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Budget Condenser Mics

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by David French, Jun 23, 2002.

  1. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    I am researching budget-priced (under $200) condenser microphones for recording vocals. I am looking at the Oktava MK012 and MK219, Behringer B1 and B2, and the Global Audio GXL2200. Has anyone used these specific models? What type of results can I expect with this class of mic? Also, are there any great internet resources for researching microphone performance?
  2. plexi

    plexi Guest

    try Homerecording.com

    Should be a lot of info there for you. They are the kings of budget gear! lots of useful info on good bargains.

    As for what to expect soundvise, with a budget condenser, you`ll get a budget sound......
    But some of the cheap ones are quite good bargains, and can be useful in a lot of applications....

  3. knutsenusa

    knutsenusa Guest

    I've got the Behringer B-2 and I would have to say, it's my favourite Behringer piece of equipment. Some (or a lot) of their stuff really stinks, but the B-2 is a very good buy in my opinion. (The ECM8000's are pretty good aswell, especially for $ 35). Haven't tried out the Marshall series, but they're supposed to be quite good. I know Harvey likes 'em.
  4. themidiroom

    themidiroom Active Member

    I really like my Marshall condenser mic. It's the V63M. I've only used it on male vocals, but plan to do a lot more with it. I run it through my Behringer mixer. Eventually, I'll get a dedicated mic pre. Any ideas?
  5. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Be very patient and there may be something called the,
    Really Nice Mic Pre. FMR Audio.
    Their compressor (RNC1773) is too good not to have one and I expect the Mic-pre will be just as good.

    For info on the RNC,

    There is no official info on the RNMP but there have been much in the way of romours.

    Failing that,
    Great Rivers
    Buzz Audio
  6. themidiroom

    themidiroom Active Member

    Hey, thanks for the tip Kev. I'll be on the lookout for that mic pre. I also have an old Altec preamp that I got in trade. Doesn't sound too bad either.
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I dont know if this is going on everywhere, but ADK has been offering an A-51 type V with a SC-1 small diameter condenser for $200 for the pair...while many will argue in print that this or that inexpensive condenser is better than another, the point is they are inexpensive condenser mics..i recently bought two sets of the ADK's....consecutive serial #'s and would not be afraid to use them in most situations including a stereo array...as for Octava's I also have a MK-319...it sounds great but I also had about 15 mics to pick it from....they are so uneven in the manufacturing process that its always trial and error to find a good one..but when you do, it becomes somewhat of a bargain..one point...most inexpensive large diaphram condensers are made with the same Chinese-made capsule....the earlier post about checking into Homerecording.com for more opinions is a good one....look for any posts by Harvey ...he knows
  8. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    First, I'd like to thank everyone that offered their advice.

    After reading the replys to my original post, I took to the internet, dilligently digging up technical specs for the 17 different mics that I am researching. This I did to the best of my ability (I was hampered by a couple of horrible sites, namely Nady and Samson, who had no specs published whatsoever). I collected data on frequency response, sensitivity, self noise, impedance, and s/n ratio. Except for some variance in frequency response curves, all of the mics in this category (see list at bottom) were quite similar; thus, the technical data I collected was of little use in the selection process.

    After this, I again scoured the internet, this time for product reviews. I found that there were very few reviews published on this type of mic, and the reviews I did find were inconclusive and sometimes contradictory. Take these examples, for instance:


    and now...


    Now, I am not an ultra-pro recordist, but it seems to me that microphone performance is a factual, rather than opinionated area; either a mic reproduces it's source accurately or it does not. How can Bruce Richardson say that a mic with such a flat response curve is so terribly uneven? These men are professionals, right? How can their reviews differ so drastically?

    I am quite :confused: . I am dedicated to providing those whom I record and produce with a decent sound; therefore, I am dedicated to finding the best possible vocal mic in my price range. I need guidance. I would be infinitley appreciative if a professonal sound engineer that has experience with some of the mics listed below could please compare and contrast them and point me in the right direction.

    AKG C2000B
    Audio Technica 4033SE
    Behringer B1
    Behringer B2
    GA GXL2200
    Marshall MXL1006
    Marshall MXL2001P
    Marshall MXL2003
    Marshall MXLV67G
    Nady SCM900
    Nady SCM910
    Nady SCM920
    Nady TCM1100
    Oktava MK319
    Rode NT1
    Samson CO1
    Studio Projects B1
    Studio Projects B3
  9. ahyatt

    ahyatt Active Member


    Doing the research is a good thing, but trying to decide on a mic by specs is not going to bring you the results you might be looking for.

    I think what Bruce was saying is that a flat response may look good, but it will not sound good, and I agree. If I was testing speakers or a room curve, I would want a flat mic.

