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The Press Desk 19th January 2018 01:41 PM

Ten Most Talked About Condenser Microphones
 
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Condenser microphones are frequently a first choice for recording acoustic instruments and vocals - so they are usually a top purchasing priority for many engineers. It’s no wonder we talk so much about them here as most studios own at least one. Here we present the ten most popular condenser microphones of 2017 on the Gearslutz forums.


 VMS (Virtual Microphone System)

Slate Digital VMS (Virtual Microphone System)

Slate Digital’s ambitions have reached far beyond software, with the company taking on hardware development too by developing control surfaces, audio interfaces and now microphones with the VMS - Virtual Microphone System - a product that merges both the software and hardware worlds to recreate the sound of various classic studio microphones. It does so by deploying a very special recording chain comprised of a super transparent preamp, equally neutral condenser microphones and a plug-in on your DAW to shape the sound. There are currently eight mic models available, including venerated Neumann, Telefunken and AKG mics from yesteryear. It’s definitely a provocative proposition and a bold statement from the company and it’s quite easy to understand why the VMS was one of Gearslutz’ most active topics of conversation over the past year.



 U 47

Neumann U 47

People can’t seem to get enough of the Neumann U47 - it’s arguably the most revered large-diaphragm tube microphone ever made and its immense track record speaks for itself. The everlasting popularity of this studio classic is rivalled only by a handful of other products in our industry and if it weren’t for the disruption caused by the VMS, the U47 would probably grab the number one spot on this list! Needless to say, it’s an uber-expensive mic - they’ve been out of production since 1965 and it’s estimated that there are only a few thousand of them in existence, making it a luxury piece that attracts not only working engineers and world-class recording studios, but also collectors - with auction prices reaching considerable heights.



 C12

AKG C12

Along with the U47 the C 12 is also a microphone that remains among the most loved pieces of gear of all time, and with good reason. Originally introduced in 1953 and discontinued roughly a decade later, the C 12 set the standard for many LDC mics to follow and the original AKG capsule is still considered to be one of the best designs of all time. It’s not only great sounding but also extremely versatile thanks to nine polar patterns. Its enduring success is a testimony of its superb quality and it’s definitely in most people’s “microphone hall of fame”, so we’re not surprised it’s made the list.



 P-12

Peluso Microphones P-12

Following in the C 12’s footsteps is the Peluso P-12, a microphone that is designed to closely follow the legendary 1950s design while also making it somewhat affordable and thus more accessible. The P-12’s components and circuits are matched as closely as possible to the originals, enabling it to deliver all nine polar patterns and, more importantly, the unique sound character that made the C 12 so popular. Peluso’s work on this classy tube microphone has been lauded as some of the best in the business, and it’s safe to say that the P-12 stands as one of this community’s favourites of the current crop of mics available new today.



 CM3

Line Audio CM3

Line Audio’s CM3 is constantly talked about on Gearslutz when the topic is “small condensers that deliver great takes without breaking the bank.” This nifty little mic delivers a big sound with a minuscule footprint that is only just bigger than a XLR plug. The small size enables it to be easily placed almost anywhere you need, making it a natural candidate for drum toms or anywhere that doesn’t allow for full-sized mics but still needs a condenser. The price tag is almost as small as the CM3 itself and unquestionably makes it a very appealing option when funds are slim.



 WA-87

Warm Audio WA-87

Warm Audio has made a significant impact on our industry over the past few years, with interesting products that make their versions of classic analog designs affordable to the masses. The WA87 is their first foray into the microphone sector, and following the company ethos it brings one of the most coveted large-diaphragm FET condensers of all time bang up to date without burning a hole in our wallets. Needless to say that its mere existence was more than enough to spark conversation and ignite debate about how close it gets to the original mic - all in the best Gearslutz traditions!



 REDD Microphone

Chandler Limited REDD Microphone

Chandler Limited caught the recording universe by surprise when in November 2016 they announced the REDD large-diaphragm condenser microphone. This imposing microphone not only pays homage to the classic EMI/Abbey Road gear of the past but it also advances the game by incorporating Chandler’s own REDD.47 tube preamp inside the mic body itself - yes, that’s right, there’s a premium preamp inside it so you can use it with or without an external mic pre. As expected everything about the REDD screams quality of the highest degree and the forum chatter shows all the signs that Chandler has a classic in the making.



 NT1

Rode NT1

The Rode NT1 is easily one of the most recognizable names when it comes to budget large-diaphragm condensers. Although discontinued for a while, its enduring popularity led Rode to bring it back into production in 2014. For many the NT1 (and its sibling, the NT1-A) represented a viable entry into the world of microphones, providing an opportunity for everybody to own a professional large-diaphragm condenser thanks to a very affordable price. Some may argue that it might not be on par with other (usually much more expensive) offerings out there, but nevertheless it’s a capable microphone that can tackle many situations and most importantly, it allows for those on modest budgets to get started in the recording craft.



