Cheap but good mic's


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My school doesn't really have a tech budget. It does but I've found more money on the ground at a homeless convention. The best quality mic we have was $17 from Radio Shack.

This year, our principle said that if we needed new mics that we need to give him a list of what we need. I need to buy some "all-purpose" mic's that are cheap but durable. Could you give me any suggestions. Thanks.

I guess the first question would be in what situations do you need these mics to perform - hand held vocal, choir micing, overhead stage pick-up, boundry, something that would work for all? The last one would be dang near impossible to find, but if we knew what they are going to be used for it would be easier to recommend something...
Anything that goes on in a high school auditorium. Talent Shows, Chours Concerts, Public Speeking. Everything but overheads.
i love our akg mics, they are extremely durable. but i picked them up at a garage sale for 15 a pop
Some suggestions:

Shure SM58 - can't go wrong at the price - good hand held for most all vocalists - can be used also to mic a guitar amp - pick-up characteristics not very good for any kind of distance micing - can also be used in a pinch on horns, saxes, trombones - possibly as a snare mic.

Shure SM57 - workhorse for micing of guitar amplifiers, drums, brass instruments, also works well as a close mic on podiums for speakers.

Shure MX202 - small condensors that work well for hanging above stage to pick up dialogue, can be put on stands to both reinforce and record choirs and school bands and orchestras (though they aren't the ultimate for these cases, I did use them for 2 years as such until I bought some higher end DPA's and I will say that they didn't sound bad and were tons better than trying to use dynamics) , works on a podium in a non close mic situation, and can hide them in little corners on a stage set to pick up hard to hear dialogue.

Those would be a pretty decent place to start - should cover a lot of different areas, and if you have a larger show with more needs, you can always look at renting what you need.
Actually, go for Audix, cheaper than Shure and kicks its asses. The i5 is like a 57, but it actually sounds good on MANY instruments.
Definatly check Audix out.
If you do not have enough money for the main line Shure SM series you can always go for the PG series although there is a noticiable difference they are a great mic for the price you pay for them...and now they also have the Shure PGX series stuff coming out for some descent quality wireless mics...this is just another suggestion to look into as far as mics.
Used SM series from a reputable dealer would suit your purpose fine!
BTW, another trick if you're on a budget is that, if you take the windscreen off of a 58, it gets pretty close to a 57's sound. A lot of the tonal difference in the 58 is the windscreen! Mind you, it's a lot more fragile than a 57, since it doesn't have the grill over it, but in certain situations it can be a useful trick to keep up your sleeve.
I'm probably going to get a bit flamed for this, seeing as I work on a professional crew, and haven't used these or even thought about it since high school, but.....try Behringer mics, or Samson. I had about 6 Samson mics that we used in HS along side the Sure mics and the AKG mics. For spoken word in a school, nobody except maybe you, will be able to tell much of a difference.
I'm with 3-W....go for shure PG series. You can pick up a mic for about $40, and it will be just fine for your needs and durable enough to last a few years. If you can, buy one or two SM58's for soloists or other cases where you need a great sound. I do all of the sound for a local elementary and middle school (as a freebie....damn I'm a nice guy), and I strictly use PG's for them. They sound just fine.

The biggest difference that most people notice between the SM and PG is the handling noise. This is true with almost any inexpensive mic. The sound quality is not much different, to be honest. I would not recommend buying a mic from radio shack or any of the other discount mic's. They are not likely to hold up well if used often and you will probably need to replace them every year.

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