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Which sub £100 vocal mike?

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Which sub £100 vocal mike?

Postby wotnwhy » Tue May 08, 2012 8:12 pm

Hi, at the moment I'm recording vocals with an old AKG stage mike and things need to improve...

I am giving myself a budget of £150. And in this I'm including the basic ART tube preamp and the T-Bone mikescreen mini. So have less than £100 to spend on the mike.

A friend has an Audio Technica AT2020 that I borrowed for a while, I really liked it. But listening back now to the recordings I did on it, I think the sound was a little thin? Not enough pressure? (I know, my sound descriptions suck..)

There are a few other options though:
AKG perception 120 - I have an AKG C1000s MKIII which I really like (just no good for vocals)
MXL 2006 - Never heard of MXL, but in budget. Are they any good?
the t.bone Retro Bottle - Loads of t.bone stuff in budget. Don't like the name, but if this one's vintage look is coupled with a more vintage sound, maby better suited than the Audio Technica? Assume t.bone aren't just another Behringer..
and finally, Studio Project B1 - Again, never heard of the make, but the cheapest they seem to do is top of my budget, are they a quality brand?


So there we are. If anyone can help shed some light on any of these to help me pic it would be greatly appreciated!
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Re: Which sub £100 vocal mike?

Postby Jabba1 » Wed May 09, 2012 8:32 am

SE's 2200A is solidly made, very versatile and a good step up from the 2020. I have the 2020, the 2200a and also the Sennheiser Mk4, which I managed to get from Amazon for £199 last year on promotion and between them, for my requirements, they cover pretty much every eventuality. You may be able to find the 2200 or older versions of it B stock or similar sales for below a ton or second hand, but might have to be prepared to pay slightly above that.

Worth a punt though.
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Re: Which sub £100 vocal mike?

Postby Darren Lynch » Wed May 09, 2012 8:48 am

Would you be prepared to ditch the ART pre-amp and concentrate your cash on the mic? The ART is fun and nice to have, but is in no way essential. £150 gets you near MXL's much admired V67, which is an excellent vocal mike. Also, in defence of the AT2020; It's frequency response is designed to tame excessive bass 'bloom' which makes close-mic'ed recording's sound muddy. So, on its own it may sound thinner than others. But a little gentle EQ in the lower mids would add body to a voice. I own all of the kit mentioned above. I rate it as follows: AT2020, no 'wow' factor, but competent and a total bargain; MXL V67, it says it captures the warmth of vintage mics, and gets as close as you can expect for the money; ART mic-pre - useful, not essential unless you are using a budget interface with v low-quality pre-amps.
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Re: Which sub £100 vocal mike?

Postby shufflebeat » Wed May 09, 2012 9:21 am

Darren Lynch wrote:...ART mic-pre - useful, not essential unless you are using a budget interface with v low-quality pre-amps.

...or need a phantom power supply.

+1
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Re: Which sub £100 vocal mike?

Postby wotnwhy » Thu May 10, 2012 12:48 pm

shufflebeat wrote:
Darren Lynch wrote:...ART mic-pre - useful, not essential unless you are using a budget interface with v low-quality pre-amps.

...or need a phantom power supply.

+1

Both are the case at the moment. Line 6 Toneport UX1 is my interface... low quality and no phantom power.

The reason I was including the ART pre is because I've used them in the past for loads of things (mikes, guitars and bass) and found it intantly added depth with definition to every sound. A colouration that I really liked. So it will have applications beyond just the vocal mike.
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Re: Which sub £100 vocal mike?

Postby wotnwhy » Thu May 10, 2012 1:01 pm

Jabba 1 and Darren Lynch:

Thankyou for the excellent replies, it's helped build the picture!

With what you say about the AT2020, that makes a lot of sense, as one of the things I admired about it at first was it's presence and clarity, but laked it's mid and low a little. The more I think about it, the more I think it and the ART would compliment each other really well..

I would love to spend a little more, and it's very tempting, but to be honest I can't even afford the budget I've given myself. Even £50 is money I can't spare at the moment. But hey, we're musicians so whats more important. Food and warmth or music. Simple!


