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Home studio $800 mic budget
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Home studio $800 mic budget

Hi folks,

Long post, please feel free to skip the waffle. TLDR at the end.

THE WAFFLE:

I'm building a studio and I've been researching mics obsessively. I'm so far down the rabbit hole that I'm not sure I can remember what the surface looks like. However, as often happens in isolated situations, madness has set in and inanimate objects have started to take on human characteristics. For example, there are all these beautiful microphones giving me the eyes and I just don't know which ones to take home, or whether I should just ask if they have a better looking sister they wouldn't mind introducing me to.

Anyway...

THE STRAWBERRIES:

I'm running everything through a Focusrite 2i2. I have roughly $800 US to spend on mics. The only mics I own are a Focusrite CM25 LDC (came with the Focusrite studio bundle) and my built in laptop mic, so... yeah. I want to upgrade.

Versatility is key for me, I want to record ALL kinds of stuff. Many different singers and instrumentalists. Not just traditional instruments. Pen lids dropped on tile floors. Elastic band flicked at water balloons. Plastic bottle lids hitting wood blocks. If mosquitoes fart, I want to be able to show proof to the world.

I would prefer to invest in at least 3 lower budget mics, as I don't think my level of technical ability as a sound engineer would justify a single higher budget mic. I think I would benefit from a low end dynamic mic and perhaps 2 condensers. With that in mind, here are the ones sending me bedroom eyes...

TLDR: (THE CREAM) I THINK I want a Shure SM57 (I hear you can beat people to death with it when they try to steal your more expensive gear and still use it after you clean the brains off it) and Rode NT1 (flat response and quiet as hell), which will run me out of about $350-400. Now... If you owned these 2 mics and had ~$400 left for your mic budget, what would you buy?

Would you get another of the same LDC to record stereo? Would you get a different LDC? Would you get a SDC to record more transient-heavy sources? Would you sell them both and blow the money on coke and hookers?

I'd really appreciate any advice from folks who know more about this than I do (pretty much everyone here methinks). Please, give me your thoughts. Tell me I'm on the right track. Tell me I'm not. Tell me you think my reasoning is so stupid you're amazed I manage to get myself out of my house every morning without professional help (sometimes I have help with my shoelaces, but we all have bad days). It's all appreciated.

Thanks if you read this far, have a musical day.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
Wondering if a pair of the Roswell mini K47 might be a good option for you, with it's balance of price and quality.

https://roswellproaudio.com/products/mini-k47

Also wondering if you might be better off just getting your 57 and NT-1 to start and saving that $400 for now?

There will always be more gear to buy. I'd pretty much always recommend buying the best thing you can afford, or saving for the thing you really want that will give you a lifetime of use. Surely you can always find uses for that 57..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 

It seems like the CAD M179 fits your criteria perfectly.

It's a multipattern LDC for us$229.

Since it has figure 8 you can use it with the NT1 to record M-S stereo.

A more radical suggestion would be the Shure MV-88 plus. It's an ios mic. You can go on youtube and see where Mary Spender records an song with one in a studio a/b with professional mics. You can hear a difference, but it's not a huge difference, especially when you consider the money. I mention that because you can take the MV-88 a lot of places really easily and make pretty high quality recordings that you couldn't otherwise make. Especially if it's the MV88 (vs the MV88+). Given your desire to record any random thing, being able to always have a high quality microphone in your pocket might be appealing.

Youtube video mentioned https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeeF0cmg-ME
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
Here for the gear
 

Thanks for the suggestions folks, I'll keep on firguring, although I think at this rate I might just have to sell my soul and buy every mic ever manufactured...
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
Lives for gear
 
bowzin's Avatar
Vanguard V13 tube mic.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

You appear to have similar tastes and similar needs, and accordingly I fear for your soul.

Get thee a piezo mic. Also a sensitive condenser. And a good, flat dynamic.

edit: If you don’t already have a field recorder, I shall hit you with *my* sturdiest mic. Be afraid!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 

For recording mosquito farts you'll want to avoid ribbon mics since gusts of wind can blow them out.

In general I think the first mic anyone should own is an SM57. They have a chance of beating any mic at any price on most sources.

