I'm looking for a good starter vocal mic for under $300 USD - is it possible?

CoolCat

Well-known member
some of these posts are hilarious.....and Folkcafe! nice system in the picture...

I dont try to kick dead horses..lol but I went into the rabbit hole on the Old vs New and finally drank the koolaid to buy a "old shure" 58ish and will compare...
but my gut instinct is telling me most the tone change is years of spittle and age as the design hasnt really changed much.

for a hobbyist....I still love the SM7b for the very fact it has like training wheels on it with the metal cage to "set the distance", where my 58 can be too close or too far away....
same with almost all mics but the SM7b and to some extent the RE20 ...sports room mics.

putting in some effort though most mics can do a good enough job, slap on some polish later, and most mics work.
 
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TAE

All you have is now
I went into the rabbit hole on the Old vs New and finally drank the koolaid to buy a "old shure" 58ish and will compare...
but my gut instinct is telling me most the tone change is years of spittle and age as the design hasnt really changed much.
I still have my first sm57 bought in 1973 ( back when I decided to take a stab at that "rock star" thing :ROFLMAO: ) and a few later ones from the 80's / 90's. I can't tell any difference, they all do the job just fine.
 

CoolCat

Well-known member
TAE thats wild you still have that.

for the OP, heres a small audio clip for dry- plain comparison spoken/ballad vocal into a mic....into interface into Reaper.

MXL V67, WARM tube47, SM7 flat setting, SM545 new, SM58 new .....interesting
 

Attachments

  • DRY MIC TEST V67 WA47 SM7 545 SM58 MP3.mp3
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Folkcafe

Active member
some of these posts are hilarious.....and Folkcafe! nice system in the picture...
I kind of had a dream gig back then as I got paid to buy and set up equipment. I didn't quite yet trust the DA78's as there were plenty of stories about drop out and clogging heads so we had the DA38's as back up. Also wasn't a fan of the AD converters in the Tascam's so there are the Apogee AD8000 racked up. It was a lot of gear for a folk group. My favorite rig became the Genex MO recorders as you could connect hard drives directly then import the track directly from the drives right into Pro Tools. These had really clean AD converters and paired with the Milennia HV preamps made this system portable and versatile. Wish I was still spending someone else's money on gear.

new toys.jpg
 

spantini

COO of me, inc.
TAE thats wild you still have that.

for the OP, heres a small audio clip for dry- plain comparison spoken/ballad vocal into a mic....into interface into Reaper.

MXL V67, WARM tube47, SM7 flat setting, SM545 new, SM58 new .....interesting
I really like the SM58.. and the SM7 with some EQ. I hear a little more richness in those.
 

TAE

All you have is now
I kind of had a dream gig back then as I got paid to buy and set up equipment. I didn't quite yet trust the DA78's as there were plenty of stories about drop out and clogging heads so we had the DA38's as back up. Also wasn't a fan of the AD converters in the Tascam's so there are the Apogee AD8000 racked up. It was a lot of gear for a folk group. My favorite rig became the Genex MO recorders as you could connect hard drives directly then import the track directly from the drives right into Pro Tools. These had really clean AD converters and paired with the Milennia HV preamps made this system portable and versatile. Wish I was still spending someone else's money on gear.

View attachment 111001
Wow that was some serious investments on some cutting edge stuff back in the day! Crazy!
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
Interesting comparison, CC. The 545 and SM58 sounded darn close to me. The SM7b was definitely the dark horse in the group. Some would call it warm, but it lacked top to me which would cover a myriad of sins, especially with thin or sibilant voices. I could see why people would like them for certain voices. Where the SM58 bumps up 5dB in the 4K to 10K region, the SM7 has droops of a dB or 2.

The V67g sounded somewhat close to the WA47, but I like the WA better. A little proximity boost would fatten them up a bit. Not sure how far you were from the mics. I've got a V67 and it works well with my voice and decent on acoustic guitar.
 

Folkcafe

Active member
Wow that was some serious investments on some cutting edge stuff back in the day! Crazy!
Dr. Bose was heavily classical and jazz oriented so a lot of our early live recordings were classical. The cost of producing a classical album, that was not just a live performance already scheduled is very high. Pre-production costs include the arrangements, practice space, the performance space and then a lot of musicians by the hour. By the time you hit record it is a ton of money. Especially when you consider a lot of what we were doing was experimental surround recordings. Sometimes the performances lacked and some of the early surround attempts didn't translate well into 5.1. I will also add that some of the greatest performance spaces in the world do not sound as good empty.

