Best mic for under $500

Discussion in 'Microphones Forum' started by mdb, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. mdb

    mdb

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    I'm sure this question has been asked a hundred times, but what's the best mic you can buy for recording for under $500? I was looking at the Shure SM7b and possible getting a second SM57 too. There are so many to choose from so do you have any suggestions? I've only ever used the SM57 and an AKG Perception 220.

    This mic will be primarily used for vocals, acoustic guitar and some percussion (djembe, shakers, etc.) miking.
     
  2. Groff

    Groff

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  3. moonbaby

    moonbaby Moderator

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    I have an SM7B (amongst many others), and it's OK, but I have found it a bit limited. I like the Heil PR30 for vocals, and the E-V RE20 is good for that (and much more). Unless you have a really good, well-treated room, you will want a mic that has a very tight pattern to minimize the "room sound". The RE-20 and the PR30 are both VERY good at this.
     
  4. leopoldolopes

    leopoldolopes

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    There are so many choices... I think that a dynamic mic won't suit your purposes, so maybe a condenser one will do the work.
    So AKG has very good options for you anon ebay you may grab some under your budget:

    AKG: C 414B-XLS
    AKG: C 451 B
     
  5. moonbaby

    moonbaby Moderator

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    The mics you listed are certainly good mics, HOWEVER, the poster hasn't stipulated the room he's using...
    There is also the price range...both of those mics are double his price range here in North America.
     
  6. mdb

    mdb

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    The room is in a basement (drywall w/ concrete behind two sides) with ceiling tile. It measures 11'6" x 13'0" x 8'-0" high. There is some acoustic treatment to the walls (all around). Hope this helps. Thanks everyone.

    DSC02805_small.jpg
     
  7. leopoldolopes

    leopoldolopes

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    Sorryto disagree, but he hasn't have to say or stipulate any room for both listed mics... I have worked with both several times in several rooms and in several situations and the results were more than good and I can say that they were evenmore than I expected! They are stupendous Microphones! I own the C 451 B, bought on ebay (Europe) as new and cost me 200 euros (270 USD)... so it's just a question to be active and searching...
     
  8. moonbaby

    moonbaby Moderator

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    I disagree...The room DOES matter in this situation, and a condenser in a basement with the dimensions posted -especially the low 8-ft ceiling- can be a problem due to standing Waves.
    I have owned and used more than a few AKG C451/452's in my many years...they are great in the right room for the right source (and acousic guitars are one of those). Over in Europe, AKG mics can be found for a LOT less than what they are going for on e-Bay here in N America...
    And the 414, I'm not a big fan, but in any case, the price of that mic over here is even more. LD dynamics can work much better than an LDC in a less-ideal room due to their less sensitivity and tighter pattern...
     
  9. leopoldolopes

    leopoldolopes

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    Well, standing Waves with or without a condenser mirophones you will have it... dynamic microphones has less sensitivity, but they will catch it as well. Since the C451B has a tigher pattern and has frequency roll off pad and dB attenuation pad you have more control over it (standing waves), since stronger and bigger standing waves come from lower frequencies. I'm talking about this specific one 'cause I know how it works, how it sounds on different situations and on different acoustic environments... it will do what you want and even more!
     
  10. Davedog

    Davedog Moderator

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    Unless you are using a Large Diaphram mic with some sort of gobo or a reflextion filter, the room is going to make a lot of difference in sound quality. Especially the sensitivity with the AKG's. Sure they will sound good in ANY situation, but they really need a good room and a great mic pre to really shine.

    I'm with Moon on this one. At that price range you can get a really high-end dynamic and save the rest of your money for more room treatment.

    And AKG's 414's are well over $500 here in the States, used, in high quality shape. Every now and then you can find a bargain, but certain brands built in Europe have a decidedly lower price there than here. Just like gear made here is probably more there.
     
  11. leopoldolopes

    leopoldolopes

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    So, since you know your country better than me (of course) I'm with you then too... But you guys must give a break in it and name a couple of mics to the man!
     
  12. BobRogers

    BobRogers

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    See the problem here is that for under $500 no one agrees on a good Large Diaphragm Condenser (LDC). The lowest price where you get a bunch of consensus picks is about $700 or so (new). Under that and you get mics that a few people like, a few are OK with, and a lot of people get tired of quickly. And an LDC is what most people would pick for a workhorse that would do all the tasks you want. On the other hand, all (?) of the dynamics are under $500, but would not be my choice for acoustic guitar. Still, they will minimizes the interaction with the room, so they might be the best bet. I'd add the Sennheiser 421 to those mentioned above. There are also a bunch of good SDCs under $500 (I have the RODE NT5, NT55, Sure SM81 and there are others). These are probably not what you want on vocals, but would be great on your other sources.
     
  13. moonbaby

    moonbaby Moderator

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    Bob brings up a good point (which happens a lot here!). The Shure SM81 is a great mic for acoustic instruments and percussion and works well in a less-than ideal environment. I haven't tried mine on vocals, but Dogg has posted that this mic can work surprisingly well on vocals...maybe there's the answer.
     
  14. mdb

    mdb

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    I do have an SM57 to use on instruments if it is better to get something more specifically catered to vocals. It would be preferred to focus on the vocals if there isn't something within my price range that can effectively accomplish both tasks.
     
  15. BobRogers

    BobRogers

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    Have you tried the 57 on vocals? Put a foam pop filter on it and it's essentially a 58.
     
  16. mdb

    mdb

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    Yes, usually I stick the SM57 behind the PoP filter next to the AKG 220 so I can pick the best sound. I blend them together, but generally turn up the SM57 and the AKG down because I like it more. The analyzer shows the frequencies being nearly identical between the two mics with the exception that the SM57 picks up a little more of the highs and has a little more sparkle to it. I want a better mic suited more for the vox and if it can be used on instruments too, it's a bonus.

    I should probably make myself some bass traps for my little room too.
     
  17. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Moderator

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    If you can find a used AT 4060 or 4047 in your price range then that is what I would advise. New however these exceed your outer limit by several hundred dollars. The Dawg is spot on with why you haven't received a recommendation yet. And used is always a crapshoot from someone like eBay.
     
  18. moonbaby

    moonbaby Moderator

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    I should have been clearer. I would NEVER buy a mic from e-Bay. I have found great deals regionally on Craigslist (Canada has something similar) where I can get my hands on the actual item and test before I fork over the cash.
     
  19. Davedog

    Davedog Moderator

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    I'm going to be testing a new ribbon mic I just bought in the next few days. Avantone. Nicely built and supposedly great sounding and well within your budget. Standby for more.
     
  20. BobRogers

    BobRogers

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    I was going to mention the Cascade Fat Head, but I thought I'd push for something that was more of a long term investment. I'll be interested in your review of the Avantone. I'm happier with my Fat Head II pair than I would have thought with mics at that price. I would not recommend them for vocals, but it would be interesting to see them compared to cheap condensers. I wouldn't think that a cheap ribbon would be easier to make than a cheap condenser. Is that wrong?