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Author Topic: 603s vs. NT5 and other noob questions  (Read 2896 times)

Oliver

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603s vs. NT5 and other noob questions
« on: August 10, 2004, 04:23:24 PM »

Hi all, I'm trying to cobble together some rudimentary recording tools, to learn with mostly, on a small budget.
So at school we have a pair of NT5s which seem just fine to me for certain things I've used them for, but they're the only SD condensers I've used so my opinion there is mostly useless. I've been reading all the good comments here about the MXL 603. Has anyone had a chance to compare? At $150 less (pair) plus shockmounts they're pretty tempting. They will be used for anything and everything. I can tell you what I'll likely be recording most but, really, the whole point is for me to record anything I get the chance to. So the only rule is they can't be super fragile.

I'm also looking for a LD multipattern condenser. My first thought was the 414. I'm a little confused about the differences between different 414 models. I'm looking for something well under $1k so that only leaves me two choices of 414, I think, anyway. I'm open to any suggestions. Same criterion as above but it must have a figure 8 pattern so I can do MS.

So here's what I'm thinking for my near future setup:

2 x SD condensers
2 x ECM8000s (got one already)
1 x LD multipattern condenser
At least one 57

All probably going into a MOTU whatever and then the Mac, but  that's a whole 'nother discussion.
I know this is a limiting setup but it's what I can afford at the moment.

Last question. Any book recommendations? I'm reading Rick Clarke's book, I just got Howard Massey's, and I've read David Miles Huber's. Technical or anecdotal, doesn't matter to me.
Thanks a lot,
Oliver
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theenvycorps

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Re: 603s vs. NT5 and other noob questions
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2004, 09:42:05 PM »

I'd add the Oktava MK-012 and the Studio Projects C4s to the list.  They both have omni options as well.
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Warhead

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Re: 603s vs. NT5 and other noob questions
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2004, 10:08:44 PM »

AT4041's would be a nice option as well.

War
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Warren Dent
Owner: ZenPro Audio
www.ZenProAudio.com

Oliver

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Re: 603s vs. NT5 and other noob questions
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2004, 08:05:11 PM »

Thanks guys, I'll check those out.
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Vertigo

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Re: 603s vs. NT5 and other noob questions
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2004, 03:40:52 PM »

I have a pair of 603's and a pair of MK012's and I highly recommend both. They are very similar sounding to my ears, with the Oktava's being a bit "smoother" and slightly less pronounced in the high end. I prefer the sound of the 603's for my overheads, although it must be stated that they do sound best with DARK sounding cymbals (and keep those suckers clear of the china or you'll get a big earful of "PHWAAAAAAAAAAH" when you're least expecting it).

I usually use the Oktavas for hi-hats and percussion, although I'll quickly reverse this setup if the cymbals are too bright sounding (using the Oktava's as overheads and the 603's for hats/percussion).

So having two sets of SDC's gives me a lot of options, which is great, but if I could only have one pair it would definitely be the 603's. You'll get a LOT of use out of these guys and they also sound excellent on acoustic guitar.

I've tried out the NT5, NT1, and NTK, and I personally don't like any of them. I'm not a fan of the Studio Projects mic's either. I really feel you get what you pay for with the SP stuff, so a $200 mic sounds like a $200 mic. With mic's like the 603's for example, I find them to be as usable as their $300 a piece SM81 counterparts.

I'm a big fan of Alton Brown, who hosts a cooking show called "Good Eats". He makes a point of never buying a kitchen utensil unless it serves more than one purpose. So I follow the same philosophy when choosing mic's. If I can't use it for more than one purpose, then I don't buy it.

Here's what I would recommend to get you started:

-2 MXL 603's (sdc)
-2 SM 57's
-1 AT 3035 (ldc)
-1 Audix D6
-2 ECM 8000's

This setup will be all you need to get started making quality recordings, and you'll probably use all of these mic's on a regular basis for years - even as you upgrade your gear.

