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Cheap(ish) vocal microphone

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by Isaac Adni, May 5, 2016.

  1. Isaac Adni

    Isaac Adni Active Member

    I'm selling my Rode NT-USB, and I'd like to replace it with a proper XLR mic to go with my new audio interface. I was thinking along the lines of the Rode NT1 or the Rode NT2-a (probably out of those two I'd go for the Rode NT1). However, would it be better to get some other mic for that price range - would a dynamic mic like the Sure SM7B be better for my untreated room, although I'd also like to be able to use that same mic in the future as a drum overhead (and obviously I wouldn't be able to do that with a dynamic mic). But of course, if a dynamic mic would be far better as a vocal mic, I might have to go for that. Or are there any other mics that I should really consider?
  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Where did you get that information? Hundreds of hit records have been recorded using dynamic mics as drum overheads... ribbons, too.

    The SM7B is a great dynamic mic, an industry standard go-to... but you'll need a beefy pre - one that has enough gain to get it up to its optimum levels, because it's a lower output mic than condensers ( and some other dynamics).

    If you do go that route, look for a pre that will provide at least 60db of gain, and preferably more.

    65 - 70db is optimal.
    pan60 and kmetal like this.
  3. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    I have both the NT-1A and the NT-2A, the NT2-A is definitely a step up from the NT1-A, and the NT1 for that matter if your budget allows.

    Having said that, if your environment is untreated you would be better off going for a dynamic like the Shure SM-57 or SM-58 which will still perform but will be much more forgiving under those conditions.

    You could pick up a pair for less than an NT-1 (actually, you could pick up 2 SM-58's and an SM-57 for around the price of an NT-1) and have a really good start to your mic locker. Then you would have yourself some good versatile mics for many applications, from recording vocals, recording instruments, a pair of overheads and thats not to mention their live applications for gigging if thats your thing.

    They are found in just about every studio in the world and they are basically indestructable....(Go on @DonnyThompson,...tell the lawnmower story again, you know you want too...I want to hear it again...lol ;))

    kmetal likes this.
  4. Isaac Adni

    Isaac Adni Active Member

    Aww crap - I've just bought the Focsrite 18i8 and I think that has a maximum of 55db of gain...
    I don't really think that there's an audio interface at a comparable price that could do 60+ db :( but I guess I could always use an external preamp

    Obviously the internet was lying to me over dynamic mics only picking up what's close to them so thanks for clearing that up.

    Are you sure the NT2-A is a step up from the NT1? I was talking about the new 2014 NT1 rather than the old NT1.
  5. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    My bad...I did mean the Nt1-a not the NT1
  6. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    What ????.....and here I am thinking that things I read must be true if its on the internet....

    Oh the humanity !!...

    Who would tell such scurrilous lies !!!! ;) {firmly plants tongue in cheek}
  7. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    @Isaac Adni

    After you hear @DonnyThompson 's tale of the lost SM-57 you will want to go buy one....

    The thing is like the Terminator of mics...you just can't kill 'em
  8. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

  9. Isaac Adni

    Isaac Adni Active Member

    Am I right in saying that I won't therefore be able to record with it using my Focusrite 18i8? Focusrite don't actually seem to list the amount of gain on that box. Or should I just head down to my local recording store and test it out?
  10. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

  11. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    You should certainly have at least one SM57 in your mic locker, and there may be other dynamic mics that you could consider in addition.

    As an example, the Beyer M88 is another classic. It has nearly twice the output of an SM57/58, and this may give better results when instrument miking using a Scarlett 18i8 (which has 60dB of gain available on its mic inputs, BTW). The M88 has a hypercardioid rather than a cardioid pick-up pattern, so for live use would need different positioning relative to stage monitors compared with cardioid patterns, but can give help in difficult home acoustic environments.

    Other contributers to these forums also have their own favourite dynamic microphones, including ADK, Sennheiser, Audix and Electrovoice. My Electrovoice RE20 gets a lot of use, particularly where I want to avoid bass boost due to proximity effect.
    Kurt Foster likes this.
  12. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    i'm with Boswell on this. i would go a step further and say get a few. they're great for oh's / hats / kick's / snare & toms / amps. anything between 50 and 15 k hZ. a 58 would work better for vocals.
  13. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    If you can only have one or two like me, I went w the 57s. 58 may have a slight edge in the vocals, but I've always disliked the 58 on distorted electric guitars al lot less, they get hollow in the upper mid, but that peak is what helps them sound good w vocals. So I've always felt it was less compromise overall, to give up a little in the vocal, get something I like on a broader range. The differences are subtle in genral, imho.

    My first mic was an sm 48 that came w my porta studio. I lent it to a friend and he destroyed it at the end of his bands set ala' grunge style. At least he replaced it, albeit w a peavy PV1 w a busted windscreen, lol a survivor from a previous gig of his. Lol the Pv worked fine for years, until it eventually got misplaced.

    Dynamic mics are generally much more forgiving physically and sonically.
  14. pan60

    pan60 Active Member

    I would rather a good dynamic, then a cheap condenser. Just my humble opinion.
  15. Isaac Adni

    Isaac Adni Active Member

    Is this because:
    a) people can generally get closer to dynamic mics, decreasing the signal to noise ratio
    b) dynamic mics generally have a narrower pickup pattern

    And therefore when using dynamic mics as drum overheads the background noise will not in fact be reduced vs a condenser with the same pickup pattern?
  16. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    Dynamic mics are tend to be less sensitive to room noise as opposed to condensers, they have in most cases an omni-directional, uni-directional or cardioid polar pattern. Dynamics are ideal for a wide range of sound pressure levels (SPL) which makes them very versatile.

    Condensers by design of and placement of the capsule tend to be more sensitive, generally require phantom power (either 12, 24 or 48 V) to operate their live circuitry and also polarise their transducer element.

    The diaphragms between the two differ in that dynamics have a rigid diaphragm and coil design whereas condensers have a very thin flexible diaphragm placed close to a metal plate, which makes condensers very sensitive to distant sounds and high frequencies.

    Typical mic polar patterns as viewed from above

  17. Isaac Adni

    Isaac Adni Active Member

    So in a dynamic mic, the capsule is further forward, increasing the signal to background noise ratio, and therefore decreasing background noise? Or are dynamics just insensitive to quiet sounds due to their design?
  18. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    IMO, Dynamic mics in their design of both the capsule and diaphragm and how and where both sit in the microphones overall design and construction has more of an effect in reducing the background noise when used as drum overhead mics.
  19. Isaac Adni

    Isaac Adni Active Member

    Or when used as any type of mic...
  20. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    I think you will find that this has more to do with the rigid design of the capsule of a dynamic microphone.

    A typical dynamic microphone has a smaller capsule, whereas a typical large diaphragm condenser microphone has a much larger capsule.
    dynamic mic capsule.jpg condenser mic capsule.jpg

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