Best Vocal Mic for the $$

topic posted Wed, July 6, 2005 - 4:46 PM by  Moons**
Hello Everybody~

Wondering what vocal mics people are into. I am not really an engineer per se, just a songwriter doing some home recordings. Can anyone recommend good vocal mics that go for around $500 or so? Thankya~

posted by:
  • Unsu...

    Re: Best Vocal Mic for the $$

    Fri, August 12, 2005 - 1:45 PM
    Don't forget to consider the preamp you're using, IMHO the 2nd most important part of that chain.
    • Re: Best Vocal Mic for the $$

      Mon, October 31, 2005 - 8:19 PM
      Rode mics are well respected and they have a couple out there well inside the $500USD range... The NT-1A and NT-2s are both quite good sounding for vocals as well as good all around.... Electronic Musician mag rated the NT-1 an "editors choice" mic in '99 and '03 {I think}....
      I am sure that there many other good ones but I have used the Rode 1st hand and always been impressed...
      • Re: Best Vocal Mic for the $$

        Wed, November 2, 2005 - 7:09 AM
        I too like the Rodes for the $. NTK or NT-1 . Also in the under 500.00 I've used a lot of CADs E-100 or better yet the E-200.
        • Re: Best Vocal Mic for the $$

          Wed, November 16, 2005 - 4:12 PM
          While definetly not on the low end price wise, we bought a Soundelux U99 for 2150.00 and absolutely love it, Phat as all hell! I found myself using less eq and less verb to get vocals to sit in the mix, definetly worth the money!
    • Re: Best Vocal Mic for the $$

      Fri, January 27, 2006 - 6:41 PM
      My studio partner rattled my ear about spending so much on a Bluebird mic and Focusrite VocalMaster preamp. This week I gave it a good workout recording a solo voice chanting. There is no noticable noisefloor with 24 bit digital out. I'm blown away and the singer (30 years experience) said it was the best he's heard. The vocal ensemble I previously recorded, also raved and it did wonders for cedar flutes.
  • Re: Best Vocal Mic for the $$

    Mon, November 21, 2005 - 8:18 AM
    I personally went with a Shure KSM-44 for my own use. Didn't buy it specifically as a vocal mic, but it is a useful multi-purpose mic that can be applied to variety of instruments and situations. Pretty good for vocals too. I picked mine up on e-Bay for around $500.

    Good luck with your choice.
  • Re: Best Vocal Mic for the $$

    Tue, November 22, 2005 - 3:48 PM
    Rode NT1 / NT1a is good for midrangey vocalists... deep throaty singers...
    • Unsu...

      Re: Best Vocal Mic for the $$

      Mon, January 30, 2006 - 2:40 PM
      I'm surprised so many people have had good expereinces with the Rode NT1. We have 3 of them at the radio station where I work, and they are treated by all the engineers as a sort of "last resort" mic. They all sound a little different (despite being the same model), they age poorly, they sound bright and brittle, and they have extreme proximity effects resulting in easy overloand and clipping. Maybe they sound better right out of the box, but one has to consider how a mic ages. I'll pick up almost any mic in the studio for vocals before I pick up an NT1.
      • Re: Best Vocal Mic for the $$

        Mon, January 30, 2006 - 2:54 PM
        I agree about the NT1. I'm not a big fan of theirs. A friend has placed his NT4 in my studio and it's a decent mic, but I rarely use it. I'd rather put my Royers up as a stereo pair that the NT4.
        • Re: Best Vocal Mic for the $$

          Mon, January 30, 2006 - 8:45 PM
          As Jory brought up the stereo mic subject of the discussion, I too would love to be able to say "...I'd rather put my Royers up as a stereo pair that the NT4." cause most anyone probably would agree on that... But as a home-recording person have to also take into account the actual price of a pair of royer mics, at $2200 vs. around $450 for the NT4.... Having used the rode's some before, I thought the NT4 & NT5's {which are same capsule but 2 X pencil condensers and even less $$$} sound pretty good, for the buck,better then a pretty decent Audio Technica at849 Stereo mic I used a bit before as well...

          ******BTW I would like to point out the fact that I would truly love to own even one Royer mic..... though not quite as much as owning a pair of 'em, but alas, on my budget if I could justify owning a stereo mic, the Rode's sound quite decent... *****
          • Re: Best Vocal Mic for the $$

            Mon, January 30, 2006 - 9:00 PM
            I won't argue with that one bit. I was merely agreeing that I'm not a huge fan of the Rode mics. But I do see the value in them. I've recommended various models to people in the past, especially the NT3 for use as a live vocal mic.

