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Best home studio CONDENSER mic under $150
Old 30th January 2013
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Best home studio CONDENSER mic under $150

My friend is going to lend me his sm57 in a couple weeks so now I'm looking to buy a condenser mic under $150 brand new only. I'll be recording electronic music with mellow vocals in a very small bedroom studio using an mbox2 with no external preamp. So far the only mic I've been looking at is the Blue Spark White Edition ($150) but I'm open to other suggestions.

Edit: New microphones I'm considering AT 2050, CAD M179, RODENT1A, Blue Spark
Old 30th January 2013
  #2
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by newsounds ➡️
My friend is going to lend me his sm57 in a couple weeks so now I'm looking to buy a condenser mic under $150 brand new only. I'll be recording electronic music with mellow vocals in a very small bedroom studio using an mbox2 with no external preamp. So far the only mic I've been looking at is the Blue Spark White Edition ($150) but I'm open to other suggestions.
The spark isn't bad, but if you want a good transparent mic for that price, try out the AT2035 by Audio Technica. Then again, just shoot out mics. Don't take suggestions as guidance. Go to your local guitar center and try them all out together, then decide from there. Blue makes great high end mics like the Kiwi or Baby bottle, but at $150, the quality from mic to mic is minimal. all depends on whether you're looking for something more versatile or something that will work better for a single use. For instance, I like Blue mics on female Jazz vocals and on RnB sometimes, however when I'm doing mobile recording, I always make sure to bring my AT2050 because its a good fall back option.

EDIT: **** it...save an extra 70 bucks and get a multipattern (because of its versatility). If you're looking for ONE mic, get something with more to offer like the 2050. When you have a few mics to choose from you can look at having more specialty mics. Till then, keep something that can handle different situations.

Last edited by 608studios; 30th January 2013 at 06:40 PM.. Reason: More information
Old 30th January 2013
  #3
Deleted User
Guest
Save $50 and buy a real vocal mic - a Shure SM58. No condenser - especially at your price point - is going to provide you with "mellow vocals". They are pretty much going to be giving you bright, sibilant voices and pick up too much of that small bedroom's crummy acoustics. The 58 will work better because it was designed for vocals and the tight pattern (for feedback control) will keep the room out of the equation. Cheap condensers suck in a bad room...
The Shure SM-58..."Even if you have to fake it like Beyonce."
Old 30th January 2013 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonbaby ➡️
Save $50 and buy a real vocal mic - a Shure SM58. No condenser - especially at your price point - is going to provide you with "mellow vocals". They are pretty much going to be giving you bright, sibilant voices and pick up too much of that small bedroom's crummy acoustics. The 58 will work better because it was designed for vocals and the tight pattern (for feedback control) will keep the room out of the equation. Cheap condensers suck in a bad room...
The Shure SM-58..."Even if you have to fake it like Beyonce."
I see your point but with a good pop filter and even a blanket hung on the wall, a condenser can give you better sound and better transient recording than a dynamic mic.
Old 30th January 2013
  #5
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
My vote goes to the Audio Technica 3035 but they are discontinued, so you'd have to buy used. Or instead a PRO 37r small diaphragm, another mic I keep using again and again despite having many more expensive ones here.
Old 30th January 2013
  #6
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
The Sterling ST51 ain't bad for $100. Ain't stellar, either.
Old 30th January 2013 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 608studios ➡️
The spark isn't bad, but if you want a good transparent mic for that price, try out the AT2035 by Audio Technica. Then again, just shoot out mics. Don't take suggestions as guidance. Go to your local guitar center and try them all out together, then decide from there. Blue makes great high end mics like the Kiwi or Baby bottle, but at $150, the quality from mic to mic is minimal. all depends on whether you're looking for something more versatile or something that will work better for a single use. For instance, I like Blue mics on female Jazz vocals and on RnB sometimes, however when I'm doing mobile recording, I always make sure to bring my AT2050 because its a good fall back option.

EDIT: **** it...save an extra 70 bucks and get a multipattern (because of its versatility). If you're looking for ONE mic, get something with more to offer like the 2050. When you have a few mics to choose from you can look at having more specialty mics. Till then, keep something that can handle different situations.
I like that it's a multi-pattern mic, I didn't even know this existed. Besides that feature how does it sound? I can't seem to find any useful examples on youtube, would you say that it has the same sound signature as the 2020? If so I didn't really like the 2020, I sounded as if it was being held back and very thin.

