Best condenser mic for under $200
Old 27th March 2008
  #1
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
Best condenser mic for under $200

Hello.

I need a mic for vocals for my home studio. I was thinking of getting a SM57 for both vocals and instruments, but I read that dynamic mics aren't really that great for vocals. Is there any good condenser mic particulary for vocals that I can get for less than $200? Or should I go with the SM57?

Thanks.
Old 27th March 2008
  #2
Gear nut
 

My first mic was an AKG Perception - 200, which i bot from GC for about $129. I think it was a pretty sweet mic for the money and would recommend it. Also, I would pass on trying vocals through an SM57. I've tried it and it sucked. But, having an SM57 in the 'arsenal' will really come in handy for miking guitar amps, snares, etc. Peace.

dp
Old 27th March 2008
  #3
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Corran's Avatar
 

Oktava 319. Ebay it for about $100.

Save a little and then get it modded for $150 or so.

I have 2, and 6 of the 219 model and one of the tube version, MKL2500. Some of the best mics I have. Actually if you can find it on Ebay, the MKL2500 goes for ~$200 occasionally (got mine for $139 though!).
Old 27th March 2008
  #4
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CrankyRayHanky's Avatar
 

+1 on the Oktava mod
219 is virtually the same mic as 319

sm58 is worth looking at if you like the 57; it's better for Vox
Old 27th March 2008
  #5
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BudgetMC's Avatar
Old 27th March 2008
  #6
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AT3035, about $135. I own a 4050, but I use the 3035 more often on vocals. Also great on electric guitar amps, piano, drum overheads, upright bass, horns. Here's a sampler...used on all vocals and electrics, and also piano and overheads on the last clip.
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 3035 samples.mp3 (4.87 MB, 3492 views)
Old 27th March 2008
  #7
Gear nut
 
Freudian Slip's Avatar
 

I'll second the AT3035. A very respectable mic for the price. Have recorded many a vocal track with it. I now use an older GT57 but, I am very happy with what I have done with the 3035 and would not get rid of it. Bonus---- it has a pretty high spl rating.


F.S.
Old 27th March 2008
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Another bonus is that is has very low self noise, a 10dB pad and HPF.
Old 27th March 2008
  #9
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How about an SP-1 plus the Jim Williams mod?

I haven't had mine modded (yet) but it's a pretty good mic all by itself - for a whopping $40 - and I trust Jim's statement that they rock when modded (I've heard equipment modified by him before - the dude knows his stuff).
Old 27th March 2008
  #10
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GZsound's Avatar
 

CAD M179 would be my choice.

A great mic for very little money.
Old 27th March 2008
  #11
Gear Head
 

CAD177/179

Yes these CAD mics are very nice, not just nice for the money but nice.
Gary Gordon
Old 27th March 2008
  #12
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Corran's Avatar
 

Don't you love how this question always has 20 different answers??

Of course, the real Gearslutz answer is to buy all of them!
Old 28th March 2008
  #13
Gear nut
 
ExtremeSound's Avatar
 

+1 on Perception 200...but yeah if you can buy them all
Old 28th March 2008
  #14
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JoeyM's Avatar
 

smudged,
I'd go with the SM57 - that's the one mic you HAVE to have if you're serious about recording anyway. It records all things well - I wish I could find a song someone posted in which everything was picked up by SM57s - everything sat nicely. Get that SM57 and put the earphones on and walk around the room, playing your favorite music and get a sense of what the mic hears.

The Shure Beta SM58s are very nice too with a crisp high end and supercardioid pattern. Still if you're prioritizing, look no further than the 57 - you'll ALWAYS need a 57 somewhere all the time, forever
Old 28th March 2008
  #15
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GordZilla's Avatar
 

You might want to check out Kel Audio's mics too...

Their new HM-2d is a bargain at $159 and their $129 HM-1 is garnering a lot of fans also.

You really won't go wrong with a SM57 though.. and as JoeyM noted, you will probably keep it (and use it) for a long time to come... it's reputation as a studio workhorse is well founded. It is a good "first" mic that you can cut your recording teeth on... and still be using it on snares and guitar cabs, years down the road....even after you have aquired losts of other mics.
Old 28th March 2008
  #16
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57 for vocals

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyM View Post
smudged,
I'd go with the SM57 - that's the one mic you HAVE to have if you're serious about recording anyway. It records all things well - I wish I could find a song someone posted in which everything was picked up by SM57s - everything sat nicely. Get that SM57 and put the earphones on and walk around the room, playing your favorite music and get a sense of what the mic hears.

