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i have a great budget LDC - the m-audio sputnik tube mic. having it be the best mic i've purchased yet means that i dont have any other $700 mics to compare it to, and it beats out even my best other mics (beta87, md421)

95% of the work i do is live (although, when doing live work i typically record via Mackie onyx / PreSonus StudioLiveboards), so i dont think i'm using my Sputnik as much as i should or could.

when i do use the sputnik, it would be for vocals or perhaps acoustic instruments. i think i want to sell the sputnik and get a LDD like the RE20, SM7b, another md421, etc. my reasoning is that i'd be able to use a LDD on stage and in studio sessions, and i'd be much more likely to use it. after all, that's why a person purchases something.

another thing to consider is that i operate a mobile studio, and not all recording environments are treated properly; the sputnik picks up all sorts of sound reflections and room noise. although the tone is above satisfactory in the right room, it's not something to count on.

SO... my fist thought was RE20 - i've read a lot of great things about it. i talked about it at work with a friend and he suggested the SM7b would be a nicer option. and finally, i've used the MD421 on vocals and really really liked it - but is it really appropriate for a live performance vocal mic? obviously it could be, but is it practical?

tell me all your thoughts on this subject, and thanks.


steppingonmars Sat, 10/24/2009 - 22:52

If your just worried about live sound, just use an SM58 and forget about the other 2. I've used the RE 20 and the SM7. The only advantage really that I could tell for live sound is that if you have a mic eater you don't get as much proximity effect due more to the design of the mic cage than the capsule itself.

I bought an SM7 thinking that I was going to get some magical sound in a live situation. I think there's a reason that most of the live recordings you see are still using SM58's and not RE20's and SM7's. Trust me you're not going to get blown away by either and there' not going to fix bad rooms as much as everyone says.

Actually I'm going to get killed for this probably, but I really haven't found the SM7 much of a go to mic for anything :( It needs a ton of clean gain to sound good apparently, but why spend $350 on a mic and $500+ on a good mic pre if you can get pretty damn close (in a live situation anyways) for $100 with a good ole 58? I think you can great recordings with a 57 and 58 and a good LDC. I bought a Rode NTK and that SM7 hasn't been used since.

moonbaby Sun, 10/25/2009 - 06:04

It's not really clear to me as to what you want to do with this mic. An SM7b is really a broadcaster's mic that is designed to be used up close by someone with leather lungs. It's basically a modded SM58 with extra blast protection.
On the other hand, while the RE-20 is also a broadcaster's mic, I have seen it used lots of times in live situations. Bass amps, kick drums, and various horn players can benefit from this mic and it's tight pattern. BTW, the RE-27 is a neodymium version of the RE-20, with a little higher sensitivity and brightness.
If you want a good vocal mic that is a step above the ubiquitous 58, has a nice tight pattern for live venues, but has a smoothness reminiscent of the Beyer M500 (without the fragility of one) take a close look at the Heil PR35. I love mine, it works great with both genders for a variety of genres. In fact, for the "money channel" talent, I carry a Beta 87a (for those breathy chickies), a spare 58 that looks brand new for those tight video shoots, and a PR35 for everything else. It rocks for snare, too, but its' size can make it difficult to place in some kits.

rockstardave Sun, 10/25/2009 - 08:02

if i were going to get the PR35, i'd get the RE20.

i do not like SM58s. that is not an option. i have beta58s and beta87s already.

what i need is something that can have purpose on a stage (not necessarily vocals). i have plenty of vocal mics, so what i want out of this would be a dual-purpose:

a) "studio" vocal mic
b) instrument mic on stage.

i have seen a lot of RE20s on stage... bass cab, kick drum, even guitar.

i mentioned this all to my homeboy at work and he said the sm7b is killer on guitar cabs.

keep it comin!


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