Dirt Cheap Mics That Sound Great.
eastsidetone
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#1
15th September 2012
Old 15th September 2012
  #1
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Dirt Cheap Mics That Sound Great.

This is a thread for dirt cheap mics that simply went far beyond your expectations.

I don't want to see anything that retails for more then a $150.00

Also please keep processing to a minimum and try not use any pres that cost more $500.00


There's simply no point in getting someones hopes up by plugging a Behringer into something like a high end Neve

Lastly, no mods please!

please provide a sample of the mic of you submit!!!
I hope we all learn a lot from this :D
--------------------------------------------------


First up is the Audix F-14
--------------------------------
A few years ago I bought this mic from Front End Audio for $60. It is my understanding that Audix discontinued this mic and therefore decided to sale the last ones cheap.

When I received it in the mail I was disappointed by the build quality. It feels like it is made out of cheap aluminum and plastic.

I tried it on a bass drum and all I got was mud and tons of bleed(not the good kind either!)

I figured you get what you pay for.....

I always felt like this mic was useless until the day I tried it on a bass cab; after which it became one of go to mics :D
---------------------------------------------------------------

Rogue Beatles bass copy with flatwounds.

First clip is DI'd into a Presonus Firestudio

Second clip is through a low end solid state ampeg. The mic pre is a ART Digital MPA II

I only used a very transparent limiter to control peaks.
both files are the same volume too.
Attached Files
#2
16th September 2012
Old 16th September 2012
  #2
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omtayslick's Avatar
 
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prodipe tt1. $27
Quote
1
Sim
#3
16th September 2012
Old 16th September 2012
  #3
Sim
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Radio Shack pzm £20 used
Atm25 £55 used
#4
16th September 2012
Old 16th September 2012
  #4
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Apex 435. I saw it at Guitar Center used (looking brand new), for like $40, so I couldn't resist just adding another random mic to my collection.
Sounds quite nice for such a cheap mic! Somewhat similar to my AKG C214.
Only downside is the fact it's REALLY LOUD. I can have the gain on my interface set to zero, and it will be clipping. But a pre can take care of this... Oh, and you have to unscrew the mic to get to the high pass filter, which is on the circuit board. It only takes a minute, or so, to do it, and put it back together.
#5
16th September 2012
Old 16th September 2012
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sim View Post

Radio Shack pzm £20 used
.
No question.

Also, if you look around on the innerwebs, you'll find plans to modify/replace the amplifier circuit and/or add phantom power. (Do this right, and its well worth it.)

...But near the top of ANY list of good cheap mics should be the lowly EV 635a:

Great mic for the money (especially if you're using a nice mic pre).
.
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#6
16th September 2012
Old 16th September 2012
  #6
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#7
16th September 2012
Old 16th September 2012
  #7
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I will assume you are talking $150 for new mics so here are my plays (I've used them all too, I have too many to reasonably attach soundclips):

+1 EV 635A
Shure SM57/58 $100 (they are industry standards for vocals and instruments, great workhorses and very reliable)
Audix i5 $100 (a fantastic i5 and a great alternative to the SM57)
Heil PR20/22 the utility versions are around $100 (fantastic vocals, great snare drum, not bad on guitar cab)
Electro-Voice ND767a around $130 (wonderful for vocals, and all kinds of instruments)
CAD M179 I think these are around or very close to $150 (great instrument mic)
MXL V67G around $100 (great budget ac gt/vocal mic)
Sennheiser e609 $110 (great for toms, snare drum, and guitar cabs)
Sennheiser e835 $100 (great for many vocals but what surprised me was how well it works on instruments drums and guitar cabs in particular seem to be captured wonderfully)
Audix D2 $130 (great for horns, rack toms, guitar cabs)
Sennheiser e602 $160 (I know it's $10 too high but it's a great kick drum mic for live and studio use comparable to D112/Beta 52 but a slightly in between character very deep sounding punch not too soft, not too woofy, not too clicky)
MXL R44/144 right around $100 give or take (a fantastic low end short ribbon mic works great on a number of sources drum overheads, guitar cabs, vocals, etc)
CAD e70 around $110 (a great budget SDC for piano, ac gtr, choirs, orchestras, etc)
EV PL33 kick mic around $150
EV PL35 tom/snare mic around $75
EV ND468 around $140 (this is fantastic on guitar cabs, toms, ac gtr)
Audix OM2 $100 (a great 58 alternative)
Blue Encore 100i/100/200 $100-$150 (these were fantastic sounding mics)
AT Pro25ax $130 (an economy version of the famed ATM25 great for toms, bass cabs, guitar cabs, bass drums, vocals)

