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miketurn
KVRist
 
155 posts since 22 Jun, 2015

Postby miketurn; Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:42 pm Re: Condenser Microphone - Opinions

Thank You all for the responses, a lot of great info being shared that I think many will benefit from.

At the moment I have made the decision to rule out a few different types of microphones....
Tube Condensers
Ribbons
Broadcaster Style Dynamics

I have decided this based on a couple of factors.....
1.) I am only looking to have maybe one or two mics, I feel these types of mics above as far as my purposes, are more if you were to have a broader collection of microphones, rather than starting points.
2.) I don't really have a ton of room, so another thing is that it appears that these mics all require either external power supplies or extra preamp to give them the juice they need to perform properly. If I can, I would like to try to avoid extra gear when other microphones can be used without such devices.
3.) Cost (broadcaster/ribbons) the fact that extra gear is needed adds additional cost to already expensive on their own microphones. If they don't produce the results I am looking for this might be an expensive mistake :)

A very tough decision to do this, because I really do feel these types of microphones will have a great deal to offer what I am looking for. It is a shame that I don't have the ability to test them out properly before making such a decision.
*I am not saying that any of the above reasons are things that anyone should ever look at as being valid reasons to make a decision on, but for now I have to start narrowing my choices a bit because I am becoming more and more overwhelmed with the amount of choices. So for now it is condensers and dynamics, luckily there aren't too many options to choose from in these two categories.... :)
Last edited by miketurn on Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
miketurn
KVRist
 
155 posts since 22 Jun, 2015

Postby miketurn; Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:53 pm Re: Condenser Microphone - Opinions

Broadcaster Style Dynamic Microphones
I admit, I really feel the SM7B could be a great match for me, so it is hard to rule out this style of mic.
To be honest the only Broadcaster mic I have really heard people using to sing into is the SM7B, so I am not sure if all of them offer similar results for singing?
So far I have looked into many of these, I didn't realize that so many companies have their own takes on them.
As far as I know every single one I have looked up require an additional preamp to provide them with the power they need to perform properly. If this is untrue, and someone has one they would like to recommend for singing purposes, please do so.

I have looked up...
Shure SM7B
Electro Voice RE20
Audio Technica
Rode
Advanced Audio DM20 (think only in available in Europe)
and a couple more I can't remember at the moment

The only one I have found that says it "runs hot" on its own is one that I didn't know existed, which is the "little brother" of the RE20 known as the RE320. It appears that this might not need a preamp, but I am not 100% sure I have to look into a bit more, I also haven't looked to see if I could find anything on how it performs.

(On a side note I like how many microphone companies are selling foam windscreens for $30-$40, seems a little much for the same material being used to cheaply protect items in the shipping process :) )
transmetropolitan
KVRist
 
281 posts since 24 Nov, 2014

Postby transmetropolitan; Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:21 pm Re: Condenser Microphone - Opinions

The other option I'd seriously consider in your position is buying a world class preamp to use with the mics you already have.

That way you upgrade your setup now and leave a clear upgrade path open in future.
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Hermetech Mastering
KVRian
 
933 posts since 30 May, 2003, from Paris

Postby Hermetech Mastering; Tue Mar 28, 2017 11:37 pm Re: Condenser Microphone - Opinions

miketurn wrote:Advanced Audio DM20 (think only in available in Europe)


Nope, they have stock in their Canada workshop too, I seem to remember Dave saying recently, it just might not be showing on their North American website yet. I'll hopefully order one soon.

[EDIT] Still on the US website, $179:

https://advancedaudio.ca/collections/dy ... ducts/dm20
JCJR
KVRAF
 
2309 posts since 17 Apr, 2005, from S.E. TN

Postby JCJR; Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:24 am Re: Condenser Microphone - Opinions

Miketurn, if I was in the market for a "nice" cardioid dynamic mic in that price range, would be real tempted to try that AA DM20 as mentioned by Hermetech.

I gave up singing long ago. Leave the task to folk with actual vocal talent. A reason I got fixated on mics which are basically flat in the low mids thru high mids-- The presence boosts built-in to typical live vocal mics make my voice a lot worse than it has to sound. The kind of high-mid boosts built-in to SM58, SM57, Audix and other live vocal mics accentuate the worst part of my vocal tone, and that kind of "microphone fingerprint" is very difficult to remove with EQ. Modern DSP might make it possible, but even using elaborate analog EQ I could never figure out how to make a SM57 or whatever sound like a flat mic.

