Utility Mic Recs Sub $500?

Get that song on tape! Errr... disk?
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DrQuasar
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Utility Mic Recs Sub $500?

Post by DrQuasar » Fri Feb 09, 2024 12:44 pm

I like my SM57 but is there something else that you like as a utility mic? By utility I mean a mic for general use for things like acoustic guitars (steel and nylon), accordion, banjo, bongos, marimba, bells, aux perc, all of that stuff.

Like a point and shoot camera but instead its a microphone (sub $500)?

And if the SM57 is the best, then I'm fine with that. It isn't like I need another microphone, I was just thinking about maybe setting up my 57 on my guitar amp permanently, which would mean I'd need something else for utility use. I could get another 57 (and might anyway) but was just curious if there's something better out there I ought to think about.

The idea is everything I would normally use is set up permanently so I can sit down and just start recording all of my terrible music. :D

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Re: Utility Mic Recs Sub $500?

Post by Larry Mal » Fri Feb 09, 2024 1:03 pm

Maybe an Audio Technica AT4050 or Neumann TLM 103.
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Re: Utility Mic Recs Sub $500?

Post by marqueemoon » Fri Feb 09, 2024 1:18 pm

This looks interesting. I was lucky enough to pick up a real deal 70’s U87 before prices went nuts, and it’s similar to a SM57 in that it works on just about everything.

I do like the switchable polar patterns on the real deal. I’ll very often use omni on acoustic guitar and vocals. Cardioid-only is how they keep this one affordable, and that’s going to work fine for most things.

My more general answer is a large diaphragm condenser of some kind, then a small diaphragm condenser or a pair of them for mics 3/4.

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Re: Utility Mic Recs Sub $500?

Post by Larry Mal » Fri Feb 09, 2024 2:14 pm

DrQuasar wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2024 12:44 pm
I like my SM57 but is there something else that you like as a utility mic? By utility I mean a mic for general use for things like acoustic guitars (steel and nylon), accordion, banjo, bongos, marimba, bells, aux perc, all of that stuff.

Like a point and shoot camera but instead its a microphone (sub $500)?

And if the SM57 is the best, then I'm fine with that. It isn't like I need another microphone, I was just thinking about maybe setting up my 57 on my guitar amp permanently, which would mean I'd need something else for utility use. I could get another 57 (and might anyway) but was just curious if there's something better out there I ought to think about.

The idea is everything I would normally use is set up permanently so I can sit down and just start recording all of my terrible music. :D
So, it's not so much that other mics are better or worse than the 57, just that you'll use different microphones for different things.

I recommended a couple of large diaphragm condensers, which you'd have to buy used to get them under your price. The reason I did this is because they'll complement but not replace your 57.

For the guitar amp, yeah, use the SM57, but maybe you could put an LDC on there as well a little further back and get some room.

Acoustic guitar will be a lot better with a condenser, so will banjo, and so on.
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Re: Utility Mic Recs Sub $500?

Post by øøøøøøø » Fri Feb 09, 2024 5:42 pm

If you want another moving-coil dynamic the Beyerdynamic M88 is a good shout

If you want a decent condenser for something different, the AT 4050 mentioned above is a decent shout; maybe the Oktava MK012 for a smaller-diaphragm thing

Both would require phantom power

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Re: Utility Mic Recs Sub $500?

Post by Domm » Sat Feb 10, 2024 3:47 am

check out the warm audio wa47jr. like $250, sound great, super versatile.

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Re: Utility Mic Recs Sub $500?

Post by DrQuasar » Tue Feb 13, 2024 1:38 pm

These are all really interesting suggestions. Thanks so much for taking the time to provide them. My mic experience is very limited. I've been using an SM57/58 and MXL 990 and 991 for so long I think I'm ready to get something a little nicer.

One of the mental issues I run into with things like choosing a microphone is sometimes I feel like I can't get a new tool until I've fully explored/exhausted the tools I already have. But I understand that microphones are like colors in a palette. How can you every say you've exhausted blue? If you try to wait to add red until you've mastered blue, your paintings will always be blue.

On the one hand its good because I haven't spent much dough on mics but on the other hand you miss out on experience and experimenting with different gear.

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Re: Utility Mic Recs Sub $500?

Post by øøøøøøø » Tue Feb 13, 2024 2:07 pm

DrQuasar wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2024 1:38 pm
One of the mental issues I run into with things like choosing a microphone is sometimes I feel like I can't get a new tool until I've fully explored/exhausted the tools I already have. But I understand that microphones are like colors in a palette. How can you every say you've exhausted blue? If you try to wait to add red until you've mastered blue, your paintings will always be blue.

On the one hand its good because I haven't spent much dough on mics but on the other hand you miss out on experience and experimenting with different gear.
More than "exhausting the potential" of a given piece of technology, I think it's important to understand its limitations and its role. And if you have no basis for comparison or context, it's difficult to gain that understanding.

If you frequently have the chance to gain experience with a wide range of microphones, then you'll be better-informed both in purchasing decisions and in use cases. But if you don't get that chance regularly, the best way might be to just get something (ideally on the advice of someone who has real, grounded experience) and learn for yourself.

Most of these tools maintain pretty good resale value.

I didn't get my first "proper" Telecaster until I was in my 30s, and it was like I instantly realized what it was for... all the things I'd been trying to accomplish with other tools (and feeling resistance/difficulty) were just built right in.

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Re: Utility Mic Recs Sub $500?

Post by Larry Mal » Tue Feb 13, 2024 3:27 pm

DrQuasar wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2024 1:38 pm


One of the mental issues I run into with things like choosing a microphone is sometimes I feel like I can't get a new tool until I've fully explored/exhausted the tools I already have.
Well, I wouldn't feel that way. I guess I would kind of broadly say there were four kinds of microphones we'd be concerned with here, dynamics, ribbon, large diaphragm condensers and small diaphragm condensers.

So you've got the dynamic microphone situation covered well, and when you get another type of microphone you'll learn the strengths and limitations of both kinds. Like, get a large diaphragm condenser and you'll quickly realize it's a lot better for some things than your SM57 ever was, and you'll realize how good the 57 is for other things.

You'll grow in that way.

Get the best microphone you can afford, and later you'll think, man, I'm using the hell out of this Audio Technica AT4050, I wonder if there's something out there that would complement my singing even better, and then you'll grow in that way.
Back in those days, everyone knew that if you were talking about Destiny's Child, you were talking about Beyonce, LaTavia, LeToya, and Larry.

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Re: Utility Mic Recs Sub $500?

Post by mcatano » Thu Feb 22, 2024 5:23 pm

EV 635A is probably the most utilitarian microphone known to humankind.

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Re: Utility Mic Recs Sub $500?

Post by marqueemoon » Thu Feb 22, 2024 7:41 pm

mcatano wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2024 5:23 pm
EV 635A is probably the most utilitarian microphone known to humankind.
Underrated mic for sure.

One thing I’ve noticed is I can do pretty silly things with eq and it doesn’t get harsh.

Really comes to life with a Cloudlifter too.

People should not be scared of omni mics, and particularly not for close micing.

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Re: Utility Mic Recs Sub $500?

Post by Dok » Thu Feb 22, 2024 8:03 pm

mcatano wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2024 5:23 pm
EV 635A is probably the most utilitarian microphone known to humankind.
I've never once gotten a sound I like out of mine. And I think people are asking too much money for them, but don't let that stop you. Plenty of people disagree with me, as you can see.
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