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Home studio mics. What do you think

I’m more of a live guy than a studio guy so I’ve got no real background on studio mics. I know all about condenser sizes and pick up patterns etc but I’m wanting to get a mic in the $300 range and just curious what input you all might have. I’m looking at the at4040 have looked into the nt1 and some others in that price range. Just looking for others thoughts and experiences not limited to those two mics but limited to the $300 range thanks all!!


  • Klaus_TKlaus_T Moderator, 2.0 PRO Posts: 2,362
    Lewitt are meant to be good, same thing for Aston, I haven't used either though. i have an AKG perception p220 which i think does the job alright
  • sjonrokz4usjonrokz4u 2.0 PRO Posts: 1,287
    Any other opinion anyone?
  • d1g2w3d1g2w3 Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 465
    I'm the same as you Shaun, my old trusty SM58 has never made me need to look into other mics :lol:
  • OliviaWenyaOliviaWenya 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 61
    Just remember room treatment :)
  • DogMeatDogMeat 2.0 PRO Posts: 437
    I've been veryy happy with my nt1. My sound-engineer friend called it a decent device for the price, and thats a huge compliment from him :smiley:
  • sjonrokz4usjonrokz4u 2.0 PRO Posts: 1,287
    Yeah I’m using a 58. I haven’t tried my beta 58 tried one of my beta 87s but I guess I get too close to them cuz I seem to over powerit. I used a cheap AT2020 at a buddy’s house and it sounded good so it’s got me thinking about a large condenser for at home. I see some the more advanced course people have posted videos where they have lcd mics hopingnone of them will chime in
  • gotmixesgotmixes Member Posts: 8
    edited June 2020
    Max Norman (engineer/producer) interview:

    "KNAC.COM: What was it like working with Paul Rogers in the studio?

    NORMAN: Paul sang all those songs on the record at the time we put the tracks down. He only sung them once. He's used to singing with a Shure SM57 hand held microphone. So we taped the cable to his arm. You don't use any compression on him at all. He moves the mic in and out. He has amazing mic technique! As he would sing, you get the needle to his arrow and it would stay there. He would just hit zero all the time. Even if he was doing a long note, and he's constantly moving the mic in and out. You don't see singers doing that much anymore. He's probably one of the best singers that's ever been really."

    Michael Jackson "Thriller" -- Bruce recorded him with a Shure SM7 (honestly, a lot of records are made with these). There are pics of Stevie Wonder in the studio with an EV RE20. 441's are great, but maybe a little out of the price range.

    https://youtu.be/e4TFD2PfVPw The Parcels.

    This is at Hansa Studios (Berlin). Those RE20's go on EBay for not much more than $300. I think those thinner ones are AKG D190's, which are even cheaper (when they come up) -- they're basically an 80's live performance mic.

    But you have to keep in mind that mics aren't the only thing in the chain. If you give me a choice between a $300 mic and a $1500 pre or a $300 pre and a $1500 mic, I'm taking an SM7 and a BAE 1073, all day. On "Thriller" or Paul Rodgers or the Parcels example above, they are all going to some choice analog front-end before hitting digital (or tape). You can't really get the preamp headroom from USB bus power, especially if that 5V or whatever (at a pretty low current) is doing ten different things in the interface.

    In fact, the A to D converter is the critical step, if you ask me. It's kind of overlooked in today's all-in-one prosumer market, but it really is a separate thing. It's the old "a chain is as strong as its weakest link" thing. The drag is that you don't catch on to the limitations until you are really trying to get the mix where you want it. That's when you find out if the audio "takes" the EQ and (maybe) compression well or not. This is a hard one to explain if you haven't been through it.

    I think condensers are overrated in that price range. I think the real jump happens at the AT4050/TLM 103/Bock (Soundelux) 195 level, which is more like $650-1000. Below that, a lot of it is manufacturers putting the same parts (ahem...797audio...ahem!) into mics and then putting their name on it. And the mics come out pretty good, because the technology has advanced to the point that mass production works in that sphere.

    Room/environment is important too. Even hanging heavy blankets can help. The dynamic mics let you get closer to the mic without crazy things happening, so this can be helpful in marginal acoustic environments.

    (Oops, for clarity: Dynamic microphones are a different class from condensers, working on entirely different principles. Shure SM7, EV RE20, Sennheiser 421 and 441, also Shure SM 57/58 are examples. Because of the design, the tolerances for high performance are really different. It's the audio version of comparing a muscle car to a Tesla).

    I'd rather get a cheap MXL large diaphragm condenser off Craigslist or EBay (just to get used to the workflow and the color) and then an SM7 or something, and then start saving for the big $$$ condenser, like a U87. Once the drums are done, you could realistically do every other track with an SM7/RE20/441 and a U87 and never need another mic. And none of those is ever going down in value, so they pretty much represent "money in the bank," almost literally. "Honey, I'm not wasting money on audio gear, I'm just parking some of our savings in something I can UUUUUUUSE!"

