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mic for vocals and harmonica?

Member for

21 years
Hello everyone,

I am new to recording. I recently bought a used Rolland VS-2480 (it has phantom-powered mic inputs), but don’t have any microphones yet. I write folky stuff and play acoustic guitar and harmonica and sing (the guitar playing ranges from loud and energetic strumming to more detailed finger picking). My voice is not loud (its more that talkative folky style like Dylan or Prine) but I like to play with the harmonica around my neck which is quite loud. I have about $1000 to spend on mics (and other things I haven’t thought much about like cables, boom, headphones etc.).

What would be the best mic or mics for the guitar (one or two mics is part of the question here). A friend recommended starting with just one mic for the guitar; the Shure SM81 or the Audio Technica 40/50. For voice/harmonica he recommended the AT40/50. The SM7 has also been recommended to me…any thoughts on these? Both times I’ve been to a real studio they recorded the voice/harmonica with a U87 and it sounded great, but of course I can’t afford one of those. Is there anything with a similar sound quality that is cheaper and that will also give me the sensitivity to pick up finer vocal nuances and still be able to handle a blazing harmonica?

Any input (especially that comes from experience with acoustic guitar or harmonica recording) would be really welcome.