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5 budget studio mics to maximize your home recordings

Considering buying a mic and feel that you need to lash out on a high end mic that you don’t have the budget for right now, why not look at an entry budget mic to get you started until you can afford that 10k-20k priced mic, there are some pretty surprising mics out there that you might think because of their price are not good enough to capture that perfect vocal moment , but based on many reviews and results nothing is further from the truth, we took it upon ourselves to research the entry level studio mic market and came up with 5  top awesome mics for their buck available in the South African Market.

 

Se Electronics Elect Ex1 (R2475)

Se Electronics main manufacturing focus is on the Studio Microphone, so it no surprise that their entry level studio microphone the Se Ex1 is built with same hand quality as the rest of their high end microphones look and sound professional and clean

Whether you’re recording lead vocals, acoustic guitar, strings, percussion or any other source instruments, we believe the sE X1 microphone outperforms every mic in its price class. It is perfect for recording acoustic instruments and ensembles and is suitable for both female and male vocals.

 

The main reason the sE X1 is so good is that its large diaphragm, gold-sputtered capsule is handcrafted and handtuned by skilled technicians . Surrounding all the important electronics is a sturdy metal chassis finished in acoustically damping black paint, to minimise any resonant frequencies in the microphone. The sE X1 is also equipped with a 10dB pad and a low-cut bass filter - essential features for using it in a variety of recording situations.

The X1 is easily as quiet in operation as many high end mics, and produced a sound that is neutral across the low and mid ranges, with a useful boost to high frequencies, without over compensating your highs

 

 

 

Studio Projects B1(R1999)

The B1 is an inexpensive mic which offers a fixed-cardioid pattern with no pad or roll-off switches. The centre-terminated, large-diaphragm capacitor capsule requires a standard 48V phantom power supply.

The B1 has a fairly wide cardioid response that remains true off axis. It also has  a characterized proximity bass boost when used up close, and this can be used creatively to add warmth and richness to close-miked vocals.A dual layer metal basket protects and screens the capsule which is eternally shock mounted though it still comes packed with an additional shock mounting and foam windsheild.

The foam windshield pretty much renders itself useless when it comings to recording vocals as this tends to compromise the high end  which when recording vocals is most definitely not the case with any microphone of this type.Tests confirmed that the B1 is more than adequately quiet, and similar in sensitivity to the other large-diaphragm models. It has an open, subjectively uncoloured sound, but with a welcome density. If there is a presence peak, it is suitably subtle. Tube mics and some compressors also create this impression of density.It also seemed to smooth out the rough edges without losing any detail — the top end comes over as open and detailed, but without being harsh or scratchy. Although the overall effect may not be quite so refined as that of a R10000 mic, it's really not as far behind as you might imagine.

Behringer C3 (R1090)

The Behringer C-3 is an affordable studio microphone for the project and home studio engineer. The C-3 is well suited for capturing vocals and instruments in today's digital recording environments. The low-noise condenser microphone features a cardioid pick-up pattern. The pattern reduces ambient room noise and feedback. The C-1 is an affordable and ideal choice for vocals, piano, guitar, amp-cabinets and more.

 

The ultra-affordable Behringer C-3 microphone is a large-diaphragm condenser mic with a cardioid polar pattern providing the performance you'd expect from a studio microphone costing thousnads more. The recording mic delivers an exceptionally flat frequency response and incredible audio transparency.

 

With its high-quality transducer and gold-plated XLR output, the condenser mic is very neutral-sounding and truly delivers on the promise of noise-free transmission. It also offers a phantom power LED indicator and a swivel stand mount. Whether miking acoustic or electric instruments or using it for vocals or drums, the Behringer C-3 is an excellent choice for both live and studio applications

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAMSON – C03 (R1400)

Based on a large-diaphragm built capsule, the mic is very nicely styled and cleanly engineered, with a choice of supercardioid, omni or figure-of-eight polar patterns.

The mic also has a low-cut switch (12dB/octave at 100Hz) and a switchable 10dB pad, and comes in a rigid plastic padded case with basic standmount, but the shockmount is an optional extra. The charcoal and metallic satin finish is very attractive with blue phantom power status LED. 

A switch on the rear of the mic allows selection between supercardioid, omni, and figure-of-eight polar patterns.

Testing with vocals and Guitar it delivered good results, with no obvious faults or problems. The lack of strong presence peaks gives the mic a reassuringly neutral feel, and it captured the subtle detail of the guitar very well

The low-cut filter is best not used for vocal recording, as it noticeably affects the bottom end of the vocal range. It could be useful when using the mic as a drum overhead, though, as it often helps to roll off the bass.

This being a Cardoid mic the closer you get to the source the bassier it becomes so placement is key for this mic to get its maximum tonal balance

The Samson C03 is a smart-looking mic with multi-pattern performance at a budget price. Its technical spec is more than adequate in all the areas that are important, and what really matters is that it makes a fine job of just about anything you care to point it at.

A really solid mic and a great value.

Prodipe STC-3D CONDENSER MIC(R1900)

Prodipe (the professional audio division of France-based IPE Music) have taken advantage of low-cost Chinese manufacturing to produce a new range of affordable studio microphones, however IPE music had top French Producer Ludovic Lankenhas over look the development of this mic he worked with many top French vocal artists and he seemed confident enough in this microphone to be envoleved in it. He claims smoothness and neutrality as the mic's key strengths and claims it is one of the best he has for everyday use.

Supplied in an aluminium camera case, the Prodipe STC3D package also includes a foam windshield and metal-framed, elastic-suspension shockmount.

The mic pattern can be switched to omni, cardioid or figure-of-eight.As the STC3D is a true capacitor microphone, it requires 48V phantom power.

In testing the STC3D comes across as smooth but with just a hint of a helping hand in the 'air' region above 8kHz. It also has a nice, supportive warmth in the lower registers of the male voice. Switching in the filter cleans up the low end considerably without having too much effect on vocal sounds, though deep male voices might suffer slightly .

On acoustic guitars, the STC3D records a full-body sound but with good clarity, it is quite a handy mic for anyone who needs to use the same mic for many different jobs. The subjective tone also holds up well between the pattern modes

For a company not known for their microphone expertese this mic surely gives its all for the amount you pay on it.

In conclusion the range of choice of budget mics one has in a saturated market  should encourage you to take confidence of capturing that vocal/ instrument with these budget mics, without having to break the bank, best thing is to also focus on your room character and try to create a room enviroment which could give you a good  acoustical balance to give your mic the best direct sound to capture.  

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