In response to a question at TOMB, I wrote:
The VTB1 is a OK cheap pre, the Meek VC3Q is better, but I would reco you spend about twice that, get a Eureka what is a channel strip with a compressor and EQ.
It’s not particularly a “vibe” pre, but it’s so solid and easy to set up – set and forget, even – I use it constantly on vocals, especially when wanting to accent the mic itself.
Mic’s are a more “personal” choice. Flexible and standard in that price range (you might have to look for used) dynamics include the SM7b, the MD421, the RE320, or a little cheaper, the Beta58 or a EV N/D type. I don’t care for Audix, me, but old Sennheiser 500 series rock, also, as can the lo-fi sound of old EV’s.
Sub US$300 condensors I love include the Sennheiser MK4, the M-Audio Luna (not the Solaris so much), the AT4040, the CAD GLX3000 and even the Blue Spark and especially the ADK A6. ADK makes a usable cheaper mic, the A51, that I like.
Cheaper ribbons I like are the Beyer M500 (a lot!), and modded MXL’s like the R44 can be OK, but typically not great on vocals.
Under US$300 can get you a tube mic, also, and I paid that for the CAD Trion, the M-Audio, the MXLV69ME and the AT3060, all of which I use regularly, as I do everything I listed, in my little bedio.