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Bargains Are Still Available!!

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by Davedog, Dec 29, 2011.

  1. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    If you shop around, you can find gear for really decent prices and if you know what you're looking for, really decent performance as well.

    In the last month I have added some very good quality and sounding mics to my collection. Since I already have a few high-end pieces, I've been looking at the bargain and budget stuff very carefully. I'm not really interested in mics that have a large amount of 'mods' that can be done. I like DIY stuff, but something that has a lot of different ways to make it 'better' tells me its not very good to begin with. That doesnt mean I wont eventually do a couple of select pieces, especially mics. Theres a great mod for one of the harshest mics ever made, the AKG C1000, that from what I can gather, makes this the mic that AKG envisioned it to be. But I digress......

    Lately I've added a really nice sounding dynamic to the collection. The Peavey PVM-520TN. This is the earlier version of this mic. It was originally designed to be a kick drum mic. I have been using it on guitar combos with an ancient Shure SM57 Unidyne I have and the combination is killer. The low-end of the Peavey is tight and whereas it doesnt seem to go as low as something like a D112 or a ATM25, it has a nice flat response throughout with a little bump around 5 or 6K that really accents the clarity. It will handle a huge amount of spl's. I can see why people would use this on a kick, especially one that is boomy. I like the swivel yoke mount, much like an SM7. Well worth the small amount of cash I paid for it. A well built and very usable mic. I'm going to try it on a snare drum very soon. Should be crisp and big without EQ and with the yoke mount, easy to place at the rim.

    Another mic I added just this week is one I've been wanting for a while. I found one in a pawnshop and its going to be a 'go-to' I'm sure. I bought a Groove Tubes GT55 class A fet condenser. This one is pre-Alesis and Sterling although I dont think it was ever used much. These came out in the mid-90's and this one looks to be that era. There are Chinese caps in these but there are also high quality electronic components inside. The machining is very well done and the mic-amp boards are the 55/77/1b fet boards that they used in all those models of mics. Theres a 10db pad and a bass roll-off. The mic is very upfront in sound and has that nice almost dark quality while still retaining the clarity. Theres a lot of voices that this will work on when my vintage U87 or either of the ADK tube mics wont. It has the quality of these mics with just a little difference in sound. The acoustic instruments are really good with it. It seems to like high-end acoustic guitars a lot and the Taylor sounds huge with this. I'm going to put it on the kick drum when I do the Peavey on the snare. This will be a three-mic set up for the drums with the 87 overhead, the GT on the kick and the 520 dynamic on the snare. It should be interesting.

    The point of shopping for something rather than buying due to hype of advertising allows a person to find these kind of gems in a world full of choices. Not all choices are quality. And certainly, you can buy a condenser new for what I paid for this one. But its not going to be the kind of quality sound that will be a part of a collection for a long time. If a person was to buy this particular mic as a first condenser for use as a vocal and acoustic guitar mic, chances are you wont feel the need to upgrade anytime in the near future simply because the sound is lacking.

    Did I mention I also got a BRAND NEW $45 mic cable with it?? No mount or box, but I already had those items. With the $25 (new) suspension mount I already had bought last year, with the cable and this wonderful sounding mic I still have less than$100 into my investment.

    This is why we shop carefully. And with purpose.
  2. lambchop

    lambchop Active Member

    Dave, thanks for that post! There's a lot of us guys that just don't have the money available for top end gig that love to find out what bargains can be had to improve the quality of their recordings. I'm still getting over sending my kid to school in Montreal for 4 years. I'd be curious how both of these would sound using them to track trumpet or sax.
  3. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    This is great info, Dave! I have an early GT mic - an SC3 - that, according to a guy I spoke with at GT years ago, tipped me that the mic was made in Australia. Whoa, who was in Australia at the time, there was no Rode on the scene at that time? This would have been Freeman Electronics, their parent company, who were manufacturing OEM back then. It has proven to be a pretty decent guitar amp and room mic. It's a little "edgey" for horns, and the windscreen is crap for vocals, but it certainly does the job on a lot of sources.
    Maybe we can drive up the price on THOSE on e-Bay, too!
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I would throw up the Peavey mic on a tenor sax anytime with the right preamp! It would be a very meaty and articulate sounding rig for that purpose and capable of being close-mic'd without plosives. A poor-mans RE20 if you will.

    There are pieces in the Groove Tubes line that over the years have proven to be high-end without regard to the sticker price. Although the ViPre is by no means 'cheap'!!! It is killer however.....The original 1b mic is a gem but hard to find used....(no one wants to let go of theirs). There are others.

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