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Phil O'Keefe

These five under-$500 microphones NEED to be in your studio!

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I have had good success with the SM27 in my home studio. I have used it on guitars, vocals, and overheads. It would not replace the mics already listed, it just works for me

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I got my AT4050s for under $500 each, looks like that's not a thing any more.

 

How close are the ATM250s to the old ATM25s? Those are fantastic, a poor man's 421, I used to nab them when I found one under $100.

 

Surprised to see an EV20 is still sub $500.

 

Edit: I believe the PL20 is identical to the EV20, but they used to go cheaper used.

Edited by ermghoti II

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Phil.. where's the SM7B?! :angry47:

 

E/V RE20 > SM7b

 

IMHO of course. :)

 

Besides, the SM7b is basically just an oversized, glorified SM57, and the SM57's already on the list. ;)

 

 

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I got my AT4050s for under $500 each' date=' looks like that's not a thing any more.[/quote']

 

I've always liked the 4050, but there's a lot of competition in the multipattern LDC category these days.

 

How close are the ATM250s to the old ATM25s? Those are fantastic, a poor man's 421, I used to nab them when I found one under $100.

 

The ATM25's are great little mics. The ATM250's are also excellent mics, but they're larger, and therefore not as easy to fit into tight spaces... probably not an issue for kick use, but might be in some situations on toms, where the small size of the ATM25 can really come in handy sometimes.

 

Surprised to see an EV20 is still sub $500.

 

Edit: I believe the PL20 is identical to the EV20, but they used to go cheaper used.

 

Yes, they are essentially the same mic internally.

 

 

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An working engineer friend of mine whose judgment i trust swears by the sE Electronics VR1 for guitar cabs at about $400. Apparently they are not just great for the price, but great, period. Like in the same league as Royer in terms of the sounds he is getting.

 

I think your list would benefit for a recommendation for a pair of SDCs that come in under $500, since everybody needs at least one pair.

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An working engineer friend of mine whose judgment i trust swears by the sE Electronics VR1 for guitar cabs at about $400. Apparently they are not just great for the price' date=' but great, period. Like in the same league as Royer in terms of the sounds he is getting.[/quote']

 

If they were just a bit less expensive, the Beyerdynamic M160 would have been on that list in a heartbeat - I LOVE those mics!

 

I think your list would benefit for a recommendation for a pair of SDCs that come in under $500, since everybody needs at least one pair.

 

I'm not sure if they're still on sale or not, but at the time I wrote that, some stores were selling pairs of Blue Hummingbirds for $299. That's an amazing deal on a pair of very capable SDC's.

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im looking at sdc's... i hadnt looked at the blues until now... running blind ( no experience)...

ive come down to lauten audio LA120's, mxl v67n's, and rode nt55 or nt5... my question is what significant difference will multiple pattern capsules make in the process of recording? a/b, or x/y stereo configs? i ses that most mics seem more sensitive in omni than cardioid according to most graphs... what advantage is to be had?

( if indeed other than the obvious pattern differences)

Edited by Voltan

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im looking at sdc's... i hadnt looked at the blues until now... running blind ( no experience)...

ive come down to lauten audio LA120's, mxl v67n's, and rode nt55 or nt5...

 

All are decent mics and each has their fans...

 

my question is what significant difference will multiple pattern capsules make in the process of recording? a/b, or x/y stereo configs?

 

Multi-capsule or multi-pattern mics do open up your options quite a bit. Both AB and XY stereo recording are still possible with a pair of cardioids though. For things like mid-side and Blumlein stereo you need a figure-8 mic (or two).

 

i ses that most mics seem more sensitive in omni than cardioid according to most graphs... what advantage is to be had?

( if indeed other than the obvious pattern differences)

 

Omni does have some significant advantages over directional mics. For starters, there's no off-axis weirdness in terms of frequency response - the sound hitting the "back side" of some directional mics, while attenuated (due to the null points in the polar pattern) can have a different frequency response (and therefore sound different) than the on-axis response. Omnis don't suffer from that.

 

Another huge thing to consider is that with an omni mic, you can get as close to the sound source as you want in terms of placement without having to worry about proximity effect - omni mics don't suffer from that bass boost when you get in close to them that you get from most cardioid (and figure 8 for that matter) microphones.

 

Omni mics can be great for capturing the sound of "the room" too, as well as for situations when you want to track a group of instruments or vocals all together - just set everyone up in a circle or semi-circle around the mic. Work with placement distance from the mic to achieve the desired mix / balance. For people you want to hear more of, have them move in a bit closer - for anyone who's too loud or overpowering, have them move back away from the mic a bit - repeat as needed until you hear the balance you're after, then roll tape and hit record. :)

 

 

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thank you! its beginning to gel... that makes sense to me, sonically. this gives me enough to start with. let the festivities begin!

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I got my AT4050s for under $500 each' date=' looks like that's not a thing any more.[/quote']

 

I love the 4050 mic but its more than $500. Its the one mic I have used for just about everything from drums OHs, to vocals, to all types of instruments, including solo instruments to orchestras. It`s one of the cleaner microphones and the amount of applications its covers is well worth the price.

