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New to Recording - Need helping Picking out a decent Mic...

Discussion in 'Recording' started by BKStoltman, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. BKStoltman

    BKStoltman Guest

    I am looking into doing some fairly serious Podcasting, and I am looking for quality. I have picked out a decent Preamp, that fits my budget and am now looking into mics. I am not going to singing into my Mic, Only speaking but I want the audio quality clear, and hopefully warm sounding.

    Originally I was going to pick up an AT2020, which I had read had a large array of positive reviews, but then I looked into the AT3035, and the reviews that I read said it was an even better mic for the money, and you can get them new on Ebay for $135. I had my mind set pretty much on the AT3035 but then I began speaking to a friend of mine who dabbled in the recording gadgets, and he said he wasn't all that impressed with the Audio-Technic Mics he had used in the past. He recommended I pick up the Shure SM57, I looked into that mic and it also has many very positive reviews, however some reviewers said the Shure SM57 is a good mic for all around use, and everyone should have one, however if you are recording vocals in particular that a nice Condenser Mic may be better.

    What is your opinion, I am really new to all this I only recently learned about PreAmps, and Mixers, and Limiters. It is all very exciting. Again I must reiterate I am not going to be singing into the Mic, or play in a band, but I do want quality for my money. I am willing to spend at the most for a mic $200. I have even looked into the AT4040 but reviews were very mixed on this mic, and finding one under $200 wasn't quite as easy, possible but would require some good timing.


  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Hey Blake-
    Welcome to the addicting world of recording.

    First, if possible, go to a store where they'll let you try as many mics as possible. Going by reviews can be dangerous. True, there are some ubiquitous mics out there (such as the venerable SM57), but they may not be exactly what you're looking for either.

    All of the AT series mics are good. Some are fantastic. The 20 and 30 series mics are great values and good performers. The 4040 is a great mic as well. I own a pair of them along side some VERY expensive mics and they hold their own. What most don't like about them is that they're rather unhyped so they can sound boring. This is precisely what I like about them.

    The reality is, there are plenty of choices and the ONLY way to narrow it down is to play around with some mics and see what suits you. Do you have a Guitar Center or Sam Ash close by?


    Be careful...
    Don't get too carried away. Mixers have preamps built in. Owning one OR the other in your case will suffice so long as you have some way of getting your audio into your computer. (Please don't say Sound Blaster...)

    A limiter is a tool that you do not need to mess with yet. Yes, it can be a helpful tool for PodCasters. However, in most peoples' hands, they're a weapon not used well. Learn as much as you can with a basic mic and a basic mic pre, then move on to more complex things.

  3. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    A 57 for spoken word isnt going to be the best due to its off axis rejection. A person sitting in front of a mic and talking wants to be able to move around on the mic a bit and still keep the level fairly close to the same.

    Its not so much a matter of quality in this case but a matter of practcality and correct toolage for the job.

    Whoever told you that Audio-Technica mics didnt impress him is an idiot. Obviously he hasnt a clue.

    Some of the best mics made and certainly for the money, some of the best bargains. A 3035, a 2020, or if you can swing a 4040 will do everything you could ever want them to do for your purpose. A windscreen or a sock over any mic for broadcast BTW is necessary.

    A high quality dynamic mic will also do the job. Look for hyper cardioids as you want some solid and tight low end response.
  4. BKStoltman

    BKStoltman Guest

    Thanks for the tips, I appreciate it very much. As far as the mixers and such go. The Preamp I was looking at is a ART Tube MP w/ USB, which seemed like a decent start amp, with a built in Limiter. The Mixer I wasn't all into getting since I only intend to use 1 mic but it could be fun to play with. My friend who dabbles in recording offer to give me his old 8 channel Mixer, I didn't ask the model all I know is it is free and he purchased a $400 24 Channel Mixer. The Mixer he is giving me also has a preamp in it as well he said.

    As far as mics go, I am coming from a $9.99 microphone from walmart - so anything is going to be an upgrade. To be totally honest I have no clue what sounds good to me. It would be a good idea to hear them but I have a feeling I will have to buy one hopefully a good one use it for a year or so with my software I was give Adobe Audition CS3, from there I will perhaps in a year or 2 if I find I want a new mic I will move up from there. My goal is as professional and clear sound as can be.