favorite low end preamps under $500
API style - Warm Audio WA12 $450
Neve style - GAP Pre 73 $350
cleanish - Focusrite Platinum or Grace
#8
16th September 2012
Old 16th September 2012
  #8
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+1 for the Shure SM57 and 58. Musicians ofter overlook them for recording because they are thought of as live performance mics and aren't sexy. 57s are standard pro recording mics for snare and guitar amps. With a good pre, they're great on many voices (through a pop filter). They have very nice mids and reject less-than-optimal room acoustics. Many a great vocal has been cut through a 58 in the control room using monitors instead of headphones. You can take the ball end off and use em on guitar amps.

I don't own one, but judging from some of the shootouts posted on Youtube, I'd love a Sennheiser e609 on a guitar cabinet for heavy metal styles.
#9
16th September 2012
Old 16th September 2012
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by omtayslick View Post
prodipe tt1. $27
+1! This mic is amazing for the asking price... Basically pocket change. I have 1 and I am probably going to get 2 more to use on toms when my CAD m179s seem a little too clicky/transient. It certainly has a better low end than a 57, and a slightly sweeter top end!
#10
16th September 2012
Old 16th September 2012
  #10
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.
A couple of things:
1) I didn't mention the Shure '57s and 58's because the OP is designated in his profile as a "GearHead" (which pretty much indicates that he's probably already familiar with 'em).

2) His OP said "I don't want to see anything that retails for more then a $150.00", which tells me he's NOT asking about what you can get on the USED market.
...But I believe that if you REALLY want the most "bang for the buck", the best you can do is to look for old discontinued dynamic mics that you can pick up for a song on the used market.

...Especially the ones that weren't quite "successful" for the manufacturer.

There ARE quite a few!
.
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#11
16th September 2012
Old 16th September 2012
  #11
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@Indie Folk Guy
So the Warm Audio WA12 sounds similar to a API 512c?
If so, that would be quite the pre for the price, and getting to skip out on a lunchbox.
#12
16th September 2012
Old 16th September 2012
  #12
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Wink

+1 EV 635a Tons of vocal examples on 60's/70's TV shows like Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, John Denver, Soul Train, Shindig, Hullabaloo, Hee Haw, etc.

A somewhat underated choice IMHO also is the Shure Beta 57a-flatter than the 58a Beta...

Chris
eastsidetone
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#13
16th September 2012
Old 16th September 2012
  #13
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by samth3mancgp View Post
+1! This mic is amazing for the asking price... Basically pocket change. I have 1 and I am probably going to get 2 more to use on toms when my CAD m179s seem a little too clicky/transient. It certainly has a better low end than a 57, and a slightly sweeter top end!
This is more in the spirit of what I am looking for!

Let's hear a clip :D


Also, just to clarify I own or have already used many of the mics mentioned above.

Lets skip the obvious mics like 57,58,i5 etc.

p.s. if everyone makes clips then we will have created a great thread for the low end theory section.

Think about it........ did any of you like the tone of clip I posted?

Did it sound like a $60.00 mic or did it sound like a NICE BASS

I know one thing is for sure, if I like what I hear from $29.00 mic I sure want to know what it is!
#14
16th September 2012
Old 16th September 2012
  #14
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MCA SP1...mine was $40. Popular mic mod candidate but decent sounding as is. You'll always keep it cuz who would buy one used unless they stop making them. At this point they're still a get last time I checked.
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#15
16th September 2012
Old 16th September 2012
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eastsidetone View Post
This is more in the spirit of what I am looking for!

