Best Recording Mic for less than $150?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by AshlandBump, Jan 26, 2005.


  1. AshlandBump

    AshlandBump Member

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    The country I come from is called the Midwest.
    Our gear budget is very limited. Right now, we're recording vocals with a SM58. We'd like to get a decent condensor mic for recording vocals, but don't want to spend over $150. Any suggestions?

    Also, assuming we have to buy a pre-amp as well, what are some reasonably priced options?

    Thanks.
     
  2. GuitslingerTim

    GuitslingerTim Member

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    If you can push your budget up to the $200 limit, you can get something really decent, but there are a few options for $150:

    Behringer B1: $100
    Behringer B2: $150
    Marshall MXLV67G: $100
    Studio Projects B1: $100

    Better choices:

    Studio Projects B3: $170
    AKG C2000BH: $200
    Audio Technica AT3035: $200
    Rode NT1A : $200
    Studio Projects C1: $200

    Best choices for the dough:

    Marshall MXL V69 Mogami: $300 (Tube mic)
    AKG C3000B : $300

    The prices are from American Musical Supply.

    http://www.americanmusical.com/home--m-h--src-.html
     
  3. hogie

    hogie Member

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    It's worth it even to spend an extra $50 and get the Behringer B2. It's a very versitile mic. Multiple directivity patterns
     
  4. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    I would not spend 5 cents on the Marshall mics. They are simply a joke.

    Sorry, they spent the money on making them look like Neumanns, or other costly mics. Unfortunately, they didn't spend anything making them sound good.

    Simply designed to cash in on the home recording boom. Just my two cents.
     
  5. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I think you already have the best vocal mic under $150, the SM58. Save your money... seriously.
     
  6. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    http://www.pomona1.com/clients/Test 01.mp3
    http://www.pomona1.com/clients/Test 02.mp3

    Which one's the Neumann, which one's the Marshall? I know, no mix context and they're MP3s, but the basic chracteristics are there.

    These are from a mic/pre test shootout we did one day, for fun. Mic>Great River Pre>HD, no there processing.

    Seriously Les, the V67 is about the only Chinese LDC that's worth a hoot, IMHO. AFAIK, the Groovetubes stuff is all made in China... probably a lot of the same guts as the Marshall, just the "Aspen" upcharge.

    I'm not saying that they blow away the >$1000 mics, just that a few select models are pretty darn good, and not just for the money. I'd be glad to let you try my V67, just to get your input - maybe my ears aren't up to the job...

    Loudboy
     
  7. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    I dunno. One of our busiest local engineers spec'd these recently for a rather expensive studio he put together (he's p/t chief there, and had plenty of the owner's money to spend). In addition to mics from Neumann, Lawson, Coles, Royer, and Shure he bought the Marshalls with the green body and cheesey gold grill for use as drum overheads - as his first choice/go to pair for that app. (Mark is known for getting great drum sounds, and while i've not soloed any of his drum tracks, i've heard plenty of his mixes, and his opinion holds a lot of weight here).
     
  8. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    Those are the ones - the V67G. One of the other engineers at our studio likes them for OHs also. I tend to go for the KM184s or Beyer 740s...

    Loudboy
     
  9. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    I can't tell by mp3s, honestly, the data compression obscures too much of the detail and three dimensionality I listen for when comparing mics.

    I thought the second clip was a bit too "Chesty" but that could be placement.

    Since I haven't heard the actual vocalist, I have no reference. I'm not gonna guess.

    But if you guys say that they make some good mics, that's good enough for me. I've already proved myself wrong about the Rode line.


    :D
     
  10. GaryNattrass

    GaryNattrass Member

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    I agree an awful lot of hit records have been done using this mic and most of U2's vocals were recorded with it.

    Add a bit of high end and a good wind gag and it is a great punchy vocal mic.

    Besides Ive seen lots of users of U87's think its the best mic ever and then go full tilt with the 10k on a console and compress it to oblivion just so that they can make it as punchy as a SM58.

    Dont let the hype about inhibit your creativity, all Annie Lennox vocals were recorded using a Beyer 201 dynamic mic.
     
  11. billybling

    billybling Member

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    I have an AM52 alesis (american), AM51, B2 Behringer, Rhode NTK, ECM8000 Behringer, 58's, 57's and a NADY SCM 900.




