Old 11-20-2018, 03:14 PM   #1
Daria91
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Default Budget mic for vocals

Please suggest me a good condenser mic (under $100) for recording vocals for my small home studio.
I am currently looking at the AT2035 (condenser) and Behringer Ultravoice Xm8500, which is recommended by many people.
https://microphonetopgear.com/best-c...ording-vocals/
What are your thoughts and maybe own experience?
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Old 11-20-2018, 03:18 PM   #2
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https://www.amazon.com/GLS-Audio-Ins.../dp/B001W99HE8
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Old 11-20-2018, 04:34 PM   #3
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For a condenser mic, I have heard good things from a Blue Yeti

https://www.bluedesigns.com/products/yeti/
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Old 11-20-2018, 11:21 PM   #4
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Problem with recording vox in small rooms with condensers is you tend to pick up all the bad resonance in the room, as well as computer fan noise etc. Lots of famous vocal performances have been capture with the lowly sm57, which doesn't have such problems...
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Old 11-21-2018, 11:07 AM   #5
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Problem with recording vox in small rooms with condensers is you tend to pick up all the bad resonance in the room, as well as computer fan noise etc. Lots of famous vocal performances have been capture with the lowly sm57, which doesn't have such problems...
Lol what? That's a common misconception. The air at the diaphragm is wiggling the same either way.

I have an AT2035 and I quite like it. It's handled the four or five different male voices I've thrown at it quite well. I also have an AT2020 and honestly can't tell much difference - at least on my voice - except for the lack of high pass filter and pad. They're pretty cool for acoustic guitar and even drums, too.

I'm honestly not a huge mic snob, and don't have a whole lot of experience with many others. Honestly, I think most mics in that price range are going to be pretty decent nowadays. It's not new technology. The big question at the low end is just quality control. Will YOUR mic actually be within spec off the shelf? But if you get one that functions as intended, and you can't get a good recording, it's probably not the mic's fault.
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Old 11-21-2018, 11:35 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
Lol what? That's a common misconception. The air at the diaphragm is wiggling the same either way.
Lol what? That's a common misconception
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Old 02-25-2019, 11:01 AM   #7
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Thanks for advice!
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Old 11-21-2018, 11:37 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Daria91 View Post
Please suggest me a good condenser mic (under $100) for recording vocals for my small home studio.
I am currently looking at the AT2035 (condenser) and Behringer Ultravoice Xm8500, which is recommended by many people.
https://microphonetopgear.com/best-c...ording-vocals/
What are your thoughts and maybe own experience?
sm58 or similar,
Cheap condenser in a bedroom-studio gives you the worst of both worlds
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Old 11-28-2018, 02:09 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Daria91 View Post
Please suggest me a good condenser mic (under $100) for recording vocals for my small home studio.
I am currently looking at the AT2035 (condenser) and Behringer Ultravoice Xm8500, which is recommended by many people.
https://microphonetopgear.com/best-c...ording-vocals/
What are your thoughts and maybe own experience?

Before I even read the other post about it, my first thought was "Why a Condenser Mic? Whats wrong with a Ribbon Mic?".

I say this, because one you start using Ribbon mics, its hard to move away from. I just finished a 14 track album for a acoustic act. Not one time did I have a De-esser on the Vocals. Not because the singer had pro sybalance, he has hard S's so bad! But the Ribbon mic set up proper smooths that out.

a condenser mic was made to increase the brightness of old analog gear running thru tube gear and on to tape. We are all using digital now. Guess what? Those mics are all overly bright now.

But the good ol' Ribbon mics? They sound like a EQ'd mic, with de-esser, and vintage voodoo plugins built right into them. Plus, you can use them on anything.

I am getting so much word of mouth now, and hear guys saying "mojo and vodoo" for my studio. its because I am using Ribbon mics 80% of the time.

You need a Good preamp for a Ribbon mic though. Its possible you might be able to gas up your interface and get enough headroom.

Budget Ribbon setup:

1. Rolls MP222, made in the USA. Has a transformer, and is a secret weapon! You will always use it.

2. Marti Audio inline xlr booster. I use this even with my preamp. Sounds great and keeps my noise floor even lower. You can even use it with a SM57 and get some great tone with it. Anything similar to this device should work.
If you cant afford a preamp and something like this, get this! It will cost less and you can phantom power it off your interface and boost the Ribbon signal for all the gain you need.

