Depending on who you ask in audio circles, Behringer can be a dirty word. I want to make clear right from the start of this article that a Behringer microphone isn’t going to be found at Abbey Road or other high-end recording studios. The Behringer C-1 microphone doesn’t pretend to be anything it is not, though, and whilst it probably won’t record any chart hits, it can be a useful addition to your arsenal. In our Behringer C-1 Review we look at the features, value for money, and of course sound quality of this budget mic.
It isn’t hard to find bad reviews of Behringer products. I’ve used a lot of them, and to tell the truth, some of them warrant bad reviews, but Behringer does have some absolute gems within their range. A “gem” isn’t what I would call the C-1, but for a microphone that will likely cost under $100, there’s a lot on offer for the money.
What We Like About the Behringer C-1
We’ve got some positive things to say about this microphone. It’s pretty sturdy and rugged, and it has even been used for live applications.
Many people go for a dynamic microphone such as an AKG D5 or Shure SM58 for live usage based on the fact that condenser mics are more liable to break, but the sturdy build quality of the C-1 makes it a viable option. Having a condenser mic on stage for live sound can open up a world of possibilities as briefly discussed on Sweetwater.
The cardioid pickup pattern does a good job of avoiding feedback whilst picking up vocals, guitars, and other instruments to a good standard, certainly for a live microphone. For studio usage, there are plenty of microphones with a lot more quality on offer, but finding one cheaper than the Behringer C-1 will be a real challenge.
Considering the cost, this microphone is good for recording demos, home recordings, vocals, and more. “Good” is the only appropriate word I can think of for this microphone. Is it an all-time great? No. Will people be buying vintage models of the Behringer C1 in 60 years? I doubt it. That said, if you are just starting out with recordings or looking for a cheap model to do some home demos, this is a steady but not spectacular choice.
The versatility of this mic is also another one of its benefits. If you are playing the guitar, piano, violin, ukulele or pretty much any other instrument besides drums, the C-1 could be your answer. It has a frequency boost at around the range that will make most acoustic instruments sound a little sweeter, and while I don’t recommend it for bass or for any sort of drums, it can track acoustic instruments pretty reliably.
There is another model, the Behringer C-1U, a USB condenser microphone which is exactly the same, just with an adapter to turn it into a USB model. This makes the process of recording at home and even easier. Great if you’re looking for a podcast microphone or something similar. This mic certainly has enough quality to record for youtube.
Cons of the Behringer C1 Microphone
As you would expect when reviewing a microphone at this price point, there are weaknesses. Behringer has done a good job at a low price, but as a result, there are a couple of shortcomings in this mic. The features are somewhat limited with no real bells and whistles such as EQ’s, multiple pickup patterns, and other functions you might find with mics. It is what it is, which isn’t always a bad thing!
The microphone clip/enclosure it comes in is a little flimsy with a plastic feel to it. Considering this is such a rugged mic, this is a bit disappointing but is probably another symptom of the low price, but hey, the fact that it comes with both the adapter and even a carry case is pretty cool.
The frequency response is decent, but it isn’t totally flat, so doesn’t give the most accurate sound. Sometimes this can help with the recording, sometimes it is a nuisance. Frequency response can be pretty important, as explained here.
The Behringer C-1 or C-1u don’t come with cables, but this is to be expected.
Sound Testing the Behringer C-1
The video below gives a really interesting insight into the sound of the Behringer C-1. It’s a comparison between the C-1 and a much more expensive, Neumann TLM microphone. The Neumann may be better, but the video shows that you can still get good results from the Behringer if it is used correctly.
Connecting a Behringer C-1 to Your Computer
How do you connect the C-1 to your computer?
The Behringer C-1 is an XLR microphone. To connect it to your computer you need an audio interface that can take the XLR signal and turn it into an audio signal that your DAW can understand.
The Behringer C-1 needs phantom power (48v). Most USB audio interfaces can provide this with no issues.
If you buy the Behringer C-1U it has a USB connection. This makes it really easy to plug in and play. You can start recording podcasts, instruments, vocals, and sound effects in virtually no time.
At Subreel, we’re lucky enough to review some pretty awesome gear, and equipment manufactured by some elite brands. Behringer is a big brand, but in audio circles, there will always be a debate about whether they’re worth using. Our Behringer C-1 review isn’t tainted by preconceptions about the brand.
I’m not a purist, and I have to say that sometimes, they get the job done at a fraction of the price. If you are looking to record some guide vocals, home demos, or want a decent condenser mic that’s well made enough for use on stage then it is hard to argue with the Behringer C-1. If I had my pick of any microphone in the world to use, I wouldn’t choose this one, but if I only had $100 or less to spend, this might well be the best. Whatever you think about the brand, it is hard to argue with what is on offer here.