 

The 4033 is $399 but to my ears, its slightly darker sounding but I would add that to the list. The SM57 is an obvious choice... another amazing mic. Not as versatile as the 4050 but it really is amazing on guitar amps and vocals. I love to mic up amps with the 57 right up on the grill and the 4050 about 2 feet away. Balance to taste. Good stuff.

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[uSER=60615]Phil O'Keefe[/uSER] Have you ever used the Shure SM81 ?

It's been on my wishlist for a while. Finally had the chance to try it when I rented one last week.

It seems to work really well on acoustic guitar and even my vocals. Everything I record with it seems to automatically sound good. It's got a super flat frequency response. Seems to handle EQ really well too, since no peaks get exaggerated on its way up or down. Also no harshness when recording loud and bright instruments. Maybe a new favourite mic for me, I even used it as a drum room mic as well, may eventually start recording orchestral string instruments. Seems to cover many bases when it comes to capturing different sound sources.

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[uSER=60615]Phil O'Keefe[/uSER] Have you ever used the Shure SM81 ?

 

Only about a zillion times - they were "the" (relatively inexpensive, yet still "pro") condenser mic for studio and stage for years. :)

 

It's been on my wishlist for a while. Finally had the chance to try it when I rented one last week.

It seems to work really well on acoustic guitar and even my vocals. Everything I record with it seems to automatically sound good. It's got a super flat frequency response. Seems to handle EQ really well too, since no peaks get exaggerated on its way up or down. Also no harshness when recording loud and bright instruments. Maybe a new favourite mic for me, I even used it as a drum room mic as well, may eventually start recording orchestral string instruments. Seems to cover many bases when it comes to capturing different sound sources.

 

Acoustic guitar and drum overheads are common uses for the SM81 - vocals less so, but if you like the sound, that's all that matters. Make sure you use a good external pop filter if you're going to sing into one.

 

Personally, I used to favor the AKG 451EB over the Shure for my small diaphragm condenser needs back in the day, but the Shure is a solid performer and a lot of people love and still use them today, and Shure still manufacturers them.

 

 

 

 

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the SM7b is basically just an oversized, glorified SM57, and the SM57's already on the list. ;)

lol

 

PS you cheated on the Fathead II. It doesn't come with the Lundahl transformer for $450. :)

 

 

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PS I'd be curious to see a list of under $200. :) Surprising # of really good mics on the low end these days IMO.

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lol

 

PS you cheated on the Fathead II. It doesn't come with the Lundahl transformer for $450. :)

 

 

According to their website, they do. :)

 

 

 

[ATTACH=JSON]{"data-align":"none","data-size":"full","title":"Screen Shot 2018-02-17 at 7.12.13 PM.png","data-attachmentid":32166295}[/ATTACH]

 

 

 

http://cascademicrophones.com/cascade_fathead-2.html#fh2

 

 

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PS I'd be curious to see a list of under $200. :) Surprising # of really good mics on the low end these days IMO.

 

That's a good suggestion - I just might write something up on that.

 

Do you have any particular favorites in that price range? :)

 

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According to their website, they do. :)

 

 

 

[ATTACH=JSON]{"data-align":"none","data-size":"full","title":"Screen Shot 2018-02-17 at 7.12.13 PM.png","data-attachmentid":32166295}[/ATTACH]

 

 

 

http://cascademicrophones.com/cascade_fathead-2.html#fh2

 

I stand corrected! I wonder if that's an update or (more likely) I misread? Could have sworn that was "extra" before.

 

Re. favorite budget mics, yes, but I'd rather wait for your list to come out and see what makes the list...besides there are numerous ones I've never tried which hopefully you would, curious to see how they stack up.

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Should the Rode NT5's deserve an honourable mention? I recently picked up one. Rather than shelling out for an SM81 for the time being I decided to settle with an NT5 for acoustic guitar. Seems to work pretty well so far. I have yet to try it on various sources, but I'm hoping I can use this a new workhorse mic. I'm hoping for usable results for vocals, drum room and violin/viola. Any thoughts on this mic, Phil?

Edited by davie

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Should the Rode NT5's deserve an honourable mention? I recently picked up one. Rather than shelling out for an SM81 for the time being I decided to settle with an NT5 for acoustic guitar. Seems to work pretty well so far. I have yet to try it on various sources' date=' but I'm hoping I can use this a new workhorse mic. I'm hoping for usable results for vocals, drum room and violin/viola. Any thoughts on this mic, Phil?[/quote']

 

It's a solid workhorse mic. It wouldn't be the first (or even third) thing I'd reach for if I was tracking vocals, but it should serve you well on acoustic guitar, and possibly on the violin and viola too, and may work okay as a drum room mic too.

 

If I do a write up on under-$200 mics, then the Rode M5 pair will definitely be on the list. They're somewhat similar but you can get a pair for right at $200 USD.

 

 

 

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