I think the big question is do you plan on recording drum sets? That will change everything. If not, then I second the Vanguard V13 recommendation. Just one great mic that sounds good on everything.

If you are planning on recording drums with three mics, you will probably want a pair and then something for kick drum. In that case I'd second the suggestion of a pair of the Roswell K47. They sounds decent on everything and don't have the harsh high end of most other mics in that price range. You can save $100 by not getting a matched pair which is what I would do. Spend the extra $100 on another sm57. As for kick drum mics, that's another rabbit hole.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Shannon Adkins's Avatar
 

If you're not needing to use two mics at the same time, I'll 3rd the V13. I couldn't see that mic sounding bad on anything.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skwid inc. View Post
Thanks for the suggestions folks, I'll keep on firguring, although I think at this rate I might just have to sell my soul and buy every mic ever manufactured...
A reasonable concern! Hah. And yes, the rabbit hole is deep. The window-shopping that can be done in the age of the internet is all-consuming. If Vintage King and Sweetwater made money per click, they wouldn't have to sell anything...

You've already gotten some solid recommendations, but I'll chip in mine. I've given this same advice to people in your situation many times (in real life and on this forum) because this gear has worked really well for me and has paid for itself many times over. I would recommend getting a Shure SM57, as many others have said, as your all-purpose workhorse dynamic, and an Audio Technica AT4033 for your all-purpose workhorse condenser.

Both of these mics are durable, well-made, affordable, and sound very good. The 4033 in particular is a hidden gem of a mic that sounds (to me and many others) much more expensive than it is. People love the 4050 as well, and really everything in the 40xx line is going to be reliable. I'm very much a fanboi of Japanese craftsmanship... most of my instruments -- saxophones, guitars, basses, and the 4033 -- were made in Japan, and I can always count on them to work and to sound great.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
Here for the gear
 

Waaah! Deeper and deeper! So many more excellent looking recommendations, that v13 looks amazing (fuxit, they all do...) and piezo mics could change my life. Thank you all... for making my life harder but... so much more fun...

Beats be with you!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrentA View Post
For recording mosquito farts you'll want to avoid ribbon mics since gusts of wind can blow them out.

In general I think the first mic anyone should own is an SM57. They have a chance of beating any mic at any price on most sources.

I think the big question is do you plan on recording drum sets? That will change everything. If not, then I second the Vanguard V13 recommendation. Just one great mic that sounds good on everything.

If you are planning on recording drums with three mics, you will probably want a pair and then something for kick drum. In that case I'd second the suggestion of a pair of the Roswell K47. They sounds decent on everything and don't have the harsh high end of most other mics in that price range. You can save $100 by not getting a matched pair which is what I would do. Spend the extra $100 on another sm57. As for kick drum mics, that's another rabbit hole.
just add a 47fet to this and you're set


i still use a Beta52 on kick.. does the job .. but I don't really record much in the way of drums, so I wouldn't trust my advice.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
at4040

best bargain mic there is
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Shannon Adkins's Avatar
 

Hard to go wrong with any AT40 series mic
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
Gear Addict
You could get a couple CAD M179s which should be something like $450 for 2, a couple iSK Pearls, which would be $60 for two, a used Oktava MK219/319 (roughly $150 IIRC) if you want a "dark" mic, and some SM57s or SM58s, or I'd go with some iSK ICDMs over the Shures. I'd pick the 3U Audio CM1 (black version, something like $125 USD) over an NT1 for a cardioid only neutral sounding condenser.

FWIW I just got 2 AT4050s for $800 USD. You could probably find a couple used C414s for a similar price as well.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Shannon Adkins's Avatar
 

I've consistently liked the 4050 more than the 414 (both current variants). But I think it has more to do with the type of stuff I record and my aesthetical preferences. They're both great mics.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
JAT
Lives for gear
Oktava makes some good condensers. For 800 you can get a 319 and a pair of pencils if you are good and lucky. Add a 57 and you can cover a lot of bases - I did for years with that locker at home.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
Gear Guru
Thomann has good prices on Oktava new easy to mod also..... AT mics are a safe bet
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
Gear Nut
 

I just bought a pair of encore blue mics. BOGO at Sweetwater. Comparable to the 57 and 58.

