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Budget Microphone Shootout Condenser Microphones
Old 14th June 2018
  #1
Deleted 7c654d4
Guest
Budget Microphone Shootout

Hey gang,

Quick one here.

I have in my mic locker three budget LDC Microphones:

1. SE Electronics se2200a Large Diaphragm Mic
2. Audio Technica AT2020 Large Diaphragm Mic
3. Studio Projects B1 Large Diaphragm Mic

Three Questions:

1. Which do you prefer on Male Vocals?
2. Which do you prefer on female vocals?
3. Other than vocals, what are your favourite uses for each?

Looking forward to the replies,

Rock on

Fret.
Old 14th June 2018
  #2
Gear Addict
 

I'd take the sE2200A on everything, because it's a good-sounding mic, and not just a cheap piece of garbage like the other ones listed.

My favorite uses for the B1:

1) Paperweight
2) Doorstop.
Old 15th June 2018
  #3
Lives for gear
 
MarkF48's Avatar
I have the sE2200a IIc and as well the other two. My choice for my own male vocals and occasional acoustic guitar is easily the sE2200a IIc. The AT2020 (SDC with its 16mm capsule) has had little use for quite a while. The SP B1 is a mic I leave on a stand plugged in to a small mixer for my wife to do karaoke and it's fine for that use. I would choose the sE2200 if I were going to record her.
Old 15th June 2018
  #4
Gear Addict
 

One of the best mics no one ever talks about is the Studio Projects CS-1.

Best budget mic I've ever used. Destroys any of the budget chinese mics out there by quite a long shot in my opinion.

30 Audio I think sets the standard for the budget Chinese condenser. They and SE (who make that awesome little marvel SE2200). And the CS-1 is definitely on that level. Serious tool. The B1 is not.
Old 15th June 2018
  #5
Deleted 7c654d4
Guest
Funny ye guys don't have any love for the AT2020, it got a great review on Sound on Sound Audio Technica AT2020 |

Anybody else care to share there thoughts, also any other recommendations on budget mics at this price??

Fret
Old 15th June 2018
  #6
Gear Addict
 

Yeah but what piece of gear has not gotten a great review from Sound on Sound? All of those audio magazines make their money from advertisers so they can't really burn any bridges or they will be out of business.

The 2020 is good for the money but that doesn't mean it's good.
Old 15th June 2018
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrentA View Post
The 2020 is good for the money but that doesn't mean it's good.
Finally, the voice of reason. It's also worth noting that it has both an XLR and USB variant, which may make a diff. I haven't used but was with those who have. It's not amazing, but not the worthless/blah etc that some make it out to be. Depends on how it's used as well (genre, voice type etc).

I also don't think it's fair to compare or lump together this and the B1 (which is also not horrible, in fact good if you want a bright mic) to the 2200, which is a notch above the others but better be, as it costs several times as much.

Side note, this thread has nothing to do with a "shootout." Pls avoid click bait.
Old 15th June 2018
  #8
Deleted 7c654d4
Guest
Thanks for the comments guys, just to throw a spanner in the works, how do you think the Se2200a would fair against a Rode Nt1A? I’ve been contemplating on getting one for some time
Old 15th June 2018
  #9
Deleted 7c654d4
Guest
Forget that last question guys, I saw another thread about it
Old 18th June 2018
  #10
Lives for gear
 

I'd be tempted to sell the B1 & 2020, and get an Oktava 219. Nice balance to your SE Mic.

+1 on the CS series.

Chris
Old 18th June 2018
  #11
Lives for gear
As others have said, the 2020 is not junk. It is very well built and without audio quirks. It is the perfect “extra” mic, since it is simple, not too heavy or bulky, has no switches and doesn’t have any really odd frequency lumps and dumps. And it takes a lot of level. Because it is a somewhat noisy mic, I wouldn’t use it on a very quiet source, but I think it will give you a useful capture on anything else.
I still have mine. It almost never gets used now, because it isn’t, in my experience, the very best mic I have now on anything. But if you wanted to start with an under $100 all-purpose mic that is somewhere between an LDC and an SDC and will Sound st least OK on almost anything, the 2020 is that mic.
Old 18th June 2018
  #12
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
since it is simple, not too heavy or bulky, has no switches and doesn’t have any really odd frequency lumps and dumps.
You mean besides having weak bass response, and being shaped like Lisa Simpson's hair in the high end?