Some excellent vocalists, especially rock'n'roll or R&B baritones, sound great with those high-mid boosts. But not me.

It is easier to electronically add a high-mid boost when desired, than to remove an unwanted high-mid boost which was automatically added by such a microphone. So when I would record good singers would first try mics fairly flat at least in the mids. Figuring if they NEED some EQ to sit in the mix, it is easy enough to add. But if a non-flat mic accentuated vocal defects and somehow I didn't notice it while tracking, it was a beast to try to remove the microphone's acoustic fingerprint, after the fact when the session is done and the singer has gone home.

On the other hand, a bit of peakiness above 5 kHz is no big problem, because it is common to EQ up a little bit of highs, and if the mic has a modest high boost, you just don't have to turn up the treble knob in the final mix. A little high peak could improve signal to noise ratio, because boosting the highs with EQ also boosts the HF background noise. And if there are too many highs, they are easy to EQ out.

I don't record much nowadays, but given an excellent vocalist I'd probably try a large diaphragm or small diaphragm condenser with "as flat possible" frequency response, and do any necessary minor adjustments with EQ afterwards. But it is also true that condenser mics work best in a decent vocal booth or at least a well-treated room.

If I had an SM7, would probably rarely use the "presence boost" switch, because from viewing the freq response chart, the presence boost ought to make it sound about like a "higher quality deluxe" SM58, and I just hate the sound of an SM58. As said, some excellent vocalists are complimented by that frequency curve, but others are not. And it can bring out the worst in "less than excellent" vocal tones.

Because I rarely use mics nowadays, it is hard to avoid "mic acquisition syndrome" lusting after certain mics "just because" though they would usually spend their time in the microphone drawer if I was to buy em. Not cost-effective.

If I was to indulge irrational mic urges, would probably get a pair of EV RE-50 L-- http://www.electrovoice.com/downloadfile.php?i=973889

There are some older "vintage" EV omni dynamic versions even more desirable. They are omni-directional and not usually useful for the majority of live work. But omni mics do not have a proximity effect bass boost so the singer can eat the mic and get hot output without absurd bass boosting, and omni mics are easier to make flat. Those EV omni dynamics are quite flat and smooth-sounding, on vocals or many other sources. Omni, sure maybe some leakage. OTOH, if it is placed less than an inch away from a snare drum or whatever, with no proximity effect, how much practical leakage will there be compared to the hot level of the target instrument?

I would also get a couple of Earthworks omni condenser mics, which have even flatter frequency response. IMO if a vocalist sounds good then just try to capture it as accurately possible then fix in the mix whatever minor issues might remain.

You were asking about some of the "new versions" of RE20 which have neodymium magnets and hotter output. I haven't heard any of the newer EV neo mics, but have read some folks complain they don't like the sound of the neo RE20 versions, compared to the original.

Yesterday was perusing spec charts of several EV mics, and maybe a hint would be in the specs pdf's. The neo mics have hotter output, but the ones I looked at have slightly "lumpier" frequency response compared to the old versions of the same thing. The RE320 and RE27N/D appear to have "lumpier" frequency response than RE20. The Neodymium 635 has similar curve to the original 635, but a little lumpier than old-style 635. The neo RE50 has similar curve to the original RE50, but a little lumpier than the old-style RE50.

The lumpier frequency responses might make the mics sound better than the original in some applications, and the hotter output would be appreciated, but I'd be inclined to superstitiously avoid the Neodymium versions.
miketurn
KVRist
 
155 posts since 22 Jun, 2015

Postby miketurn; Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:31 pm Re: Condenser Microphone - Opinions

I still have not responded to everyone that I wanted to yet, there are a couple of older posts that I wanted to asked a couple of things about, but hard to keep up.

@ghettosynth
That said, there's probably still some risk because no matter what you do you're going to have to get wires through the wax. How do you plan to do that without damaging the transformer?

When I was typing my response I was thinking the same thing, I knew you were going to ask me this :)
Yeah I don't own the microphone, but a while back when I was looking into the moding pictures I noticed that the entire bottom was filled in with glue and I questioned how my desired switch idea was going to make it through that goop. I was hoping that I could just puncture a hole and slide a wire through it but it is hard to tell without having the microphone.

