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THE T.BONE SCT800 - sounds as good as it looks?

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THE T.BONE SCT800 - sounds as good as it looks?

Postby jimshady » Sat Jan 29, 2011 1:19 pm

Hi All.

I recently posted a question about mic pre amps (not him again!) and through the excellent answers realized that my priority should not the pre - more important was my recording environment (specifically lappy fan noise) which could be most easily fixed by recording straight to a digital recording device. Also more important than the pre in this case was the mic itself - I use a AKG C900, an condenser designed for live use, but now as I'm doing voice over work need a mic better suited to that. The Sontronics SCT-2 was highly recommended, but in my own research I found THE T.BONE SCT800, which is the same price (189 Euros) and has seemingly identical specs. Indeed, except for the blue and gold bling factor, they even look rather similar. I found this glowing review of it -
http://www.dancetech.com/item.cfm?threadid=1750&lang=0
Does anyone out there have experience with this pup? If it sounds half as good as it looks, it may be worth a punt.

Cheers,

jim
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Re: THE T.BONE SCT800 - sounds as good as it looks?

Postby steve355 » Sat Jan 29, 2011 3:00 pm


I have not used that mic but I have owned some other cheap Chinese microphones (not that there is anything wrong with things Chinese). They are not very good.

The "toob" is there for marketing purposes only. The comparison with the AKG, in any way other than looks, is silly.

There are some very very good old microphones with valves that look a bit like that, but they cost a little more.... here is some porn....

Microphones

Let's say 5 grand minimum.

I would say don't waste your money.

If you want a Chinese mic look at SE. Other good non-chinese brands in your price park are Rode and Audio Technica. Don't bother with valves, get a transistor mic.

Steve
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Re: THE T.BONE SCT800 - sounds as good as it looks?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Sat Jan 29, 2011 3:25 pm

I've not used a Sontronics STC-2 but I have a couple of other Sontronics mics (STC-1, Sigma) and they are excellent and good value.

CC
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Re: THE T.BONE SCT800 - sounds as good as it looks?

Postby jimshady » Sat Jan 29, 2011 3:39 pm

5 grand. Indeed. Back on planet Budget Home Studio, Thonmann are selling the Rode NT1 for 185 Euros, which is even slightly cheaper than the Sontronics and the T-bone. The review I posted a link to seemed to be independent, but if what you say about Chinese mics is true, then getting the NT1 is the clear choice.

Has anyone done a direct comparison of the NT1 and the Sontronics or T-bone?

I just noticed the Audio Technica AT2020 for 98 Euros! What's the catch there?

Cheers!

jim
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Re: THE T.BONE SCT800 - sounds as good as it looks?

Postby Stan » Sat Jan 29, 2011 3:52 pm

I have heard good things about the SCT800 - not just a pretty face. damn good mic by all accounts - it even gets a mention here
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Re: THE T.BONE SCT800 - sounds as good as it looks?

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:08 pm

The AT2020 can be a tad noisy for anything other than close up vocal work. So perfect for you. I really like the sound of these.

I much prefer them to the Rode mics on close up vocal. I dislike their 10k boost, it sounds fake to my ears whereas the AT stuff sounds more natural with a nice full low end. That said, I worked with a VO guy who had a modified NT2, it sounded great. So did he though!
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Re: THE T.BONE SCT800 - sounds as good as it looks?

Postby caveman82 » Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:13 pm

I have a T-Bone Multi Pattern LDC and it's a nice microphone for the price. There is a lot of snobbery surrounding Chinese Built microphones often by those who haven't tried them. A lot of people dismiss one particular Chinese brand at the expense of the other when they were both made in the same factory and contain the same components.

Check out the low budget section of the Gearslutz forum if you do the mic. There are a lot of cheap Tube LDC's around with a few mods here and there will sound fantastic.
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Re: THE T.BONE SCT800 - sounds as good as it looks?

Postby Spiked Lunch » Sat Jan 29, 2011 5:45 pm

I've a few Tbone mics, a ribbon and a pair of SDCs. I also have a AT3035 - I'm happy with them all.

I bet the t-bone valve microphones are pretty reasonable too. I believe the valves in them are used correctly and are not just a marketing tool hence the hefty power supply that is supplied with them.

Mike
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Re: THE T.BONE SCT800 - sounds as good as it looks?

Postby Tui » Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:50 pm

The components used by Rode are made in China, too.
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Re: THE T.BONE SCT800 - sounds as good as it looks?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:39 pm

Tui wrote:The components used by Rode are made in China, too.

I think that's been refuted in other threads..............

This seems a somewhat scatter gun approach to mic selection. It would seem the mic you are about to buy will have a primary purpose as a voice over mic for your own voice, in a less than perfect acoustic.

With that in mind I'd suggest you base your decision on what mic within your budget, will deliver the best results for your particular application.

Whilst industry standard dynamic mics like the SM7 and RE20 may be out of your budget, it could be that a nice stage dynamic, might suit your application better than a cheap studio condenser (most of which will have a healthy HF lift).

Best of all would be to trial as many mics within your budget as possible. If you're looking at a dynamic which may be a notch up from say an SM58, you could look at a Sennheiser e840 or e845. These are mics you could work closer than say a studio condenser, thus attenuating room sound and ambient noise.

What you'll probably regret, in the fullness of time, is buying a cheap mic, which you tire of in a year's time, only to find it has little resale value. The depreciation on a quality dynamic will be the same or less than a cheap studio condenser.

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Re: THE T.BONE SCT800 - sounds as good as it looks?

