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Recording a Whole Album with Only Two <$200 Mics - SM57 and ??? Condenser Microphones
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Question Recording a Whole Album with Only Two <$200 Mics - SM57 and ???

I think it is a fun theoretical exercise but in my case it is of real practical concern. I'm putting together a super-budget studio, and I'm looking for a second mic (probably a condenser?) to compliment the two SM57s I already have and use on everything. I record vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, some strings (cello, violin), amplified synthesizers.

Can anything decent be had for under $200? Or should I just stick with the SM57s and spend the money elsewhere?
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Gear Head
Check out the AT2035 or even cheaper the Rode M3. Both complement a SM 57
nicely and are useful, solid options in every mic locker.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlywhelmed View Post
I think it is a fun theoretical exercise but in my case it is of real practical concern. I'm putting together a super-budget studio, and I'm looking for a second mic (probably a condenser?) to compliment the two SM57s I already have and use on everything. I record vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, some strings (cello, violin), amplified synthesizers.

Can anything decent be had for under $200? Or should I just stick with the SM57s and spend the money elsewhere?
You already have two SM57s? I did an entire indie album with SM57s (all but the one I owned were rented), and the band liked it better than the demos they'd recorded at the "big" recording studio in Tampa. The '57 works well for many things!

If you're budgeting $200 for another mic, I'd suggest a small-diaphragm cardioid if you're recording vocals or acoustic guitars. Large-diaphragm cardioids can help with certain instruments or vocalists, but they're usually a bit more expensive, and you'll want to check out a few reviews to see if the one you're considering works well with what you plan to record.

There are some decent choices in the SCD (small-diaphragm condenser) field, but you don't want to buy based upon price alone. R0DE makes some pretty good SDCs, and they're usually not too expensive. I have one of the newest NT1-As, and it works just fine for me on vocals and acoustic guitar. I know some on GS aren't thrilled with the NT1-A, and I understand some of the earlier ones were a bit noisy, but the newest ones are pretty good for the price.

If you're relatively handy with a soldering gun, you can mod some of the inexpensive MXL mics to make them quieter and (in some cases) extend their frequency response--or flatten it out a bit. You'll see MXL mics everywhere, and you can usually get two in a "kit" for $200 or less. They're not a matched pair; they're just sold as complements of each other. But you may still want to mod them (for around $20 each, or less) to make them quieter. I have two MXL mics; one a friend modded, and one he bought for me that wasn't modded. They're fine, but they're not usually my first choice for anything.

As with anything on GS where opinions on products are involved (which is pretty much everything on GS ) you should consider asking those who "love" or "hate" a particular mic what experience they've had with it. If that experience aligns with what you think you'll be doing with the mic, it's probably worth considering that person's opinion. (That said, you're still going to get people who just hate a mic/synth/guitar/DAW/whatever "just because", even if they've had no experience with it.)

Steve
Old 1 week ago
  #4

If you can add $30... The CAD M179 is super flexible and neutral.



-tINY

Old 1 week ago
  #5
Lives for gear
 
avare's Avatar
 

Line Audio OM1 or CM3
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlywhelmed View Post
I think it is a fun theoretical exercise but in my case it is of real practical concern. I'm putting together a super-budget studio, and I'm looking for a second mic (probably a condenser?) to compliment the two SM57s I already have and use on everything. I record vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, some strings (cello, violin), amplified synthesizers.

Can anything decent be had for under $200? Or should I just stick with the SM57s and spend the money elsewhere?
Buy a Beyer M88 second hand - about $200 (they're $400 new)

Then you'll have a mic I sometimes pick over my U47!

A Beyer M88 will record a world class vocal (as used by Bryan Adams, Phil Collins, Eric Clapton on million selling albums)

You can stick it in a bass drum, record a bass cab, record percussion, acoustic guitar, electric guitar .... anything in fact.

My absolute desert island dynamic mic and always a preference over a cheap condenser.

They are superb - please demo one if you get a chance :-)
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Consider a ribbon. Cascade Fathead is I believe about $160.

If you're determined to get a condenser, my front-runners in that range are the se X1A and AKG 220.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
I like this idea, and I do firmly believe that with enough creativity, resourcefulness, and musicianship, you can definitely make a very good album with just a couple inexpensive (but still decent-quality) mics. My nominee for your 57's companion would be, without hesitation, the AT-4033. I love mine very, very much. A new one would be over your budget but you should easily be able to find one for around $200 used, maybe even less.

I've had the privilege of recording with some of the finest mics out there, and I still love that 4033 to death. It just works. Mine has so many miles on it and I still feel like it's just getting started.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Lives for gear
Use a different flavor of saturation on each track.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Gear Head
 
Smoke M2D6's Avatar
+1 on the AT 4033. (It does everything super versatile) Also Good Mics I have used under $200 is the Lewitt 240 (really clean and versatile as well, and the Warm Audio 47JR Fet.(Not as versatile, but can do some things such as Vocals, kicks, and bass cabs well. ) Or you could spend $200 and get a stereo pair of AT2020's that would work as well.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Condenser of choice, perhaps used for a little extra value (does also bring some added risk, naturally).

AT4040 isn’t a bad choice. Or indeed, 4033.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
Gear Addict
 

A used Rode NT 2A would do
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