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Do everything mic +/- $500
Old 4th August 2020
  #1
Gear Addict
 

Do everything mic +/- $500

As the title says, looking for a do everything (probably LDC) mic in the neighborhood of $500. Primary uses will be small percussion, foley, nature/environmental sounds. Very rarely/occasionally will be singing, and possibly some spoken word.

This is primarily for adding ear candy to house music a la Jon Hopkins or Rival Consoles, so anything recorded will likely not feature prominently or if it does it will likely be heavily processed.

Been a LONG time since I was in the market for a mic. Figured there was a lot of great value mics outside the rode/AT mics I knew of 20 years ago.

Something that doesn’t sound nervous or brittle, something that can be stacked without sounding awful if I use it for recording shakers and claps and a sampled, processed vocal on the same track kinda thing.

Don’t mind buying new or used.

Thx!
Old 4th August 2020
  #2
Gear Head
Aston Origin/Aston Spirit
Rode NT1 (not a-version)
Shure KSM32

Are usually the most recommended.
Old 4th August 2020
  #3
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by syllerud View Post
Aston Origin/Aston Spirit
Rode NT1 (not a-version)
Shure KSM32

Are usually the most recommended.
I’ll check out the shure. The rode sounds nervous to me quite often, and the Aston sounded brutal in some YouTube demos.
Old 4th August 2020
  #4
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Kronos147's Avatar
Mojave MA-201fet
Old 4th August 2020
  #5
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You could probably pick up a used pair of Beyer MC930 for that price. Stereo would open up options for you.

If you definitely just want one mic, the SE4400a is worth a look.

Chris
Old 4th August 2020
  #6
the rode nt1 (not to be confused with nt1a) is surprisingly good for the money, even better through a decent mic pre, I used to have the NT2-A and it was very versitile but it's no U87ai so don't kid yourself, the best thing about it was the ultra low noise, but it was very bright and sometimes harsh on some things, however I managed to get good recordings out of it through careful placement.
Old 5th August 2020
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pencilextremist View Post
the rode nt1 (not to be confused with nt1a) is surprisingly good for the money, even better through a decent mic pre
Actually it's even a bit more complicated than that.

Not sure if you are refering to the original grey Nt1 or the newer black ones?

The grey NT1 is less bright and harsh than the NT1a but is still a pretty bright mic.

The newer black NT1 is quite different altogether and is a rather balanced sounding mic overall. Definitely a very solid mic in this price range.

Just slightly above budget is the Warm Audio WA87 (this is Gearslutz so I am required to try to get you to spend more) if you want a mic that is even less bright and more vintage sounding. Decent noise level but not as crazy low as the black NT1, it has lower output level (good for some sources maybe less so on others) but uses a transformer which gives some additional color to the sound. Also a very versatile mic if you are looking for a little character over clarity.
Old 5th August 2020
  #8
I was refering to the newest black one, the old ones sound horrible, both the original nt1 grey version and nt1a, they are both way too bright, the Rode K2 is quite a nice microphone as well and under 500, with just changing the tube in it you can greatly improve the sound.
Old 5th August 2020
  #9
you won't get anything as good as a real 87 without buying the actual 87 made by neumann, you're kidding yourself if you think those clones are as good, the gefell umt70s is another to look at.
Old 5th August 2020
  #10
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Progger's Avatar
I'm surprised that nobody from the 3U Audio fan club has shown up in this thread yet, so I guess I'll be its first ambassador. For a do-it-all LDC workhorse in that price range, I don't think you can do better than a 3U Audio Warbler MKID. Of course it's not a real Neumann, and it's a tenth of the price, but it's an excellent, high-quality, versatile mic that is worth in utility many times what it costs. Guosheng Zhuang makes great capsules and uses high-quality components in all his circuits... but most importantly they just sound great.

Also in that price range, the Vanguard V4 is getting great reviews from friends of mine who use it professionally and love it. I've never used a Vanguard mic personally but I'm eager to try one, they seem very cool.

You could also probably find an Audio-Technica 4050 for around $500, and that's about as versatile a utility mic as there is.
Old 5th August 2020
  #11
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edva's Avatar
A used Sennheiser 441 would be one ideal selection as per your stated goals and budget.
A new Beyer M201 might also work well for you.
Both dynamics of course, which means little to no self noise, among other attributes (environmental stability, no phantom power issues, typically better durability, "smoother" tone, less ambient noise pickup, etc.)
Be careful about self noise accumulating with the use of low-priced LDC's.
IMHO. Good luck.
Old 5th August 2020
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pencilextremist View Post
you won't get anything as good as a real 87 without buying the actual 87 made by neumann, you're kidding yourself if you think those clones are as good, the gefell umt70s is probably the only similar sounding mic.
Which Neumann U87 are you talking about? The current U87ai or the original 60's version which is really a bit of a different mic.

Most people are incorrectly comparing the clones to the newer U87ai which is not even the mic that is being aimed at.

Not saying that a $600 Warm is going to be spot on to an original 60's U87 but that is what they are going for with the WA87.

