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Good CHEAP mics

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by GZsound, Dec 18, 2001.

  1. GZsound

    GZsound Active Member

    I have been getting a lot of questions from readers of a sound advice column I write about getting their first P.A. system. I always suggest they buy SM57/58 mics since I really feel for the bucks they can't be beat but I'm getting questions about mics like the Behringer XS2000 which can be had for $20 each and the Samson R21 mics.

    Anybody used any of these cheapo mics and have any comments? I have recommended AT Pro 4's which can be had for around $70 and I have tried, but can a twenty dollar mic be at all worthy?
     
  2. sryan

    sryan Guest

    One of the lesser known bonus features of Shure mic's is their warranty and service. You can get 57's or 58's factory rebuilt or replaced (their choice) for $50 per mic. So even a totally trashed shure mic is worth something. Most other loc cost mic's (and particularly the 20$ variety) go in the trash when they break.

    Another piece of advice for startup's. Get all the same mic's. You'll be able to deal with monitor/feedback issue much effectively and cheaper with a single eq. Different mic's will have different FB points. I have also found some of these cheaper mic's to be feedback MONSTERS, whereas 57's and 58's are really predictable and fairly well behaved.


    "Please deposit another $0.02"
     
  3. GZsound

    GZsound Active Member

    Because I have a small PA system I rent out, I decided to get some cheap mics to include with the unit. I bought three Samson S11 mics for $75..total with shipping and tried them out in the studio. I A/B's them with Shure SM57, SM58 and AT PRO 4's. I hate to admit it but they sound really warm and "fuller" than the Shure's and louder than any of the other mics.

    I'm in the process of getting three more. At $25 each I'm really impressed. Frequency response is 60-18K and this weekend I'm going to try them on acoustic guitar, banjo and mandolin and see how they sound.
     
  4. Tymish

    Tymish Guest

    Originally posted by GZsound:
    [QB]I A/B's them with Shure SM57, SM58 and AT PRO 4's. I hate to admit it but they sound really warm and "fuller" than the Shure's and louder than any of the other mics.
    QB]

    Pretty cool. By fuller do you mean they have more bass response? Perhaps there's more proximity effect. How do they compare at different distances? The final question for live purposes is how will they sound after two years of being dropped, spittle, beer, food chuncklets etc...... I know a 58 can be used as a hammer and still work.
     
  5. GZsound

    GZsound Active Member

    We used them on the whole band last night and all of us agreed they sounded better than our normal vocal mics..two of us use SM57's and one AT Pro 4. The mic picks up good at my normal singing distance and sounded great on my sax from about a foot away. They appear to have a better bottom end and just simply sound more full. Very clear and natural sounding. Pretty surprising since I was expecting a Radio Shack type mic.

    As to reliability..who knows? I'm still taking my 57 with me everywhere just in cast. They appear to be built pretty stout. I'm not hard on my equipment anyway and I use a Beyer M260 ribbon on my horn that I've had for many years.
     
  6. Tymish

    Tymish Guest

    I guess the next two questions are.

    Feedback rejection at high SPL (big one)

    Handling noise. I know that's one of the design issues Shure worked hard on for the 58's. (Not a huge issue if they're on stands)
     
  7. GZsound

    GZsound Active Member

    Feedback rejection was great. We rehearse with the full PA and our drummer has a main pointed right at his head. He was up in the mains with no feedback at all.

    As to handling noise, I think they are not as quiet as the Shure's. Although we leave them on stands, I recorded some short sound bites for my computer sounds (wrong button, idiot, etc.) and they did thump around a bit more than the Shure 57/58. But my voice did sound more full and needed less processing with the Samsons.
     
  8. GZsound

    GZsound Active Member

    Just a follow up. After using the Samson mics for a couple of weeks now I have found them to be warmer on just about every source I can find when compared to an SM58/57. I have recorded sax, piano, acoustic guitar, snare drum and electric guitar.

    However, the difference in handling noise is dramatic. The Shure mics are really quiet compared to the Samsons. I would only use them on stands and only when the stands are isolated from potential foot taping, floor noise, etc.

    For a good cheap utility mic at only $25.00 each, I highly recommend them. I have a recording project coming up with a bluegrass band and I'm going to try them on fiddle, banjo, mando and acoustic guitar, although I have a feeling my small condensers will smoke 'em.
     
  9. hargerst

    hargerst Active Member

    GZ,

    For a recording session of a bluegrass band, try the Behringer ECM0000 omni condensers (around $30 each from Guitar Center), and you'll be totally blown away by the sound.
     
  10. Bear's Gone Fission

    Bear's Gone Fission Active Member

    I'd have to try them hands-on sometime, but in the Mars mic demonstration set up the EV cobalt series mics seem to have potential, and go for $49 each for the instrument and vocal models. Anybody have any in-depth experience with them?

    Bear
     
  11. GZsound

    GZsound Active Member

    For a lot of acoustic recordings I have been using CAD CM17's that I got for $69.00 each. They are full range and really warm for condensers. I also use them for drum overheads and occasionally on sax if I want a brighter sound than my Beyer ribbon mic.
     
  12. gie

    gie Guest

    Originally posted by hargerst:
    GZ,
    , try the Behringer ECM8000 omni condensers (around $30 each from Guitar Center), and you'll be totally blown away by the sound.


    How are these as room-mike for drums??
    (with a rockband ;) )
     
  13. hargerst

    hargerst Active Member

    Probably pretty good, if you have a good room. As overheads, they're great.
     
  14. Rader Ranch

    Rader Ranch Member

    glad i found this thread, as a friend just called who needs a vocal mic for gigging, and he's received notice that GC has Shure AXS-2's for $40 and AXS-3's for $55. i had a hell of a time finding any info for this 'access' line (i think they called it) at the Shure site, so i am curious if anyone here has used these before, how they differ from SM's or such (other than the on/off switch i guess...eek).

    basically GC is trying to get your attention by showing these as being $100+ below list, but since folks here have already mentioned mics that are cheap every day that could be better...you know, just wondering...

    thanx...
     
  15. Bear's Gone Fission

    Bear's Gone Fission Active Member

    What the Mars and GC stores should do, but don't, is have a ready to go setup to try stage mics in stage enviornments. They usually have some sort of PA set up on display at Mars, but you sample mics through headphones, instead of through monitors with levels over 100 dB. Pain in the ass to do realistic stage levels, I guess, and it would alienate the violin teacher buying rosin, but it'd be a nice torture test.

    Bear
     
  16. Originally posted by Rader Ranch:
    glad i found this thread, as a friend just called who needs a vocal mic for gigging, and he's received notice that GC has Shure AXS-2's for $40 and AXS-3's for $55. i had a hell of a time finding any info for this 'access' line (i think they called it) at the Shure site, so i am curious if anyone here has used these before, how they differ from SM's or such (other than the on/off switch i guess...eek).

    Tell your friend to go for SM58 or 57, they last forever and are really as good as their reputation. He will not regret it. After all, it's not a lot more money compared to the bottom-feeder alternatives.


    /Mats
     

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