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New MXL V63M or used Shure sm7b or ? for home broadcasting

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by WinnipegSoundGuy, Mar 13, 2014.

  1. WinnipegSoundGuy

    WinnipegSoundGuy Active Member

    Setting up home studio for on line radio and looking for a mike, can anyone tell me why the MXL V63M http://www.musiciansfriend.com/condenser-microphones/mxl-v63m-condenser-studio-microphone-with-shockmount is so cheap ?

    I found a used Shure Sm7b http://www.kijiji.ca/v-pro-audio-recording/winnipeg/shure-sm7b-with-yorkville-adjustable-stand-and-yorkville-cable/573531147?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true

    Or any other XLR suggestions considering a limited budget to run though my board would be much appreciated. I have phantom power on the board but no other home equipment at the moment.

    Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks Gents.
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    the MXL is so cheap because they are cheap mics and they sound it. i would go for the SM7b. it's an industry standard. how much used?
    WinnipegSoundGuy likes this.
  3. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Keeping the price down is pretty simple economics; cheap materials, cheap Chinese labor, hit and miss quality control.

    If that's your budget I'd rather have just about any $100 dynamic, like an SM58 or SM57, for broadcasting.

    The SM7b is much more the type of mic you'd find hanging in an actual radio station. They do take a lot of gain though, so your mixer will need good quiet preamps. If you can get one at a price you're comfortable with, I'd go with it (although $350 for a used one seems steep to me compared to a similar NEW bundle).

    The Electro-Voice RE-20, might be the most widely used broadcasting vocal mic, but you'll probably be shopping used since they're around $450 US.
    WinnipegSoundGuy likes this.
  4. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    Totally disagree guys. The quality of these microphones and the sound is very different to an SM58. US radio stations love the SM7 - always have, but here in Europe we prefer brighter, crisper audio and the Chinese mics of this price range offer really good value for money. If you have 5 times the budget, then there are some nicer sounding mics - but the reality is that with a bit of gentle eq, large diaphragm mics do sound 'bigger'. The RE-20 is seen in the UK in very small numbers, but we have plenty of community radio stations who operate on lower budgets, and need to use more cost effective mics.

    Chinese mics do have production differences from the big mainstream manufacturers. I've imported and sold hundreds over the past six or seven years, and in this time I've had just two different types that were useless - the rest proving to be decent mics. It's very fair to say they are bright sounding. They don't sound like German or East European mics, but personally, I don;t find this an issue.

    Quality control failures really seem to impact on the physical side of things - never, in my experience the electronics. Most of these budget mics are made in factory units where small businesses rent a small workshop area and an office. In the building will be everything they need. When I buy stock - the business use my money to buy the raw materials from somebody else in the building. This is why there appear to be so many similar ones. They will buy the tube, the grills, the rocketry and the pcbs and mic elements from the other businesses and they assemble them. They are not trained or expert, they simply can use a screwdriver -often not too well. You might get a few damaged screw heads, or maybe a self-tapping screw inserted on the 'wonk' - you might spot a bit of poor soldering, but I have never had a dead one. Quite clearly they buy pre-populated pcbs, add the mic, screw them together and then get them screen printed, and then packed. It's a cottage industry until your orders are 500 piece upwards. Up to that level, yes - you are getting some almost home-brew products. It means you can't buy another in a year and have it sound the same. All these things are true - BUT - as most really desirable microphones have a particular 'sound' - so what? The price mean you get a high quality product for not a lot of money. Fair enough, they like all condensers, need a bit of careful treatment. They can have the odd sharp edge, or missing screw - but in bang for bucks they win.

    For the price of one SM7 - I could buy a few Chinese mics. The SM7 is a fine microphone, but it's sound is very mellow, almost dull. However, they're indestructible and don't make much noise when touched - which condensers do.

