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Robust, budget condenser mic suggestions


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Hi all, I'm looking for recommendations of affordable, versatile and (critically) robust pencil condenser mics.

I'm looking to get hold of 16 matching mics that can be used by students for various live applications (across various instruments within a typical musical theatre pit environment)

Budget won't stretch to a box of DPA's or similar, and I'd be reluctant to entrust any very expensive mics to students. No fixed budget in mind at this juncture, and no brand allegiance, as long as they're readily available in the UK.

Thanks all.

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I used to use the AKG P70/170's out of drum mic kits for all sorts of acoustic instruments with fair results live. They are about £60 or so, robust and handy but I don't know if they would be satisfactory mics for recording.

Also PM sent.

Edited by kerry davies
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It may be worth demoing some Behringer C2s.

We have a pair of C2s in our school studio which I never bother with, because they're £20 a mic so I assumed they weren't up to much, but we had a kid who did blind testing on them and they were almost comparable in his tests to an M201. Which really surprised me, as I didn't know whether the C2 was better than I was expecting, or M201 was worse than I'd always thought.

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The Behringers are very good value and a friend uses them as audience mics on very well known TV shows.


Studiospares do a very low cost electret mic too and you could ask them for one for evaluation as you are potentially ordering several but at this price is allows for some spares: https://www.studiosp...-mic_449670.htm


I have a few Citronic mics and they seem good value too: https://www.studiospares.com/microphones/mics-condenser/citronic-ecm2-condenser-microphones-stereo-pair-477800.htm


The Takstar CM60 is also a nice budget Chinese mic for the money and a full condenser: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/264795896890?_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20160908105057%26meid%3Ddf8fbd7ead6f4e9884d4f6a97538c27e%26pid%3D100675%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D15%26sd%3D313528811472%26itm%3D264795896890%26pmt%3D1%26noa%3D1%26pg%3D2380057%26brand%3DTakstar&_trksid=p2380057.c100675.m4236&_trkparms=pageci%3A65b6de3f-c04d-11eb-9fb8-76ea91766b75%7Cparentrq%3Ab6f8aed81790acf267df2b52ffeed5fc%7Ciid%3A1

Edited by GaryNattrass
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We use Rode M5s as our general stock pencil mic at the conservatoire.

They’re great for general live and recording use, freeing the more exotic models for studio use or major recording projects.


We’ve found them very resilient, versatile, and a good balance of quality vs cost.


We also have some C2s. They’re surprisingly good for £20ea, but the clips they come with go brittle and snap and better sound can be had for a modest increase in budget.

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At £11* a throw I would have thought the Studiospares is a no-brainer for education, especially as they come with a robust-looking clip (though a load of generic rubbery-type clips would solve any breakage issues). I would be very surprised if the difference between brands at the budget end is greater than the difference between individual samples within a brand. 100% or even 200% mark-up & different packaging to promote a "better" product is a very common marketing practice.


* £9 without the VAT.

Edited by sandall
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I have just (before this) ordered one one of those £11 mins from studio spares as a trial for pretty much the same reason. They are so cheap that they wouldn't be a great loss if damaged. I also have a couple of studio spares "451" knock-offs that were fine @about £30 from memory? Non modular but I knew that
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I’ve used both, but not A/B blind.


In general the C2s are slightly noisier and the top end is less well behaved, I suspect probably due to resonances.

The M5s are more solidly built, and the clips that come with them are good. The XLR socket feels more positive, the mic body feels stronger, the grill seems less likely to get damaged.

The clips that came with our C2s have long since gone brittle and disintegrated. The replacement clips cost almost as much as the mics…


As I posted earlier, the C2s are incredible value for money, but a little more spend does improve the quality.


Our C2s usually get deployed as general cover mics for applying reverb/effects to live theatre. In that purpose they’re absolutely fine. We’ve had them in a pit before but preferred better mics on most things.


Our M5s are used as our general purpose condenser mic in the music spaces, and would only get swapped out for something fancier on a high profile gig or a recording session. They’re really flexible and do fine on most sources - and that’s going through SSL Live consoles and Meyer rigs - so if there’s a weak link it’s likely to be the mics.


I’d also put in a shout for the SE and Sontronics small diaphragm condensers, which offer similar flexibility and value for money as the M5s.

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Thanks all, really helpful, I think I might grab a couple of the Thomann ones and give them a whirl (I've got plenty of time to make a final decision and at that price, it doesn't really matter if they just get chucked in the 'useful spare bits' box) If not I'll probably grab some of the M5's.

Thanks again.



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