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Looking to purchase first nice mic, under $3000, need suggestions. Condenser Microphones
Old 5 days ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Looking to purchase first nice mic, under $3000, need suggestions.

Long time lurker... I've been recording (Rap/HipHop male vocals, as well as singing) for a while and am wanting to take the next step and purchase my first really nice microphone. Room is already well treated, and I'll eventually plan to run through a Neve 1073 -> 1176 <-> LA2A chain. I've done a bit of research into the following microphones, but am seeking some guidance or just other suggestions:

Lauten Eden
Manely Ref C
Brauner Valvet X
AT 5040
U87ai

I'm looking for really upfront, present, smooth, and well-bodied vocals that easily cut through the mix, but also with a touch of 3D effect if you know what I mean. I only recently learned about the Lauten Eden after reading that Cardi B recorded "Bodak Yellow" with it, and her vocals sound great on there. I know about the Manely Reference because Haley Williams has supposedly recorded a lot with it, and there tons of threads about this mic around GS. The Valvet X is nice because it has a dark high end, leaving it up to me whether I want to add that air in or not, and supposedly very detailed. The AT 5040 I don't know as much about, other than that it is detailed, however supposedly has delicate proximity issues. U87ai is tried and true but honestly something about the sound irks me and am not a huge fan of it in general.

I don't have the ability to test/compare these mics before buying, surprisingly no studios in my area have them... so if anyone has used more than 1 of the above microphones, I'm interested to hear how they differ from each other, so I have a clearer picture of their character. Or if you have any of the above and use them on rap vocals, how do you like it?


I'm in Raleigh NC, USA, if you happen to know any local places which rent out microphones, or along those lines.
Old 5 days ago
  #2
Gear Nut
 

They all look like good microphones. I read or heard somewhere Jay Z used the U-87 and an Avalon VT737SP on one of his records.

Jay-Z's Neumann U87 Condenser Microphone | Equipboard(R)

The U87 sounds good on rap vocals.
Old 5 days ago
  #3
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

At that price bracket the Gefell UMT 70S and UMT 800 also come into consideration.

You don't say where you are - it really *is* good to at least have the country listed and, ideally, the county/state/administration area as well as it helps us to be more specific in helping you.

In many areas, for example, distributors/dealers have loan demonstration microphones available for you to try before you buy (which is what I always recommend).
Old 5 days ago
  #4
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
At that price bracket the Gefell UMT 70S and UMT 800 also come into consideration.

You don't say where you are - it really *is* good to at least have the country listed and, ideally, the county/state/administration area as well as it helps us to be more specific in helping you.

In many areas, for example, distributors/dealers have loan demonstration microphones available for you to try before you buy (which is what I always recommend).
I'm in Raleigh, NC, US, which I'll edit into my post. Despite it being a major city the only music stores here that I am aware of are Guitar Center and Sam Ash, and they don't tend to carry any microphones in this price bracket, not in the stores at least. I also haven't been able to find any of these microphones at any local studios, just similar models from the brands or much more expensive microphones. I can't find Brauner mics at at all in any local studios.

Can you suggest some places that offer loan demonstration type microphones for this purpose? I'd rather try a mic in my own recording environment than in a local studio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snapchat2314715 View Post
The U87 sounds good on rap vocals.
I know of a bunch of artists that use it, but I just think the U87 is lacking something that a lot of more modern microphones have. One of my favorite artists went from using a Brauner VMX to a U87 and to my ear, their vocals took on a noticeably "cheaper sheen". U87 is a good microphone but I think it is lacking in comparison to more modern microphones in its price range. It's hard to describe in what ways because it's all subjective, but I think many people here agree that while it's good, there are better options. It was actually one of the first microphones I was planning to get and had researched a bunch, but was quickly lead in other directions.
Old 5 days ago
  #5
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metroid View Post
I'm in Raleigh, NC, US, which I'll edit into my post. Despite it being a major city the only music stores here that I am aware of are Guitar Center and Sam Ash, and they don't tend to carry any microphones in this price bracket, not in the stores at least. I also haven't been able to find any of these microphones at any local studios, just similar models from the brands or much more expensive microphones. I can't find Brauner mics at at all in any local studios.

Can you suggest some places that offer loan demonstration type microphones for this purpose? I'd rather try a mic in my own recording environment than in a local studio.
You could talk to Vintage King and Doc Mixwell of these forums is a dealer you could contact.
Old 5 days ago
  #6
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
You could talk to Vintage King and Doc Mixwell of these forums is a dealer you could contact.
Vintage King doesn't have any stores in my area, so what do you mean? What would I say to them?

A problem is I don't really have good credit at the moment, and don't have flexibility to buy multiple of these microphones simultaneously and just return the ones I don't want. So, in this regard my only real option is to either try one at a time locally, or buy one at a time, try, and send back and forth via shipping - the latter a hassle that seems best to avoid.
Old 5 days ago
  #7
Lives for gear
Sound Pure has a store in Raleigh. They might be helpful.......
Old 5 days ago
  #8
Gear Addict
 

Vintage King is excellent and very accommodating. See what they can set up for you. I recently made a major mic purchase and sent a few back in the process of choosing. Worth the call.

