Favorite Large Condenser Mic...

Seafroggys

Silver Member
I used Rode NT2-a's for ten years for my drum overheads, really liked them (have recently upgraded to AKG C414's). They were around $400 each new when I bought them, probably not much more nowadays.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I have the AKG C214 ($399) and it's great. Very much the little brother to the venerable C414, and I think it's awesome in it's price range. I also use the AKG Perception 120 large diaphragm microphones, and although those are little more "colorful" than the C214, for under $100 each they hold their own.

I'd love to own a Telefunken U47 or AKG C12 ($10K+) though. But I'll settle for a Neumann U87 ($3500) too ;)
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
Good stuff guys, I appreciate it. Thank you.

Those AKGs look good, and thise Rodes have some great ratings too. I have been reading up on them.

Heard some recordings made with a single large condenser over the bass drum. Sounded pretty full.

Also looking at the multi-pattern models-cardoid, hyper-cardoid, and figure 8.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Also looking at the multi-pattern models-cardoid, hyper-cardoid, and figure 8.
Multi-pattern mics are worth the extra cost -- my go-to is a C414 TLII. But watch out, the very inexpensive models might not have all the pattens. Often, the hyper-cardioid pattern is missing, which is too bad because it's very useful!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I have and like the rode NT1A for an inexpensice LDC. But it only has 1 pattern.

I have a 2 mint condition AKG C414's that were purchased brand new in 2017 that I'm selling but not advertising.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I have and like the rode NT1A for an inexpensice LDC. But it only has 1 pattern.

I have a 2 mint condition AKG C414's that were purchased brand new in 2017 that I'm selling but not advertising.
A bit of a de-rail here, but what would you replace them with? Finding a multipattern mic better than -- or even as good as -- the 414 is an expensive proposition.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
A bit of a de-rail here, but what would you replace them with? Finding a multipattern mic better than -- or even as good as -- the 414 is an expensive proposition.
I stupidly bought too many, 6, gave one to my son, and have 5 left and am selling 2 or 3 of them for $500 each..
 

Vintage Old School

Gold Member
I like the Audio-Technica AE3000 for overheads and toms. New they sell for $279 each, but I picked up the pair (virtually brand new, used only once in an A/B microphone shoot out for an audio article) for a total of $250.

The Audio-Technica AE5100 isn't a bad mic either for hi-hats or under cymbal. $279 new but I was able to pay $160 and $130 for two in like new condition.

My favorite LDC in my locker is an Audio-Technica AT-4050 that I picked up used for $390. It was only used a few times in a home studio and once or twice for live application. Unfortunately it exceeds this thread's price ceiling and sells new for $699. Very nice mic nonetheless.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Actually, people often don’t take consideration of what they’re plugging the mic into. If you’re just talking some run of the mill interface or an old Behringer it may not even matter. I’ve plugged lowly Shure SM57’s into a Manly pre-amp and never heard that mic sound so good. Consequently we’ve taken an AKG 414 and plugged it straight into a Mackie 1604 and while better, it was marginal compared to plugging it into a high end mic pre amp. The whole system is important.

so what will this mic get plugged in to?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Actually, people often don’t take consideration of what they’re plugging the mic into. If you’re just talking some run of the mill interface or an old Behringer it may not even matter. I’ve plugged lowly Shure SM57’s into a Manly pre-amp and never heard that mic sound so good. Consequently we’ve taken an AKG 414 and plugged it straight into a Mackie 1604 and while better, it was marginal compared to plugging it into a high end mic pre amp. The whole system is important.

so what will this mic get plugged in to?
Bam.

What's in YOUR preamp?
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
Actually, people often don’t take consideration of what they’re plugging the mic into. If you’re just talking some run of the mill interface or an old Behringer it may not even matter. I’ve plugged lowly Shure SM57’s into a Manly pre-amp and never heard that mic sound so good. Consequently we’ve taken an AKG 414 and plugged it straight into a Mackie 1604 and while better, it was marginal compared to plugging it into a high end mic pre amp. The whole system is important.

so what will this mic get plugged in to?
Oh, I think about that every day....lol. That is one reason the question was "under $500".

It will be going into a Zoom Livetrak L12 today..... But who knows what tomorrow may bring? Lol.

