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Thread: best vocal mic for 500.00

  1. #1
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    hi wanted to get some opinon's on what would be the best vocal mic for around 500 bucks. i have a home studio and a roland vs2480

    thanks gary

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    ido1957's Avatar
    ido1957 is offline 8K Gold Member
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    guitaristic's Avatar
    guitaristic is offline Saaaaaaandy
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    Quote Originally Posted by ido1957 View Post
    M-Audio Sputnik
    It would have to be used though to go for $500...though you can get a new one off for $550 (I did a few weeks ago )
    Cubase 6.5, mehh laptop, tascam 1641, ga pre-73, sputnik/mk4/re320, KRK rp6g2

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    Bobbsy's Avatar
    Bobbsy is offline Boring Old Git
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    I'd give serious consideration to the sE2200A Mk II which is well within your budget or, for right at your budget, you should get the 2200T tube version. As I've told others, I now have 3 of the original 2200A which I use for lots of vocals, often in preference to some more expensive name brands I have in my collection.
    The pessimist sees the glass as half empty. The optimist sees it as half full. The realist just drains the darn thing and gets a refill!

  5. #5
    witzendoz's Avatar
    witzendoz is offline Senior Member
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    well this question has been asked a 100 times before if you go through the old forum threads, you will also get 100 answers.

    The real answer is what is best for you and which one do you like.

    Now I will just sit back and

  6. #6
    RockinRobby is offline Banned
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    Neumann U 87 Ai (Nickel) |

    It's one of these? But you'll have to save the 500 "a few times..."

  7. #7
    ProducerYoda is offline Newbie
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    Hello steelguitargary,

    I also have the VS2480 HD . . . 3 of them. 2 are installed in my studio downstairs built into the garage space. My studio partner has the 2480CD and is also using my other 2480HD in his set up at home (30 miles away).
    My STUDIO PICTURES -->PC Studio Photos

    Just like with any studio gear questions, you are asking about something that is difficult to answer. We don't know anything about your room set up . . . your recording chain etc. etc.

    A $5000 mic may sound like a $99 mic in your room. Why spend the extra $4900 if you can't hear the difference. Your budget is about right. I don't see much sense in spending more on a new mic if you are plugging it directly into your 2480.

    What is your current vocal mic?
    Is this a mic for your personal use?
    What is it about your current vocal mic that you don't like?
    Do you have any mic-pre?
    Do you have a decent A/D converter?

    VS2480 Issues :
    When I bought my first 2480, at nearly $3800 over 12 years ago, my research revealed 2 weak points. One is the on-board mic-pre, the other is its A/D converter. To me they sound "japanese", kind of thin and edgy. Back then a pair of decent A/D converter was around a $1000 and up. We were recording to a DAT tape as our 2-track recorder. Then the Alesis Masterlink came out and a lot of the big-label producers were blown away with the converters that came with it. I bought one at $1000 and used its converter in my recording chain to record vocals. Few years later Alesis released the HD24 that came with 24 of the same A/D converter that was in the Masterlink. So I bought one at $1299 and two ATR24 that converts ADAT to R-bus at $299 each.

    I've never used the on-board mic-pre to record with.
    my recording chain : mic --> mic-pre --> HD24 --> ATR24 (ADAT to R-Bus) --> VS2480
    My mic pre arsenal : M-audio Tampa, M-audio Octane, Focusrite Voice Master, Focusrite Voice Master Pro, Studio Project VTB1.

    Philosopy : I like to let either my mic OR the mic-pre to add color, not both. I prefer to use the mic as the element that adds color. So I have a decent selection of budget mics that works well in MY SETUP.

    Back to mic selection. There are 2 general categories of mics, colored and uncolored. Uncolored mics have very little "EQ" added in their circuitry so what the mic hears is what you get. On the other hand, the colored mics have "factory EQ" added in its circuitry to "sound like" a tube mic, a ribbon mic etc. They "emulate" the sound of another mic that costs a lot more.

    I'll stay with VOCAL mic selections. My favorite mics are ADK Hamburg ($299) and the Studio Projects C-1. ($199). I prefer the ADK for angelic female voices and clear male vocals. I prefer the C-1 for rock & blues type male and female voices. I have tracked with my C-1 right next a U-87. The owner of the U-87 could not tell the difference when the tracks were soloed. $199 vs $1999 ? If I cant hear the difference, why spend the extra $1700 ??!! I did the same listening test with about a dozen other mics in the $1k~$3k range. Some I can hear a very small difference but always never worth the difference in the extra $$ I have to spend. I ALL cases, when all the other tracks were playing, the small difference disappeared.

    So . . . Whats the difference between a $300 mic and a $3000 mic ? Noise level. Every audio gear adds noise. A newly designed $3000 mic adds several db LESS noise than a newly designed $300 mic. As a general rule, a noise level of -30db starts to become inaudible in an average bedroom, (the hiss from your monitor becomes less loud than the ambient noise). This will drop a few more db in a acoustically treated room. Those extra db drop in the mic's noise floor is very expensive to manufacture.

    The other reason for the expense is the circuitry's sound shaping ability of a vintage mic. These vintage mics may not be as quiet as a newly designed and manufactured mics but it has a unique sound that is sought after.

    My ADK Hamburg emulates the output of a vintage AKG C12, which is a $3000 (replica) and around $5000 for a vintage model. Fortunately, in the digital world 99% of noise floor problem can be dealt with. The bottom line is YOU HAVE TO HEAR EACH MIC in your set up and YOU HAVE TO LIKE IT.

    Your best friend is your local music store. You can leave a credit card number so they can let you try it at home. Record both the new one and the old one and see if you can hear the difference. If you like it better than the one you have, buy it. If not, try another one.

    If you want to try one from an on-line store, make sure they have a money-back guarantee.

    Reasonably Priced Mics to try :
    Colored Vocal Mics :
    Studio Projects C-1 $199 : It was DESIGNED to sound like the U87.

    ADK Hamburg $299 : It was designed to sound like the AKG C12

    MXL V69 tube $369 : Very nice warm sounding mic - with an "old new stock vintage tube modification for $85, it has a slightly smoother and open mid-high. Great for "Sinatra" type male crooner voices.

    MXL V67 $99 : Great general purpose condencser mic for group vocals. Good mic to use for backing tracks with the same vocalist, gives the backing track a slightly different character.

    Uncolored Vocal Mics :
    AKG C3000 $299 : Its great on smooth professional vocalists male or female.

    Shure SM 58, SM 57 (dynamic) : standard for stage use but great for backing tracks by the same vocalist.

    My recommendations are somewhat dated but I'm very happy with them, and so are my clients. I have not had a need to buy more mics for a few years.

    Just my 2 cents worth. Hope it helps.


  8. #8
    Shiny Rhino is offline Junior Member
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    Oh wow... yoda, you went off, hey?

    Also... I puked in my mouth a little, after reading your "about Ed" page from your provided studio link. Jus' sayin'.

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    kidkage is offline Bored of Canada
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    Just throwing it in.

  10. #10
    Armistice's Avatar
    Armistice is offline Son of Yoda
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProducerYoda View Post
    $199 vs $1999 ? If I cant hear the difference, why spend the extra $1700 ??!!
    $1800 actually.... just sayin'

    Yoda makes a good point... I don't know the Roland unit, but I've use a Yamaha AW4416 for a long time and I bypass its pres because they're just not that flash. So your $500 may not yield you $500 worth of added sound quality value - the mic is but one element of the chain...
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