Again, thankyou for the replies, and if you see this again could I trouble you for a little more comparison of the mikes you talk about? Maby a brief sound summary, comparisons in the bass/mid/treb, softer/harsher etc.?

Cheers now!
Tom
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Re: Which sub £100 vocal mike?

Postby wotnwhy » Thu May 10, 2012 1:21 pm

Also, any comments on the t.bone brand? I'm seeing them as another Behringer product (unethical company, very cheap and nasty feel, designed purely to undercut price, performance is last on the checklist etc.). But there are budget brands out there that suprise. Can anyone out there confirm which bracket they fall into?
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Re: Which sub £100 vocal mike?

Postby James Perrett » Thu May 10, 2012 4:10 pm

T.Bone are Thomman's own brand. They basically buy the same Chinese mics as some of the more expensive brands but don't spend the money on marketing or frills so they can push them out at cheaper prices. If I was looking for a Chinese mic like the MXL, I'd check to see whether there was a T.Bone equivalent before buying as it could well be cheaper.

Studiospares and CPC do something similar with their own brand mics too but I'm not sure how their prices compare with Thomann.

James.
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Re: Which sub £100 vocal mike?

Postby jamulero » Thu May 10, 2012 4:39 pm

Hi

I'm in the middle of recording an album for a band (www.atkfworld.com), and I've found the sE2000 microphones AMAZING. I directly compared them to AKG C414s, beta58s and EV-RE20s, and the sE mics just kept coming out on top (even in blind tests). They just have the right balance of cut, warmth and fidelity. Time after time when I was thinking other mics MUST sound better, the sE mics 'won'.

Also, one of them got dropped from a great height onto a concrete floor and kept working... quite impressive!

Anyone else had great results from these mics?

I'd recommend them anytime, and no I don't work for sE!!
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Re: Which sub £100 vocal mike?

Postby dickiefunk » Thu May 10, 2012 9:12 pm

The SE 2200a and Audio Technica 2020 or 2035 would be my pick. I bought an Oktava MK319 for £99 brand new from Thomann a couple of years ago but sadly they've stopped selling them now! Studiocare are advertising them for £144 but not sure if they have them in stock anymore :-

http://www.studiocare.com/store/index.php?main_page=advanced_search_result&search_in_description=1&keyword=Oktava%20MK319%20condenser%20mic

Ideally you should try these out before you buy because every mic is source dependent and people have different tastes!
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Re: Which sub £100 vocal mike?

Postby Emmet » Fri May 11, 2012 10:25 am

+ 1 for the 2020, for the money...its a steal.
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Re: Which sub £100 vocal mike?

Postby The_BPP » Fri May 11, 2012 10:54 am

What kind of music are you trying to record?

I'd use a good quality dynamic mic such as an sm58 or even an sm57 over a cheap "studio" mic any day of the week. As would several major artists. For example, U2 famously use sm58s to record vocals. I'm guessing their budget is greater than £150, if required.
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Re: Which sub £100 vocal mike?

Postby grab » Fri May 11, 2012 1:36 pm

Getting closer to the mic (more proximity effect) will help your AT2020 if you're not getting enough guts to the sound.

Also look at second-hand CAD M177/M179, which are now out of production but were well recommended at the time. (If you can bust your budget slightly, there are some new M179s currently on eBay for £190.)
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Re: Which sub £100 vocal mike?

Postby The Red Bladder » Sat May 12, 2012 8:49 am

James Perrett wrote:T.Bone are Thomman's own brand. They basically buy the same Chinese mics as some of the more expensive brands but don't spend the money on marketing or frills so they can push them out at cheaper prices. If I was looking for a Chinese mic like the MXL, I'd check to see whether there was a T.Bone equivalent before buying as it could well be cheaper.

+1

Everybody and their mothers-in-law is badging cheap Chinese mics. Most of these badged are bodged, as some tiny company buys about 1,000 pieces and have to keep on selling their stuff, regardless of whether they need improvement or not.

Thomann have a buyer on the ground in China, who can QC the stuff and ask for improvements. So the chances are, you are better off with a T-Bone than with something that has to calculate in the cost of full-page ads in SoS for just one mic!
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