Over the years I have used (and owned) many, many microphones, some very expensive indeed, others more in the "value" bracket - but I have to say that while this is certainly one of the cheapest, it is also right up with those at many times its price in terms of quality and performance. The build quality is amazingly good. There is nothing about it that says "cheap". It is also made in Australia.... and has a 10 year warranty. While it runs from phantom power, it can also run from its internal 9v battery - useful in some situations, and particularly so if using portable flash recorders, many of which lack +48v. Visually, it looks a lot like the C1000s, but having used both, the M3 is a much nicer microphone. It sounds very natural, smooth, and has that certain "sheen" that you tend to only get from high grade mics. It is superb on acoustic guitar, mandolin, violin, etc. Run through a good preamp in the studio, it did not disgrace itself even up against a Neumann KM-184. In a live situation, it held its own against a Shure SM-94 and SM-81. All of these cost considerably more than the M3, yet the M3 put in a very creditable performance indeed. So much so, that I have ordered another one right away to use as a stereo pair. You just cannot go wrong at this price. Undoubtedly the best value in a microphone I have ever encountered. Whatever Rode did here, they did it right.