What is the best low-budget studio microphone?
For the most part this information will be limited to quality levels and not dive deep into the technicalities of microphones but more a broad picture of costs vs. quality. The scope is simply too large to list every make and model so this will be an abbreviated summary.
The BM800 (worst mic in the world) and the Behringer C1/C3 for the most part are budget microphones that are prone to noise (hiss) drop out and inconsistencies due to their cheap parts and poor designs. In technical terms, we call these microphones “A piece of shit”. However, if this is all you can afford for now it’s perfectly acceptable. Just keep in mind the problems that you will be plagued with. As long as you understand the future holds an upgrade.
These microphones are a little better than their turd predecessors (the low-budget mic’s). These microphones are less apt to give you problems. Mid-grade mic’s like the Rode NT1A, Sure SMB7 can produce quality recordings. They are also made with better parts, better quality control and typically a lower noise floor.
Microphones such as the Neumann TLM 102, AKG C414 XLII are great quality microphones. These mic’s are made with high quality components, great quality control and precision. These microphones are used to create professional home recordings in almost all genres of music. These mic’s are only out done by the ultimate’s.
The top dogs. The Neumann u87, Soundelux U99, Brauner VMX. These microphones are used as the top choice by top artists, producers in the world. You ever ask that question “Why don’t my vocals sound professional” ? Yeah, it’s because of shit like this right here. These mic’s are so fuking good you barely need to do anything in the signal chain but plug the microphone it and add a little compression to tame the dynamics. Sometimes using EQ with these mic’s is a sin. They have a flavor of their own.
I have heard many people say “You can use anything to record vocals as long as it sounds good”. Then they point me to some obscure musician who recorded an album using a fuking potato as a microphone. Here’s the facts. You can record using anything you have but don’t expect that to work for every single song. If you eventually want your vocals to sound professional, you’re going to need a bigger boat. Tracking songs using an iPhone microphone, X box mic, McDonalds drive through headset will only get you so far. Have a plan. Get a cheap mic, then put money aside and invest in the one thing you will need most… Something to bring your recordings to the next level.