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Microphone for vocals and Piano > 150$

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hello Everyone

Long time lurker, first time poster here.


A friend of mine is looking for a microphone for vocal and classical piano recording. The mic should be "good for quieter singing and piano playing and not to sensitive (?) when you record dynamic rock songs" (her words, I don't know if it makes sense).


This should be a USB microphone and cannot exceed 150$. It would be good if the microphone would be available in Europe. 


The guys at the local music store recommended the M-Audio Avid Vocal Studio or the Behringer C-1U


What do you guys think? 


post #2 of 6

id push for an sm57 and an xconnect.  condensers in the price range (especially those that include the a/d converter) are really going to disappoint your friend

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi El_Doug,

Thanks for your advice, my friend will definitely give the sm57 a try.


post #4 of 6

This is an impossible task given the constraints you present. Consider:


1. Everyone's voice is different. One mic, even a very good one, might not flatter your friend's voice. Another might do fine. You can't tell without trying.


2. Generally I would use a pair of mics for piano, in order to get a nice stereo perspective and balance the volume of bass/treble. And a third mic for vocals. Expecting one mic to do all this is asking too much.


3. Good microphone technique involves careful positioning, good microphone stands (that won't sag), nuanced listening techniques, and so on.


4. Cheap mics are going to sound cheap. (That said, if you know how to compromise you can work some miracles.)


5. A dynamic mic like the SM57 can work OK on vocals, especially for "belters". But it will suck on piano since the transients are going to be lost.


6. The room you are recording in matters a lot, since it will colour all the sounds.


7. Every piano is different. Is it a grand? Baby grand? Upright? They all need different techniques. There's a reason people use electronic pianos... you can just plug them into your computer and play!


8. USB mics are a low-end choice, as a rule, and I know nothing about them.


I know this is not what you want to hear, but as a trained audio engineer I can hardly lie to you!

post #5 of 6

I just noticed how old this thread is. Oh well, I will follow up my previous post with some specific advice in case anyone else reads this.


For vocals consider a robust dynamic mic that can do double-duty on-stage or in the studio. That saves money in the long run. Again, it's best to audition to find one that suits the singer. But in Europe something like the ElectroVoice N/D767a is a good deal (€108 at a famous German retailer). It is resistant to feedback, has high signal output.


For the piano I would use a spaced stereo pair of small-diameter omni condensers. A stereo set of something mid-price, like the Rode NT55 MP, sets you back €570. OK, so that's too much...


On zero budget you might try the Karma K-Micro, which are available for $35/pair direct from their website. I have never heard them but can imagine that: a) they are not going to sound like a great mic, b) they might just be "good enough".


Then you need a mixer with three XLR inputs, that can deliver phantom power (for the two omnis). There are lots of cheap choices. You can go straight from this mixer into your computer. Alternatively, you need an external "sound card" (A/D converter) which connects via USB.


Or, something that does both, like the Behringer QX1202 for €99.


That's not $150, but more like €250. That's still dead cheap in the audio world.

post #6 of 6

I have a telefunken m80 gold, which I LOVE - but it is a $395 vocal performance microphone for serious pro's or serious dreamers.  I had an Audix OM7 ($229 retail) , but I sold it to buy the telefunken- in the interim, I went back to my old mic, a Sennheiser E835- I think I paid $35 for it in 2001...I must say, it is a great microphone- better than the Sure SM58beta I have (which I think ran around $150)- and actually, a bit better than the Audix OM7!  I highly suggest this mic (Sennheiser E835) because it is easy to use, very responsive, but without picking up a "bug fart"- I think it is a good mic for beginners and veterans- check it out if you can.

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