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Q. Which budget mic should I choose?

I'm looking for a decent microphone for my small studio, which is based around a Korg D8 eight‑track digital recording studio. There are loads of microphones in my price range, such as the Rode NT1, MXL2001 and Academy of Sound have recommended a Stagg MC07, which I've never heard of! The mic will mainly be used for male vocals and acoustic guitar.

I've been using my old Shure SM58 through the tube preamp setting in my Line 6 Pod. Would this setting be good for one of the previously mentioned mics (asuming I get a phantom power unit) or, keeping in mind my small budget, should I go for the Joemeek VC3Q recording channel?

Lee Abraham

Assistant Editor Sam Inglis replies: There are, as you say, loads of mics around in that price range. In fact, several of them actually contain the same Chinese‑built capsules in a different case, and are thus more or less the same — this includes the Joemeek JM47, the Stagg and the MXL. Other worthy contenders include the Rode and the AKG C1000S. It's not really the case that any one is better than any other — it's just a matter of personal taste so, if you possibly can, I recommend that you try them alongside one another.

If you do buy a condenser mic, you'll definitely notice the difference between using it through the Pod and using a proper mic preamp, and I would recommend that you get one. The VC3 is cheap and effective, but you might also want to consider whether it's worth spending the extra money to get the better sound, and more flexible controls, that you get from something like the TLA VP5051.