The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Mic shopping, looking for value Condenser Microphones
Old 16th February 2019
  #1
Gear Head
 

Mic shopping, looking for value

I'm looking for a new LDC, something with a bit more warmth and vintage sound for my own (male) vocals. Voice is sort of warm mid-range (baritone?) sometimes airy. My room has some lo-end theory treatment, a couple of 1" panels and some blankets. AI is an alesis io2, which I've been told is fine and that I should focus on room treatment and mics unless I need more inputs. My budget is $300, but I would like to stay under $200.

My current mics:

AKG D5 -live vocal, percussion, snare, will probably replace with something clearer

EV635A/B -recorded vocal, room, cymbals, lends a bit of lo fi mid grit and warmth, seems to need a lot of preamp gain, but this is my pick right now for recording vocals.

AT2020 -my first mic, still use as a desk mic for acoustic/vocal demos, fingerpicking, room/overhead. Bright and airy, e.g. SIBILANT.

Senn e906 -guitar cab mic, grabbed this when they accidentally put it on a ridiculous sale! Still learning it, but it sounds really good on my cabs.

SM57 -a bit honky for my voice, use it a lot for bright acoustic, fender type cabs, drums, percussion etc, you know the drill.

I'm wondering if I should pick up a cloudlifter or budget pre and see what the dynamics I have sound like with some better gain. Will I notice a difference?

I'm also looking at the 3U CM-1 mics that have been recommended to me in the past, but I'm wondering if they will be warm enough or sound close to the at2020. I've been super impressed with everything AT makes (yes, even the AT2020 I think is a great mic, just not for my voice build quality is incredible for the pricepoint), so I'm also looking into some of their mid level LDCs. I'm also wondering if I should invest in some "color" plugins and see what they can do with what I've got.

Thoughts?
Old 16th February 2019
  #2
Quote:
I'm looking for a new LDC, something with a bit more warmth and vintage sound for my own (male) vocals. Voice is sort of warm mid-range (baritone?) sometimes airy. My room has some lo-end theory treatment, a couple of 1" panels and some blankets. AI is an Alesis IO2, which I've been told is fine and that I should focus on room treatment and mics unless I need more inputs. My budget is $300, but I would like to stay under $200.
So you are basically looking for a tube mic for under $200. Looking at what you have already, i would say anything you buy for $200 or less is just going to be a disappointment and a waste.
Quote:
I'm also wondering if I should invest in some "color" plugins and see what they can do with what I've got.
Its never what the tools can do with you, its what you can do with the tools.
A hammer in 2 different hands will yield 2 different results. same goes for everything in music production. If you are not happy with the results with what you have, a plugin that 'colors', what ever that means, will not help you.
Quote:
My room has some lo-end theory treatment, a couple of 1" panels and some blankets. AI is an Alesis IO2, which I've been told is fine and that I should focus on room treatment and mics
1" panels and blankets do nothing for your 'low end' you need at lease $ inches of dense material, like corning 703 or 705 to treat the low end.
I would invest in tuning your room with 2" and 4" panels. Maybe some diffusion panels also..
Old 16th February 2019
  #3
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
So you are basically looking for a tube mic for under $200. Looking at what you have already, i would say anything you buy for $200 or less is just going to be a disappointment and a waste.

Its never what the tools can do with you, its what you can do with the tools.
A hammer in 2 different hands will yield 2 different results. same goes for everything in music production. If you are not happy with the results with what you have, a plugin that 'colors', what ever that means, will not help you.

1" panels and blankets do nothing for your 'low end' you need at lease $ inches of dense material, like corning 703 or 705 to treat the low end.
I would invest in tuning your room with 2" and 4" panels. Maybe some diffusion panels also..
Classic GS response, I could literally have written that for you.

