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Best mic for acoustic $400 budget?

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by backalleyblues, Dec 4, 2020.

  1. backalleyblues

    backalleyblues Friend of Leo's

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    Howdy gang!

    I’ve been recording a LOT of acoustic guitar lately, even some banjo and ukulele, for my wife’s upcoming CD. I’ve been using a Lauten Audio LA-320 (tube condenser) for just about everything, and while the vocals are GREAT through it, I’m finding the acoustics are not quite where I want them. I’m having to boost 3-4 dB up in the air range to get them to sound like I want them to sound.

    I’ve been looking REALLY hard at the AKG C-214, but every sound clip I hear shows that it doesn’t sound quite like the C-414 that it’s supposed to be modeled after-I’ve used them in pro studios in the past, and absolutely love how they sound, especially on resonators.

    so my question is-what is your experience with mics in my price range ($400) on acoustic guitar? The sound in my head says AKG C-414, but my wallet says considerably less...

    Thanks in advance,
    Franc Robert
     
  2. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I’ve been experimenting with an AKG P420. It’s not everything I want yet, but I think good stuff is in there. I’m brand new to recording myself. And frankly I’m surprised at how close I’m getting to what I want right out of the gate. I’m also messing with a pair of DIRT cheap Samson small diaphragm condensers and getting really good results. I’m confident that once I figure out what the hell I’m doing, these mics will give me sounds I’m happy with.
     
  3. loco gringo

    loco gringo Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    Shure SM81's have recorded a lot of acoustic guitars.
     
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  4. tweeet

    tweeet Tele-Afflicted

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  5. still_fiddlin

    still_fiddlin Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I have a C214 and it's pretty good for acoustic guitar, but it is not a C414.

    A really nice [LDC] mic if you can find one is the Miktek MK300.

    Another option would be a good small condenser or even a pair of small condensers, like the RØDE NT-5 (pair, just slightly over budget, or the bargain M-5s). I have the Studio Project C-4s which have done me well. I've used a couple of small Audio-Technicas (single mic) that I like a lot, too - AT4051a (replaced by the 4051b, last I looked, but above budget) and the ATM450 - a great mic, though I did just sell mine because I'm doing a lot less (ok, zero) recording out these days, and have more SDCs than I can use at home.

    P.S. Most of these mics are visible in the home video tests I've done - link in my profile.)
     
  6. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Afflicted

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    I may be an outlier but I like two small diaphragm condensers: one at the sound hole, the other at 12th fret. Axis angle and plus or minus an inch to taste. Don’t discount the value of a good preamp as well.
     
  7. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    You could find a pair of Rode SDCs for around 4 bills. The NT5 is a good choice.
    Or an M5 pair for $200.
     
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  8. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    From your post, I would recommend a small diaphragm condenser (two really, for stereo). The SM81 is a perennial favorite, but I'm partial to the AKG451 (especially the older EB model, a pair of which might be out of your budget though). You can get decent sounding SDCs fairly cheaply (The AT Pro37 or Shure SM94 were the old standbys if SM81s were too spendy, there are plenty of cheap SDCs from the PRC), but if you can afford something a little nicer you won't regret it.
     
  9. WireLine

    WireLine Tele-Afflicted

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    SDC get the lions share of acoustic work here as well...Joly modded Oktava MC012 matched pair.
     
  10. TeleinTX

    TeleinTX Tele-Meister

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    The NT5, AKG C451, SM81, SE8 and other small condensers are one trick pony's (instruments).

    Dynamic:

    Shure SM7B, and every studio needs at least 1 - SM57 or SM57Beta

    Condenser:
    Aston Spirit
    Rode NT5 (pair), NT1A, NT2A, NT2000 or NTK (tube)
    Avantone CV12 (tube)
    AT4033 or 4040
    Blue Baby Bottle
    Miktek MK300
    Used AKG C414, new AT4041 (I don't know about the C214 or C314)
    Shure KSM32 ($550)

    Ribbon: (need strong preamp +60db and up)
    Royer R-10
    Golden Age R2
    Cascade 980GA (matching pair for $449)

    I'm going out on a limb here, and recommending a Virtual/modeling mic system for in the box recording (The Slate Digital is $799, but you get so many mics with it). The large condenser package is the ML-1, the small condenser is the ML-2, but you can mix/match between the two, I believe. I don't have one, so I really shouldn't be recommending, but I'd love for someone else to be the guinea pig/beta tester.

    https://slatedigital.com/ml-2-microphone/


    This is the system I'm thinking about getting. Townsend Labs Sphere. I'll have to sell some of my real mics to get the wife to approve it, but man, this system looks amazing. I think it runs about $1600. It comes with one FET hardware mic, but the plug-ins replicate many upscale mics, without having to buy each one. I do want to test it out first. Has anyone here used one of these virtual mic systems?

    https://townsendlabs.com/products/sphere-l22/
     
  11. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have a Sure Beta 58 that records acoustic guitar nicely.
     
  12. backalleyblues

    backalleyblues Friend of Leo's

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    Well, after posting here and on FB (bunch of friends recording there as well) I wound up ordering an Ear Trumpet Labs Edwina-a bit above my budget but the wife approved heartily (hey she was on board with buying the 414, not the 214!). Very organic sounding mic, and does a great job recording all sorts of acoustic instruments. Several of my friends on the acoustic side have been using this mic over the last year, and I was really impressed with the sound they were able to get. Here's a video breaking it down-



    Even better, these are made in Portland, Oregon-nice to support an American company!

    Thanks everybody!
    Franc Robert
     
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  13. G&Lplayer

    G&Lplayer Tele-Meister

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    If you can find an original C3000, then buy it. It has the same diaphragm as the 414 of the same era, which had two so it could do all the patterns. I have two and have used them to mic everything.
     
  14. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Gold Supporter

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    Whassup, Franc! Long time no see.

    I'd highly recommend the Miktek MK300, terrific bang for the buck at $299. Heard on the grapevine that they're scarce these days, but as I reported in another thread, I read a review a while back calling these "the poor man's Neumann." Great deal for a quality LDC. Many acoustic tracks recorded on it that combine the coveted warmth+presence combo.

    But recently, I was looking for an alternate sound and took out my ancient CAD E100 for a track with my brand new Rainsong acoustic — WOW! Really sweet. I'll be using it again. The Rainsong has quite a nice pickup but even the best pickup in the world doesn't sound "right" to me on an acoustic track.
     
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  15. kennl

    kennl Tele-Afflicted

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    AKG 535 condenser
    discontinued, but available pre-owned on Reverb or eBay
     
  16. Buckaroo65

    Buckaroo65 Tele-Holic

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    Matched pair of these...[​IMG]
     
  17. backalleyblues

    backalleyblues Friend of Leo's

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    Woody, I'd love to hear a track with that combo! I'm not a huge fan of the Rainsong, but I have enough friends who have them to be familiar with their tone.

    Franc Robert

     
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