@Hermetech Mastering
Ah, so they aren't just Europe, when you say American Website, if you order from them in the US you are saying that the mics will be shipped from Canada?
I agree, it is a great looking mic, and the price is great, looks 1 part broadcaster / 1 part side address condenser.
I would have a couple of concerns, getting it to the US, type of power a broadcasting mic like this will need, and I wish there were reviews / audio samples / videos to learn more about this mic.

@JCJR
Thank You for the response, yeah that is something that does concern me, the boosts, I thought the SM58 had it being a vocal mic, I thought the SM57 didn't but now I can't remember I have to go back and check that. Like you said, I hope if I bought one that the bad part of my vocal frequency (which is most of them) would not fall in that boosted range.
When I was first looking up the RE320 that is what I read, that they aren't like the RE20 which I guess is why the price difference it quite large. I didn't know they were using those types of magnets to achieve this hotter signal, when looking around usually when I have seen different magnets are used it is in "supercardiod" polar pattern mics.
Wonder how the RE320 sounds though, I have to look this up. The appeal is the lower price along with the fact that they probably don't need a powerful preamp like the RE20.
Last edited by miketurn on Wed Mar 29, 2017 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
miketurn
KVRist
 
155 posts since 22 Jun, 2015

Postby miketurn; Wed Mar 29, 2017 3:08 pm Re: Condenser Microphone - Opinions

A couple people have been mentioning that a preamp that is separate from my audio interface preamp is needed.
Seems that some agree with this and some don't.

I have created a separate post about this if anyone is interested
viewtopic.php?f=102&t=482021
miketurn
KVRist
 
155 posts since 22 Jun, 2015

Postby miketurn; Wed Mar 29, 2017 5:06 pm Re: Condenser Microphone - Opinions

@Mister Natural
You mentioned that you have in a way given up on condensers and that you have had success in recording vocals and acoustic guitar with your Beta 57A. That was actually another microphone considered, so it does work well with acoustic guitars also, that is good to know.

I didn't put this mic on my list in my original post because I was concerned about a couple things....
1.) Do you experience any problems with the supercardioid polar pattern? From what I understand this type of pattern allows for audio pickup from the rear of the microphone, just wondering if that would cause problems with my home setup.
2.) Do the "High Output Neodymium" magnets cause the mic to be a great deal more sensitive then the SM57?
You say you use them in place of condenser microphones because condensers pickup too much, so I guess that aren't as sensitive as condensers, but I was just wondering how these magnets affect the microphone, other than having a slightly higher frequency response than the SM57.

Thank You
miketurn
KVRist
 
155 posts since 22 Jun, 2015

Postby miketurn; Wed Mar 29, 2017 5:31 pm Re: Condenser Microphone - Opinions

I was wondering if anyone has used any of the following microphones in a home / studio environment?
They seem to be more designed for live / stage use but I can't really understand how that would be possible if they are condensers, I would imagine that would cause some problems in a live application.

Shure
SM86 (Cardioid) (seems to get good reviews)
BETA 87C (Cardioid) (seems to get good reviews)
BETA 87A (Supercardioid) (seems to get good reviews, but not considering this one as much because it is a supercardioid)

Rather unique design because they look like a dynamic but are condensers, I was just wondering how they would be in a home environment. I watched a video of someone comparing the SM57 to the SM86 and it seems like when he switches over to the SM86 it picks up a ton of room noise, I was just wondering if anyone has had any experience with any of these microphones and have anything they would like to share?
ghettosynth
KVRAF
 
11097 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Postby ghettosynth; Wed Mar 29, 2017 5:41 pm Re: Condenser Microphone - Opinions

To help you narrow this a bit, I took some pictures of my SM57s, yes, I only have two, I sold the rest off when I stopped playing live some years ago. At any rate, both of these were purchased 15 to 20 years ago. The one on the left was new at the time and looks similar to current models. The one on the right was used when I bought it, so, god knows how old it is.

In any case, notice that there is VERY little room between the transformer and the the base of the capsule. Also, although you can see the transformer protrude from the wax in both cases, it's not clear how close to the wall the transformer is. You cannot just "poke" a hole through the wax, you will have to drill the hole.

