Monoprice sent this mic over to me a good while ago and while I wish I’d gotten to the actually posted review sooner I am glad that I’ve had a chance to spend some real-time with it. Because of that I can honestly say this is a kick ass mic. So onward with the review…
Monoprice’s 600850 Lollipop-Style Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone quite simply blows away any other mic in its price range. What’s the price you range? Well, at the time of the posting of this review article the price is a mere $149, down from its original modest price of $299. Before I can even get into the details here I can say right off the bat that this microphone at that price is a steal of a deal.
The 600850 is a pretty full featured microphone that will fit comfortably into any pros mic locker and any hobbyist’s bedroom lab. It features 3 polar patterns (Cardioid, Figure 8, Omni). For those that may not know much about the different patterns mentioned check out this super informative article on the subject over at SOS. But be forewarned, it’s not the most riveting information. I can recall falling asleep on it in class myself back in Columbia College Chicago in the 90’s. Still, you should know this information if you are interested in purchasing microphones. But I digress…
The feature set is rich. It features a frequency response range of 20hz to 20khz, a large diaphragm of 32mm or 1.26 inches an output impedance of 200 ohms.
Perhaps most useful for home studios users that may not be in treated rooms and for those that are still earning their wings with recording, the 600850 has an easy to use high pass filter of 6dB per octave at 150Hz. This basically allows you to cut frequencies lower than 150hz which is what you’d likely end up trying to accomplish in the mix anyway.
Also pretty useful and a pre-attenuation switch (0db, -10dB). This is what you may know as the “pad”. If you don’t know what that is just be sure to turn it on when your overly excited and equally loud emcee homie or vocalist comes over to record vocals. Your recordings will thank you later. It helps a great deal with the ongoing battle with dynamics and against peaks and spikes in ones recorded performance.
The build quality is certainly above average. The construction and materials used are some sort of sturdy metal (technical terms only over here lol) that makes it pretty rugged. Monoprice bling’d this one out with its black matte and gold finishes. Without doubt, the mic is rather heavy weighing in at over 2 lbs. Well, at least it is heavier than I imagined it would be. I’d suggest that you be prepared to either upgrade the mic stand or reinforce / counter-balance the weight somehow. Because this one (especially in use with something like an SE Electronics Reflexion Filter PRO like my set up) can get heavy quick. So be sure to have a great stand with it.
Monoprice described it as “requiring +48V Phantom Power (±4V). It comes with a shock mount, which isolates the microphone from any vibrations present in the mic stand. It also includes a metal-reinforced hard case to hold the mic and shock mount. The case measures about 12″ x 10.5″ x 6″.”
Additionally the shock mount is a nicely constructed, quality accessory made to isolate the mic as mentioned above but perhaps most notably it protects your recordings from the occasional bump from the animated rapper hand gestures or mistaken drum stick knock. Well, nothing really protects from violent bumps but you get the picture here.
The sound, although super subjective, is easily on par with mics that cost 3 to 4 times as much. Years ago I bought a rather slept on mic called the Sputnik made by M-Audio. I think it costed approximately $700 or $800 at the time. And listen, I don’t rent studio time and make a gang of money from recording so that was indeed more money than I’d ever spent or even aspired to spend on a Microphone. but the fact was that I was recording a project that deserved the extra effort and quality. I learned of this mic after seeing a session in a multi-million dollar recording studio in Burbank, CA. I watched these musicians opt for the Sputnik over the extensive list of mics available to them in the mic locker. It sounded good and so I bought it. Now that I have the 600850, I can honestly say that at a fraction of the cost it sounds just as good.
The 600850 Lollipop-Style Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone has a characteristic that allows it to capture sound with clarity while the highs remain smooth and not too piercing. Still the signal of vocals remain rich and up front to my ears. The true test was when I ran it through a preamp. A decent preamp will improve almost any mic but the 600850 really began to shine when paired with another budget friendly piece, the Art Digital MPA. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at quality that this reasonably priced combo will provide for your recordings.
Set to the cardioid pattern the 600850 did a wonderful job as a room mic or overhead on percussion too.
Overall, this is a very versatile and usable mic. Despite its fancy black and gold finishings, slick design and obvious rugged build, It is a bit heavy. So you’d need to be prepared to have a counter-balanced mic stand as a cheapo mic stand will not do the trick. Still, I’d certainly recommend it to anyone on a tight budget that happens to want a level of quality that reaches way above the price tag. It captures with clarity without a preamp and even does very well with just the normal preamps on your typical interface (RME in my case). But the magic happens with a nice preamp (especially tube preamps). It’s very useful for vocalists (male or female) and even sounds pretty dope as an instrument mic. Without doubt this mic is a sleeper. Go cop it before Monoprice.com realizes what they are giving away for pennies. Regular price $299 / sale price $149.
Cop yours at the Monoprice 600850 product page