Let's hear a clip :D


Also, just to clarify I own or have already used many of the mics mentioned above.

Lets skip the obvious mics like 57,58,i5 etc.

p.s. if everyone makes clips then we will have created a great thread for the low end theory section.

Think about it........ did any of you like the tone of clip I posted?

Did it sound like a $60.00 mic or did it sound like a NICE BASS

I know one thing is for sure, if I like what I hear from $29.00 mic I sure want to know what it is!
http://soundcloud.com/brendan-k-schatzki/prodipe-tt1-demo-raw-some/s-1RT77

Some BF5 for you, TT1 on voice. I'm practically swallowing the microphone here. Everything's raw.
I swear I'm better. Cold, mistakes, and all.
#16
16th September 2012
Old 16th September 2012
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Wilson View Post
MCA SP1...mine was $40. Popular mic mod candidate but decent sounding as is. You'll always keep it cuz who would buy one used unless they stop making them. At this point they're still a get last time I checked.
+1

I use mine as is for recorder man OHs. They work well in my dank basement.
#17
16th September 2012
Old 16th September 2012
  #17
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GLS ES-57. Similar to an SM57 but not similar enough for me to consider it essentially the same mic. For only $30, hell yes,
eastsidetone
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#18
16th September 2012
Old 16th September 2012
  #18
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
+1

I use mine as is for recorder man OHs. They work well in my dank basement.
Okay now we're talking! I have never even heard of that mic!

Thanks for the sound clip kierkes!
#19
16th September 2012
Old 16th September 2012
  #19
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Mics I own ($130 or less) that I like:
MXL V88
Sennheiser e604
CAD M179
Audio Technica ATM450 ($110 from Zen, but have since gone up I think)
Audio Technica AT3031 (Bought used mint for $115 ea)
CAD e70 (only used on AGtr at this point, but were respectable on that source)
Audix I5 (I have a ton of 57's and prefer the I5, hands down)
MXL R144

The only pre I own that falls into the price range is the DMP3, which is my OHD pre. I'm currently using Oktavamod 603S's, which fall outside of the $ and mod exclusion, but the pre does quite well in my opinion, especially with those mics. But is nice and clean.
#20
16th September 2012
Old 16th September 2012
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I've been VERY happy with Cascade Fatheads IIs on a piano in a living room. A Blumlein pair.

(OK, I'm using a CloudLifter Pre, but that's still pretty low-end)
#21
16th September 2012
Old 16th September 2012
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Wilson View Post
MCA SP1...mine was $40. Popular mic mod candidate but decent sounding as is. You'll always keep it cuz who would buy one used unless they stop making them. At this point they're still a get last time I checked.
That's the first thing that came in my head when I read the thread title. Great mic as it is. I see no need to mod it. IMHO, sounds better than any MXL mic I've tried and I've tried almost all of them. I just ordered a second one in fact. Comes in a blister pack like a flashlight or pair of scissors.
#22
16th September 2012
Old 16th September 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Coates View Post
That's the first thing that came in my head when I read the thread title. Great mic as it is. I see no need to mod it. IMHO, sounds better than any MXL mic I've tried and I've tried almost all of them. I just ordered a second one in fact. Comes in a blister pack like a flashlight or pair of scissors.
Yeah, I concur. It's definitely an SDC disguised as a LDC, and while it's not mind-blowing, its certainly a lot less harsh on the top end like most Chinese condensers, which is why it works for overheads.
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#23
16th September 2012
Old 16th September 2012
  #23
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Beyer soundstar... Best rock retro vocal ever....
#24
17th September 2012
Old 17th September 2012
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RFT DM622