If I were feeling really bold I might consider trying to drill very close to the edge of the body along the frame of the transformer as that would most likely protect the windings, but, even if I were successful, fitting the switch in and wiring this reliably would be iffy at best, and I've been building with electronics all of my life.

IMO, trying to install a switch without removing the wax is a bad idea. Either melt the wax out so that you can work within the tube reliably, or just consider some other option.

Hope that this helps.

Image
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Hermetech Mastering
KVRian
 
933 posts since 30 May, 2003, from Paris

Postby Hermetech Mastering; Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:27 am Re: Condenser Microphone - Opinions

No idea about Advanced Audio in North America, I got my CM48T from their EU rep in Portugal, maybe check their NA site/shoot them an email/post a question to their forum? Dave is great, sometimes takes a while to reply but then he'll give you a whole essay. :)

As for preamps, no, you absolutely don't NEED a great one, and can totally use the one in your interface, but if you get a great one, all the mics you use with it will inevitably sound better. The CM48T into my TG2 is insta-70's greatness. :)
JCJR
KVRAF
 
2309 posts since 17 Apr, 2005, from S.E. TN

Postby JCJR; Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:11 pm Re: Condenser Microphone - Opinions

miketurn wrote:@Mister Natural
You mentioned that you have in a way given up on condensers and that you have had success in recording vocals and acoustic guitar with your Beta 57A. That was actually another microphone considered, so it does work well with acoustic guitars also, that is good to know.

I didn't put this mic on my list in my original post because I was concerned about a couple things....
1.) Do you experience any problems with the supercardioid polar pattern? From what I understand this type of pattern allows for audio pickup from the rear of the microphone, just wondering if that would cause problems with my home setup.
2.) Do the "High Output Neodymium" magnets cause the mic to be a great deal more sensitive then the SM57?


Hi Mike

I tested SM87 long ago for live vocalists and also home recording on ac guitar and various hand percussion and drum overheads. As best I recall it sounds good and has a crisp bright sound. It is basically a small diaphragm condenser adapted for live handheld vocal. For especially male tenor or female vocalists, I'd rather have an sm87 live, than such as SM 58 or whatever.

Back then I also tried for live vocals some nice little small diaphragm pencil studio mics that sound great for recording. The "cardioid" SDC studio mics had too much handling noise and horrible feedback problems onstage in front of floor monitors, but otherwise sounded great for live vocals. SM87 seems the same kind of mic as a studio SDC, but hardened to endure live conditions and have better feedback suppression.

Compared to a studio SDC in about the same price range, the SM87 would probably tend to be brighter in the highs and have a bit more self-noise than the studio sdc. OTOH the studio SDC is likely to be basically un-usable for on-stage vocals, because of durability, handling noise and feedback.

I don"t think supercardioid is a problem for recording a vocalist. The voice emanates from nose and mouth, so in theory if you mic "incredibly close" with a "very narrow mic", then maybe the vocal tone could be unbalanced, picking up too much mouth if aimed at mouth, and too much nose if aimed at nose. But in that case it would be up to the user to adjust distance and mic aim to get the desired sound. The supercardioid mics I've used didn't seem radically tighter than cardioids.

Cardioid is just a geometric shape anyway. So far as I know includes many possible "cardioid looking" shapes. Some nice enough cardioid condenser mics seemed to me a lot "wider" than common live mics. Am confident enough that the pickup pattern is cardioid shaped, but some of the condensers seemed to pick up a lot more side sound than common live dynamics.

Neodymium magnets are LOTS stronger than older types. If you were to keep the diaphragm and coil the same and use a magnet the same size/shape but with stronger magnetic field, it would tend to make a more efficient generator which converts the same acoustic energy into a higher voltage.

But when manufacturers design a neo mic based on an older design, they wouldn't necessarily continue using exactly the same diaphragm, coil and transformer as the old design.

Strong magnetic fields interact with and influence the motion of moving parts in their vicinity. For instance if you have a hot strong magnet guitar pickup and adjust the pickup "too close" to the guitar strings, the strong magnetic field affects how the strings vibrate and can change the guitar tone (because the strings are vibrating differently). I'm not expert on it, but saw cases where too-close placement made the guitar sound distorted even when the signal is clean.