I did find the 2050 on ebay for $170 Best home studio CONDENSER mic under 0Audio Technica AT2050 Multi Pattern Condenser Microphone Mic B at 2050 4961310101763 | eBay
Old 31st January 2013
  #8
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
I'm also considering the CAD M-179, AT2035 or 2050 if the multi pattern makes a big difference. Anyone have experiences with these mics?
Old 31st January 2013 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by newsounds ➡️
I like that it's a multi-pattern mic, I didn't even know this existed. Besides that feature how does it sound? I can't seem to find any useful examples on youtube, would you say that it has the same sound signature as the 2020? If so I didn't really like the 2020, I sounded as if it was being held back and very thin.

I did find the 2050 on ebay for $170 Best home studio CONDENSER mic under 0Audio Technica AT2050 Multi Pattern Condenser Microphone Mic B at 2050 4961310101763 | eBay
The 2050 has a fuller sound to it. But I believe when it comes to having a single mic to depend on you'll be happy. But I'd recommend buying it new. PM me if you want a good price on it.
Old 31st January 2013
  #10
Lives for gear
 
baskervils's Avatar
Blue Yeti
Old 31st January 2013
  #11
Lives for gear
 
6 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
The Sterling Audio ST51 was one of the first condensers I ever bought (About 4-5 years ago) since then my mic collection has been upgraded many times but I do find myself going back to the ST51 on many occasions for vocals and acoustic guitar.
Old 31st January 2013 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by baskervils ➡️
Blue Yeti
no
Old 31st January 2013 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by auralart ➡️
The Sterling Audio ST51 was one of the first condensers I ever bought (About 4-5 years ago) since then my mic collection has been upgraded many times but I do find myself going back to the ST51 on many occasions for vocals and acoustic guitar.
would the st51 stand up to the mics I listed? (at2050, cad m179, etc)
Old 31st January 2013
  #14
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
ST51 is thin, tinny, and hyped IMO. If I was starting over, my first condenser would probably be the AT3035.
Old 31st January 2013 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick87 ➡️
ST51 is thin, tinny, and hyped IMO. If I was starting over, my first condenser would probably be the AT3035.
Everyone keeps recommending this but it's discontinued and I don't want to buy used.
Old 31st January 2013
  #16
Gear Nut
 
bandso's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I just don't get why people dis the RODENT1A. I have two and they work well, are super quite, and built to last. The included 10 year warranty from Rode is a great deal as well.
Old 31st January 2013 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bandso ➡️
I just don't get why people dis the RODENT1A. I have two and they work well, are super quite, and built to last. The included 10 year warranty from Rode is a great deal as well.
Just out of curiosity, what do people not like about the Rode NT1a?
Old 31st January 2013
  #18
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
I agree with Moonbaby. Go for a Shure SM-58. At that price point you are going to get much more bang for your buck by going with a dynamic mic.
Old 31st January 2013
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
threesymbol's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I don't know why I am awake but here goes my best answer. I am assuming you are new to recording and engineering. I'd get a sm57 (or 58). Here is my thoughts...
1. You can never have too many 57's!
2. Your gonna struggle with the sound anyway, better to deal with the devil you know. I bet there is 1000+ people here who have tracked vocals with a 57 and got pleasing results. You may not find others who have used the Yeti on vocals that can give you input.
3. One of the biggest things that shaped my experiences was trying to get a good sound with a handful of 57's. If you can learn the 57 and all of it's nuances, you will appreciate engineering and other mics more! Don't get caught up in the "if only I had ...." game! The buck stops with the engineer, not the mics. And I know I'd rather hire someone who has mic'd a whole drum kit with 57's and got a good sound than someone who got a good sound using u87's and KSM's. Learn the proximity effect and his to use it. Learn the acoustics with a forgiving mic. Then slowly step away from the 57's.

