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Author Topic: cheap condenser mic  (Read 14322 times)

ted

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cheap condenser mic
« on: January 18, 2009, 04:04:53 pm »

I need a good sounding condenser mic for vocals and acoustic instruments and such. what should I buy?
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compasspnt

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2009, 05:36:32 pm »

What is your price range?
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ted

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2009, 01:37:00 pm »

I was wanting to pay $200 or less, but if I cant get anthing decent for that amount then I am willing to pay more.
Which it looks like i might have to do.
But i hope not.  
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Careful Collapse

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2009, 06:34:25 pm »

I was looking around at your prince range not long ago; my eye was on the Rode NT1A (which was $200 at the time.)  After reading some posts by Mr. Danko and Mr. Manning I decided to spend an extra 100$ and get a Rode NT1000 instead (partially payed for via month-long Ramen noodles bender...)

Totally worth it.

I also have a Rode NT5 that I've found useful on a number of things, usually shakers, tambourines, acoustic guitar.  Worked very well on a quieter vocal but I didn't feel it responded well to louder vocals or loud amps.  I usually see small condensor mics being used in matched pairs but it's 100$ less than the NT1000.
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Bill_Urick

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2009, 07:32:56 pm »

Although not always popular around here, Audio Technica Mics are regarded as a good value by lots of experienced engineers.

You could easily find an AT4033 for $200.00 or less used.
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Jim Williams

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2009, 11:49:09 am »

Got $39.95?

MCA SP-1

www.pssl.com
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Jim Williams
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Warren Mcstay

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2009, 08:53:03 pm »

Hi, i'm in the same situation as you. I also considered the NT1a and got reccommended the NT1000 and NT2000. I think both of these mics would give you extra choices in the studio, you should check them out. Another mic which has had a lot of mention is the Shure KSM32, your looking to double your budget on that one though.
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PookyNMR

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2009, 01:13:37 pm »

I'd agree with Bill.  For the money, the AT 40 series mics do quite well and are quite versatile.  The 4040 is one of the least expensive and is very versatile.  I'd recommend that over the 4033.  The 4047 is quite popular among a number of people.
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Nathan Rousu

Bill_Urick

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2009, 12:14:35 am »

Used KSM32's can also be had for around $200.00, if you look in the right place at the right time.
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Galil

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2009, 03:03:44 pm »

Most of the under $200 microphones available don't get pros with bigger budgets (or exposure to more expensive microphones) very excited. Some of the suggestions on the threads are more expensive microphones that folks have gotten steals on (the KSM32 and AT-4047 are usually more expensive microphones, even used).

I was faced with this a few years ago and I bought some Oktava MK-219 and MK-319 microphones (which can still easily be bought used for under $200 per microphone, sometimes even around $100) and then sent them off to Michael Joly to be modified. The Oktavas are useful without mods (but there were other microphones I liked better, pre-mod), but after the Joly modifications these were price performance winners. Transparent, clear, round, and open are ways I'd describe tracks I have recorded with these microphones.

This plan will cause you to go over your budget, the advantage is that you will be under budget with the purchase of the microphone, one can start to record and then you can later do the mods when a windfall comes in.  If you are persistent, you might be able to pick up a pair of microphones for close to your budget. Stereo pairs are king when working with anything more than a vocalist and a guitar.

The other microphone (that I have experience with) which is a real deal in this price range is the Heil PR-35 (sells for around $249 new, other deals might be available).  Not a condenser, but a great sounding microphone which many pros who have high end microphone cabinets have found this to be very useful.

Galil
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wwittman

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2009, 11:10:16 pm »

I can't think of a reason I'd rather use a cheap condenser rather than a good moving-coil dynamic like a Heil or RE20 or SM7


and this is coming from someone who uses almost ALL condenser mics...

but quality counts for more than design style.



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William Wittman
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Larry Villella

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2009, 11:26:23 am »


At just over $200, the new ADK A6 is certainly a contender.


Only thing "cheap" about it is the price!


Belgian Design, replete with European components,
and super-useful on a wide variety of studio sources!!

