Gearslutz

Gearslutz (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/)
-   So Much Gear, So Little Time (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much-gear-so-little-time/)
-   -   The best cheap microphones that are actually worth collecting (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much-gear-so-little-time/1158687-best-cheap-microphones-actually-worth-collecting.html)

Spano 12th June 2017 03:49 PM

The best cheap microphones that are actually worth collecting
 
I have an SM58, SM7B, MD421mkii, and a Rode NTK for vocals...

I struggle for money, yet I'm trying to build up a decent and diverse collection of microphones for personal and professional recording.

Can anyone recommend any inexpensive mics that are worth picking up?

I love my SM7B, I'm disappointed with the MD421 but it does well with my snare...

I ADORE my Rode NTK, rockout but friends of mine have sometimes described it as shrill. There's a part of me that truly regrets not spending the extra couple hundred bucks to get the upgraded Rode K2..... 8 (


I've been interested by the MXL R80 because I've always wanted a ribbon mic, and the R80 seems like it was specifically built for recording guitar amps...

I almost bought a pair of Fathead ribbon mics, but after I heard that they were intended for recording bass drums, I lost interest.

The Sennheiser e906 also looks very intriguing, but I lost interest in it for a reason I can't remember...

A couple of unreliable peers have told me the Baby Bottle mics are great for vocals,, I don't really believe them tho...

I'd really appreciate any help or suggestions.... Ribbon mics sound so nice! :cowbell:

Micoholic 12th June 2017 04:14 PM

What do you need to record? I could use those mics to record a drum kit, but you might not do run of the mill rock.

Spano 12th June 2017 04:29 PM

I record alot of rock, electronica, rap, bluegrass, etc... lots of different genres...

I'm really hoping to find new microphones to experiment with my voice and guitar.rockout

Bushman 12th June 2017 04:49 PM

I don't know where you heard that Fatheads were mostly used for bass drum. I've never heard that. In general, it is risky to use ribbons as BD mics, especially as close mics or port mics. Puffs of air can damage the ribbon. I've owned a pair of Fatheads for about five years. Ribbons give you a sound and a nearly perfect figure eight pattern across the frequency spectrum that other types of mics can't duplicate. They are very good on guitar amps and drum overheads (Add some high EQ). They are a little dark for most vocals, but can mellow any bright or nasty source.
The Fatheads are short ribbons. Long ribbons are more expensive, but are really the classic ribbon sound. Ribbons require a lot of gain, but if you have preamps with enough gain for an SM7b they should have enough gain for a ribbon.

core64 12th June 2017 05:18 PM

I couldn't agree more... I use my fathead either by itself or in conjunction with a dynamic or condenser for almost all my amp recordings both clean, overdriven and distorted.

Brent Hahn 12th June 2017 05:24 PM

As for real "collecting," mics by boutique makers (meaning one guy) might be. When the maker stops making, the supply becomes finite.

Spano 12th June 2017 06:23 PM

Can anyone share their experience buying a MXL v67?

I'm shocked at how positive the reviews are... someone actually said they preferred it over the Rode NTK!!!!! HOLY SHxT!

for only $80 this seems like a must buy... but then i read some of the negative reviews....

Apparently, the company has problems with quality control... is there anyway to avoid the unfortunate possibility of the microphone breaking down?

Thanks again everybody!

It;s alittle off topic but I just saw a video on the ART Tube MO,,, Would

Bushman 12th June 2017 06:55 PM

My experience with MXL is that their large diaphragm condensers are reasonably consistent and well-built, especially considering their price points. I have not had the same good experiences with the quality and consistency of their small diaphragm condensers, ribbons, and dynamics (yes, they did sell at least one dynamic model).
The V67 seems to be much flatter and less top-boosted than most Chinese LDCs, so it might be a very good alternative to your Rode.

