From the latest iMac computers and top shelf microphones to state-of-the-art video equipment and more, there’s no doubt that Studio 300 is loaded with great gear. However, even with the latest and best, each piece of gear has its physical limitations. While it may seem that some gear, such as mic stands and cables, can withstand repeated heavy use, every piece has its breaking point when given the right circumstances. Care should be taken when using all of the gear.
We’ve recently found some damage to one of our audio interfaces. Here is a picture of the circuit board and the inside of the headphone jack. The jack itself is cracked and broken as if the headphones had been struck while plugged into the interface. While the exact circumstances aren’t known, this is something that could have been avoided with proper care and handling.
Here are a few ideas ensure that the equipment in Studio 300 will last for years to come:
- Plan on taking time in your session for setup and tear-down. Rushing while handling gear is a recipe for mishaps.
- Educate yourself and your group about the gear you’re using. Ask the staff if you don’t understand.
- Make sure to run microphone, power, and patch cables so that they are not in danger of being tripped on.
- Secure mics and cameras on their stands and tripods and extend the stands and tripods correctly so there is no risk of tipping.
- When using studio monitors and headphones, turn volumes to a low setting during initial setup to prevent harm to your the gear and your ears!
- When equipment is not in immediate use (such as digital cameras and handheld camcorders) keep them in their protective cases.
- Use care when plugging in power cables, as they are fragile at both ends and prone to cracking and fraying.
Follow these tips to keep the equipment collection in top working order so every person gets an opportunity to use it.
Do you want to create your own podcast, record your church choir, or record some voice-overs for a video project? That laptop or webcam microphone just won’t cut it anymore. You want great quality sound, but you don’t have the right equipment. Don’t fret! Studio 300 has a generous selection of microphones – ranging from standard handheld live microphones to very high-end versatile studio recording models. Below is a list of our microphone selection and a brief description and examples of what they may be used for.
Shure Beta 58a (dynamic*)
- A versatile handheld vocal mic for use in live or recording situations.
- It can be used in conjunction with handheld recorders for an interview microphone.
- A rugged mic – because of its construction and simple design it works nicely for live performances as well as many studio applications.
EV RE50 (dynamic)
- A fine handheld live mic for broadcasting, interviewing, etc (works with Studio 300’s handheld recorders)
- It works great on recording vocals for podcasting.
- Another rugged mic – same simple construction as the Beta58a with similar attributes.
Shure SM86 (condenser)
- The SM86 is a handheld mic similar to the Beta58a with some distinct differences – it is a condenser microphone, which makes it a bit less durable, but because of its design it can capture a wider frequency range. It can be used for live and recording situations of all kinds.
Shure SM7B (dynamic)
- The SM7B is widely used as one of the industry standards for broadcasting/podcasting.
- It is a fantastic vocal recording mic with a warm sound more popular for for male/lower pitched voices.
- It features bass roll-off and vocal presence controls which give you great control over the sound it captures.
EV RE20 (dynamic)
- The RE20 joins the SM7B as one of the industry standards for radio broadcasting/podcasting.
- Along with vocals, the RE20 is regularly used for kick drums, floor toms, bass guitars and brass (trumpets, trombones, etc), as well as many others.
Audio Technica AT899 Lavalier Mic set (condenser – can use battery or phantom power)
- The AT899 kit includes a clip on mic and can be used for presentations, lectures and tv interviews with great results. It can also be used for live vocal performances and studio recordings.
AKG c414xls (condenser)
- The c414 can be used for recording anything acoustic! It is great on vocals, guitar, strings – most anything you can think of.
- It is popularly used in stereo pair with multiple polar patterns for a variety of mic setups (X/Y, ORTF, AB, Mid-side, etc), depending on the source, which makes it great for large groups, choirs and ensembles.
- Turn the attenuation down and put it in front of a cranked amplifier to capture great guitar tones.
- It is also a solid choice for drum kit overheads.
AKG c214 (condenser)
- The c214 is the little brother to the c414 and has many overlapping uses – including recording any acoustic sources, choirs and ensembles, guitar amplifiers and drums.