Old 18th June 2018
  #13
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Chris
Old 18th June 2018
  #14
Gear Addict
 

One of the reasons why folks might struggle to agree on cheaper mics is that there is less transfer-ability across sources. I've used my 2020 on several voices and guitar (as well as a drum o/h at gigs) but it's difficult to predict what source it will sound well on.
Old 18th June 2018
  #15
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moon Unit Sound View Post
You mean besides having weak bass response, and being shaped like Lisa Simpson's hair in the high end?




Although admittedly, it has a noticeable “Lisa” HF profile, it isn’t quite the average +6 HF bump of many cheap or “obnoxious-but-not-cheap” Condensers.
I’m thinking the light bass is the reason why I don’t pick the 2020 for much, but it is a smooth curve and correctable with EQ.
I have put myself in the position of defending a mic I don’t love. To be clear, I’m just saying I don’t hate it or find it completely unusable.
Faint praise has gotten me appointed defense counsel. I decline the honor!
Old 19th June 2018
  #16
Deleted 7c654d4
Guest
How do ye guys compare the SE2200a to an AKG c214????
Old 19th June 2018
  #17
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Although admittedly, it has a noticeable “Lisa” HF profile, it isn’t quite the average +6 HF bump of many cheap or “obnoxious-but-not-cheap” Condensers.

I was just horsing around. It has an SM-57 high frequency shape. Nothing wrong with it. And I suppose the 2020's bass dip would be great for close-mic'ing. All of AT's mics are good workhorses, for the most part. As you pointed out, they don't have that obnoxious 8K presence peak.
Old 28th August 2018
  #18
I've just done my own budget condenser shootout as a learning exercise and help speed up the 'workflow'.

The results are subjective as is the way with microphones, that is to say the same mic used on your guitar in your room with your preamp is probably going to be different but a bright mic should be a bright mic right?

Keeping this tres brief because it's not a review or scientific test.

The RV15 is a LDC valve mic by Red5 Audio and surprised me with a balanced natural sound on the acoustic guitar. I was expecting more bass.
On the other hand the small condenser JM27 by Joe Meek was more high mids and overall a brighter more upfront sound.
The sE2000 MKI was also a little more forward sounding with more midrange and not the bass I expected.
The Baby Bottle by Blue Microphones a LDC sounded balanced with a softer higher end.

.and it went on, even tried a measurement mic, the ECM8000 omni. Horrid little thing on my acoustic and voice but may have uses elsewhere.

What did I take from this....Budget mics sound good, they have the ability to sound great if combined with a good instrument in the right hands and just because a small diaphragm condenser sounds ok on an acoustic guitar doesn't mean a LDC can't be used to suit the song.

Took me an hour to do.





Old 19th December 2018
  #19
Here for the gear
I've got the SP B-1 and the Rode NT-1A. I COMPLETELY disagree with negative comments on these. They have their uses, and when selected for those uses, the adjustments I have to make at the console are very tiny to bring them into a very professional context. Once in the mix with compression, delay, EQ, and other tracks, I would challenge all but the very best engineers to be able to identify these as inexpensive LDCs.

That said, there is no amount of work I've been able to do to bring the NT-1A into the same level of warmth and thickness as the NT-1.

Again, great, great mics, even separate from the low cost, if you pick and match well to the material, position them right, and are able to use your DAW.

This from a guy who tracked and mixed for years with AKG 414 and Neumann (both 47 and 87).

