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Shure SM58 Vs condenser mic

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Shure SM58 Vs condenser mic

Postby keith merchant » Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:34 pm

Hi,
I've been using a Shure SM58 for studio home recording with fair results( my voice ain't that good!! ) but wondered if the recommended condenser mic Audio Tech AT2020 would give better results? My budget is around £100.
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Re: Shure SM58 Vs condenser mic

Postby Guru Al » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:25 pm

Condenser would give better detail to your voice. However, £100 is not much money. You would probably be better off treating your recording environment before you shell out on the condenser, as it will pick up your room more than the SM58. For under £100 the Superlux mics are not bad they also do an omni.

The AT2020 is rather dull as mics go, I recorded this along side a pair of NT2s a few months ago and the AT2020 went straight back in the box. Why not try a few out and save up a bit more?
AB :)
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Re: Shure SM58 Vs condenser mic

Postby RegressiveRock » Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:06 pm

keith merchant wrote:Hi,
I've been using a Shure SM58 for studio home recording with fair results( my voice ain't that good!! ) but wondered if the recommended condenser mic Audio Tech AT2020 would give better results? My budget is around £100.


I prefer the SM57 through a good pre at that price (new) if you are going to attempt vocals.

The room treatment advice is key to a good result in the longer term. There's only so much you can do on the fly with duvets and furniture, (but upturned sofas make passable bass traps in room corners).

This should go for not much more than this price and whilst it is not specifically designed as a vox mike might be something you could experiment with.

AT is a good choice but I seem to remember the 2020 being a tad noisy. (Sorry to the previous poster but I would also go for NOT dull, just (frankly only slightly) more classically voiced and therefore probably a lot more mixable).

Stay away from dirt cheap Chinese re-brands unless you really know what you are doing!

Reg
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Re: Shure SM58 Vs condenser mic

Postby Mike Stranks » Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:37 pm

I'd agree that the AT2020 is not dull as mics go. Yup, it's not as bright as many mics at this price point, but in my view it gives a better-balanced representation of what it's capturing. Depends what your 'norm' is I guess.

Also +1 on the Rode M3.

The biggest difference that I've achieved in my speech-based recording space is putting in £100 worth of acoustic treatment. Tried loads of mics to achieve a 'quality' sound - the difference resulting from the treatment was a revelation.
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Re: Shure SM58 Vs condenser mic

Postby ROLO46 » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:01 am

Record in the' deadist' room you have
Try your garden for really' dead'.
Most cheap mics are bearable
Only later do you find fine mics with superb character
Proximity is vital with a 58 get close and gag it well
Dont overload your pre
Clipping is a disability anywhere in your chain.
Joe Meek. :angel:
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Re: Shure SM58 Vs condenser mic

Postby keith merchant » Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:15 pm

Hi guys,
Many thanks for your advice. I'm recording in a room size 10ft x 10ft, and it's pretty good as sound proofing goes, so it looks like going for a higher priced condenser mic, what's the lowest price where i start getting good quality do you think?
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Re: Shure SM58 Vs condenser mic

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:57 pm

Hi Keith

There's a big difference between 'sound-proofing' - stopping sound getting in or out of your room - and 'acoustic treatment' - stopping sound bouncing around your room and generating all sorts of reverb and other effects.

The former is horrendously difficult and expensive to achieve, the latter can be addressed fairly succesfully without too much outlay.

My room is fairly quiet in terms of 'sound-proofing', but needed some significant work to improve the acoustics.

HTH. Mike
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Re: Shure SM58 Vs condenser mic

Postby Aliwobble » Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:12 am

Hiya,

How about trying an impedence loader which will probably cost about 10 quid? I put one of these on a 58 (a mic I have kept away from in the past) and was pleasantly surprised by the result. Definitely a more polished sound. Definitely still not an expensive condemsor sound.

