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$400 for mics

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by tr3eman9, May 14, 2008.

  1. tr3eman9

    tr3eman9 Guest

    i won't go into my whole situation but i have around a $400 budget for buying mics for recording. I used to have an SM57 but i don't know where it went :(
    now I have 0 mics.
    The music is a duo consisting of me (acoustic guitar, vocals) and a girl (acoustic & electric piano, vocals). Also there will probably be some occasional electric guitar in there and probably some simple percussion in most songs like a cabasa, maracas, maybe a djembe or congas.
    the girl has a SM58 which I think will go well with both our vocals, but im not sure. Her vocals will be more predominant, and they are typical female vocals.

    Also, my friend can lend me some SM57s if I need them, but I would rather have my own. But i can always get my own later down the road.

    I'm thinking a small-diaphragm condenser mic for the acoustic guitar and piano. I don't know too much about these mics. However, if the SM58 doesn't do her voice justice then I may look at a large-diapragm condenser. I can maybe go up to $450 but $400 is better.

    anyway I know at the end of the day i just need to go to GC and listen to them, but I don't think the girl will be able to be there to sing when I do that (i will have my acoustic and the preamps I will use). I just want to have a list of a few mics to try instead of just going there with no clue.

    The preamps are the ones built into my MOTU 8pre interface - they get the job done.

    thanks in advance :)
  2. tr3eman9

    tr3eman9 Guest

    btw, i'm not necessarily only going to buy one mic, in fact id prefer to have more mics. maybe an SM57 + a small-diaphragm condenser (+ that SM58 she has)?

    i've also seen some GC packages such as an Audio Technica one that was a small- and large- diapragm pair of condensers for like $150.

    I'm totally open to spending that $400 in any way.
  3. Link555

    Link555 Distinguished Member

    Mar 31, 2007
    North Vancouver
    Check out

    They are cheap and usable.
  4. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    Dec 25, 2007
    Atlanta, Ga
    You should certainly just get a 57 no question. If you're bent on a budget SDC check out this little puppy for $99.


    I picked one up on a whim and couldn't believe how good it sounded on my acoustic. I even used it (paired with a 57) on distorted electric guitars and came away pretty impressed.

    I'm sure other will chime in with some equally good recommendations.

    Good luck.
  5. tr3eman9

    tr3eman9 Guest

    thanks, will definately put that MXL 640 on my list to listen to
  6. tr3eman9

    tr3eman9 Guest

    help, anyone else? in a nutshell, if you had $400 to spend on mics and only had an SM58, what would you do for recording acoustic & electric guitars, piano, male and female vocals, and perc.

    im more and more leaning towards getting an SM57 and a good (or a good pair of) SDC(s). I think I can use the SM58 for vox, the 57 for anything electric, and then the SDC can cover acoustic guitars and pianos and percussion. Later on down the road I can invest in a good LDC or a nice pre.


    also i've noticed a lot of package deals that are one SDC and one LDC - such as the MXL 990/993 ($199 for both), MXL 992/993 ($299), AT2020/At2021 ($149 for both) etc...
  7. Link555

    Link555 Distinguished Member

    Mar 31, 2007
    North Vancouver
    I would buy apex 460 and make a few mods. Like adding a Peluso CEK-89 capsule, or a cinemag transfomer. $270 for the mic and $130 for the capsule = Nice mic for ACU GTR
  8. tr3eman9

    tr3eman9 Guest

    ehhh...im a little iffy about modifying mics myself

    and thats still a bit pricey

    some models ive been checking out
    -AKG Perception 150
    -MXL 604 (see above)
    -Rode NT1-A (LDC)

    anybody ever hear any of these?
  9. tr3eman9

    tr3eman9 Guest

    if anybody cares, heres the list of what I'm going to listen to at GC before I buy anything:

    -MXL 993 condensers stereo pair ($249)
    -MXL 990/993 package ($199)
    -MXL 992/993 package ($299)
    -MXL 604 ($200 for 2)
    -MXL 2003/603S package ($169)
    -AKG Perception 150 pair ($179)
    -AT2041 package (consists of a AT2020 and AT2021) ($149)

    obviously there are about a million different options in my price range just from MXL and AT alone, especially if I start to get into LDCs, but I think i should find one option in that list that satisfies me for recording acoustic guitar, piano, etc.

    especially since no matter what im also getting an SM57.
  10. AlTheBear

    AlTheBear Guest

    The audio technica mics are very decent, and I like them more than the MXLs mostly because they have detail in the top end rather than a glassy sheen like the mxls do. The packages you're looking at are 2 small diaphragm condensers, one is just end address while the other is side address. They will still sound different, but not as different as you'd get with a large diaphragm mic like an at4040. Getting those 2 and the 57 will be a great way to start. Then again the Rode NT1a can work great with acoustic guitar and vocals... it will just depend on your vocalist and guitar you're recording.
  11. JoeH

    JoeH Distinguished Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    You're on a budget, you're new at this, you don't have a lot of cash, you're just starting out......