3. Cascade Microphones FAT HEAD BE Grey Body/Anodized Silver Grill, it will run you about 150 bucks. But that extra 50 bucks you spend will serve you the rest of your life. This will be a mic you keep and use forever. When it shows up you know its gonna work. With some lower budgets, you need a good return policy, and not be afraid to tighten the ribbon yourself if it shows up slacked.

MXL Ribbons, see the paragraph above. Good for the money, might need tightened.

Nady RSM4, I love these cheap buggers! I got 4 of them. Three of them had a totally slacked ribbon when they showed up. I was able to tighten and tune all 3. One of them worked on delivery, that was really cool.

With the Nady, the Front and the Back both sound KILLER! And both sides are both usable. So you have a fast tone switch just by spinning the mic around.

Starting 5 or 6 years ago Ribbons started getting popular. They were bringing warm smooth tones to digital recording right out the gate (mojo and vodoo). And every year they get more and more popular.

Ribbon mics cost less to produce. Good for us. And have made a mark enough that all the music store flyers that go out have a ribbon mic on the cover on sale.

Do yourself a favor. Even if you have to wait and save, get into Ribbon mics.

If you need to save up, get a ES57 or even their 58 from GLS in the mean time. They are dirt cheap and my Shure mics collect dust. Yes, they are as good or better. I prefer them and my bands do as well.

https://www.glsaudio.com/GLS-Audio-E...Mic_p_396.html

https://www.amazon.com/Cascade-Micro...hones+FAT+HEAD

https://www.amazon.com/Nady-RSM-4-Un...V13F96NSAF9E63

https://www.amazon.com/Rolls-MP222-S...ds=rolls+mp222


https://reverb.com/item/710011-marti...ube-microphone
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Old 11-28-2018, 02:42 PM   #10
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https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...Condenser.html

This used to be less $$, but maybe a deal will come around. Just missed the biggest one of the year, of course. ;p

Every pattern you need, sounds just like an AKG C414. Sounds best for vocals on the cardioid pattern aimed at the chin and singing towards the top of the mic with a pop filter, in my experience. nice smooth natural sound. About 10 inches away for normal volume vox.
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Old 11-28-2018, 04:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmy James View Post
Before I even read the other post about it, my first thought was "Why a Condenser Mic? Whats wrong with a Ribbon Mic?".

I say this, because one you start using Ribbon mics, its hard to move away from. I just finished a 14 track album for a acoustic act. Not one time did I have a De-esser on the Vocals. Not because the singer had pro sybalance, he has hard S's so bad! But the Ribbon mic set up proper smooths that out.

a condenser mic was made to increase the brightness of old analog gear running thru tube gear and on to tape. We are all using digital now. Guess what? Those mics are all overly bright now.

But the good ol' Ribbon mics? They sound like a EQ'd mic, with de-esser, and vintage voodoo plugins built right into them. Plus, you can use them on anything.

I am getting so much word of mouth now, and hear guys saying "mojo and vodoo" for my studio. its because I am using Ribbon mics 80% of the time.

You need a Good preamp for a Ribbon mic though. Its possible you might be able to gas up your interface and get enough headroom.

Budget Ribbon setup:

1. Rolls MP222, made in the USA. Has a transformer, and is a secret weapon! You will always use it.

2. Marti Audio inline xlr booster. I use this even with my preamp. Sounds great and keeps my noise floor even lower. You can even use it with a SM57 and get some great tone with it. Anything similar to this device should work.
If you cant afford a preamp and something like this, get this! It will cost less and you can phantom power it off your interface and boost the Ribbon signal for all the gain you need.

3. Cascade Microphones FAT HEAD BE Grey Body/Anodized Silver Grill, it will run you about 150 bucks. But that extra 50 bucks you spend will serve you the rest of your life. This will be a mic you keep and use forever. When it shows up you know its gonna work. With some lower budgets, you need a good return policy, and not be afraid to tighten the ribbon yourself if it shows up slacked.

MXL Ribbons, see the paragraph above. Good for the money, might need tightened.

Nady RSM4, I love these cheap buggers! I got 4 of them. Three of them had a totally slacked ribbon when they showed up. I was able to tighten and tune all 3. One of them worked on delivery, that was really cool.

With the Nady, the Front and the Back both sound KILLER! And both sides are both usable. So you have a fast tone switch just by spinning the mic around.

Starting 5 or 6 years ago Ribbons started getting popular. They were bringing warm smooth tones to digital recording right out the gate (mojo and vodoo). And every year they get more and more popular.

Ribbon mics cost less to produce. Good for us. And have made a mark enough that all the music store flyers that go out have a ribbon mic on the cover on sale.

