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I need help with Phantom Power and Mics!!!

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by TomCopey, Jun 13, 2017.

  1. TomCopey

    TomCopey Active Member

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    I'm looking at purchasing my first condenser microphone. I currently already own a mixer that I was planning on using with the mic that I buy, this mixer is an Alto ZMX52 however I'm having a big issue deciding which Microphone to buy due to phantom power. The mixer I currently have has an 18v Phantom power output and a lot of the microphones I'm looking at require a 48v supply. Some places say that I could use a 48v mic on a lower voltage supply and others say it wouldn't work at all with some mics. I'm getting quite confused and I could really do with some help with understanding Phantom Power and a little help with what mic I should buy! (I want to try to spend less than £100 ideally)
     
  2. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

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    Western Pennsylvania, USA
    Hello and welcome to RO.

    Before we worry too much about the voltage differences, what are you hoping to do with this equipment?

    I don't mean to rain on your parade, and I know it's not what you want to hear at this point, but I can't think of any condenser mic in that price range worth that isn't a complete waste of money.

    Many condenser mics can do with much less than 48V, for others it's a necessity. There are also standalone phantom power units, but that will take a significant portion of your already strained budget.

    Your intended use, and expectations will go a long way in someone here giving you guidance. A few more details would really help.
     
  3. TomCopey

    TomCopey Active Member

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    I'm intending to use this mic for streaming and general gaming use, which is why the budget is a bit low. I don't need the mic to be too crazy, i just want a better sounding mic than one used on a pair of headphones.
     
  4. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

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    Honestly, I think a condenser mic (even a really good one) would be overkill for what you want to do. Because of their hyper-sensitivity, a good condenser mic is much more likely to pick up (in addition to your voice), the sound reflecting from the walls of the room, the fan(s) in your computer or gaming system, the fridge, your stomach gurgling, birds, the neighbor's dog barking, outside traffic, etc. I think a good quality dynamic vocal mic would A) do a better job picking up your voice than a condenser mic, B) be right about where you want to be budget-wise, and C) completely eliminate your phantom power concerns.

    The Shure SM58 is the industry standard vocal mic for a reason. You can even get SM58S with an on/off switch if that's of any use to you while gaming. And after a while, if you decide you want to try something different, the Shure will retain some resale value, whereas the cheap condenser will not.

    That's my advice, for your consideration. We'll see if anyone else can make a case for going a different way.

    Best of luck!
     
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    excellent advise. (y)
     
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    Great advice on this from Dave.
    If you weee looking at doing actual recording, then a condenser mic might be worth investing in. But based on your intentions, an SM58 would be perfect. It doesn't require phantom power, it's got Great audio quality, is very directional so it won't pick up a bunch of extraneous noise, and.... they're built like tanks.
    I have both 57's and 58's that I've had for years. Some of which are now pushing 30 years old, and they've seen some pretty serious punishment on the road doing shows, and they still work perfectly and still sound great. 57's are going for around $90 or so, and 58's are sitting by at around $109. (US)
    Buy either of these shure mics... and never worry again. ;)
     
  7. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

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    Yep, get a 58.
     
  8. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    Yes the SM58 is a great choice for an untreated room.
    The only thing that could be mention as to be carefull of is if you are far from sm57 (a feet or more), you will need to push up the gain on the mixer.
    Alto products are not what I'd consider high quality. It's possible that by pushing the gain up, it'll produce alot of noises.
    The optimal distance for a SM58 is touching lips to 6-8inches. If you can live with that, that's your best choice !

    Before you turn to other bad choices, stay away from USB mics. Owners have a ton of problems with them, drivers, latency, insufficent USB power etc...
    Also, if you see a New SM58 selling below 40$, it's probably a clone and won't perform as well. (specially with budget preamps)
     
    dvdhawk and audiokid like this.
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Super advise!
     
  10. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    To add to my fellow colleague's comments and advice., (including my own)
    When I mentioned to you above that a condenser mic could be useful to you if you'd been thinking about doing some recording at some point- I should have clarified that a bit better and suggest that a GOOD condenser mic can be useful. Many people starting out have the mistaken notion that just because a mic is of the condenser type, that it will automatically sound good, and this simply isn't true. There are cheap condensers on the market that can sound shrill and harsh and are noisy. So at some point if you're interested in getting a condenser, come to us and we'll talk about your options based on your budget.
    Bottom line ...don't just buy any condenser mic thinking that all condensers provide good quality sound - because that's not the case.
    The SM58's and 57's are great sounding dynamic mics, are industry standards on both professional stages and in professional studios, and can be relied to work for years...decades even.
    And as Marco said (@pcrecord ) stay away from 57's and 58's that are priced "new" at
    $40-70... because they're gonna be counterfeit knock-offs. They may even have the Shure logo on them, but they'll be fakes and will sound terrible. Genuine new Shure 57's will cost you between $90 and $100, and genuine new 58's will be priced between $95- $110 (U.S.).
    That's not to say you couldn't find used models that are genuine for less than that on eBay, just be careful if you see them priced as "brand new" below $90.
    There are ways to tell which ones are counterfiet models, but I'll let you do the leg work on that. Google "how to tell fake Shure SM58". It's not difficult to tell the difference once you know what you're looking for.
     
  11. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    I will have a big reveal about that on my next youtube video !! ;)
     
  12. Chris Perra

    Chris Perra Active Member

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