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  1. #1

    Affordable vocal mic under $800

    I'm building up a little home studio and it's long overdue to start recording with something other than a 58.

    The music projects will mianly be in the rock genre. I'm shopping around for a quality mic for vocals which can do a great job for both female and male, and ideally under $800.

    I've been singing through a TLM 49 from a friend's studio which I love what he gets out of it on his music projects, but it's over my budget unfortunately. I've also been looking into 'Blue' mics which I heard a lot of positive feedback on.

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    General suggestion: hit up everybody you know to let you borrow and compare their mics. Bet you'll find several at about $200 that float your boat.

  3. #3
    The TLM is a great mic. I am in the uk so not sure of the prices for the US there are cheaper alternatives out there that bring great results, such as se electronics, Rode, the AKG 414 is a classic and a great all rounder.
    Karl is right , try as many as you can but different vocalist vary so much and some mics sound great with one singer and too sibilant or too flat with others.

    Another important consideration is choice of pre amp.

  4. #4
    Right now I'm running through an Avalon M5. I got an insane deal on it was the only reason ($500, practically new!). I haven't had a chance to try too many preamps and I figure if I have under $1K to invest to upgrade, the mic is where it'll probably be going.

    Thanks for the replies so far. I'm going with the advice of trying a bunch of stuff out. I've been asking around also and got a lot of the same feedback and stories of much less expensive mics (under $500) that just fit the singer so well, why go crazy, though the TLM is still at the top of my list so far if I can catch a deal, hehe.

  5. #5
    One other thing - make recordings and take them around to listen on other speakers. The "wizardry" of a really good recording engineer is not the ability to make something that sounds good on the studio monitors, but something that can be played over any speaker without showing up obvious faults. You really can't make a mic choice until you've heard the results in a lot of different situations.

  6. #6
    Quote
    Quote: karl eilers
    View Post
    One other thing - make recordings and take them around to listen on other speakers. The "wizardry" of a really good recording engineer is not the ability to make something that sounds good on the studio monitors, but something that can be played over any speaker without showing up obvious faults. You really can't make a mic choice until you've heard the results in a lot of different situations.
    Exactly! I hear stories all the time about people who buy all sorts of gear to monitor their system and make it perfect in the perfect monitors, but neglect to test and find that the medium they plan on distributing their final material in is normally in an installation that modifies the sound in a semi-regular way and that way makes it sound horrid (which means that anyone with good monitors attached to that same system likely has them tweaked to make audio designed for that system sound like it originally did, offsetting the problem the other way).
    When we check on transmitters (TV and FM) after being told of issues, we don't just look at what should be coming out based upon what's going in, we get a receiver and *look and listen* at the final output in the same way as a consumer would (we also check to make sure it is within spec, of course).
    Also be aware that "content is king" -- you could have the best recording ever and someone else could have the worst recording ever (with whole portions missing), but if yours is of black and a steady tone (or anything else that no one wants to see/hear) and theirs is of a highly popular sitcom, theirs will get more audience than yours every time.
    Eric Adler (tonsofpcs)
    http://www.videoproductionsupport.com/ Chat at: http://tinyurl.com/vpschat
    Follow me on twitter: @videosupport @eric_adler

  7. #7
    I forget who it was, but one of the most successful recording engineers of the 1960s would take home a final mix and listen to it on his cheap Arvin AM table radio. That was his "final authority." However good it sounded in the studio, it had to pass the "Arvin test" before it got pressed into vinyl.

  8. #8
    Quote
    Quote: karl eilers
    View Post
    I forget who it was, but one of the most successful recording engineers of the 1960s would take home a final mix and listen to it on his cheap Arvin AM table radio. That was his "final authority." However good it sounded in the studio, it had to pass the "Arvin test" before it got pressed into vinyl.
    thats a very good idea because it may sound so good in the studio but rubbish on what everybody's listening it through so its a good idea to test it on consumer equipment.

  9. #9
    Thanks for the pointers so far guys, it's really appreciated.

    Just curious, anyone have suggestions of actual mics to add to the list to try out by any chance?

  10. #10
    Here's an import from a comment in another thread: I bought a set of MXL mics (one pencil mic, one cannister) and a preamp from Guitar Center for $100. They may not still have this deal, but they'll have something similar, as will other big chain music stores.

    The MXL mics are the 990 and 991. They are both large-diaphragm mics. They are not as good as, say, a real studio-grade Neumann - in A/B comparisons, the difference is obvious. But they are better than they have any right to be at the price, and they stomp all over an SM58, or any other dynamic mic.

    There are a lot of simlilar Chinese-made, large-diameter condensers (or mics that use Chinese-made elements) that are amazingly good for the price. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

    BTW, none of these mics have good blast filters and few have shockmounts. For vocals, you can buy the kind of filter that's a fine cloth mesh stretched over a hoop. Or, if you're really broke, you can make one out of an old nylon stocking.

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