The Shure Beta SM58s are very nice too with a crisp high end and supercardioid pattern. Still if you're prioritizing, look no further than the 57 - you'll ALWAYS need a 57 somewhere all the time, forever
While I would agree that the 57 is an awesome swiss army mic for many applications...I don't think one of it's many strengths is vocals. My lead singer insists on trying to use one...and it sounds like garbage for vocals...it is so trebly and harsh...the Audix I5 sounds better all around (it is hotter with more balls and it has a more balanced tone profile). Of course this is my opinion...if you want a Shure...how bout the Beta 58. Lanois just revealed that Bono has used that mic on several landmark albums. If you want a condensor...the Rode NT1A can be had for 150 used...solid on vocals, really quiet and you can use it for drum overheads, too.
Old 28th March 2008
  #17
Gear maniac
 

definitely look at the AT 3035....very nice mic on a lot of things....vocals, guitar, kick, percussion. I've even miced a bass with good results (miced the actual bass, no amp)I find its useful on almost everything. The pad and high pass are great to have too
Old 28th March 2008
  #18
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d1rtynyc's Avatar
 

I like the Studio Projects B3 for $187.50 or if you can afford it the C1 for $240.
These mics really excell in the lower price range.stike
Old 28th March 2008
  #19
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

I could record just about anything you toss my way using CAD M179's on everything.

I know I know.......

War
Old 29th March 2008
  #20
ECH
Gear interested
 

Just got an at3035 and it's a sweet mike for the price; about $135 on ebay.
Old 29th March 2008
  #21
Gear Head
 
Pexx's Avatar
 

+1 for the CAD M179. Love it.
Old 29th March 2008
  #22
Lives for gear
 
doncaparker's Avatar
 

I'm just a hobbyist hack, but I have a pair of CAD m179's, and I like them for everything. Very versatile, quiet, and great sound. No better way to spend that level of money.
Old 29th March 2008
  #23
Go for the Studio Projects C1 - a little more than you want to spend but worth every penny.
Oh and get that '57 for inst etc. (although the only thing I use a 57 on is snare top and occasionally as 2nd mic on a guitar cab) Much prefer a pencil condensor these days instead.
Old 29th March 2008
  #24
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Vocalvoodoo's Avatar
 

CAD M179 here too, for an under $200 mic.
Old 9th April 2008
  #25
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I stand corrected

I just plugged in my Oktava 319...and wow does it have a different tone palette to my other LDC (the Rode). It is so smooth...fairly uncolored...and not harsh or crisp in any way. It sounds beautiful...I almost feel like the cops should be showing up at the door for only paying $102 for it on eBay. I can not imagine another mic that could top the Oktava in this price range...and with the Joly mod...it will just be SICK.

I am a very happy slut right now...
Old 9th April 2008
  #26
Lives for gear
 
steveschizoid's Avatar
Rode NT1A

I am sorry I can't provide a link, but somewhere around here you can find a mic shootout that invoved several condensors on acoustic guitar.
It was mostly low end mics (although there was a Neumann), and the Rode NT1A was (to my ears) stunningly better than the rest. I just bought one on ebay for $150. I already have some great mics for vocals and acoustic guitar, but on larger sessions, I am sure I will find a use for this mic.
Old 9th April 2008
  #27
Gear nut
 
projectMalamute's Avatar
 

I got an AT4033a for 200 bucks. I think that's about the going rate on the ebay. I like it just fine.
Old 9th April 2008
  #28
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TornadoTed's Avatar
 

I love CAD 179's, I have 4!

Shure SM57, can't go wrong.

You can pick up Beyer M201's for that money second hand, one of my favourite dynamic mics.
Old 10th April 2008
  #29
Gear nut
 

AT2020 at $100 (though I think you can get a step above that with Audio Technica and still be under $200, I just don't recall what it is). It's clean and nice, though you may have to roll off some of the top (can be a touch sibilant.)

That said, I usually use my SM58. It lets me get louder, and I don't have the benfit of a booth or any good room treatment at home, so it keeps most of the reflections out, and I can whack it pretty hard with my vocals when I need to, or slip in close for quieter parts (though again, some sibiliance there and plenty of proximity effect which isn't always desireable.)

That's my 2 pennies.

-Nick
www.mmexperiment.com
Old 11th April 2008
  #30
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firby's Avatar
 

I paid 257$ for a used SM7. I bid on a few before I got that one. Its bulletproof lovely in every way and takes a shitload of gain. Its connected to a ART tube channel right now which will soon be replaced by API.

At your woeful (we've all been there) level. Get either one of those or an sm57 for vox. Later on you can use the sm57 somewhere else.

Regards.
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