The thought process when I buy a mic is, "I'm looking for something with a little more presence on vocals. Maybe something with a gentle boost around 2-3K." Then I don't end up with something I don't need or use. The 57 is almost always my reference, even if it's from memory. It's truly a classic, even my Unidyne III (which is the first mic I ever bought) gets used on every session I do.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus
Old 31st January 2013
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
threesymbol's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by newsounds ➡️
Just out of curiosity, what do people not like about the Rode NT1a?
It's similar to the Blue Baby Bottle on vocals. It either works and shines, or it is really harsh. I've heard great stuff done on both. I really don't get how anyone "hates" any mic. The only hate that really happens is in specific context. Like I hate the sound of the NT1a on strumming acoustic guitars.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus
Old 31st January 2013
  #21
Gear Guru
 
matt thomas's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
+1 on SM-58

Cheap condenser does not equal mellow.

Better to get a good dynamic than a bad condenser.

If you won't listen to people suggesting a dynamic, then Audio Technica make the least cheap sounding cheap mics that I have used.

Matt
Old 31st January 2013
  #22
Lives for gear
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I have never used the Blue Spark, but I have some experience with Blue mics in general. I really like Blue stuff, and I can’t see even the $150 Blue Spark sucking that much.

So, here’s the rub, and I realize it’s not what you want to hear: I wouldn’t worry about spending $150 on another condenser mic right now because no matter what mic you’d choose in that price range it would inevitably present a lateral move IMO. If you don’t like the Blue Spark, then sell it, and then use that money to pick up one of the other suggested mics. In fact, at that point you’ve just increased your budget and could probably get something in the $250 range, which would now catapult you outside of the “lateral move” zone.

So, either sit tight with what you have; hold on to that $150 until you can add at least another $100 to your budget, or sell the Spark and make your move up.

Then again, let me also make one more obvious suggestion. You said you’re barrowing your friends sm57. That tells me you don’t currently have a decent dynamic mic. Well, there you go. You have a condenser but no dynamic mic. Every recording enthusiasts needs at least one good dynamic mic, and there are lots of options out there even at the sub $100 range. Hell, even Behringer, Electra Voice, Audio Technica, etc. all make decent dymaics in the $50 range. Musiciansfriend has been running a deal for 2 EV 57-type mics for something like $49 for the past two years or so. That’s ridiculous, and if you don’t already own a dynamic mic you absolutely need to get on the ball with that IMO.

Best regards,

Chris
Old 31st January 2013 | Show parent
  #23
Deleted 6ccb844
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by matt thomas ➡️
+1 on SM-58

Cheap condenser does not equal mellow.

Better to get a good dynamic than a bad condenser.

If you won't listen to people suggesting a dynamic, then Audio Technica make the least cheap sounding cheap mics that I have used.

Matt
I'm not a fan of Shure mic's, I'd use them if I had nothing better on me at the time.. Something like a GAP R1 ribbon or CAD M179 at this price range is far better than a 58..

I'd save up and get a Mojave FET.
Old 31st January 2013
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
abaga129's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I've got some pleasing results out of my mxl 990. Its very inexpensive. Just like any mic though, it just doesn't suit some vocalists well. But higher range male vocals sound very good with it.

I also like it on acoustic guitar.
Old 31st January 2013 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by threesymbol ➡️
I don't know why I am awake but here goes my best answer. I am assuming you are new to recording and engineering. I'd get a sm57 (or 58). Here is my thoughts...
1. You can never have too many 57's!
2. Your gonna struggle with the sound anyway, better to deal with the devil you know. I bet there is 1000+ people here who have tracked vocals with a 57 and got pleasing results. You may not find others who have used the Yeti on vocals that can give you input.
3. One of the biggest things that shaped my experiences was trying to get a good sound with a handful of 57's. If you can learn the 57 and all of it's nuances, you will appreciate engineering and other mics more! Don't get caught up in the "if only I had ...." game! The buck stops with the engineer, not the mics. And I know I'd rather hire someone who has mic'd a whole drum kit with 57's and got a good sound than someone who got a good sound using u87's and KSM's. Learn the proximity effect and his to use it. Learn the acoustics with a forgiving mic. Then slowly step away from the 57's.

