I'm setting up a pretty dangerous field recording and I need a few expendable mics which I expect to be expended (read: burnt and demolished).

Can anyone recommend a decent sounding cardioid condenser for less than $100? Preferably less than $50?



I really like the dbx Driverack RTA-M Real Time Analyzer Microphone. It is an omnidirectional reference mic with a surprisingly flat response.




Or just buy good electrets. Primo's EM172 with 5-10V power handles 122 db. Price around 10$ each. They are omnis with low. Quiet and extended flat lf response. If you have enough channels you could have them setup on different distances meaning that some will survive (longer?) than others. You can buy them in small numbers from frogloggers.com


12 gauge microphones are another option at $35 and $45. electret, but sound ok. review with audio samples here:


alt text
(source: audiogeekzine.com)

  • Jeez! I have GOT to get me some of these no matter how they sound!!! Thanks for the tip man :-D – Christian van Caine Jan 12 '12 at 20:48
  • +1. I'll buy a stereo set of both of them. Nice looking mics for stealth recording in public places, with a boompole bag over the shoulder :) – Tommy Jansen Jan 12 '12 at 20:57
  • hmm, shotgun shells for stealth recordings? You must live in Texas like I do. :) – Rene Jan 13 '12 at 0:11
  • Lol and how about getting on planes with those? And how about the AK47 from telefunkin ? Hehe – Utopia Jan 13 '12 at 3:40

One of my favorites in the cheap range is Line Audio's CM3! It's fairly straight-curved with not too sharp highs and with virtually no colorations from the sides and back at all, and exceptionally small, so it can be fitted in even quite narrow places :-)

What you gonna record if you don't mind me asking? These are usually my first choice when doing seriously unhealthy things. Haven't lost any yet though!

  • 6mV/PA sensitivity :/ – georgi Jan 12 '12 at 15:10
  • I'd forgotten that my CM3s were inexpensive. I treat them like they're expensive because that's how my ears perceive them. :) – Rene Jan 12 '12 at 19:10
  • @georgi.m Well they do tend to demand a little more juice, that's true, but not even my old MicroTrack (my first field-recorder!) had any problems driving 'em, the only thing they didn't do all that well was really sublime foley and effects, like light strokes and ants on resonant surfaces and such :-) – Christian van Caine Jan 12 '12 at 20:22
  • @Rene Haha, I most definitely hear you there! Though they had to step aside to more (read: a lot more) expensive ones as my standard field-kit, I still use them regularly due to their fine softness in the transients and highs, as well as exceptional resolution not only for it's price-range! – Christian van Caine Jan 12 '12 at 20:40
  • I'm going out and recording a pyrotechnic's research and development session out in the desert. It's going to be wild and I want to experiment with crazy mic positions. – Utopia Jan 13 '12 at 4:12

I have taped a pair of Behringer C2's (cardioid) to the underside of a sports car with good results. No super sound, but adequate.

Talking about cheap, they retail for € 49 for a pair!

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  • I once had a pair of those. similar in tone to the NT5s. – Rene Jan 13 '12 at 0:12

I also asked this question once here with some great suggestions. I have to say at $59, an MXL 990 is a mic I wouldn't flinch at putting in harms way. I don't know how they manage to manufacture a large diaphragm mic at that price.


dangerous usually equals loud. Consequently I would recommend a mic that can withstand high SPL. This is most likely to not include any type of condensor mic.

Consequently I would recommend using a cheap dynamic mic if you are operating in any high SPL environment. Dynamics are much better at withstanding high SPL or dangerous environments.

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