Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Microphones? Which one to get

Ok, so I’m looking for a microphone to use for recording, and I’m at a loss as to what to get. There’s so many options, and also I play a diverse bunch of music, and I only want to buy one (I have a ± $100 budget)
So, y’all are familiar with the style and breadth of my recording tendencies, what would y’all recommend?
@BanjoBen especially interested in your opinion

Thanks

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MXL 990, XLR Connector Condenser Microphone https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002GIRP2/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_F1MVF2RV4770M3CBQ951

This has been a pretty good all around mic for us for a pretty good deal. We have a few of them, and used them for a good bit of our album as well. We use 2 for our band when we play live and they compare pretty well with our more expensive ones. Not too of the line but definitely my recommendation for a low budget :+1:

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Are you recording into your laptop? That makes a big difference on what you can get for your $100.

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I use my Zoom H2n exclusively for personal recording. Recommended by Russ Carson, and I’ve been very happy with it. Records to an SD card so no cords needed, or you can use a cord if you want to use it like a tradition mic, but it has an interface built in so you don’t need that either. Very handy.

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I think that the MXL suggestion is a good one for bargain recording. If you time it right, you can get a pair of cheap (but decent) condensers for around $100, and for me, that is a big deal. I really like what stereo recording opens up for you. I think I have 3 MXLs and they are all decent.

2 caveats: condensers are relatively fragile and they require phantom power.

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I’m a big fan of MXL microphones. Great bang for the buck. The Zoom H2N is a good choice if you are looking for a stereo condenser with a built in audio interface and the ability to record without a computer nearby. The MXL will require a separate A/D interface (analog to digital) and will easily drive your cost for recording over your $100 dollar limit.

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FWIW- I recently watched the 75th birthday salute to Perter Wernick.
( Pete Wernick , aka “Dr. Banjo” Pete Wernick is renowned worldwide for his contributions to bluegrass music: the hot-picking force in several trend-setting bands including Hot Rize, respected author and teacher, songwriter, and long-term President of the International Bluegrass Music Association.)

During the course of the interview, he said he uses a Samson “Meteor” microphone for recording. I was shocked, because a) I have one, and b) it costs as little as $69. 99.
It’s a USB mic that plugs into your computer.

It is threaded at the bottom so you can screw it on to a mic stand.
Finally, how/what you record is only half the battle. The other half is what the listener is using to hear what you’ve recorded.
If they are listening on their cell phone…:roll_eyes:

One final note: Deering Live has a show coming up that may be right up your alley!


This week we are joined by our good friends John Jennings (Vice President, Royer Labs Microphones) and Matt Coles (Engineer, Compass Sound Studio) to discuss mics, mic placements and to announce the launch of some very cool collaborative videos.
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I’ve been using a Blue Yeti USB condenser microphone. I find microphone placement to be really important. I too am thinking about upgrading to something better.

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I use a Samson C03U USB Condenser Microphone. I am no expert on this topic. I bought this on someone’s recommendation some years ago. I would guess technology has improved a lot since then and better options are more wildly available at a more affordable price.

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Any suggestions on the most practical DAW for Windows that works with an Audio Interface?

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I’ve played with an MXL like @Timothy_L recommended and they’re outstanding for the money! You can also shop around for AT3035 mic. They are discontinued but can find used from around $150, maybe cheaper. They’re great too.

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Audacity is free and easy to use.

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Wow. Did some reading on the AT3035 mic. It’s the real-deal from online reviews! Think I’d still need and Audio-Interface to drive the AT3035…but then could even plug in more than one mic including the factory ES2 pickup on my Taylor on a different channel. Fun stuff. At least it will give my hands a chance to rest-up between practice-sessions. Ha! :wink:

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I use Reaper and like it. It is free to try and a license is inexpensive.

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Thanks Mike. I’ll give it a try.

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Microphones are an interesting beast. You can own 20 or more microphones and easily justify owning so many (this one is for male vocals, this one is for distance recording, this one is for close up acoustic guitar, this one is for micing amps, this one is for close micing brass…etc.). But the truth is that if you have even a moderately decent microphone and know it’s capabilities and use it properly, you can get amazing recordings. Some years ago, before digital recordings, I was doing on site concert recording with a pair of Radio Shack cardioid condenser microphones (battery powered), a cheap 8 channel board for mixing going into a decent cassette deck. From that, I got this concert recording of Barber’s Adagio for Strings. Consider that this recording was transferred to digital through analog connections and then seriously compressed into an MP3. Any decent setup can give you pretty amazing results if properly used.

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Ok thanks for all the responses!
To clarify a couple things, I am using my laptop for these recordings, using Reaper (to which I am going to buy a full license shortly), and an audio interface (presonus audiobox usb).
I am looking for a standard XLR mic, NOT a usb.

I will definitely look at the MXL. I have heard that Behringer has two small diaphragm condenser mics for $100, does that sound like a good option?

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Got my Meteor Mic the week before Future Shop closed. Great buy, though now my kids have borrowed it permanently for online school presentations.

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