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Best budget microphone?

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Best budget microphone?

Postby behenny » Sun Jun 21, 2020 4:06 pm

I’m looking at getting a large diaphragm condenser mic under £150/100. I’ve read good things about the at At2020 and the studio projects B1 but I’ve also heard they’re quite bright. Something slightly warm but accurate without harsh highs would be ideal. I mainly record 60’s style alternative rock so record a lot of everything, especially acoustic and electric guitars. Any help would be great, cheers!
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Re: Best budget microphone?

Postby James Perrett » Sun Jun 21, 2020 5:30 pm

Do you have any other mics in your collection? The reason I ask is that I'd probably think about using an SDC for acoustic guitar and a dynamic for electric guitar. You may well be able to get both for under £150.
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Re: Best budget microphone?

Postby Music Wolf » Sun Jun 21, 2020 6:38 pm

You mention acoustic and electric guitars but is this also for covering vocal duties?
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Re: Best budget microphone?

Postby Mike Stranks » Sun Jun 21, 2020 6:43 pm

I've owned several AT2020s and used them extensively. I wouldn't describe them as bright. In his review in SOS Magazine, Paul White said:

"Despite its low cost, this mic actually delivers a very mature, believable sound both on vocals and on instruments. As a vocal mic, it displays the kind of lower mid-range warmth that flatters most singers, and combines this with a very subtle presence peak that adds 'air' and clarity without erring on the side of sibilance or harshness. Because the mic doesn't hype the character of the original sound too much, it's more likely to work well with a wide range of singers."


I think it's still good value for money and hard to beat at its price point. But if you can live with the colour, you might want to take a look at the Neat 'Workerbee'. Currently on offer at £79.99. A few people here have bought one...
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Re: Best budget microphone?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Sun Jun 21, 2020 8:19 pm

I was just about to recommend one of them. Phenomenal value for money at that price.

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Re: Best budget microphone?

Postby behenny » Sun Jun 21, 2020 8:20 pm

Thanks for your replies, a lot of interesting information. Ideally I want to buy just one mic just because my budget isn’t huge so I would prefer to invest a good quality condenser. I do vocals but both acoustic/electric guitar are priority. Very impressed with the neat worker bee considering it’s unusual design.
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Re: Best budget microphone?

Postby CS70 » Sun Jun 21, 2020 8:52 pm

Go ahead with the AT2020. It's a good mic, and not just for the price.

Just be aware that - as many good mics - it picks up stuff as it is... so if you record in a lousy room or without finding a good position, the recording will be bad because, well, the sound is, not the mic. But in a good recording room you can use on anything, from acoustic guitar to vocals, and shine it does.
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Re: Best budget microphone?

Postby behenny » Sun Jun 21, 2020 9:28 pm

Yh exactly my recording room is pretty well insulated with sound proofing foam so hopefully external noise shouldn’t be much of a problem. I’ve decided to go for the neat worker bee, thanks for drawing my attention to it, I have no idea how I missed that it seems like a steal. Cheers all the best!
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Re: Best budget microphone?

Postby Tim Gillett » Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:16 am

behenny wrote:I’m looking at getting a large diaphragm condenser mic under £150/100. I’ve read good things about the at At2020 and the studio projects B1 but I’ve also heard they’re quite bright. Something slightly warm but accurate without harsh highs would be ideal...

Hi behenny, you mentioned that you'd like a mic that is slightly warm, by which I guess you mean slightly more bassy than normal. Do you understand proximity effect? With a directional mic as these are, as you come in closer to the mic the voice or instrument will go from neutral to slightly bassy to very bassy. More expensive mics can somewhat moderate this effect, and some carry a high pass filter switch which can also help. Failing that you can also reduce the exaggerated bass with EQ ( reduce bass) after recording.
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Re: Best budget microphone?

Postby Arpangel » Mon Jun 22, 2020 8:26 am

+1 for the Workerbee.
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Re: Best budget microphone?

Postby ef37a » Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:10 pm

behenny wrote:Yh exactly my recording room is pretty well insulated with sound proofing foam so hopefully external noise shouldn’t be much of a problem. I’ve decided to go for the neat worker bee, thanks for drawing my attention to it, I have no idea how I missed that it seems like a steal. Cheers all the best!

Good. THEN find another £15 and buy a Behringer 8500. Sam Spoons has checked them out as more than decent for the price and I doubt you would tell the difference from a '57 on a guitar speaker?

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Re: Best budget microphone?

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Jun 22, 2020 2:24 pm

ef37a wrote:
behenny wrote:Yh exactly my recording room is pretty well insulated with sound proofing foam so hopefully external noise shouldn’t be much of a problem. I’ve decided to go for the neat worker bee, thanks for drawing my attention to it, I have no idea how I missed that it seems like a steal. Cheers all the best!

Good. THEN find another £15 and buy a Behringer 8500. Sam Spoons has checked them out as more than decent for the price and I doubt you would tell the difference from a '57 on a guitar speaker?

Dave.

Errm... why?

From 1 minute: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNz8QEd9H4k
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Re: Best budget microphone?

Postby Tim Gillett » Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:10 pm

Well the Worker Bee and the 57 or the 8500 cant really be compared. WB is happiest for distant use say over 10" while the other two are for close work. Then the wider, flatter response of the capacitor WB mic. The truer, more neutral sound. No surprises there.

For me the best test here is on the voice. It sounds like a real voice speaking to me eye to eye from say 1 metre away. Natural, balanced. Just hearing that, and hearing him read the specs is enough for me at least to be pretty confident it would be fine on any voice, including the OP's.

Hard to tell about its bottom end. The bass sounds quite honky, missing the bottom octave but I'm guessing it's just the guitar and amp. Similarly with the drum set. The bass drum is quite low but that could be because he's playing the snare and cymbals a lot louder. In any case in modern recorded music we're used to bass drums miced up separately and balanced in the mix which of course cant be done here with one overhead mic.
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Re: Best budget microphone?

Postby ef37a » Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:54 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:
ef37a wrote:
behenny wrote:Yh exactly my recording room is pretty well insulated with sound proofing foam so hopefully external noise shouldn’t be much of a problem. I’ve decided to go for the neat worker bee, thanks for drawing my attention to it, I have no idea how I missed that it seems like a steal. Cheers all the best!

Good. THEN find another £15 and buy a Behringer 8500. Sam Spoons has checked them out as more than decent for the price and I doubt you would tell the difference from a '57 on a guitar speaker?

Dave.

Errm... why?

From 1 minute: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNz8QEd9H4k

Because it is often said (see'd it in these here pages!) that LDCs do not work that well in front of guitar cabs? Useful way back with a dynamic on the fret though. And BY that logic, if op is running to a budget, yes, he needs the nice capacitor mic but I think the cheap Berry will come in handy as well.

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Re: Best budget microphone?

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:56 pm

I use a LDC in front of my guitar speaker but it's an oddball and not much use for acoustic guitars and voices*. A 'normal' capacitor mic is likely to be 'less than optimal' on a guitar cab, it's not for nowt that the 57 has been used for that job more than a few times.

Dave, it was Wonky who tested those budget mics IIRC, definitely not me anyway.

* MXL Cube, marketed as a percussion mic and it's claimed 20-20k Hz is a bit of a fantasy IMHO, it's a fairly 'dark' sounding mic. Very usable on guitar cabs, kick drums and low toms considering my two cost me £40 each.
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