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Another Newbie asking for Advice on a mic purchase!

Discussion in 'Recording' started by lingering_lead, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. lingering_lead

    lingering_lead Active Member

    Hey there RO! I just joined this forum. I'll make this easy. I'd like to have a large diaphragm condenser mic. My budget is under $500 ($300 would be perfect). I'd also like to have a ribbon mic but I'm not sure there are any in my budget range.

    I'd like a mic that will do well for a variety of tasks such as vocals and instruments. One reason I'd like to have a ribbon mic is that I've heard some great examples of mic'd guitar cabs. However, they are using mics costing over a grand.

    Here's what I have: AKG c 1000s> ART pro channel> focusrite saffire pro14> PC> ableton live.

    I see that in another post someone recommended a mic from Welcome to KEL Audio -- Be your own sound!. Of course I don't know anything about this company but I know enough about gear to trust the "consensus" on a forum like this....

    So, four questions:

    1. Is there a ribbon mic that is good for under $500 or should I stick with a large diaphragm condenser?

    2. At what price point will I see an improvement over my AKG C 1000s?

    2. Is there a "hands down" leader in this price range?

    3. Where is the sweet spot from a price stand point for a purchase like this?

  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Welcome to the forum!

    If you want all-round performance from the purchase of another microphone, with your present gear, I would be hesitant about going for a ribbon. In terms of gain, the Focusrite unit does not really have enough for standard use of a normal ribbon mic, although it would be OK with the mic in front of a guitar cabinet. The Art ProChannel has enough gain, but already majors on a relatively "dark" sound which would be compounded by feeeding a ribbon mic through it.

    Given your stated budget and your existing equipment list, I would be tempted to go for a versatile LDC such as the Rode NT2-A. This mic gives switchable choice of pickup patterns and an attenuator - useful for guitar cabinet miking. Since you give your budget in $, I'm guessing these are USD and therefore you are in the US, where an NT2-A package that includes shockmount and cable can be had for under $400.

    There is no "hands-down" leader for mics and not really a "sweet spot" in the mid price range. Although there are champions of the AKG Cx000 range on these forums, I'm sorry I'm not one of them, and I think you would see the NT2-A as a significant improvement in most situations where an LDC is appropriate.

    The NT2-A is in no way the only possible offering at this level. There are other LDCs from companies like Audio Technica and even Shure, but in your situation I would give quite a high rating to versatility, and this is one of the areas where the NT2-A shines, especially at its price. Other forum members will doubtless want to make different suggestions.
  3. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    I've gotten really spectacular sounding results on a variety of sources and styles using a Heil PR20, and it costs the same as an SM57. It's a mic you sort of have to learn, but damn does it sound good considering how much you pay for it! If you MUST have a ribbon mic, then look into a Cascade Fathead II, great mic and the upgrade transformer is a good idea, but it's not all that versatile as a cheap dynamic like a 57 or PR20 would be. Cheap and condenser should never be mentioned in the same sentence, unless the words 'don't' and 'buy' are present as well. Little joke I just thought up, but it's true in most cases :D
  4. lingering_lead

    lingering_lead Active Member

    Boswell- thanks! That's exactly the kind of advise I was looking for. Looks like the bundled NT2-A may be discontinued but there are a few around online.

    Guitarfreak- I have an audix i5 dynamic mic that I like with my rig. But thanks for the feedback.

    Keep the suggestions coming!

    Does anyone have experience with the AKG C214?
  5. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    I have two, and they get auditioned frequently, but my other mics always sound better than. If I don't find a use for them soon I'm going to sell them both. If you like it that's all that matters.
  6. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    My understanding is that the discontinuation rumour of initially the Rode NT1-A, later corrected to be the NT2-A, comes from a HomeRecording.com thread, and relates to misinformation given by a GC sales rep.
  7. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    They've pulled that $*^t with me before, it's part of the reason why I don't shop there anymore. They are too willing to lie to customers to make a sale, it seems like it's almost encouraged. I just went in to ask about a mic and he said it was discontinued in favor of a more expensive mic. I asked why they would do that, to which he said idk the sales rep told me. The mic in question was an AT2035, and he tried to bump me up to an AT2050, both of which are still available to the public to this day. This was about a year ago when all this happened. They must be moving old product or something...
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    We had a bit of a problem with posts going missing so I'll re-reply to this!

    There are so many mics between $300 and $500. The list is endless. However, asking for all-purpose will knock it back a bunch.

    The used market is a great place to find higher end gear for a considerable discount. You could be looking at AT4050, AKG 414, Shure KSM44 for under $500. THESE are most definately 'all-purpose'.

    The ADK mics are great sounding and well built. They are in your budget and are voiced to sound great on a lot of sources. Most can do high spl and work great on electric guitars as well as acoustic instruments. AND great customer service!! (Thanks Larry!)

    The Kel mics are great mics also and what company gives you a guarantee if you dont like it in your room on your gear??

    To answer your questions: 1. The Cascade ribbons are good but I dont know if you're really looking for what they give that an SM57 or a Sennheiser 609 cant give you. Who says you need a large D. condenser?

    2.You'll see an immediate improvement over a C1000 the minute you plug in another mic.....I'm not a fan of that mic.....

    3.See above.

    Dont discount a Large D dynamic. At that price you can look at the 'cream' of mics like that. EV RE20/27, Shure SM7, Heil PR40. These mics are great sounding mics and you have enough quiet gain with your ART that you can use these to great advantage.

    There is a kit to mod the C1000's. I havent heard one with this done but from what I can find with my research, this makes a poor mic a very very good one. Look at the TapeOp archives for the article. You could get a great vocal mic with one of the dynamics mentioned, mod your C1000 for acoustic instruments and life will be sweet....Or get a Kel or an ADK and the mod.

    Or simply buy a used higher end mic and be happy.........Lifes all about choices
  9. lingering_lead

    lingering_lead Active Member

    davedog- Thanks for all the advise. I think I will get something on the used market.
  10. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I have recently purchased a few used mics like DaveDog mentioned, including a Shure SM7b and a couple of A-T 4050's.
    It's relatively easy to check a used mic. Take a small mixer that has phantom power, a good XLR mic cable, and a pair of headphones with you. Visually inspect the mics for signs of abuse-dented screens, bent and/or corroded XLR pins, broken/damaged stand adapters, etc. You can gently shake the mic to be sure that there are no loose internal components (like the capsule!).
    SMELL the mic-I know...:) to see if there are any signs of mildew or liquor residue.If the mic is in a case that has foam lining, make sure that the foam isn't disintegrating and flaking off; condenser elements can carry an charge that will attract those little flakes to the capsule and ruin its' response. Just some precautions to guard against with used mics. They can be a really good value as long as you can test them BEFORE handing over the cash...
  11. lingering_lead

    lingering_lead Active Member

    moonbaby- thanks for the advise. Buying a uesd mic is a little scary. I have a small mixer, etc..... so I will def bring them when I find a mic I wanna buy!
  12. sq1ne

    sq1ne Active Member

    I really like the Stellar CM6 clips over gearsluts, that's my next mic to buy.

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