Which so-so mic?

Choose among several old lo-end mics

I’ve collected a few old mics over the last year, and now finally I have something to connect them to. :p So which to use? I know nothing about mic models, but a brief search suggests that they are not high quality. But I don’t know how bad is bad. Over time I can figure this out by testing, but I’m sure I can get some opinions here.

I’ll record primarily vocals and mandolin, runniing the mics to a sanyo rd5300 tape deck (broken belt, but who uses tape anymore?) for the preamp, running from there into my new SB Audigy 2 ZS in a decent computer.

The mics are:

Shure “Vocal sphere” 579SB (a pair)

Sony Cardiod (what, it bleeds?) F-VX50

Shure 12AH

Realistic Cardiod 33-992B

what to choose?


I reckon the thing to do is do some recording with them! Record some mando and some vocals with each mic, then listen to the results. I reckon you’ll quickly know which ones are keepers (if any of them are).

Have fun, good luck, and be careful out there!

Cheers, Tim

All the above! Try 'em all and see which sound the best, and learn from it.
Different ones will sound better for different purposes.

“Cardiod” means “unidirectional”. The name comes from the mathmatical name of a pattern in a polar plot of certain cycloid functions, plots with heart-like shapes. The alternatives to cardioid are omnidirectional, figure-8, and hypercardioid.

BTW, cardioid (and hypercardioid) mikes tend to have a “proximity effect”, where the lower midrange and bass gets a boost when the sound source is very close (within inches). This effect can be a problem in some cases, and can sound good in others. I like the sound of the proximity effect on my voice, for example, using a Shure SM57 or SM58.

I’m not familiar with any of those particular mikes. But regardless of what folks here tell you, use them as ideas rather than answers, and use your ears to judge the mikes and which is best for a given purpose. For example, one mike might be better for close-miking the instruments (i.e., within a foot), and another might sound much better miking the same instrument from 3 or 5 feet.

The room matters a LOT. The location of the walls relative to the instrument and mikes can matter a lot. So, don’t limit your thinking to “the mike”. Consider the whole environment, and experiment.

Have fun! :)

No kidding about the room! I’m in an open basement. After I turn off the dehumidifier and exhaust fan, and in between the sump pump and furnace cycles, and the laundry, I only have to contend with the computer fan. Then I can think about the choice of mic .

Not complaining though. I’m having fun.

It’s not just the noises, basements have odd resonances that affect the sound more than you might believe. I know, I record in a basement, and it is the single most annoying aspect of the whole thing.

Set 'em all up and move 'em around a lot. Mix the sounds together. I’m betting on the shures.

new SB Audigy 2 ZS

which version? platinum pro?


I find scrap carpet and cover the walls. A better solution is to get a bunch of packing blankets with grommets and hang them so that they can be partially opened or fully closed like curtains, and adjust them to suit. (I once had a studio so dead that the recordings I made there were flat and dull, except for the ones with lots of orchestration and processing.)

If you have any unused mattresses, lean them against the walls, especially in the corners.