AKG C1000s (condenser – use 48v phantom OR battery)
- The C1000s is a good live or recording mic with a variety of uses including recording vocals, acoustic instruments and well as sound reinforcement on stage.
- It is especially good on sharp (transients) sounds like percussion.
AKG C3000 (condenser)
- The C3000 has been a popular studio microphone for years and is used mainly for recording lead vocals and instruments.
- It can also be used for room/ambient micing as well as broadcasting.
AKG Perception 820 tube (TUBE condenser – no need for 48v phantom power)
- The Perception 820 is a tube microphone which adds its own ‘flavor’ to the sources – mainly used vocal recordings – like other tube microphones, it delivers a warm, ‘classic’ smooth sound.
- It can also add that warm tube sound to acoustic and electric instrument recording.
- As with other tube microphones, care should be taken with high SPL sources (guitar amps, drums, etc) because it is a more delicate microphone and can be damaged more easily.
Neumann TLM49 (condenser)
- As with many studios around the world, the Neumann microphones are among the ‘jewels’ of the studio. Neumann manufactures high-end great quality condenser microphones that can be used with many sources. The TLM49 is mainly used to record vocals.
- It can, of course, be used for recording acoustic instruments and broadcasting applications.
Shure KSM141 – Stereo Pair (condenser)
- The KSM141s are small diaphragm “pencil” condenser microphones that give crisp clear high frequencies.
- They can be used individually to record acoustic or solo instruments.
- Use in stereo pair for recording drum overheads (can handle high SPLs), choirs, ensembles stereo micing acoustic guitar, piano, etc
Audio Technica AT4041 Stereo Pair (condenser)
- The AT4041s are very similar in application as the KSM141s.
- They can handle high Sound Pressure Levels, which makes them great for close micing percussion – snare drums, toms, timbales, and more!
Shure PGDMK6 Drum Mic Kit (combination – dynamic & condenser)
- This drum mic kit has just about everything you’ll need to mic up your entire drum kit, including drum mic mounts so you don’t have to worry about mic stands for the snare and toms.
- You can use the full kit for a drum kit or percussion arrays, or use individual mics for other sources. For example, you can use the kick drum mic on a bass guitar cabinet or other low frequency sources.
- The kit contains two small diaphragm condenser “pencil” mics for use as a stereo pair overhead set, but can also be used on individual parts of the kit such as close micing the hi-hat or cymbals.
*Basic description of Microphone types:
- Dynamic – These mics are essentially electromagnets using a thick diaphragm wrapped in copper wire. Because of this, dynamic mics are generally able to stand up to a fair amount of abuse. They can also handle loud sound sources. Dynamic mics don’t require their own power and are able to be used with a large variety of equipment – from small battery powered handheld recording devices to consumer mixing boards to the largest studio consoles. Also, these mics tend to be less expensive (with few exceptions). However, these mics tend to have a slightly constricted frequency range when compared to other types of microphones.
- Condenser – These mics are also known as capacitor mics. Most are of a solid-state electronic construction. They pick up signal by detecting the change in movement between an extremely thin diaphragm, coated in nickel or gold, and a stationary conductive back plate. Because of the energy required, these microphones need an external power source. Most commonly, they use ‘Phantom Power’ or 48v power which is typically supplied by a mixer, interface or stand-alone power supply unit. In some cases, these microphones are able to take batteries (AA, 9V and others); in those cases, they will almost always accept phantom power as an alternative. Condenser microphones are much more sensitive to movement which makes them more fragile and less common in live situations. Condenser mics typically have a wider, more uniform frequency response which makes them perfect for detailed recording of vocals and acoustic instruments in controlled recording environments. Because of their construction and their performance, condenser mics are typically more expensive than dynamic mics.
- Tube – These mics are condenser mics that replace the transistors with tubes which can produce harmonics that sound very warm and musical. This is despite the fact that they tend to have more total harmonic distortion than solid-state models. Because the power required is much more than a normal condenser mic, tube mics use their own specific power supply and do not otherwise need 48v phantom power. Tube mics are generally more expensive than dynamic or solid state condenser mics and, because of their construction and addition of tube components, are more fragile and require a much more gentle hand than dynamic mics.