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I recently did a mic blind test on Audio Kitchen with my own mics:
Audio Technica AT2020 ($99)
Rode NT1A ($180)
Sure SM 58 (basically a SM 57 with a screw on shield) – $99
… against a Nueman UA 47 fet ($4000)
My blind test favourite was the AT2020 🙂
To be honest for sampling modern smart phone mics are very good.
A Zoom H2N ($160) gives you the chance to field record with various mic set ups then connect directly to your PC to download your work.
The SM 57/58 as others have said is a great workhorse mic.