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Versatile alternative to M179 (2018) Condenser Microphones
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Versatile alternative to M179 (2018)

Hi. My first post here, so I hope I don't make any blunder

I was wondering whether you could help me out on choosing my first microphones.

Short story is, I (a complete beginner at recording) would like to start recording some stuff at home. Nothing serious, just some ideas, and I would like to start learning how to record music etc. The things I'd like to record would include (in the order of decreasing priority):
  • voiceovers / reading kind of stuff (male voice, more in the lower registers)
  • acoustic cello
  • acoustic guitar (classical & 12-string)
  • electric guitar through a tube amp (with some low sounds - 8-string)

From what I read, most instruments require more than one mic to properly capture their sound. This is why I was thibnking about getting two microphones.

After some research, I was thinking that for the electric guitar I would be getting an Audix i5 - since I like it more than e.g. SM57 after listening to various blind tests etc. That would set me back around $100 USD incl. shipping here in Europe. But since that recording scenario is the least important to me ATM, that might yet change.

Now, for the other scenarios, I was thinking about an LDC. My intended budget was up to $250-300 USD. The mic should be as versatile as possible (with recording guitar cabs capabilities being the least important, since I plan to use the i5 for that when the need arises). So after reading quite a bit, I've decided on a CAD M179 - great value for money, neutral, versatile with multi pattern, with good reviews - perfect!

However, the problem is, here in Europe the cheapest offer that I've managed to find is around $295 USD incl. shipping. Buying from the U.S. would cost me around the same in the best-case scenario, and could potentially cost me much more due to the taxes. Seeing that people on this board seem to suggest that $150 is a good price on those mics, and that current retail on M179 in US is around $230, I started wondering whether that would still be a reasonable price for this mic, and whether there aren't better options at this price point...

I've read lots of threads here about various microphones, but couldn't find a good solution to my problem.

A few people seem to really like the Studio Projects CS5 - however, getting any mic from Studio Projects is close to impossible in Europe. Nobody sells them here, and Studio Projects themselves won't ship outside U.S.

Then there is the CAD E100S - which is way outside of my initial budget, but sounds perfect for my needs (mostly acoustic instruments and male voice-over). That one would cost me around $550 USD here in Europe. However, E100S is a cardioid-only microphone - no switchable patterns. Which, in addition to its relatively high price, makes me think it may not be the right choice for me...

There are lots more - Rode NT1 (not the NT1-A), Oktava MK220 etc., but the opinions are very mixed, beginner-friendly comparisons very few, and most of the threads are quite dated. That's why I decided to start my own.

So... could you perhaps help me here, or offer some advice / recommendations?

My budget on the M179 alternative would be up to $250-300 USD incl. shipping. However, the most important factors for me are versatility and value for money. If something incredible in this regard comes up, I think I would be able to stretch my budget up to about $500 USD.

Also, if you have any other advice for a beginner with my needs - any tips are welcome!

Thank you!
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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esldude's Avatar
 

As this is your first post. Welcome here on the forum.

I have a pair of CAD M179 mics. They are exactly what you are looking for I think. They won't be perfect for every use. They seem to be good to very good for nearly any use you have listed.

Another alternative in your price range would be some pencil condensers with multiple capsules. I have a pair of Avantone CK-1 mics which fit that description. These have an omni, cardioid, and hyper cardioid capsule. Those too can be versatile and for a couple of your uses I'd rate them a little better than the M179 (acoustic cello and guitar). And while they aren't a fail for your other uses the M179 is probably better all the way around. Still the CK1's are $150 each in the states though I don't know in your area how available they are.

Avantone claims to use some higher quality internal components, but the mike is clearly one available under many names with the same capsules and body. So such should be available where you are under some brand name.

Something like the multi pattern Shure KSM44 would do well for you. It's possible you could get some second hand in your budget. They are a better mic than the M179, but not worlds better. An Audio Technica 4050 second hand fits into the same category though I've not used the 4050.

Also it wouldn't be a bad idea for your stated purposes to get a mismatched pair. By that I mean a M179 and a good quality pencil condenser. This isn't going to be great for stereo recordings of multiple instruments, but for single stringed instruments or voiceover etc. it works out fine. You also can do mid-side recordings. Set the M179 in figure 8 mode and combine with any other mic pattern. Of course you can do mid-side with a pair of mics like the M179 too. Or get a less expensive pencil condenser so you'll have more money for a multi-pattern mike second hand like the 4050 or KSM44. You also might look at the Rode NT2a. It is a medium multi-pattern condenser. Similar to a M179 for 150% the price. I've not used them so I don't know. They definitely would fit your budget second hand if you can score a pair.

I fear like is often the case I've expanded your choices without providing much clarity. So if my other options don't seem appealing don't sweat it just skip them. Like others will tell you the most important thing is to get something and start learning by doing. Your idea of medium to large multi pattern mike is likely a wise choice for starting out in your case.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
I’ve bought and sold 4 CAD m179s in the past four years.
It’s a good mic, mellow top end and multipattern. I was patient and always found them around $120-130.

Last year I found a used Roswell Mini k47 and bought a pair of ISK Pearls.. Something about the CADs mid range always seemed hollow to me, and I often felt like they had too much bass. The pearls are slightly brighter but I’ve been really enjoying them on piano and overheads.

I sold my recent pair of CADs a couple weeks back after I noticed I hadn’t used them and needed money to master my newest record.

I’m also really impressed with the Roswell Mini k47, it doesn’t sound hollow in the minds (very rich!), doesn’t have too much bass and has a nice mellow top.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
As this is your first post. Welcome here on the forum.
Thank you

And thank you for the recommendations and detailed advice, it's really appreciated.