6dyslexicelephnt 12th June 2017 07:39 PM

I just went through reworking my mic selection.
I think the best way to go is to save maybe $2000 and use that as a microphone fund. Then I would try and get recommended versions of each type of mic, like a pair of SDCs, general purpose or vocal LDC, contrasting LDC maybe darker, a medium ribbon and a long ribbon, a large diaphragm dynamic (which you have covered) and maybe a kick drum mic. If you wait for deals as they come, you can save a lot on something you might sell anyway - and if you sell it you want almost all that money to go back into the mic fund.
With all these different types of mics, you can figure out what preference you have on each source. If you figure out that you love a medium ribbon like a Fathead on guitar amps, which was my top choice, then you already know that you're probably going to love a Royer, which you can maybe upgrade to further down the road.
The hardest thing to figure out is drums, because there are so many factors that interact with eachother. If you have a pile of mics, you can try different overhead setups. I found that I preferred LDC over SDC, but I also liked ribbons even though I thought they were a little boxy. So I wanted something that was kind of between a basic LDC and a ribbon mic. Now I have a U67 type tube overhead - it has a silky cymbal sound and a big low end like a ribbon but the crisp detail of a condenser. Once you can imagine what each mic is going to sound like in a given situation, you can combine your observations with mic reviews to try and guess what would be a future mic upgrade for a given source.
So with your pile of mics you will be auditioning almost all of them on each source trying to figure out what you like and don't like about each one. Once you've picked a favorite for each source, you can sell the ones you aren't using to pick another mic that will suit your newfound tastes better.
Having all the mics on hand to test at the same time with the same preamps is important. That's why you need to save for the mic fund. It's also good to have dedicated mic money so you can sell a mic for another one and it can stay mostly out of your finances. An example would be trying different kick mics, which are all about $100-200 but sound radically different so you could buy and sell them and break even and hopefully end up with one you like after a while.
If you use this method like I did, and determine the kind of mics you prefer for each source, and you have a couple of each type, then the hierarchy of mics will get upset with each addition. Like let's say I'm using LDCs on overhead, guitar amp room mic, vocals, acoustic guitar. The overhead sound is the most important to me. So I have a cheaper U67 style tube mic - if I upgraded to a Peluso P-67 for example, that would probably bump my overhead mic off and it would now be in competition with my vocal mic, acoustic guitar mic, and guitar cab room mic. I think it might beat my acoustic guitar mic, so that might move to guitar cabinet room mic, and then the one that was there would be leftover. That mic is my AT4050 - a very useful multipurpose mic - but if I am loving all my sounds, it would make sense to sell it to offset the new overhead mic. It's also easier to afford new mics this way because you're not paying the full cost of a nice mic, you're paying the upgrade cost over the old one.
You will want to fill this out
LDC: NTK
LDC alt:
LDD: Sennheiser MD-421
SDD: SM-7, SM-58
SDC:
Medium ribbon:
Long Ribbon:
Kick mic?:
On the cheaper end I would recommend Oktavamod MK-219/319 for dark LDC and MK-012 for cheap SDC pair. Then definitely get some ribbons. I like Fathead or Nady RSM-4 for medium ribbon and Apex 205 type for long ribbon. These two ribbons should be $80-100 each.

Diogo C 12th June 2017 08:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Spano (Post 12676149)
Can anyone share their experience buying a MXL v67?

I had the v67i for a while, the one with two sides. The "dark" side was very good for vocals, maybe some acoustic guitars, but it wasn't reliable. Sold it after it a couple of repairs - didn't had the patience to go through the third repair process. My experience with low end MXLs tells me that they usually have consistency problems. A few years ago I had four 990s at a studio and it was nearly impossible to make a proper stereo pair.

On topic: CAD M179 and Oktava Mk-219 would be my picks for great mics for little money.

Bushman 12th June 2017 09:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by diogo_c (Post 12676343)
I had the v67i for a while, the one with two sides.
My experience with low end MXLs tells me that they usually have consistency problems.

The "I" has a different capsule and switching. Recording Hacks does not have good reviews of that mic.
I don't doubt your experience with MXL LDCs. Maybe I've been lucky (for once).

Drumsound 12th June 2017 10:39 PM

There are a lot of cheap dynamic mics that are really great and useful tools. The old EVs and AKGs in my collection see a lot of use.

Diogo C 12th June 2017 11:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bushman (Post 12676549)
The "I" has a different capsule and switching. Recording Hacks does not have good reviews of that mic.
I don't doubt your experience with MXL LDCs. Maybe I've been lucky (for once).

Yep, I've been lucky with a few too. Some worked properly for years, no malfunctions whatsoever. I want to try their ribbons at some point.

AevumWinter 13th June 2017 02:20 AM

You might wanna pick up a Studio Projects. I know they're "cheap" Chinese capsules but I started out with one and booked my first TV channel with it. If you know what you're doing you can get a decent sound out of them.

Low Resolution 13th June 2017 06:52 AM

sE Voodoo VR1 - great on gtr amps & drums
Beyerdynamic m160 - a classic for cheap

In this price range both are nice ribbons with original design.kfhkh

Spano 13th June 2017 09:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Low Resolution (Post 12677290)
sE Voodoo VR1 - great on gtr amps & drums
Beyerdynamic m160 - a classic for cheap

In this price range both are nice ribbons with original design.kfhkh


$700 is CHEAP!? I wish 700 bucks was cheap to me.... 700 is closer to a month's rent...

I appreciate the help and comment but I was thinking more of the $100-200 range....






:guitarjam:

Low Resolution 13th June 2017 09:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Spano (Post 12677428)
$700 is CHEAP!? I wish 700 bucks was cheap to me.... 700 is closer to a month's rent...

I appreciate the help and comment but I was thinking more of the $100-200 range....






:guitarjam:

Thomann is selling them for €499 in EU, which is right between sm7 and ntk you have so I thougt it could fit the budget. Didn't check your location... anyway both mics are worth it IMO. Cheers.

