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Hi everyone, this is my first post here.

I'm looking to purchase a single mic to record female (alto) vocals, and acoustic and clean electric guitar. My guitar amp is a Princeton Reverb. I know that I should probably get two separate mics but I don't have the space or budget for that as I live in a very small room.

What is the best mic I can get for these purposes for under $200? I've been looking at the SM57, RODE NT1A and the Sennheiser E609.

Thanks in advance!

edit: I suppose one way I could get two mics is by keeping one permanently hanging over the guitar cab, and another one for acoustic guitar/vocals. That would solve the space issue and I could split the budget between the mics.


DonnyThompson Wed, 07/01/2015 - 00:35

Your budget is going to limit your choices. OTOH, there is absolutely nothing wrong with using a 57 (or a 58) on a guitar amp... pro's use dynamic mics on amps all the time, including the 609, which is also a decent dynamic.

Both of these can be used for miking both amps and vocals, and, if your space is untreated, and suffers from upper frequency "ringing " and flutter echo, you may actually be better off using a dynamic mic for the vocals, as they aren't as sensitive to the sound of the environment around them as a condenser like the the Rode Nt1 would be.

Condensers do tend to sound better on acoustic instruments than dynamics do, because of their sensitivity, they have the ability to pick up the finer nuances of the instrument, but that doesn't mean that you can't use a dynamic; it just might not sound as good on an acoustic as a condenser does.

Both the 57/58 and the 609 run around $100 each, give or take, and this would allow you to record both amp or acoustic guitar and vocal at the same time.

You didn't mention what preamp/i-o you have - keep in mind that dynamic mics require more gain than condenser mics do, so you'll need a preamp that has a sufficient amount of gain to get those mics up to their optimal level.
In most cases, a mic preamp with a gain of 60-65 db is usually sufficient. There are exceptions - Shure's SM7B is one which requires a lot of gain to work optimally, along with most Ribbon mics, which are generally even lower output than dynamics are.

If your current preamp doesn't suffice gain-wise, you could either buy one that does, or, you could get a Cloudlifter, which supplies an additional gain of up to +25db, by using the phantom power on your current preamp, converting that voltage into additional gain for low output mics.



kmetal Wed, 07/01/2015 - 11:25

The only thing better than a 57 is 2 of them for this case. The 609 is not a great buy. The 906 is the one you see on TV, that's the big brother and the 'real' one. That would take the full$200 in your budget.

A 57/58 is a great first mic no engineer (that I know of) ever outgrows.

Other than that the next price bracket is ev RE20, sm7, md421, maybe an at 40series.

If I were you I'd get a shure 57, and an AT 3035. Between the two thou should find something that's nice. That's the most mic I think money can buy for $200 or under.

I own an nt1a and don't recommend it for anything much it's not a very versatile mic and frankly sounds cheap and thin imo

DonnyThompson Wed, 07/01/2015 - 23:16

kmetal, post: 430314, member: 37533 wrote: he 609 is not a great buy. The 906 is the one you see on TV, that's the big brother and the 'real' one. That would take the full$200 in your budget.

I got them backwards... thanks for the correction, Kyle.

The 57/58 is a mic you will still be using years from now... workhorses, built to take nuclear war type catastrophe, ( or laying out for a full winter under the ice and snow and then being run over by a lawnmower in the spring...ask me how I know LOL) and still work just fine. You can use them with great success on guitar amps, snare drums, toms, brass, and even vocals. You'll find at least 6 in almost any pro studio's mic locker.

While they aren't the first choice for vocal or acoustic instrument recording - most prefer a nice condenser - they're still very useable. And, as mentioned, if you are recording in a space that suffers from ringing and reflection, dynamic mics like the 57/58's can be more forgiving with those issues than a condenser will.

For the $200 you have to spend, 2 of these, or one of each, is your best bet, and best bang for the buck, because you'll never replace them or upgrade them.... you'll find a multitude of recording scenarios where they'll come in handy and sound good.
You may end up improving your mic collection as time passes, and adding different models to your collection, but you won't ever be sorry about having these around, now or in the future.

I still use an SM57 that I bought new in 1978... I use it on guitar amps, vocals for my live solo act, snare, it was the best $65 I ever spent ( this was the cost of a new 57 in 1978). It's also the exact same one that I ran over with a lawnmower after it had laid out under the ice and snow for a full winter. ;)


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