Wow, Kuru. I have frequently suspected that I live in the wrong part of the country for really good music finds in pawnshops and thrift stores, but this pretty much confirms it.
To answer your question...
The most affordable new ones that are worth owning are the LCT 040 MATCH from LEWITT
. They're compact, sturdy, clear, easy to set up, go anywhere, and are a real sleeper hit for most places where you'd use an SDC.
I used to recommend the RØDE M5
, which is a great mic and costs roughly the same per pair as the LCT 040 MATCH, but is larger and slightly trickier to place in tight spaces. That's not a knock on the M5 or any other SDC out there, which are nearly all this size; it's just that the LCT 040 MATCH is so much smaller! Both of these will run you about $200 per pair, as will the very solid Audio-Technica AT2021
In the $429/pair range, the RØDE NT5
is a solid, high-quality mic that competes with stuff in the up-to-$1000/pair range (depending on the maker). Nearly everyone is making SDC pairs these days, but RØDE's affordable offerings have been around a while and made a lot of fans.
Really expensive SDCs are wasted on my recording room, which needs a lot of acoustic treatment at the moment. If price were no object and I had a room and a regular gig for them, my dream SDC would be the Josephson Microphones Series Four
, which right now consists of only one mic: the C42, a lovingly-crafted and gorgeous SDC mic that's usually sold in matched pairs for about $1000.
The mic that most recording pros consider "the SDC to beat" is the Neumann KM 84
, which went off the market in favor of the Neumann KM 184
. Pros with golden ears (whatever those are) say that they like the sound of the 84 better than that of the 184; that's why a pair of 184s will run you $1500 and a pair of decent-shape 84s could run as much as $6000.
The only SDCs I own right now aren't made any more and were very expensive when they were being made; I don't use them nearly enough to justify keeping them but I'll be damned if I sell them.
Hope this helps.