Condenser Microphones

I’ve got a Sytek MPC4ch preamp that’s super clean/quiet, but they run about $800, which ain’t bad for 4 channels! My Beyerdynamic M160 needs almost the full rotation of the gain control to come alive. That’s around 70db of gain.

But if you only need a dual ch, I’ve always heard real good things about the FMR RNP (Real Nice Pre)@ $475. Gander at 'em over at . They have up to 72db of gain, so they’re good for most ribbons. And since they make 'em in Austin, I am all for it. I’d like to snatch one up some day, myself…I’ve got one of their RNC’s ($200) and love it!

I’m sure there are lots of other pre’s out there worth considering too. This one just keeps coming up over and over on most of the audio boards.



BTW TomS - The wife’s too smart for the “I bought it for you, honey” line

Well, without going outside the bounds of a family forum, if you show her the NTK, she will very possibly believe that… ???

Cheap ribbons now out in AU. They take 165dbSPL - thats a lot, right?

Tom, might have been me how said something about mic choice. Maybe I just read the same thing and am making that up.

I’m very interested in SM’s TB202 tube pre, but SM don’t have a great rep for reliability. Supposedly full voltage ClassA all the way.


I’ve definitely got some educating isince yesterday!!: Condenser Mics to Ribbon Mics and Ribbon Mics to Pre-amps. A lot of great info and plenty to digest and research further.

I’ll update everyone on my decision in the near future.

I’m pretty sure that I’ll end up spending more than my initial $250 limit, but it looks like it will save me some grief and additioanl cash in the long run.

Thanks all


165 is a LOT for a ribbon - well, actually, not really, perhaps, some can take a lot, just not huge sudden changes in pressure, e.g., kick drums are usually out, so I sort of take it back. Interestngly, some people have reported hearing freq response change with volume, so that at really loud volumes the ribbon gets stretched a bit and the response changes. I’ve always been too much of a coward to try anything that radical.

Re: the sm stuff - the ribbons look like the chinese ones the tape op folks were doing a group buy for, who was it - pacifica audio or somebody? Essentially the Nady ribbon mic.

Now, about the sm preamps- does “CLASS A Transformless high voltage signal path” mean the same as “high plate voltages” ?

edit: they are selling the single channel version for 150 US, and the two channel version for 250 - how could it be high voltage at those prices? I smell a bit of misrepresentation…

The RODE site describes the NTK as:


The result is an ultra-wide dynamic range, very low noise, and stunning tube warmth. The NTK‘s rich valve sound is ideal for vocals, acoustic instruments, drum overheads, guitar amps and pianos.

That sounds pretty good to me. The NTK is $499.00.

My NT1000 does not do well on my acoustic at all. I’m looking for some mic that will do that & vocals.

Thanks Mike for the input about the NTK.

Checked out your website. I grew up on Neil Young music. Great stuff.

It looks like I’ve gone from a $250 condenser to about $300 to $500 condenser or ribbon and a $300 to $500 pre-amp.

Makes sense though. Last Spring, I paid almost $800 for my Fender Hot Rod DeVille and it’s worth every penny.

It looks like the proverbial “You get what you pay for.” situation.


TJ - thanks!

The advice is solid here, i.e., start with a good mic & you won’t regret it.

If you need a few mics on a budget, try finding the Audio Technica package that has the AT2020 and 2021 bundled. I picked up two sets. The AT2020 is just as all the reviews I read before I bought them… fantastic mic’s worth much more than the going price. I have done a few test recordings with the 2020’s and really like what I hear. The jury is still out on the 2021’s though. I want to pair up a 2020 and 2021 on acoustic guitar and see what I can dial in…


Just a quick disagreement with someone. If you’re only going to have one mic in your home studio, I think it should be a condensor. You can get a rich sound from about anything with a good condensor and a good preamp, IMHO.


