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If I could have only one mic (under 2k), what would you recommend?
Old 1st November 2018
  #1
Gear Head
If I could have only one mic (under 2k), what would you recommend?

I’m thinking about taking a plunge and buying a high quality mic that is versatile to use on vocals, electric guitar amps, acoustic guitars, and even as the only mic on a drum kit.

I have mics, but none of them are high-end.

I’m looking to get one that is an all-purpose workhorse (or simply high quality and versatile).

I have a home studio. I’m not a pro. I want to make my recordings special, though.

Thank you,

Chris
Old 1st November 2018
  #2
Shure SM57
Old 1st November 2018
  #3
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allstar's Avatar
 

There’s not a lot you can’t successfully mic with an AKG C414. I like the eb models including the often overlooked Teflon capsule variation.
Old 2nd November 2018
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

A big part of me wants to say Neumann TLM 49. I can't think of anything I've put it on and been disappointed.

Might not be the thing for single drum mic, though. I believe the max spl rating is like 110 dB or something around there. Drums can pretty easily go north of 110, especially if your dealing with a heavy hitter.

I've never not liked it on pretty much anything else.
Old 2nd November 2018
  #5
Deleted 86c3d96
Guest
Used Gefell UM70, and some money left over.
Old 2nd November 2018
  #6
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RE20
Old 2nd November 2018
  #7
Quote:
I have a home studio. I’m not a pro. I want to make my recordings special, though.
A mic will not make anything special, as you put it. Get an SM57. Its widely used in every studio and there is not as pro studio that does not have it in their mic locker. Its also good as a meat tenderizer!!

If you cannot make your recording special with a $99 SM57 ,then no mic will help you.
Old 2nd November 2018
  #8
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Coles 4038
Old 2nd November 2018
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
A mic will not make anything special, as you put it. Get an SM57. Its widely used in every studio and there is not as pro studio that does not have it in their mic locker. Its also good as a meat tenderizer!!

If you cannot make your recording special with a $99 SM57 ,then no mic will help you.
My favorite thing about an SM57 is Albini's description of them on the Electrical Audio website: "If you need to record something and there's no microphone available, this will do, I guess."

Electrical Audio - Equipment - 1

I get what you're saying, but at the same time, given a choice between doing all my tracking with a 57 and something even as budget-friendly as a 4033, I'm taking the 4033. Also, the thought of using a 57 as a single drum mic makes me want to quit. I'm glad those days are over for me.

I'm not player hating. I would agree that your sound source, mic placement and technique matters as much as, if not more than the microphone itself, but mic selection definitely matters, too.

And anyway, I get the impression the OP was just asking for some suggestions for a nice mic he could add to his locker that does more than one thing well. Suggesting a 57 seems a little out of the spirit of the whole thing.

I mean, I usually just assume most people have at least one example of the most ubiquitous recording microphone on the planet. I'm pretty sure my mom even has one tucked away in a closet somewhere.
Old 2nd November 2018
  #10
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by UKMK00 View Post
You can buy 4 Beyer m201s for about 1200 USD....
I have not tried these at all, but love me some M160s. What's your favourite application?
Old 2nd November 2018
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mag J View Post

I mean, I usually just assume most people have at least one example of the most ubiquitous recording microphone on the planet. I'm pretty sure my mom even has one tucked away in a closet somewhere.
That's not a microphone...
Old 2nd November 2018
  #12
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mbvoxx's Avatar
I agree with the AKG 414 vote. You could get two of them for under 2K...I prefer the older B-ULS model. But if you just want to spend more money on one mic I'd also highly recommend the Blue Kiwi.
Old 2nd November 2018
  #13
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dezb1 View Post
That's not a microphone...
Tuche´

Looks kind of like a microphone...
Old 2nd November 2018
  #14
Quote:
I get the impression the OP was just asking for some suggestions for a nice mic he could add to his locker that does more than one thing well. Suggesting a 57 seems a little out of the spirit of the whole thing.
I disagree. The SM57 is a great all around mic that can do differing things. It can record snare drums, vocals to trombones very well.

If you were to ask 20 audio engineers what is a great mic that can do several different things, the SM57 would get mentioned more than any other mic

CJ
Old 2nd November 2018
  #15
Here for the gear
 

Funkwerk Leipzig Cm7156 if you can find. Great vintage mic!
Old 2nd November 2018
  #16
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dickiefunk's Avatar
I find both the Shure KSM32 and Audio Technica AT4040 are excellent workhorse mics and work on a large amount of different sources.
Old 2nd November 2018
  #17
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Al Rogers's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 86c3d96 View Post
Used Gefell UM70, and some money left over.
Old 2nd November 2018
  #18
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Swurveman's Avatar
I would buy 4 used AT 4050's and use them for stereo drum overheads and room mics when recording drums, stereo mics for recording acoustic guitar when necessary and room mics when recording amps.
Old 2nd November 2018
  #19
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jdier's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sspace View Post
I’m thinking about taking a plunge and buying a high quality mic that is versatile to use on vocals, electric guitar amps, acoustic guitars, and even as the only mic on a drum kit.