Do yourself a favor. Even if you have to wait and save, get into Ribbon mics.

If you need to save up, get a ES57 or even their 58 from GLS in the mean time. They are dirt cheap and my Shure mics collect dust. Yes, they are as good or better. I prefer them and my bands do as well.

https://www.glsaudio.com/GLS-Audio-E...Mic_p_396.html

https://www.amazon.com/Cascade-Micro...hones+FAT+HEAD

https://www.amazon.com/Nady-RSM-4-Un...V13F96NSAF9E63

https://www.amazon.com/Rolls-MP222-S...ds=rolls+mp222


https://reverb.com/item/710011-marti...ube-microphone
For me ribbons are too dark for vocals but great for saxophone. Cad Audio makes a great ribbon Mic too.
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Old 11-29-2018, 01:53 AM   #12
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You preferably want cardioid mics in a budget home-studio.
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Old 11-29-2018, 03:46 AM   #13
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You preferably want cardioid mics in a budget home-studio.
Yeah, if the room sounds bad then you don't want the back of the ribbon picking it all up.
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Old 11-29-2018, 12:29 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Jimmy James View Post
Before I even read the other post about it, my first thought was "Why a Condenser Mic? Whats wrong with a Ribbon Mic?".

I say this, because one you start using Ribbon mics, its hard to move away from. I just finished a 14 track album for a acoustic act. Not one time did I have a De-esser on the Vocals. Not because the singer had pro sybalance, he has hard S's so bad! But the Ribbon mic set up proper smooths that out.

a condenser mic was made to increase the brightness of old analog gear running thru tube gear and on to tape. We are all using digital now. Guess what? Those mics are all overly bright now.

But the good ol' Ribbon mics? They sound like a EQ'd mic, with de-esser, and vintage voodoo plugins built right into them. Plus, you can use them on anything.

I am getting so much word of mouth now, and hear guys saying "mojo and vodoo" for my studio. its because I am using Ribbon mics 80% of the time.

You need a Good preamp for a Ribbon mic though. Its possible you might be able to gas up your interface and get enough headroom.

Budget Ribbon setup:

1. Rolls MP222, made in the USA. Has a transformer, and is a secret weapon! You will always use it.

2. Marti Audio inline xlr booster. I use this even with my preamp. Sounds great and keeps my noise floor even lower. You can even use it with a SM57 and get some great tone with it. Anything similar to this device should work.
If you cant afford a preamp and something like this, get this! It will cost less and you can phantom power it off your interface and boost the Ribbon signal for all the gain you need.

3. Cascade Microphones FAT HEAD BE Grey Body/Anodized Silver Grill, it will run you about 150 bucks. But that extra 50 bucks you spend will serve you the rest of your life. This will be a mic you keep and use forever. When it shows up you know its gonna work. With some lower budgets, you need a good return policy, and not be afraid to tighten the ribbon yourself if it shows up slacked.

MXL Ribbons, see the paragraph above. Good for the money, might need tightened.

Nady RSM4, I love these cheap buggers! I got 4 of them. Three of them had a totally slacked ribbon when they showed up. I was able to tighten and tune all 3. One of them worked on delivery, that was really cool.

With the Nady, the Front and the Back both sound KILLER! And both sides are both usable. So you have a fast tone switch just by spinning the mic around.

Starting 5 or 6 years ago Ribbons started getting popular. They were bringing warm smooth tones to digital recording right out the gate (mojo and vodoo). And every year they get more and more popular.

Ribbon mics cost less to produce. Good for us. And have made a mark enough that all the music store flyers that go out have a ribbon mic on the cover on sale.

Do yourself a favor. Even if you have to wait and save, get into Ribbon mics.

If you need to save up, get a ES57 or even their 58 from GLS in the mean time. They are dirt cheap and my Shure mics collect dust. Yes, they are as good or better. I prefer them and my bands do as well.

https://www.glsaudio.com/GLS-Audio-E...Mic_p_396.html

https://www.amazon.com/Cascade-Micro...hones+FAT+HEAD

https://www.amazon.com/Nady-RSM-4-Un...V13F96NSAF9E63

https://www.amazon.com/Rolls-MP222-S...ds=rolls+mp222


https://reverb.com/item/710011-marti...ube-microphone
I admit, I have been afraid to try ribbon mics, both because of the darker tone reputation, and the issue of preamp gain.