Of course, I'm totally biased (except for the fact that I have a
huge mic locker and have been recording music for over 40 years).

adkmic.com
myspace.com/adkmic
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Larry J. Villella, Founder, ADK Microphones

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2009, 12:52:26 pm »

I agree with the assessments of A-T's 40-series...  I've gotten a lot of mileage out of my pair of 4033s.  Check the 4033 out ($350 or so street), and also check out the 4040.  Maybe you can find them used, in good shape, within your budget.  

Though small-diaphragm mics aren't generally considered for vocal use, the Shure SM-94 actually sounds quite good in this application; and it's good for instruments, too.  New, they are just under $200.  When I was just getting started, I had a pair of those that I used for everything (still have 'em).  The SM-94 gently rolls off above 10k, which gives it kind of a smoother, warmer tone.  They are durable, too; I used them at an outdoor gig, and the person assisting me left them under a tree; I was busy and never noticed (go me).  I got a call a week later from the venue saying they'd found them.  They had been rained on, and were soaked.  I took them home, let them dry out for a few days, then plugged 'em in to test.  They work just fine.  (DON'T try this at home, though!  Laughing)

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Greg Blaisdell

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2009, 03:20:07 pm »

As someone who has used and sold just about every mic mentioned on this thread, my pick for acoustic guitar and vocals in the $200 price range would be the ADK A6.

I found the A6 to be more natural sounding on my Lead Singer and Taylor Guitar than the Shure KSM27, and smoother than the Rode NT1000 or NT1-A which are both transformerless. The A6 also has a cleaner midrange than the Oktava 012.  

The Shure SM81 works well on acoustic guitar too, but it will cost you about $100 more, and can't double as a vocal mic like the A6.  AT4040 is more money too.

As with almost any other type of product, if you want to get the best bang-for-your buck you've got to stray away from some of the "name brands".  They all make some great mics, but you will pay more at each level.

Best thing to do is actually try out a few different models and decide what YOU like on YOUR acoustic guitar.  Find a dealer that lets you try them out in your own studio for a few days so you can pick a favorite.  I didn't like the midrange on my Oktava 012s, but maybe YOU will...
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Greg Blaisdell
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Halfway Competent

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2009, 03:46:31 pm »

Greg Blaisdell wrote on Wed, 06 May 2009 12:20

As someone who has used and sold just about every mic mentioned on this thread, my pick for acoustic guitar and vocals in the $200 price range would be the ADK A6.

I found the A6 to be more natural sounding on my Lead Singer and Taylor Guitar than the Shure KSM27, and smoother than the Rode NT1000 or NT1-A which are both transformerless. The A6 also has a cleaner midrange than the Oktava 012.  

The Shure SM81 works well on acoustic guitar too, but it will cost you about $100 more, and can't double as a vocal mic like the A6.  AT4040 is more money too.

As with almost any other type of product, if you want to get the best bang-for-your buck you've got to stray away from some of the "name brands".  They all make some great mics, but you will pay more at each level.

Best thing to do is actually try out a few different models and decide what YOU like on YOUR acoustic guitar.  Find a dealer that lets you try them out in your own studio for a few days so you can pick a favorite.  I didn't like the midrange on my Oktava 012s, but maybe YOU will...


The OP never specifically mentioned acoustic guitar.  Smile  Why can't an SM-81 double as a vocal mic?  What didn't you like about it in this application?  

Shure offers a pop filter accessory for it: ( http://www.shure.com/ProAudio/Products/Accessories/us_pro_A8 1G_content)  Considering that the SM-81 is often used for miking choirs, this would seem to be a vote FOR its use as a vocal mic.  And, as I stated before, I used one of my SM-94s ($180 street) for vocals and it worked out quite well.  

I second WWittman's suggestion that a good dynamic should also be considered.
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Larry Villella

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2009, 04:50:31 pm »



In the end, it's about Your Ears and Your Budget.

I spent 25 years in the piano industry, and I can
say with certainty there are some little-known
European Hand-Made Pianos that run circles around
most of the 'gotta-have' Big-Name Japanese Pianos.

AT, Shure, Rode, the majors all make a good mic or two!

I've spoken many times about the effect the AT 4047 had
on how we developed our new Pre-Aged Capsule Technology.

