#1
I want to start using less direct input with recording and more micing real equipment, and as such I want something much better to do it with than just a single SM57, so I've been looking into a decent condenser mic.

I don't know as much as I'd like about mics at the moment though except that I'm looking for something that either is or has a mode that is a flat, even response so I have as much control as possible, and I've had good experiences with the Recording forum before, so I figured I'd ask you guys.

Budget is $200, but the cheaper the better since money is tight. I'd like it to be a do-everything tool, but I can live with an SM57 on a guitar amp, so it'd mostly be used on acoustic guitars and vocals, primarily my own voice(Low male bass-baritone). Currently looking at a Blue Spark, but again, I don't know a ton about the subject, so I want to hear any suggestions you guys have. My audio production professor mentioned a Shure Beta 87A would be worth looking into too, but since that's $50 out of my price range, I'm a little hesitant on it.

Thanks in advance for any help.
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#2
What I've used of the Blue range is okay, but nothing really special. It feels like you can get more for your money elsewhere.

Look at AT and SE mics, all I've heard about them are good things. If you can stretch your budget a bit more you might be able to find a new/used AKG C214. From what I've heard it's basically the 414 without the switchable pickup pattern (only 1 diaphragm), and the 414s are some of the most versatile mics i've ever used. They'll cover everything you need really well and more.
#3
The MXL 990/991 are pretty decent condenser mics. Many artist use these as well. I started off with these and many times I still use them in my recordings

Today they have them both on sale in a package for $80

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/recording-microphone-packages/mxl-990-991-recording-microphone-package

The 991 is great for guitar or string instruments and even for amp-ing. The 990 is great for vocals. Use them both together for stuff like acoustic guitar makes for a beautiful mix, great for both high/low ranges
Gear
Rode NT1A mic | SM57 mic | MXL 990/991 | KRK Rokit Powered RP5 Monitors | Crybaby 535q | Jackson Randy Rhoads RR1 | B.C. Warlock | Gibson Acoustic | Yamaha Mixer | M-Audio Fast Track Pro |
#4
The MXL991 get's a bad rep from most of the people on this site that has used them.

Budget condensers I know to be pretty good are the AT2035 and the Se2200
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#5
Would not suggest the MXL 990/991 at all, probably the worst sounding mics I've ever owned. Alright for a cheap starter set, but not useful at all once you become even remotely serious IMO

Check out the MXL V67g, you can pick them up for $85 on Amazon and they are absolutely killer mics that won't be outclassed until you get into mics 5 - 6 times its price. It IS a very colored mic, so it works very well on vocals, as it has a nice mid bump and none of that cheap sounding Chinese top end. I haven't tried it much on acoustic, but I image it'd fair well, assuming you don't mind a warmer tone (personally, I hate super bright acoustic guitar tones). At $85 a piece, you could buy two and record a stereo pair on your acoustic and still be $30 under budget
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#6
I suggested the MXL package because you want mics for both vocals and guitar and with your budget, this would work until you are ready to spend a little more. The MXL V67 mention is great for a vocal mic but does crappy on amping, I have this mic and use it for "vocals" only.
Gear
Rode NT1A mic | SM57 mic | MXL 990/991 | KRK Rokit Powered RP5 Monitors | Crybaby 535q | Jackson Randy Rhoads RR1 | B.C. Warlock | Gibson Acoustic | Yamaha Mixer | M-Audio Fast Track Pro |
#7
He already has an SM57 for amp micing.
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
...It's the last place I was seen before I lost myself



Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
#8
Quote by NMKeith74
I suggested the MXL package because you want mics for both vocals and guitar and with your budget, this would work until you are ready to spend a little more. The MXL V67 mention is great for a vocal mic but does crappy on amping, I have this mic and use it for "vocals" only.

