I’m going to chime in here too in defense of the C3 because I’m not sure if the original reviewer simply had a bad one or if something else is going on there, but what I do know is the Studio Projects C3 deserves far more credit than it’s getting.
I’ve had the C3 in my mic locker for about 7 years now, and I’ll preface my review by disclosing that I own a number of other Studio Projects products as well (B1, B3, TB-1, and VTB-1). All of these products are good in their own rights; however, I never realized how good the C3 was until about 3 years ago when I threw it up on a boom stand to do a vocal scratch track. Understand, I own a fair number of mics, and up until this time the C3 wasn’t my go-to, but upon playback of the scratch track I was wowed. I knew immediately there was no need to fish for the right vocal mic for that particular project.
The C3 is a very versatile mic, and the best way I know to describe its cardioid pattern—which is the pattern I usually engage for this particular mic—is “glossy.” In comparison to mics like the MXL 67v I don’t find it to be overly hyped or sibilant. It literally sounds world class to my ears.
All that said, I wouldn’t call this a utility mic—although I think it could be in a pinch. As an all purpose mic I’d suggest either the B1 or B3, as those served me well for a time before upgrading my mic locker. Thus, the C3 really is a specialty mic that should be dedicated to vocal duties and acoustic guitar IMO, and those areas are really where this mic shines. In figure 8 pattern this mic does a very good job on acoustic guitars too, and although I’ve never used it for OH duty, I’m sure it would do a good job there as well.
In today’s market there are many good deals and great values to be had in the $300 range, and I own many of those mics that fit into that category (Blue Bluebird, Oktava PE modded 219, SM7b, Studio Projects TB-1, Violet Black Dolly, and MXL CR-24). Yet, when I purchased the SP C3 circa 2005 via PMI’s direct B-stock offer for $250 there was nothing in that price point that could touch it. To this day, it holds its own among the better value mics, and I have no intentions of getting rid of mine because it does EXACTLY what I need it to do.
I should also add that the OP of this review should have contacted PMI Audio directly about his defective C3 because I had a minor issue with my B-stock TB-1, and Alan Hyatt and co. were very helpful. Their customer service was top notch, and they not only fixed my problem, they also sent me a free Studio Projects mic cable to boot. They’re just a great company IME and one I’ll continue doing business with in the future.