So who here has sampled the Studio Projects offerings? Any opinion on the Studio Projects B3? Large condenser, multi-pattern, hi-pass and pad for under $200.

I’ve been following this thread, also interested in picking up a condenser mic. I currently have a SM58 into a Berry mixer. My budget (home hobby here) is lower, say $100.

I will record acoustic guitar and my vocal (low male).

Of these three, what are the differences:

Studio Projects B1

Also, will the Behringer mixer impact the quality of sound (obviously) enough that my next purchase should be a better preamp, say audio buddy?

Hey, Val,
I picked up an MXL V63M, and it sounds pretty nice. I’m new to this too… but I’ve found some dynamics which sound pretty good, like an older Sennheiser 453 dynamic cardioid. Pretty sensitive as far as how I approach the mic- nice fat proximity effect, and it gets a decent room sound too, I think.

All the mics you named get decent reviews (done some homework far as that), and I’ll vouch for my MXL. I’m sending off for a Studio Projects B3 (ebay), and I’ll post about it when I try it on a vocal project I’m doing. If you do some digging you can find some unexpected fun and good-sounding deals, like that old Sennheiser!

For preamps, Behringer is noted for being noisy. I found an old Tascam M-30 mixer (with mic pres) on ebay for around $75.00 that is a noticeable improvement over going straight into my soundcard (Tascam US-428). You could pick up an ART Tube MP for well under $100.00. I got a Presonus Tube-Pre for $99, which has phantom power for the condenser mic. Which I’d let go for $60, incidentally…

You would be very surpised what a better preamp can add to your sound.


Just a quick disagreement with someone. If you’re only going to have one mic in your home studio, I think it should be a condensor. You can get a rich sound from about anything with a good condensor and a good preamp, IMHO.

As for condensor vs. dynamic, different strokes… I would say the same about a dynamic…

Hey Sloom, I had a SP B3. I was very impressed with it. This was my first LDC, so my opinions may not be worth much, but I was very happy with it.

I’ve a recording of my sister singing into the B3.…t_id=14

Go down to time in a bottle - pjk

Also, I used it to assist my drum recording. I didn’t like the way my cheap dynamics were capturing the kit, so I put the B3 about 1.5 ft away from the kick drum, a little off to the side, and wow, did it ever liven up the recorded sound. Brought all the sparkle and shizzle back to the kit.

I lost the mic to a house fire, but will be replacing it shortly.

Quote (pjk @ Oct. 07 2005,13:29)
Hey Sloom, I had a SP B3...
I lost the mic to a house fire, but will be replacing it shortly.

Hey, pjk, go see ebay- type Studio Projects B3 into the Search window, and check 'em out. They're currently going for $159.00 or so.

I'm off to a gig, but I'll check out your link- thanks!

Gave it a quick listen (sorry- I’m runnin’!) and it does sound nice. Sounds like a bit of that so-called ‘hype’ in the top end, but that’s like any mic’s particularity. Nice recording, and your sister has a nice, full, ‘rocky’ voice. Has a pretty 90’s vibe, if you don’t mind my saying so. Enjoyable!


For preamps, Behringer is noted for being noisy.

Mines ok in the strips, direct outs and inserts. Main out has a buzz somewhere though…

No prob, Sloom, any constructive input is good input. I purchased it new for 159, and it’s still going new for that price. My sales tech over at sweetwater isn’t so hot on it, but I guess I’ll get better as I go, and when I can upgrade, I will. But it’ll do for me quite well for now.

Hmm, Is the B3 worth the extra $50 over the B1? Anyone compared the two?

Sloom, thanks for the offer, but I’ma little tight for $ now, so the mic is the first priority.

I think it is more important how you use the microphone than what microphone it is. For example a close miked cardioid records the source but an omni records the space. And that is true if it is a dynamaic or a condensor. Ribbons are very nice but you must remember that most of them are figure of 8 so you need to think about what reflections are coming from in fornt of the performer.