You may want to add a Soundelux U99 to your list. It is "inspired" by a U67.. There are some switching options that allows flexibility with the highs and a "fat" switch which gives a the sound more body. Although I haven't personally heard one, I think it would probably be worth a look and listen. I am going to as soon as get an opportunity.

I should 2nd the idea that you should visit Sound Pure if you can. I have spoken with a rep there and they seemed helpful and knowledgeable.

Last edited by MSR74; 5 days ago at 06:01 PM.. Reason: Added Content
Old 5 days ago
  #9
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ardis View Post
Sound Pure has a store in Raleigh. They might be helpful.......
I've been chatting with them - however they have a limited selection of try-microphones, and they said they don't really set up microphones in store to try. Well not limited, just not many I am looking for, though they do have the Manely for try. They have a separate recording studio as well, and while they have a large mic selection there, there are not many of the ones I am looking into. A number of the microphones they list on their website they don't actually stock at their warehouse (like the Valvet X which I previously called them about).


Quote:
Originally Posted by MSR74 View Post
Vintage King is excellent and very accommodating. See what they can set up for you. I recently made a major mic purchase and sent a few back in the process of choosing. Worth the call.

You may want to add a Soundelux U99 to your list. It is "inspired" by a U67.. .
So just call Vintage King and tell them I want to try different microphones and see what they say? I assume my options of working with long distance retails on this are presumably limited because my credit sucks and I don't have money to buy multiple microphones at once to test out.

I will do some research into the Soundelux U99 however.
Old 4 days ago
  #10
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by ardis View Post
Sound Pure has a store in Raleigh. They might be helpful.......
They are actually in Durham NC. Very helpful, but their prices are comparably higher than most other shops. They don't offer much wiggle room. That's been my experience anyway. They do have a nice studio though. You can block time and test out mics that way.
Old 4 days ago
  #11
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VO Guy's Avatar
 

I'm a voiceover guy, not a musician, but I can tell you that with what I do, the U87ai at the end of the day, just works.

By that I mean after EQ and post processing, it delivers a more reliable and consistent result than most of the other LDC mics that I have tried.
Old 4 days ago
  #12
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by VO Guy View Post
I'm a voiceover guy, not a musician, but I can tell you that with what I do, the U87ai at the end of the day, just works.

By that I mean after EQ and post processing, it delivers a more reliable and consistent result than most of the other LDC mics that I have tried.
I learned this as well. Sometimes the U87ai by itself does not sound flattering, but in the context of a mix with EQ, and processing it always seems to work. Its a great mic when you plan on using it for multiple vocalists. If on the other hand you need just one mic for one voice, it's usually best to see which works best for your voice.

One of the the biggest mistakes I see in this regard is where people slap on some headphone and sing through a mic and make their decision solely based on this experience. The right way is to record your Vox in the context of a mix since that is where it's going to wind up.
Old 4 days ago
  #13
Lives for gear
 
skybluerental's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metroid View Post
I'm in Raleigh, NC, US, which I'll edit into my post. Despite it being a major city the only music stores here that I am aware of are Guitar Center and Sam Ash, and they don't tend to carry any microphones in this price bracket, not in the stores at least. I also haven't been able to find any of these microphones at any local studios, just similar models from the brands or much more expensive microphones. I can't find Brauner mics at at all in any local studios.

Can you suggest some places that offer loan demonstration type microphones for this purpose? I'd rather try a mic in my own recording environment than in a local studio.



I know of a bunch of artists that use it, but I just think the U87 is lacking something that a lot of more modern microphones have. One of my favorite artists went from using a Brauner VMX to a U87 and to my ear, their vocals took on a noticeably "cheaper sheen". U87 is a good microphone but I think it is lacking in comparison to more modern microphones in its price range. It's hard to describe in what ways because it's all subjective, but I think many people here agree that while it's good, there are better options. It was actually one of the first microphones I was planning to get and had researched a bunch, but was quickly lead in other directions.
U87 and U87ai are pretty different sounding mics.

A vintage U87 is a very versatile, great sounding mic.

The modern U87ai sounds pinched and harsh in comparison.

If you are judging what a U87 sounds like by listening to an "ai" I suggest you hear a vintage U87 in good condition. They sound quite different.

Other good options would be a Neumann KM86, Shure SM7 or a Gefell UM70.
Old 4 days ago
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Don't laugh but add the Beyer M88TG, to your shortlist. If you are sibilant prone, the Sennheiser 441. If any dynamic microphone suit your vocals well, consider the new single channel Aurora pre (Neve 1073 style).

Chris
Old 4 days ago
  #15
Here for the gear
 

These are all useful suggestions, though I'd like to reemphasize that I am looking for a very detailed and mix-cutting microphone, something that could be suited on a very modern platinum pop-type of record. Also perhaps something that thickens my vocals some, which is why I lean towards tube designs.

