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Looking for a Versatile Mic
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Looking for a Versatile Mic

Long time reader. First time poster.

Another annoying "which mic should I buy post" just so you're aware. And no I can't afford a great river pre and a u87.

So I used to be a full time musician and now I'm not. I'm actually a pastor but I still really enjoy recording music and I have friends who reach out sometimes for me to record with them.

I need a jack of all trades mic.

Because of this I'm looking for a good all rounder mic. If I was recording for work I'd invest in all the expensive stuff that I know it's incredible but it's not worth the money as it's more of a fun thing for me now

I currently have
Blue Spark
Heil PR22
SM58

I'm thinking of getting one of the following
EV RE20
Heil PR30
Shure KSM32

Reasoning
EV RE20 - umm it's an RE20 I hear it's great on everything
Heil PR30 - hear great things / massive rear rejection so room isn't as big of a factor (I move a lot)
Shure KSM32 - same as the others. It's supposed to be pretty great on everything

I'm kind of learning towards a mic that's pretty flat on the frequency response. The RE20 and KSM32 fit this bill. I know the Heil has a 4k bump but apparently it EQs out well.

I know there's a lot of opinions out there and I'd like to hear yours.

Thanks!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 
thismercifulfate's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Welcome to the forum!

Is there something you feel you’re missing from the 3 mics you currently have or dislike about them, based on your experience recording with them and later mixing the tracks?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Yeah the mics you have cover a lot of ground. Don't buy a mic just because "I read it's great." And NO mic is great on everything.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 
James Lehmann's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
My stock answer to these kinds of questions is always:
  1. What is the rest of your signal chain?
  2. What instruments/applications/genres do you want to mic?
  3. What is your budget?
  4. What sorts of spaces are you recording in?
I truly believe you will get much more focussed, targeted and useful answers to your specific situation if you provide as much surrounding detail as possible.

I also agree with @ thismercifulfate in terms of describing where and how you feel your existing recordings are falling short, and ideally providing some WAVs for us to listen to and evaluate (especially for vocalists).

Last edited by James Lehmann; 4 weeks ago at 01:50 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
CAD M-179
Low cost, relatively neutral -read more like the RE20s/KSM-32 and less like the Heils in general not overly hyped. And in particular very versatile via the fully variable pattern control. (A pair of them, KSM-32s, PR20, 22 and 35's here)
https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/cad-m177-m179
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Sigma's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bill5 ➡️
Yeah the mics you have cover a lot of ground. Don't buy a mic just because "I read it's great." And NO mic is great on everything.
re 20 is close..vocals..kick drum floor tom gtr sax etc
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
dzb
Gear Maniac
 
dzb's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Of the 3, the KSM 32. It's one of the mics I put in the top 5 for that price range when asked for a recommendation.

Specific applications would influence me on presenting other mics.

A few relevant thoughts...
When asked, my first mention is AKG 414 XLII (a mic I avoided and did not want to like for years but as I came to know it realized how very solid of performer it is for a lot of applications). I shriek when someone asking leads with the German mic that begins with 'N' you mentioned or any lower range mic of theirs.

Last year a younger guy working on his home studio who my family came to know landed with a new Rode NT2K - (that mic was not a primary nor top 3 recommendation of mine to him) - I happen to have one from a period when the studio didn't have a wider selection (which now also includes some higher end mics to choose from). When we would put the NT2K up in the studio it somehow always tended to be a contender - at the time we had a KSM 32, 44, 414, for a period a U87 (twice and sold both), another variable pattern decent overseas tube mic, and several other under $1K mics. The young guy I just mentioned was going to blindly buy a currently hyped German mic in the $1K range - I highly encouraged him to hear the mics first - to get him started as a way to open his ears I loaned him several mics to try without saying a thing about any of them. Mics from AKG, Shure, Rode, and a couple cheap ones. He did his homework and explored - beyond his primary intended application, as well. He was thrilled with the Rode NT2K and ultimately a new one - would that particular mic be my recommendation? No, but it works great for his applications plus he saved some $ - I know he landed with far more versatility than he would have with the German $1K mic.

