There are those who might argue that the mixer is the most important part of the audio chain: Noisy mixers equal lousy recordings. True enough, but when you consider that the microphone is essentially your link between the real world and your recordings, well, you'd have to admit that a mediocre mic can ruin a great recording faster than anything else. Using a
Today you can purchase mics from such prestigious manufacturers as Neumann and AKG at surprisingly affordable prices. And the truth is that even many inexpensive mics are capable of performance far beyond what their price tag may lead you to expect. In this brief article, we'll be discussing just a few of the more than 200 different mics we have in stock, starting with the awesome new Neumann TLM 103 ($995 list).
Neumann has been crafting superb condenser mics for about 70 years, and you'd be hard pressed to find a pro studio anywhere that doesn't have its treasured collection of Neumann mics - including a U87, for example, a mic that's unquestionably one of the industry benchmarks for performance. However, at $3125 (list), a U87 might be out of your price range, so what do you do if you want that classic Neumann sound in your studio? Well, consider a TLM 103. The 103 was conceived as a mic that would use a capsule very similar to that of the U87, but with a single diaphragm and fixed cardioid pattern. Even a casual inspection reveals the precision German-engineering: a solid brass body, brass wire for the capsule basket and hand soldering throughout.
Of course, the bottom line is how does it sound? The 103 provides a flat frequency response to just below 5kHz, then exhibits a wide 4dB presence boost between 6kHz and 16kHz. By achieving this performance characteristic through acoustic means (rather than EQ), the mic has plenty of definition while faithfully reproducing all transient signals in music and speech. In short, this is a mic whose lineage guarantees it
Another amazing performer that is priced way below what similar mic designs cost just a few short years ago is the AKG SolidTube ($1500 list). We wrote about this mic last issue, and since then we've had a tough time keeping enough in stock to keep up with demand. If you missed our last issue, the SolidTube combines all the benefits of both tube and solid state technologies, so you get a mic that has that much sought-after warmth and richness, but with the reliability of modern state-of-the-art circuitry. If you've been longing for that unmistakable tube sound, you have got to check out this mic!
If you're budget is tight, but your desire for a superb quality AKG mic isn't, we have great news: AKG has lowered the list prices on two of its bestselling (and most affordable) models. Even better news: So have we! The AKG C3000 ($438 list) is the only AKG large-diaphragm microphone in its class that provides switchable cardioid/hypercardioid characteristics. There's a gold-vaporized diaphragm in a 27 mm capsule for your typically flawless AKG sound. This mic exhibits an extremely high floor and excellent handling noise suppression due to its integral shock mount. There's even a -10dB pad for recording high SPL material plus a bass cut filter. This mic is excellent on stage or in the studio.
For even less cash, you might consider the C1000S ($274 list), a robust mic that runs on regular phantom power or a convenient 9-volt battery. This is an outstanding vocal microphone that also works perfectly even from greater distances, such as picking up choirs. It's also a rugged performer that sounds great on acoustic and electric instruments. A special converter switches the mic characteristics from cardioid into hypercardioid, giving even better directional performance and rejection of unwanted side noise. At this price you can afford two!
We couldn't possibly cover even a fraction of our microphone inventory in this brief article, so please call your Sweetwater Sales Engineer for additional information on all the great mics we now have in stock from Shure, Audio Technica, Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic, Crown, Rode and many others. They'll work with you to help select the perfect mic for your specific applications at a price that won't break the bank.