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Best used large condenser mic for under $500 ?
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julia.b
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#1
15th March 2012
Old 15th March 2012
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Best used large condenser mic for under $500 ?

For vocal recording ? Any opinions would be appreciated.
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15th March 2012
Old 15th March 2012
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The answers you will get will be:
1) There is no "best"
2) Get an SM7B

Both are good advice, but if you want more comprehensive replies, you will need to be more specific about what and who you are recording.
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15th March 2012
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CAD Equitek II
the original multi=pattern project studio mic that started the whole revolution. Bit noisy but sounds great.
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15th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by julia.b View Post
For vocal recording ? Any opinions would be appreciated.
414 buls
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15th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warfunkel View Post
The answers you will get will be:
1) There is no "best"
2) Get an SM7B
Thats good advice indeed.
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15th March 2012
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CAD e100s. I love this mic.
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15th March 2012
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Originally Posted by JeffSanders View Post
CAD e100s. I love this mic.
That's the first thing I thought of as well - I love mine as well. I really want to pick up another one.
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15th March 2012
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You should be able to pick up an Oktava MK219/319 and have it modded with upgraded transformer/caps/wiring/headbasket for that...
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15th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertshaw View Post
414 buls
I got hold of a 414 XLS a few days back. Spent all day shooting it out against a 4050 on vox and acoustic guitar. It was a nice mic IMO but I liked the 4050 better on both applications.

To the OP - If it's only for vox, it's hard to go wrong with an sm7b. My current favorite LDC in that range would be a 4050....and the multi-pattern benefit is a plus
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you might like the AT4047 on your voice...that can work really well on some people. It's also good outside a kick drum, as a drum overhead, and on guitar and bass cabinets for certain sounds... of course YMMV

for this price, I am rebuilding Apex 460 condensers with new capsules, transformers, tubes, internal electronics, some power supply modifications, and new 7-pin cables. I went for a C12 style microphone, which doesn't happen to suit my own particular voice, but has other uses. You could also go in a different direction with a more Neumann styled capsule and transformer. It's a bit of a crapshoot and some tweaking may be required, but, I really enjoy this type of work.

SM7 is really good, I also like the M88 quite a bit on vocals, or the RE20 for a little darker fatter sound. The M88 gives a nice bright sound.
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15th March 2012
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I've heard good things about the Shure KSM 32. Never used it myself but people have sung its praises to me. Gonna have to get a pair myself at some point.
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15th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warfunkel View Post
The answers you will get will be:
1) There is no "best"
2) Get an SM7B

Both are good advice, but if you want more comprehensive replies, you will need to be more specific about what and who you are recording.
+1...except I don't like the SM7 (don't hurt me!)

My pick would be to see if you can get a TLM102 cheap.
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As cheap and useless as most of the MXL mics are....the MXL Genesis is a wonderful mic for the price and it just sounds wonderful on almost everyone that I have recorded with it.
julia.b
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15th March 2012
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I forgot to mention that this will be used solely with a MacBook Pro and the Duet 2. I don't have an amp or anything. Pardon my ignorance but I'm assuming some mics won't work like this?
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15th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by julia.b View Post
I forgot to mention that this will be used solely with a MacBook Pro and the Duet 2. I don't have an amp or anything. Pardon my ignorance but I'm assuming some mics won't work like this?
One of my friends has the same setup. He has no problem driving dynamic mics. If your new to recording, why not try an sm58 or sm57? You can get great results on vocals with either of those, and you can also use them live.
If you want a more "expensive" sounding vocal, then yes I would recommend giving the sm7b a try before anything else.....although you won't fully appreciate it until you've went through a few sub $1000 condensers and let the "wowness" and "newness" of them wear off a bit.
If you order a new mic, just make sure it's from an authorized dealer and that you can send it back if you don't like it.
If you do go LD condenser, just keep in mind that the room will play more of a factor, and you'll need to address that in some way.
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15th March 2012
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I just noticed your screen name....is this for a female vocal?
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15th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shannon Adkins View Post
I just noticed your screen name....is this for a female vocal?
It will be for both male and female soloists.