    The MXL sounds great to my ears and is dirt cheap, has a full warranty, so what's the problem? I cannot subscribe to the sounding cheap stuff that's often trotted out. If I was broadcasting, then I'd not really consider a 57 or 58 because they only sound good very close in - move off mic and they go thin very quickly. It's probably just my UK ears that mean we're used to broadcasters like the BBC and commercial radio using condensers. A few are using the Neumann dynamic, but the tone of condensers seems to work for us over here.
    WinnipegSoundGuy likes this.
  5. WinnipegSoundGuy

    WinnipegSoundGuy Active Member

    $350.00 Kurt, but now realizing that is a little too high for used.
  6. WinnipegSoundGuy

    WinnipegSoundGuy Active Member

    Actually could go about $200.00 on the mic dvdhawk, if that makes a difference? but a huge thanks on the reality price check for the new bundle package. Don't know how I missed that one.
  7. WinnipegSoundGuy

    WinnipegSoundGuy Active Member

    Interesting thoughts on the different sounds preferred in the UK. Learn something new every day - thanks. I always thought a good condenser was the way to go as well for this line of work, just not sure of which is my best bang for about $200.00. Thanks again for the input Paul, much appreciated.
  8. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    You're right Paul, my observations are based on US radio broadcasters. I don't have a clue what you guys are using in Europe. Here it's much more of a close-mic sound. My preference for a dynamic in that situation is just that, my preference. Mostly due to the fact that unless the room is treated to sound great, the sensitivity of any condenser mic (top shelf or budget oriented) is going to work against you. In this case, it's possible for a mic to pick up too much of its surrounding space. If I were using a condenser I'd want a substantial windscreen to cut down on pops and moisture ruining the capsule, which largely offsets the sensitivity edge.
    WinnipegSoundGuy likes this.
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    the prices on these MXL mics are all over the place. i found it sans shockmount for 69 bucks. http://www.musiciansfriend.com/condenser-microphones/mxl-v63m-condenser-studio-microphone

    i picked up an equivalent mic, an Aventone, for 20 bucks delivered to my door from C/L a few weeks back. most these mics are pumped out in the same mic factory in China and rebranded for distribution. q/c is iffy and quality can vary widely from mic to mic. last as i pointed out resale values are nill. stick to the name brands ... akg, Neumann, shure, etc. in the log run you will be glad you did.
    WinnipegSoundGuy likes this.
  10. thatjeffguy

    thatjeffguy Active Member

    I have to echo what dvdhawk mentioned. Unless you're working in a well treated room then using a condenser mic.... ANY condenser, is a mistake. Using a good dynamic (like the SM7b) will cut out much of the room sound and focus attention on your voice. The difference can be huge. I hear a lot of amateur recorded stuff on the web that sounds like crap because I hear all the room ambient sound with the voice half buried in it, as if the voice was ten feet from the mic. Strongly recommend against any condenser unless the room you're using is properly acoustically treated.

    WinnipegSoundGuy and bigtree like this.
  11. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    Here's a few image links for the BBC
    article-2368751-1AE45E96000005DC-672_306x380.jpg _42756551_girl_mic_416.jpg

    Radio 1, Radio 2 and BBC news - although, it's quite common for the interviewees mics to be M-201 dynamics, which the BBC really love - especially in their local radio stations, and outside broadcasts. Our radio favours crisp and clear.
    WinnipegSoundGuy likes this.
  12. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    yeah but BBC also has stringent specifications on room design.

    there's many reasons to choose dynamics. they're robust, don't require phantom power and despite some insinuations there are dynamics that sound "crisp". RE 20's for one and Sennheiser 421 and 441's for others.

    i myself would prefer a well built dynamic than a cheapo 797 condenser that will lose value. just check on what used dynamics cost vs. a 797 condenser on CraigsList.
    WinnipegSoundGuy likes this.
  13. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    I do see your point, but at their price point, they're not really intended to hold value - although my first Chinese imports were rather nice, that I kept two which I still use along side brand new ones, and I really cannot find very much to complain about. For that kind of money, I'm happy enough to trust them but not to be precious about them. Seeing them on top of a very tall stand in a church, and being knocked over by somebody by accident doesn't fill me with dread in the way that I'd feel if they were a microphone costing ten times the amount. They can be used in schools and colleges and nobody cries when they get dropped. Yet, all this said, when they are working the quality level is superior in all the usual recording criteria - so this perhaps explains why the respected recording magazines ceased their China bashing a long time ago - reviewing products from a neutral perspective. In fact - it's quite common to see these offered as prizes - and a quality magazine (Like the UK Sound on Sound) are quite positive. Over hear, Sennheiser 421have fell out of favour. Still seen around a few drum kits when people my age open a mic box, but rarely on younger people. I still have an old AKG D202, which was always a favourite for speech but they don't sound like 'modern' dynamics.