But a 3033 is like the baby-grand of microphones. Come on!
It deserves to be in the same hall of shame as the TLM-103!

I don't generally do "negative" but there comes a time when a fellow
has to stand up and be counted as going against the prevailing opinion.  

The Micro-Brews make the best Beer. Bar None.  

But keep on buying Budweiser if it makes you happy.

I want something that has Sonic Information, like a great condenser.  

Several Fine Condensers can be found for $200. (Not just ADK).


On the band-stand, you want a Dynamic Mic.

In the studio, you want sonic detail rarely realized in anything Except a Condenser.

Ask Georg Neumann if you don't believe me !!!

In fact the New Paradigm is more Condensers on the Stage!!


Back to solving the small or start-up studio needs:

Robust Tone and Robust Workmanship & Materials:

That's what I'd be looking for in a Condenser Mic!


Best of luck in your search (a zillion mics out there!)
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Greg Blaisdell

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2009, 06:31:57 pm »

Halfway Competent wrote on Wed, 06 May 2009 13:46



The OP never specifically mentioned acoustic guitar.  Smile  Why can't an SM-81 double as a vocal mic?  What didn't you like about it in this application?  

Shure offers a pop filter accessory for it: (       http://www.shure.com/ProAudio/Products/Accessories/us_pro_A8 1G_content)  Considering that the SM-81 is often used for miking choirs, this would seem to be a vote FOR its use as a vocal mic.  And, as I stated before, I used one of my SM-94s ($180 street) for vocals and it worked out quite well.  


I own an SM81 and still use it often, so I'm not against it in any way.  When the original poster said "vocals and acoustic instruments" it seems I read "vocals and acoustic guitar".  Not careful reading on my part, but acoustic guitar qualifies as an acoustic instrument.  I retract the statement that an SM81 "can't double as a vocal mic."  Of course it can be used for anything you want to use it for.  Personally I don't often reach for a small condenser as a lead vocal mic, but they are certainly used on vocals, especially choirs.  

But as an owner of an SM81 and an ADK A6, I hold the opinion that I'd rather have an A6 for "vocals AND acoustic instruments" than an SM81 (if I had to choose just one).  If you can buy them both you will find many uses for both of them.  

I'll post an A/B comparison soon of the SM81, A6, and a few other mics on various acoustic instruments and vocals at http://hearthegear.com/ so folks can hear the difference.  All of you folks should post your own clips too.  Like I said in my original post, people should make their own judgements by listening.  All I can do is give my own opinion based on my own experience.  Feel free to disagree with me.  That's what these forums are for.
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Greg Blaisdell
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Halfway Competent

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2009, 07:12:17 pm »

Greg Blaisdell wrote on Wed, 06 May 2009 15:31

Halfway Competent wrote on Wed, 06 May 2009 13:46



blah blah blah, something about SM-81 and stuff



I own an SM81 and still use it often, so I'm not against it in any way.  When the original poster said "vocals and acoustic instruments" it seems I read "vocals and acoustic guitar".  Not careful reading on my part, but acoustic guitar qualifies as an acoustic instrument.  I retract the statement that an SM81 "can't double as a vocal mic."  Of course it can be used for anything you want to use it for.  Personally I don't often reach for a small condenser as a lead vocal mic, but they are certainly used on vocals, especially choirs.  

But as an owner of an SM81 and an ADK A6, I hold the opinion that I'd rather have an A6 for "vocals AND acoustic instruments" than an SM81 (if I had to choose just one).  If you can buy them both you will find many uses for both of them.  

I'll post an A/B comparison soon of the SM81, A6, and a few other mics on various acoustic instruments and vocals at http://hearthegear.com/ so folks can hear the difference.  All of you folks should post your own clips too.  Like I said in my original post, people should make their own judgements by listening.  All I can do is give my own opinion based on my own experience.  Feel free to disagree with me.  That's what these forums are for.


Hi Greg,

I'd love to hear the comparison!  Smile  I've seen the ads for ADK mics, but have never had opportunity to use one.  Later tonight I'll post some sound samples of mics I've talked about.
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Bill_Urick

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2009, 06:15:08 am »

Another vote for the ADK A6. It would be close to your price range new. I've got two of them and they've sounded great on everything I've used them on so far.
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Hank Alrich

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2009, 11:51:07 am »

Jim Williams wrote on Wed, 21 January 2009 08:49

Got $39.95?