I already have a vocal mic similar to the SM78, it's a D5 from AKG. But I'm looking at upgrading it because I just purchased the Duet 2 over a cheaper interface and the salesman told me I wouldn't notice the superiority of the Duet 2 if I'm using the D5, and that if I wanted to really hear improvement that I should look into a condenser mic.
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15th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BennyP87 View Post
I've heard good things about the Shure KSM 32.
KSM32 falls withing the required price range and would do a fine job with both female and male vox.

I sang into one for a very long time.

The added bonus of the 32 is that when you upgrade to a more expensive go to vocal microphone you will be left with a mic that works well in so many other applications.
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15th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by julia.b View Post
It will be for both male and female soloists.

I already have a vocal mic similar to the SM78, it's a D5 from AKG. But I'm looking at upgrading it because I just purchased the Duet 2 over a cheaper interface and the salesman told me I wouldn't notice the superiority of the Duet 2 if I'm using the D5, and that if I wanted to really hear improvement that I should look into a condenser mic.
If your salesman was a Guitar Center employee, take advice with a grain of salt.
With regard to needing a condenser to notice the difference in your interface, that's simply not true at all. Always keep in mind that a salesman's job is to get you to spend as much money as he/she can.
My old interface was a Tascam FW1884....when I got my new interface (Steinberg MR816), the first mic I plugged in was a dynamic (audix i5) and there was a very noticeable difference in sound quality.

Some very nice mics have been mentioned in this thread at this price point. My top 3 for male/female vocal duty (that I've personally tried) would be...
1. sm7b ($350 new)
2. Tied for 2nd - TLM102 ($500 used) and AT4047 ($350 used)
3. AT4050 ($400 used) - never tried it on female voice, though.
A lot of people also love the KEL mics, but I've never tried one.
Oktava MK319 is also very nice. You can get one new for around $350, I think. I love mine. I would be cautious buying that mic used because Michael Joly of Oktavamod says there were some QC issues with Oktava mics earlier in the last decade as they were going through some changes. Someone at my church just up and gave me the one I have. I've contacted Michael and described mine to him and he has verified it's a genuine "made in Russia" version. At some point I will have him mod it, but it already sounds great.
Anyway, getting back to the point...you don't need a condenser....but maybe you should get one or a couple anyway. You'll certainly learn a lot about what sounds you like by getting some experience with different models. You'll discover what works best for you.
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15th March 2012
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KSM 44 would be my pick, in the $500 range used. Excellent sounding all-rounder. Not a colored mic though, if that's what you're looking for.
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15th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edva View Post
KSM 44 would be my pick, in the $500 range used. Excellent sounding all-rounder. Not a colored mic though, if that's what you're looking for.
At some point I'm going to have to give that one a try. Edva...how would you compare it to a 414 and 4050?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shannon Adkins View Post
At some point I'm going to have to give that one a try. Edva...how would you compare it to a 414 and 4050?
hey Shannon,
Yes, the 44 is a fine mic indeed, a tremendous bargain if found in good shape used for that price. Don't have a 4050 around, but in comparison to my newer 414, much "silkier" sounding, even less colored (the 414 doesn't have much color either, but it is audible in an A/B with the 44), smoother, more accurate, and at first listen perhaps not quite as "large" a sound as the 414, but interestingly with the 44, the more I listen, the more I like it, it seems to give a sound that gets better with each listen, in contrast to the 414, like I'm hearing further into the track, if that makes any sense. My 2c of course, and YMMV.
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16th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edva View Post
hey Shannon,
Yes, the 44 is a fine mic indeed, a tremendous bargain if found in good shape used for that price. Don't have a 4050 around, but in comparison to my newer 414, much "silkier" sounding, even less colored (the 414 doesn't have much color either, but it is audible in an A/B with the 44), smoother, more accurate, and at first listen perhaps not quite as "large" a sound as the 414, but interestingly with the 44, the more I listen, the more I like it, it seems to give a sound that gets better with each listen, in contrast to the 414, like I'm hearing further into the track, if that makes any sense. My 2c of course, and YMMV.
Oddly enough, I thought that the 414 I had (XLS) sounded somewhat 2-dimensional in comparison to the 4050.... so what you're saying makes perfect sense to me.
Thanks Edva!
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16th March 2012
Old 16th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shannon Adkins View Post
If your salesman was a Guitar Center employee, take advice with a grain of salt.
With regard to needing a condenser to notice the difference in your interface, that's simply not true at all. Always keep in mind that a salesman's job is to get you to spend as much money as he/she can.
My old interface was a Tascam FW1884....when I got my new interface (Steinberg MR816), the first mic I plugged in was a dynamic (audix i5) and there was a very noticeable difference in sound quality.