I threw the Audix in there because you'll probably want at least one good low end frequency mic for kick drum and bass, and the D-6 offers fairly instant gratification in those respects. The AT 3035 isn't multi-pattern, but it's one hell of an LDC for the price. Great for vocals, guitars, snare, and mine is currently getting a lot of use on kick drum as well (in conjunction with the D-6).

And I personally have never found one use for M/S micing outside of a live recording situation. If you're dead set on the M/S thing, then take your time learning the basics and save up for a quality ribbon mic in the meantime. You'll get many different uses out of it aside from M/S - guitars, vocals, room mic, etc. The AEA R-84 or the Royer R-121 would be the way to go.

YMMV

-Lance


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Vertigo

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Re: 603s vs. NT5 and other noob questions
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2004, 04:40:47 PM »

Oh, and in response to your second question (regarding good books to purchase), I HIGHLY recommend the Mixing Engineer's Handbook, by Bobby Owsinski. It's brief but very concise. Half of the book is comprised of interviews of pro engineer's (many of whom are regular posters or moderators on these very forums). A great read that will give you a good jump start and fill in the blanks in your approach to mixing.

-Lance
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Oliver

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Re: 603s vs. NT5 and other noob questions
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2004, 05:54:13 PM »

Thanks a bunch Lance. I actually ended up ordering a matched pair of 603s and a V67 last week. So it's good to hear your comments on the 603s. At $100 the V67 was just too tempting. I'll have to see how it goes with that. I'll definitely look into the 3035 and the D6 as well, though. Seems like everyone loves the Royer 121s. Pretty pricey for me but maybe worth holding out for. And I will definitely look for a copy of the MEH. Hopefully I'll receive my 603s before school gets out so I can do a direct comparison with the NT5s. Anyway, thanks a lot.
Oliver
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j-unplugged

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Re: 603s vs. NT5 and other noob questions
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2004, 01:55:56 AM »

Howard Massey book, you mean "Behind the Glass?"  I just finished it and I'm starting it again.

That book, I can't say enough good things about.

I'm glad I didn't overspend before I completed reading it, many, many good, practical, use-your-ears stuff you can do before you find the need to upgrade gear.  I upgraded anyway, but for the right reasons and good deals too.

Also, I got a MXL 990 and I have the v67 too, the 990 is similar, but it likes my voice, and for the price of a shock mount, it's a good deal. (looks nice too)

I'll be looking up those other books you mentioned!
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Oliver

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Re: 603s vs. NT5 and other noob questions
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2004, 04:51:20 PM »

[quote title=j-unplugged wrote on Fri, 20 August 2004 06:55]Howard Massey book, you mean "Behind the Glass?"  quote]

That's the one. I haven't gotten very far but I'm really enjoying it.
All the best,
Oliver
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j-unplugged

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Re: 603s vs. NT5 and other noob questions
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2004, 12:11:32 AM »

I found the Huber books, but nothing on Clarke, got a title handy? - John.
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Oliver

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Re: 603s vs. NT5 and other noob questions
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2004, 06:56:26 PM »

Yep, sorry, it's Rick Clark without an E, my mistake. "The Expert Encyclopedia of Recording". Similar to "Behind the Glass" in format. It's a Hal Leonard book so it should be widely available. I got it at Chapters here in Montreal.
Oliver
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Family Hoof

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Re: 603s vs. NT5 and other noob questions
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2004, 12:31:01 AM »

I've never been completely satisfied with my NT5s (although I love to record things in ORTF stereo and they're GREAT for that) and have been endlessly curious about replacing them with a pair of 603s or Oktava, neither of which I have tried. I have however used much more expensive SDCs and the Rodes hold up alright (just another color to choose).
About MS: I've never found it to be any sort of useful and very uninteresting in sound - but that's just my opinion. I do however find have a figure of 8 mic (LDC) to be quite useful and interesting in sound.
Also, I'm glad to see you have the ECM8000 on that list. Omni mics are infinitely useful and unbeknownst to many, IMHO.
As for books, I second the "Mixing Engineer's Handbook" and add "Mastering Audio" by Bob Katz.
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~Jens J.
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