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Best workhorse condenser microphone?

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Best workhorse condenser microphone?

Postby Lennart » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:33 am

Hi,

I am looking for a good `all-round` workhorse microphone recording acoustic instruments (strings, percussion, wind/brass).
Small or big diaphragm condenser.

Currently creating a small portable recording kit (4 track pre amps, 4 microphones), so it would be great if the microphones are built to conveniently suit this use.

Cheers,
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Re: Best workhorse condenser microphone?

Postby Dave B » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:36 am

Budget?

Do you need multi-pattern?

A good all rounder is a Neumann u87. I know people who wouldn't settle for anything less than a Brauner though.

In the lower end of the price range, if you want a simple good quality cardoid mic, then the AT4033 has been a good 'go-to' mic for years.

In the middle there are things like 414s .. good all rounders with multiple patterns for under a grand.
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Re: Best workhorse condenser microphone?

Postby Mike Stranks » Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:20 am

All good suggestions, but if you need to operate at slightly lower down the food-chain then the Audio-Technica AT2020, the Rode M3 and the Rode NT5 are all worthy of consideration. The advantage of the M3 is that it can run on batteries if there is no phantom-power available.

(You'll find reviews of all of them on the SoS website.)
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Re: Best workhorse condenser microphone?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:19 am

My earlier post seems to have disappeared. Without budget restrictions I'd be suggesting a pair of MKH8050 super cardioids or 8040s cardioids for duties you mention and portability (do you mean location recording?) but really, it's all to do with budget.

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Re: Best workhorse condenser microphone?

Postby _ Six _ » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:10 pm

I recently picked up an AT4033a on The Bay for £100. Everything I point it at sounds great.
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Re: Best workhorse condenser microphone?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:48 pm

_ Six _ wrote:I recently picked up an AT4033a on The Bay for £100. Everything I point it at sounds great.

There's a reason for that - for the price it's a remarkably good mic. Without knowing the budget (so being conservative on price) I'd say AT4033a if vocals are likely, Rode NT5 or NT55 if not.

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Re: Best workhorse condenser microphone?

Postby Lennart » Wed May 01, 2013 6:53 am

Multipattern is ideal, gives me flexibility.

In terms of price range I`m thinking somewhere between akg 414 and the neumann u87.

Going to use the microphones as a part of a recording kit which I will travel with in a pelican case or something similar.

The recording is probably going to be done outside the typical studio environment; outside/inside
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Re: Best workhorse condenser microphone?

Postby Stef Andrews » Wed May 01, 2013 7:05 am

Going on DV247 prices, £2k gets you a single U87, £1600 a pair of C414 XLS, £1700 a pair of XLIIs.

If it were me, I'd go for the pair everytime - there are many more uses than just the single. I'd be very tempted to go for the 2x C414 XLS, and something like a pair of the rode NT55s - not quite in the same quality bracket as the 414s, but still bloomin' good mics by anyone's standards. All for the same price as a single U87 - I'd prefer to have 2 stereo pairs (and the options that brings!) any day.
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Re: Best workhorse condenser microphone?

Postby The Elf » Wed May 01, 2013 7:08 am

Just one microphone? No stereo recordings?

If it were me I'd aspire to a pair of C414 as a flexible travelling rig, but for something less bulky my first choice would be a pair of NT55.

Oops - Stef beat me to it. It seems we are of one mind, mate!
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Re: Best workhorse condenser microphone?

Postby chew_rocket » Wed May 01, 2013 7:42 am

_ Six _ wrote:I recently picked up an AT4033a on The Bay for £100. Everything I point it at sounds great.

DAYUM! You got a bargain there. Think I payed about £250 for mine, second hand.
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Re: Best workhorse condenser microphone?

Postby chew_rocket » Wed May 01, 2013 7:45 am

Lennart wrote:Multipattern is ideal, gives me flexibility.

In terms of price range I`m thinking somewhere between akg 414 and the neumann u87.

Going to use the microphones as a part of a recording kit which I will travel with in a pelican case or something similar.

The recording is probably going to be done outside the typical studio environment; outside/inside

In that price range... the world is your oyster!
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Re: Best workhorse condenser microphone?

Postby tacitus » Wed May 01, 2013 8:40 am

I'd go for a pair of 414 XLSs too. Not boutique-y but solid in all configurations and there's not much you couldn't do with that pair. As Stef says, if you have a pair of NT55s as well, you're covered for 99% of location recording needs and you even have a plan B if some goon runs over one of your 414s just before you put it up in a stereo pair to record. Always nice to have plan B when you're out on location.

Any money left over you can spend on some serious stands so you can put the mikes where they actually need to be. That'll generally make more difference than spending more on the mikes themselves.
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Re: Best workhorse condenser microphone?

Postby Matt Houghton » Fri May 03, 2013 8:40 am

chew_rocket wrote:
_ Six _ wrote:I recently picked up an AT4033a on The Bay for £100. Everything I point it at sounds great.

DAYUM! You got a bargain there. Think I payed about £250 for mine, second hand.

...which is nearly five times what I paid for mine second hand

Personally, I'd be going for a pair of 414s... a second hand B-ULS would be circa £400-450 each. They're nice and compact, and the carry cases are small too, all of which makes them nice and portable. The low end is nice and clean on these, and the switchable patterns should come in handy in this sort of setup. The M3 advice is also good if you need battery power.

If you only need cardioid, then maybe consider something like an Microtech Gefell M930 or two. If budget's not so restrictive, maybe also take a look at the UM930
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Re: Best workhorse condenser microphone?

Postby John Willett » Fri May 03, 2013 3:28 pm

Matt Houghton wrote:
If you only need cardioid, then maybe consider something like an Microtech Gefell M930 or two. If budget's not so restrictive, maybe also take a look at the UM930

Or if it is - the UMT70S (3-pattern and about one-third cheaper than a U87)
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Re: Best workhorse condenser microphone?

Postby sdelsolray » Wed May 08, 2013 1:17 am

John Willett wrote:
Matt Houghton wrote:
If you only need cardioid, then maybe consider something like an Microtech Gefell M930 or two. If budget's not so restrictive, maybe also take a look at the UM930

Or if it is - the UMT70S (3-pattern and about one-third cheaper than a U87)

+1. Bilbo says, "Microtech Gefell mics are made by the Elves, you know."

Also consider AT 4050 or Shure KSM44 for multi-patterns, along with many of the other suggestions above.
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Re: Best workhorse condenser microphone?

Postby SleepyHollos » Sun May 12, 2013 2:11 am

Sturdy, workhorse... surely we must be talking about a couple of 414s here? Especially as you're budget will allow it and the sources you intend to record.
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Re: Best workhorse condenser microphone?

Postby 4TrackMadman » Tue May 14, 2013 7:26 am

While working at a pro studio these were my workhorses: AT4040, AT2020 (if really on a tight budget), KSM32, AKG414 although the switches on these are prone to breakage. My all rounder was the AT4040 - most neutral of the ones listed and picked up really close to what you're hearing, maybe just a tad dull. The AT2020 is pretty much the same, I am using that one in my home studio mainly on vocals and percussion and I can't be happier.
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Re: Best workhorse condenser microphone?

Postby Jeraldo » Wed May 15, 2013 4:23 am

4TrackMadman wrote: AKG414 although the switches on these are prone to breakage.

Breaking those switches would require serious abuse!
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