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home-budget alround voice/vocal mic tlm102, 201fet, wa87, at4050 Condenser Microphones
Old 17th May 2018
Here for the gear
home-budget alround voice/vocal mic tlm102, 201fet, wa87, at4050

Hi everybody,

I've been working as an audio engineer for almost 10 years before illness had me quit working.

I'm feeling a lot better after years of treatments and seeing tons of specialists.

So I'm orienting on a vocal mic to record some small stuff in my house. Mainly vocals.

I've worked with all the microphones in the past, u47, c12, c800, u67 etc. You name it, I know how it sounds. But I'm looking for something affordable under 1000.- dollars.

So I owned a TLM103 in the past which I liked as room mic and on strings but only occasionally on vocals.

So I've demo'd a couple of microphones that I had been looking at and compared it to U87ai and AKGc414 I could borrow from a couple of friends:

Mojave 201FET

- So I found the TLM102 decent sounding and very affordable but unfortunately it is also without much character and its sweet spot was to small. So when you move a little the frequency response starts to shift. But overall workable sound when you do use proper microphone technique.

Good points are that it has a neutral sound but lacks character. Does handle EQ and compression very well.

- The Mojave 201FET I found smooth, very good sound with character and takes compression and EQ very well. More character than the TLM102. Never used this microphone before and was very impressed by it! It has a very interesting transient response. I think I like the way it behaves.

I really like this microphone and the price is really good. It has character but not to much, is detailed but it could get sibilant from time to time but that was easy to correct.

- The WA-87. I wanted to like this microphone. The company makes affordable products, uses good components... some video demo's were really impressive but when I had it up and running and A/B'd it against the U87ai it was nothing like it at all.

You could hear the color was similar but the way the microphone behaves is different. The U87ai behaves without distortion and with character and that mid forwardness you can expect.

The WA-87 does imitate that quite accurately but behaves different with the vocalist and spoken word I recorded. It distorts and causes frequencies to pop out. The U87ai was much smoother. It was a real disappointment.

- AT4050. Clean, that Audio Technica top-end that I don't like and it misses some important overtones in the mid the vocalist produces that get captured with the other microphones.

I like their AT2020 because it is dirt cheap and performs quite well for the money. But I cannot like the AT4050. Also, sounds lifeless. I would prefer the TLM102 over the AT4050.

- WA-47. Nope. Not for me. I don't want to vote down another one of their microphones. If I want a U47 sound, I would have to save up 5 years and buy a Telefunken U47 which I totally dig. Besides, U-47 type of sound is too much character for what I am doing at home. But I was impressed with the character you get for the money.

Am I missing microphones that I should demo in the price range of these microphones and am I missing something with regards to the warm audio microphones?

I don't really understand the buzz around these microphones. I did have good expectations when I seen them come out and I love their WA12 preamp but I am really disappointed by what their microphones have to offer.
Old 17th May 2018
Gear Maniac
Dr. Jule's Avatar

Hi Tvanbaden,

I've got the same impressions and found the same shortcomings of the mentioned microphones. In that price range check out the Stellar CM-6 and the 3U GZ67fet. Both go for around 600 and you can buy direct from the manufacturer and send them back if you don't like them. Both are in the same class (and same "brighter U67"-style) of the Mojave, but I prefer them slightly.

Good luck.
Old 17th May 2018
Here for the gear
Originally Posted by Dr. Jule View Post
Hi Tvanbaden,

In that price range check out the Stellar CM-6 and the 3U GZ67fet. Both go for around 600 and you can buy direct from the manufacturer and send them back if you don't like them.

Good luck.
Hi Jude, thanks for the tip! I'll look into them and @kangking thanks for the Copperhead mention. I know that microphone. Used it on bass a couple of times. I find it too dark sounding but it definitely has a cool vibe when needed.
Old 17th May 2018
Lives for gear
The WA-87 doesn't model the 87ai but the earlier 87 solid state replacement for the 67. The ai model has more gain and other "improvements" but many say the earlier models sound better.

For a grand (actually $1050) you can get the little Geffel m930. Best all around sound for $1000 since the Bock.
Old 17th May 2018
Lives for gear
MarkF48's Avatar
If possible demo either the Miktek C7e or the C1. Both have internal switches that change the bias voltage on the capsule which alters the voicing of the mic which sort of gives you two mics in one.
C1 | Miktek Audio
C7e | Miktek Audio
Old 18th May 2018
Gear Maniac

Isn't the TLM 102 lacking character kind of a good thing? I'd probably pick the WA-87 out of your list, but since you had issues when using it maybe the TLM 102 or Mojave is what you should go for. Warm Audio also has a C414 clone available I don't know if it's worth choosing over an actual C414 though since you probably have the budget for one. 3U Audio has some affordable but good sounding mics (at least in my opinion) for a ton of different budgets. There's the GZ67fet and GZ251fet which I'm sure are great, I've only used the CM1 myself.
Old 18th May 2018
Gear Maniac

Violet Design Amethyst Vintage (67 style capsule) is Great in this price range
Old 18th May 2018
Why not look for a used AKG 414 XL II or XLS if you like the flat frequency response? They sell for less than $1000 all the time.

Also look at a Shure KSM44 or KSM42.... but these are sort of Shure's answer to the AKG 414 the way it looks/ sounds to me, so maybe you would rather pay out for an AKG.

Anyway, if you can't be happy with one of those four microphones, you probably will not be happy with anything short of a U-47 or U-87.

Oh, and to add to your Audio-Technica quest, why not consider the 4047? It should hit the mark on the midrange you feel like the 4050 misses, unless I am mistaken.

That is all. Good luck with the search and I hope you find good value for the nuances you seek. : )
Old 18th May 2018
Here for the gear
Thanks for all the replies!

I will add the Miktek C1, AKG C414 and Shure KSM44/42 to my list to demo.

I will keep the more boutique brands out of my demo list for now. I will see if there are dealers for them in Europe and make contact with them if they can send me one to demo coming month.
Old 18th May 2018
Lives for gear
TurboJets's Avatar
For vocals I love a tube mic. Have you considered the Avantone BV-1. Quality capsule that is edge terminated. Nice rich sound.
Old 18th May 2018
Lives for gear
Originally Posted by kangking View Post
A little pricier but try the Telefunken Copperhead
I had a chance to A/B compare my Mojave 200 to a singer’s Copperhead. He has a baritone/low tenor range, with what I think of as a country sound, although he doesn’t sing country. Both mics sounded very good, but I had to admit that the Copperhead had a slight advantage in sounding clearer, without sounding like either the mid or top was boosted. It was an impressive mic.
Old 20th May 2018
Lives for gear
Mertmo's Avatar

I'm doing a pop record now, with a male vocalist who is great. Sings fairly softly volume wise. All lead vocals done with the ZenPro modded WA-87.

I am happy with the tracks, they sound great. I bought the mic because I had the same needs and budget as the OP. The clips of the Zen modded mic sounded a bit more open and hi if than the clips of the stock version. Not night and day or anything, but I liked what I heard so I bought it. It's done the job nicely. Tracked with a Great River on most of the record, and a Heritage 73jr on a couple songs.

I don't regret my purchase, but I will still want to upgrade at some point. Should have just forked it over for a truly great mic to begin with.

No regrets but lesson learned.
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