The Music Espionage

Top Ten Microphones for Under £150



The world of amateur audio and bedroom production has developed greatly, allowing just about anyone with half a brain-cell (sometimes not even that!) to record, mix and produce with great results from their own home. However making sure you get the right product for what you are looking to achieve is extremely important. Here are our ‘Top Ten’ microphones for under £150, a reasonable price you are looking to pay for something at least worthwhile, or otherwise your best bet would be Argos!

As always the Music Espionage is here to help. Here are our ten best microphones, their main uses/instruments to record with, their price and finally where to get great deals on the web.


AKG – C1000S

Condenser microphone offering the use of Phantom Power or a 9 Volt internal battery, switchable polar-pattern of Cardioid or hyper-cardioid.

Typical instruments to record: Great for strings and instruments that need strong detail. Often used as an over-head microphone on drums and for spot-micing certain parts of the kit.

Price: £99, with hard case, clip, changeable polar-pattern attachment and windshield.
Best deal we found on the AGK-C1000S.

 

Shure SM57

Classic dynamic microphone, used in countless situations and a true workhorse of any recording studio. It has a fixed cardioid pattern and can withstand just about thrown at it.

Typical instruments to record: This is the definitive microphone used on snare drums the world over, great because it can deal with strong and sudden SPL. Careful placement will also reveal good results on kicks and toms. Typical microphone used on electric guitar recordings, to achieve smooth growl from any amplifier.

Price: £81, with soft Shure microphones case and microphone stand clip….nothing more!
Best deal we found on the Shure- SM57.

 

Blue – Snowball

A USB microphone that has proved itself to stand up to any of the big named microphones. A condenser classification with a choice of omnidirectional or cardioid polar –patterns.

Typical instruments to record: A great all rounder, designed and build with the budding, bedroom producer in mind. Good results with vocals and some really clean, comprehensive recording on acoustic guitar. New add-ons means it will plug straight into your iPod or iPhone.

Price: £60, comes with stand and USB cable.
Best deal we found on the Blue-Snowball.

 

 


Rode – NT1S

Professional condenser microphone with fixed cardioid pattern, which has become loved because of its detailed sound and very low self-noise.

Typical instruments to record: Great for natural sounding, clean instruments such as strings and acoustic guitars. Commonly used on vocals and as a matched pair for overheads.

Price: £150, with soft case and shock-mount. However, if you spend time to shop around often sold with shock-mount and build-in pop-shield.
Best deal we found on the Rode – NT1.

 


AKG – D112

The dynamic microphone that loves to eat lots of low frequencies, anything below 300Hz and this thing will make a meal of it. Fixed cardioid polar-pattern and a classic ‘egg’ shape.

Typical instruments to record: This microphone has been propose built for lower frequency instruments, making it the regular ‘go-to’ microphone for kick-drums and floor toms, but also sounds great on bass guitar amplifiers.

Price: £130, this will get you a cardboard box with a few square centimeters of padding to cushion the microphone, but could double up for sound proofing…if you happen to live in a shoe-box! There is thrown–in a microphone stand clip!
Best deal we found on the AKG – D112.

 


Shure – SM58

Another Shure dynamic classic that can be found the world over and used for a wide range of recording purposes.

Typical instruments to record: In the world of live sound reinforcement, this is the main microphone for vocals, with a tailored frequency response for this very purpose. Nevertheless, will produce great results on electric guitars, just like its SM57 cousin.     

Price: £81, with soft Shure microphones case and microphone stand clip….nothing more!
Best deal we found on the Shure-SM58.

 


Rode – NT5

This is a small diaphragm, cardioid condenser microphone, often known as the ‘pencil’ microphone. A cardioid polar-pattern, a smooth, flat frequency response and very low self-noise.

Typical instruments to record: This is a great microphone for close/spot micing a range of different instruments from anything acoustic to drum cymbals. It is most commonly sold as a matched-pair and used for overheads, nevertheless a great, little microphone on its own.

Price: £140, this will buy you the mount, screw-on windshield… oohh and the microphone!
Best deal we found on the Rode – NT5.

 

 

Shure – PG42

This is a large diaphragm condenser microphone with a static cardioid polar-pattern. A -15dB switchable attenuator and a high pass filtering switch guarantees some great recordings.

Typical instruments to record: This microphone has a tailored frequency response for studio recording vocals.

Price: £140, comes with carrying case and shock-mount.
Best deal we found on the Shure – PG42.

 


Blue – Spark

The crazy designers at Blue have done it again and with this microphone really pushed the boat out. This funky design is a condenser microphone and with a fix cardioid pattern.

Typical instruments to record: Great for strings, but well worth a try on things like acoustic guitars and maybe the odd guitar amp.

Price: £150, with nothing but a shock-mount.
Best deal we found on the Blue-Spark.

 


Rode – NT3

A small condenser microphone that is sold on its ability to be used in nearly all studio situations and some live ones. Its solid, case-metal body seems to have the throw-about abilities of a dynamic, but the detail of a condenser.

Typical instruments to record: Great for snares, toms and overheads. Its will also shine when pointed at any guitar amplifier or close mic brass instrument.

Price: £150, with solid mount and a little windsock that will make you say ‘aarrrr’!
Best deal we found on the Rode – NT3.