Best vocal mic under 2K?

Recording Techniques, People Skills, Gear, Recording Spaces, Computers, and DIY

Moderators: drumsound, tomb

Phobos
audio school graduate
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 3:10 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Best vocal mic under 2K?

Post by Phobos » Fri Oct 02, 2020 7:57 am

I have some decent budget mics, Rode NT1, etc. but I am looking to upgrade to a nicer condenser. If you could only have one, and your budget could not exceed 2K, "who would win"? Will be used on both male and female vocals and different styles of music.

Magnetic Services
steve albini likes it
Posts: 326
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:21 pm

Re: Best vocal mic under 2K?

Post by Magnetic Services » Fri Oct 02, 2020 8:42 am

I'd get an SM7B and a week's worth of vocal lessons with that kind of budget :|

drumsound
zen recordist
Posts: 6925
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2004 10:30 pm
Location: Bloomington IL
Contact:

Re: Best vocal mic under 2K?

Post by drumsound » Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:30 am

There are a lot of good options in that price range.

Advanced Audio has a bunch of things in the $1k range, if you're woring with various people something like their CM67 and CM251 would cover a lot of ground for $2k. Or you could get 3-4 Audio Technice or sE offerings. People rave about the Vanguard Audio mics. Some of the Telefunken and BeezNeez mics fit that price range as well. If you can stretch another 500 the Tonelux JC37 is right there for the taking. A custom Barbaric might be had for that money, you could have it built around your desires. That might take a little longer.

User avatar
Nick Sevilla
on a wing and a prayer
Posts: 5003
Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:34 pm
Location: Lake Arrowhead California USA
Contact:

Re: Best vocal mic under 2K?

Post by Nick Sevilla » Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:41 am

AKG 414. Most any flavor.
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

User avatar
digitaldrummer
resurrected
Posts: 2393
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2005 9:51 pm
Location: Austin, Texas
Contact:

Re: Best vocal mic under 2K?

Post by digitaldrummer » Fri Oct 02, 2020 10:58 am

the above are all solid suggestions. Also read the TapeOp Gear reviews. Or checkout the multiple shootouts on just about every site out there with real sound samples so you can compare yourself. There are now also modeling mics (Slate, Antelope, Townsend Labs) that, if you are into that, might get you even more for your $$.

now a few I put up frequently when auditioning vocals...

Weird Audio Little Red Monster (Tube -- I really like this one)
AKG C414b-ULS (condenser w/transformer)
Shure SM7B (dynamic/broadcast)
Cascade Vinjet (ribbon)
Mojave MA-200 or MA201fet (tube/Fet)
Warm Audio WA87
Slate ML1 (various models via plugin)

results vary greatly depending on the source
Last edited by digitaldrummer on Fri Oct 02, 2020 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mike
www.studiodrumtracks.com -- Drum tracks starting at $50!
www.doubledogrecording.com

kslight
moves faders with mind
Posts: 2714
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:40 pm

Re: Best vocal mic under 2K?

Post by kslight » Fri Oct 02, 2020 12:52 pm

I think something like a 414 would be a solid mic to have in the cabinet, and maybe a nicer dynamic mic for when that doesn’t work out.

I’m not really convinced that spending $2k on a single mic is always the best use of money, assuming you’re in a home studio? Some people would argue about also considering the impact of the room, pre, etc...

User avatar
losthighway
dead but not forgotten
Posts: 2045
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 8:02 pm
Contact:

Re: Best vocal mic under 2K?

Post by losthighway » Fri Oct 02, 2020 6:12 pm

Some good ones on here so far, I'd add:

Groove Tubes Md1a
EV RE20
Audio Technica 4050
AT 4047

User avatar
losthighway
dead but not forgotten
Posts: 2045
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 8:02 pm
Contact:

Re: Best vocal mic under 2K?

Post by losthighway » Fri Oct 02, 2020 6:15 pm

Also Pearlman TM1 sneaks in just under the wire, but I agree with others, if you don't have other stuff in place you don't want to put all eggs in one basket.

Many of the ones mentioned above are also good for guitar amps, bass amps, percussion, drums, acoustic guitars, so on the flipside it's not too crazy to invest big if you're feeling serious about stuff.

User avatar
Scodiddly
cryogenically thawing
Posts: 3518
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2003 6:38 am
Location: Mundelein, IL, USA
Contact:

Re: Best vocal mic under 2K?

Post by Scodiddly » Sat Oct 03, 2020 10:55 am

The SM7B is such a YouTube favorite that Shure has them backordered for, I dunno, until politics become civil again.

User avatar
joninc
deaf.
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2003 5:02 pm
Location: canada
Contact:

Re: Best vocal mic under 2K?