Don't rule out expanding mic pres as you grow your mic selection...
About 15-20 years ago we expanded our mid-range mic options by bringing in several different mic pres which was a revelation (no pun intended) - at the time we kept 3 and landed with 10 different pres that have made a permanent home here - with several duplicates of the workhorses for drums and general instruments + amps; a few stereo pairs; some colored pres and back-ups of a couple pres I found special - in the process at least another 9 or 10 we brought in that we gave serious listen to (probably more like 10-15 maybe more) - some stayed for awhile (even a few years), and others didn't make it past an evaluation phase. Now I personally tend to put as much emphasis on the right pre selection as mic, sometimes more on the pre when going to other studios and know there might be a limited mic selection / using typical staples in the range you are seeking - then I'll bring along a portable lunchbox with different pres rather than pack a bunch of my mics. There are two mics where on occasion one might come along to another studio, but that's a different topic altogether.

Good luck in your quest.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Well I've played around a lot with these mics and others and I've found that I much prefer working with mics that are neutral and being able to choose what frequencies I want to boost.

The PR22 is a great mic especially for live but I find that the presence boost is really intense for recording. I spend a lot of time EQing things out.

The Spark is a good mic. I'm looking for more clarity and balance. I actually don't mind it as a vocal mic but I have definitely used better sounding mics than it.

The 58 is fine. It's a 58 lol

Signal Chain: Straight into a Roland Octocapture. Zero colour. Very very clean preamps.

What instruments/applications/genres do you want to mic? Mainly Vox , OHs, and random percussion. I may use it for other things but that will be pretty far and between.

Budget: Around $600 - $700 Canadian (I am fine buying used)

Spaces I record in: Random rooms that I can find. Bedrooms/rooms in my house. Rooms at my church and the very huge sounding sanctuary. That's one of the reasons I'm looking at the PR30 as it cuts out a lot of room.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Yeah the RE20 is famous for being better about that but if the proximity effect is a concern, sing farther away from the mic.

And treat one of your bedrooms first. It doesn't have to be expensive OR permanent. That will give you better gains than a pricier mic.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Lance Lawson's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Beware of microphone addiction! I currently have 19 condensers and ribbons although all I ever use at one time is 3. OTOH my Jazz playing older brother is up to 137 at last count. And all he ever needs is 4 mics max. But the music retailers keep running sales that are too good to pass up.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
A good mic for almost everything is the Sennheiser MD-421.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
Gear Head
Consider earthworks sr314 as well - flat frequency response, cardioid with uniform off axis response and great rear rejection, can be used in studio and live! I used this just today on a female vocals where we had to tame the harshness coming through while recording via a u87 clone! What you hear in the room is what gets recorded. Highly recommended.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kosmokrator ➡️
A good mic for almost everything is the Sennheiser MD-421.
I think this is the correct answer.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
AKG 414 is the most versatile mic I’ve owned. Opinions will vary more than its polar patterns.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
Lives for gear
 
AA OC818 can be a 414 with all and every pattern with it's Polar software ... very versatile (and educational)
Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
what's a good vocal mic for $500 USD?

the most popular question of all time!

audio technica at4040 is a good neutral-style mic at $300. you could add a matched pair of sE Electronics sE7 small diaphragm condensers for $200 for overheads and other assorted applications. that puts you at $500 USD total.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
Lives for gear
 
toledo3's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
RE20s are great, but the KSM32 will edge it out on overheads, and has a bit more detail.

KSM32 are super plain sounding...in a good way, but they can give a clean capture that a good mixer can do a lot with. They are a far more solid starting point than many mics that cost much more. The pad and highpass will be handy as well.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Oktava 319 has to be one to think about.

Dark, sort of smokey sound. Not the most defined maybe, but can work for vocals, overheads, percussion, bass cabs. Personal fave is outside kick.. With the mods even better I’m sure.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #19
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
So I did quick vocal take yesterday with the Spark and remembered why it has sat around for a while. There's just so much low end build up. And I wasn't right on the mic either. Probably 8-10 away with the pop filter and everything. I have to EQ out so much below 400hz.

The Earthworks SR314 is definetly an interesting choice I had never heard of before! Those who own say its super versatile and they love the sound of it!