Ok, not new or in the shops, but cheap as pants and yields cool tones on acoustic, hand percussion, drums....can even sound good on vocals in the right context.....a little thin, omni and with a great sort of sheen in the top for a dynamic, but and old sheen, not a new, plasticky one.
#25
17th September 2012
Old 17th September 2012
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _Mark View Post
Apex 435. I saw it at Guitar Center used (looking brand new), for like $40, so I couldn't resist just adding another random mic to my collection.
Sounds quite nice for such a cheap mic! Somewhat similar to my AKG C214.
Only downside is the fact it's REALLY LOUD. I can have the gain on my interface set to zero, and it will be clipping. But a pre can take care of this... Oh, and you have to unscrew the mic to get to the high pass filter, which is on the circuit board. It only takes a minute, or so, to do it, and put it back together.
This was my first mic! Got it as part of a pack with 2 Apex 180's years ago. Used it to record my vocals and my mesa rectifier (at lowish volume) when I got started in this recording stuff. I thought it sounded great in both cases. The 180's, not so much.

I have since done a little capacitor and capsule upgrade to it though for a whopping $50, but stock I think it's a decent mic.

I also just grabbed an AT 3035 used for $80. I have owned a 2020 and a 2050 before, and I think the 3035 is an absolute steal.
#26
17th September 2012
Old 17th September 2012
  #26
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i got a couple of throw away tracks we did testing different setups.

first clip -
the bass is a rick 4003 going into my modified big muff into a boost pedal into an orange tube head with a 15" cab. driven very hard with aggressive picking.

mic is a nady rsm4 ribbon as a room mic through a sytek preamp. the nady was modified so not quite cheap end. bass was played very aggressively for effect.

second clip -
is a beyer m201 hard up near cab on same bass though an api clone.

third clip -
bass nady room mic through the sytek with 3 drum mics only. i mic'd the full kit but this is the 3 low end mics on the kit. in front of kit is a stellar rm-7 stereo ribbon through the syteks and into an art vla pro, plus a beyer m201 on snare through an api clone. the kit is a no name brand worth about $100. new heads to everything and we tuned it.

fourth clip -
is the bass in the mix but kept loud for context.

all recorded in a tiny room as you can hear (lots of acoustic treatment).
all raw tracks so you may need to turn it up.
Attached Files
File Type: wav bass.wav (5.55 MB, 82 views) File Type: wav bass 2.wav (5.55 MB, 75 views) File Type: wav mix1.wav (4.54 MB, 95 views) File Type: wav mix.wav (4.04 MB, 50 views)
#27
17th September 2012
Old 17th September 2012
  #27
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.
@ 'gouge':

Hey, the Beyer m201 is a GREAT friggin' mic!

First class on snare, but works (at least ok) on just about ANYTHING.

Very nice on most hand percussion instruments.

...And its my secret weapon on a couple of instruments I won't name (otherwise it wouldn't be very secret, now would it?).
.
#28
17th September 2012
Old 17th September 2012
  #28
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Sennheiser e609 (guitar cabs, toms)
Heil PR20/PR22 UT (vocals, snare, guitar cabs)
Peavey PVM520 (kick drum, bass cabs)
Samson C01 (vocals, overheads, ambient/distant miking)
#29
17th September 2012
Old 17th September 2012
  #29
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yeah i like it a lot too. on snare it has a real meaty disposition. i find sometimes though i'm adding something around 5-8k of eq during mix to get it to open up more. that always seems to do the trick.

i use it everywhere. lol, guitars, bass, snare, even tried it on vocals once and it worked!

i recently got a ksm137 which would just fit into the cheap category. haven't tried it yet on snare, but intend to pair it up with the m201 and see what happens.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 12ax7 View Post
.
@ 'gouge':

Hey, the Beyer m201 is a GREAT friggin' mic!

First class on snare, but works (at least ok) on just about ANYTHING.

Very nice on most hand percussion instruments.

...And its my secret weapon on a couple of instruments I won't name (otherwise it wouldn't be very secret, now would it?).
.
#30
17th September 2012
Old 17th September 2012
  #30
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I heard some impressive clips of Behringer C2. For the money it's a steal.
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