Budget mic for live and bedroom recording

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Jared Houseman, Jun 4, 2019.

  1. Jared Houseman

    Jared Houseman

    Jul 5, 2018
    I'm looking for a budget mic (less than $200, the cheaper the better) that's good for live use on DB but good for home recording. I'm not trying to make professional level recordings, i just want a way to put ideas together (i'd be recording DB, acoustic guitar, aux percussion, etc.).

    I'm leaning towards a pair of small diaphragm condensers like the RODE M5s, Line audio CM3s or two Pro 37s, but I've never heard them on DB. I'm assuming that small diaphragms would sound pretty good on DB but I don't want to waste money trying it if its not going to sound good.

    Edit: I know dynamics are better for live, but if my stage volume is loud I would be using a pickup anyway.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
    Silevesq likes this.
  2. Matthias Hacker

    Matthias Hacker

    Apr 8, 2018
    I don´t know the mics you mentioned, but check out AKG C1000. I own one and I like it. It isn´t really hi-fi, no boomy low end and no crisp high end, but for me that works really fine for double bass.
    I don´t know where you are based and if Thomann delivers to you, but this one should be fine as well if you are looking for a more hi-fi option.

    For live use I guess the AKG is a better option. It has a very useful sound for stages.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
  3. kkenda11

    kkenda11 Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2005
    I use the Line CM3 and think it works well. I recently had a chance to compare it to both the Schoeps MK41 and Studio Projects C4, and was surprised how good the CM3 was compared to both. Sure, the Schoeps was fractionally cleaner and sounded great, but it also costs $1500!

    I also have been using the CM3 on an H clamp in rehearsals with a couple of jazz quintets (including drummers that play tastefully) and haven't had any problems managing feedback at reasonable volumes.

    The CM3 is so small and light that I can extend the boom of the H clamp all the way out to the bridge on my bass and I have no problems with it staying put. With heavier mics the H clamp is not as stable and I feel like I have less flexibility positioning the mic.

    When close mic'ing with all of these small diaphragm cardiods you have to deal with proximity effect. The Line CM3 was no better or worse than the others in this regard, and I find that I can manage it OK with a HPF and EQ.
  4. Aldwyn

    Aldwyn Just Anoither Old Guy

    Jan 5, 2019
    Columbia, Maryland
    The Shure SM57 is the classic instrument mic, in my book. And for about $100 brand new, it's a no brainer when it comes to an all-around, jack of all trades workhorse.

    Just dont try to sing into it. :D
    Gravedigger Dav likes this.
  5. lurk

    lurk Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2009
    +1 on that line audio mic. Unbeatable at that price in my experience.
  6. Used RE20
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
  8. Jared Houseman

    Jared Houseman

    Jul 5, 2018
    I just checked the line audio site again and cm4s have just came out to replace the cm3s for the same price
  9. Jay Corwin

    Jay Corwin Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    Shure SM57 (dynamic)
    MXL R40 (ribbon)
    CAD CM217 (small diaphragm cond)

    The 57 will get you by, and can be used for 100 different applications in a pinch.

    The CAD CM217 is cheap. I think I picked mine up on "deal of the day" for 30 bucks.

    I've been using the MXL R40 for everything lately. You might need a preamp, or something with a some clean gain to get the most out of it though. The same can be said for the SM57.

    All three are under 200 bucks.
    unbrokenchain likes this.
  10. unbrokenchain

    unbrokenchain Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2011
    Black Mountain, NC
    I use one of these! Thought I was the only one. Nothing spectacular but has a switchable HPF and it's so small, easy to mount, feedback very manageable depending on stage volume. Haven't recorded with it though, can't speak to that.
  11. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the EV/Blue Cardinal! I bought one used years ago for less than $100 and another recently from a friend who uses them at his studio for all sorts of things for $50. I've used it live (though only bluegrass and gypsy jazz, no drums), and use it at home for recording a bunch. Electro-Voice Cardinal Condenser Microphone | Bill's Music

    The bass in this track is all from a Cardinal pointed at the bridge, maybe 8" away. Low in the mix, but a nice woody, articulate, full tone.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
  12. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    The RE20 has been suggested, and it's a nice mic, but it is out of the stated price range (<= $200), and IMO it's best suited for voice. The Sennheiser MD421 is a great microphone in the same vein, but more versatile ... also too much $$. You'd have to be lucky to find either (used) in your price range.
    The Shure SM57 is indeed "classic" and ubiquitous, but it's not a great microphone. The AKG C1000 has the advantage of being able to power it with a battery, but it's not a great microphone (but it might be good enough). I don't have experience with the Line Audio CM3/4.

    Rather than buy a pair of cheaper microphones, I suggest buying only one. I can heartily recommend the Oktava MK-012 (sometimes also named MC-012). A small-diaphragm condenser having the advantage of interchangeable capsules (omni, cardioid, supercardioid) which can be purchased as needed/desired.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
    dhergert likes this.
  13. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    We do a fair amount of outside mic'ed work and most of the time lately I use my own amp and/or DI directly into FOH with my DB's on-board electronics (dual piezo / blending pre-amp)... And I routinely use this setup DI'ed in the studio.

    But, I'm a big fan of the Sennheiser E935. It's a very sensitive dynamic voice-rated mic, which can be boosted enough to mimic a condenser mic and pickup surrounding instruments without loosing vocal sensitivity. I've also had good luck with it on a stand in close proximity to the DB. We use these Sennheiser mics with both my large PA and my small/portable PA.

    That said, I also have a high degree of comfort for the Audix OM2 with a wind-muff wrapped in a black sock or two, tucked under the tailpiece. I've used this very successfully with my DB and with other DBs in the past and wouldn't hesitate to use it again. I carry this setup with my amp kit, available to use either under the tailpiece as described, or if needed to mic my amp or for other reasons, just in case.

    Both the Sennheiser E935 and the Audix OM2 are available easily under $200.

    For me, using my DB's on-board electronics gives me valuable immediate mixing control, albeit with some loss of acoustic tone. How acoustic this sounds also largely depends on the strings being used. Depending on the venue, this may be a sacrifice worth making.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
  14. I tried the Oktava MK-012 and got the best results with omni then hypercardioid and much worse in sound the cardioid.
    So it might be a good idea not to buy a cardioid if omni and/or hypercardioid are available.

    But keep the mic line rather short, the output is only balanced on paper, one signal line is connected to ground, making it effectively unbalanced on the XLR.
    I'm not sure is this is a common thing with small diaphragm mics. The reason is the decoupling capacitor that is rather big for the small mic in case of the Oktava.
    The unmodified mic works well for bass. It is a bit weak on bass frequencies, but close micing gives more bass than you want and that works together well.
  15. Barcza


    May 1, 2005
    Audix D4, is pretty cheap, sounds good on bass and very lightweight, small dynamic mic!