    I swear by the Nady. I reach for it every time. $79.00
     
  12. GuitslingerTim

    GuitslingerTim Member

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    Here's a link to a comparison of several of the mics I listed using an acoustic guitar. The main difference is the solid state LDC are a bit brighter and a little shy of the full-bodied sound the tube mics provide. Of the samples provided, I liked the AKG2000 and the Studio Projects C1 the best in the $200 range. The mic that kills them all in price points is the MXL V69 Mogami with its fullness, balance, and warmth.

    http://www.thelisteningsessions.com/session5.htm
     
  13. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    Hey, my statement was just hearsay based on hearing some good mixes. My concern with these low $$$ lines is quality control and consistency.
     
  14. GuitslingerTim

    GuitslingerTim Member

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    The first sample is the Marshall, but it still sounds good.
     
  15. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    #1 was a TLM-103 and #2 was the V67G - the "chestiness" is what I like about it, it can add some nice body to a female voice, and take a little of the edge off, if they're a bit strident.

    The test voice is a guy who's VERY difficult to record, great singer but I've yet to find that magic combo for him. His favorite ever was one of the original Groovetube mics from 15 years ago or so.

    The scary part is that the V67 is 10% of the cost of the Neumann, and can certainly compete, and occasionally come out on top, over something much pricier.

    I really can't say the same for most of the other Chinese mics - we tried a SP C-1 in the same shootout, w/both male and female voices and it ranked last, by far. Even the girl singer said it sounded "funny." We've had other brands in - Apex, other Marshalls, etc. and they didn't do anything for me.

    We were tracking some demos for a VERY famous singer, and I had used my Soundelux U195 on him for some previous tracks, for a friend's record. On this new project, he used a 58 to lay down guide vocals while the band was tracking basics. I compared the 58 vocals, which were tracked thru an ART ProChannel, to the ones I had done previously w/the U195>Great River>Distressor and it was immediately apparent the the 58 sounded WAY better.

    Fortunately, this problem worked itself out - he had told me that when he did his first major label album, a guy had come to the studio with a trunk full of mics to rent/buy. He picked a U-87, and used it on every session for every record he made. I asked him if he still had it - yes, he did, somewhere. I asked him if he could please bring it, when we tracked keeper vocals. <g> He brought it in (no case, in a plastic grocery bag and pink and yellow hair ties on the shockmount,) we tracked the vocals and after a little compression there it was - the vocal sound that everyone knows...

    Just goes to show, you sometimes need to be prepared to throw your preconceived notions about "what is" away and go with what works.

    Loudboy

    BTW, the guy with the trunk full of mics was Klaus Heyne. <g>
     
  16. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    We've got four V67Gs at the studio (got dealer pricing on them,) I have one of my own, and some friends have another 2-3. I've used them all, and they're interchangeable, as far as I can tell. They all still work fine after 2-3 years, but my plastic mount broke.

    Loudboy
     
  17. tedm

    tedm Gold Supporting Member

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    quite a lot. It's been compared favorably with the AT4040's if that means anything.
     
  18. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    Good to know.

    (BTW, the shock mount on my expensive RODE Classic II broke after less than a year of very light, studio-only usage. Really chapped my ass.)
     
  19. amper

    amper Member

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    I'd have to say the best recording mic under 150USD has got to be the Shure Beta 57A or SM57, all things considered. These things are very probably the most versatile mics ever made, and probably have more tracks cut with them than any other mic ever made. The 57 capsule is essentially the same as the 58, so they can even do for vocals, in a pinch. The only real difference is that the 58 windscreen is set up a little better for vocals, whereas the 57 windscreen is set up a little better for instruments.

    But, there are quite a number of reasonably good condensors out there in the 100-200USD range these days. The Rode NT1A has been getting rave reviews, and then there's the M-Audio Luna (200-ish), which is essentially one side of an M-Audio Solaris (300-ish), just like the Shure KSM27 (300-ish) is essentialy one side of the Shure KSM44 (700-ish).

    Check out some of the reviews in the recording mags (I tend to favor Pro Audio Review and Mix), as well as what's up on Harmony Central.
     
  20. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    An old school sleeper, for some apps, is the venerable Rat Shack PZM. I know they changed their design in recent years, and haven't checked the new ones out yet. Used to sell for about $60 bucks a pop.

    My old ones have a seen a lot of use (including having one duct taped to a drummers chest. Not my idea, but interesting!).
     

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