Let’s take a second to admire the affordability of the latest and greatest technology of 2021. This list would be entirely different if it were written 3 years ago, and let’s face it – within 6 months this list might as well be updated. I’d like to keep this list as simple as possible so I’ll name 3 microphones at 3 different price points and give my opinion on why I think they’re the best of today. These microphones were all chosen based on their versatility at their price point and not necessarily on the type of microphone they are. Lastly, I’ll keep this list COVID friendly and under $1000. Let’s get started!
Coming in at the most affordable of this list is the obvious AT2020. The little brother of the AT4040 (that’s been a workhorse for many studios) is a great start for anyone that wants to get their feet wet. It’s a simple and easy-to-use medium-diaphragm condenser microphone. Just be sure to flip that +48v switch and get started. Price $99.
This microphone has been put side by side with some of the most expensive big-name Neumann’s under the same signal chain and has stood its ground. It’s versatile, durable, and great on pretty much anything. Side by side and pound for pound this microphone will sound good on just about anything. Weighing in at $499, you’ll consider it money well spent.
There’s a lot of controversy over Slate’s VMS, but its groundbreaking technology has paved the way for a new niche in the market. One microphone that can emulate the sounds of other microphones with the flip of a switch. The only limitation is that sometimes you need more than one. A larger system will run a pretty penny, but for a single microphone in a home studio setup, this will go a long way. You can choose different microphones, pre-amps, and emulations until you drop. A vintage U47 can run up to 45,000 for a single microphone, and this system will run $999.
When we think about merch, we are looking at basically any type of product you can slap your brands name on and sell to your fans. It can be a shirt, poster, bracelet, sticker, CD, lanyard, pop-socket, YOU NAME IT.
When it comes to deciding what to pick for your merch, the first thing to do is think about what best represents YOU. What do you like? It is important for you to actually like what you are selling because you will naturally wear the products and sell them much easier.
The second thing to think about is your audience. What is their age range? What kinds of stuff do you see them wearing to your shows? What is their style? By asking yourself these questions you can determine what you should focus on. For example, if you are a rock band and your fans like to enjoy beer and drinks while they rock out at your shows, then it’s probably a good idea to stamp your band’s name on a beer glass or some shot glasses.
The third thing to think about is having a variety of things for everyone. Even if you age range tends to be older, always remember that music has no age limit, so try and have a few things that anyone can buy (buttons, stickers, lanyards, etc.). Usually these things tend to be really small, so it’s a smart idea to keep them by the register just to offer as a quick impulse buy for your customers, but also for quality control so you can keep an eye on them. We go more into depth with HOW to sell in our e-book, which you can preorder here: How to Turn Your Fans Into Customers – Ebook.
Now that you’ve decided what kind of merch you want to sell, let’s get into how to design it.
For starters, you need a logo. If you already have one, great, but if you don’t, there are a bunch of great resources you can use to create one. When it comes to a logo, use something that represents you, your music, and don’t break the bank – especially if you’re just starting out. Here are some of our favorite places to go to for logo making:
Once your merch is in, then market it like crazy. Stick your stickers in places around your city, have some friends model your shirts for some photos to post on Instagram, and simply just raise awareness about your merch and where your fans can get it.