This post has given me some inspiration, thank you.
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Old 11-30-2018, 05:26 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenK-msx
This OP dropped a which mic Q and legged it...
Yeah no kidding. She (I think Daria is a girls name) or he (sorry dude!) asks a simple question and gets bombarded with all this technical information (which I'm going to do as well I'm afraid lol) and these discussions. It's really overwhelming considering that this person is probably just starting out.

The Behringer B2 Pro looks interesting, as well as the Rode NT1-a (very popular), and Audio Technica stuff is very popular.
I think you can't go wrong with either of those brands. At the price range around a 100 bucks they are very comparable in features and quality. Just read some reviews online and look for statements involving build quality and self-noise of the mic.
Don't get sucked into discussions too much about which one sounds better, that's all just personal taste, and people tend to glorify their own purchase decisions without them even trying product B.
So if you read a lot of good reviews by different people and one or two people hating it, then it's probably a good mic.

Some microphones come with a pop-filter (sometimes called a windscreen) included. If not, it is recommendable to buy one separately (costs only $10-20). The mic clip or shock mount is usually included, you just need a mic stand (which sells for around $15 up to $40).

Know that you need an audio interface with phantom power (Focusrite solo/2i2/2i4, Presonus Audiobox, Audient iD4/iD14) to use these kind of microphones (microphones with a XLR connection). As well as a XLR cable.

Some people on here are suggesting to you to look into a dynamic microphone, which is a good one.
When you're in your home recording studio and can hear loads of outside noise like: traffic, playing/screaming children, dogs barking, wind, birds, people talking.
Then a dynamic can be a better option because they are less sensitive when it comes to picking up these noises because of the stiffer diaphragm (which makes them great for loud sound sources like snares, guitar amps, and heavy rock/metal and heavy rap vocals).
Something like a Shure sm58 or sm57 are a great choice ($100,-).

Condensers pick up a lot of details, which is what makes them so nice for vocals and instruments like acoustic guitar. But because of that they pick up a lot of the ambiance too (which includes all that noise I just mentioned).

Dynamic mics don't need phantom power (unless you pair it with a Cloudlifter or FetHead (these are used to get more gain. For some compact desk audio interfaces have difficulty to provide enough gain for dynamic mics)).

I think it's more important that you start learning to use a microphone and make music as soon as possible, than to worry about what brand of microphone to buy. Just pick one and start learning how to use it. Not saying you should rush it, but also don't overthink all of this.

I'm sorry if all this information confuses you. The bottom line is that any microphone will do the job as long you know how to use it.
On Youtube you can find great tutorials and other content concerning using mics (like Recordingrevolution and Produce Like a Pro).

Cheers and good luck!

Last edited by Tinus; 11-30-2018 at 05:42 AM.
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Old 11-30-2018, 05:45 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Tinus View Post
Yeah no kidding. She (I think Daria is a girls name) or he (sorry dude!) asks a simple question and gets bombarded with all this technical information (which I'm going to do as well I'm afraid lol) and these discussions. It's really overwhelming considering that this person is probably just starting out...

Cheers and good luck!
Yes. That's what I thought too.
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Old 11-30-2018, 06:49 AM   #17
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SM57/58 is a good start off;

forget all the technical stuff, listen and use what fits.
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Old 12-04-2018, 12:55 PM   #18
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I admit, I have been afraid to try ribbon mics, both because of the darker tone reputation, and the issue of preamp gain.

This post has given me some inspiration, thank you.
Great! Just this year, I have had 3 guys buy the same ribbon mic I tracked their vocals on. I turned 5 guys this year on to ribbons and they have become ribbon junkies. Don't be afraid of the dark! You can crank the 12k shelf to the moon and it will sound bright and crisp, and the S's will still not need a de-esser.

I find that I have more EQ options with a ribbon, only because I can crank the highs and keep the audio sounding great. I can make a ribbon as bright as my Neumann.

I have 2 ribbon mics that are actually very bright on the back side without EQ. A lot of ribbons will give you different tones between the front and back of the mic. The Ribbon thickness has a lot to do with the tone as well.

XLR 48v line booster are fun! And you can use them on a 57 for some more fun.
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Old 12-04-2018, 01:20 PM   #19
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Today I learned that there's a lot of ultra low end rumble noise in my living room. The fridge around the corner and the furnace blowing mostly, I think. I could turn those off if I really wanted to, but the basement is much better for things where it matters anyway. The ribbon mic seemed to reject more of the low mid room noise, but that could well have been pattern related.