    I have a feeling I am overkilling for what I am using it for, but it makes me happy to know I can dabble and get to know all the basic pieces of a recording studio, and move up from there as need be.

    Any more tips from anyone would be much appreciated.

    Thanks Again,

  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    That preamp should work fine.

    Bear in mind, most, if not all mixers will have preamps on all channels where they have XLR inputs. Also bear in mind, if he's giving it away in favor of a $400 24 channel mixer, it's not a good mixer. (A $400 24 channel mixer - likely a Behringer - is not a good mixer. Unless he got a deal on a Ramsa - which is possible since they go on EBay for dirt cheap sometimes...)

    Don't get bogged down with pricing yet. A good $100 mic (Shure SM57 or Audix OM2) plus a decent preamp (the Art is decent. I wouldn't rank it any higher than that, but for just getting started, it's a far cry better than a Beh***ger...

    Don't forget, you'll need a basic mic cable and a stand.

    Do a search on this forum for anything that might puzzle you - the answers are likely here.

  6. BKStoltman

    BKStoltman Guest

    My guess is that the mixer is a Beringer or whatever - That is the one brand he kept saying was one of his favorites, Beringer and Shure.

    I have the stand and such picked out for now. If i go with the AT3035 which is still what I am leaning towards - however the AT4040 is really tempting.

    The Stand I was looking at is a Atlas DS7E (Desk Stand w/ Adjustable Neck)
    Also a 5 foot XLR Male - XLR Female Cable, as well as a 5 ft USB cable for the Preamp, and also the AT8137 Windscreen for the Mic.



    PS. If I did go with a AT4040 would the same DS7E Desk stand work.
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Sure. You may need some ballaste to hold the stand down since the 4040 (and the 3035) are relatively solid/heavy mics.
  8. BKStoltman

    BKStoltman Guest

    What is Ballaste? - I did a search but couldn't find that word.


  9. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Ballast I think. Generally something heavy you use to weigh things down with. Like sandbags on road signs to stop them blowing away, you need something heavy on top of the base of the mic stand to stop it falling over.
  10. BKStoltman

    BKStoltman Guest

    Gotcha. Here's another question - the Preamp I mentions above the Tube MP w/ USB. Will I getter better sound coming in via the USB, or via the Line In of the soundcard.

    Also if I plug it in via USB, will all programs have microphone cababilities be able to recognize the signal as a mic. An Example is in games, I do play a little Counter-strike here and there, and I would rather just have one mic on my desk not 2. So will a fancy mic running through the preamp into the computer via USB be recognized.


  11. Greener

    Greener Guest

    No reason it shouldn't as long as the device drivers for your external sound device are set as default. If you have issues poke it.
  12. BKStoltman

    BKStoltman Guest

    Will either USB or Line In give me a better signal, or will the signal be the identical whichever port I choose.
  13. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Totally different. Your line in is your onboard soundcard (I'm assuming) and your usb is your external card?
    Which ever device is better will give you betterer sound.
  14. BKStoltman

    BKStoltman Guest

    Currently I have a Soundblaster (I know soundblaster had a bad rap for recording) but anyway I have a Soundblaster Audigy 2, and the USB's are onboard USB's.
  15. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Try them both and see.
  16. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    My bad...I hit the extra "e" on the end by mistake...

    Yes, I meant ballast.
  17. BKStoltman

    BKStoltman Guest

    Well I think I have come to my conclusion. I can't order the stuff till next Thursday (6-12-08) but I am looking forward to it.

    I am going to pick up the following

    Microphone: AT4040 (Around $250 on Ebay)

    Stand: DS7E

    Preamp: Tube mic PreAmp w/ USB http://www.bswusa.com/proditem.asp?item=TUBEMPPS-USB

    Windscreen: AT Large Windscreen

    USB Cable: 5ft

    XLR Cable: 5ft

    Total Dollars: Approx $425

    Does everything look good, any recommendations, or errors in logic.


  18. Oats

    Oats Guest

    if your friend is giving you a mixer use it! you can always buy a pre later if you like. seems like a condenser would be beneficial for voice but alot of radio guys use sm7 or EV dynamic mics. i agree with the other posters-- experiment and stay with what you like. don't worry about rep, names etc... good luck!

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