    Oddly - the Shure SM7 in the UK was more popular with film and sound recordists than radio or TV. I do have to admit that the EV RE20 does feature in a few of our radio broadcaster's studios, so we're not totally dynamic free.

    The BBC's room sound rules have been bent quite badly over the past few years, and in one of those pics you can see a presenter holding a mic in a bizarre way - foam windshields and very close in technique seem the modern thing - and at least with a close in omni mic usable audio is guaranteed even when they abuse mic technique - and it's just distance from everything else that lets it work. We have more traditional technique on the Radio 3 and 4 networks, where they still are old fashioned BBC. Listening to the output of Radio 1 (kids, bah humbug) and Radio 4 (mature and dignified) you can really hear a difference. Radio 2 often broadcast from the green room when people don't fit in the studios - nobody notices.
    WinnipegSoundGuy likes this.
  14. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I would the handling noise would be the kicker on any of these choices. I know a lot of jocks that like being able to move about a bit and simply breathing hard into a bunch of those extra hot condensers would send me as the producer up the wall. But maybe they get that out in the processing.
    WinnipegSoundGuy likes this.
  15. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    I didn't see an 80 dollar mic in those bbc pictures. The shock mount for that gold one is probably twice that price. Besides this, I think the OP should just go to a store with cash in hand, and try a few, do a blind test, and just pick whatever sounds best on your voice.

    These convos are always precarious, like trying to tell someone what pair of shoes will fit best or be most comfortable. We haven't even heard the OP describe the general tonality of his voice. As a general guideline I say duller voice + bright mic, brighter voice + duller mic. And as a broad generalization, IMHO, a dynamic is going to work on a wider range of voices, than a condenser will, if for no other reason than a reduced sensitivity, and a narrower frequency response.
    WinnipegSoundGuy likes this.
  16. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    I always think anyone who spends lots of money on mics, speakers or instruments without trying them is daft. My point here, is just that I'm tired of assertions all over the net that Chinese = Bad, and American or European = Good. My experience simply isn't showing this. Big names have had dreadful mics - the AKG C1000 being a good one to mention. Big name, not really cheap, but in an A/B with a Chinese microphone at half the price, to many European ears, the Chinese one wins.

    Of course it's a preference - but if people like the sound of a microphone, and it works for them, does the origin really matter that much. I had an old Shure 515 mic and it was awful. The popular Shure 55 has been revoiced to suit modern ears. The Neumann U87 to many people is quite a mellow microphone. Mellow is a nice word, what does it mean? Mellow = dull, or Mellow = not bright? Semantics really.

    Chinese can be good or bad.

    My favourite microphone that I use regularly is styled after the old European stereo mics. Two capsule, one on top of the other - both either omni, fig-8 or cardioid, and the top capsule can be swivelled up to 90 degrees. For orchestral, choral, quartets, pianos and even plays it's really nice and very versatile. It's Chinese, and construction is a little rough in places - huge spot welds on the inside, but it sounds very nice to me!
    WinnipegSoundGuy likes this.
  17. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    IMHO, if you are buying one of the Chinese condensers, then I think that you should try a few out and have a listen. You may get lucky and come across one that sounds good.
    Although, I don't believe that you need to do so with an AKG414 or a Neumann U87.

