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The Best All-Purpose Condenser Mic for $200

This topic is devoted to Microphones. Discover which works well with certain instruments, vocals, and recording environments. Mic setup and placement techniques and outfitting a Microphone Cabinet for home and pro studios are also discussed here.

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The Best All-Purpose Condenser Mic for $200

Rode NT1a
154
51%
Studio Projects C1
68
23%
AT3035
34
11%
AKG C2000B
9
3%
M-Audio Luna
17
6%
AKG C3000B
20
7%
 
Total votes : 302

The Best All-Purpose Condenser Mic for $200

Postby admin on Mon Dec 13, 2004 4:47 am

The Best All-Purpose Condenser Mic for $200

Rode NT1aImage

Studio Projects C1 Image


AT3035 Image

AKG C2000B Image

MAudio Luna Image

AKG C3000B Image


You may add opinions below.

Happy Voting!
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Postby Dot on Fri May 27, 2005 10:51 pm

Actually, as an "all-purpose" workhorse mic, the B1 is better than the C1. The C1 can be a cool vocal mic, but it's not very good on acoustic instruments.

I think in the $200 range the best all-purpose condenser mic is the ADK Vienna and ADK Hamburg. I've got some notes on the Vienna here.
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Postby Hardtailed on Thu Jun 23, 2005 9:27 am

What about the Kel HM-1? (Actually 200$ gives you a pair)

It's quite popular on another recording forum. It's much flatter than most other mics in its price range (which ofter have boosted highs, which can be both a curse and a blessing).

I ordered one yesterday so I'll comment when I've tried it.
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Postby The_Kill on Thu Aug 11, 2005 3:01 am

I would have 2 add S.E Electronics 2200a, I think is a great mic and handles everything i can throw at it, which considering how cheap it is is quite stuning, we have alot of far more expensive mics to use, but this one gets chosen alot.
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Postby Mr Blues on Mon Oct 10, 2005 4:56 pm

Hi The kill

I have just purchased a SE Electronics 2200A.

I have read all the reviews and they are brilliant, I am going to try it out tommorow.

I have heard its great for vocals and guitar.
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Postby Mr Blues on Mon Oct 10, 2005 4:56 pm

Hi The kill

I have just purchased a SE Electronics 2200A.

I have read all the reviews and they are brilliant, I am going to try it out tommorow.

I have heard its great for vocals and guitar.
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THIS IS FUNNY BUt....

Postby TrotskyNYC on Thu Oct 20, 2005 10:09 pm

for this price range...id go for an MXL 2003 in my view its wayyyy under rated. after a few drops...and a few kicks....its gold!. =) VOCALS only ...in my opinion.
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Postby muzicmaken on Thu Dec 01, 2005 1:01 pm

I must say the ADK A-51s (Type v) is great for acoustic instruments and vocals.right at $200.. with a switchable -10dB Pad and Bass Rolloff...I was really impressed how nice and warm and clear this mic was.....
we've used it to record country and bluegrass...

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Postby joyful_music on Thu Mar 23, 2006 6:23 pm

I just bought a rode NT-1A, and so far, I really like it. I haven't had a chance to really test it out too much, but I plugged it in, and tried it out, and it did a great job of picking up sounds. As I turned the volume up on my headphones, it was as if I wasn't wearing headphones, but just turning up the volume of the room!
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Postby Paj on Sat Apr 01, 2006 3:29 pm

I would have included the SP-B1 and the CAD M179.

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Postby Rimskidog on Wed Apr 26, 2006 2:41 pm

on this list I'd probably go with the Rode NT1A but if the ADK 51 was also on the list it'd be a much tougher choice
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Postby riffgibson on Fri Apr 28, 2006 7:08 am

I have both the NT1A and the SP C1, was a little surprised to see the C1 in the lead over the NT1A..to me, the Rode has just a little more "air" at the top end..
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Postby Blue Bear Sound on Fri Apr 28, 2006 8:56 am

riffgibson wrote:I have both the NT1A and the SP C1, was a little surprised to see the C1 in the lead over the NT1A..to me, the Rode has just a little more "air" at the top end..

Sometimes you want a mic with "air", other times not, so I'm not sure I see the correlation between the amount of "air" a mic has and how good it is...

In other words, what makes you think a mic with more "air" is implicitly better?
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Postby _controlfreak on Fri Apr 28, 2006 11:07 am

I think he's falling into the trap of making brash A/B comparisons.

When I bought my PSolo (1-Channel version of the True Precision 8), I compared it to a Grace 101 - When A/B'ing, the 101 sounded brighter, and had more "air." However, I'm glad I stuck with the True, because the high end turned out to be more extended, better defined, and more accurate.

