cheap studio microphones, condenser mics

FC 4 MIC
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Spring is in the air and a young mans fancy turns once again to microphones! We have decided after trying out a LOT of mics that ADK are the best mic manufacturers at any given price point and we are going to start knocking on your door to let you know about them

......CHECK IT OUT.....

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Mic Preamp
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ADK A6
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AEA R84
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AKG D112 E
AMS 250 Soundfield
Audio Technica 4047SV
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Golden Age PREQ-73
Golden Age EQ-73
Golden Age FC4
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Golden Age Pre-73 preamp
Golden Age Pre573 preamp
Golden Age Pre-73 DLX
Golden Age R1 Ribbon
Lewitt LCT 640
Neumann U47 tube
Rode NT5
sE Gemini 11
sE RT1 Tube Ribbon
sE Z5600 Valve Condenser
Sennheiser MD421
Sennheiser MD441
Sennheiser MKH 40
Shure SM7B
Warm WA12 Preamp
condenser microphones

Cheap Studio Microphones

Ten years ago there was no such thing as cheap studio microphones and when we bought our last U87 back in the 80s we could have had a very nice car instead but since then everything has changed and Chinese manufacturing has bought high quality cheap studio microphones within the reach of every amateur bedroom engineer. Each year prices fall and expectations rise with each new model of mic and today the market is totally saturated with thousands of different cheap studio microphones pouring out of the factories of the far east. A few years ago there was a snobbery about the quality of Chinese microphones and in the early days it was easy to hear the difference between the German or American microphones and their cheap Chinese copies.

However today things truly are different with some great sounding mics coming out of China making them not just essential tools for the first time bedroom recorder but serious alternatives to established brands and deserving a place in everyones mic collection even if it's because they are so ridiculously cheap.

We get emails all the time asking us to recommend good microphones at budget prices and I have been looking at various cheap studio microphones under £100 which punch way above their weight.

ADK S51

Golden Age FC4 MC (Small diaphragm condenser)

First up is the FC4 from Golden Age and you know that we are already big fan of their gear so we thought we would get a couple of these and run them in various sessions to see how they performed. A quick search on the internet will show you that there are at least ten companies selling this small diaphragm studio condenser with detachable capsules. Golden Age, ADK, Peluso, Advanced Audio and all the others buy this mic off the shelf from Chinese manufacturer Felio and rebadge it under their own name. Different companies may or may not tweak a few things but no one likes to admit they just resell it on as it is!

The case and capsule design is based on the Neumann KM-54 (which was infact a tube mic) but now features a clean class “A” FET amplifier circuit coupled to a discrete transformeless Schoeps-like output circuit. The result is a mic which is extremely transparent and has very low self-noise. It has a -10db/-20db pad switch plus a 75hz/150hz low frequency roll-off switch making it very useful in different studio situations but the most stunning thing about this mic is the price. Mic manufacturers know that they simply couldn't build a mic as quiet, versatile and nice sounding for anywhere near the money and the fact that GA can sell these in a padded wooden box with three capsules and a shockmount ( OK, so it's a bit plasticky ) for £79 means that it must be coming out of a factory in China at about £15. It's daft but then so is creationism.

So you get in effect three mics here to try out in as many different situations as you can but the trick is to buy a pair and start to experiment with stereo techniques. As a pair of drum O/Heads in ORTF they sound great; clean and sparkling without sounding harsh and with a good stereo image and I've had some surprisingly good results on acoustic guitar and percussion. I've not tried them yet on a piano but they should get you a result on anything with a bit of careful positioning. The hyper cardioid capsule is always going to be the least useful but for hi-hats when you don't want a lot of spill from the rest of the kit they work just fine and aren't too hard or spiky. However for me the big deal is the omni capsule.

I am a huge fan of spaced omnis for location recording and I recently took a pair of these mics to a mobile recording of a large Brass band over in west yorkshire and I put a pair of the FC4s up alongside my favourite omnis, the Hebdensound 3000 and a pair of the new Lauten Torch valve mics which I had just got hold of and was very keen to try out.

I simply can't say how good these Golden Age mics are when you consider they are up against mics that cost around £1000 a pair and are considered class, hand made mics. The FC4s are quiet and have a good output and are light enough to put up high on a couple of standard mic stands without worrying about them. All you need to do is play the audio in the little mp3 icon below to hear the mics but make sure you stop one before trying to play another. All I will say here is that I was very disappointed with one pair of mics on that session and it wasn't the GAs

So for me another no brainer from Golden Age and a great opportunity for anyone to get out there and start practicing stereo techniques JR

 

The Golden Age FC4 is a great little studio condenser mic for under £70 and I don't think there is anything out there as good for the money. So if you just want a nice sounding instrument mic buy one, if you want to record a choir in stereo buy two or if you are recording Snow White The Musical get 7!

To Buy an FC4 CLICK HERE


Golden Age FC4  
     
Hebden Sound  
     
Lauten Torch  


 
 
Microphones and recording 2012. Cheap studio microphones