Some very nice mics have been mentioned in this thread at this price point. My top 3 for male/female vocal duty (that I've personally tried) would be...
1. sm7b ($350 new)
2. Tied for 2nd - TLM102 ($500 used) and AT4047 ($350 used)
3. AT4050 ($400 used) - never tried it on female voice, though.
A lot of people also love the KEL mics, but I've never tried one.
Oktava MK319 is also very nice. You can get one new for around $350, I think. I love mine. I would be cautious buying that mic used because Michael Joly of Oktavamod says there were some QC issues with Oktava mics earlier in the last decade as they were going through some changes. Someone at my church just up and gave me the one I have. I've contacted Michael and described mine to him and he has verified it's a genuine "made in Russia" version. At some point I will have him mod it, but it already sounds great.
Anyway, getting back to the point...you don't need a condenser....but maybe you should get one or a couple anyway. You'll certainly learn a lot about what sounds you like by getting some experience with different models. You'll discover what works best for you.

I am intrigued by the SM7B. I won't need any other power? Again I only have the Duet 2, no amp of any kind.
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16th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by julia.b View Post
I am intrigued by the SM7B. I won't need any other power? Again I only have the Duet 2, no amp of any kind.
No, you should be fine. The Duet's stock preamps will provide plenty of clean gain. You may find that you have to turn them up quite a bit, but as long as they stay quiet your good to go. The pres on my MR816 stay quiet with the sm7b all the way up to 9 1/2. I have a loud voice and I would say I usually have them set to 8 when using it.
It's a great mic!
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16th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shannon Adkins View Post
No, you should be fine. The Duet's stock preamps will provide plenty of clean gain. You may find that you have to turn them up quite a bit, but as long as they stay quiet your good to go. The pres on my MR816 stay quiet with the sm7b all the way up to 9 1/2. I have a loud voice and I would say I usually have them set to 8 when using it.
It's a great mic!
This is great, thanks for the info!
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16th March 2012
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I did a shootout a while back between the sm7b and AT4047 on a ballad. I liked both of the mics quite a bit on it. Here it is and hope it helps.
sm7b vs 4047 on this vocal
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17th March 2012
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Okay sorry for my confusion, but I went to check out the SM7B a few hours ago and only then did I discover it's not a condenser mic lol. The salesman told me I would have a hard time recording softer singers with that mic (which is what this will be mainly used for) and he was pushing me towards a Sennheiser MK4 which was actually cheaper so I'm pretty sure he wasn't doing it for his own gain. Any thoughts?
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17th March 2012
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You'd better read up on that Senni, it's said to be very bright.
The SM7b would require massive gain on a quiet or soft voice, best keep looking.
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We recorded a reference session of that Sennheiser MK4 and posted it in our Clipalator, I'd take a listen to it compared to others before committing to that one. The KEL Song Sparrow is a nice presence mic and worth a listen. The ADK Hamburg does well. The CAD e100s is still a WOW mic at any price, etc.

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