Similarly if you change the magnetic circuit in a mic it could change how the diaphram moves, changing the sound of the mic. But then if the designer wants it to sound some other way, he would modify the other parts to work as desired with the stronger magnet.

Neo is in principle a good thing. Beta 57 is an entirely dfferent design and entirely different sound than sm57. It doesn't matter what kind of magnet, beta57 is just a flatter cleaner mic than sm57. Sm57 works fabulous for some purposes, but nobody ever accused sm57 of being flat and uncolored. :)

According to shure's published freq response plots, sm57 and sm58 ought to sound near-identical but for whatever reason I think they don't sound the same. Sm57 to me sounds better than sm58 though maybe it is mere psychomatic superstition.

I never noticed RE20 being particularly low-output, but its been awhile since I used one.

The earlier comment about neo RE20, neo EV 635, and neo RE50, didn't have to do with neo being good or bad. EV is a good company with smart folks. They could make the mics sound however they desire, and therefore they probably desire the curves their newer neo mics exhibit. Just according to my prejudice, the old curves look more desirable.
miketurn
KVRist
 
155 posts since 22 Jun, 2015

Postby miketurn; Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:17 pm Re: Condenser Microphone - Opinions

@ghettosynth
Wow, thank you very much for this picture, yeah you are probably right that removing the wax would probably be needed to do it right. Question would be though, those who remove the transformer don't have to worry about this, but if you put a switch in to keep the transformer, now the transformer is no longer held in place anymore, you will have to melt a candle over it to get that wax back :)
Hard to say if it would be worth it or not, on top of that if removing the transformer requires more gain, I wonder how much more it would need, I think I read like 10db more.

@JCJR
Thank You for your response
It seems that many feel that the Beta 57 is an impressive microphone
I finally looked up a quick video about the EV RE20 vs RE320, not much about the gain was mentioned, but apparently the RE320 is a brighter mic and more designed for singers.
Funny, the SM7B has a lot of mentions about using it to sing with but I have not seen anything about using the RE20 for this application, although I am sure it is probably great for singing as well.

So nobody has really experienced any issues with supercardioid patterns and their pickup from the rear in a home setting?

Just realized that this "Condenser" thread has turned into 90% Dynamic :)

Ahhh, overall though I am still quite confused at the moment.
ghettosynth
KVRAF
 
11097 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Postby ghettosynth; Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:32 pm Re: Condenser Microphone - Opinions

miketurn wrote:@ghettosynth
Wow, thank you very much for this picture, yeah you are probably right that removing the wax would probably be needed to do it right. Question would be though, those who remove the transformer don't have to worry about this, but if you put a switch in to keep the transformer, now the transformer is no longer held in place anymore, you will have to melt a candle over it to get that wax back :)
Hard to say if it would be worth it or not, on top of that if removing the transformer requires more gain, I wonder how much more it would need, I think I read like 10db more.


Yes, you will have to be much more careful. I would build a small pcboard insert to mount the switch to with a hole in the middle for the transformer. I would then hot glue the transformer in the hold and slide the entire pc board in as a unit. It is a non-trivial task if you've never done it before. You don't want things flopping around in there but you do want to be able to work on it. Personally, I think that you're better off to just mod, or don't mod, the SM57 and be done with it.

I have thought about doing a similar mod where I put a cloudlifter style preamp in the SM-57 body. This then makes the mic bulletproof because it will require phantom power.

Some interesting videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSO7cMJZKkk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crNoqPdKNMk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlLEPVs1Dvw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIB0nYNl1IQ
JCJR
KVRAF
 
2309 posts since 17 Apr, 2005, from S.E. TN

Postby JCJR; Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:59 pm Re: Condenser Microphone - Opinions

Some stars have performed and/or recorded with RE20 among other kinds over their careers. Including Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles. But if somebody sings good enough it gets to tbe point that (IMO) the mic choice becomes nearly irrelevant. Searching youtube for Ray Charles Live, the most common mic looks to be sm58, but he sounds great regardless.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=wDZFf0pm0SE

In addition to vocal and announcer, RE20 was a common pick for doghouse bass and kick drum, but a good mic will work for about anything, though maybe there is always one particular mic that would work "best" for any specific task.
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