I have mics, but none of them are high-end.

I’m looking to get one that is an all-purpose workhorse (or simply high quality and versatile).
This is a tough question, and you really are not going to know until you have the mic and have found it meets your needs, but here are a few thoughts from a guy who showed up here a long time ago with similar questions...

If I had to just pick one from what I own now and keep it under $2K, it would be my Soundelux 195/Bock 195. It kills as only mic on drum kit and is great on vocals and just about anything I put it up for.

Since it goes for $1K, here are two other mics that I think are great to have around.

Sennheiser 441 - It is a dynamic that has a great big sound. Excellent on vocals, guitar amps, acoustics... you name it. Just a great mic.

AKG414 - This is another one that just kills. Great sound on loads of sources. Sometimes perfect for vocals.

I also really like the idea of picking up the studio workhorses... 57's, 421's, RE20's

Good luck on your quest.
Old 2nd November 2018
  #20
In your position I would rather not put all my eggs in one basket. I would much rather have 2 or 3 less expensive mics so that I would have more versatility. What sounds great on one voice or one instrument might not be best for another, and in MANY cases the most expensive mic does not win.

Take a look at some of the options from Advanced Audio - for instance you could have U67 and a 251 style tube mics (that have had very very good reviews) within your price range.
For $299 there is a 251 style Warbler (the Warbler Mark IV) that is actually really good (no, not exactly a 251, but in the sonic ballpark, and sounds much more expensive than the price would suggest.)

If you don't have clients demanding brand recognition (unlikely for a home studio) this is totally the way to go. A ton of bang for the buck in many of the clone mics.

And.... if you have $ left over, almost every home studio could benefit from better acoustic treatment.

Last edited by bambamboom; 2nd November 2018 at 10:33 PM..
Old 3rd November 2018
  #21
Gear Addict
A used U87 or U87ai if you can find one for under 2k. Hopefully you already have a 57/58 for electric guitars (i usually prefer a dynamic mic for guitar amps)

2nd choice would be an older AKG 414 (before the LED polar pattern indicator), Gefell UM70 or Neumann TLM49
Old 3rd November 2018
  #22
Gear Maniac
 

For everything that I have read C414 best suited from vintage models....I went to a really nice "pro" studio that uses a c414 normal and they were blown away by my Bock U195. It is crazy how amazing this mic sounds. So full so clear so realistic. It made me wonder what $5000 mic or more sounds like.
Old 3rd November 2018
  #23
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
I disagree. The SM57 is a great all around mic that can do differing things. It can record snare drums, vocals to trombones very well.

If you were to ask 20 audio engineers what is a great mic that can do several different things, the SM57 would get mentioned more than any other mic

CJ
Given a us$2000 budget for one mic I’d be pretty surprised if one of your 20 picked a 57. I have a c414b xls and I can’t think of anything I’d record in a studio with a 57 instead. On stage in the rain the 57 for sure.
Old 3rd November 2018
  #24
Old 3rd November 2018
  #25
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MickeyMassacre's Avatar
Lauten Atlantis. Basically 3 mics for the price of one. Save $500. It blows me away every time I get to use it.
Old 3rd November 2018
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by piper View Post
Given a us$2000 budget for one mic I’d be pretty surprised if one of your 20 picked a 57. I have a c414b xls and I can’t think of anything I’d record in a studio with a 57 instead. On stage in the rain the 57 for sure.
Right?
Old 3rd November 2018
  #27
Gear Addict
 

I hear a lot of people who can use anything and maybe just don't want to be bothered using Mojaves. For $2000, I could easily build a small mic locker, so unless you're married to single track/single source, that's what I would do. Shure KSM32, AT 6050 (used) or 4050 or 4047, all good options, with the 4047 probably being the least of a Swiss Army Knife.

I'd get a used Blue Kiwi, and a ribbon or two (tapeop has great reviews on several in the past year for $500ish) and call it a day.
Old 3rd November 2018
  #28
Check out Lewitt and Mojave. Modern designs for the digital age.
Old 3rd November 2018
  #29
Quote:
I can’t think of anything I’d record in a studio with a 57 instead. On stage in the rain the 57 for sure.
Just because you cannot think of anything doesn’t change the facts. It was chosen over 2k mics all the time by Engineer, producers and musicians.
When an engineer selects an sm57 out of the Orr mic locker that has 30 different mics, some over 3k, they have chosen that mic over the rest.
Those are facts,
Just because you cannot think of it doesn’t change the facts
Old 3rd November 2018
  #30
Gear Head
Sm58
Topic:
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