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Advise for rookie

Discussion in 'Recording' started by PDKaster, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. PDKaster

    PDKaster Active Member

    Heya RO folks!
    I've been doing some reading up on gear for podcasting, but I've still got a few info gaps I want to clear up before ponying up the dough for equipment. I'm finding little information out there on recording spoken voice, as opposed to singing. Most of the discussions on microphone choice are for vocals as an instrument. And for podcasting, it's either podcasting on the cheap with USB microphones or high end with additional equipment with gates, limiters, and compressors, etc. The pro quality equipment can come later. But right now I just want to record podcasts where it's just me or somebody I am interviewing.

    Here is the set-up I'm considering:
    Dynamic microphone, don't have one picked out yet but maybe a used Shure
    Behringer Xenyx 502 or 802
    Behringer USB interface UFO 202 or UCA 222
    Audacity

    The main question I have is with quality difference between a dynamic mic with and without a pre-amp. If I go with another mixer that is not equipped with a pre-amp, will I still need to bump up the dynamic mic level to line level? Or does a mixer automatically convert mic to line?

    Another option I was thinking was going from the mixer or even just a uni-directional mic to hard disc recorder. Part of the reason is that USB interfaces aren't as good as more expensive fire wire interfaces. But for the money, I would rather have the occasional portability option of a handheld recorder and a single microphone.

    Many thanks for any advise on this.
    Cheers!
     
  2. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    Sounds like you are on a PC? Audacity is PC-only right?

    In which case I would suggest looking at the Heil mics; the PR40 is I believe originally designed for radio broadcast, I bought one for kick drum and it certainly seems a good wee mic.

    If you are recording only one channel, then try to concentrate your funds into mic and preamp, which yes, you will need, to get the level bumped from mic to line. Almost all mixers have a preamp built in.

    But you don't need to mix anything.

    I'd suggest trying to get a Heil, or an SM7b, for a mic.

    And for a preamp the best single-channel you can get, which will NOT be B*hr1nger. The reason I asked about PC is the Apogee One, is quite good and I am not very au fait with PC although I know the internal EMU ones are good.
     
  3. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    +1 on no mixer needed. In fact avoid it. If your podcasting requires two microphones for two speakers then get an interface that has two preamps in built. K.I.S.S.

    Mic->Interface
    Interface->pc (Audacity)
    Edit
    Publish
     
  4. PDKaster

    PDKaster Active Member

    balanced to unbalanced?

    Thanks for all the advice, especially regarding Behringer. From reading here and on other sites and articles, it doesn't seem to be a highly regarded brand among professionals.

    After thinking more about what I want to do, I've decided to go with a mixer so I can use more than two inputs. But I have another question regarding running a balanced dynamic microphone to an unbalanced, stereo mic input. I want to use the Edirol R-09HR for mobile recording. With 1 line and 1 mic input, that leaves me needing a preamp, but quality ones are out of my price range for now. The Zoom H4N has preamps, but I haven't seen good reviews on the preamp quality. Can I get away with combining a Shure microphone and a Shure A15BT bridging transformer? Here are the specs. It looks to me as if only the PG48 will match, but, hey, I'm new to this.

    Shure PG48 -- output impedance - 600 ohms

    Shure PG58 -- output impedance - 300 ohms

    Shure SM58 -- output impedance - 150 ohms (300 ohms actual)

    Edirol R-09HR
    mic input 30,000 ohms
    Recommended load impedance 16 ohms or greater (not sure this is relevant to the question)

    Shure A15BT
    Impedance
    XLR socket (Female), 33,000 ohms
    XLR plug (Male), 7500 Ohms, easily converted to 600 ohms

    Unbalancing:
    Either end can be unbalanced by connecting pins 1 and 3.

    Voltage difference:
    From 33,000ohms to 7500Ohms, 6.4 dB
    From 33,000Ohms to 600Ohms, 17.4 dB.
     
  5. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Unlikely. And who told you the preamps in the Zoom weren't good? Not anyone that knows anything about recording. No, they aren't Class A top of the line. They will run circles around any mixer you've ever considered in your price range. I would be very surprised if they were substantially different than the Edirol in fact. They're all made in the same three factories in China anyway. I don't think for the money and four tracks you could possibly do better than a Zoom H4n.
     
  6. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    And the Zoom can be utilized straight into Audacity as a USB mic/interface.
     
  7. PDKaster

    PDKaster Active Member

    I really only saw one negative thing about the H4N preamp sound quality. The rest were questions on other boards asking a reviewer about whether the preamps were improved with the latest version, but there was never any answer. What's interesting about the Edirol is that I wasn't aware there was a preamp, mainly because there is no mention of it in the manual that is on the website. It does mention the options for plugging dynamics and condensers.
     
  8. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    If there is a microphone input it must have a preamp.
     
  9. PDKaster

    PDKaster Active Member

    The mic input is stereo. The spec sheet for the Edirol doesn't say so, but isn't a stereo input unbalanced while XLR microphones are balanced? Sounds like the H4N is the better option.
     
  10. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Correct on all counts.
     
  11. PDKaster

    PDKaster Active Member

    So just for my own bank of general knowledge, what is the use of that bridging transformer?
     
  12. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    To make money from people that didn't buy the equipment they actually needed.

    Back in the day, there was a slew.of equipment that could be found that i/o at consumer level mixed into PA rigs and such. Consumer level gear has a significantly less hot signal and is normally unbalanced. So, when you went to hook up that 8 track player or cassette player from your house into a pro mixing board you had to level the playing field so to speak. The pro level audio signals would make the consumer gear cry and gnash teeth and rend clothing before giving up the magic smoke and conversely the lesser gear often didn't have the nuts to be easily integrated. Step in a Balancing Transformer (cue cartoon music).
     
  13. PDKaster

    PDKaster Active Member

    Thanks, Jack! You know, you, Remy, and Codemonkey ought to get together and write a book. All three of you have a great, and sometimes funky, way with words.
     
  14. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Language is a wonderful thing and the humor is in the manipulation thereof. Too few utilize semantics artfully to the purpose of either erudition or illumination....and a touch of ennui doesn't hurt.
     

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