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Studio Mic vs. Shotgun Mic

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Naiche Lujan
Studio Mic vs. Shotgun Mic
on Jan 28, 2008 at 9:51:19 pm

So, I am trying to record some short radio quality segments here at home so I don't have to basically rent studio time. I need to invest in a new mic (and digital recorder) for this and wanted to get some suggestions for a mic going to a digital recorder (like a ZOOM H-4 with XLR inputs, not sure which recorder I am settling on yet). I would also be open to a PC audio card solution, however, I may not be able to setup another computer for this.

I tested two different mics, one a shotgun and the other an ancient studio mic(Electro-Voice RE20). I thought the shotgun mic would get a better result as it was newer, but was surprised at the stunning difference in quality when switching to the Studio Mic.

For this application the voice has to be crisp, full, well-rounded, and of course compatible with a digital recorder.

I would appreciate any suggestions, the more specific the better, such as brands and models.

The budget for both the recorder and mic should not exceed $1000(preferably closer to $500). But I'm looking for a brainstorm and to get input so all suggestions are welcome.

Thanks


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Naiche Lujan
Re: Studio Mic vs. Shotgun Mic
on Jan 29, 2008 at 12:41:58 am

OK, I did a little more research and it seems like the RE20 is still a good studio mic (although mine is not very functional anymore, can these be fixed?)

Seems like for this application I want a dynamic cardioid mic.

I guess what I'm looking for is what the cheapest mic I can get away with for radio quality recordings.



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Ty Ford
Re: Studio Mic vs. Shotgun Mic
on Jan 29, 2008 at 3:37:38 am

Hello Naiche and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum

Contact EV about the re20. They may be able to repair it.

For the cheapest mic at radio quality, try the Audio Technica AT2020.

Regards,


TyFord

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Naiche Lujan
Re: Studio Mic vs. Shotgun Mic
on Jan 30, 2008 at 12:06:49 am

Thank you both for your responses.

Thanks to your suggestion Ty I contacted a local service center and they explained that the repair would be around $75 as it sounded like a common problem of the inside deteriorating and the capsule coming loose(it is banging around inside). So, to replace that and the pop filter it came to about $75. This sounds like a bargain for a $400 mic. I might just go with the one I have since it seems to still be a worthy mic.

Thanks too for the suggestions on the other cheap-ish mics. If for some reason this one can't be repaired or the price gets too high, I may go with one of the ones you suggested.

Phil,
I don't necessarily have to have a dynamic cardiod mic, but from what I read it sounded like that was the most appropriate option. Can you explain more why you recommend a large diaphragm condenser mic for this application?
I also would like to be able to play around recording some music as well. If I get this RE20 fixed, would that be suitable for recording music as well?

Thanks again



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Phil Bankester
Re: Studio Mic vs. Shotgun Mic
on Jan 31, 2008 at 8:31:45 pm

The large diaphragm condenser mics generally seem to provide a little warmer, fuller (more full?) sound. They are almost always used in studios to record voices, even VO talent for animated films. They have always tended to be very expensive but recent manufacturing advancements have allowed some really fine, lower cost microphones to be produced. I spent some time in radio as an announcer and the stations always had dynamics like the RE20 with windscreens, and we used them really close. The RE20 doesn't exhibit much proximity effect when used up close, which is good in that case. You don't want to use a large diaphragm condenser that way, though. I usually use one at about 10-12 inches with a good pop screen. I don't think you'll find the RE20 to be very good for music recording.

Audio matters!


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Ty Ford
Re: Studio Mic vs. Shotgun Mic
on Jan 31, 2008 at 9:53:39 pm

Hi Phil,

LD (large diaphragm) mics are not necessarily warmer. It's a misconception that big diaphragms make warmer bigger voices.

I thought so as well for years, but proved that wrong with my first uses of a Senny 416 and Schoeps CMC641 for VO work.

You are right about getting too close to LD mics. The proximity effect increases the bass, resulting in a woofy sound.

Regards,

Ty Ford



Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Phil Bankester
Re: Studio Mic vs. Shotgun Mic
on Jan 31, 2008 at 10:24:20 pm

You're absolutely right, Ty. It's a big generalization to say LDs are warmer, especially given some of the really cheap ones of recent years.

I've never tried either of the mics you mentioned for VO work, but I can imagine they would, indeed, be warm. I spent a bit of time listening to recorded samples of short shotguns yesterday, including those two. They sound great on a boom at 18", so I expect they would sound great closer as well. They are a little pricey, too!

When I use the AKG Perception or the Shure KSM 44 for VO I do use a low freq roll off to help reduce the proximity effect.

Audio matters!


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Naiche Lujan
Re: Studio Mic vs. Shotgun Mic
on Feb 1, 2008 at 4:58:32 pm

That you Phil. That really helps.
Maybe I should start another thread at this point, but I'm curious to know what mic would be good for recording music, especially live performances, jam sessions, and studio sessions.
I know there a million X-factors, but in general which type would be good for each scenario.
I'll start a new thread since this is a different topic.



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Phil Bankester
Re: Studio Mic vs. Shotgun Mic
on Feb 1, 2008 at 6:12:51 pm

Well . . . I think I'm about to suggest trying a mic that I have no personal experience with, but Ty mentioned in an earlier post. I would give serious consideration to a pair of Audio Technica AT2020 mics (assuming you want to record performances and jam sessions in stereo). My experiences with Audio Technica mics has always been good, and I've heard a lot of great things about this one, especially considering the price - $99.00. I'm about to order a pair, I think. I have used a pair of Shure SM81 mics in an XY configuration for a lot of different live events with good success, but they are considerably more money. Another good option is the Audio Technica Pro37R.

Audio matters!


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Phil Bankester
Re: Studio Mic vs. Shotgun Mic
on Jan 29, 2008 at 3:54:39 pm

I'd like to offer a couple of suggestions. If you really want a dynamic cardioid, try the Shure Beta 58 for around $160. It's the best sounding dynamic I've personally used for the price. My recommendation, though, is for a large diaphragm condenser mic. I have several higher end mics like AKG C-414, Shure KSM-44, Mohave Audio M-200, and others. I also own an AKG Perception 200. This is the finest inexpensive studio mic I've ever come across. It comes with a spider shock mount and metal case for around $160. I've used it for VO work, and as a live vocal mic for a bluegrass group (it also sounds great on a banjo!). It requires phantom power, but the recorders you're considering can power the mic.

If you can afford it, the Shure KSM-44 is my favorite right now. It's my main VO mic, and we're also using it on a boom for interviews. It has a very warm, detailed sound up to a couple of feet away.

Good luck!



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