I've designed my work flow to avoid bass frequencies. I record drums in another space, DI bass, and I've started using reactive loads to track guitars. But, I wasn't asking about room treatment was I?
Old 16th February 2019
  #4
Quote:
I wasn't asking about room treatment was I?
Damnm, you forgot what you even wrote. LMAO, here ill quote it for you, to remind you about your own post
Quote:
My room has some lo-end theory treatment, a couple of 1" panels and some blankets. AI is an Alesis IO2, which I've been told is fine and that I should focus on room treatment and mics
If you cant handle the truth, don't ask the question
Old 16th February 2019
  #5
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
Damnm, you forgot what you even wrote. LMAO, here ill quote it for you, to remind you about your own post

If you cant handle the truth, do ask the question
..."and mics". Title of the post is "mic shopping" and is clearly focused on mics.

I'm looking to add something different to my modest collection. I want a different color to paint with. If you think there is no mic in the $300 range that will add anything to what I have then I accept that opinion. If you think my use of the words warm and vintage is dumb, and that the only option is a vintage tube mic, I have a hard time believing that. I'm hopeful for other responses that understand that my expectations are realistic.

I agree with your philosophy about getting the most out of your tools, which is why I'm here in lo-end theory and also why I have treated my room to the extent that I feel is adequate for what I am recording right now. If I get a nice LDC that I like using, or start recording drums more. I may start to hear where my room is lacking and build some bass traps.
Old 16th February 2019
  #6
Quote:
."and mics". Title of the post is "mic shopping" and is clearly focused on mics.
and i addressed that. I said 'So you are basically looking for a tube mic for under $200. Looking at what you have already, i would say anything you buy for $200 or less is just going to be a disappointment and a waste."

Which is true and probably the best advice you will get. Because ive been there. I was you 28 years ago.
Old 16th February 2019
  #7
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by countpocket View Post
Classic GS response, I could literally have written that for you.
Sometimes Classic is Classic for a reason.
Old 16th February 2019
  #8
Lives for gear
 
TurboJets's Avatar
Price range is tough. Heil PR30 or AT3035.
Old 16th February 2019
  #9
Lives for gear
The price range is particularly tough because you already have mics that are going to outperform everything I would usually recommend in that range. The 635 is a very smooth, natural dynamic. The 2020 is a somewhat thin-sounding medium-diaphragm condenser that is still going to sound as good or better than most cheap LDCs (and you seem to know that going in the cheap bright condenser direction isn’t going to flatter your voice).
I haven’t used any 3U mics, so I can’t help there.
I don’t think, from my experience, that plugs or even very expensive hardware is going to deliver the vocal you want to have. I think you need to wait and accumulate more money. If you got up above $400 you would have a few choices that might scratch your itch. Even then there is no guarantee.
Chessparov has, I think, a baritone voice and is the most diligent searcher for microphone gold at copper prices. I think he shares your regard for the 635, so he might have the same tastes as you, at least in a general sense. If he doesn’t respond in this thread, you might PM him and ask him to weigh in here. I say here because I’d be interested in his opinion on your post.
Old 16th February 2019
  #10
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Sometimes Classic is Classic for a reason.
I know. I noticed a huge improvement once I made some panels. Any microphone recommendations or advice on where to go with my setup?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
Price range is tough. Heil PR30 or AT3035.
Thanks, I've been looking at the PR30 or 3U black.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
and i addressed that. I said 'So you are basically looking for a tube mic for under $200. Looking at what you have already, i would say anything you buy for $200 or less is just going to be a disappointment and a waste."

Which is true and probably the best advice you will get. Because ive been there. I was you 28 years ago.
Fair enough. So you think I have a pretty good array of mics unless I want to spend ____ how much? I'm not familiar with the world of tube mics. What about a FET mic? Even a modest step up from the AT2020 is worth it for me, even if it's a lateral move with a more suitable EQ.

Lets say I go buy $50 worth of roxul today and build a bass trap and some 1X1 lumber and make a funky little diffuser for my side wall. It will take me a weekend. Since I already made this thread, what do you suggest I do next? Mic or otherwise. Hardware, software? I've gotten fairly good at achieving the sound I like, but if there is hardware that allows me to use less EQ, dark comp plugins, saturation etc, I'd prefer to get closer to the sound I want on capture.
Old 17th February 2019
  #11
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by countpocket View Post
I know. I noticed a huge improvement once I made some panels. Any microphone recommendations...
Not for condensers in your price range. Any condenser you get for that money will be bad now, and both unusable and unsellable later.