If you want to get closer still the Stam Audio SA87 should probably get pretty close to an original (I haven't heard one but it's a damn impressive looking mic with what they claim to be building there) but it's like $900 bucks which I thought was getting a bit beyond the OP's budget of $500.

Anyway the WA87 is a mid priced mic and however close or not it is to an original U87 it's a pretty decent sounding piece of gear that doesn't sound weird and peaky like a lot of condensers out there. It's got a good transformer in it and is a useful tool for somebody with $600 to spend on a mic that will cover a bunch of uses from vocals to acoustic guitar, to drum overheads. The black Rode is similarly useful in it's price range and is less vintage sounding (clearer but not to a fault) and also a good possibility for the OP as it is even within budget.
Old 5th August 2020
  #13
Gear Addict
 

Stam stuff looks great. But for a higher end mic my wishlist includes a sphere mic, so that’s why I’m capping this purchase at $500. I don’t need a $1500 mic right now and the sphere is completely sold out everywhere. But that sphere sounds pretty darn great to my ears.

The KSM32 seems like a good choice, neutral, at least decent results on basically everything. though I’ve never been less excited to spend money on gear before... doesn’t seem like something to be overly enthusiastic about
Old 5th August 2020
  #14
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Unclenny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by syllerud View Post
Shure KSM32
Definitely worth a look from what you said in your opener. I still use mine for occasional spots that might not benefit from the big ol' tube mic.

KSM32 has that cool slightly smaller capsule so it has a somewhat unique sound on some things.
Old 5th August 2020
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pencilextremist View Post
I was refering to the newest black one, the old ones sound horrible, both the original nt1 grey version and nt1a, they are both way too bright, the Rode K2 is quite a nice microphone as well and under 500, with just changing the tube in it you can greatly improve the sound.
Depends on Source.
Original Rode NT1 (grey) sounded terrific on Amy Winehouse's "Valerie".
A good friend makes a nice $$ full time VO living, off the (Silver) NT1-A.

I do agree the new NT-1A (black) is a better all rounder vs. the other Rode incarnations.
The 3U Warbler MKI, though, gives you 3 voicings.
Chris
P.S. Watch out Warm WA-87, there's a new U87 Clone in Town... The Beesneez version.
On a audio clip of it, on an R&B vocal, sounded just like a 70's U87i.
I listen to a TON of those 70's Soul vocals, from that era, so it was easier to tell for that.
Old 5th August 2020
  #16
Gear Addict
 

I have definitely been fairly unimpressed by basically everything from warm audio. None of it seems to sound anything like what it’s mimicking. They’re using old names to drive interest which i get from a marketing perspective. The WA87 sounds more shrill than a modern 87, and more so than the vintage ones as well. It would be one thing if they sounded great, but nothing like their inspirations. But they seem to sound very meh, and nothing like the inspirations. Same on the outboard kit as well.

Not awful, but more marketing sizzle than real results.
Old 5th August 2020
  #17
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uOpt's Avatar
Used for $500? The AT4050.
Old 5th August 2020
  #18
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

For house music and foley I would get a pair of good pencils and some choice dynamics instead of one 'decent' LDC for that budget.

One of these is great, but don't pay this much. Mine cost me about a third of that:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Philips-ste...YAAOSwIKVd2rKf

Makes crunchy fun! Surprisingly cool sound.

Get a Beyer M69 for occasional vocals and a pair of Line Audio CM4's for a quality stereo anything. Dynamics are great in house music incidentals. No nasty harsh. There are loads of super cheap well sounding ones for vibes, crunchy perc loops etc. And the cm4's are superb and neutral sdc condensers for anything in natural stereo. And also insanely cheap.

Another house music vocal awesomeness for cheap is Electrovoice 635a. Cost you about 50 dollars second hand. Slots a vocal into house like a champ.

If you really want the one single LDC I would say see if you can stretch to a 414 EB or even B-ULS or maybe an AT4050. Yes, there are many new mics, but they are often tangy at that price, and you say you don't want that. Can't blame you. I don't either. lol
Old 5th August 2020
  #19
Lives for gear
 

The Warm stuff is "built to a price", it's still a nice mic though. It has a good quality mic capsule. Generally it's their circuitry/parts that are OK, but not Neumann level.

IMHO for a non-Pro Studio person, it can make an excellent choice. Because it can be a good match, on an individual singer/musician.
I think the 3U stuff edges it, in terms of having quality parts inside.

FWIW I have two Oktava's, (219 & 319) from their mid-Production era. When their consistency was infamous for being sloppy. The 219 is very smooth/lots of Low Mids. The 319 "brings out the vocal rasp". (cool at times)

On a blind test, I wouldn't even believe they were related. Theoretically, they should sound very similar since they have the same capsule, but the bodies are different.
Anyway, each one one is handy, for different songs/keys as a result.

This is why "other things being equal"/under $500, I think one of the 3U Warbler series are a fine choice.
Chris
Old 6th August 2020
  #20
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
For house music and foley I would get a pair of good pencils and some choice dynamics instead of one 'decent' LDC for that budget.

