Best versatile microphone for recording singing + instruments in untreated studio

Hi everyone!

so i’m looking for a ‘do it all’ microphone to record vocals/singing, but also instruments like hi-hats or a kick drum or shakers. I work in an untreated studio (a big room).

What are your recommendations, preferrably under 500 bucks.

Shure SM75b? EV-320? AKG-C214?

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Dynamic, directional, and one of those big foamy basketball sized wrap/pop filters.

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Electrovoice RE-20? Might want to look for a used one.

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I got a sontronic stc-20. Dont got much to compare to but I think its very good. Havent recorded bassy stuff like kicks though. Mostly percs, vox and acoustic strings and stuff.

Does the room sound nice? Do you want to capture its sound? or isolate the instruments as much as possible?

Cardiod pattern and dynamic mics will suit isolation better. Condensers, particularly the large ones like that C414, will be more sensitive, often get placed further from the instrument and likely will pick up more room sound.

Percussion transients benefit from the sensitivity of condensers and ribbons.

Maybe go cheaper, but get two? An SM57, 58, 58B or similar dynamic, for close micing and high sound pressure instruments, and a small condenser, like an Oktava MK-012-01 for the snappier instruments? The RE20 @GurtTractor mentioned is great: slightly emphasis towards the bottom end.


Dynamic Microphone: Electro-Voice RE-20
Condenser Microphone: Audio Technica AT2020 (requires 48V phantom power)

I recommend getting a Cloudlifter CL-1 as well for vocals. Not everyone needs an inline preamp though. Depends on your own vocals and your interface. I tend to go with SM57s for instruments. They are workhorses and over the years you can accumulate quite a bit of them.


…sure sm7 and a cloudlifter…that’s all it needs…

Yeah RE20 is >500 though.

Afraid not haha, so using a too sensitive condenser like e.g. AKG C414 would probably just record the bad acoustics of the room

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I don’t want to make a non-productive statement but drums and vocals are such different animals, any mic made to do both is not going to perform well at that price point. better off with 2 less expensive mics that do specific things in my honest opinion. sm57 is a great, cheap mic.


Really helpful vid. Thanks. It’s shown me I’d get the SM7 ahead of the RE20, and then roll off the highs if I didn’t need them. The RE20 is lovely and smooth sounding tho’.


You should be able to find them cheaper. Especially used ones on Reverb. It’s a pricey microphone, especially when you include a shock mount as well, but I haven’t met a person who wasn’t happy with the investment.

Shure SM7 is also a great mic but I wouldn’t use it for instruments personally, and mine always needs the Cloudlifter. If it fits in the budget go with one of those and an SM57 for your instruments?

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not a bad idea! RE20 isnt exactly cheap though. but shure SM57 is. don’t know the oktava, also heard good reviews/stories of the AKG P220

PS: @Octagonist what would you call high sound pressure instruments and what do you mean with snappier instruments?

high sound pressure would be in reference to the amount of force created by the air it moves like a kick drum or a tuba. snappy would be something like a tamborine or a cajon maybe where it has a lot of pop and creates the equivalent of a vocal plosive when struck.

I don’t want to speak for octagonist but that’s what it means to me.

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High SPL: snares, kicks, big guitar cabinets. Loud things you don’t want to be close to for too long without protection.

Snappier: things with really fast transients or detailed evolving decays, like rattles, shakers, cymbals. And vibraslaps.


also fwiw things like rattles and shakers do well even with condensor mics or dual mic set ups to catch the transients with the more sensitive mic and the grittier part with the cardioid.


right, got it

so perhaps then shure SM57 for snares/kicks
and something like AKG P220, or RODE-NT-1, for vocals and shakers?

I’m seeing several RE20s on for under 500 atm. The reason I thought of it straight way is that it’s very commonly used for both vocals and drums, kick drums in particular. It has a design that minimises the proximity effect which is quite nice, means you get predictable and consistent results.

You can’t go too wrong with most of these tbh, go with one that you like the character of the most as everyone’s voice and listening preference is a bit different. Several cheaper specialised mics would be a great choice too.

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I don’t know this mic. I just had a quick look at one online shop’s description to make a guess. It looks good value and useful, but I suspect they’ve made a mic that tries to be too many things at once. It’s a large diaphragm, but good for stage use and high SPL? You might be better off going for a small diaphragm mic designed to make the best of its properties.

I’ve been wanting to get an AKG D112 for a while too, classic kick drum mic that I like the sound of, though opinions vary a lot when it comes to drum mics. It was totally out of stock everywhere for a while last year, looks like it’s more available now.