Condenser Microphones

Recommendations

At the moment, I’m considering a Rode NT-1A as my first condenser mic w/shock mount for about $200.

Is this a good choice for voice and acoustic? Are there any options in the $150 to $250 range that may be a better value?

Thanks.

TJ

I have at NT1000. The NT-1A is probably good for vocals but not for acoustics.

Hi Tommy :)


I have an NT1A. I use it for vocals. I also run the vocals through an enhancer/ exciter which boosts the lows and highs in the voice in a way that is far superior to ( in my opinion ) what an EQ can do.

The end result is excellent, using the NT1A in this application has yielded results that are beyond my expectations. The sound quality is pro level.


I tried using the NT1A on my acoustic guitar and I found that I liked the sound I got running my acoustic direct better. My acoustic is acoustic/ electric.


Hope that Helps,

Ted

I have the Rode NTK ( a recent purchase), NT3 and a pari of NT 5 mics, I can’t say enough about the quality for the price. Can’t speak directly to the NT 1A as Ted can, but FWIW I am totally geeked by the Rodes I have. :)

Folks often say a SD mic is better for guitar, the LD for vocals, but I cannot tell you how much I like the sound of the NTK on aocustic. :)

Rode NT1, Studio Projects B1 or C1, Audio Technica AT4040 or AT2020, Shure KSM27, one of the zillion or so MXL mics. Though, don’t bother with a condensor until you have your bases covered with a good dynamic…

Tom, I prefer an LDC on acoustic myself. I love my ADK Generis on acoustic.

Kel HM-1

Bought one of these a few months back-I like it. $99 U.S.
Does a nice job with acoustic guitar.

http://www.kelaudio.com/

I’m kinda with Bubba. Why a condensor in particular? Yeah, detail, but sometimes I have a hard time getting the kind of body I want in an acoustic track with a condensor. And most of my favorite vocal mics are dynamics. There’s lots of fine dynamics that will do a great job on acoustic guitar and voice in your price range. Beyerdynamic M88 is one such microphone. You might get lucky and find a Shure SM7 used for $250 as well. That’d be a swell choice.

The NT1-A isn’t a bad product, but I’m not a big fan. It’s a little bright for my tastes. Again, Bubba’s listed a number of winners, particularly the AT4040 and the Shure KSM27. Used to be you could also find an MXL 2001 (LDC) and a 603 (SDC) in a single package with shockmounts for about $200. Those may be cheaper units, but they get a workout at our place for a variety of applications. Lotta folks would be surprised how nice that 2001 is on a kick drum.

There’s even a number of cheap ribbon mics available these days. I don’t have any of 'em, so I can’t vouch for their quality, but a ribbon mic is generally what I grab first for acoustic guitar and vocals. MMMM…ribbon mics. I’m about to pull the trigger on one or two new ones myself…

Love my NT1.

Wow! I’m amazed with the number of replies in such a short period. I just left long enough to go out for supper!

Ted mentioned using his mic with an enhancer/exciter. I was curious about those,too. I’ll need to check them out.

Until recently, most of my music has been live, so I have several dynamic mics I’ve collected over the years (including an original issue Shure 55SW “Elvis” mic). I’ve used my dynamic mics for live vocals and recording my electric guitars.

I have also used my dynamics with my acoustic and recordings as well. I’ve been pretty happy with the results. But, I felt it was time to pick up a condenser and try something new.

I have several Shure and AT dynamics that I have been happy with, so I’ll check their dynamics out. Several other mics mentioned (ADK, MXL…)I haven’t heard of that I’ll need to check out.

I hadn’t considered a ribbon mic. I’ll have to research them, too.

Looks like I need to make a list, take one of my acoustics to the music store, and give them all a try.

Thanks to everyone for all of the useful info!!!

TJ

Tom - isn’t the NTK a pretty good mic, i.e., better than most other Rodes (except the NT2000)?

The NTK specs sound great, but out of my price range of $250. I guess I could wait a bit longer and spend a bit more. My wife will enjoy hearing that (lol).

E-bay is your friend BTW. I would rather a used SM7 or MD421 any day over a cheapo condenser new. I have had my SM7 for about 7 years now. It is so easy to get a great sound out of on just about any thing. E-bay I have done almost every vocal track, male and female, in the past few years with it. I get great results on snare and guitar cabs. It is swell for hand percussion and horns. I have one LDC and use it for acoustic guitar only, nothing else as I find myself using a dynamic constantly.

