There are so many great boutique microphone manufacturers these days, that’s it’s pretty easy to buy a pretty good mic for a reasonable amount of money. The quality of the classic microphone clones continues to get better while the price seems to keep coming down. That said, if you’re willing to put in a little work yourself and you’re not afraid of a soldering iron, you can build your own classic clone with a DIY microphone kit from a company called Microphone Parts for even less.
Microphone Parts sells the parts to upgrade about 40 inexpensive condenser mics from companies like AKG (the Perception series), CAD, MXL, Carvin, Nady, Rode and Studio Projects, and the suggested mods generally include a new capsule and various circuit components ranging from capacitors to transformers. These are do-it-yourself mods that require an hour or two of work by the mic owner, but most conclude that it’s well worth the effort and the relatively modest cost.
Selling mod kits is just one step removed from providing a full microphone kit though, and Microphone Parts offers their take based on proven designs by Schoeps, Neumann, AKG and Telefunken to give you a kit for just about every style of classic large diaphragm condenser mic you can think of, including the C12/ElaM 251, 414, U87, U47 and M49.
The prices of the kits range anywhere from $329 to $569, and for around $200 more the company will even build it for you. Many of the kits also provide some interesting options that range from the color of the body to different harmonic variations depending on the components you select to use.
There are lots of great reviews online, but be aware that these kits require some intermediate-level electronic skills and tools, as it’s up to you to identify the parts correctly and solder them as required. A few hours of your time is a small price to pay for a good mic at a reasonable cost though, and the Microphone Parts DIY microphone kit seem like a winner. I’m so pleased that electronics kits are back in vogue!