    But don't forget to think of it as an entire chain: source/room/mic/preamp/dynamics+EQ/AD conversion. The realistic compromise here is that if the chain is otherwise good, the dynamic and EQ processing can be done digitally. So really, if you're on a budget when you (eventually) go preamp shopping, I'd say be biased towards the ones with fewer knobs/features. Some of the absolute classics -- API 512, Neve 1272 -- even just have one knob (or a level knob plus a trim pot).

    I know this seems like it complicates issues, but engineering audio is the merger of art and science, and it (unfortunately) inherently complicated to an extent. Or, better yet, it is a realm where, if 100 things go right but one thing is off-base, the whole track might be unusable. So the details become relevant regardless.

    I would say that, depending on where you set the "bar," the prosumer revolution is either the best thing ever or a "trap" and the worst thing to happen to audio. Some of this also depends on the sound of the record you are trying to make -- does it demand pristine audio, or is there some lo-fi grit?
  • sjonrokz4usjonrokz4u 2.0 PRO Posts: 1,287
    That’s a lot of info. I get the price range thing. I’m in my 20th year of live audio production. I just want something around the project studio that I like better than a 58 and that could also do a little work recording my band for demos to get gigs
  • gotmixesgotmixes Member Posts: 8
    Rode NTK.

    And here's a little extra info: I managed to score an NOS Mullard 6922 tube for my buddy's NTK, and it went from pretty cool to amazing, seriously. Those tubes aren't in demand like the 12AX7's or 6V6/6L6 type stuff, so the prices are still really low. EBay has a bunch -- Sylvania, Siemens, Amperex, Bugle Boy. I'm not sure if newer stuff like JJ's or Electro Harmonix would be better than what's in there. I don't think they'd be an upgrade. In my experience, no one really got it right since the 80's, except maybe Sovtek. If you find a Telefunken, grab it. With these kinds of circuits, like in guitar amps, the tube is the engine that drives it, so it's a different beast when you get the right one.
  • gotmixesgotmixes Member Posts: 8

    Test driving a Rode NT2 -- this is one of the older ones.
  • EscironEsciron 2.0 PRO Posts: 27
    I´m happy with my NT1, when comparing to superior mics you can notice the diference, but I find that big dapham mic is much more practical than an stage mic for home recording, spercially if you are an instrument player, because you don´t need to sing too close to the mic
  • WigsWigs Moderator, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 5,039
    Im happy with my Nt-1 as well, although I haven't really recorded with anything else and its the only mic I own. I chose it over the NT-1a because of the flatter profile and I could also afford the bit extra, I liked the idea of options in post and Im a gear geek. Plus in the long term I reckon it will take me longer to outgrow it and move to something else.
  • DogMeatDogMeat 2.0 PRO Posts: 437
    Another happy NT-1 user here. When using large diaphramic mic it is more important to have quiet space and acoustics. It will pick up noise x10 easier than SM58 for example.
  • WigsWigs Moderator, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 5,039
    @DogMeat Very true, it picks up everything that's not silence! I can hear my bird chirping on the other side of the house through 2 closed doors and 2 walls when I listen back to the dry vocals :D
  • WigsWigs Moderator, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 5,039
    @coffeecrank I guess it's an entry level studio grade, that's why environment is so important. However unless you are doing proper production, the background noise hasn't been an issue with the stuff I've uploaded since getting it. There's probably cars driving past, my dog snoring ect that you can't hear once it's mixed with music 😅
  • DannyOc3anDannyOc3an 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 668
    edited August 2020
    Can't dismiss the Neat King Bee mic, besides its looks, it really is a steal for the money. Internet is flooded with positive reviews about its sound comparing it to more expensive ones.
    YouTube search 'podcastage', the neat king bee was this guy's favorite 2019 mic.
  • MikeStarkMikeStark Member Posts: 3
    edited November 2020
    NT1 or SM 58 is what I tested and these are really great mics for the price. But here are come other great options too 16 Best Condenser Microphones
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 1,421
    I bench-tested the Shure SM7B, Rode NT-1, Neumann TLM-102 and the Aston Origin at the music store in a sound booth (Before the pandemic).
    I walked away with the Aston Origin as the perfect balance of price and fidelity.
    But what it really all comes down to is how it responds to your voice, and ultimately, personal preference.
    One size does not fit all :+1:
  • TheBommelTheBommel Member Posts: 15
    Overall mics are a very strange thing, they have to fit to your voice and the room you're in ... i had many talks with producers that complained about the dull sound of the nt1a for example while others found it to be too sharp in the highs ... that is why i would try modelling mics. The Antelope Edge for example. For the Money i woul get a Lewitt 440 Pure, if you want a rounder tone the nt1a if you want it more upfront the akg p420
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