I've been around the block enough times to know what makes a good purchase - here are some of my best tips on buying microphones, but most of the information here can be applied to purchasing anything in general.

micmarshall#1
There should be some thought before you buy mics, and research done. Be careful when you look reviews up on the internet, especially when peeking at low-end mics, because people are usually really excited and possibly even just getting their first mic that isn't from radio shack. So basically, don't believe everything you read. Example: "d00d thiz mic is my first and last mic. it rawks my sawks with itz ultra-high end shockmount. behringer4life sw33t".


#2
Ignore no-name brand mics. No-name brands don't make anything in the high end, so if you are considering a Behringer or  Samson mic, you are not looking to buy a great mic. So ignore these brands and get something from the lower end by a reputable company. If you grow out of your mic purchase, it's much easier to sell a shure PG57 than it is to sell an Optimus rx90 turbosound w/ on off switch. [I made that last one up. Well, the brand is real.]


#3 buy in stereo if you can.


#4 Consider what you are buying before you buy. Fewer decent mics make for a much better recording than more shitty ones. For example 10 crappy mics you get for $399 isn't gonna make your drums sound great. If you buy 2 or 3 decent mics for that price, chances improve.


#5 make sure your mics are realistically multi-purpose. I can't imagine you are going to use a beta 91 for more than a kickdrum, so you'd be better off with a beta 52. Instead of an audix d2, try a sm57 or 56.

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