One of these is great, but don't pay this much. Mine cost me about a third of that:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Philips-ste...YAAOSwIKVd2rKf

Makes crunchy fun! Surprisingly cool sound.

Get a Beyer M69 for occasional vocals and a pair of Line Audio CM4's for a quality stereo anything. Dynamics are great in house music incidentals. No nasty harsh. There are loads of super cheap well sounding ones for vibes, crunchy perc loops etc. And the cm4's are superb and neutral sdc condensers for anything in natural stereo. And also insanely cheap.

Another house music vocal awesomeness for cheap is Electrovoice 635a. Cost you about 50 dollars second hand. Slots a vocal into house like a champ.

If you really want the one single LDC I would say see if you can stretch to a 414 EB or even B-ULS or maybe an AT4050. Yes, there are many new mics, but they are often tangy at that price, and you say you don't want that. Can't blame you. I don't either. lol
Was looking at 414’s but newer models as the retro models have too high of resale. Even the xls has gone from around $500 6 months ago to 600-700 lately.
Old 6th August 2020
  #21
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Yes. IMHO AT4050's are at least comparable to 414 XLS', at $700 new/each.
Chris
Old 6th August 2020
  #22
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
AT 4050 or sE T2 come to mind if you're set on an LDC. The T2 has a titanium capsule that captures transients quite nicely and might be really great for foley (I've never done foley myself). I know it works on percussion, as does the 4050. You need to buy used to get a 4050 for $500, but can get a new T2 for that.
Old 6th August 2020
  #23
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3bc View Post
Was looking at 414’s but newer models as the retro models have too high of resale. Even the xls has gone from around $500 6 months ago to 600-700 lately.
To me the XLS is bland af and the XLII is too shiny, whereas the B-ULS is "not wrong" and EB is lovely. Subjective of course. But my money will never buy any of the new ones.
Old 6th August 2020
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
To me the XLS is bland af and the XLII is too shiny, whereas the B-ULS is "not wrong" and EB is lovely. Subjective of course. But my money will never buy any of the new ones.
I feel the same way, wouldn't touch the new ones especially the XL.
Old 6th August 2020
  #26
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pencilextremist View Post
I feel the same way, wouldn't touch the new ones especially the XL.
The XL can sound 'good' on some female vocalists if you're doing glossy music I guess. But I hate glossy mics, as it can't be rubbed off again, and a non shiny mic can be made to sound shiny in a second flat with a plugin.
Old 6th August 2020
  #27
Gear Nut
 

I like the AT4050 for $500 used as an all around mic. Not sure i’d Blow off the Warm 87 either........ while it’s not a perfect clone of a Neumann, it’s still a damn good microphone for the money.
Old 6th August 2020
  #28
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uOpt's Avatar
The AT4047 is more of a specialized mic for very low sound levels. Good pickup and low noise. As a general-purpose mic the AT4050 is more flexible IMHO.
Old 6th August 2020
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
The Warm stuff is "built to a price", it's still a nice mic though. It has a good quality capsule. I think the 3U stuff edges it, in terms of having quality parts inside.
This is Warm Audio's claim about the parts in the WA87:

Fairchild FETs (field effect transistors); polystyrene, tantalum, and WIMA film capacitors; and a genuine USA-made Cinemag.

Pretty quality stuff there. The Cinemag I would imagine may be a bit different than the original 60's - mid 80's Neumans but it's certainly not a low quality transformer.

The caps also might be a bit different but again what's there is high quality stuff.

The capsule and the head basket I would think would be the most difficult parts to get exactly right and actually hit spot on with a clone.

Note: Stam Audio doesn't use the Cinemag and their SA87 is like $300 more.

I've never had the chance to use an older U87 but that is the mic Warm Audio chose to copy and instead people continue to compare it to the U87Ai which is brighter, tighter, and has more output than the original Neumann U87.

The WA87 is kind of low output for an LDC and has a nice mid while the top and bottom are not as clear or tight as the Ai.

The only review I have read that actually compares the WA87 to the original U87 claimed it was pretty similar sounding to it but lacked some of the "weight" in the low mids that the original was known for. That's not bad for a $600 budget-ish clone.

I think the Warm is hurt not so much by their mic's actual performance but by people's unrealistic expectations of the mic. The original U87 as I understand it didn't get some kind of "rays coming down from the sky best mic ever" kind of response when it came out. It was often passed over for the older tube Neumanns for critical stuff like lead vocals by people who had the option of U67's and U47's or other really impressive mics like the C12 or 251.

If you are expecting the sound of a U87ai or the old tube Neumann's then skip the Warm but if you want a good mic and something different (darker) than a lot of modern mics for $600 that is something like an original 1967-1985 U87 then you might want to check it out.

No, I don't work for Warm Audio or sell their stuff. I just enjoy audio gear and sound and try to pay attention to the history of it as well as what is going on currently in the land of recording that mere mortals can maybe attempt to afford.
Old 6th August 2020
  #30
a DIY kit is yet another option, if you can solder that is.
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