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i need the best $80 vocal mic out there

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by rusmannx, Nov 23, 2004.


  1. rusmannx

    rusmannx

    Jul 16, 2001
    me and my guitarist are going to record some stuff (already have some of the instruments) and are looking for a good mic for the vocals. i don't know if condensor or dynamic are best for this. we have an sm58 we bought used a few years ago, and it seems to work well, i just wonder if there is something better out there.

    any help would be appriciated.
     
  2. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Memphis
    You won't find anything better in that price range than the 58 you already have. You especially don't want to use a $90 condenser on vocals.
     
  3. rusmannx

    rusmannx

    Jul 16, 2001
    thanks for the tip.
     
  4. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    Do you have phantom power available?

    One of the best mics for little or no cash is the Studio Projects B1. Give it a look, you can find it in your price range easy. I use a couple of them all the time for different things(vocals, acoustics etc.) They are great.

    MXL are great and they have options that are well in your price range.
     
  5. Glenn D.

    Glenn D.

    Aug 20, 2002
    Fort Collins, CO
    +1 on the Studio Projects and on the MXLs

    Glenn D.
     
  6. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Memphis
    If it were for acoustic guitar, piano, or such, then yeah, the Marshall MXL 603 would be a good choice.

    But for vocals, the $100 range won't give much improvement over the 58. Different, yes. Better, not really. That $100 could most likely be better spent improving something else in the signal path (the 58 is not a weak link), or could be the start of saving towards a mic that would offer a real improvement.

    For perspective, I own Neumanns and AKGs and Royers and Sound Deluxes. And on occasion I use a SM57 for vocals instead of one of the (much) more expensive mics.

    And I'd rather track a good performance with a 58 than a bad performance with God's own microphone.
     
  7. msquared

    msquared

    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    I second Lyle's recommendation. Your money is better spent elsewhere if you already have a 58 and only $80 to spend.
     
  8. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    SM58: 50Hz to 15kHz

    MXL 990: 30Hz-20kHz ($60)

    It's a difference, subtle but enough for me.

    The Studio Projects B1 is still my choice, read the review.
     
  9. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Sure SM58, I like 57's
     
  10. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    I'm not so sure about that. I got a used SM-87 for 75 bucks a while back. Works better than my 58 for my vocals, YMMV of course.
     
  11. rusmannx

    rusmannx

    Jul 16, 2001
    my vocalist is about to get one of those 990's to try it out.
     
  12. rusmannx

    rusmannx

    Jul 16, 2001
    wow. i'm looking at the studio projects B1, this really sounds like a sweet little mic. i'll have to pic one up for the voc. people are also saying it is great for overhead drums, and being that i'm in the market for drum mics too, i'll have to see how it works in both situations.
    thanks for the tip fellas.
     
  13. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    I used 2 of them on our last recording as overheads. I also think is it the best mic for the money. I would get this before the MXL.
     
  14. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    For vocals though, do you really need <50Hz or >15K Hz? I'm completly ignortant here, not trying to start something...

    Ray
     
  15. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    That depends on the persons vocal range. I know we are bass players and all, but the main focus in a record company board room is vocals(and looks). With that said they should sound as good as possible. If spending 100 is going to do it then I would spend the money.
     
  16. _Unregistered_

    _Unregistered_

    Nov 3, 2004
    Certain mics are tried and true for a reason; forget the specs...they mean little or nothing. Mics become "standards" more because of how they tend to actually color sound (especially vocals). A "presence peak" is an oft-touted "feature" of a good vocal mic, and famous mics like Neumanns (and yes, even the venerable SM58) are probably most liked for this reason.

    The Shure SM58 and SM57 are identical but for the windscreen (they use the same capsule). The small difference in the listed freq. response is a result of the different windscreen.

    If you have a little more money to spend on a mic in the future, I'd recommend the EV RE-20. It does wonders for vocals (a radio announcer favorite), makes a great kick mic, horn mic, and guitar/bass cabinet mic. It has the nickname "the condenser killer".

    I think I would probably make it my "Desert Island" mic.

    They used to go for about $375 (many years ago when I was building my mic locker), but you might be able to pick one up used for perhaps just a bit closer to your price range. I haven't shopped for mics for quite a while, but I'd say save your pennies. There's probably not too much worth looking at in between the SM58 and the RE-20 that you would likely consider any big step up in performance.
     
  17. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Memphis
    Amen to M. Gilberto and amen to the RE-20 (though they're still in the $400 range used).
     
  18. Another vote for the 58. I personally love the sound; that presense peak adds a certain quality that just sounds beautiful.

    If you move up to a condensor, you can get good results with a cheapie, ie: Apex, but you will need a source of Phantom Power. Your results will vary but I noticed quite a lot of noise when I used my condensor with the preamp built into my Roland VM3100Pro (Digital Mixer) so a decent preamp may also be needed. Of course the noise was gone when I did buy a preamp.

    IMHO I think its cheaper and easier to get good results with a Dynamic (ie: SM58) then a condensor. It actually surprised me a few times with how good it sounded when I was recording some friends. In comparison, my condensor sounds TOO realistic :)

    - Andrew
     
  19. mnadelin

    mnadelin

    Apr 6, 2003
    Kalamazoo, MI
    I wouldn't use anything but a 58, if I had that budget. SM58s are an excellent, time-tested workhorse. They're built like a tank. My boss keeps one in his tool box and literally uses it as a hammer sometimes. I definitely wouldn't go for any other mic. Personally, I don't want the extra freq response. Frequencies below 60Hz and above 15k I would cut off anyway for a live vocal mic. And like Andrew said, it's a very smooth-sounding mic. Sometimes it sounds better than what would be "more realistic". I can understand if it's an instrument mic, but I don't think those frequencies sound good on vocals, IMO. The other mics probably good and probably will work fine for you, but I trust SM58s because they're an industry standard and I know exactly how to manipulate them. Anyway, have fun with all that.