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Hey there!

I've been doing a Podcast for a while now but recently I've decided to step up my game a bit and start a daily show, but I need more serious equipment and I don't really no much about these hardwares.

I've been foolish enough to buy the RODE Podcaster, which as far as I know is a dead end due to it's inability to work with audio interfaces.

What I need is two Mics, the ability to fade in music, play audio clips while recording, take phone calls, and an overall close to radio experience.

I'm about to get two Shure SM7B or Electro-Voice RE20 mics, but I can't really figure out what else I need.

Are there better/cheaper mics I overlooked? My budget is $1400-1500 tops, but for that I need the mics, cables, boomarms and whatever elae I need to connect to my computer.

Thank you!


Boswell Tue, 10/11/2016 - 05:41

The SM7B and the RE20 are both respected studio announcement microphones, but particularly the SM7B does need to feed a pre-amp with plenty of gain (60 -65 dB). These mics would normally set you back in the region of £400 each, but I see Bax-shop currently has RE20s as B-stock at £245 with a 3-year warranty. They are also doing the K&M desk boom arms for £131, which would be OK for the SM7B, but the RE20 is a bit heavy for that arm.

If you wanted not to spend so much on microphones, Shure SM58s can work well for studio use, but you may need a longer-than-normal pop filter to cut down excessive bass proximity effect.

Where you have to be careful is in choosing the type of interface to use. If you are the single announcer/mixer/operator of this show and plan to be doing interviews (both live in the studio and over the internet or phone), you will need a manual mixer with faders that you can operate quickly. A small 6 or 8-channel mixer that has XLR inputs plus stereo line jack and phono (RCA) inputs and a stereo USB output may well be the way to go rather than getting a conventional audio interface that would necessitate mixing in the computer.

Tell us a bit more about your proposed way of working, and we can make further suggestions.

Boswell Tue, 10/11/2016 - 08:10

Yes, the ARx USB is one of the ranges I was going to suggest, depending on how he responded to my earlier post. However, in my view, linear faders are essential for live work, and although the $400 AR8 has enough I/O, the rotary faders would rule it out. The next mixer up in the range (AR12) has linears and is only $100 more. The AR series can, of course, capture raw tracks via USB as well as the stereo mix, so has flexibility for other uses.

pcrecord Tue, 10/11/2016 - 08:12

If I read the specs correctly, the StudioLive preamps are giving 50db. I'm guessing it would be at the limit to drive an SM7b. If they are clean at the upper levels, that's fine. If not...

Like Bos said, it'll be important to know exactly what the end product aim at.

At 1500$, I'd choose a ISA one preamp with the converter option + any presonus or focusrite interface that has the compatible digital input and then go in a store with the rest of the money and buy the best mic that fits my voice.
Add another 600$ and I'd get a compressor like the Warm audio WA76.

I know, I know pcrecord is talking about the ISAs again, but there isn't a lot of option with a digital converter on board ;)

Don't forget to check used gear. you could get decent mics at a fraction of the price.. but you need to try them first.

viktor Tue, 10/11/2016 - 10:32

So basically just to recap. There would be me and my guest in the same room, it's an untreated room, so I need to pick mics accordingly. The guests are local artists, musicians, comedians, so for to show off their stuff, I would need to play YouTube clips, or some audio files from my computer (Mac), and I'd like to make phone calls, and let people call in once I go live.

There is about one meter between me and the guest, that's why I was thinking of the SM7B, but there might be something that would work for me as well. (Rode Broadcaster maybe) There is nobody to help me, I would have to control all the levels, fade ins and such. I messed up in my first post, my budget is about £1400-1500 tops. All I have now is my computer and one rode psa1 studio arm, since as far as I know, the podcaster is not fit for this.

I hope I didn't leave out anything, I really appreciate your help guys.


DonnyThompson Tue, 10/11/2016 - 14:09

The SM7b would work as long as you have a pre with sufficient gain. Many preamp/i-o's in the lower price ranges offer gain ranges of only around 50-60 db ( some even as low as 48) which, while is a doable range for most condensers, is not so optimum for low output dynamics, like the SM7, or for ribbon mics.

One option is to look at an inline gain booster, something like the Cloudlifter C1 or the Cathedral Pipes Durham. These inline devices take volts from the phantom power on your preamp and convert it to additional gain ( up to 20db) and are commonly used for low output mics. Personally, for the situation as you described, I'd opt to stay away from condensers, (because in your untreated environment, they would probably pickup too much of the room), and I would look at using a good dynamic instead.



viktor Tue, 10/11/2016 - 14:21

I prefer dynamic mics over condensers, so I'm going to stick to those.

So basically I need the StudioLive AR12, (I do want the linear faders, and also there is room to grow) and a gain booster like the Cloudlifter (one for each mic)? Do I need the Cloudlifter for a different dynamic mic? RE20 for example.

dvdhawk Tue, 10/11/2016 - 16:36

The Shure SM-7B is a notoriously low output mic, and either requires a quality preamp capable of +60dB of gain, or something like a Cloudlifter to boost it's output level by up to 25dB. The PreSonus AR-12, like many modern devices, max'ed out is only going to provide 50dB of gain from the preamp, and running anything wide-open is usually asking for residual noise.

The RE-20 is not a real high output mic either, but they've been used for years (decades actually) without any kind of booster for everything from broadcast vocal to inside a kick drum. The Heil mics provide more output level than an standard SM58, but having said that, all microphones will generally benefit from using the best preamp(s) you can fit into your budget.

Specifications can be hard to decipher and/or just plain misleading, but these are the manufacturers specs for some of the mics being discussed. (some of which needed to be converted so they'd all have the same unit of measure for reference)

In descending order of output level:
PR30 -51.00 dB (2.82mV)
PR40 -53.90 dB (2.02mV)
SM58 -54.50 dB (1.85mV)
RE20 -56.48 dB (1.50mV)
SM7B -59.00 dB (1.12mV)
*All at 1kHz

So if it's an AR-12, budget for Cloudlifters to go with your SM7B, or pick mics with stronger output.

FWIW: I own 4 out of the 5, and have hands-on experience with all but the PR40. A situation I will rectify in the near future.

paulears Sat, 10/15/2016 - 12:38

With small radio stations all going digital and layout based, there are loads of radio specific mixers on the usual places like ebay. Radio operation is very different - the gain staging set up to allow you to shove the fader right to the end stop, not faff around like we do at three quarters or so. You set up a limiter/compressor to allow you to have some leeway in you mic distance, and often quite basic room treatment that works for the voice rather than full range like you need for music. The EV and Shure mic options are very US centric, in British radio there's a much wider choice of mics - nowadays mainly larger condensers, but BBC local radio here still use plenty of dynamic Beyer 201s - which are hypers!

The secret with radio is ergonomics so your sound remains consistent - no going off mic to reach a button or to turn to talk to your contributor. A sensible sized room, rather than a cupboard, and something sensible for a desk. Doesn't need to be even very clever - an older radio desk will work really well - and almost certainly already capable of handling the popular US mics.


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