Skip to main content

Which condenser Mic ?

hey folks,
looking to record some acoustic guitar on a Korg D8 eight track at home, I understand I need a condenser mic rather than a dynamic mic as used for vocals. Can anyone recommend a budget type mic in the region of $250 which is ok ?

Craig in the UK


Member Tue, 11/07/2006 - 05:44
Thanks for the replies guys, I do actually have an SM58 recently purchased and an old Shure Unidyne from the seventies, I have tried the Unidyne which was terrible, but I havent tried the SM58 purely because I was under the illusion that Dynamic mic are purely for vocals, guess I am wrong on that one then !
I just want the guitar to sound nice and bright and jangly rather than a muddy dull strumming if you get my drift.
thanks for the help, I will give the SM58 a go and report back.

TeddyG Tue, 11/07/2006 - 11:04
I'm just going to say it. Badly, but..?

Today, when you talk "cheap"/"Low budget", you're talking "Made In China" and some of us are upset by the mere tought. Every darned thing is made in China, these days. There is only one thing wrong with that. Almost everything made there, for "us"(Outside of China) is made strictly to a price, strictly to avoid paying some "other than Chinese" person a "living wage"(I can only assume the Chinese is satisfied, to some degree - like the rest of us - with his wage?). It is completely "political" or completely "business" depending on your viewpoint. If YOU in YOUR life, for instance, "make something", working for some company, that could just as easily be made, just as well, in China(Or in the next town or province over, where wages, for some reason, are "less".), you owe it to yourself to try to "afford" YOURSELF, by buying things made "at home". Or do you? If YOU live in a town that has a Ford plant, do YOU "owe it" to "them" or to YOU to "buy a Ford", or at least some other car whose company is owned by someone in YOUR town, state or country? Business is business, long as it's legal and above-board(Whatever that may mean.) That said, if you must purchase something made in China(Or anywhere!), at least look for the better of those - they do some mighty-fine work in lots of countries, including China, these days. It was not so long ago that the US, was "the country" that "did it best and did it for less", then Japan, now China. hard to Say-La-Vee? Sad to say, some things "Made in the USA" are now much worse than their imported counterparts - the US makers are trying to "make it to a price competitive with China" or Korea, or elsewhere, and they can't do it without lowering the quality or lowering salaries or cutting jobs or profit or management(Horrors!). Even those of us more than willing to "buy to spec", or to our "political beliefs", not price, are out of luck often, as much management has just "jumped on the bandwagon", whether they needed to or not.


Are 57's and 58's still made in the US? Does it matter to me? Yes, but I'm not sure why? My "Community Speakers"(Of Chester, Pennsylvania!) are not. Thought they were - they were "Made In China"(Very small letters)... I'd Like to throw the things through the front windows of the, what I assume now are only, "offices" in Chester, but..? Bought 'em in a hurry, needed 'em in a hurry, found out too slowly, used 'em in a hurry anyway(Boiling every minute.) - they look/work as advertised - irrespective of where they're made, which is "hidden" as much as possible. I'll be alot more careful next time. Does it matter? I don't know.....?

moonbaby Tue, 11/07/2006 - 12:37
TeddyG !!
Such anger from a VO talent! I was shocked about the news that Community was now made in China. I used to work for them when they were "Community Light and Sound", and I would never have dreamed that Bruce Howze would move the manufacturing there. Not HIM!!!
I don't know what spawned your anger, but I fell your pain, dude.
My suggestions on sticking to the dynamic mics was based on having clients bringing in their portable multitracks to track drums, etc. while using my room. Those Korg, Roland, and Tascam units' mixer sections simply don't handle a "good" SDC very well. I own SM81s and a Crown CM700, as well as an EV RE200, AT 4041s, and Rode NT5s for SDCs, having replaced my stolen 451s a few years back. These all work great on acoustic guitar, with a decent pre (Grace 101, RNP, Drawmer, Toft ,etc), but with a budget unit like the Korg, I'd say leave it alone.
Not to mention that what we see selling in the States for a decent price is more than likely a LOT more in the UK....

TeddyG Mon, 11/06/2006 - 13:18
I'm being serious here, let's neither of us cry..!

1. Not true.

2. No.

Better to spend your $250 on a better dynamic(For both vocals and instruments -- FOR NOW!) than any of the cheap condensers. You will make use of your good dynamics for almost everything, forever. Your cheap condenser you will throw out the window as soon as you hear a "real" one - don't waste your money.

If you can do it, save-up and buy ONE EV RE-20, Sennheiser 421 or Beyerdynamic M99(All, $500, or less, US - maybe low as $250 sometimes?), then plan on paying-out AT LEAST $500+ for your first condenser.

The cheapest condenser I can, personally, recommend is the AKG C414($700 and up. You can safely buy the "cheaper" of the two models.), which, again, you'll use forever......

Even if there ARE "good" condensers for cheap, why? When you WILL need the better dynamics anyway and you can get at least one, which you'll be very happy with, now?


moonbaby Mon, 11/06/2006 - 14:44
What do you have for the vocal mic at this point? If you have a Shure SM58, that may work out for the guitar as well. A lot of recordings have used the SM57, which is a more "instrument-friendly" version of that.
Many condenser mics on the market are actually going to be worse, for several reasons:
They can be too bright and sensitive, picking up excessive string noises.
They can deliver too much gain at the mixer input, especially with these
all-in-1 recorders. This results in easily-overdriven distorted dynamics.
An LDC can be great in the right room. Put it in a den or bedroom,etc, and they pick up all the room reflections, A/C noise, the garbage truck rumbling down the street 5 blocks over, etc.
Many times when I record an acoustic guitar (in a decent, treated room), I have found that a great under-$1K "small-diaphragm mic" (SDC) is the ubiquitous Shure SM81. You may find one in your price range on e-bay,etc. But, like Teddy G and myself have stated, you are really better off with a decent dynamic in your situation.