The thought process when I buy a mic is, "I'm looking for something with a little more presence on vocals. Maybe something with a gentle boost around 2-3K." Then I don't end up with something I don't need or use. The 57 is almost always my reference, even if it's from memory. It's truly a classic, even my Unidyne III (which is the first mic I ever bought) gets used on every session I do.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus
Since my friend is lending me his sm57 I was aiming for a condenser just to have more flexibility. Is something like an AT2050 that bad to the point where you would recommend that I buy another dynamic instead? I don't ever plan on micing drums or anything like that. Besides recording vocals and maybe a little acoustic guitar, the only other use I can see myself using the mic for would be for skype calls or voice overs for something. Would a dynamic work just as well giving you that radio type of sound?
Old 31st January 2013
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
threesymbol's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by newsounds ➡️
Since my friend is lending me his sm57 I was aiming for a condenser just to have more flexibility. Is something like an AT2050 that bad to the point where you would recommend that I buy another dynamic instead? I don't ever plan on micing drums or anything like that. Besides recording vocals and maybe a little acoustic guitar, the only other use I can see myself using the mic for would be for skype calls or voice overs for something. Would a dynamic work just as well giving you that radio type of sound?
Condensors won't give you that radio type sound, anymore than a dynamic. Obviously, borrowing a 57 is not owning one, however, if you only see guitars and vocals in your future then look at the frequency response charts of all the mics in your range and get the flat'est one possible that has a roll off. I have not seen the response of the spark or AT2050, however I would definitely take the one that is flat.

On a side note, I still stand by the 57. Especially on vocals, and I've tracked acoustic guitars on a 57 with good results, maybe a little pingy but then you try different pick sizes to find the sound your after. Soak your fingers to reduce string noise, and all those really cool tricks. Try looking up 57 sound files on guitars. At your price range (or any) there is no Mic that you could flop in front of a guitar and have a great sound. It sounds like your working in the "decent" range. If you opposed to the 57, check out the C5. It is dynamic/condensor. Use it with or without phantom power. It's is pretty solid on acoustic and vocals, like a 57.



Sent from my Galaxy Nexus
Old 31st January 2013 | Show parent
  #27
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by newsounds ➡️
Since my friend is lending me his sm57 I was aiming for a condenser just to have more flexibility. Is something like an AT2050 that bad to the point where you would recommend that I buy another dynamic instead? I don't ever plan on micing drums or anything like that. Besides recording vocals and maybe a little acoustic guitar, the only other use I can see myself using the mic for would be for skype calls or voice overs for something. Would a dynamic work just as well giving you that radio type of sound?
"Bad" is always relative. If you are new to recording than I am sure you will be satisfied with many of the condenser mics mentioned. (Audio Technica, Blue, etc.) That being said, you can get a better dynamic mic for $100 than you can a condenser. i.e. SM-58, SM-57 (and yes, as mentioned above, vocals can sound great with a 57)

Also, you mentioned a "radio type of sound". In many cases dynamic mics (such as Electro Voice RE-20 and Shure SM7B) are a first choice for broadcast and VO applications. These mics are out of the price range that you mentioned, but my point is don't be affair of dynamic mics for recording vocal.

BTW, if you are just recording vocals and maybe other stuff here and there, than you don't really need that much flexibility, right.
Old 31st January 2013
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Vanilla_Dutches's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
MXL V67G, IMO...

I prefer it over the AT and Rode NT all day.
Old 31st January 2013
  #29
Lives for gear
 
scrubs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
CAD M179 and Shure SM57 would cover a lot of ground. Pretty sure I could record a whole album with that combo no problem.
Old 31st January 2013
  #30
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
I'm going to agree with just about everything that's been said so far:

1. If you don't own a 57, get one! You'll use it time and time again, no matter what else you have.

2. If you don't want to do that, then get a 2050, because aside from the difference in tone you'll get pattern flexibility, and that - as much as any other reason - would distinguish it from what you're already using.

3. You should try a few different mics - preferably at home, but in the store will do. If you can, bring headphones that you're familiar with, as their monitors/room/etc. won't be the same as yours.
You cannot judge the sound of any mic using a youtube video. You don't know what's been done to the signal on the way in (or in the mix), and even if you did, the compression algorithm used on youtube videos (even the HD ones) renders evaluation useless.

Good luck!
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