Large Diaphragm Tube Condenser
Classic versatile tube microphone. Great on Vocals, Guitar, Horns, Strings and just about anything else. Originating in 1960 and known as the U60 it eventually was named the U67 to align with the naming of the U47 which it replaced in the Neumann lineup. The original U67 was discontinued in 1971 and replaced by the U87 as the top of the line mic in the Neumann lineup. The U87 had begun production in 1967. It sported modern FET (Field Effect Transistor) circuitry and could be powered by phantom power rather than requiring a separate power supply for each mic. In 1992 U67 production briefly resumed with another 400 being made. Production resumed in 2018. The new ‘reissued’ version of the U67 is so similar that you can actually exchange the modern parts with those from vintage versions of the mic. Since it’s inevitable these parts true to the original will eventually become unavailable even these reissues will rise in value as the originals have. An original U67 currently can fetch upwards of $15,000.
Large Diaphragm Condensers
Neumann TLM 103
A baby U87. Minus the transformer and uses only a cardioid pickup pattern.
AKG C414 XLii
The Swiss Army knife of microphones with over a half dozen different polar patterns. Great on everything. Many different versions over time.
Excellent rendition of a Neumann U47 FET. Especially good on Kick Drum (Huge bottom end), Guitar, Horns and Vocals.
Small Diaphragm Condensers
Aston Starlight (2) – Matched Pair
Vintage, modern and hybrid settings. Aston is a newer company out of the UK making some great mics like the Spirit and Origin. Pretty unique in the industry Starlights have a built in laser light ensuring accurate placement.
Shure KSM141 (3)
Steve Albini says it’s a good snare mic. When he’s not using his Altec 175 tube condensor. Also used in omni as far room mics taped to the floor. Don’t forget to delay by a few milliseconds when putting in the mix. Of course all of this depends on your individual circumstances and the mic is great on many other sources.
Royer SF-24 Stereo
Capture full orchestras, strings, drum kits, acoustic guitar, horns, a Leslie and so on. Easily set up Blumlein or Mid/Side configurations. Two stacked ribbon mics at 90 degree angles from each other. Figure eight picking up at the same level from either side.
As with any great ribbon mic it has many uses. Great on Electric Guitar. Being a figure pickup pattern it’s slightly brighter from the back side. One use is to place it by a drummer’s knee with one side pointing at the snare bottom and the other at where the kick drum beater hits the kick drum head.
Coles 4038 (2)
Classic on drum overheads. Great on acoustic/electric guitar and vocals. Originated in the 1950’s and they haven’t changed a thing. Why mess with perfection.
Great Rock Vocal mic. Useful on Hi Hat and snare.
Used everywhere. Great sound isolation so perfect for live vocals where bleed from the surrounding instruments is important. Good enough for use in a Studio setting by U2’s Bono on almost all of his vocals.
Shure SM57 (6)
One of the most affordable and versatile mics ever made.
Great on Kick Drum or a Bass Guitar cab.
Seen in use on kick drum everywhere.
Sennheiser MD 421 (3)
Preferred by many on Toms. Great for electric guitar cabs, kick drum and even vocals.