MXL R144 by Myles McCormack
I first came across this mic when a friend donated it to help us film without much hassle. I placed it in the centre of the room and positioned the four musicians at various distances and angles depending. The resultant recording was much more enjoyable to listen back to than what I'd been expecting, with deep convincing double bass and percussion, and sharp attack from acoustic guitar and mandolin being smoothed out significantly.
First off, it's noisy. Using the built in preamps on my m audio interface the mic is more or less unusable, but I've found that with slightly more clean gain from a TC Electronic unit the noise is low enough to be workable. I haven't tried any other preamps yet but I could maybe update this when i have.
Recording an overtone rich Irish handmade guitar it provides a beefiness which I haven't been able to capture with any other combinations, without having to move in too close to the guitar, however for detail I almost always use a capacitor mic as well and find a blend of the two.
For mandolin I have found a similar combination of the R144 and an omni placed coincidentally captures the midrange beautifully without exaggerating the highs like a condenser in the same price range might.
Finally, for recording a simple setup of two fig 8s on a singer with a finger style acoustic it does the job exactly how I'd hoped, with great off axis rejection and a nice retro tone for a recording of a 'live' performance.
So in conclusion, I find this mic very useful on acoustic instruments where it offers a tonal palette you won't get from any entry level condensers, but in order to get good results with it I almost always combine the signal with an omni or cardioid. I suspect I fall exactly into the target market for this product, as I have a small low budget, have been using the same various condensers for a while and wanted some more options. It this also applies to you then you may well like this mic but I'd only recommend it if you already have a good preamp.