    The other problem is that there is no AD Hoc committee that regulates the way specs should be published, so often you get graphs and curves that may not be what they appear to be. After all, who is there to stop them from printing what they want, and was their results tested in the same manner another brand was...so you see there are too many variables.

    Lastly, a mic will not perform for you the same way it will for someone else. Your vocal technique, the conditions of the local weather, and your room conditions all play into how a mic performs.

    The best way for you to decide on a mic is to first find a few friends who may have some of the mics you are interested in. Borrow them and use them in your room. Second is to do business with a credible dealer. A dealer who will let you return the mic if you don't like what it does for. There is just no better method than to audition mics in your facility.

    I hope this helps... :D

    Alan Hyatt
    PMI Audio Group
  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Specs are going to tell you nothing. It's all in the sound. Specs are just numbers on paper. I have used the AT 4033's with a great deal of success. A bonus is you can use them on guitar amps, acoustic guitars, bass amps, drum overheads, tom- toms, almost anything. For an inexpensive all around mic they're hard to beat. A plus for every mic locker. Don't overlook some of the fine dynamic mics available for vocals. Shure SM 7 is a real staple and can be found used for cheap. (Don Was loves them.) Also EV RE/20 - PL/20 and dont forget Shure SM57's and 58's.( there are Madonna records that used a SM57 for vocals) More expensive but still affordable would be any of the AKG 414 series mics. Good on some vocals and a lot of other applications. (a great hi hat mic, very directional in hyper- cardioid.) One final note, I would shy away from any of the cheap knock off type mics. (Russian, Korean, Australian, etc.) They're not going to hold value for you. If you buy a quality mic you can consider it an investment and not an expense. That should hold you until you decide to pony up for a big gun mic.....German mics 4 ever! cedar flat fats
  11. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Alan, Cedar, thank you both so much! Your comments are helpful and much appreciated. :)
  12. heylow

    heylow Member

    Might I suggest a used 4033? They can be had used for about 2 bills and you wll be getting a versatile mic and a not so budget sound.

    Just a thought,

  13. XHipHop

    XHipHop Guest

    i would take a AT3035 over the AT4033, anyday. compare them yourself, and save $100.
  14. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Hope yer search is going well...I still like my Octava MK 319...BUT!...i did try out 15 of em before I found ONE good one...most of the negative takes on these products are due to the fact that these companies do have a very 'tight' window of quality control in their 'specs'...so the mics are all over the map in terms of sound...I got a very good one ...it sounds a lot better than several AT4033's ive heard and several others mentioned... but(again)..it was one mic out of 15 that had a quality sound...As has been mentioned, trying out the mics in your room will be the only way to determine its use for you..One mic I can recommend highly though its a bit more money but very good for many uses is the Shure KSM 44...can be had for under $400 used and they sound very good...and they're built like tanks....Ive used one a bit and was very happy with it on both guitars and vocals...plus you get multi-patterns and roll-offs...just MHO
  15. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    XHipHop, why do you prefer the 3035 to the 4033SE? Also, there are no stores in my vicinity that sell the Oktava MK319 (or any LDC for that matter). How might I go about finding a decent one?
  16. XHipHop

    XHipHop Guest

    i'd choose it over the 4033 because of the fact that it is $100 cheaper and sounds great. it has a very flat frequency response so giving it a small bump around 2k usually helps vocals jump out at you and it responds very well to eq. it can handle really high spls with no problem so you can plop it in front of almost any instrument with no problem. I find it to be a great workhorse and i'm glad i have two of them around the studio to stick anywhere i need them at a second's notice.
  17. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    I have now narrowed my search to the following mics:

    AKG C2000B
    AT 4033SE
    AT 3035
    Oktava MK319
    Rode NT1
    Stuio Projects C1

    I bought a GXL2200 just to have something around immediately. It was reasonable on vox, but sounded utterly ridiculous on everything else.

    What do you guys think about these mics?

    Mr. Alan Hyatt, I only recently learned who you are. As an afterthought, I wondered why you didn't recommend to me your own C1?

    Also, Nick Seely, a producer friend of mine http://www.producernick.com told me about his experiences with the Rode mics, saying that the studio that he works at uses them in place of the U87 sometimes. Any comments on that one?
  18. keithricker

    keithricker Guest

    Very true. :D

    In the "under $200 category," from personal experience, as well as the general consensus of many whom I have spoken with . . . The Marshall mxl 2003 and the Audio Technica 3035 seem to be the darlings of the budget gear crowd (or should I say "flavor of the week?)
  19. jimistone

    jimistone Guest

    i was thinking that instead of trying to stay under 200 bucks....i would kick in another 30 and get a c-1.

    they sound real nice
  20. Mikey C

    Mikey C Guest

    jimistone, you might check out either barviewproaudio.com or macmidimusic.com. Both have the C1 for $199 with free shipping.

    Of the choices on your list, this mic would be my first choice, and in fact, I picked one up last week.

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