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[Guide] Cheap mics with rich sounds.


Wiesty
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Alrite, lets face it, many remixers here may never touch a microphone due to the world of VST's and Sound fonts these days, but many of us still prefer the real thing. Microphones are used to pick up the sound of all instruments, even instruments with line outs due to the reason that most people will prefer a mic'd sound rather than a line sound. The tricky thing is, there are a lot of microphones out there, and shopping for them can become quite confusing, especially when you're on a budget. That is why I've created this guide, or more so a list of mics which are have a low-end mic price, but an amazing sound.

<100

The Shure SM57

Well what can I say. It's basically been considered the industry standard for the last 50 years. It is a go to mic when recording loud instruments due to the fact that it can take a lot of DB's before it clips. It's mostly used for micing snares and close micing amps, but generally can be used for alot of things. The thing is built like a brick shit house and it looks pretty sexy too.

Price: $99.00(USD)

BLUE Ball

Though it may look like something out of a sci-fi, the blue ball is an amazing mic. With a maximum SPL of 146 db, you could basically put the thing in front of a jet engine, and it wouldn't clip. Its best suited for micing loud instruments such as a bass or kick drum, but its probably one of the most mobile mics I've seen. It sounds great for vocals, acoustic and electric guitar and brass instruments. Also, with some playing around, I've discovered that the thing is insanely directional, competing with some of the shotguns that i have. An honorable mention for this mic as well, because it is the only phantom powered dynamic mic I have ever seen.

Price: $49.95 (USD)

<200

AKG D112

Considered the go-to mic for micing kick drums, this mic is a must have in anyones cabinet. The thing can take sounds of up to 170 db so it makes an ideal mic for other things such as bass cabs and guitar cabs (though it has a boost in the mid and low ends so it is not the ideal sound, but thats why we have EQ :)}

Price: $199.00 (USD)

<300

Apex 210

Alrite, I know what your thinking, Apex? Yeah, I know.....Apex. But they finally got it right this time. This microphone is generally considered the best ribbon microphone for its price. Many professionals chose this mic over some ribbon mics in the $1000-$2000 range. This mic in my opinion has the cleanest, most true sound I have ever heard. If your a serious vocal recorder, this is your mic. Just remember to store it upright, or you'll screw those ribbons over. Out of all the mics on this list, this mic in my opinion is the biggest steal. GO GET IT.

Price: It varies, I've seen it go from $239.00 USD all the way down to $139.00 USD, just look around

Apex 460

Had the chance to use this mic recently....WOW!!! At 250 bucks this mic is a steal. It's a tube condenser mic which has something like 9 different polar patterns ranging from omni, to cardioid to figure 8. Very accurate mic with a wide range of applications.

More To Come....

Edited by Wiesty
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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...
the 58 isn't the ideal mic for studio work, as it is easily replaced by condensers or large diaphram mic's of its same price. It makes a great live vocal mic though.

yea thats true.. thats what i shoulda said. i have an mxl condenser mic you can get for 70$ it works great.

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  • 5 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

True. I don't think that people like Sm58's for their quality of sound, their not really at the top when it comes to that, but their built like a brick shit house and can take year after year of beating with almost no sound quality lost, which is why their a favorite of sound crews.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'd have to see a spec sheet, I can't say just from description. It seems like a strongly built microphone, so I guess (again taking away the specs) it would be good for live applications, but I don't think it'd make the ideal studio mic.

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  • 4 months later...

It all depends what your doing. Figure-8 mics can be handy for having 2 vocalists, adding in ambient noise, or being applied as room mics. If youve got a really noisy room in the first place, condensers arent really the best option, but in a nice quiet surrounding figure 8 mics are good for what i have mentioned. If your room is quiet enough, figure eight mics (and most condensers in general) will just give you a nice fuller sound because they pick up the reverb of the room and the sound as it travels further.

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http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Nady-StarPower-1-Microphone?sku=277024

  • Transparent sound
  • Broad range response
  • Rugged construction
  • Internal shockmounting
    Is this microphone good?

