The Beyerdynamic M 88 TG is a unidirectional, hypercardioid dynamic microphone that has become a minor classic in its own right. Designed in the 1960's, the M 88 still looks, and performs, like a modern, state of the art instrument.
The mic is extremely simple in presentation and appearance, generally shipping in a small zippered pouch, with a basic plastic clip. A handsome fellow in muted black, the mic exudes quality for a basic dynamic. And the sound is quality as well, in many respects.
It is very "full bodied" for a dynamic, extending out to both ends of the spectrum. The M 88 sounds "bold" in the sense that it is not afraid to favor both the highs and the lows in a source, bringing those areas forward as a listener might do with a "smiley face" EQ on a home stereo. Why not, if it sounds good?
But the mic never loses its cool, or sounds out of its league. Tonally colored but in a deliberate, honest, and predictable way, the Beyer M 88 is one of the best dynamic microphones of all time. Usable on almost any source, and will flatter most. I use it on kik drum, upright bass, floor tom (awesome!), and as a go-to "all rounder" on stage.
(As a postscript, the M 88 was originally issued with a fine mesh, silver colored grille, which was somewhat prone to coming loose, so was replaced with the "TG", or Tour Group, version, with a bigger, black mesh grille. However, on one of its best uses, kik drum, the new big mesh grille allows too much air movement, and the diaphragm can be damaged, so a popscreen should be used. There is a re-issue of the fine-mesh silver grille models being released.)
I own the TG model. It has a very big sound, it seems to inflate anything you put it in front of, putting a big, full, bright, yet smooth sound out of the speakers.
Before I owned fancy tube condensers, this was a go-to for vocals for me, for a while. It really excels there, sounding a bit more bright and polished than an RE20 or MD441 on my voice. My other main use for this microphone is bass cabinets, it's my favorite on that source, never sounding bad. You get a big colorful sound that seems animated. There seems to be a sort of dynamic effect to the M88 as if there's a compressor of some sort pumping a bit in a subtle way, compared to other tighter sounding mics..pretty neat.
I've also tried this mic inside a kick drum, and it lent a very neutral sound without much of any sort of hype. I tested it on a floor tom, and it sounded very good, but I haven't used it in a production yet in this capacity, though I intend to.
I'm really curious how this might sound on a distorted guitar cabient, given its general smoothness.
The album "Cherry Peel" by Of Montreal was recorded entirely with an M88 microphone on each of the various sources, and to me, sounds very impressive, and is an indication of the versatility of this mic.
I found mine used for $250 and for that price it has been a great value. I'd be happy to try some of Beyerdynamic's other microphones in the future.