    My personal experience with the Chinese condensers has been that they are harsh/brittle sounding. As a hired-gun engineer, I use whatever the client has as their disposal ( unless they want to pay extra and use mics from my personal locker), and I've used many various cheap condensers, because 8 times out of 10, this is what the client owns. To my ears, they have all been "brittle". Is there a Chinese model out there that's not? Well, you've used a few that you like so obviously there must be - but up to this point, I myself haven't yet come across one.
    I have, however, worked with hundreds of upper-level Austrian microphones over the years, and I haven't run into one yet that sounded bad.

    I agree that various descriptions of a mic like the U87 lean from "mellow" to "neutral". But I've never heard one that sounded brittle or harsh. It's not always my first choice, and I don't consider it an "end all-be all" mic ( because I don't think that any mic, regardless of quality, can claim that) but I've never heard one that sounded bad.

    An interesting point, these different audio expectations from country to country. I wasn't aware of what you mentioned.

    As a final opinion, I don't believe that a condenser - be it a high caliber model or a budget model - is always the best choice. Room acoustics really come into play. There are times that a dynamic will serve the situation better. In that case, I'd opt for something like a 58, or, if available, a model like the EV RE20 or Shure SM7.

    IMHO of course.
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  18. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    I've heard some bad mics from akg, mainly the perception series which I describe as harsh and thin. Characteristics I associate w cheap Chinese mics in general, and I would have no surprise if they were manufactured there, in the same way as the rest. I haven't tried every "cheap Chinese" mic out there, and I have no doubt there are "diamonds in the rough", I guess that's a positive aspect of looser quality control/tolerances. I will confess I have heard the mxl v69 sound quite interesting, once, on a fender combo, w a distorted sound, I would describe it as wooly. But that's the only time I've ever found them pleasing. Just my humble experience.
    Here's a pic of Sylvia Masseys c1000, which was used on tools album, undertow, on the lead vocal for the whole album.

    I guess if the shoe fits, wear it. I just bought a pair of $50 shoes, last night, that's a third of the cost of some others in contention, just liked em' better.
    It's funny you mentioned the tastes of different countries, because I have noticed when I watch English television shows like mr bean, or top gear, that they also have a different sense of white balance than American. The American productions seem darker w higher contrast. Either way hasn't stopped me from enjoying :)
    WinnipegSoundGuy likes this.
  19. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    The differences between US and UK are quite interesting, I'm discovering. I think that the only time I actually handled an SM7 was in the 70's, when I had to wire one for a theatre show into a few Shure 4 input mixers, that were cascaded together. No EQ, just rotary controls. Thinking back, it had quite a bit of imported US kit. I remember wondering what the mic actually was, not seeing any make visible (and it was pretty tatty with chunks out of the foam) and only later discovered what it was. U87s, and the newer Neumann's are not common second hand here, so prices are pretty high. I swapped my very old one in the late 90's for two AKG 414s and I didn't miss it.The AKGs sounded much crisper in comparison, but I could never get the warm sound I had got used to. The trouble was that this old sound didn't suit every voice, whereas the 414 can be tamed quite nicely with eq, but you couldn't brighten up the 87 very much.

    Is the C1000 considered nice in the US? It's become rather a joke here in the UK - obviously lots of people love them, but loads of jokes exist, usually along the lines of, What microphone is best to put a tent up with - a C1000, because it's a shame to waste a hammer to bang in the pegs. Almost universally it gets slated for having a nasty, brittle sound. Perhaps this is unfair, but I have a sneaky suspicion the real problem is that they're often used by beginners who just use them badly - blaming the poor mic!
    WinnipegSoundGuy likes this.
  20. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    there are a lot of folks here with loads of experience with mics, many of them on the "other side of the pond" and you can go on 'till you're blue in the face but i doubt you will change their minds. if you like Chinese mics that's fine. it just gives the rest of us an edge. bottom line is i would never choose anything on the basis of what some "radio guy" said. radio audio is infamously horrid.

    to assert that some mic from SP/797 assembled by near slave labor told to "solder this here", as opposed to a fine hand crafted mic assembled by craftsmen is completely absurd. as for myself, i have used both the AKG C1000 and several mics manufactured at 797 and i would choose the AKG anytime.

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