MCA SP-1

www.pssl.com


Jim posted this into rec.audio.pro a number of times, until I finally thought, what the hell, if he's willing to risk his rep on such a rediculous proposition I might as well try them.

He is absolutely right. These mics are freaks of industrial nature, even without Jim's mods. They have no right to sound as good as they do, nor to be as versatile.

I am not saying dump a U47 and replace it with one of these. I am saying that any time I see someone asking for cheap mic advice, I put forth that these are not only cheap, they are also good.

I have now also used one live for a lovely female vocalist singing standards in a trio with two acoustic guitars backing her, and recently live on a fine Clinesmith resonator. Listening to the results people could not believe that a forty dollar mic was offering such admirable sound quality.

The dobro player was apprehensive about not using his pickup, and I assured him that if the mic didn't cut it we'd certainly use his system. But we have been aiming to get a mic'd sound for our acoustic instruments, and we most certainly did. He had no problems whatsoever.

Note: one will naturally want to open one up. Their internal construction in the amp section is obviously from the Erector Set School of Industrial Design. When reassembling the chassis do not attempt to screw the housing on too tightly or you'll twist the Erector Set stuff apart.

Other than that caveat I can't see spending in the $200-$400 range for a condensor mic. I think the MCA SP-1 silly good for what it costs, and truly decent regardless of cost.

I paid just under $95 for my pair including shipping and California sales tax. I added a pair of OnStage shock mounts for $25 apiece. The mounts are somewhat problematic, but the mics work very well.

Halfway Competent

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2009, 03:07:03 pm »

OK, here's a sample of nylon-string acoustic guitar that I recorded with a stereo pair of AT-4033s run through a dbx 386 pre.  

http://www.tewsnet.com/dropbox/flaxen-sample.mp3

I'll try to dig up some older stuff I recorded with the SM94s, but that could be a while.
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compasspnt

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2009, 06:32:15 pm »

Is the SP-1 not discontinued?
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DarinK

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2009, 07:38:32 pm »

The SP-1 is on www.pssl.com as the MXL SP1, but the description calls it the MCA SP-1.
http://www.pssl.com/Search?q=sp1&x=0&y=0&by=s

- Darin
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Michael_Joly

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #23 on: June 03, 2009, 08:09:53 am »

The SP-1 uses the same KM-84-inspired SDC capsule and basic Schoeps-style circuit as found in the popular 22mm SDC mics like the 603/604, CM-90, 180/185, GXL1200 etc.

But this capsule performs better (less peaking 7kHz peaking) in the larger, side-address headbasket of the SP-1 than in the pencil mics. The relatively low open area of these pencil mics' body vents cause HF peaking.The effect of pencil mic vent size on capsule HF peaking was used by Neumann to make the KM-184 brighter than the KM-84 - even though both mics use the same capsule. A brief note about this body vent effect can be found in the Acoustic Features paragraphs of the KM-184 page.

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Future_One

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #24 on: June 03, 2009, 04:44:25 pm »

Michael_Joly wrote on Wed, 03 June 2009 07:09

The SP-1 uses the same KM-84-inspired SDC capsule and basic Schoeps-style circuit as found in the popular 22mm SDC mics like the 603/604, CM-90, 180/185, GXL1200 etc.

But this capsule performs better (less peaking 7kHz peaking) in the larger, side-address headbasket of the SP-1 than in the pencil mics. The relatively low open area of these pencil mics' body vents cause HF peaking.The effect of pencil mic vent size on capsule HF peaking was used by Neumann to make the KM-184 brighter than the KM-84 - even though both mics use the same capsule. A brief note about this body vent effect can be found in the Acoustic Features paragraphs of the KM-184 page.




Hey Michael those links in your sig don't seem to be working.
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tom eaton

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #25 on: June 03, 2009, 09:58:57 pm »

AfSouth

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Re: cheap condenser mic
« Reply #26 on: November 06, 2009, 10:04:09 am »

A CAD GXL3000 could do the trick.
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chet

cool!
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