So, in your opinion M179 might still be the safest option even when it would cost me $290?

I'll definitely look into those Avantones. CK-1 is available in Europe and goes for around $165 new, which seems to be relatively good price.

For some reason I have real trouble finding any second-hand mics here in Europe (on eBay as well as some local sites), at least the models you mention and those recommended on this forum. Perhaps people don't like parting with good gear, or the season isn't right.

However, I was unable to find neither the KSM44 nor the 4050 used. And new ones go for at least $770-1000 and $730-800 respectively, so they'll be a bit too expensive for me as a complete amateur. Though I'll definitely listen to them online, and I'm going to be on the lookout in case any of them appear second-hand somewhere.

I've read some mixed opinions on various Rode microphones, so I've subconsciously eliminated them from my research so far, but NT2a are available locally and definitely within my budget, so I'll definitely read up on them - esp. since a NT2a would cost me the same as a M179 under my circumstances.

I guess recording multiple instruments at once isn't a concern for me - I don't expect in the foreseeable future to find myself in any situation where I wouldn't be recording just myself - so multiple instruments are no problem.

Having no experience whatsoever and based only on the bits and pieces I read here and there, I imagined I might get away with recording acoustic instruments using one dynamic (the Audix i5, the one I intended on using mainly for guitar cabinets), and one condenser. Though I guess it would probably require consciously matching the microphones based on their character / frequency responses so they can cover the entire spectrum of the instrument well, instead of just finding a decent dynamic and a decent condenser, and using those together, like I'm trying to do... I guess the only thing I can do with my knowledge is do what you said - get something and start experimenting.

However, from what you wrote I gather that you'd rather recommend picking up two condensers (either a pair or two different mics) and using that, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc Neibauer View Post
I’ve bought and sold 4 CAD m179s in the past four years.
It’s a good mic, mellow top end and multipattern. I was patient and always found them around $120-130.

Last year I found a used Roswell Mini k47 and bought a pair of ISK Pearls.. Something about the CADs mid range always seemed hollow to me, and I often felt like they had too much bass. The pearls are slightly brighter but I’ve been really enjoying them on piano and overheads.

I sold my recent pair of CADs a couple weeks back after I noticed I hadn’t used them and needed money to master my newest record.

I’m also really impressed with the Roswell Mini k47, it doesn’t sound hollow in the minds (very rich!), doesn’t have too much bass and has a nice mellow top.
Thanks! Unfortunately shipping on CADs (or in fact almost anything) from the U.S. to Europe is anywhere between $50-100, and more often than not they charge you with taxes on imported goods (VAT etc.), so you end up paying quite a lot more than the net price. I hate taxes. So the only offer on M179 on my continent is about $290, which made me think there might be something better available at this price.

Roswell Mini k47 looks interesting. Unfortunately they look like another good piece of gear that isn't available here. I come to think that European microphone market sucks in comparison to the U.S.

So now I'm leaning towards buying one M179 for now and seeing where that gets me. It looks like even with this higher price it's still worth it, and is the easiest choice for someone inexperienced like myself.

I realize that it's hard to help me when half of what you might suggest won't be available where I live, and the other half will have completely different prices. All the more I appreciate any and all of you suggestions! Thank you guys!
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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MarkF48's Avatar
I have the M179 and I find it to be a decent mic, although not the best I have for my voice. If you search you may find some comparisons of the M179 to the AKG C414. I've never used a C414, so I don't know. They've gone up in price. I paid $129(US) back in 2013.

Is the Lauten LA-220 available at a reasonable price in your country. Two of my recent mics are the LA-220 and the Mini K47. I really like both of them a lot.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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esldude's Avatar
 

Rode's sometimes are harsh and sibilant. I don't know about the NT2a however.

Guitar comparing the M179 to a $1600 Schoeps. At least you can hear the M179 can do well.
YouTube

Avantone on a guitar.
YouTube
Old 5 days ago
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Thank you MarkF48 and esldude. I think I'll go with the M179, if I can get it. It's the safest option, and the switchable patterns will help me to learn the basics of recording, I think.

The comparison with the Schoeps is certainly reassuring. The thing that raised my doubt was a comparison I've found between M179 and E100S on spoken word, mentioned in this post: Any Good MXL, CAD, Etc Voice Over Mics?
The difference, even for my untrained ears, is huge. M179 sounds harsh and unpleasant, whereas E100S appears nice and smooth. However, perhaps there were errors when recording with the M179, since the thing that I find the most unpleasant are the "s"es (are those plosives?) - I think those shouldn't be so audible? I hope that a pop filter or moving the mic a bit would resolve the issue.

I really appreciate your help, guys. Cheers!
Old 5 days ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 0null0 View Post
Thank you MarkF48 and esldude. I think I'll go with the M179, if I can get it. It's the safest option, and the switchable patterns will help me to learn the basics of recording, I think.

The comparison with the Schoeps is certainly reassuring. The thing that raised my doubt was a comparison I've found between M179 and E100S on spoken word, mentioned in this post: Any Good MXL, CAD, Etc Voice Over Mics?
The difference, even for my untrained ears, is huge. M179 sounds harsh and unpleasant, whereas E100S appears nice and smooth. However, perhaps there were errors when recording with the M179, since the thing that I find the most unpleasant are the "s"es (are those plosives?) - I think those shouldn't be so audible? I hope that a pop filter or moving the mic a bit would resolve the issue.

I really appreciate your help, guys. Cheers!
In that comparison, yeah mostly I hear the M179 as having a bit more in the presence rise, maybe a bit lower in freq.
You can sure hear that proximity effect kicking in in 'fig8.
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