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Tom - isn’t the NTK a pretty good mic, i.e., better than most other Rodes (except the NT2000)?


No, it’s more that it’s a tube mic. It’s pretty similar to the NT1000 otherwise, but tube marketing and pricing depicts it as their (former) top mic.

I have an NT1-A I know and love - except for acoustic guitar due to the lack of presence.

Today, I use an ADK C1 condenser for acoustic guitar - a bargain! I’ve recently purchased a pair of NT5’s, which I intend to use as a matched stereo pair. I am considering doing a few takes of acoustic guitar with it, too…

I do have a BeyerDynamic I still use from time to time, though… - very clear-sounding for a dynamic mic.

regards, Nils

Quote (Mr Soul @ Oct. 04 2005,21:33)
Tom - isn't the NTK a pretty good mic, i.e., better than most other Rodes (except the NT2000)?

Well, I think the nt 5 pair is killer, and the NT3 is cool - medium diaphram condensor, sounds sort of in between LD and SD, very quiet, quality mic, although not exactly a character mic. Comparing the NTK and the others is sort of apples and oranges, I guess, but you are right, it is something special given the price.

But the tube sound is just delicious. If I had a choice between the NT1 and NTK (and I had a chance to listen to both) I'm pretty certain that I would plunk down the extra few dollars for the NTK.

Dumbest thing I've done is spend money on mics that were "good enough." Now I am committed to buying good sound - cheapo mics that have character fit the bill, but mostly this means saving up a bit. I think it was Clava (or Bubba or Willy, er, sorry guys, whoever said it) that pointed out that one tends to use just a few mics in the end; at least that fits me, a guy who likes to write and record songs in his basement - I pretty much do the same things with the mics, once I have found something that works for me. At any rate, I know I will stick with the Audix D6 on kick and bass guitar cab for quite a while, the rode nt5s for overheads, a 57 or the rode nt3 on snare, and the ntk for vocals and acoustic. I have other things to play with, but why mess with a good thing?

Although I still covet an sm7... hmmm....Christmas....hmmm... :)



My wife will enjoy hearing that (lol).

Well, just tell her it's to record her, to make her sound as good on CD as she does in real life. :) And she wouldn't want you to be unsatisfied and grumbl;e a lot about the sound you are getting. Really, it's an investment in a happy marriage.

:D

More good comments and definitely worth comsidering.

Looking for a better used mic through eBay is a good thought. I’m not in an urgent need to buy rithr away, so I could just wait and see if one of the better mics mentioned shows up at a good price. I normally go through Buy It Now. I’v enever had much luck with the bidding game. Seems my bid stands for days, then I get overbid at the last second. Too much work for me.

BTW TomS - The wife’s too smart for the “I bought it for you, honey” line. I used it for too many other things in the past. Actually, she’s great about my music. If I tell her it’s something I can really use, she’s fine with it - with the exception of three 20-years-old female backup singers - Ha!. :D

There are some really inexpensive ribbon mics out there these days. Here’s one I found over at the gearslutz forum that has been raved over and is RETURNABLE!
ShinyBox

I think every serious recordist oughta have a ribbon in his mic closet. When you tired of the hyped upper mids that it seems every cheap condenser has these days, a ribbon mic will surprise you how acurately it translates the original source. They are still dynamic mics, though (with rare exceptions), so your preamp will need more gain than with condensors, and if you have a noisy pre, well you’ll have a noisy tracks too.

Rick

Thanks t9c. Worth looking into.

Any recommendations on a low noise pre-amp to go with it?

- TJ

Ribbon mics are notoriously picky about preamps. I have a refurbished RCA 77DX, and it sounds quite different through different preamps. None of mine really make it sound like it should. I have mostly cheap pres, but among them the modified Bellari MP 105 sounds best; the Yamaha pm1000s that rsolinski turned me on to also sound pretty good, but they are really noisey. Quieter are the symmetrix pres I got from Ebay, like these:
http://cgi.ebay.com/SYMETRI…iewItem

I’ve heard that people really like the VTB-1 as a ribbon pre. One of these days, when I get the money, maybe…