Posts Tagged ‘Shure’


Microphones for Hip Hop and Rap

February 18, 2010

Microphones for hip hop and rap remain mainly in the range of vocal microphones, because artists in these genres don’t usually record with a full band. Because they’re recording over pre-recorded instrumentals, they require microphones that highlight their voices. There are many, many, MANY mics that do this, but in the realm of budget recording, there aren’t that many worth mentioning. Although good mic pre-amps, EQs, Compressors, and interfaces/sound cards might have beneficial effects on the final sound (actually, they do have a significant affect), the object that first recieves the sound is the microphone itself. The current rage in the rap/hip hop industry is the Sony c800g, which is considered the best microphone on the market right now. But these babies cost over $7000.  Let’s step it down a notch then…actually, several notches. Here, we get the Neumann U87ai, which costs well over $3000. Step it down again- we get the Neumann TLM103. This baby is around a $1000, and is well worth every penny. But not all of us can even afford that! (Interesting thing to note here: many claim that the Rode K2 is pretty good too, but at $700, it’s not worth it, especially with the kind of sound you get from it.) Now you ask, “Are there even any microphones left that I can use that has at least DECENT sound quality?” The answer is YES! There are numerous microphones out there that are budget priced that can produce good sounds as well. Here are several priced from highest to lowest: (* = Recommended)

Neumann TLM102: $699

Electro Voice EV RE20: $429

Audio Technica AT4033: $399

Sennheiser MD421: $379

Shure SM7b: $349 *

Audio Technica AT4040: $299

Kel HM-2D: $199 *

Shure SM57/SM58: $99 *

MXL 770: $89

These microphones are real standouts in the budget recording fields because of their price vs performance ratio. Although there are a couple mics that I don’t especially recommend, such as the RE20(pure bias…long story), AT4040(very selective in its usefulness), and 770(might as well shell out 10 more bucks and get the SM57), they do work wonders for certain people. It really depends on the person’s voice. Which brings me to another point: try to rent or borrow a mic and test it out to see if it fits your or the recording artist’s voice. You’ll also notice that there are a real mix of mics here: ranging from dynamic to condensor mics. It really doesn’t matter, because the end result is what you want to sound good. Happy recording everyone!

PS: A little guide for your very first mic:

Sound on Sound



Shure SM7b Review

February 13, 2010

Ghostface Killah(and others from Wu-Tang Clan), John Mayer, Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and other such notables have used the Shure SM7 to record masterpiece after masterpiece after masterpiece. This thing is just pure gold when it comes to vocals. Purists will disagree and say that any condensor or ribbon mic will outperform the SM7 in every department, but I (plus a whole lot of other people including the late King of Pop) would disagree. Although it’s a dynamic mic (generally considered worse than condensors and ribbons) like it’s cousin, the SM57, the sound quality is in a totally different league. This thing (with the right amount of good gain) is a MONSTER(in a good way). It can hold its own against most condensor mics in the thousands of dollars range, so if you can get the chance to, buy this. As usual, here are some reviews:


The Tape Op

Microphone Reviews



My review: I haven’t had the chance to buy this beauty yet, but I did get a chance to record with it. And I was in love. This is just sooooo good. It does everything well, especially vocals. I paired it with a Golden Age Pre-73 preamp (I’ll do a review on that soon) and the results were amazing. I cranked the gain up to 65dB, and I was good to go. I am, by no means, a good rapper. It’s an outlet for me to relieve stress and have fun. But when I recorded with this, I knew why Ghostface records his albums with this. I knew why Michael Jackson recorded Thriller with this. It’s got a magically quality to it that not too many microphones have, and it sounds, looks, feels, and does everything wonderfully. The SM7b made my vocals a LOT more smoother and added a punchiness to it that I enjoyed. At around $349 street price, it’s not as cheap as many other “budget” mics, but for the performance that it delivers, you just CANNOT skip on this deal. Honestly, don’t.

Little video of course:


Shure SM57 Review

February 11, 2010

Ah…the Shure SM57. At a street price of only $99, it’s something most beginners think is not worth their money. THAT IS A BIG MISTAKE!!!! This wonderful, beautiful piece of equipment has been used by Presidents, AC/DC, prominent underground rappers, and other such distinguished people. Just because it is a dynamic mic, and not a condensor or a ribbon, both of which are generally considered made of higher quality, does not mean that it is something to be skipped on. It is, in one word, EPIC.


MWN gear reviews

Mojo Pie Review

MIX online

and a lil somthin special: a SHOOT OUT vs a condensor mic

My Review: It’s something that all studios, even the really really REALLY high class and world famous 0nes, have. Basically, this thing is a legend. It’s like the Grandmaster Flash of microphones. It’s old. But it’s good. Right, there are people, like the guys at electrical audio studio, who might say it’s not worth their time, but these are also the guys that can afford $10,000 ribbon mics and even more expensive custom mics. Besides, if Maroon 5, AC/DC, and Young Moe (an LA based rapper. He’s got some nice tracks) record and do live shows with it, it’s gotta be doing something right, right? One thing that budget recorders might need to be wary of is the gain needed to run this thing. You need AT LEAST 60db of good CLEAN gain. No fuzziness or anything like that. But regardless of whether you’re recording snare, bass, guitar, screaming, yelling, and other such variations of vocals and instruments, the SM57 gets the job done, and it gets it done well. So if you’re looking for a good mic that does just about EVERYTHING well, then buy the Shure SM57….besides, it looks fresh.

A lil sample as usual… You just might recognize the man: