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how do i listen to takes while recording?(r/audioengineering)
You should do some reading before buying anything. To be frank, most of the people on this subreddit know very little about microphones. Here’s a book I’ve learned from, and a book I suggest to some of my students.
You will get lots of recommendations for SM57s here. SM57s are versatile and useful microphones. However, if you only own a small number of microphones, then they aren’t the right choice for you.
SM57s are what are called dynamic microphones. These microphones are not very sensitive, and they change the recorded sound significantly. They also suffer from what is called the proximity effect. The advantage of dynamic mikes like SM57s is that they are indestructible, and they don’t require phantom power. For these reasons, they are often used in live situations (because they can take a lot of dbs without distorting), and they are often used as snare mikes. They are terrific for those purposes.
As studio mikes, they should be one of your last options (in most cases). If they’re all you have, then you can make them work …
But in my opinion, if you only have two mikes, then you should have a pair of large diaphragm condenser mikes. The most popular, affordable, and common large diaphragm condenser is the AT2020, although if you have more money, my favorite versatile large diaphragm condenser is the KSM32.
Now, why a large diaphragm condenser rather than a dynamic mike like the SM57/58?
The main reason is frequency response. Condenser mikes exhibit much closer to a flat (natural) frequency response. This means that they capture sounds more accurately. Dynamic mikes, on the other hand, color the sound significantly, rolling off both high frequencies and low frequencies.
This means that condenser microphones are more versatile. They can be used in more situations, and in more pickup patterns. Ultimately, this is why, if you only have two microphones, they should be two of the same large diaphragm condensers (preferably a matched pair).
For example, say you are recording an album for a band. They want to mix live tracks and studio tracks. With only two microphones, how can you record a live show for any type of band?
The answer is, you use a coincident pair placed in the audience at the show. This technique will work great with two condensers, but won’t work at all with two dynamic mikes.
Next, say you want to record vocals. To do this with an SM57/58, the vocalist has to be aware of the proximity effect (the sound gets too bassy when the singer gets close), and you will have to use EQ to fix the strange frequency response of those mikes (which is good enough in a live situation). This task is much simpler with a large diaphragm condenser.
I could go on, but I am getting tired of typing. You will get a lot of uninformed responses to this question. I urge you to consider what I have said, and buy two large diaphragm condensers like AT2020s.
tldr: Two AT2020s and an Onyx Blackjack would be my suggestion. Total = $200 for mikes + $150 for interface = $350
(I think one AT2020 and the interface might be good enough for you to start with)