The gear is a small fraction even with the bleeding edge stuff. Spent millions $ on gear before the plug was pulled on creating a corporate record label and suddenly my dream gig was no more. Back then the cost of a 1tb centralized fiber raid system was a lot of money. What is the cost of 1tb now vs then? Nothing new. My first hard drive upgrade I went from 10mb to 20mb at a cost of $600. That would be $30 million per terabyte.
 

TAE

All you have is now
Folkcafe what an amazing opportunity even though in the end it was shit canned. Though you've been around here forever I don't really know your background or history. You threw out the name Dr. Bose pretty nonchalantly. That is crazy cool that you actually got to under that crazy swizzlestick. A thread in of its own for sure. Howsabout starting a thread "My days working with Dr. Bose" and share your story with all of us knuckleheads. The equipment picture blew my mind..I never got even close to getting in as deep on the recording end though in retrospect opportunity stared me in the face several times but I was too stoned with aspirations of having a career as a musician not as an engineer. I built my first PC for recording in 1995 and used a soundblaster AWE32 as my AD/DA interface...with the daughterboard with all the midi soundfonts...LOL I spent $3500+ to build that silly ass machine. Digital Orchestrator was my recording software.
 

CMolena

Member
I will list my equipment and then my goals:

Equipment:
  • Windows 10 computer i3 with 8 GB RAM
  • Reaper (latest version) DAW
  • Focusrite 4i4 Audio Interface Gen 3

Goals:
  • Vocal mic that could be used for micing a guitar amp speaker (although I plan to go direct with guitars most of the time)
  • (More interested in the vocal capabilities at this time)
  • Not USB, I would prefer to plug directly into the Focusrite with an XLR connector
  • Durable and time-tested etc.

As I mentioned above, I would like a good vocal mic. I have thought about a Shure SM57 but am willing to pay up to around $300 USD or thereabout for a good starter mic, Does anyone have any ideas considering these goals and equipment?

I tend to be a rather strong vocalist, but I can back off if I need to. A front large diapragm mic maybe, or can I get a lot out of an SM 57? My style of music is anywhere from pop to heavy metal and most everything in between.

Thanks for any replies!
I know you had a lot of answers already, but I'm just going to throw some advice here. The Rode NTA2a is a really good balanced mic. I just got one used. I really love it. Sorry if someone already recommended this one before!
 

CrowsofFritz

Flamingo!
I will also add that some of the greatest performance spaces in the world do not sound as good empty.
I remember mixing a show for a jazz band, and before the hall was full, I asked the bassist to turn up the low end a little. Mistake. Once a bunch of human bodies came in, it was a little too much, which was corrected later but still.
 

Eric V

Member
some of these posts are hilarious.....and Folkcafe! nice system in the picture...

I dont try to kick dead horses..lol but I went into the rabbit hole on the Old vs New and finally drank the koolaid to buy a "old shure" 58ish and will compare...
but my gut instinct is telling me most the tone change is years of spittle and age as the design hasnt really changed much.

for a hobbyist....I still love the SM7b for the very fact it has like training wheels on it with the metal cage to "set the distance", where my 58 can be too close or too far away....
same with almost all mics but the SM7b and to some extent the RE20 ...sports room mics.

putting in some effort though most mics can do a good enough job, slap on some polish later, and most mics work.
nice thank you
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
58's are still probably the most common mic in the world. The basketless 57 is a cousin of the SM-7B, but way apart in price.

For what it's worth - second from last - the 545 is my favourite in the recording.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
Well, I have an SM7 - I leant it to a friend and I've not missed it, but others really love them. I guess it's like painting - you have your favourite colours that work for your style of painting. Others have their own preferences. SM7 mics are good for some people, and rarely useless - unlike the AKG C1000 - which has hardly any support from users with more than one mic. This is the problem with mics - until you have one, you don't know it you will like it or not!
 

Papanate

Active member
I know you had a lot of answers already, but I'm just going to throw some advice here. The Rode NTA2a is a really good balanced mic. I just got one used. I really love it. Sorry if someone already recommended this one before!

The Rode NTA2a can be balanced - I find them really bright. Now a bit of EQ to level off and it's not a bad microphone.
 
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