1. Neumann U87: I've had a love/hate relationship with the 87 over the years, but I have to say that it's back on the love side of things. Without getting into splitting hairs on the models, I know what I'm going to get and the sound is always up to the high standard that I expect from the model. I love using it on toms, percussion, guitar and bass amps and vocals (especially in omni).
3. AKG C414: Once again, you can split hairs over the models (there's no doubt that the older versions sound better), but I know what to expect from the mic and it generally does not disappoint. I'll use this most anywhere I'd use an 87 where the sound might need a bit more edge.
4. Neumann KM84: This is one of the best small diaphragm mics ever, in my opinion. I'll use a 184 if I can't get the real thing, but once again, it's not the same. I love it on the snare, hat and acoustic guitars.
7. Shure Beta 57: While many engineers swear by the regular old SM57 for guitars and snare, I like the newer Beta 57 better. It has a tighter pickup pattern so the isolation is better, and it's a little crisper. I'll use it on snare, guitar amps (along with a R-121), and hand drum percussion. I do prefer the older Beta 57 to the new 57A a little, but they're much harder to find these days.
9. AKG C12: I have this down lower on my list not because it's not a favorite mic, but because you can't always find one. I love it on vocals, it's magic on overheads and with strings, and it's great on a bass amp (thanks Ken Scott, who uttered the words seared into my brain - "This is what I used to use on Paul.").
|ADK 3 Zigma C-LOL-12|
Once again, you might find some of the choices unusual. I'm not trying to say that other mics don't deserve to be on a top 10 list somewhere, but these are the ones I find myself reaching for if they're available.
What mics are on your list?
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