Rentzen 13th June 2017 10:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Spano (Post 12677428)
$700 is CHEAP!? I wish 700 bucks was cheap to me.... 700 is closer to a month's rent...

I appreciate the help and comment but I was thinking more of the $100-200 range....
:guitarjam:

I thought you were mistanken about the price of the M160, but you are right...700 on Sweetwater!
They are cheaper in Europe I think. I bought two M160 and one E.V. re-20 used, 3 mics for 700 here in Danmark about 7 years ago and they have been my main drum mics ever since.
Throw a Beyer m201 on snare and you are there for some jobs (and half way there for others...and no way near there for metal:-).
These mics can be used for many things! Love em...

Cozmik Prod. 13th June 2017 10:10 AM

Line audio Line Audio Design - Made in Sweden

Rentzen 13th June 2017 10:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cozmik Prod. (Post 12677505)

Yes to Line Audio also!!!

m_gant 13th June 2017 02:14 PM

DO keep your shure mics. DO buy a pair of fathead ribbons. DO buy oktava. DO NOT go crazy with cheap Chinese LDC mics.

That's my on the cheap experience & advice.

WKWizard 13th June 2017 02:22 PM

Audio Technica 40 series are worth having. Audix D and OM series. Beyerdynamic M160, TG88, TG201. Shure SM81, ect. So many great mics out there.

Ragan 13th June 2017 02:49 PM

Run, don't walk to the huge 3U Audio thread.

My opinion only of course but they're the best value in mics going. I've owned almost everything listed in this thread, for whatever that's worth.

ddageek 13th June 2017 03:49 PM

Take a chance on some older reasonably priced dynamics, the used market is your freind. You will be amazed how many good sub $50 dynamics you can find, going off the beaten path let's you discover your own tone.

thismercifulfate 13th June 2017 05:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Spano (Post 12675809)
I almost bought a pair of Fathead ribbon mics, but after I heard that they were intended for recording bass drums, I lost interest.

Wow. Please don't believe everything you read on the internet. :facepalm:

manny910 13th June 2017 05:43 PM

Hey,
You're definitely going to want a SM57 in your collection. It's one of the most popular microphones of all-time, and for good reason. At $100, its a no-brainer. Been used on many legendary albums, and is renowned for its versatility. A go-to anywhere from vocals, guitar, to drums, it seems to cut through the mix in ways that many other microphones can't. I bought one and didn't learn to respect it until later when I found myself switching out my expensive microphones for the SM57.

There's just something about the SM57.

Bushman 13th June 2017 05:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by manny910 (Post 12678137)
Hey,
You're definitely going to want a SM57 in your collection. It's one of the most popular microphones of all-time, and for good reason. At $100, its a no-brainer. Been used on many legendary albums, and is renowned for its versatility. A go-to anywhere from vocals, guitar, to drums, it seems to cut through the mix in ways that many other microphones can't. I bought one and didn't learn to respect it until later when I found myself switching out my expensive microphones for the SM57.

There's just something about the SM57.

I hate to agree, because I do not love the 57, but it is very hard (or impossible) to beat with another dynamic in its price range. I do like the Senn 835 better for vocals and acoustic instruments, but the 57 on a snare or guitar amp is a unique sound that is popular because it so often works in a mix without much fuss.

gravymanstan 13th June 2017 06:32 PM

SM57 Tab Mod $200 new - vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, etc
SM81 $200 used - acoustic guitar, vocals, etc
At4050 $350 used - vocals, acoustic guitar, etc

SM57 Tab Mod is actually my current favorite vocal mic.

SM81 tried and true on acoustic guitars

AT4050 biggest surprise, I've tried a few of the latest recommended lo-cost mics/modded-mics and this one has survived. Can be perfect, and clear, on vocals, and sounds great on acoustic guitars.

6dyslexicelephnt 13th June 2017 08:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by m_gant (Post 12677783)
DO keep your shure mics. DO buy a pair of fathead ribbons. DO buy oktava. DO NOT go crazy with cheap Chinese LDC mics.

That's my on the cheap experience & advice.

This is a great summary. Chinese LDCs will sound bad while you own them and may break and so for the low price you actually get nothing - bad sound, bad resale, and if it's breaks, it's trash. If you spend $200 on an Audio Technica LDC, they will sound good and are durable and retain value. So instead of having a mic that will turn into a doorstop, your investment will be preserved and the mic will sound good in the mean time.

Dr. Jule 13th June 2017 09:11 PM

If you read reviews always be aware of the date of writing, things are changing in the affordable mic department. For example, 3U Audio mics have replaced Cads and Oktavas for me (which replaced MXLs btw...).
So besides 3U Audio for LDCs I recommend Line Audio for SDCs, RM BIVs for ribbons (yes, I've tried most of the cheap ribbons).
Just in the field of dynamics nothing has changed in the last years. At least to me. 57, 58, 201, SM7B, 421, 112, B52 are still the cheapest useful mics. If you go vintage you can find good mics in MD407/408/409, D19, D190.
Good luck!