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JeanPaulSartre's avatar

What is a great sounding condenser microphone for $500 or less?

Asked by JeanPaulSartre (5774 points ) September 12th, 2010

I do a lot of recording in my home studio and it’s time to upgrade my microphone for vocals. I can run phantom power from my mixing board, so I’m not looking for a USB mic or anything like that. I’m looking for a professional quality mic, preferably with a shock mount. I’ve done a lot of research and it seem that reviews are really mixed, which just makes me think that the majority of people aren’t trained to hear the difference or just can’t tell. I’m looking for your personal experiences with mics with great vocal clarity more than anything else.

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11 Answers

Vortico's avatar

I’ve been using the AKG C214 for a while now, and it sounds great on vocals. However, in the microphone business, you get what you pay for. Reviews on mics are so subjective, it’s almost impossible to judge a mic by what someone says.

With that said, there are still a good amount of microphones that have been proven to be reliable and do their job pretty well. This includes the Rode NT1a/NT2-A, Studio Projects B1/B3, Shure SM81, Shure SM27/KSM27, and the Neumann TLM 102 (if you’re willing to spend a couple hundred more to get a taste of Neumann).

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Thanks @Vortico! (I wasn’t sure anyone was going to be able to answer!) I appreciate your input.

DeanV's avatar

A friend has the AKG Perception 420, which is pretty sick for your price range.

Otherwise, I was able to find a Blue Baby Bottle off Craigslist and I really like it. It’s might not be great for vocals, but it’s highly recommended.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Thanks @dverhey – Thought you might have some advice!

dc10's avatar

XXL990 WONDERFUL MIC well its what i use myself personally. It’s all very well to ask what mic to use mate, but the thing is different people sound best through different microphones, and really its kind of something you have to trial and error until you find “the one” as i call it lol but this can take quite some time in many cases though so patience is the key

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Thanks @dc10! I’ll keep that in mind too.

dc10's avatar

lol it took me many years to find “the one” in more ways than one lmao good luck jeanpaulsartre

Vortico's avatar

May I throw in the Cascade Fat Head to the mix? It’s a ribbon mic rather than a condenser but has a truly unique (almost weird) sound to it, and it’s pretty flexible. I’m not a fan of it on vocals, but I do appreciate its sound on grand piano, brass, woodwind, and as a drum room mic. Heck, get a pair of them and have some nice stereo recordings.

There’s another mic I liked a lot, but I cannot think of the name of it at the moment. They were a pair of small diaphragm condensers, so if that’s down your alley, I’ll see if I can dig the name up somewhere.

dc10's avatar

hm still nothing beats a neuman U87 for acoustic guitars especially what a wooooooooowwwwww factor cworrr im hot now lol,

Vortico's avatar

@dc10 I thought about selling my car for one of those but decided I shouldn’t let my hobby take over all my income. :)

dc10's avatar

hmm well music is my life I know which I would choose if I had the doller for cars lol and i would have sold my car for that one hell yea!!

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