The questions I would ask are:

1. What are you recording?
2. What's your desired sound?
3. Which mics have the right personality for that sound?
4. What's your budget?

Nowadays - compared to five or ten years ago, you have PLENTY of options for the first three even at a budget of less than $200 for a mic.

Yours,

Paul
Old 24th December 2018
  #20
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fret View Post
Hey gang,

Quick one here.

I have in my mic locker three budget LDC Microphones:

1. SE Electronics se2200a Large Diaphragm Mic
2. Audio Technica AT2020 Large Diaphragm Mic
3. Studio Projects B1 Large Diaphragm Mic

Three Questions:

1. Which do you prefer on Male Vocals?
2. Which do you prefer on female vocals?
3. Other than vocals, what are your favourite uses for each?

Looking forward to the replies,

Rock on

Fret.
Hi there.... You can do a lot of very good recordings with those three mics.

The Se2200 will work on a lot of things including male and female vocals and various instruments.
Also despite what a few of the previous hecklers have said, the other two are capable of some very decent results.

The B1 works very well on acoustic guitars, some male vocals and also various percussion.
And as someone else noted, the 2020 is a good backup for whatever you need.

You get a lot of snobs on these forums who have moved on from the low end and settled smugly in the middle realms...
which leads to rather caustic and unhelpful outpourings.
Old 24th December 2018
  #21
Lives for gear
 

The SP B1 is a very nice vocal microphone. It's somewhat the bright side of neutral/modern sounding.

The Rode NT-1 A would NOT be the right choice on a bright voice like mine.
(the less bright B1 works with some de-essing)

This is partly why Rode came out with the flatter (black) NT1.
Better all-rounder IMHO as a result-also a very nice vocal microphone.

Would be interesting to A/B the new NT1 vs. the SP CS5 (or CS1).
Chris
Old 1st January 2019
  #22
Here for the gear
 
Teal_66's Avatar
I have the 2020, and I've used it on a ton of demos (vocals, cabs, acoustic guitars, bell kit, etc. It's fine for that sort of thing, but really, if I were thinking of actually tracking final material that will end up in a real studio - why would I use any of these mics? I would not. After my experiences in real studios, if I were tracking at home, I'd be using a lower end Neumann like the TL 103 as my "cheap" mic going through a decent pre. For me, anything else would just be a scratch track demo.
Old 3rd January 2019
  #23
Deleted 7c654d4
Guest
If I had expensive microphones, i wouldn't be posting this post. I'm a hobbyist and am working with what I can afford.

If i was in a financial position, where my "cheap" microphone was a Neumann, i wouldn't be asking this question.

This is the Low End Theory, I think you might be in the wrong forum category.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
fredv's Avatar
 

Mics are tools, like a carpenter has a large assortment of saws for different purposes. No one mic is the best. Just like genres of music which each person prefers, the "color" or "transparency" of a mic is interpreted by each artist as good or bad.

I actually had an artist prefer an AT2020 over TLM-103. The choice was by sound only as the young lady was blind, and didn't know the model or brand of the mic demoed.

Like genres and styles of music, everone's impression or disgust of a mic is based on multiple perceptions. There is no clear winner.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #25
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredv View Post
I actually had an artist prefer an AT2020 over TLM-103. The choice was by sound only as the young lady was blind, and didn't know the model or brand of the mic demoed.
And yet many people who record music and can see clear enough to drive a car are far more "blind."
Old 4 weeks ago
  #26
I'd go with the SE as well, and just to throw another suggestion out there - don't sleep on the CAD M179.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
fredv's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bill5 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by fredv View Post
I actually had an artist prefer an AT2020 over TLM-103. The choice was by sound only as the young lady was blind, and didn't know the model or brand of the mic demoed.
And yet many people who record music and can see clear enough to drive a car are far more "blind."
I've often found that the "cool look" of a microphone body sometimes sways the aural impression of quality. Same with gear.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #28
007
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007's Avatar
 

The newer Rode NT1 (black) is an absolute stunner.
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