to studio LDCs for a ton of applications. Wish I had one, but I ain’t got the scratch at the moment.

You can get em used for about five bills.
Thanks.

Yea, those seem to be one of the most often recommended models at any price range.

May be worth it to sit tight for now and just save up for them.
 

Mongrel

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Personally I can only vouch for 414's is that price range (sort of). In that price range, it kind of depends on whether you are looking for a mainline tried and true mic (that will likely maintain some resale value) or any of the many sort of knock-off mics by the small boutique companies (which can vary from incredible to horrible - and either way will retain little resale value). For the mainline mics this could mean buying used... depending on how you feel about that. (Most of my mics are used).

If going the off brand approach, I would suggest buying through anyone with a no questions, 30 day return policy (like most, but not all of the stuff on Amazon) - but even then $500 is pushing you into the low end. Basically microphones - good ones - are flipping' expensive.

Last thought - minimal micing and "poor acoustic environment" really don't go together very well. To use a single mic on a drum set, you have to get it a bit away - in order to "catch" the whole kit... but the further from the source the mic is - the more prevalent the room sound becomes.

And the more demanding it becomes on the quality of the microphone. Multiple mics means multiple signals - each mic only has to do part of the job - and each mic's contribution can then be tweaked individually (trying to minimize the shortcomings). But with one mic - it has to catch it all - and you can't add attack to the BD without making the cymbals brighter (maybe too bright).

All that said - I've gotten some reasonable jazz things out of the pair of 414's and a BD mic. As far as one mic goes, the only one I've ever owned that I felt could do a kit justice in more pop/rock settings is one of my Coles 4038 ribbon mics - set it a few feet in front of the kit and it really does grab it all - and really quite nicely. But of course they go for about $1350 a pop - plus to get that workable effect that mic better be running through a pretty decent mic pre or the whole thing is back sounding puny, small and needing of serious tweakage - bringing us back to needing multiple mics to tweak.

Gotta envy guitar players - a couple of premium mics, a 57 and a high quality stereo mic pre and they are ready to seriously record - in most any room. But drums... sheesh!
Thanks David. Definite words of wisdom there, and considering just saving up for the higher end AKGs.

As far as the poor environment....

I was watching and listening to a few guys doing single mic above the bass drum recordings, or two mics low and close, that sounded pretty impressive. That is what started me on this quest....lol.
 

Mongrel

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If I were in the market for large diaphragm mics around that price range id go with the se4400s. Not under 500, but right on 500 a piece. Superb mics for the money.
Thanks for the suggestion.

I have read a little bit about those....

Starting to think I may just be better off saving up for the next level and just work with what I have now.

Appreciate all the replies guys, very helpful.
 

Thumper

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Not sure what you are looking to achieve with an LDC mic, but I'll table a few thoughts that may or may not help:
* Condenser mics are more sensitive but are also more delicate - drop it once, maybe twice and it's a paper weight;
* distance micing adds a lot of variables as dcrigger states - the further from the source, the more other non-favorable elements can be captured such as reflections and reverberance. The less study-like the recording environment, the more these challenges will be present. Depending on distance and what your trying to mx with, latency might become an issue;
* an LDC is more likely to capture unwanted overtones if any exist;
* I'm not certain a condenser would be a better choice for low frequencies over a dynamic; the extended range for condensers is mostly at the high end;
* I've had good results with three mics, both studio and live - two SDC overheads (captures cymbals nicely with modest location adjustments) and a LD dynamic for the bass. Not too many to make gain balancing a challenge.
 

Treviso1

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I have a huge collection of mics and I was in the studio business for 20+ years as an owner. For your money, check out used Audio Technica AT3035 mics. I really like these mics and you can find them used for around $125 with the shock mount, less without the mount, but you can buy an aftermarket shock mount for under $20. I have about 12 of these mics and I have used them for everything from overheads, room mics, close micing toms, guitars, vocals, acoustic guitars, etc... They are a best kept secret and they sound great...way better than anything anywhere near that price range. Buy used...save a bundle.
 

Mongrel

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Not sure what you are looking to achieve with an LDC mic, but I'll table a few thoughts that may or may not help:
* Condenser mics are more sensitive but are also more delicate - drop it once, maybe twice and it's a paper weight;
* distance micing adds a lot of variables as dcrigger states - the further from the source, the more other non-favorable elements can be captured such as reflections and reverberance. The less study-like the recording environment, the more these challenges will be present. Depending on distance and what your trying to mx with, latency might become an issue;
* an LDC is more likely to capture unwanted overtones if any exist;
* I'm not certain a condenser would be a better choice for low frequencies over a dynamic; the extended range for condensers is mostly at the high end;
* I've had good results with three mics, both studio and live - two SDC overheads (captures cymbals nicely with modest location adjustments) and a LD dynamic for the bass. Not too many to make gain balancing a challenge.
Some great points, thank you Thumper. I'm not sure that I even know exactly what I am trying to achieve...lol, so ANY thoughts or experiences are welcome.

I am just starting to put together a kit and a system to do some basic in-house recording. Something that would be a good representation of how my kits sound, do some "drum" cover type stuff, and ultimately be able to present drum part ideas to a couple songwriters I work with without having to travel and record at their homes. Not laying down final tracks, but I want them to sound good.

I saw a few YT videos where they used LDC on drum sets and really liked the sound and the fact that in many of these they were only using one, two, or 3-4 mics at the most. One of my issues is a dissatisfaction with my bass drum sound. I was really impressed with the organic "boom" they got when using the LDC on the reso or batter AND an internal dynamic. The other method was to place a single LDC just above the bass drum and pointed at the snare. (Reminded me of what the Yamaha EAD10 position is). Really some impressive recordings made this way and I liked the simplicity of it. One of the projects I work with is an Americana duo and we are going for a very organic simple "in the living room" type of vibe and it seemed like the LDC was more successful in capturing that in comparison to the SDC.

Of course, all of this is based on impressions from watching others and not any real recording experience.

Thanks again for the info and advice.
 

Mongrel

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I have a huge collection of mics and I was in the studio business for 20+ years as an owner. For your money, check out used Audio Technica AT3035 mics. I really like these mics and you can find them used for around $125 with the shock mount, less without the mount, but you can buy an aftermarket shock mount for under $20. I have about 12 of these mics and I have used them for everything from overheads, room mics, close micing toms, guitars, vocals, acoustic guitars, etc... They are a best kept secret and they sound great...way better than anything anywhere near that price range. Buy used...save a bundle.
Wow-that is some great info Treviso. Exactly what I was looking for.... Affordable and easy way to experiment with LDCs.

I will definitely look into the AT3035s. I have read a bit about them already just wasn't sure how much to believe.

Thanks again.
 

Iristone

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I used to use an XY-pair of SDCs on stage. I hears a spaced pair gives a wider stereo field, but haven't AB'd that in person. :lurk:
 

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