1. Register NOW and become part of this fantastic knowledge base forum! This message will go away once you have registered.

Condenser Mic for Home Recording under $100

Discussion in 'Recording' started by daichan073, Aug 17, 2012.

  1. daichan073

    daichan073 Active Member

    Hi! I would like to know from you guys which mic would best suit my needs. I just play acoustic guitar and sing and would like to get a condenser mic aside from the Shure SM57 I've got. thanks for the help.
  2. uprisemovement

    uprisemovement Active Member

    I just recently got the MXL 990/991 recording microphone package. It's only around $80 and you get 2 well put together mics for the price. So far they sound really good as far as a beginners mic goes and since you have two different kinds there is a lot of playing room with the two to get the perfect sound you're looking for in a mic.
  3. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    This is cliched advice, but I'll give it anyway. None of the condenser mics in this price range is going to be anywhere near as useful as another 57 or a 58 for your vocals. Yes the cheap condensers have more high end, so they seem more exciting at first. But with every one I've tried, the high end has so much brittleness that it gets to be grating in very short order. Yes, the 57 and 58 are missing something, but what they get is all good. That's not true of the cheap condensers.

    Another reason to start out with a 58 for vocals and 57 on guitar is that they are used in so many live sound situations: open mic night, outdoor festival, just about any event that you can name. Huge probability that that's what you will be given. Might as well know how to use it.

    There are good small diaphragm condensers like the Rode NT5 about $220. And there are good large diaphragm condensers like the Audio Technica AT-40XX series that start about $300. I have yet to see anything below that price that is actually better than a 57 or 58.
  4. havana

    havana Active Member

    My choice: CAD C195 You can get it for $60USD

    Info:CAD Audio - The Brand Used by Professionals!

    CAD C195 Handheld Vocal Condenser Mic at zZounds
  5. Jenson

    Jenson Active Member

    My Choice - Audio-Technica PRO 37 Small-Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser Microphone (Audio Technica pro 37) EQ out the 15K HZ bump if you don't like it. I use two for acoustic guitar and it does a good job with vocals too.
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    My specialty is live on location audio for television, radio broadcast and live recordings. In the studio when recording vocals I frequently grab at a condenser microphone. When I am out on location, sometimes outdoor shows, and I want that condenser microphone like quality, I go for a Beta 58. And if I definitely need or want a condenser, a Beta 87. They all have a tailored response curve to accentuate the mid-band so as to improve presence i.e. great on vocals. But that Beta 58/57 has a very condenser like sound with a tighter super cardioid polar response and the kind of higher output level one expects from a condenser microphone than from a dynamic microphone. So slightly lower noise from a slight reduction in preamp gain needs.

    When you choose a condenser microphone, your choices are generally miniature, small diaphragm or large diaphragm types. Larger diaphragm microphones are generally lower in noise level as they produce more output level. However their off axis response generally sounds... pretty crummy. Small diaphragm condenser microphones generally have a more linear response. Off axis response is almost always quite good. Their output level is slightly lower which used to mean slightly higher noise. The miniature ones you frequently see on the news casters tie and done lots of other acoustic instruments and even drums. These are the types of condenser microphones you see people wearing on their heads today on TV. While the noise goes up on these miniature condenser microphones, it is these miniature condenser microphones that get utilized in scientific and calibration applications. And even though the noise level goes up as the capsule size goes down, when you can get a microphone literally mounted very close to the sound source, these noise issues become a nonissue. Hang them 30 feet away from an orchestra and you may not like the additional noise. If you want a warmer sounding microphone you go for the larger capsules. More general-purpose usage and you'd go for the smaller capsules. They are also smaller in size and more easily placed in tight places.

    Just also know that I too would take a equivalent costing dynamic microphone over most of those extremely affordable condenser microphones for the same reasons as Bob described. Though even cheap ones can fill the necessary bill, when and where necessary. You'd find me putting those on the ancillary tracks and not the primary or lead tracks. You know, that extra microphone on the keyboard amplifier even though you have the keyboard on DI inputs. The extraneous percussion thingies. Hi hat, shakers and such. Especially because I would not want any lead stuff to get too grating sounding over a period of time.

    I'd buy a used 57 before I would buy a used condenser much less a new one.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  7. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    57/58. but if you really wanna go large diaphram condenser, an audio technica 3035, will smoke any condenser mic around $100. it's pretty full, but can have a bit too much bite in the top end, but nowhere close to the harshness of all the other budget LDC's i've tried.

    i'd personally get a shure sm81, or nt5 for acoustic, and sing into the 57.
  8. nulesus

    nulesus Member

    how about a dynamic mic that sounds like a $800 condenser?

