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Making the switch from SMs to condenser mics

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by Gopher9000, Oct 5, 2005.

  1. Gopher9000

    Gopher9000 Guest

    Im using a Shure SM57 to record my guitar amp, and I have a SM58 to record vocals. I want to go with a budget condenser mic because, im told, theyre much better at recording. I've had my eye on this particular condenser mic http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-CAD-GXL-2400-CONDENSER-MIC-SHOCKMOUNT-POP-FILTER_W0QQitemZ7355215736QQcategoryZ41466QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    What do you guys think? I mean even if it is a relatively crappy condenser mic, isnt it still a step up from the SMs ive been using, since
    theyre primarily used for gigs?

    Also would that condenser mic sound better than my SMs for recording
    my guitar amp AND vocals?
  2. David French

    David French Distinguished Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    That mic is a POS. I would stick with the 57 and 58, which are great mics.

    A condenser isnt better than a dynamic mic, just different. You can expect more high end and detail from a condenser. Translated into CAD GXL terms, thsi means thin and abraisive. Better to stick with the 'smooth with bite' sound of a 57.

    Tehre are some decent inexpensive condensers out there if youre really interested. Check out Audio Technica (40 series), Studio Projects, and Kel Audio (HM-1).
  3. You may also want to check out the Marshall 990 and 991 condensors. They are fairly inexpensive and I was satisified with their sound quality. I tested them aginst a Nady, Audio techna, and some off brand dynamic mic and they did a better job of recording. The 991 did a really good job with acoustic recording and the 990 made a world of difference on vocal recording. The dynamic mics are more geared for Live use since the sound harmonics are reproduced when the come back through the sound system. However, I noticed when I recorded some vocals they sounded shallow because the harmonics were not really present in the recording. When I tried the condensor mics it captured more of the harmonics and generated a much warmer sound that sounded more like my natural voice. WHat I did with my test is I recorded the same song using a different mic each time then listening to them and also getting input from others which one produced the best quality. I did this with both voice and a classical guitar. The condensor mic was not much different than the dynamic when it came to the guitar. Of course I've been playing instruments since I was 7 and have been singing in groups for 13 years so my ears are trained a bit differently so these observations are only my opinion.

    Those marshall mics are tubeless so there is even still more room for better quality but such mics are much more expensive. Bang for buck I'd look into the Marshall 990/991 recording kit or seperate, there is usually a few for sale on e-bay.
  4. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2003
    I use an Audio Technica 3035 on electric guitar fairly often, nice warm tone, handles high SPL's well, and you can find them for about $135 these days. Great for vocals as well.
  5. TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Active Member

    Mar 26, 2005
    a 3035 would be nice as would a HM-1 on guitar cabs. But, you will still be using the SM57 on cabs regardless. It may be in conbination with something else but you will still use it. I would focus on a mic for vocals.
  6. dabmeister music

    dabmeister music Active Member

    Jan 11, 2003
    Woodbridge, Va
    Home Page:
    Personally, I like the AT-3035 too. But what I'd do is use both on guitar amp, with the SM-57 stationed directly in front, while the condensor is positioned roughly a couple of feet away (your choice as far as proximity is concerned). That way I can tailor the sound to fit my taste. With the addition of a good condensor, you're just stacking the ol' tool arsenal...
  7. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    May 25, 2005
    Home Page:
    I agree the 3035 is a dream on vocals for sure.

    It may also quickly become your "go-to" mic for acoustic guitar and other acoustic stringed instruments.

    I've used it for electric guitar and it does ok.

    Works great as a room mic because of it's extremely low self-noise and ability to pickup transients so smoothly and so well.

    The 3035 is a wise investment for a lot of reasons.
  8. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    A step up to "the bigtime"? Doesn't have to be a big financial step, nor does it have to be "cheap".

    For instance, you might just upgrade your dynamic mics? Electrovoice RE -20 or Sennheiser 421, for instance. In the same ballpark as cheap condensers, price-wise, but genuine professional, multi-purpose mics, for which you will always find use's. I have used condenser mics up into the mega-buck range that don't neccessarily sound any "better" than either of these two - though, as stated above, they can be "different", possibly more suited to a particular task, but not "better"...

    I would, if at all possible, pair one of the better dynamics with a good condenser(Which, along with your SM's, would provide, already, a very respectable "mic closet".), but, as I am unfamiliar with "cheap condensers", I can only recommend one like the AKG C414, as(Today) an economical, and again, thouroughly professional multi-purpose condenser mic. The AKG(Or, say, the Beyerdynamic MC34 or an AT, or other "not cheap" nice condenser.) would provide unquestioned excellence, by any standard, at a quite reasonable price.


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