Quote:
... or advice on where to go with my setup?
. I'll never say never, but your bass-frequency-avoidance theory doesn't sound to me like it'll work. You probably want and need at least some bass trapping.
Old 17th February 2019
  #12
Lives for gear
If you get to $500, I would suggest the Aston Starlight to you. It has a vintage setting that is relatively flat in the mid and top, and I have had clients pick it repeatedly when I put it up against “better” mics in an ABC choice setup. I think it sounds almost as good as my favorite $3,000 edge terminated condenser, but my best client (a baritone) likes it better. It also has two other voicing positions if you like a more modern, brighter sound. It seems like it would be hard to go wrong with that mic.
It is a medium-sized capsule like the 2020, but it is a much more pleasant, quiet and adaptable mic. Aston sells it as an instrument mic, but it is also a very capable low cost vocal mic.
Old 17th February 2019
  #13
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
The price range is particularly tough because you already have mics that are going to outperform everything I would usually recommend in that range. The 635 is a very smooth, natural dynamic. The 2020 is a somewhat thin-sounding medium-diaphragm condenser that is still going to sound as good or better than most cheap LDCs (and you seem to know that going in the cheap bright condenser direction isn’t going to flatter your voice).
I haven’t used any 3U mics, so I can’t help there.
I don’t think, from my experience, that plugs or even very expensive hardware is going to deliver the vocal you want to have. I think you need to wait and accumulate more money. If you got up above $400 you would have a few choices that might scratch your itch. Even then there is no guarantee.
Chessparov has, I think, a baritone voice and is the most diligent searcher for microphone gold at copper prices. I think he shares your regard for the 635, so he might have the same tastes as you, at least in a general sense. If he doesn’t respond in this thread, you might PM him and ask him to weigh in here. I say here because I’d be interested in his opinion on your post.
Thanks for the reply. Assuming I build a bass trap or two in the next week, what can I do to get more out of these mics?

I've seen his recommendation for the AKG D790, and may have been influenced by his posts for the 635a/b. I remember him posting some guided by voices style recordings, so yeah we might have similar tastes!

I've also been looking at CAD E100S, SM7+FEthead, obviously upping my budget. Anything in the sub $400 range worth looking into?
Old 17th February 2019
  #14
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Not for condensers in your price range. Any condenser you get for that money will be bad now, and both unusable and unsellable later.

. I'll never say never, but your bass-frequency-avoidance theory doesn't sound to me like it'll work. You probably want and need at least some bass trapping.
I will make bass traps soon.

There are two big cushioned chairs in my studio. Along with the panels I made and moving blankets over reflection points, I am no longer hearing problematic frequencies. I am now hearing the issues inherent in the cheap condenser mic. The only live room recording that is happening is acoustic guitar, vocals, low volume close miced guitar cabs, and percussion. I cut below 100hz 90% of the time on all of it. Anything below 100hz is either DI or recorded in another space.

Last edited by countpocket; 17th February 2019 at 03:58 AM..
Old 17th February 2019
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Hey guys, my ears were ringing/burning!

Considering there are some very strong AE's already on this thread-very flattering!

I'll put up a detailed post, before I go to bed.

I'm expected at a nerdy "Chess Night" shortly. Well at least I come home with my wallet intact-unlike poker!

I know some of you may have heard this clip before (forgive me!), but here's one of my "usual suspects" for low end $$ goodness AKA Oktava 319...
Attached Files

Song 60oldwaysdie319final (1).wav (1.57 MB, 600 views)

Old 17th February 2019
  #16
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by countpocket View Post
Thanks for the reply. Assuming I build a bass trap or two in the next week, what can I do to get more out of these mics?

I've seen his recommendation for the AKG D790, and may have been influenced by his posts for the 635a/b. I remember him posting some guided by voices style recordings, so yeah we might have similar tastes!