 C-800G

Sony C-800G

A studio staple since its introduction, the Sony C-800G is a tube microphone based on a revered Neumann capsule wrapped around a cutting-edge design that spares no expense. Sony’s goal was to create a “definitive vocal microphone”, combining the best components with the best available technology and design to deliver nothing but the most accurate representation of the sound source with near-zero distortion. It seems like they have successfully met that goal, as the C-800G is widely used and by now you probably heard many, many songs that were recorded with this mic.



 M 49

Neumann M 49

The second Neumann microphone on our list may not be as popular to the wider public as the “U” series, but it’s an equally great sounding tool and of great historical importance as well. As the name hints, the M 49 was initially designed in 1949 (to be introduced for sale in 1952), and it debuted a very useful feature that allowed engineers to change the polar pattern remotely by turning a dial located on the power supply. It extended the two polar patterns found on the U47 (cardioid/omni) with an extra bidirectional pickup pattern option and it also presented a new grille design to attenuate unwanted resonances. As with other Neumann mics from that era it won’t be easy to find or own a M 49, their production runs were not numerous and it was discontinued in 1974, but fortunately it might not be as expensive as some of the other more “household” names… which doesn’t mean it’s not expensive!


There’s the list! Interestingly enough, small-diaphragm condensers were mostly absent, with only the single lonely entry. The competition was particularly tight on the bottom half of our list, so honourable mentions/shout outs go to the Telefunken CU-29 Copperhead, Violet Designs Amethyst Vintage and Wunder Audio CM7 - all of which should be on your shopping list as well.

How was 2017 for you when it comes to condenser mics? Are you happy with what you have? Looking forward to adding more options to your locker? What are you expecting for 2018? Please let us know below!

cyjanopan 19th January 2018 01:50 PM

this list is kind of funny, are engineers that nostalgic or new manufacturers so bad?

Doc Mixwell 19th January 2018 03:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cyjanopan (Post 13082076)
this list is kind of funny, are engineers that nostalgic or new manufacturers so bad?

"most talked about"...could be anyone nowadays...

cyjanopan 19th January 2018 03:53 PM

sure, but what else is to say about M49 or U47?

Doc Mixwell 19th January 2018 04:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cyjanopan (Post 13082248)
sure, but what else is to say about M49 or U47?

Its pure fantasy,

_Bender_ 21st January 2018 12:27 AM

hm....any threads as long as the 3u mics? Guess they don't count as top ten when the main distributors aren't shelling em outabduction

hitwriter 14th March 2018 03:53 PM

Townsend Labs Sphere L22 not on this list? Do i detect a Slate bias?

titetrax 20th March 2018 07:28 AM

Well at least I feel vindicated and well stroked. boing My mic, the Rode NT1, was on the list!!! Phew....That was close. I almost had a heart attack scrolling down. "Where is it? Where is it? Where Is It? WHERE IS IT?" Ahhhhhhhhh....... NOW, I can sleep tonite...khrthjdrt

doye 23rd March 2018 11:58 AM

;););););)

kakao 25th May 2018 05:51 AM

This is only someones opinion .. :)

JTC111 25th May 2018 03:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kakao (Post 13336265)
This is only someones opinion .. :)

The list itself isn't anyone's opinion. It's the result of some algorithm that looked to see which microphones were mentioned the most in GS threads. It's not a list of the 10 "best" mics. It makes sense that the classics would come up often since conversations about newer mics usually wind up with someone comparing them to the classics because that gives a frame of reference which makes sense to many here.

Jose 16th June 2018 07:22 PM

NT1 = Harsh

DanDan 16th June 2018 07:36 PM

Daft
 
The most significant Studio Mics of all time, world wide, are not in the top ten being 'talked about'. Seems those talking are a bit out of the loop.
U67, U87.

These lists are meaningless nonsense, IMO, perhaps even covert advertising.

DD

DistortingJack 30th August 2018 09:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jose (Post 13372490)
NT1 = Harsh

As it happens, the new NT1 is very smooth and warm, and actually rather dark. It sounds absolutely nothing like the original NT1 which sounded harsh and cheap, or like the NT1-A, for that matter.

I genuinely don't know why Rode decided to give it the same name, they're obviously very different microphones.

The "most talked about" lists should go, though, they're useless. The yearly "best of" are much more useful.

DanTheMan06 30th August 2018 07:38 PM

NT1?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jose (Post 13372490)
NT1 = Harsh

The new one is not harsh at all. It is smooth, very flat and easy to EQ, especially if the vocalist is not too close to the mic. A good mic, one of the best in this price range.

Dan

Fletcher 8th September 2018 09:17 PM

OMFG this is a complete crock of !!!! [beat the GS "nanny filter" to the punch] - Some of the crap on there is exactly that - utter crap. The Peluso P-12? Spare me.

thenoodle 8th September 2018 11:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fletcher (Post 13508732)
OMFG this is a complete crock of !!!! [beat the GS "nanny filter" to the punch] - Some of the crap on there is exactly that - utter crap. The Peluso P-12? Spare me.