He wants it for acoustic guitar and vocals, not micing amps. Even so, I've still yet to use a condenser that I'd prefer as an amp mic over the SM57. Maybe if you're going for a super live/vintage feel
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#9
Quote by MatrixClaw
He wants it for acoustic guitar and vocals, not micing amps. Even so, I've still yet to use a condenser that I'd prefer as an amp mic over the SM57. Maybe if you're going for a super live/vintage feel


Yeah, honestly, the SM57's not a great vocal mic, but I like it on a guitar. This thing would occasionally be used for certain feels on an electric guitar sound, but 95% of what I'd be using it for would be voice and acoustic guitar, so a condenser for amps is really more of "It would be nice if it did X" than "It needs to do X"

Appreciate the suggestions guys. Planning on trying to compare a 2035, V67G, and a Spark some time over winter break. Keep the ideas coming though, the more the better.
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#10
Alright, bumping because I've got it between three now. It's either the V67G, the Spark, or the AT 2035. Going to go to a local shop to try them out later this week, but in the meantime, anyone have any experience they can share with any of them? Especially how they handle acoustic guitars and low-voiced singers.
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#11
My advice would be to not mistake a hyped high end in cheap mics as it sounding better. The other two mics you mention suffer from this severely and its one of the biggest mistakes beginners make on a vocal mic. They hear the brighter sound and think it'll make them sound crisp and clear. While this may be the case, they don't understand that it also sounds harsh and small. It's easy to add air to a track, not so easy to bring out fullness that doesn't exist.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#12
Quote by MatrixClaw
My advice would be to not mistake a hyped high end in cheap mics as it sounding better. The other two mics you mention suffer from this severely and its one of the biggest mistakes beginners make on a vocal mic. They hear the brighter sound and think it'll make them sound crisp and clear. While this may be the case, they don't understand that it also sounds harsh and small. It's easy to add air to a track, not so easy to bring out fullness that doesn't exist.


While this is helpful, you never specified which ones are "the other two", so...yeah, I don't know which you're referring to. The frequency response charts I can find have all of them spiking in the 10-20k range. The V67G has the most dramatic spike, so I assume it's one of the two, but I can't figure out which one you're saying is flatter.
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Last edited by necrosis1193 at Dec 17, 2013,
#13
Quote by necrosis1193
While this is helpful, you never specified which ones are "the other two", so...yeah, I don't know which you're referring to.

I had suggested you look at the V67G, so I was referring to the other two mics you were looking at

Not that you can't get good results out of a hyped mic in this range... But the more you use these types of mics, the more you realize how much you're fighting sibilance. I'd much rather add a little top end EQ to a track, where I can control what's being done to it, than have to cut out a bunch of it and de-ess the crap out of the track, because it's so harsh over the rest of the tracks.

Quote by necrosis1193
The frequency response charts I can find have all of them spiking in the 10-20k range. The V67G has the most dramatic spike, so I assume it's one of the two, but I can't figure out which one you're saying is flatter.

Frequency response isn't everything... but while we're on the subject...

AT2035:


Spark:


V67G:


The Blue has a rolled off midrange, which gives it a much brighter response. I have never used a Blue microphone in this price range that I actually enjoyed, because of this. Especially for vocals, the 2K and 4K range are very important, the Blue is cutting them out. The graph also seems to suggest that it has a pretty poor low end reproduction, with a huge spike at ~80Hz and then a falloff. This will make your acoustic tracks boomy on the low strings and super chimey on the top end. The guitar is a mid instrument.

The AT2035 is probably the closest to "flat" from the V67G, but it spikes quite a bit in the top end and high mids, which is where your sibilance is found. Yes, the V67G has a bump in the top end, but since it's a smoother Q, it's not pronouncing specific frequencies, it's just moving them all up equally, which is much more pleasing to the ear than tons of peaks and valleys, and a lot easier to EQ.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#14
In this price range, frequency response is pretty much pointless to look at. none of them will be flat, and that's not even what makes a great mic. The u87, compared with others has awful characteristics if you're looking for accurate sound representation, but its popular because of its imperfections.

What TS needs to do is find a couple they can test and see which suits his guitar/voice best.
#15
Went to a local shop today, A/B'd a bunch of their condensers in my price range. Came down to the V67G and the AT2035, and while the 67 sounded better on my singing, the 2035 wasn't that far behind, but sounded much better on guitar and on spoken word. Aiming for the 2035 now, appreciate all the suggestions and advice guys
THE FORUM UPDATE KILLED THE GRADIENT STAR

Baltimore Orioles: 2014 AL Eastern Division Champions, 2017: 73-78
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