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The best all-in-one condenser mic

PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:38 am
by Pepsihillo
Hi!

So, I'm building up my home studio setup. I've been trying to do this as minimalistically (is that even a word?) as possible. So, less stuff but better quality. Preferably stuff that you could find in a professional environment as well. I want to blame my crappy recordings on my lack of skill, not crappy equipment :lol:

For most of my projects I can get really far with my DAW (Logic) and a MIDI keyboard and decent preamps on my interface, but sometimes something just needs to be mic'd up.

I've already got a pretty decent set of dynamic mics in the form of a pair of SM57s, AKG D112 and an SM7B. All of which I like for what they do. However, now I'm searching high and low for a do-it-all condenser mic (preferably something that works solo, so I don't have to get a pair) to complete my set and do the stuff these four mics can't.

What mics would you recommend for this scenario? I'd probably use the mic to record vocals (solo and maybe even groups, as an alternative for the SM7B), acoustic instruments (guitars, brass, percussions, strings and pianos) and definitely would want it to work also as a mono drum overhead.

Thanks!

Re: The best all-in-one condenser mic

PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:52 am
by voerking
the Audio Technica AT2020 is extremely versatile & sounds great. the only thing it's bad for is instruments with a lot of low end frequencies (bass guitar, kick drum). it WILL fart out & distort if subjected to high volume lows. other than that, it's excellent. i've used it for vocals, drum overheads, guitar, violin...

Re: The best all-in-one condenser mic

PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 6:16 am
by Pepsihillo
voerking wrote:the Audio Technica AT2020 is extremely versatile & sounds great. the only thing it's bad for is instruments with a lot of low end frequencies (bass guitar, kick drum). it WILL fart out & distort if subjected to high volume lows. other than that, it's excellent. i've used it for vocals, drum overheads, guitar, violin...


Nice! I've heard good things about Audio Technica mics, but have no experience with them. These seem pretty affordable as well. Thanks!

Anyone have any more ideas about which mics to check out?

Re: The best all-in-one condenser mic

PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:34 pm
by Blown_Petals
It obviously depends on your budget and how good is good enough.
But the most mind-blowing, truly game-changing way to approach this is with modeling.
You asked for the best "all-in-one condenser mic", so the answer is "all of them...all of the best ones".
Townsend Labs' Sphere L22 models the rarest, most-expensive/desirable mics ever created. It's not cheap at $1400 USD (and works best with UAD interfaces, which aren't cheap either) but when you consider the cost of owning all those original mics would be hundreds of thousands of dollars (and they add more all the time...UAD already has a couple expansion packs), then it sort of puts things in perspective. People debate amp modeling/IRs vs. real amps and there's pros/cons to both (I use both) but my advice is to check them out for yourself.
No need to go for the Townsend Labs Sphere; you should also look at Antelope Audio's Edge and Verge mics, Slate Digital's VMS...and there are others.
Of course you can also just do it in software and/or other devices. There are loads of microphone (and amp/cabinet) modeling capabilities in things like the Helix/Kemper/AxeFx, or even UAD OxBox, or just straight plugins, although you did say you needed a 'real mic' for some studio applications. I wouldn't get tunnelled into thinking there's one right condenser mic though; there are good ones for different applications/uses and then there's a lot of personal taste in it as well.

Re: The best all-in-one condenser mic

PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 9:04 am
by coldbrightsunlight
That modelling stuff sounds wild! But I guess it doesn't maybe do the job if OP really does need a condenser to capture stuff? :idk: Interesting though


I have not compared mine to too many others and I'm not a super engineer or audio buff or anything but just as a further suggestion for budget stuff have you looked at Rode? I have one of their condensers (NT3 I think??? Would check but it's on loan to a friend). I got it for a very reasonable price iirc and I've had great results on acoustic instruments (my favourite acoustic instrument mic from my very limited collection), vocals, but also for a different sound on guitar and bass cabs.

Re: The best all-in-one condenser mic

PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 9:56 am
by Blown_Petals
Yup. the NT3 is a great workhorse mic for sure.
Rereading my post above, I realize I should have noted that the Sphere, Verge, Edge, and VMS are all actually condenser mics themselves. The beauty of them is that they then take the captured recording and apply modeling algorithms in order to mimic the behaviour of vintage Neumanns, etc. When you use the Sphere with UAD Apollo, you also get the benefit of the Unison technology, so the emulation extends to analog impedance, gain stage sweet spots, etc.
Another interesting thing with the Sphere is that you can make coincident stereo recordings, with just one mic...something that might be of interest since the OP mentioned a goal of one mic vs. a pair.
I'm not a Toiwnsend Labs shill :-), it's just the one I'm familiar with. The Antelope and Slate ones look great too.

Re: The best all-in-one condenser mic

PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 10:31 am
by coldbrightsunlight
Oh I should have googled haha. That sounds awesome then if the modelling works well (and I'm converted to guitar amp/cab modelling now so I'm definitely prepared to believe it!). High price though...

Re: The best all-in-one condenser mic

PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2020 3:05 am
by Pepsihillo
Wow, that’s the first time I’ve heard of modelling mics! Definitely have to check those out.

I do like Rodes, but I only have experience with smaller condensers by them, and the NT1 or whatever the cheapest large condenser is called. Smaller Rodes like the NT5 are amazing, but the cheaper big one was a really big disappointment. It soinded pretty dull to me. Should probably look at the more expensive ones though, they have a really interestingly priced tube mic as well.