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Basic recording, headphones/amps and vocal mics


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  • Basic recording, headphones/amps and vocal mics

    I'm planning on doing some basic recording with several of my friends/people I've worked with, so I plan on picking up a set of headphones to use...I was looking at the Alesis MultiMix 6 Cue, which looks like a great deal at $149...my buddy had a MultiMix 16FW mixer he used and it was a great little mixer (until he fried it..) and I've never heard a lot of bad from Alesis. I figured this would be a bit of a step up from, say a Behringer headphone amp, now I just need to find a decent set of headphones...any opinions, thoughts? I'm trying not to spend a whole lot on this, just enough to make it decent for home recording. Also, does anyone have recommendations on a cheap vocal mic? I may just end up using a SM58 or Beta 58A, or something comparable from Sennhesier or Audix, but if there's a better mic that isn't too much more expensive, that would work as well.

  • #2
    Hi djiceman 1575,

    Personally, I'd stay away from the Alesis mixers. I've read wayyy to many bad experiences with these boards. I'd lean toward a small-format mixer from Soundcraft or Allen & Heath. Also, don't assume that many of these boards have similar quality headphone amps, so that might be a factor as well. I've got a very compact Soundcraft Notepad 124FX, which works fine for small "live" set-ups, but the headphone amp is dreadfully noisy. I haven't yet tried my EFX-8's headphone amp, but I'd suspect that it's a much better unit. In fact, I may give it a whirl tonight, just to see how it compares.

    The SM58 is a fine mic for the recording your planning on doing. A lot will depend on how you use it, and most importantly, how-and-where you place it. Mic placement is the single most important factor in obtaining a good recording,,, I can not over-stress this point. The "space" in which you're recording, will also have an impact,,, sometimes positively so, and other times, negative.

    For recording vocal tracks, you'll probably need some closed-back headphones. The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro offers terrific isolation (32dB attenuation), and you won't get bleed into your vocal mic. Those are not suited to mixing however.

    Good luck with your project.

    Veni, Vidi, Velcro;

    (I came, I saw, I stuck around)


    • #3
      Rane makes a a couple of nice inexpensive multi output headphone amps.


      • #4
        Rolls and Art make some decent headphone amps.

        I'd just go for what you need for the budget.

        So long as you can hear yourself tracking is all that matters.

        Its not like you need the best sound quality going when you track,

        it just needs to be loud enough to hear your part and allot of that has

        to do with the quality of the headphones.

        Once the parts are tracked, you need to use nearfield monitors for mixing.

        I dont even use headphoned for tracking any more except for Vocals.

        When I record with a live band, theres no need for headphones cause you

        can hear the amps and drums without headphones. Once the levels are set

        you just play normally. If I'm multitracking, I just use the studio monitors

        as a sound source monitor my playing through them. This way I dial up

        the exact sound I need on the track. I use headphoned for vocals where

        monitor bleedover and feedback are an issue.

        For a band recording together you may want to check out those JAMHUB's

        Each musician can dial up his own tone and volumes with it.



        • #5
          You can pick up a multi-channel headphone amp on eBay for half nothing. I've got an old Behringer 4-way headphone amp that someone gave me a few years ago, and it works great. Runs 4 separate mixes if needed, with mix controls for each musician if they desire.

          And like WRGKMC says above, you don't necessarily need the most top quality sonics when you're tracking.

          Headphones - Beyerdynamic DT100 will last you a lifetime. They look like the ear protectors that construction workers wear, but they are reference quality and force you to work on getting the sound right before you track.

          Mics - a surprisingly good dynamic vocal mic is the Sennheiser MD421-U5. It has to be the U5 model, and it has to be pre 1994 or thereabouts, so you'll have to check eBay. But if you get one, they're a completely different beast to the 421 you'll buy in MF or GC these days. Different components, different sound. You will likely not need any further processing for the hi-mid treble portion of your vocal, and the bass rolloff is highly useable. I tracked some backing vocals with mine last week and put them straight into the mix, no EQ needed.

          You mention the Beta 58 and one of those should work really well too. But see if you can find an old one. Like the 421's, the old ones are a different mic altogether - less fizz in the top end, and more detailed sounding, more 'real' than the newer models.