I've also been looking at CAD E100S, SM7+FEthead, obviously upping my budget. Anything in the sub $400 range worth looking into?
I am interested to see if a little more treatment makes any difference in the sound from the 635. It is an omni. Mics “hear” a uncontrolled low end in a room far better than you are aware of it. If you took that 635 to a room with effective treatment froml very low to very high, I think you would be surprised at the improvement. You may have seen some of the pictures of vocal recording in the golden years where there is an 87 in a good room, but the 87 faces into “cup” of three 8’ by 4’ fat gobos. You won’t get that sound from an 87 in a room with some furniture and a few random panels.
The SM7b plus Cloudlifter or Fethead works to deliver gain. I’ve used the Cloudlifter with my SM7b.
But.. Those inline preamps were designed to work well with ribbons, which tend to like the high impedances of those devices. However, the SM7b was designed at a time when preamp impedances were typically under 1,000 ohms, and often 600 ohms. The SM7b gets nice and loud with a Cloudlifter, but it seems to thin out the sound of the SM7b, which is fat and warm into a lower impedance.
I haven’t tried any CAD since the late 1990s, so I’m not going to pretend to remember anything about which CAD it was or how it sounded. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t buy one either.
Sorry to bend your ear at such length.
Old 17th February 2019
  #17
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
I am interested to see if a little more treatment makes any difference in the sound from the 635. It is an omni. Mics “hear” a uncontrolled low end in a room far better than you are aware of it. If you took that 635 to a room with effective treatment froml very low to very high, I think you would be surprised at the improvement. You may have seen some of the pictures of vocal recording in the golden years where there is an 87 in a good room, but the 87 faces into “cup” of three 8’ by 4’ fat gobos. You won’t get that sound from an 87 in a room with some furniture and a few random panels.
The SM7b plus Cloudlifter or Fethead works to deliver gain. I’ve used the Cloudlifter with my SM7b.
But.. Those inline preamps were designed to work well with ribbons, which tend to like the high impedances of those devices. However, the SM7b was designed at a time when preamp impedances were typically under 1,000 ohms, and often 600 ohms. The SM7b gets nice and loud with a Cloudlifter, but it seems to thin out the sound of the SM7b, which is fat and warm into a lower impedance.
I haven’t tried any CAD since the late 1990s, so I’m not going to pretend to remember anything about which CAD it was or how it sounded. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t buy one either.
Sorry to bend your ear at such length.
No, that's helpful. Thanks for the post.

I think we can safely remove the low end theory forum, and replace it with "buy an sm57" "save your money", a DIY guide on how to build bass traps, then redirect to another sub-forum.

You all know I'm having fun. Hopefully you are too. Music is suppose to be fun, right?
Old 17th February 2019
  #18
Lives for gear
If the world is a snare drum, all you need is a 57.
Old 17th February 2019
  #19
Quote:
If the world is a snare drum, all you need is a 57.
57 is also my choice for heavy guitar cab.
Old 17th February 2019
  #20
Best advice is to make do with what you have until you can save up $400 or $500, and shop carefully on the used market. That kind of money will get you into a Rode NTK or K2, which offer decent electronics coupled with a well-designed capsule. You might also consider whether an RE20 would work on your voice. Every radio studio on earth has one, so it should be easy to try one out.

If you feel you must purchase something now, used Rode NT-2A's are going for about $250 . I would never call this mic "warm", but neither is it "thin". I've been putting one up for several months as the only mic on an acoustic open stage, and it does a fine job in the typical vocal plus guitar situation. It works on many different voices, male and female, and the cardioid pattern is wide enough that backup singers can lean in for harmonies. It may interest you to know that the previous mic used for this open stage was an AT2020. Consensus is that the Rode kills it.

FWIW, I bought 5 of these for a big project, and I'm now selling off 3 of them. I'll keep a couple around as utility mics. They don't compete with my Neumann's, etc., but they are serviceable and I'm not afraid to put them in harms way. PM if interested, but based on what you've stated about the sound you're seeking, my best advice is still to wait until you have a bit more cash in your wallet.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #21
Lives for gear
 

FWIW if I were starting over from scratch, with a $300 budget for a vocal microphone, with "the vintage thing" in mind...

