July 23, 2007

Open Thread: Microphones...

by Chris Randall

Open thread time. What's your favorite mic under $500? The best mic I ever purchased for under $500 was a Shure KSM44. They currently retail for a bit more than that, but a sound/lighting company I was working for bought a couple for in-store stock, and couldn't sell them, and the owner gave me one for $450. So I know that doesn't really count, but there you go.

In any event, I'm curious as to what you think the best mic available for under $500 is?

THE VERDICT: The general consensus seems to be that the EV RE20/PL20 (they are the same mic, just different designators) is the best bang-for-the-buck easily available for under $500. It retails for $399, and I agree that it is an incredibly versatile and nearly indestructible mic. Every studio has at least one, and with good reason.



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Jul.23.2007 @ 12:36 PM
This may fall in the 'doesn't really count' category as well, but I loves my Baby Bottle. (I got it off of the craigslist for $380 - they're normally ~$600.)

The output is insanely hot. It also makes my vocals sound delicious - something that none of my other mics really make happen. It can be a little crisp at times, placement is key. I've also gotten great sounds on my guitar cab and on acoustic and classical guitars.


Jul.23.2007 @ 12:43 PM
Shit, I'd be interested to know this. I don't have really input to this since I don't generally speaking record that much vocals or such, but I've been thinking of buying a good microphone for vocals (and within this price range). So, I'd love to know what people say, too. Eh, and Chris, 450? Shit, that's like half of the price here. Less, if you consider the dollar versus euro ratio.

Jul.23.2007 @ 12:53 PM
KSM32 (when they came out... year 2000 or something, i got a good deal just around 500$) and my SM7B i truly love that big heavy mic.

Jul.23.2007 @ 12:56 PM
We've had a couple of Rode NTK's come into our used/vintage shop so I tried one on a singer I work with. We usually use her U87 through a 737. The Rode smokes it! Better detail, lush top, rich mids, it's fantastic, at least on her voice. They're $300-400 all day on the 'Bay.

Jul.23.2007 @ 2:00 PM
Avenson STO-2 omnis: $500/matched pair. Fantastic realism for cheap, no lie. Recently used them extensively recording acoustic instruments for a PBS doc. They really require a silent recording environment.
link [avensonaudio.co2.htm...]">link [avensonaudio.co...]

Jul.23.2007 @ 2:42 PM
jonas maurstad
The Audio-techica 4040 is a very versatile mic, that shines on male vocals. I have used it for almost everything and it is often preferred to more expensive mics. And this is so cheap I consider another one for overhead use.

Jul.23.2007 @ 2:46 PM
Got a Bluebird off Craigslist for $350. Best in my meager collection for sure, and at $499 new it just counts. Hot output compared to any of the "bargain" condensers I have used, and WAY more detailed. I feel like I can work this mike much better as far as vox are concerned, and other people who do vocals on it get excited just from the design. That does a lot for a performance.

Interested in those Avensons though... impulse response harvesters?


Jul.23.2007 @ 2:52 PM
Wade Alin
I'm using an Oktava mk-219 with a mod from link [www.oktavamods.co...]">link [www.oktavamods.co...] to finish up the vocals on my record. Admittedly, it was a really crappy mic before the mod was done but now it's fantastic. $68 on eBay, $149 for the mod.


Jul.23.2007 @ 3:09 PM
I have an Oktava MK-219, $50 used. I like it stock, but the mod is intriguing. I used it recently for some vocals and overhead on a drum kit, and it sounded much better than expected.

I really like the Oktava 012. I have a pair that I use for just about anything except vocals and amps.

That Avant ribbon mic from the group buy has come in handy for vocals. I've used it in an MS config. with an 012. The results have been strange, not very "real" sounding, but pleasant.


Jul.23.2007 @ 3:43 PM
Would it be too obvious to say SM57? I know it's not boutique or glamorous, but it works on absolutely everything, and can take a beating to boot. I love my Oktava 012 pair too.

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