On the run up to the Christmas holidays, as a team, we were talking about which microphone, from all the ones we each own, we would choose if we could only keep one. Over the holiday period each of us shared which microphone we keep if we could only have one.
Some of us have a handful of mics. Take Russ for example, he owns about 15 which range from basic dynamic microphones, some condenser, a tube mic, a couple of ribbon mics and some other specialist mics. They include a Shure SM7B, Sontronics ARIA, SE Electronics Voodoo VR2, and about ten others.
Each of this microphones has its merit, for example most of the vocal tracking russ uses his Sontronics ARIA, which he describes as “a gorgeous smooth and characterful microphone, for female vocals its stunning and delivers the goods with minimal fuss”.
James on the other hand owns the most microphones of us all and in fact probably owns more microphones than all of of us put together at around 100 mics! He has many of the usual suspects like 57s and 58s, expensive valve condensers, modern ribbons and even some vintage stuff too.
Unlike James who has an epic collection of mics, Dan by his own admission only have a humble few, which include three AKG C414s, some common dynamics, three low cost offerings from SE Electronics and a Shure SM7B.
Moving onto Mike his collection possibly comes closest in number to James, as he has several mic collections, for different areas. The first one is for live sound work with the likes of Shure Beta 58s, Sennheiser E835s, Beyer M201s, Calrec condenser mics and Sennheiser G2 radio systems. Then there is his location sound set up which includes a Sennheiser MKH40/30 MS pair, several Sennheiser 416s and a Sennheiser 406, Beyer M160 ribbon mics, as well as a good selection of small and large diaphragm condenser mics from sE Electronics. Finally, his dedicated studio setup is somewhat more select and is now centred around his sE Electronics Mini, which has replaced his Shure SM7b. However none of these mics is his desert-island choice.
Julian has about 20 mics as well some others on loan. Among his mics he has quite a lot of dynamics a few ribbons and a handful of large and small diaphragm condensers. Of his mics, the majority are aimed at drum recording, after all in a typical band tracking session this is where the majority of the mics will end up. Condensers see use on vocals and acoustic instruments and ribbons are the first choice for anything loud and bright.
Eli Krantzberg over on Logic Pro Expert has what he thinks is probably a fairly typical mic closet for someone running a semi-commercial home studio. he has a few expensive flagship mics that he uses as much of the time as he can. Then has a host of mid to lower priced mics filling up the rest of the cupboard which he uses when his top shelf mics aren’t right for the job. A typical case in point is his matched pair of Neumann KM 184 mics that he loves to death for stereo micing guitars and other acoustic instruments. But he doesn’t like them for drum overheads as much as some lower priced Avantone CK 7 mics that he feels do that particular job better in his particular room. However, the thing he probably records the most these past years is his own voice. Doing VOs for the various videos he does for the Production Expert family of sites and for groove3 is a major part of his daily workload and after years of trying various mics of varying pedigrees, I have settled on one.
What Would Your Choice Be?
What about you, which one microphone that you own can you not do without? Do share your thoughts in the comments below…