In all three mics, the self noise of the mic and preamp masked whatever might be picked up from the room. The ribbon was by far the worst for overall noise. That track would be unusable without severe manipulation and a mix that could mask some of its waterfall. But I'm not sure any of these mics could really do a solo guitar or singer/songwriter thing. It is partly the Nady preamp of course, and I will have to try something similar on the Tascam downstairs, but at similar gain levels, there's a noticeable difference, and when normalized none are really great. The ribbon I'm not happy with, but the other two would be really good. I found out the other day that none of their self noise matters next to a guitar amp.

My room is reasonably well treated, but none of them display enough "room tone" to mention. They obviously couldn't all be in exactly the same spot, but they were close to each other and close to the guitar and it sounded great. Clicking the mouse a few feet away comes through them all about the same once they're all normalized. A little more maybe in the ribbon, but when I'm playing I don't think you could point it out.
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Old 12-04-2018, 01:34 PM   #20
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I like ribbons but don't fawn over them per se. I have 2 MXL R144s, 1 Apex 205 (I think it's a 205, it's the older blue one from 2006 or so), and I have 2 Royer R121s. I like the Apex, I did upgrade the transformer but it's big, fat and thick sounding as-is. I don't really like the MXLs much as they have some nasty midrange that I can't seem to cure but...

In side-by-side tests, the MXLs perform as well as the Royers on distorted electric guitars, where they go down hill (YMMV) is being useable on a variety of sources since the midrange gets nasty - such as acoustic guitar. The apex is pretty OK on acoustic if you want sort of that big fat Gibson acoustic sound. As an aside, the Royers are a tiny bit brighter on the back side vs the front.

The Royers are pretty fantastic across the board but like any ribbon they are a tad dark - let's call that natural (I tend to combo them with a '57 on guitar and blend), that isn't a bad thing but if someone has conditioned themselves to hearing condensers along with the natural high end hype most of them have, they may need to readjust their expectations a little; but overall ribbons are great to have at least one or two of in the toolbox.
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Old 12-02-2018, 05:12 PM   #21
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Do yourself a favor. Even if you have to wait and save, get into Ribbon
Amen brother!!!! Ribbons and a good pre are magic!
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Old 12-03-2018, 04:04 AM   #22
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I am way too clumsy to use ribbons, but the cheap ones I have tried were uniformly MEH.

Good ribbon mikes with the right pre (the ribbons usually need a lot of gain) are indeed pretty good, but at home studio level, with budget being a prime consideration, there ain`t much out there worth considering as a vocal mic.

The usual candidates are popular for a reason - they do as good a job as you are likly to find at the low end of price.
FWIW I tend to use either a cheesy old Oktava 319 or my beloved Rode Classic Nk1 valve mic, both of which are not cheap, but I also happily use a couple of Sennheiser dynamic cheapies that I picked up for 33 UK pounds brand new on sale, both in the studio and live.

My 4 SM58s pretty much stay in their bags gathering dust, unless I need a LOT of vocal mics at once, but they`re not that bad if you can`t find a deal on a Sennheiser like the 838 series.

And FWIW my preferred mic for MY vocals live is one of the original Beyer 88s, but sadly way out of budget price range now. That & the Sennheiser MD441 are flat our the best dynamic vocal mics I have ever used, but as with all the rest of this long post, it is all just my opinion, based on my experiences with these particular mics.

OP: you could do a lot worse than a decent dynamic mic like either the sennheisers or indeed an SM58.

Aw shit! Totally forgot we had already outed the OP as a drive-by troll!

Leaving the original response as a sort of "mea culpa"
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Old 08-01-2019, 01:29 PM   #23
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Blue Yeti as for me the best option, AT2035 is also good choice
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Old 08-06-2019, 04:09 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Daria91 View Post
Please suggest me a good condenser mic (under $100) for recording vocals for my small home studio.
I am currently looking at the AT2035 (condenser) and Behringer Ultravoice Xm8500, which is recommended by many people.
https://microphonetopgear.com/best-c...ording-vocals/
What are your thoughts and maybe own experience?

The key phrase SMALL HOME STUDIO

A local pro recording engineer did a demo where both instruments and vocals were recorded with iPad mics. yes the builtin mics .. by physically holding the ipad up to the singer's level.

Probably the iphone uses the same mics now (iphones get technology after the ipads do, mostly) so either one might do, but maybe iphone has more cancellation (& distortion) since it's meant to be held as a phone for the mic's use. So probably better to go with iPad for the test.

Total equipment cost: $0.00
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Old 08-08-2019, 12:43 PM   #25
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