My first pick would be a used Beyer M88TG. There usually are one or two dealers on ebay selling (supposedly) excellent-even mint M88's for just under $300.
(be prepared to learn how to EQ it well)

Here are some other options IMHO that are also reasonable...

Buying a used Oktava 219, or 319, from Guitar Center.
Their 45 day return policy will give you time to evaluate the microphone.
Then if you feel the need, send them to Bill Sitler for modification.
You may go slightly over $300 total though.

Or get the Rosewell Mini K47, at $300.. Very nice vocal microphone.

More experimental, would be to run the microphones you do have,
through a used GAP-73 pre. (maybe add an AKG D790 also for cheap).
I'm a bit concerned about their build reliability though.
With a low end interface, I wouldn't spend money on a "clean" style mic pre, like a Grace unit.

Regarding the OP's 635a, as Bob Ohlsson suggests...
"Eating" the 635a, with a foam pop screen is a smart way to go.
He uses premium pre'$ though, and I don't think the Alesis interface
will cut it, in comparison.

I particularly like the 3U Audio 251 FET clips I've heard.
The CM-1 clips, both Teal and Black, sounded "smaller" in comparison.
Chris

P.S. If your budget was $700, a used Sennheiser 441 would be great.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
Gear Addict
 
Sniff's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by peterbaide View Post
57 is also my choice for heavy guitar cab.
57 for nailing bass traps together
Old 4 weeks ago
  #23
Gear Addict
 
Sniff's Avatar
 

3u are huge bang for the buck. The longest thread in history is dedicated to them, so you should get any info you need there.

But ..... please buy an Aston Stealth and review it for us, I'm interested but can't justify buying one as already got the usual dynamics.

I need to know if I'm missing out
Old 4 weeks ago
  #24
Gear Maniac
 

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by ISK stuff, so far.

Maybe the trm11? Should be around the 300 mark.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #25
Gear Addict
 
Sniff's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pimket View Post
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by ISK stuff, so far.

Maybe the trm11? Should be around the 300 mark.
Good point - really good reviews and has toob to boot.

In the US they're known as the 2b Beauty.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

2B Beauty is the one I have (names threw me there, because it looked like the trm11 was cheaper). Love it. Have mostly used for female vocals and random other things, but I imagine it would also be good for lower pitched vocals.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #27
Lives for gear
 
edva's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sniff View Post
Good point - really good reviews and has toob to boot.

In the US they're known as the 2b Beauty.

In this price range, for a tube mic, this one is hard, or maybe impossible, to beat IMHO. I have one, it is an incredible sounding mic at anywhere near the price, lush, smooth, and detailed without being harsh or brittle. Multi-pattern too.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #28
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sniff View Post
57 for nailing bass traps together
A mic with black plastic around the head is, at best, a tack hammer.
How about the EV 664 or 666? No Shure has earned a title like “The Buchanan Hammer”.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
Lives for gear
 
TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pimket View Post
2B Beauty is the one I have (names threw me there, because it looked like the trm11 was cheaper). Love it. Have mostly used for female vocals and random other things, but I imagine it would also be good for lower pitched vocals.

The 2B Beauty would have been my first recommendation but they're so popular that you can never find them in stock. Even now, they are sold out at iskproaudio.

I love mine and its the mic I use most. But can you get your hands on one?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #30
Lives for gear
 
DougS's Avatar
 

You can get an Avantone CV-12 used from around $350. I used the mic a lot several years ago. Based on how you describe your voice I think it would sound good - but there's no way to know for sure with any mic until you try it. Its a tube LDC. Its known as a bright mic but it also has meaty mids and lower mids.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
bgood / So much gear, so little time
27
johsjohs / Low End Theory
22
IanDunross / So much gear, so little time
0
Dr.Poon / So much gear, so little time
12
fingerbeats / Rap + Hip Hop engineering and production
1

Forum Jump
Forum Jump