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Thread: Bright budget condencer for vocal recording...

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    Bright budget condencer for vocal recording...

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    I am working on a new recording project and need a new condencer for a brighter sound. I previously owned a Rode K2 which was a great mic for some people but was too warm and sounded muddy with my vocals. I then tried an Audio Technica At4040 which sounded much better and crisp for my vocals. I had to sell it for financial reasons. My price range is around $150 to $300 new or used and I would just get AT4040 the AT4040 again but I wanted to get some suggestions first. Obviously the lower the price the better. Any suggestions??

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    "bright" and "budget" go together, but usually not in a good way -- it's easy to recommend a cheap condenser that's too bright, or more accurately, harsh and phasey sounding.

    I like the 4040 -- I have 3 Oktava MK-319 mics (not particularly bright, considered dark by some), one of them modified by Oktavamod, and the other two modified by me - I got each for under $100 prior to mods - the Oktavamod one is really good, and the other two are usable. It's worth doing some research and to try one if you get a chance, noting that they tend to vary from one another due to less-than-perfect quality control. I wanna say that if you like the 4040, the MK-319 may be good, but hey, maybe not.

    Finding a cheap large diaphragm condenser that works in many/most situations is a tall order, and not all that likely -- here are some general rules of thumb:

    1) try out a bunch however you can -- you may find one that works great for your application, but sucks for most other things, and so is pretty cheap - if so, *score*
    2) go used - I've bought almost all my mics (over 80) used and haven't really had any bad experiences.
    3) read up -- one pitfall with some large diaphragm and the budget preamps/interfaces that a lot of us use is a lack of enough phantom power -- I'm not sure how to read mic specs to determine how much voltage you *really* have to supply, but be aware that many interfaces, particularly computer-bus-powered ones, supply less than the full 48 volts, and this can affect the performance of some mics (my example would be the AKG C414, but that's not usually available for cheap) -- easy to remedy with a dedicated phantom power supply, but worth noting - if you audition what could have been the perfect mic for you with inadequate phantom power, you may pass on it when you shouldn't have. There's lots of other little things like that which you'll read around here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by antichef View Post
    3) read up -- one pitfall with some large diaphragm and the budget preamps/interfaces that a lot of us use is a lack of enough phantom power -- I'm not sure how to read mic specs to determine how much voltage you *really* have to supply, but be aware that many interfaces, particularly computer-bus-powered ones, supply less than the full 48 volts, and this can affect the performance of some mics (my example would be the AKG C414, but that's not usually available for cheap) -- easy to remedy with a dedicated phantom power supply, but worth noting - if you audition what could have been the perfect mic for you with inadequate phantom power, you may pass on it when you shouldn't have. There's lots of other little things like that which you'll read around here.
    It's usually not a matter of (open-circuit) voltage, it's usually a matter of current. More than a few preamps will measure +48V with no load, but display an excessive voltage drop under load.

    Microphone spec sheets nearly always tell you their requirements--whether they need full +48V, or are happy with less, as well as their typical current draw.

    The problem is most of the nonstandard preamps give you no hint that their +48V phantom is supplied across excessively high power supply resistance, and therefore can't really manage more than 3 or 5 or 7mA before the voltage drop is too great for the mic in question.

    So unless you have a multimeter, access to the preamp you are thinking of buying, and a few spare moments, you just have to try your luck. Beware of microphones that state a draw of more than 5mA--perfectly acceptable under the official P48 standard, but potentially problematic with substandard preamplifiers. It's not fair to the microphone, but it's life.

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    sudio projects c1
    adk hamburg - older one
    In His Name
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    Is the Studio Projects C1 on the brighter side? How does it compare to the AT4040?

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    You will have to ask someone who owns both and has done a side by side...I have one of the first SP C1 mics before they were getting distributed by anybody...and it is a nice bright vocal mic alot of the girls liked...they said the C1 was sonically the same as an u87...IDK about that, but it does have that hump in the mid-highs that makes it similer...it can fool alot of people if you blindfolded them.
    But since mine was made...they have changed the design quite a bit.

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    From what most people are saying the AT-4040 is the one in that price range. Be sure to ask for a discount on the mic, I always get about 15% off the retail online prices. I'm also looking for a mic in the $300 max range and more than likely go with the 4040. Even the sound engineer at our last church loves them. You just can't have the ceiling fan on above the mic because it will pick it up from what he's telling me. This will be my very first mic as I'm a newb at all this.

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