    I agree with Bob except, there are also large diaphragm dynamics that sound as good as more expensive condensers with a smooth flat response. Like the Heil PR-35 or it's brother the PR-30 or even the PR-40. They are worth 4x the street price of $250-300. Sennheiser makes a similar dynamic mic the E945, E935 for a bit less. Though not near as good in my opinion. ART makes a pretty decent $100+ Ribbon too the M-five Figure-8. It's not harsh sounding.
    Personally, I really like the Heil's cause I don't have to Eq them.
  9. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    ya know what Sennheiser dynamic rocks on rock vocals, the 441. $800. Straight up smoked an 87 and 414. didnt need 'em. since that is 8x your budget, get a 57 w/ the foam filter it comes w/, or buy one for 3 bucks if u get the mic used (which u could get for lke $50). or get a 58 and take the windscreen thing off, or leave it there.

    The bugdet mics will 'bother' you when your hear how good the 'high end' stuff sounds. it's true. Once you hear the difference it becomes close but not exactly, whatever i use whatever i can.

    i would only buy a commonly used type ribbon like a 44 (<---yeah right kyle), but surly a beyer or royer. i've bought enough budget stuff to realize it's not a long term thing. on the other side i wouldn't buy a 50k tube mic and expect gold, unless every link in the chain was up to the task. i think cascade ribbons got a good review in sound on sound, but since i bought the 'morely steve via' wah pedal, before trying it, i'm into try before you buy. that wah pedal was disappointing, besides the 'switch-less' operation working fine.

    in any case, the mic sounds one way, and the source does too, so just match them up like it's and EQ and get which one you the most. Forget money dude, i spent way more than my landscaping/maintenance job at the time payed, on a 414 and i have no regrets, in fact the more i use my mic the more it 'rounds' off the high end, which is fine w/ me.

    the best mic you could get in the low 100's is from shure.
  10. daichan073

    daichan073 Active Member

    I've just got an MXL 990 on our local music store and was quite happy with it. I would've gotten the 990/991 combo but it's too expensive here in our country.
  11. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Too expensive here in our country? Orange County, California or New York, Florida? I know you're kidding about the 990/991 combo. Might be tough though if all you have is a paper route?

    $100 US = SHURE SM57 or 58. One of the greatest recording microphones of all time. On every gold and platinum record, ever released. Well almost every one. 99 44/100% of them.

    $100 US = underwhelming, metallic, harsh, brittle, sibilant Chinese condenser microphone.

    So tell me punk... do you feel lucky today? (Dirty Hairy at the Republican National Convention)
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  12. scottramsay

    scottramsay Member

    I managed to pick up an AKG Perception 420 for around £160 on ebay a while back...it's an excellent mic and a great all rounder for instruments and vox. Check it out!
  13. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    the akg c3000 will be smoother than a 420. The only mics worth $100 come from sure. and it's cool cuz they take a beating and just sound fine, so you can get them used. i traded a dude a mix (2hrs) for a like new 57, which is my third. If your going to go 'brand name' you have to pay brand name prices. not being a snob at all, cuZ i work w/ a dude who shits on the AKG c 12's of current (CV i think). screw that, sorry his hey day is over and our boss doesn't have the budget for a 10k signal path for the hi hat.

    shure all they way, 3035 if insisting on mediocrity, 414 uls if ya got $600.

    it's like all the chumps around my city paying absorbent cash for a BMW 3 series, or what i call an expensive toyota corolla, i said the same thing to my own sister who i love, 'not worth it'. anyone fooled by something like that is easily fooled, if you ask me. but who am i? Get the mic that you like the most OP.

    FWIW after buying a 9 series beamer, she settled on a 'higher end' toyota, the avalon. mxl and perception series are bad words to me, almost as bad as the ber word.

    if your a soundperson and don't know how to use a 57/58 you skipped a step. they are great mics.
  14. Red Mastering

    Red Mastering Active Member

    second hand Oktava mic
    either 319 or 219, both are amazing mics and with a small upgrade you can record quite a lot of sources on them
    I am big fan of Oktavas, recorded so many things with them, drums, OH, snare, kick, guitars, vocals, horns...
    get Oktava:)
  15. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    How many octavas have been used on hits/not hits/live stuff vs. shure?
  16. Red Mastering

    Red Mastering Active Member

    Oktava is a condenser mic
    live, on stage 99% use is dynamic mic,
    for obvious reasons,
    Oktava is for studio recording

    not sure about hits/nohits part of question:)
    so can't answer
  17. daichan073

    daichan073 Active Member

    I'll definitely check those microphones out.

Share This Page