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Buying a good "all round" studio mic

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by chunty, Dec 20, 2010.

  1. chunty

    chunty Active Member

    I'm looking to kit it out my music studio with a good "all-round" mic.....ok......I know there is no such thing as an "all round mic" that will do everything, however to put this into some context we used to have a couple of SM81's which seem to have gone missing which were used for all sorts. Particularly I guess I want to use this for stuff like:
    • Vocal overdubs (singing and speech)
    • General instrumental mic up - Bongo/Djembe, Acoustic Guitar, Brass
    • Choir
    • If the mic also doubled up as a good audience mic for live events that would be cool but I realise thats a bit more specialist.
    Budget wise I'd be looking at up to about £300. I've had a good look around but at that price there's a bit too much choice with stuff from AKG, Shure, Rode, AT, Studio Projects and even Behringer being recommended so I thought I'd see if you folks had any advice.

    I guess specifically I've read a lot of good stuff about:
    AKG 451B, C1000, C3000
    Studio Projects C1 or C3
    Shure KSM27
    Rode Nt1 and Nt2
    AT4050 or 4033

    I guess to get a good "all round kit" I'm gonna need a couple of mics one for the closer stuff and one for the distance stuff, and I suspect the ability to change polar pattern, input attenuation and bass roll-off would be useful features

    I know people often have fairly different opinions on this stuff but but any help or further recommendations you can give will be greatly appreciated,
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    As soon as you talk about switchable polar patterns you imply a large diaphragm condenser (LDC) side-address type of mic. The Rode NT2-A is one of the best LDCs in the sub-£300 category for the sort of application you describe. A little more expensive is the AT 4033A, but it has a 3/4" diaphragm and a fixed cardioid pattern. Both of these mics have pad switches and an HF pass switch.
  3. chunty

    chunty Active Member

    Yer the C1000 also has an "adapter" for the capsule that changes it from cardiod to hyper-cardiod. I figure having the ability to change the pattern just gives me that edge more flexibility.

    I forgot to mention I've also had the Red 5 mic's highly recommended to me by the guys at foundry music lab - tho I was a bit concerned the valve might make it a bit sensitive to being damaged.
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I'm not a fan of the AKG Cx000 microphones, but I do come across them in use in all sorts of places.

    On the other hand, the Red5 RV15 is a new one on me, although I usually turn the page when I see yet another cheap Chinese condenser mic. However, it does sound as though the RV15 is better than most at the low end of the price range, especially if you swap the valve out for a good one. If you were considering this mic, I shouldn't be unduly worried about sensitivity to mechanical damage, as you should not be giving any mic the sort of treatment that would cause a problem to a valve.
  5. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I agree with Boswell on the C1000, C2000, C3000 etc. I don't like them. They are quite brittle in the upper end. Changing one of these from cardioid to hyper cardioid isn't much of a change either. Variable pattern is more descriptive of also having an omni and figure 8 available as well.
  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Buy the AT 4050. A bit more change but you'll never regret it. It is the best mic in your list.
  7. chunty

    chunty Active Member

    It is interesting (surprising) how many people are not big fans of the Cx000 series of AKG. I've also heard that people find the rode nt1 and the studio projects C1 quite brittle - does anyone have experience of this?

    I should add I'm not definitive on the list I gave - if people have any other ideas to add to the pot - I'm well happy to hear them. Particularly in the context of having one mic for close work and a different one for distance.

    Given the dislike of things like the C1000 what would folks have instead?
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Like I said, Audio Technica 4050. And never regret it. It is the most complete mic you're gonna find at that level. It does everything well. AND when you get another one for stereo recording, theres not a lot of futzing with matching needed. Their quality control is quite good.
  9. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    I own a lot of mics - including a couple C1000s, a couple C3000s, an NT1, and a C1 and they're all useful in the right application. The first three definitely have distinctly exaggerated high-mids. The AKGs usually have a bump centered around 3k. It's easy to get too much of that if you're not careful about mic placement and EQ. The 'presence' boost that gives you might have been more desirable in the era of analog tape, but in the digital realm you have to be careful it doesn't get ugly. The C1 I have is a good sounding mic, it certainly isn't want I would call hyped in the high-mid like the other 3. It's pretty well balanced, but doesn't seem to be as smooth on higher SPL sources. Again, that might just be the one I have.

    The C451 you mention is less hyped and smoother in that range, or replacing the missing SM81 might be a reasonable alternative. I don't know what they go for over there, but the AT4050 is likely to be beyond the £300 budget - although worth saving up for.

    Rode NT5 is a great value SDC, and with the money you save you could add a SM57/58 and between the two of them you're good to go on vocals, percussion, guitar, brass, choir.
  10. chunty

    chunty Active Member

    The AT4050 can be picked up for about £360ish so its right in the top end of my budget and in actual fact given that I hadn't meant include it in my list and I'm not surprised DaveDog recommends it. The guys from cloudone a PA supplier I use also reckoned that was the best of the bunch and I'm thinking its worth pushing the boat out to get it.

    However that does leave me a bit short of change for a second condenser to use as a distance mic the 451 come in at around £250 so nice tho it might be it'll be a bit steep.

    What mic would folks recommend for the distance (e.g. 3 - 6ft) mic to compliment the 4050.

    I've already got a decent list of dynamics - sm52,56,57,58 - well actually my 52 and 56 are the PG series but they are not bad - so that's fine but its quality condenser I lack.
  11. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    get some more 81's.
  12. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    If you require a high end LDC get one. the AT4050 has been noted on numerous comercial female vocs. the 414 is a bright, but all around. 87, on vocs, acoustic or room, works. C12, 'rounder' than 414.
  13. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    AT4050 from that list....
    but you want a U87 from your needs list....
  14. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Not on a 300quid budget!

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