My brain is saying I will probably end up with a KSM32. It has been on my mind for years and years and the mosr consistent comment is that it is very neutral and works on a lot of sources.

But there's always the MD421....I've never tried one before.....
Old 3 weeks ago
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Progger's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Your instincts are probably pretty solid. KSM32, RE20, Senny MD421, and Heil PR30 or PR40 are all great well-rounded mics for what you're describing. Beyer M88 would be, too, and has a nice tight polar pattern if room rejection is a priority.

If you want a nice neutral condenser in that price range, I think the Shure is probably the only way to go.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
James Lehmann's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dxtrinc ➡️
So I did quick vocal take yesterday with the Spark and remembered why it has sat around for a while. There's just so much low end build up. And I wasn't right on the mic either. Probably 8-10 away with the pop filter and everything. I have to EQ out so much below 400hz.

My brain is saying I will probably end up with a KSM32. It has been on my mind for years and years and the mosr consistent comment is that it is very neutral and works on a lot of sources.

But there's always the MD421....I've never tried one before.....
I don't know anything about the Spark but if it isn't delivering then it seems like your plan to replace it with a well-known neutral and forgiving LDC like the Shure KSM32 is a solid one.

The Sennheiser MD-421 is not a neutral-sounding mic, at least not the MD 421-U4 I own - this mic has 'attitude'. Much like an SM57, it's a mic that is great on some things some of the time, but for me – who like you, generally prefers a neutral sound on most sources – it's probably not a good choice for an all-rounder.

EV-RE-20 is a lovely smooth-sounding mic - personally it turns me into instant radio presenter, which can be great but maybe not something you'd want all the time. Great for the lack of proximity though, of course, and it does sound great on a wide range of close-miked instruments. Like most dynamics however, it requires a fulsome amount of gain - I'm not familiar with your Roland interface but I am generally wary of mid/lower end interfaces with preamps that max out under 60dB. (Context: As a v/o/ artist I do a lot of spoken word so preamp gain for me is probably much more critical than someone micing a guitar amp.)

But it's another reason why on balance in your shoes I would probably go for a phantom-powered LDC.

Also, don't forget the Audio Technica AT4050, which you could pick up used well within budget. Being multi-pattern it's a bit more versatile than the KSM32 and has nice natural tone to it. I don't have one anymore but personally I'd choose it again over the newer generation AKG C414 XLS at around the same price-point.

Finally, notwithstanding what I've said about preamp gain etc, a mic I think is worth having around as a budget all-rounder is the BeyerDynamic M201 - decent, unhyped sound on most acoustic sources and it's hypercardioid with good rejection. I've never paid more than €150 for one, so if you can shop around for a deal I'd just grab one of these too as they're just so useful to have in the locker.

Last edited by James Lehmann; 3 weeks ago at 08:18 AM..
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #22
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
m-201 and md-441 (or sm57 and md-421) - or variable pattern ldc

i tend to think of the m-201 as of a sdc-like dynamic mic; of course it has lower sensitivity and lower output but a resonably flat fr/useful hf but it is way smaller and less expensive than the md-441 which could get considered as its bigger brother/sister.

i'm using both mics in situations in which other folks tend to use a sm-57 or the more directional beta-57 - so on pretty much everything if not using sdc's.

i still own and use a multitude of them, albeit mostly for drums/percussion and occasionally on horn/sax sections these days; i do carry at least a pair of m-201's to every gig (although the same goes for a pair of pcm's, modular sdc's, shotguns, variable-pattern ldc's and di's); i cannot even remember for how long the m201's and md-441's have been serving me very well, but it's certainly been more than 30 years!

___


now almost everything i said on the m-201 and md-421 i could also say on the sm-57 and the md-421! - in fact, i did tours and recording session with almost no other type of mic and can get much more bothered if not annoyed by many other (and way more expensive) mics!
nevertheless, i mostly tend to avoid more than two of each on a stage or in the studio as i experienced the effect that too many of the same can lead to a soundfiled with imo becomes 'un-eq-able' but then, i so far only one mic of which i could use 100+ without running into issues (which cannot get considered affordable by any stretch though) but maybe that's just me...

___


...so: i can recommend the m-201 (with the only caveat of its pattern but otherwise typical specs of a dynamic mic) or then a variable pattern ldc (without any reservation).