Postby jimshady » Sun Jan 30, 2011 1:38 am

Thanks for your comments, Bob. Indeed, buying a mic which I need to upgrade in a year would be a false economy. You say it's not worth buying a "cheap" condenser - would you consider the Rode NT1 and the Sontronics STC-2 both fall into that category? For a voice over mic in a less than perfect acoustic environment,where does the line from "cheap" and not worth buying, to - not cheap but I won't need an upgrade - fall? How much d'you reckon I'd have to spend to get decent results? I was certainly hoping that something within the 200 Euro mark would do the job.

Cheers.

jim
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Re: THE T.BONE SCT800 - sounds as good as it looks?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sun Jan 30, 2011 1:55 am

Well I'm not saying 'cheap' mics are not good. The perfect mic is the one that will do the job best - regardless of price! If that's a 100 Euro mic all well and good.

When last I heard an NT1 (second generation) I thought it had quite a brittle top end, quite unlike some of the voice over mics you might prefer if you had the budget. I don't know the Sontronics.

You said in another thread that this was commercial work. If you intend to do much more of it then investment in a decent mic, relative to the potential for further work, seems trivial.

Bob
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Re: THE T.BONE SCT800 - sounds as good as it looks?

Postby Tui » Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:44 am

Bob Bickerton wrote:
Tui wrote:The components used by Rode are made in China, too.

I think that's been refuted in other threads..............


Sort of. Rode became a successful brand by using cheap Chinese capsules:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/aug05/a ... evisit.htm

Apparently, nowadays they make all parts in Australia.

The point being, only because something is made in China, it doesn't have to be of inferior quality.
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Re: THE T.BONE SCT800 - sounds as good as it looks?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:52 am

Tui wrote:
Bob Bickerton wrote:
Tui wrote:The components used by Rode are made in China, too.

I think that's been refuted in other threads..............


Sort of. Rode became a successful brand by using cheap Chinese capsules:

<a href="/sos/aug05/articles/rodevisit.htm" target="_blank">http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/aug05/articles/rodevisit.htm</a>

Apparently, nowadays they make all parts in Australia.

The point being, only because something is made in China, it doesn't have to be of inferior quality.

That's how I see it.

Inferior quality is more closely related to product price, than country of origin. It just so happens many of the cheaper mics are made in China.

Bob
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Re: THE T.BONE SCT800 - sounds as good as it looks?

Postby jaminem » Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:03 am

SCT800 NOT a good mic IMHO. Had one, sounded harsh on pretty much anything I put it on. The 'tube' sound manifests itself as a thin layer of tinny fuzz, thats annoying rather than adding a desirable warmth.

AS others have said here, tube seems to be for marketing purposes only, i'd spend your money on a non tube LDC at that price point...
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Re: THE T.BONE SCT800 - sounds as good as it looks?

Postby James Perrett » Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:02 pm

Where's Simon Z when you need him?

As I understand it, the T Bone mics are rebadged Alctron mics without the mark up and marketing hype that accompany other brands that rebadge the same mic. Unfortunately, as they come, Chinese mics are a bit of a lottery as their manufacturing consistency isn't as good as it could be. So with a T Bone mic you could end up with a world class mic or something that is just adequate. That's why it could be a good idea to look at a rebadged version where the distributor tests each mic - I'm not sure who to recommend here though.

Personally, given your previous issues, I wouldn't go for a large diaphragm condenser as it will pick up too much room sound.

James.
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Re: THE T.BONE SCT800 - sounds as good as it looks?

Postby jimshady » Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:51 pm

Thanks for the bombshell, James. I hadn't even imagined that if you bought two mics that are the same model from the same manufacturer, they could have a wide range of possible performance. I s'pose if you bought from a shop with a return policy, you could just keep returning them 'till you got one that was good? In any case, it makes the whole complicated business more complicated. I'm aware of all these terms - large diaphragm, condenser, dynamic, cardioid pattern etc. - but am only dimly aware of what they mean. Luckily, I don't think it's necessary to understand what all these term mean to work out what's best for me. Of course this is where the Broader SOS Family come in with it's deep and wide pool of collective knowledge. Given that,
- The primary purpose for the mic I need is to do commercial voice over work.
- I'm working in a less-than-perfect recording environment, my living room, but it is quite narrow and low, it is full of soft stuff and heavy curtains, and I do hang a duvet behind and around me.
- I won't be dealing with fan noise from my laptops (hurrah!) as I will soon start recording first to digital device with the laptops turned off.
- I'm using an Ultragain Pro as my mic pre amp. - which if it's necessary to upgrade I will do so.
- As much as I'd like to save money and get something within the 200 Euro mark, I am prepared to spend whatever is needed to get the most "professional" sound I can given the conditions described.

As I said, given that, I would hope there was someone out there who does understand all these technical specifics of mics and recording, and could tell me at least which kind of mic would be best suited to my needs and conditions. Knowing which kind of mic I need will help me to massively narrow the field of possibilities and make the choice much easier.

Cheers!

jim
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Re: THE T.BONE SCT800 - sounds as good as it looks?

Postby steve355 » Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:01 pm


Look at the Shure SM7b. A pro voice-over mic, dynamic so it won't pick up too much from your dodgy room.

Not massively out of your price range either.

Don't be put off by the fact it doesn't have a marketing tube or is styled to look like a 5 grand mic.

It also happens that Bruce Swedien famously chose it as Jacko's vocal mic for a not insignificant record they did once.
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Re: THE T.BONE SCT800 - sounds as good as it looks?

Postby jimshady » Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:10 pm

Thanks Steve,

I had hoped to get away with spending less than that, but I suspect that you are right and if I did spend less than that it wouldn't be a significant upgrade on my AKG C900.

Cheers,

jim
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Re: THE T.BONE SCT800 - sounds as good as it looks?

Postby steve355 » Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:21 pm


eBay

But do try it out (whatever it is), preferably in your recording environment, before splashing out.
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