Sweet mercy, I just now saw this. The answer is a resounding NO. Nady is a step below those fisher price microphone children songs karaoke machines.

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Here, I'll add my two cents.

MXL 990

For 70 bucks you really can't go wrong. Clearly it isn't up to snuff with it's more expensive brethren but man, I bought this thing as my first real mic back when it was 120 and it was worth it. Just a simple condenser for those on a budget.

Sennheiser e835

If you were thinking about buying 58s for whatever reason these make a good alternative. If you buy this three pack they are significantly cheaper as well. Just as durable, these puppies still sound great for vocals and instruments in a pinch.

Audio-Technica AT4040

My personal favorite when it comes to under $300 dollar condensers. It has a sweet frequency response and some of those nice features high end mics have such as a 20 db pad and a low roll off switch for wind noise and such. Great for vocals obviously but also beautiful for guitar, and recently I used it to record saxophone with much success.

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Audix OM2

Great alternative to the SM 58 for various reasons.

has way better cancellation from the back to reduce feedback.

(dosent really apply for recording but great for live use.)

much better response in the frequencies above 2k.

99 bucks retail.

Audix D-6

lemme tell you... i didnt think i was going to like this mic at first but

it has a good snaph to it. it helps the kick stand out in the upper freqs

without having to boost 6k 80dB. and is better at not stepping all over the bass guitar. (ive used this mic live and in the studio. in the studio i paired it with a yamaha sub kick and got fatty sounds.) also great on a bass cab. if your lucky you can find this mic for 145 bucks, usually 199 retail.

AT2020

affordable condenser vocal recording mic.

99 bucks.

B.L.U.E. Bottle

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  • 1 month later...

Omega-ditto on the MXL-990. I strongly recommend getting the 990/991 combo deal though; for $20 more you get a pencil condenser mic that not only sounds great on its own for instrumentals, but works brilliantly well in conjunction with the 990:

http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/MXL-MXL-990MXL-991-Recording-Microphone-Package?sku=273166

Each of them on their own sounds significantly better than what you'd expect for the price. But use them both at the same time (and on different channels if possible so you can control the mixing... or just hard pan 100% L / R and use a stereo VST if you can't record multichannel) and you'll get a brilliant tone with accurate mids, rich bass and clear highs. 990 has a good overall sound but the 991 adds more clarity and hype to the highs and bass.

I can't recommend them enough - 992/993 pair for $199 is another good choice if you can front the extra cash.

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  • 6 months later...

for instrumentation (esp guitar cabinets), i love my audix i5

for cheap condensers, you're really only going to start getting above 'consumer-grade' quality once you hit something like the blue baby bottle... if you are really budget-constrained, everyone could use a cheap studio projects or akg perception mic tho

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  • 2 years later...

Digital Reference DRV100 makes for a great affordable vocal mic. Comparable to the EV 457B, with less bass response. Runs at about 50 bucks.

I've also fallen completely in love with the Sennheiser e906. I've used it to mic guitar amps, bass amps, used it to pick up a high-frequency synth line, and even as a snare mic at the top head (and it picked up the body of the snare beautifully!). If you have $200 laying around and you want to pick up what will assuredly go the way of the U87 you need to get this mic.

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  • 1 year later...

Some years back, I was told by some fellow local engineers about the Apex 435. It's less than $100 and it sounds pretty damn nice on acoustic guitar. I ended up buying two of them and it's been my go to mic for acoustic guitar since then. If you want to record in stereo, you can grab two of them!

Another pair of mics that I've used for stereo recording are the K-Micro Silver Bullets. Believe it or not, they're $35 for a pair and they're about the size of your thumb. These are great mics to throw into a backpack or if you're trying to fit a mic into a tight spot.

The third thing I use for recording in stereo is the Zoom H2n. While it is a portable handheld recording mic, it can also be connected to your DAW via USB. Not only does it record in stereo but you can do surround sound with it as well! Not bad for less than $200!

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