TASCAM TM-PC1 by mdme_sadie
So I got a stereo pair of these small diaphragm condensers for only $49 during a recent sale. So far that's proven to be an amazingly good deal, and normally they come for $129 a pair.
Obviously the first question anyone is going to ask is "can I get a pair of Neumann beaters for $50" and the answer is going to be an emphatic no. But that's not a "No because Neumann are quantifiably better in every possible way" it's a "No because nothing else is a Neumann", these mic's sound good, not like a Neumann, but good like a workhorse clean stick mic should sound and honestly much better than I was expecting for the price, heck you'll spend more on the mic stand setup than on the mic's.
The sound is a tinge darker than I was expecting, which is actually a good thing for my needs on acoustic guitar. I do not mean that they lack high end or are muffled, they're not, it's just that they're not as sharp or hyped sounding as some other stick mic's I've encountered. The proximity effect is quite noticeable but fortunately the cardiod pattern on these is very directional and they're pretty sensitive with surprisingly little noise, so you can pull them back and still get a good clear track.
If you've got a full mic locker then these are not going to interest you, there are better mic's out there, there are much more expensive mic's out there. But if you're just starting out or need a backup pair of stick mic's for instruments that will get you a very useable result then at least here, so far so good. These guys might just fit the bill.
At the moment I'm reminded of the old Radioshack dirt cheap PZM's that everyone raved about and were a total insider deal, until Radioshack caught on and nerfed them. There's something slightly slutty making me feel like I'm pulling a fast one somehow by using these, they're just a little too clean, a little too good for the price.
Oh, and for the negatives. The little mounts they come with are cheap and naff, the switches for the Pad and Low Frequency sensitivity require the use of a tiny screwdriver to switch and feel cheaply mounted which is odd as the slots are right there for a proper externally accessible switch, which means you're going to set & forget those guys.
The rest of the construction seems solid enough, and I need to emphasize that these are decent mics that seem to be able to hold their own despite the bargain basement price. If you have the skills then I don't see these mic's as holding you back from making some wonderful recordings.
I haven't exhaustively tested every stick mic out there, but when listening compared to the rest of my mic locker these guys seem to sound similar to mic's that are a couple of hundred more than their list price out of the gate with comparably low noise floor, so I imagine that's where you'd have to start looking to upgrade from them.