Post by joninc » Sat Oct 03, 2020 12:15 pm

There really are so many types of voices that I don't think there's one mic that is universally best.

what kind of vocal sounds do you like? Thick and rich? Airy and crisp?

I Love tube mics on vocalists but some will accentuate different sibilances and they are not all equal so it's worth trying a few out....

I think the Peluso P12 is awesome for airy type vocalists.... P49 is a little meatier but still open on top. I also love a 47 style for something a little less bright and more mid rich (these get the most use around here for vocals) and then a U87 style fet mic is gonna be good for a lot of stuff too. chrck out Lawson mics and Soyuz (Bomblet in this price range) as well.

It's also hard to beat a SM7 or RE20 sometimes and they will do a lot of other stuff really well too so every studio should have one. there's lots on reverb and ebay.

i have a pair or 414 b-uls and use them for a lot of things but never really loved them on vocals... a bit too scooped or contoured sounding or something.
the new rules : there are no rules

User avatar
digitaldrummer
resurrected
Posts: 2393
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2005 9:51 pm
Location: Austin, Texas
Contact:

Re: Best vocal mic under 2K?

Post by digitaldrummer » Sun Oct 04, 2020 9:30 am

joninc wrote:
Sat Oct 03, 2020 12:15 pm
i have a pair or 414 b-uls and use them for a lot of things but never really loved them on vocals... a bit too scooped or contoured sounding or something.
I've always thought the 414b-ULS sounded good through a UA LA-610. If you have one or a similar tube pre you might try it sometime. Of course always depends on the singer... (and maybe even the mics -- they are "vintage" now).
Mike
www.studiodrumtracks.com -- Drum tracks starting at $50!
www.doubledogrecording.com

User avatar
A.David.MacKinnon
ghost haunting audio students
Posts: 3434
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 5:57 am
Location: Toronto
Contact:

Re: Best vocal mic under 2K?

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Sun Oct 04, 2020 2:35 pm

I'd divide up that 2k and get a few options. Look at the used market. There are very few mics that I have bought new. Many of my used mics have been with me for 20 plus years and still going strong.
An RE20 is a solid choice and works well on lots of voices and lots of other applications.
An AT4050 is a solid choice. Like the RE20 it can be great on vocals and lots of other things.
You can't go wrong with a 414 of any variety but it's not often a go to for vocals for me. That said, it's a good choice for airy vocals with body.

Vocal mics for me are always mics that will work well on tons of other sources.

User avatar
Rodgre
carpal tunnel
Posts: 1647
Joined: Fri May 30, 2003 3:19 am
Location: Central MA
Contact:

Re: Best vocal mic under 2K?

Post by Rodgre » Wed Oct 14, 2020 4:58 am

I have tried many mics on vocals over the years. Somewhere around the mid-2000s, I used an SM7B for the first time on a scratch vocal. When it came time to do the "real" vocal, I put up a Neumann U87 out of habit, and it just didn't sound as good as the SM7B. From that point on, I started using the SM7B for pretty much every vocal track. I will still do a shootout on a singer when we first start tracking vocals, and in 15 years, the SM7B has lost out to another mic TWICE. It always sounds good. It always has a rich low end and midrange and just enough top end. It may not be the absolute best mic for everything, but it ALWAYS sounds good to me. I can rely on that. I use it with a Cloudlifter usually, but not always.

If you're going to spend $1000 on a mic, you really can't go wrong with less than $500 on an SM7B and a Cloudlifter. You will never regret it.

Roger

Phobos
audio school graduate
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 3:10 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Best vocal mic under 2K?

Post by Phobos » Wed Oct 14, 2020 6:58 am

Rodgre wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 4:58 am
I use it with a Cloudlifter usually, but not always.

If you're going to spend $1000 on a mic, you really can't go wrong with less than $500 on an SM7B and a Cloudlifter. You will never regret it.

Roger
I actually ordered an SM7B and it just arrived. Do I need a Cloudlifter? I do have some pretty nice preamps (UA Apollo x8p) that I'm hoping can provide enough gain. I have not had a chance to try out the mic yet.

User avatar
digitaldrummer
resurrected
Posts: 2393
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2005 9:51 pm
Location: Austin, Texas
Contact:

Re: Best vocal mic under 2K?

Post by digitaldrummer » Wed Oct 14, 2020 7:07 am

I've never felt like I needed a cloudlifter for my SM7B. I just use a preamp with enough gain. I have a silver UA LA-610 that I really like with it. Your Apollo has 65dB of gain so should probably be fine.
Mike
www.studiodrumtracks.com -- Drum tracks starting at $50!
www.doubledogrecording.com

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 59 guests