Anyways, I don't care how much air a $200 mic has - I end up rolling it off to get rid of that nasty brittle sound (and it still ends up sounding bad).
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Postby riffgibson on Sun Apr 30, 2006 2:29 am

I stand by what I said..the subject of this thread is reviews of 200 dollar mic's..so why are we talking about expensive pre-amps? I like both the C1 and NT1, both great mic's for the money..and I know the difference between "air" and "brittle"..not "brash A/B'ing", just an opinion..I know I'm new to this site, but I'm not new to recording..I've used better mic's than these, and I've used worse..once again, the subject is 200 dollar mic's, so I would be an elitist snob to come on the thread just to trash both mic's and brag about the high end gear I own..THAT would be "brash"...
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Postby jar4ever on Sun Apr 30, 2006 4:57 am

riffgibson wrote:I stand by what I said..the subject of this thread is reviews of 200 dollar mic's..so why are we talking about expensive pre-amps? I like both the C1 and NT1, both great mic's for the money..and I know the difference between "air" and "brittle"..not "brash A/B'ing", just an opinion..I know I'm new to this site, but I'm not new to recording..I've used better mic's than these, and I've used worse..once again, the subject is 200 dollar mic's, so I would be an elitist snob to come on the thread just to trash both mic's and brag about the high end gear I own..THAT would be "brash"...

Their point was that your pervious post sounded like you were saying that more air = better. You said you were suprised to see the C1 in the lead over the NT1A because the NT1A had more air, which makes it looks like you are saying that amount of air in a mic is a direct corrolation to the quality of it. You probably didn't mean that and it's just a misunderstanding.
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Postby Blue Bear Sound on Sun Apr 30, 2006 7:31 am

riffgibson wrote:I stand by what I said..the subject of this thread is reviews of 200 dollar mic's..so why are we talking about expensive pre-amps? I like both the C1 and NT1, both great mic's for the money..and I know the difference between "air" and "brittle"..not "brash A/B'ing", just an opinion..I know I'm new to this site, but I'm not new to recording..I've used better mic's than these, and I've used worse..once again, the subject is 200 dollar mic's, so I would be an elitist snob to come on the thread just to trash both mic's and brag about the high end gear I own..THAT would be "brash"...

No one trashed either mic, what are you talking about?

And what part of this statement was unclear?
Blue Bear Sound wrote:In other words, what makes you think a mic with more "air" is implicitly better?
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Postby riffgibson on Mon May 01, 2006 5:35 am

Sorry, my response was to controlfreak..it was he who said he ends up rolling off the high end of 200 dollar mic's and "they still sound bad"..in answer to your question, the NT1 seems to work just a tiny bit better for my voice..as to which is the better mic, it's a toss-up..I used a different preamp last night, and the C1 actually worked better..they are both great mic's for the money..especially considering what you had to pay in the 70's and 80's for ANY large diaghram condenser mic..sorry for the confusion, you spoke to me directly, and I appreciate that..control freak chose to speak ABOUT me, which I didn't appreciate..hope I cleared things up, and apologise for my response not being specifically for controlfreak..also jar4ever, you are exactly right..I should have stated that a mic with a little more "air" works a little better for my voice, and doesn't implicitely make it a "better" mic..in fact I should avoid tired audio terms like "air" or "punch" or the like..I'm certainly not enough of an expert to say unequivically which is the best..I DO know if you can only afford $200 for a mic, and you buy either of these, you've gotten more than your money's worth, and with a little work can achieve stellar results..
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Postby _controlfreak on Mon May 01, 2006 10:53 am

it was he who said he ends up rolling off the high end of 200 dollar mic's and "they still sound bad"


Ahhh, that's not what I meant. I was referring to mics with more "air" than others in the same price range. "Air" should not be the deciding factor, as many of the $200 do indeed have a very harsh treble response. A lot of recordings I've done with my $200 mic had the highs rolled off, and still sounded bad in areas other than and/or in addition to the high end.

That's all I meant, let the entire frequency response be the deciding factor: some or most of your "air" will disappear as soon as you start treating the brittleness of the mic.

My AT3035 has "air." I bought it a year ago on the recommendation of several people here (because they said it had "air"); bought it blind. The frequency response of it is terrible (and it's really harsh). The C1 sounds a lot better in other frequencies. I was an [person who understands things differently] for buying a mic just because of it's air, and just want to keep other people from making the same mistake. :)
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Postby Rick Levine on Sun May 14, 2006 11:02 am

I've got a pair of Studio Projects C3s and really like them, as they're an option rich version of the C1s. Anybody else have an opinion on them? I don't have anything to compare them to, really.
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Postby JohnB99 on Tue May 30, 2006 6:31 pm

Does anyone use these in "live" recordings for vocal or do they pretty much stick with dynamics mics.

Need a good one for a male (backup) singer.

Thanks for the guidance
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Postby Rimskidog on Wed May 31, 2006 2:46 pm

What do you mean by 'live recording'? You mean just recording a gig? Problem is condensers aren't as robust as dynamics so you have to be real careful if you are taking them out. There are a couple of 'live' condensers out there but I haven't tried any of them. They certainly aren't the ones on this list.
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Postby JohnB99 on Wed May 31, 2006 5:05 pm

Rimski:
Thanks for the response. Sorry for not being clear. Not recording at a gig, but doing a recording without isolation rooms for each singer and instrument.

Care wouldn't be the problem. We have dynamics, but I'd like to add a condensor to get "better" vocals and allow us to use it in a studio environment later. Since the retailers will not allow us to return the unit after a trial, I wondered if I am off base here before we plunk down the cash. Thanks for any guidance.
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Postby Rimskidog on Wed May 31, 2006 6:22 pm

this is a bit off topic now so I'll message you directly
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Postby rusty1 on Wed Jun 28, 2006 11:22 pm

I would put my vote on the Studio Projects C1. It's a very versatile microphone for the price, and can't give you the impression of a high quality mic with some good mixing techniques.


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