I suggest applying for a Sweetwater card. They threw 5K in credit at me. It has allowed me to buy without going broke. They offer 24 and 48 month interest free financing on a lot of their products. Everything ships in a couple of days and the sales guys are great to deal with. Best thing I ever did to help build up my studio without having to bust my bank account
Old 2 weeks ago
  #19
Lives for gear
Two $400 range mics that I'm quite pleased to have are an ADK Thor and CAD E100s.

Have you considered buying used? I've picked up some great deals over the decades from guys that "were going to start a studio" and never did.

Michael
Old 2 weeks ago
  #20
800 would get you both NoHypeAudio ribbon mics that hang in my personal experience with mics 15 times that price ribbon or tube, on vocals, piano, all acoustic instruments plus el. guitar and drums... and have enough left for a very decent clean preamp like Line Audio MP2 (if i rember the name correctly) and a pretty good pizza.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrentA View Post
For recording mosquito farts you'll want to avoid ribbon mics since gusts of wind can blow them out.

In general I think the first mic anyone should own is an SM57. They have a chance of beating any mic at any price on most sources.
The SM57 won't pick up the mosquito fart either ;-)

But seriously, I have an SM57. It's not the best sounding mic for anything I record. I suppose I should probably sell it.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #22
Gear Addict
I would strongly recommend the AT4050 ($800 can get you a pair) after having played around with them for a bit. Mine are really close to sounding identical considering they're not stereo matched or anything. I haven't measured them, but to my ears they're pretty much identical sounding. The good thing about buying used mics from recognizable brands is they'll keep their value.

The Lewitt LCT 441 is still a great mic as well, but if I were to guess I'd say you'd only be able to sell it for $250 (that's about 60% of the new price) used if you ever wanted to get rid of it. It is incredibly quiet and very sensitive though.

I'd check out the ADK Thor as well. Multiple patterns and different voicings.

Or you could get a pair of 3U Audio's (multipattern) Warblers for somewhere around $800 USD. They MKID is supposed to be super flat and U87 like, so they're probably a better bet than the NT1.

You could get 2 of the 3U Audio CM1s as a matched pair, a Warbler MKID (or MKIID, aslo super flat, but more U47 inspired I think), and still get the SM57 (though I'd get an iSK ICDM instead, it's super clean sounding).

Or you could get 3 CAD M179s and still get a decent dynamic mic.

Just some food for thought. There's a ton of great stuff out there as long as you don't say "I need this specific manufacturer's mic" at this price point. Or any price point now (a good U87 clone can probably get you 95% of the sound you want from the real one).
Old 2 weeks ago
  #23
Gear Head
A SM57 and an AT2035 are a good starting point for a little mic collection.
My personal choice for two very good and affordable workhorses:
Beyerdynamic M88 TG and the newer sE electronics sE2200.
Hope that helps.
Cheers
Old 5 days ago
  #24
Here for the gear
 

Thanks all for the suggestions, I've gone with a Shure sm57 and an at4040 for now, putting some of the saved $ into a fathead phantom. Now I just need to figure out how to get ISK mics shipped to the UK or Vietnam...

Considering selling my soul (reasonable condition) for gear, any takers?
Old 5 days ago
  #25
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skwid inc. View Post
Thanks all for the suggestions, I've gone with a Shure sm57 and an at4040 for now, putting some of the saved $ into a fathead phantom. Now I just need to figure out how to get ISK mics shipped to the UK or Vietnam...

Considering selling my soul (reasonable condition) for gear, any takers?
Swamp.net.au will probably ship to the UK.
Old 5 days ago
  #26
Lives for gear
 
kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skwid inc. View Post
Thanks all for the suggestions, I've gone with a Shure sm57 and an at4040 for now...
Solid choices that won't end up in the bottom of the locker, no matter what you get in the future.
Old 5 days ago
  #27
Lives for gear
 
dickiefunk's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skwid inc. View Post
Thanks all for the suggestions, I've gone with a Shure sm57 and an at4040 for now, putting some of the saved $ into a fathead phantom. Now I just need to figure out how to get ISK mics shipped to the UK or Vietnam...

Considering selling my soul (reasonable condition) for gear, any takers?
This company sells iSK products in the U.K.

https://www.runwayproaudio.com/isk_microphones.htm
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