So the Peluso P12 is one of the most talked about mics on GS and maybe the 78 conversation threads about it are talk from guys complaining they don't like it, want to sell it, can't decide whether to buy it, or one guy who accidently posted a telecaster response in a p12 conversation. And then, there's one guy who posted he likes it out of the 77 others.

What's your gripe?

Brent Hahn 9th September 2018 03:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fletcher (Post 13508732)
OMFG this is a complete crock of !!!! [beat the GS "nanny filter" to the punch] - Some of the crap on there is exactly that - utter crap. The Peluso P-12? Spare me.

Why so serious? This is an alternate universe that's a lot like the one where people you never heard of are "impacting radio" in New Music Weekly.

Not a big deal.

huglife187 9th September 2018 07:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DanTheMan06 (Post 13494044)
The new one is not harsh at all. It is smooth, very flat and easy to EQ, especially if the vocalist is not too close to the mic. A good mic, one of the best in this price range.

Dan

really? ... interesting

angelsigh 2nd February 2019 08:12 PM

not sure if this is the right place to ask lol...i've got a soft and high breathy voice - is a condenser mic a good choice? currently have an mxl v67g (was a gift) and looking to try something different...

huglife187 2nd February 2019 09:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by angelsigh (Post 13786082)
not sure if this is the right place to ask lol...i've got a soft and high breathy voice - is a condenser mic a good choice? currently have an mxl v67g (was a gift) and looking to try something different...

maybe this is not the right thread ... but how much do you want to spend? what don't you like about the mxl v67g and what kind of sound are you looking for?

Dohreetoh 3rd February 2019 10:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by angelsigh (Post 13786082)
not sure if this is the right place to ask lol...i've got a soft and high breathy voice - is a condenser mic a good choice? currently have an mxl v67g (was a gift) and looking to try something different...

Make a thread about it, but the V67G is a pretty good option to have in a home studio. There are a lot better options now, (3U Audio CM1, iSK BM-600 which is about the same performance but a bit less self noise and multipattern for about $120) but it's a solid mic that's easy to get your hands on. Keep it around until you think you need a $400+ multipattern mic if the k67 capsules work on your voice. Lewitt's LCT 441 Flex is a good option if you think you need different polar patterns. SE Electronics T2 and 4400a can be had for cheap used as well. But if you only need a single pattern mic the V67G is a fine choice, and a cheap inline preamp in a budget interface is probably a much bigger issue than the 20 dB-A self noise of the V67G.

bill5 12th August 2019 02:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DanDan (Post 13372507)
The most significant Studio Mics of all time, world wide, are not in the top ten being 'talked about'. Seems those talking are a bit out of the loop.
U67, U87.

These lists are meaningless nonsense, IMO, perhaps even covert advertising.

DD

Then why did you read it?

PS if you'd read the thread title you may have realized the topic isn't "most significant studio mics of all time" (whatever that even means) but "most talked about" for 2017, which I assume means most mentioned on the site.

But thanks for reminding us there's your opinion and the wrong one. shiee

That said, I agree the "most talked about" (which I think is the same as "most popular") could go. It is a nice non-controversial way to make lists since it just says what's most talked about, not an opinion on the best, but really, who cares what is most talked about? If there's a mic everybody loves to hate it could get on the list too.

How about a "Best LDCs" thread? Or better yet, several of them in prices ranges say $300 on down, $300-600, and $600+? Cmon GS staff take a chance kfhkh (Course you know no matter what mics make the lists there will be "omg I can't believe you left off mic X" replies lol)

Dohreetoh 12th August 2019 06:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hitwriter (Post 13199379)
Townsend Labs Sphere L22 not on this list? Do i detect a Slate bias?

People don't talk about the L22 much, which is a shame because that's the mic I'd buy if I wanted to emulate other mics. Yeah, it's more expensive but it allows you to do different polar patterns. The Slate VMS gets mentioned so much because it's $1000 I think.

drummerdan1988 1st September 2019 07:35 PM

Looking at mic comparisons for days and showing it to engineers who have heard origional u47s. the nt1 is an impressive mic regardless of price. And i think we are getting closer and closer to the day where modern inexpensive mics are equal( albiet slightly different) to expensive vintage models.

McNewlove 2nd October 2019 02:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by titetrax (Post 13209762)
Well at least I feel vindicated and well stroked. boing My mic, the Rode NT1, was on the list!!! Phew....That was close. I almost had a heart attack scrolling down. "Where is it? Where is it? Where Is It? WHERE IS IT?" Ahhhhhhhhh....... NOW, I can sleep tonite...khrthjdrt

She is a great, unassuming mic. Lol

McNewlove 2nd October 2019 02:17 AM

So AT mics are not that popular on Almighty Gearslutz? Wow, and I beat myself for days for choosing the NT1 over the AT4040...hmm