Audix Microphones OM2 by dkelley
Handheld dynamic mics have immense popularity both on stage and in the recording studio. For example the venerable Shure SM-57 and SM-58 are found in literally every recording studio and stage sound company.
However there ARE alternatives that don't have to empty your wallet. While Shure themselves have less expensive and more expensive models in their lineup, with dramatically different performance that matches the difference in pricing, you can get a different flavour for very affordable prices by trying mics from a different company.
Enter Audix - a long respected company in live and studio audio. The OM line up is pretty extensive, but the affordable OM2 (currently listed at $99.00 on musician's friend) has a different sound from the sm57/58 capsule that might be attractive.
I've owned Audix OM2s for many years and have preferred them for my own live vocal work where they add a very dramatic 5db smooth lift between 2kHz to around 8kHz, dropping a little bit above that which conveniently reduces breath noises. There is also a strong and useful proximity effect to fill out the low end, leaving a bit of a scoop in the middle which is part of the attraction I have to this mic. Female vocalists tend not to like the mic as much as an sm58 as it emphasizes the brightness in their voices a little TOO much, at least in my own experience supplying mics to female live acts.
However in the recording studio you can get some very interesting uses out of these mics. Put one on a dull snare to add a little more snap. Put one on acoustic guitar to get a surprisingly strong tone for the right type of part. Try one on guitar amp for that searing lead guitar solo. And surprisingly, try one on kick drum - the low end has a nice emphasis as well that can sound really effective in the right mix with the right kit! I've also used one on a less than exciting sounding bass rig and the subtle scoop and emphasis in the bass's presence area (2kHz and up) was just what the doctor ordered to make that tone come alive.
I strongly recommend these amazing mics - the build quality is outstanding, handling noise is pretty low, and the sound is really useful.
It's also great on mandolin - speaking from experience trying to get a good recorded sound out of my own acoustic german mando.
Features? It comes in a bag with a mic clip :-)
It definitely doesn't have that super finished American Idol live sound, it's not a Sennheiser or Neumann handheld... but in a more traditional outdoor or club live gig it's a great vocal mic, and in the studio it has become an indispensable part of my instrumental recording arsenal.