Quote Pat Nghia Long:
Please take no offense, I *experimented* a little with a consumer philips electret (SBC ME 570). Of course it is just not usable because the level of noise is mad, it has very little low end and sounds thin. However, it has much more high end transparency, and a far higher output level, which reduces the temptation to raise the entry gain.
Keep experimenting with mics like this as you may well find a gem that performs far better than it should for the price. Along the same lines, try plugging your headphones into a mic input.
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration.