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Voice-Over Recording Microphone in the 100-150$ range?

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Pedro Ramirez
Voice-Over Recording Microphone in the 100-150$ range?
on Dec 30, 2011 at 5:05:09 am

NOTE: Didn't find another forum for this subject. I'm a newbie it topics related to sound-recording.

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Hi! I'm looking for the best microphone in the 100-150$ range, in order to record the voice-overs for a Machinima (movie done inside a video-game).

So, all the recordings will be done in a small room, directly on the microphone. In other words, it doesn't have to be resistant or well-functioning in exteriors, if that means sacrificing sound quality.

Also, I'm perfectly willing to accept a USED microphone, if that means obtaining a much better mic.

Should it be:
-Condenser or Dynamic?
-Unidirectional (Cardioid), Hyper Unidirectional (Hypercardioid)?
-New (but worst) or used (but better)?

Any examples? Any personal experience?

Again, its only use will be VOCAL recording, for the voice-overs in a videogame movie (Machinima). No exteriors, or complicated angles or scenes. All focus is needed on SOUND QUALITY.

OH! By the way. I currently don't have a mixer, so I'm using a CANNON-USB adapter to connect the mic DIRECTLY into my laptop. Will that affect sound quality?

Thanks a lot for any help you can give me! I'm absolutely lost.

Gabriel Balassa.-


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Ty Ford
Re: Voice-Over Recording Microphone in the 100-150$ range?
on Dec 30, 2011 at 1:57:59 pm

Hello Pedro and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

The list of mics suitable for VO goes on forever. You do get what you pay for and by limiting the price, you limit your options. If you went to a recording studio, you'd probably find a Neumann, Sennheiser or AKG mic that costs $1000 - $3000 USD. This mic would be mated with a very good preamp and the room would be designed to reduce reflections so the direct voice was all you heard.

Recording in a small untreated room will result in a recording that sounds like it was recorded in a small untreated room.

All of these limitations and then you ask for SOUND QUALITY.

You don't specify which Canon converter, so I can't answer that question.

I do VO. I teach VO and I also consult with people who want home studios to do VO and music. Commercially acceptable audio is not plug and play. To produce audio that draws no attention to itself requires knowledge and the ability to make proper sense out of what you hear so that you can make adjustments to get what you want. You may have those qualities, but there's no way to tell from here.

My best advice is to consult with a local audio studio or school to see if you can get the training you need to add to your career track.

Regards,

Ty Ford


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


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Pedro Ramirez
Re: Voice-Over Recording Microphone in the 100-150$ range?
on Dec 30, 2011 at 8:19:57 pm

Thanks for answering. Now, clearing a few things up:

1) Currently I can´t allow myself a microphone costing more than $200, for a few personal reasons.

2)My Canon-USB adapter is an "American Sound UM100", which cost around 60$ in Chilean money (it´s probably cheaper in the U.S.A).

3) My movies are not comercially-intended (for now). They are Youtube intended.

There´s this Youtube channel called "Machinima", a very respectful company with a huge community of fans. This community is an essential part in the channel´s development, since a huge part of their videos (over 18.000+) are fan-made.
Of course, to get a video accepted they require a minimum-quality. I already have an HD capture-card, and now I´m focusing on sound. But since most of their videos are fan-made, you can´t expect all of the fans to spend a thousand on a capture card and mic (and also considering most of those fans are minors supported by their parents´s allowance).

Considering Youtube´s already compressing their videos, a $100-200 mic SHOULD, and IS more than enough for Machinima.

Furthermore, I´ve tested the microphone on the Apple Iphone, and I´m pretty sure that´s already quite enough. Adding to that, if you go to any Youtube video you will see little difference between $2000 mics and $200 microphones.

So, I´m not looking for perfect quality, but the best achievable with 200 bucks.

4) You may disagree, but I personally think many of the costs in this world are brand-made, like the MONSTER cables, for example. I have read of Chinese microphone copies which sound even better than their original counterparts, because many of this companies are blind on their brands, also considering that manpower is much more expensive on countries like Germany.
So, while someone can assure quality by buying expensive, I prefer to struggle a bit more and save a few hundred for the same quality.

5) The Shure SM58, the most used mic in the world, has a cost of around $240 brand-new here in Chile, maybe cheaper in other places. I´m pretty, pretty sure I won´t need anything better than that.


Thanks again for your time. Any mic examples will be very appreciated.


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John Fishback
Re: Voice-Over Recording Microphone in the 100-150$ range?
on Jan 1, 2012 at 5:32:57 pm

I agree with all Ty said. Whether a listener can consciously explain that one track sounds different from another - on a subjective level they know. Many years ago a study of audio data rates for inclusion in the DVD spec showed the link between audio quality and perceived visual quality. The test used the same video track with three different audio data rates. When asked to rate the visual quality viewers rated the video with the best audio as best and the video with the worst audio as worst. Remember, the video was identical - only the audio changed. So, audio quality directly affects your audience's perception of your video quality. If it's important that the video is perceived as high-quality, then the audio should also be high-quality. All that said I've heard MXL mics that are surprisingly good vs their price. Also, check out Reflexion Filters. They're a relatively inexpensive way to improve voice recordings in a problem space.

John

MacPro 8-core 2.8GHz 8 GB RAM OS 10.5.8 QT7.6.4 Kona 3 Dual Cinema 23 ATI Radeon HD 3870, 24" TV-Logic Monitor, ATTO ExpressSAS R380 RAID Adapter, PDE enclosure with 8-drive 6TB RAID 5
FCS 3 (FCP 7.0.3, Motion 4.0.3, Comp 3.5.3, DVDSP 4.2.2, Color 1.5.3)

Pro Tools HD w SYNC IO & 192 Digital I/O, Yamaha DM1000, Millennia Media HV-3C, Neumann U87, Schoeps Mk41 mics, Genelec Monitors, PrimaLT ISDN


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Ty Ford
Re: Voice-Over Recording Microphone in the 100-150$ range?
on Jan 1, 2012 at 7:06:45 pm

[Pedro Ramirez] "5) The Shure SM58, the most used mic in the world, has a cost of around $240 brand-new here in Chile, maybe cheaper in other places. I´m pretty, pretty sure I won´t need anything better than that."

Pedro,

It appears you have come to this forum to ask a question you have already answered.

Vaya con dios y buena suerte,

Ty Ford


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


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Pedro Ramirez
Re: Voice-Over Recording Microphone in the 100-150$ range?
on Jan 1, 2012 at 8:20:54 pm

Thanks for answering.

I've certainly taken a look at the Shure SM58, as Ty just recommended. But, as you can see, I'm no expert.

The Shure SM58 is a dynamic microphone. I've heard their advantage over condensers are their resistance and ability to supress condenser "fizzes". But because condensers are the ones used in studios, I understood that they had better sound quality, thus leading me into confusion.

I understand the issues with "cheap" mics and untreated rooms, but that's all I need for now.
All I'm looking for is the best voice-recording mic for around $200, and since I don't know anything between condenser/dynamic, neodimium/other-metal, big/small diaphragm, etc, that's were I need help.

Thanks for your time, and happy new year!


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Jordan Wolf
Re: Voice-Over Recording Microphone in the 100-150$ range?
on Jan 4, 2012 at 6:59:04 am

"I don't know anything between condenser/dynamic, neodimium/other-metal, big/small diaphragm, etc..."

Condenser and dynamic are both types of microphones. Each one uses a different method to transduce the air pressure enacted on their respective diaphragms into a voltage that is usable by a sound system and/or recording device. Most dynamic mics are regarded for their durability and lower cost (except for ribbon microphones), while condensers are regarded as having a "better" high frequency response and faster transient response (see the third paragraph below). Each has its uses and areas where it shines and is rather dull.

The terms "big"/"large" and "small" are usually reserved for mics of the condenser type and refer to the size of the diaphragm (and even that metric is not a standard diameter). Many people prefer to use large-diaphragm condensers for vocal sources.

The "neodymium/other-metal" stuff you talk about refers to the materials that the diaphragm are constructed from. Neodymium is a very lightweight and powerful element, which allows for a faster settling time of the diaphragm (called "transient response"). A faster transient response does not necessarily make one microphone superior over another, but it does enable the unit to pick up more vibrations in the same amount of time than a unit with a slower transient response does.

As far as options go, I would look at the Audio-Technica 2035 or 3035. Prices on eBya (new and used) were around $150 or so, but they may harder to find. Definitely a sleeper of a microphone - very transparent and uncolored. What you put in, you get out - just make sure you listen to your recording environment before tracking with it.

Wolf
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Pedro Ramirez
Re: Voice-Over Recording Microphone in the 100-150$ range?
on Jan 7, 2012 at 3:05:48 am

Thanks!

I'll be researching these mics out. I'll also try to find a good place to avoid echo and apply some possible blanket treatment.

I'm still worried about buying a XLR mic and losing quality when connecting it to the XLR-to-USB adapter and then to my laptop. Any advice on the adapter (American Sound UM100) will be fully appreciated. So will be any other budget-mic models.

Thanks again for your time.


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John Fishback
Re: Voice-Over Recording Microphone in the 100-150$ range?
on Jan 7, 2012 at 6:56:50 pm

Having an XLR connector on your mic is an advantage as you'll also be able to use the mic with conventional mixers and other audio devices.

John

MacPro 8-core 2.8GHz 8 GB RAM OS 10.5.8 QT7.6.4 Kona 3 Dual Cinema 23 ATI Radeon HD 3870, 24" TV-Logic Monitor, ATTO ExpressSAS R380 RAID Adapter, PDE enclosure with 8-drive 6TB RAID 5
FCS 3 (FCP 7.0.3, Motion 4.0.3, Comp 3.5.3, DVDSP 4.2.2, Color 1.5.3)

Pro Tools HD w SYNC IO & 192 Digital I/O, Yamaha DM1000, Millennia Media HV-3C, Neumann U87, Schoeps Mk41 mics, Genelec Monitors, PrimaLT ISDN


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Bobby Stocks
Re: Voice-Over Recording Microphone in the 100-150$ range?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 6:09:08 am

Hi Gabriel,

I personally use a Audio-Technica AT2020 USB microphone and it was right around $100, maybe a little more, but the sound this thing produces is awesome! It is able to capture the lows, louds and highs with great clarity. I went for USB because of the ease of use... it was just plug and play and works great. Plus I didn't have the money to get a better sound card and an interface for a regular dynamic mic.

You can actually see a review of the top 5 USB condenser here:

Top 5 Best USB Condenser Microphones for Recording

Hope this helps!


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Ty Ford
Re: Voice-Over Recording Microphone in the 100-150$ range?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 1:47:29 pm

Hello Bobby and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

I see that that you joined the Cow yesterday and that this is your first post. GBaptist, as you may know, is a blogger who reviews things like microwave ovens, guitar wall hangers and pasta recipes.

From his review, "Practically anyone with a computer and decent microphone can produce their own recordings as easily as a major studio. Recording technology is also evolving rapidly and is at the point where everyday users have access to recording software and tools once reserved only for industry professionals.", one might take away the message that professional audio recording is now a no-brainer. It's not.

The right gear in the right environment operated by the right people using best practices are required to get the best results. I have students who come to me for voiceover training who also want to put studios into their homes so they can work there. I help them do that. As they will tell you, it is not plug and play unless your standards are low.

Hang out here a while and you'll learn a lot from the regular contributors.

Regards,

Ty Ford


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


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