Also, while I do recognize that cheaper (under $1500) microphones could deliver me the result I am looking for, I do not mind spending up to the amount I mentioned (~3k) if it means the result is more likely to be what I want. In other words I would hate to spend just $800-$1500 that sounds only "good" rather than the higher standard I am hoping to get that could have been achieved more easily if I just spend $2800, if that makes any sense. Not to condemn all cheaper microphones or anything, just that I'm aiming for the cleanest and most detailed modern sound I can get for this price range. I do realize there are even more expensive and nicer mics in the $3000-10000 range, but I'll have to save those for later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental View Post
U87 and U87ai are pretty different sounding mics.
oh yeah I know the differences. In the future I want a vintage one for the sake of having one, but it's not suited for my goal at the moment since they tend to have somewhat of a darker/smoother top end. If that was something I decided to go for, I would just get a new Brauner Valvet X, which is in the same price range, has a similar sort of tone, but more modern and more detailed, and I wouldn't need to worry about any vintage maintenance. They say the Valvet X is one of those modern microphones that most closely resembles a vintage microphone, without actually trying to mimic any particular vintage circuit.
Old 4 days ago
  #16
Here for the gear
 

I know what i am getting, a Manley Ref c!
Old 4 days ago
  #17
Gear Addict
 
zohomoho's Avatar
 

What about the sony c100. Paired with a tube preamp it can get you close to the c800g sound which is the rap mic.
Old 4 days ago
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Bock Soundelux U195 gives you some extra options. Bock's idea was to take a U87ai-ish platform, and modify the midrange (smoother).
Doesn't have the upper-mid "bite" of the ai.
(That might be what you "don't like").

Then Bock added a giant transformer for better low end response. Not "better" than the U87ai (modern classic IMHO), but complementary. Also it has the FAT switch which emulates a tube microphone.

When the U195 is set "flat", it sounds very modern,
and will cut through a heavy mix easily.
I have a very bright (tenorish) high baritone, so the FAT switch "on" is usually best on me. On some songs, however, "set flat" sounds terrific.

This microphone has occasionally been "criticized" for being too cheap, for how excellent it sounds! Chris

P.S. Enough in your budget for U195 and Sony C100!
Old 4 days ago
  #19
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Oldone's Avatar
I would shoot for a used Neumann M149. Multipattern tube mic. Works across a variety of singers, a little more versatile than the U87.
Old 4 days ago
  #20
Even if you can't try every mic on your list there, it would still be worthwhile booking a short session at SoundPure to learn what the mics they do have in their locker sound like on your voice. Many of those mics will be models that others on this forum have used, and posting sound clips here will enable others to give you better advice. Right now you're trying to make a decision based on listening to other artists singing through largely unknown signal chains. That's no basis for comparison, but hearing your voice through some industry standards could help us extrapolate to some of the other mics on your list and give you more reliable advice.
Old 4 days ago
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Oldone, how well does a 149 cut through?
BTW I want to try out the TLM 49 eventually.
Thanks, Chris
Old 3 days ago
  #22
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VO Guy's Avatar
 

I would classify the TLM 49 as a mic that will work well with some, and absolutely not with others.
Old 3 days ago
  #23
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tkaitkai's Avatar
 

For rap vocals, it’s hard to go wrong with either the Manley or the U87. The U87 is much, MUCH more mid-forward, whereas the Manley is airy, whispery, and “pretty”-sounding, almost scooped in comparison. Both take EQ extremely well and will work with a wide variety of singers.

Personally, I’d pick the Manley, but I’m pretty biased, as I owned one for a year. I never got along with the U87 for my own voice, but it sounds wonderful on so many other singers, and I can’t deny its track record.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
Oldone, how well does a 149 cut through?
BTW I want to try out the TLM 49 eventually.
Thanks, Chris
The M149 cuts through beautifully. It has a really nice upper midrange presence without ever coming across as shrill or harsh.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the TLM 49. I desperately wanted that to be the case a while back, but it’s really edgy and hard-sounding compared to the M149. Still not a bad mic, though. It works great for some people. You can often find them used for around $800 - $1000, which is a steal.

I know this wasn’t addressed to me, but I couldn’t help myself — I think Oldone and myself are in the running for being the two biggest M149 fans on GS.

Last edited by tkaitkai; 3 days ago at 08:27 PM..
Old 3 days ago
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Lumin One's Avatar
Have you checked the Gefell CMV-563?
You have the choice of using different capsules. Blue has more modern capsules that emulate the major big boys. Not locked into particular sound going this route.
Have had a vintage one for almost 10 years and have recorded quite a bit of hip hop with it.
Ive seen a few under 3k
Old 2 days ago
  #25
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

i checked out one of the Lauten Eden mics and we kept it!
very nice mic through any pre.

i am also a big fan ot the lawson mics, i was watching one on ebay the other day with plans to bid on it spaced it and it sold for under a grand.

there a LOT of nice mics in you price range.
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