    Go with any of the MXL's that fit your needs and budget. You'll be fine for now. In a few years, assuming you stick with it, you can upgrade and get better stuff to match your abilities and your chops.

    Most of all, get what you can afford for now, and make music.
  12. droc8705

    droc8705 Active Member

    Jan 18, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    if i were you, i wouldn't get hung up on what GC would charge for a mic...the used market knocks down some serious cash on some serious mics. for example, i bought an at-4033a for $150 on ebay not too long ago in a package that came with a m-audio nova. granted, i have no intention of ever using the nova, but the 4033a is a steal for $150!!! there are great mics out there, you just have to be willing to look for them and not necessarily have them be brand spankin' new.

    as far as mics i'd look for, i'd look around for a set of rode nt5s on ebay. i've seen these mics go for as low as $275 before and they're great for everything from drum overheads to acoustic guitars to...anything. i also have a set of rode nt2-a mics that are awesome as well if you want to get a LDC that are $400 new, but again, ebay has them much cheaper.

  13. BobRogers

    BobRogers Distinguished Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    The last point is the most important. Whatever you get will be enough to get you going as long as you concentrate on music instead of gear. With that said, keep in mind that you will keep whatever SM57s you buy for as long as you record - even if, say, the MXLs or the Rodes will sound marginally better or things like acoustic guitar right now.
  14. MagnificentJ

    MagnificentJ Guest

    I just wanted to put in a plug for the Rode NT1-A. It's a fantastic mic for the price and well worth having. I like it for acoustic guitars or vocals - male or female - as well as guitar amps. It really does many things well and has a really low self noise.
  15. freesignal

    freesignal Active Member

    Mar 8, 2007
    I'm sure there are other people on this board that are MUCH more capable of providing BETTER examples than this, but here's a 30 second clip of a little diddy I recorded for my bosses' friend with a NT1A.


    This is one of the first recordings I did with this mic. This was a single take; recording both the vocals and the acoustic guitar with just the NT1A. Any noise you hear is almost guaranteed to be ambient or from the singer or the guitar (which you can hear some faint buzzing from). As the previous poster stated, this mic has very low self noise. I'm still pretty 'wet around the ears' when it comes to recording but at least you know that you can get this level of quality with that mic, with practice I'm sure you could do better. :wink:

    Hope this helps.

    EDIT: Forgot to mention the above sample is raw, no effects or anything. Just the mic, room, guitar, and singer.
  16. Crankitup

    Crankitup Guest

    you should get an sm57 and one of these


    pretty cheap for a sdc and sounds great!
  17. insanecooker

    insanecooker Guest

    I would get one single mic that sounds great on both vocals and acoustic guitar. My recommendation is for a Shure KSM27 LDC.

    It does a great job alone on acoustic, and I used it a lot before getting a pair of SM81s. It cost me $249 from GC at the time, not sure what they go for now.

    I still use it in combination with the 81s on acoustic.

    It's also still my main vocal mic.
  18. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    Sennheiser e906. That works for everything if you know how to tweak EQ a bit. Yeah. $400 is not going to get you a good tube mic., maybe a passable one, but not a good one. I like the Audix OM5 too: it's great for vocals and sounds surprisingly decent on everything else. These are solid mics. that can be used for everything, regardless of your style of music. If you really want a tube mic., start saving.
  19. pollysix

    pollysix Guest

    Hi there,

    I figured I'd be a well-behaved poster and piggy-back on this thread rather than start another 'what-mic-should-I-buy' thread.

    I'm in a similar situation to the original poster here, I'm just starting to slowly build up a small collection of good mics for my home studio.

    So far I've also followed the "just get something and make music" principle---using a semi-decent APEX LDC. Now I have a little more money to devote to this.

    I'm also trying to finish up some recordings and am feeling like I need something other than a LDC for some of the instruments I'm recording: namely a glockenspiel, kalimba and ukelele.

    What I'm getting from this thread is that I'd be pretty well set up for a small studio if I were to pick up :

    - an SM57
    - a Rode NT1-A
    - and maybe a set of Rode NT5s

    I'm never recording more than one thing at a time and never recording drums, mainly it's vocals and the above small instruments (and a room full of synths...heh heh).

    So after all this musing, my question to you guys is for my purposes now of just finishing up some recordings, do you think I'd be okay to just get an SM57 to track some small instruments? My plan would be invest in the Rode(s) later for future recordings.

    Or should I bite the bullet and get a set of NT5s because they will slay when it comes to recording the glock?

    any input will be greatly appreciated.

  20. Boswell

    Boswell Distinguished Moderator Resource Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    Polly -

    If this is to add those instruments as overdubs into an existing recording, then use an SM57 for now and add them as mono tracks panned to the required position in the stereo sound field.

    If on the other hand you are talking about making solo recordings of a glock or kalimba, you may want to consider something like a pair of NT5s to give an implicit stereo image. I always recommend going for a matched pair of NT55s rather than the NT5s, as the interchangeable cardioid/omni capsules give more versatility for very little extra cost.

    Get the SM57 anyway, as you always should have at least one of those in your mic collection.

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