The Zoom is certainly not a preamp that will know the difference between a Neuman and an Audix. But it does know the difference between a CAD and an Audix (I've done that test). And the Zoom preamps blow my Mackie DF6 preamps away....haha. So I'm pretty stoked anyway.

I guess it would stand to reason that an inexpensive mic going through a good preamp will sound better than an expensive mic going through a bad preamp...but at the level I am at the Zoom will have to do for now.

There is quite a bit of chatter out there stating that the whole preamp "thing" has been turned on it's head as the technology to produce decent preamps has made them more affordable. Again, I would have no way of knowing other than trusting other peoples reviews. For *my* needs, the Zoom offers a mixer than I can use live with 8 XLR mic inpits, five seperate customizable monitor mixes, records on the fly, and can be used as an interface. Certainly better than the Sony recorder I had back in 1979!

Ultimately, as much as preamps matter, can my *ears* tell a difference anymore? Lol. I know I have some hearing loss at different frequencies. Haven't been tested, but I know I'm not hearing today what I was hearing at age 30. Maybe a $5000 Manly preamp would be wasted on me even if I could afford it?

So a Zoom LiveTrak L12, Audix DP4 drum mic kit, a couple of other mics like a pair of multi pattern LDCs to experiment with should be fine for making some recordings of my kit or a few friends on a Saturday night....

Not looking to be the next George Martin that's for sure....lol.

Oh, I just saw a deal on AT2050s at Sweetwater...basically $200 each. And they are multipattern. Sounds like a good fit for my garage studio lol.
 
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brentcn

Platinum Member
I've recorded (and mixed) tunes recorded on APIs, Neves, Focusrites, and UAs. A couple decades ago, cheap preamps were cheap, cheap mics were crap, plug-ins were dicey, and cheap interfaces had crappy AD converters. But in 2019, SOME of the cheap gear has gotten better than its price would suggest. Almost all interfaces have much better AD conversion. My Behringer (a brand I avoided for years) X-Air has surprisingly nice preamps (16 of them!) -- which I only discovered because I had recently sold a Presonus Studiolive (which also has very nice preamps). I recently worked with a bands that used a Studiolive or QSC Touchmix, and the live recordings sounded great.

Years ago, I mixed some recordings of about 30 well-known rock tunes. The vocals were done using a U87 through a Neve preamp. There were five different lead vocalists, four of which could sing very well. The one that didn't sing well was so difficult to mix, you would swear that the mic was a 58 plugged into a Mackie.

I wouldn't bother with a cheap Behringer Euro or Mackie mixer, where it's difficult to get a decent level and tone. But once you spend more than $500, it's difficult to go wrong these days.
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
I've recorded (and mixed) tunes recorded on APIs, Neves, Focusrites, and UAs. A couple decades ago, cheap preamps were cheap, cheap mics were crap, plug-ins were dicey, and cheap interfaces had crappy AD converters. But in 2019, SOME of the cheap gear has gotten better than its price would suggest. Almost all interfaces have much better AD conversion. My Behringer (a brand I avoided for years) X-Air has surprisingly nice preamps (16 of them!) -- which I only discovered because I had recently sold a Presonus Studiolive (which also has very nice preamps). I recently worked with a bands that used a Studiolive or QSC Touchmix, and the live recordings sounded great.

Years ago, I mixed some recordings of about 30 well-known rock tunes. The vocals were done using a U87 through a Neve preamp. There were five different lead vocalists, four of which could sing very well. The one that didn't sing well was so difficult to mix, you would swear that the mic was a 58 plugged into a Mackie.

I wouldn't bother with a cheap Behringer Euro or Mackie mixer, where it's difficult to get a decent level and tone. But once you spend more than $500, it's difficult to go wrong these days.
Thanks Brent. I really appreciate your perspective(y)

Not sure exactly where the Zoom LiveTrak fits in.....but It does sell for $599 so at least I'm over the $500 mark!

Lol
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Thanks Brent. I really appreciate your perspective(y)

Not sure exactly where the Zoom LiveTrak fits in.....but It does sell for $599 so at least I'm over the $500 mark!

Lol
Most likely it's good enough to not get in the way of a good performance. You will probably notice the difference between a $500 LDC and a $100 MXL.
 
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