Rode M3 by Chris Martins
Let's be clear. This is a very good mic, not just for the price but overall.
If only for features, it would already be a great deal : Mute switch, Hi-Pass filter, 10 or 20dBs pad, obviously it runs off 48 volts phantom power, but will run from 24 volts up, and you can run it off a battery if necessary ( a battery gives you around 200 hours of operation which is pretty good ).
But with all the features, the main question is how does it sound ? Well it sounds very nice ! Much nicer than the 100$ price tag might tell you. As with most Rode microphones, I find you can at least triple the perceived sound value of the mic ( not a hard rule, but some of their mics do sounds well above their price range, the NT3 for instance could be 500$ and that still would be a fair price for the tone the mic delivers ), so this one sounds like a 300 or 400$ microphone at least. You get a lot more than what you pay for. The sound of the microphone is pretty different from other SDCs I've used before, including the NT3. It is very directional, which is a good thing, and it is much warmer and softer than the NT3 for example. It still has plenty of air in the top end and will pick up lows clearly unless you use too much of the proximity effect, then it becomes slightly more "muddy" than it should, but that's the obvious trade off for the warmth you get.
On acoustic guitars, the mic really shines, with a nice warm tone, a very detailed and present midrange , and a nice sheen on the top end, but no shrill high end. Sort of a vintage flair if you'd like.
On a guitar cabinet, an inch or two away from the grill cloth, slightly off center you get a very faithful representation of your tone and it stays clean an dynamic. Very very cool, and with the pad engaged you can still turn the amp loud enough so that you get that tube vibe everyone wants.
Didn't try it on voice, but I guess the warmth should produce a slightly over present proximity effect and plosives could be an issue.
On bass, I'm sure it's pretty handy and effective but I would use a dynamic and LDC first most times. Maybe I'm wrong and I'll have to try it as the warm tone might lend itself to recording a bass quite effectively actually.
The build quality is absolutely great. The mic seems bullet-proof, is pretty heavy and is quite big at almost 9 inches in length and over an inch in diameter !
So, YES ! I'd recommend this mic to anyone who need a very good, pro-level SDC microphone but can't ( or won't ) spend a grand on one. Heck, you can get two and use them as overheads, stereo XY patterns for acoustic guitars, cabinet stereo mic'ing, background vocals... At 100$ a piece, there's nothing not to like about this microphone.