            As for choices from my own mic closet, I'd go with the following mics (in stereo pairs) in this order:

            * Royer R-121
            * ShinyBox 23
            * Crown CM700
            * Rode NT4
            * AKG 452

            Of course, it always depends on what it is that I'm recording.
            • Re: Best Vocal Mic for the $$

              Tue, January 31, 2006 - 12:01 PM
              Oh yes, to para-phrase the great Homer "uummmmm ribbons, arrrrarughhhhhh....."
              • Re: Best Vocal Mic for the $$

                Sun, February 5, 2006 - 9:02 AM
                If you want something VERY cheap (in price).... MXL's 2001. I have endorsement deals with different companies and have done work with ROYER (the company itself. ) they have a new line called Mojave Audio where , prior to creating this company , they took the 2001 and moded it. the capsule was on Neumann par but the electronics sucked. So, they put a $300 mod with a tube in and what you get is something between a 47 and 76. We did a shoot out at my studio with the moded, un moded, the Mojave, a tlm 103, u 67 , u 47 , groove tunes am 52 and at 4050. For the price, the 2001 ($100) is a GREAT mic. it's good for everything from vx to drum overheads (need a little love though) ac gtr and percussion. I have a few because at that price you can't beat it.
  • Re: Best Vocal Mic for the $$

    Sun, February 5, 2006 - 11:59 PM
    I've gone through a lot of $500 mics or thereabouts and I think the Shure KSM32 or KSM44 are tops in that price range.

    Here's the stuff I've had experience with:

    Audio-Technica 4033 and 4047. Slight spike in the treble. These are what I have currently, but I think Shure KSM is warmer and clearer.

    Rode K2. The circuit blew up.
    Electro-Voice RE20 dynamic. Low output and picked up electrical noise.
    AKG 414. Bright.
    Rode NT1. Not bad for $200, some kinda superficial warmth.
    Neumann TLM 103. Superclear, but not warm for vocals, but $600-800 used.
    Audio-Technica 3060. Very bright.
    Shure SM 58 dynamic. Wow. Pretty good for $75.

    • Unsu...

      Re: Best Vocal Mic for the $$

      Mon, February 6, 2006 - 9:33 AM
      The Electro-Voice RE20 is outstanding on a kick drum but I wouldn't use it on vocals if I had another option.
      • Re: Best Vocal Mic for the $$

        Tue, February 7, 2006 - 9:20 PM
        I'd have to second the vote for the Shure KSM32. I have a matched pair of Neumann TLM-103s that I originally bought for vocals and drum overheads. I bought those new a few years ago, and somewhere along the line I also bought a KSM32 off craigslist for $200. I'm finding that for vocals I'm getting better results with the KSM32 than the TLMs. That surprised me at first. Now when I record vocals the KSM32 is the mic I reach for first.

        Somebody had mentioned Crown CM700s. I wouldn't use these for vocals, but I do like these a lot for drum overhead and hi-hat. Great "sleeper" mic (seems like not too many people are hip to the CM700). Oops, did I say that out loud?
        • Re: Best Vocal Mic for the $$

          Tue, February 7, 2006 - 10:29 PM
          I use CM700's for drum OHs all the time, along with a matched pair of ShinyBox 23 ribbons. The Crowns are indeed excellent mics that somehow many people missed out on. I wouldn't use them for vox, though.
  • Re: Best Vocal Mic for the $$

    Tue, November 4, 2008 - 5:09 PM
    I'm involved with a company that is making a mic that is awesome on some vocalists as well as many other instruments. We are trying to keep the costs down, so we are offering the mic , shockmount, and pop filter at a great price... It is the Gauge Microphone ECM-87. Hope this helps.
  • Re: Best Vocal Mic for the $$

    Sat, November 15, 2008 - 5:14 PM
    rode k2 as good as any neuman about 700.00

    aso the chameleon labs microphones are great buys

    but i think the best all around mic fo basic studio use is the 414
  • Re: Best Vocal Mic for the $$

    Fri, November 28, 2008 - 10:18 PM
    the TLM-103 is nice for under a grand, but there are better choices... the Rode is decent, but too bright in my opinion. the AT4050 is also OK. I do not care for the Shure mic's for studio vocals. If you are on a budget, check out the Gauge ECM 87 which is the best for under $250. Also check out the AKG 214 for around $500.
    • Re: Best Vocal Mic for the $$

      Mon, December 1, 2008 - 9:47 PM
      I used the Rode @ MI engineering school for my final for RnB vocals. Through an Avalon, mixed on an SSL.... SO so nice

      I also recently used a royer r121 to find it was really really nice and warm

      Second on those as well as the TLM 103 for a good all around mic... although it does get a bit bright and harsh on certain voices
  • Re: Best Vocal Mic for the $$

    Sun, December 14, 2008 - 6:46 PM
    I'd stay away from the MXL and Sterling mics. They just sound boxy and cheap.

    I really like the Blue Baby Bottle on male vocals. Works great on guitar amps too when recording a clean to somewhat overdriven sound.

    Another good mic for warm vocal sounds without a loss in clarity is the AT4040. Nice round tone without a hyped high end.

    For quiet vocal styles without a lot of projection I like the AKG C414. The cardioid only (C214) version is a lot more affordable and keeps the traditional 414 sound. Just stand back a bit from it and have a good metal mesh pop filter.
  • Re: Best Vocal Mic for the $$

    Tue, January 6, 2009 - 12:39 AM
    Shure KSM 32 is a good mic. I use it for everything except bass cabs and kick drums.
    • Unsu...

      Re: Best Vocal Mic for the $$

      Tue, January 6, 2009 - 10:43 AM
      I think the Blue Baby Bottle or the Shure KSM 32 are going to be great mics in that price range. After buying nice converters, nice preamps and a few nice mics I have to say I wish I would have put more money up front into mics before anything else. I think having one or two really nice microphones will make the biggest difference in the sound you get, then preamps, then converters. Just my experience, don't skimp on the mics.

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