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 3 weeks ago at 12:53 AM.. Reason: typo
Old 3 weeks ago
  #23
Lives for gear
 
bambony's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kosmokrator ➡️
A good mic for almost everything is the Sennheiser MD-421.
The Beyer M201 beats it for me. I have lots of both.

I think the KSM32 would suit the OP the most. He said OHs and percussion and the KSM excels at any price point in these applications.

Tony
Old 3 weeks ago
  #24
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
The Warm 84 gives you several things you don’t have in a mic (although you’ve only mentioned one of them):
It is an SDC.
It is a transformer mic with an excellent transformer.
Its frequency response is extended and very flat.
It picks up less room than any other condenser and even some dynamics I have.
It is a genuine all-rounder... acoustic guitars, drums, piano, amps and vocals (with a good pop screen). It surprised me most on vocals.
It is not very expensive, and it has often forced my very expensive mics back into their cases.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
cheu78's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dxtrinc ➡️
Well I've played around a lot with these mics and others and I've found that I much prefer working with mics that are neutral and being able to choose what frequencies I want to boost.

The PR22 is a great mic especially for live but I find that the presence boost is really intense for recording. I spend a lot of time EQing things out.

The Spark is a good mic. I'm looking for more clarity and balance. I actually don't mind it as a vocal mic but I have definitely used better sounding mics than it.

The 58 is fine. It's a 58 lol

Signal Chain: Straight into a Roland Octocapture. Zero colour. Very very clean preamps.

What instruments/applications/genres do you want to mic? Mainly Vox , OHs, and random percussion. I may use it for other things but that will be pretty far and between.

Budget: Around $600 - $700 Canadian (I am fine buying used)

Spaces I record in: Random rooms that I can find. Bedrooms/rooms in my house. Rooms at my church and the very huge sounding sanctuary. That's one of the reasons I'm looking at the PR30 as it cuts out a lot of room.
The KSM32 will serve you very well for all these tasks..

While I love the 441 and other dynamics, and they’re great on percs, on OH are not always the best option.. you’ll really want “that” kind of sound signature on OH with these dynamics..
A pair of used ksm32 would be my choice for OH (and all the other tadks, IF I had to choose 1 mic).



Cheu
Old 3 weeks ago
  #26
Gear Addict
 
I haven't seen anyone mention the AT4050, so I will. Pretty solid Jack Of All. I wouldn't call it great at anything, but it's pretty darn good at pretty much everything I've ever thrown at it. It's my goto utility mic.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
 
Progger's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mag J ➡️
I haven't seen anyone mention the AT4050, so I will. Pretty solid Jack Of All. I wouldn't call it great at anything, but it's pretty darn good at pretty much everything I've ever thrown at it. It's my goto utility mic.
Good mic, for sure! It's usually a bit more expensive than the others OP was looking at, unless you find a good deal on a used one. But certainly a good contender for a useful all-rounder.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
James Lehmann's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mag J ➡️
I haven't seen anyone mention the AT4050
Yeah, other than the dude who mentioned it in Post 21, you're right - no-one has mentioned it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann ➡️
Also, don't forget the Audio Technica AT4050, which you could pick up used well within budget. Being multi-pattern it's a bit more versatile than the KSM32 and has nice natural tone to it. I don't have one anymore but personally I'd choose it again over the newer generation AKG C414 XLS at around the same price-point.

Last edited by James Lehmann; 3 weeks ago at 10:31 AM..
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann ➡️
Yeah, other than the dude who mentioned it in Post 21, you're right - no-one has mentioned it.
OK... a genuine reason to refer to yourself in the third person while pointing out an attention deficit in the previous post.
That’s impressive in categories not covered by the Grammys.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Sharp11's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I’m a big fan of the AT4050 - I use it as a third mic on piano regularly for over 25 years now. Also good for any all around service you’d use a U87 for.

Also, a new mic that’s an amazing performer is the Roswell series of “minis”, the mini k87 and mini k47. These are tremendously good value and great performing mics made my Matt Roswell, the founder and keeper of recordinghacks.com

You can buy a matched pair of k47s for the price of one AT 4050.
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