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Re: Shure SM58 Vs condenser mic

Postby lead ears » Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:28 am

WHAT is an "impedance loader"?
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Re: Shure SM58 Vs condenser mic

Postby lead ears » Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:32 am

Ho! and don't forget to take the basket off your 58. Turns it into a U47...
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Re: Shure SM58 Vs condenser mic

Postby Aliwobble » Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:20 am

Impedance loader, perhaps I meant a microphone loader. . .

It's a resitor that changes the impedence of your input. The one I have is built into a XLR plug. The idea is that when the SM58 was designed back in the day, a typical input impedance was about 500 Ohm, but nowdays 2000 ohm is more typical.

Mine cost $30NZ which is about 10 pound.

Hope that helps.
A
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Re: Shure SM58 Vs condenser mic

Postby debee » Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:16 pm

lead ears wrote:Ho! and don't forget to take the basket off your 58. Turns it into a U47...
l :headbang: o :headbang: l
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Re: Shure SM58 Vs condenser mic

Postby Darren Lynch » Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:50 pm

keith merchant wrote:Hi,
I've been using a Shure SM58 for studio home recording with fair results( my voice ain't that good!! ) but wondered if the recommended condenser mic Audio Tech AT2020 would give better results? My budget is around £100.

Hi Keith,

The SM58 remains a perfectly decent mic for vocals. Dynamics such as the 58 are often suggested for reinforcing weaker voices because they are strongest in the mid range. Stick with it. Perhaps book a couple of singing lessons (seriously!) and learn some routines for building up your voice. Other people have mentioned some basic sound treatment as well - this too is good advice, especially if you are currently not placing any absorption behind you when you are singing into the mic.

If all I had was a 58 (there was such a time, and occassionaly I miss it!) I think a Rode M3 would provide a useful alternative. I am a fan of the AT2020, but it's not gonna change your life, good though it is.
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Re: Shure SM58 Vs condenser mic

Postby lead ears » Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:47 pm

Aliwobble wrote:Impedance loader, perhaps I meant a microphone loader. . .

It's a resitor that changes the impedence of your input. The one I have is built into a XLR plug. The idea is that when the SM58 was designed back in the day, a typical input impedance was about 500 Ohm, but nowdays 2000 ohm is more typical.

Mine cost 0NZ which is about 10 pound.

Hope that helps.
A
OK, more or less what I thought. I have experimented a lot with mic loading. In fact you just need a potentiometer of suitable value (10 k log) and connect it across the mic output. I have consistently found out that the higher the impedance, the better the sound. The effect is particularly noticeable on passive mics (dynamics and ribbons), a little less on transformer-output condenser mics and almost unnoticeable on tranformerless condensers (except for a level drop when the load goes below 1kohm).
Invariably, lower load dulls the sound, never warming it.

Maybe poorly/cheaply designed mic inputs had lower impedance, but studio/broadcast-quality mic pres always had a quite large impedance.
RCA in the 30's clearly specified an "unloaded input transformer" for their mics. Unloaded input xfmr means that the impedance is dictated by the inductance of the primary; in these conditions, the input impedance at 1kHz is about 10 kohms.
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Re: Shure SM58 Vs condenser mic

Postby uphillbothways » Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:22 am

The SM58 is a classic for a reason, but it is designed with priorities other than audio quality. These days £100 buys you a lot of microphone, my favourite for that sort of money being the Røde NT1-A - it's fairly neutral, very quiet and a generally useful workhorse of a mic.

As others have mentioned, room acoustics are hugely important. Your 10ft x 10ft room is likely to sound absolutely bloody awful - small rooms generally sound bad and the absolute worst shape for a room is a cube, which your room is fairly close to. Acoustic treatment doesn't have to be expensive, but it does require a bit of knowledge and thinking. You can get most of the way there with old duvets and a few sheets of rockwool if you know what you're trying to achieve. There have been loads of articles in SOS over the years which are well worth reviewing. The fact that almost every Studio SOS article revolves around acoustics should tell you just how important it is to get right - it's invariably the weakest link in any home studio.
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