          Failing that, the Studio Projects B1 is a very cheap LDC vocal mic that also works really well. I used one of these a bit when I was starting out, and it's a very good mic for the price. Good bang for the buck.

          Good luck with the recording
          flip the phase


          • #6
            Behringer headphone amps are actually quite serviceable. If I wanted some headphones for cheap in a hurry, I'd grab some off Monoprice.
            Tauntr.com - Adding Insult to Everything!Neck Pocket Cavern Surveyor for the Rhythm in Jump. Dancing Close to You club!"In all fairness, Les Pauls have a switch position labeled "Rhythm", while Strats do not, because they are lead guitars for lead guitarists." -Flatspotter


            • #7
              Thanks guys. I didn't mean an Alesis board for mixdown, I'll be using a Studiolive 24, just need headphone amps for them. I'll take a look at those Monoprice headphones.


              • #8
                I picked up one of these for headphones. http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/AMP800/

                It will drive up to 8 sets of headphones, two per channel with amble volume and clarity and can

                easily be patched in between the DAW and monitors. I like it because it has VU meters and buttons where

                I can shut off the monitors with a button to just used headphones. The units is a bit lightweight so I Velcro

                it to my console table.

                As far as mics are concerned, your normal mics used for stage aren


                • #9
                  I'm probably just gonna pick up the HA8000 from Behringer. $149 for 8 amps, and a bunch of the Monoprice headphones. As for mics, I know the 58's aren't great but I plan on picking up something like an SM7B or an RE20 anyways, definitely an MD421. This isn't going to be Nashville-style recording, mainly fun home jam recording and demos. Nothing expensive.


                  • #10
                    Honestly I think the behringer headphone amps are actually pretty good for the application.


                    • #11

                      Quote Originally Posted by nerol1st
                      View Post

                      Honestly I think the behringer headphone amps are actually pretty good for the application.

                      That's what I'm thinking. Wouldn't hurt to try at least.


                      • #12
                        I use one of these for monitor station levels, etc


                        sounds great
                        an expert on what it feels like to be me
                        & you are who you google


                        • #13
                          I use one of these for monitor matrix & levels :


                          can't beat the price & it sounds great !
                          an expert on what it feels like to be me
                          & you are who you google


                          • #14
                            Yes the Beringer headphone amps are OK.

                            They use the same chips and designs most others use.

                            I dont use mine allot unless I'm recording a full band.

                            I been doing solo stuff lately so I only need one headphone jack.

                            In my studio besides using my nearfields, I have two HiFi systems

                            connected up. I can switch them on for checking to see how the mixes

                            sound through HiFi speakers.

                            Both of the HiFi amps have headphone jacks on the front.

                            When I do my vocals or need headphones I use those jacks

                            for my headphones. I like them because they can be adjusted really loud if I

                            need them, plus I can adjust the trebble and bass on the hifi amp to iron out any headphone frequency responce


                            With a straight headphone amp you would need to use an EQ before it to do the same thing. I also have some

                            graphic EQ's in the HiFi's send and return loop. I can press a button and have the sound modified by the EQ too if I want.

                            I use those EQ's to give the HiFi speakers a flat responce. I pump white/pink noise through the HiFi, and use a DB meter to get

                            a balaced output from the woofers and tweeters. Its not perfect of course. HiFi gear tends to enhance the highs and lows but

                            I get fairly good results based on room acoustics. The EQ's also have a digital frequency display for the frequency bands. I can

                            set them for bypass and use the Displays to check the mixes frequency responce. It gives me a ballpark idea of both the frequencies

                            in the mix and how strong those frequencies are. I can instantly see if my lows, mids and highs are strong enough in a mix.

                            They do make some EQ's that are self adjusting too. They have a built reference mics and you press a button and the EQ produces

                            Pink/white noise through the HiFi amp. The mic in the EQ hears the pink noise and registers in the diaplay. You then use the EQ

                            sliders to adjust your frequency bands so you have a flat responce. Again, not a perfect solution but it can be used to compensate

                            for poor room acoustics. Instead of using the EQ, I adjust my HiFi speaker cabinet tweeter and mid crossover levels so I dont have

                            much need of EQing in my monitor chain. I still think I may try finding one of those EQ/Frequency analizers on EBay one of these

                            days just for the hell of it.