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Thread: Upgrade condenser microphone

  1. #1
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    Upgrade condenser microphone

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    Hi evereyone,
    I am a italian indipendent singer songwriter, 7 years ago I started writing, recording and mixing my own songs, trying to learn as much as possible about music production, and beside that I found my self with 5 millions streams on Spotify, recording and mixing everything myself, with this gear:

    iMac 2013 with Logic & Cubase
    Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
    Audio Technica At 2035
    Audio Technica AT50X Headphone
    Kali Audio LP6 monitors
    Partially acoustically treated room

    By the way I feel it's time to upgrade my gear, in particular I was thinking of a new mic, in order to give to my vocals that "pro-sound" that I'm looking for.

    I've done thousand of researches to try to figure out what was the best mic for me but i'm still not sure about what to buy.

    I will MAINLY use this microphone for Vocals and also some acoustic guitar, and this is the list I have for now:

    - AKG C414 (I heard the XLII is better than the XLS)

    - Neumann TLM 102 (but it is mainly suggested for Rap vocals or Voiceovers, right?)

    - AT4050 (I now have an AT2035 and it has been great to start learning music production)

    I have a budget of $1000,00 , I mainly do pop music, something like Ed Sheeran or Charlie Puth, nothing too complicated.

    Unfortunately, I can't go to a shop and test the mic myself because I don't live near a big city so I have to choose from home, I hope you guys could help me

    Feel free to add some more suggestion, apart from those I mentioned, what do you think would be the best mic for my voice?

    Thank you!!

  2. #2
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    I've never laid hands on any of those 3 mics, but I can't imagine that any of them would let you down. It all comes down to which frequencies they exaggerate and which frequencies they attenuate.

    I've heard C414s quite a bit and they seem like a great all-around workhorse. The XLII has a "presence" peak somewhere in the mids/highs that puts it in line with most other vocal-focused LDCs. The XLS has a more flat high frequency response.


    Same deal with the Neumann TLM 102 vs. TLM 103. The 103 has the presence peak while the 102 is more flat in the mids/highs.


    I think that any of those mics would be a great asset to somebody recording vocals and acoustic guitar. I'd say pick one, try it out, and return it if it doesn't suit your needs. Just be sure of the return policy from wherever you buy it.
    Last edited by Tadpui; 07-20-2019 at 21:46.

  3. #3
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    I did smile when I read that the Neumann is the go to mic for rap!

    Seriously though - at the stage you are at, the differences in the microphones is best described as very subtle, and while they each have different flavours, far, far more difference comes from the space they are used in. the AKG, for instance has multiple pickup patterns. These give you many more options, and they can enhance your room, or exclude it even more. Many people can hear the very subtle differences between the two versions you mention and the jury seems to be hung on the verdict. We're talking differences so small some people notice them and others, like me couldn't hear a difference. There is one, but for me it wasn't important as I just like the sound. I find the fig 8, the omni and cardioid patterns the most frequently used. I have an AT 2020 which I find a bit bright compared to the AKG, and a colleague has a 103 Neumann which I find less warm than I expected, and quite a useful mic, but for me, the 414 still wins on usefulness. The loss of the multi=patterns prevents me wanting another nice but normal mic.

    The 'pro-sound' you are seeking probably doesn't come from the mics at all, but from the room, the processing and signal management end to end. The mic selection is the icing on the cake. Getting the recipe right is more important. Identifying weak links in the chain, or things you've just not yet explored that your technology has, but isn't being used. Do you have a link for a sample of what your space sounds like? We could then perhaps say do this, or don't do that? sometimes improvements jump out at new ears.

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