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Thinking of getting a new mic, can anyone give me info on mics?

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Thinking of getting a new mic, can anyone give me info on mics?

Postby seriousnewbie » Thu Sep 03, 2020 8:04 pm

Hey everybody, new to the forum so sorry if it seems like I don't know what I am doing.

So as the title says, I am thinking about getting a new mic. I don't know much about mics, so I was hoping that somebody who does could change that, just overload me with information about microphones, I want to know what I am getting, rather than searching up, "best mics 2020" and picking the first result. I did exactly that with the blue yeti pro mic, and honestly, ever since I actually started wanting to record vocals, it has let me down.

After I get more info, I will probably start asking what some good mics are using what I learned, but as of now, if I start deciding, I am going to pick an expensive mic and not know why. :headbang:
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Re: Thinking of getting a new mic, can anyone give me info on mics?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Sep 03, 2020 8:26 pm

There are several very good and highly detailed books available that can easily overload you with information about microphone technology, if that's what you want. It would be pointless to try and duplicate all that material here.

However, we could offer some practical suggestions on appropriate microphones if we knew more about your specific circumstances and requirements.

So, what do you want to record?
What's your recording environment like?
What equipment will you be using the mic with (preamp/interface etc)?
What's your budget?

...and what is it about the Yeti that disappoints?
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Re: Thinking of getting a new mic, can anyone give me info on mics?

Postby CS70 » Thu Sep 03, 2020 9:08 pm

seriousnewbie wrote: "best mics 2020" and picking the first result. I did exactly that with the blue yeti pro mic, and honestly, ever since I actually started wanting to record vocals, it has let me down.

That's because it's not the right question. :) If you want to get a great recording, you gotta ask what makes a great recording.. and then you'll find that the mic is only one of the links in the chain, and not the most important.

While the Blue Yeti is perhaps not the best mic in the world, rest assured it wasn't it letting you down! :D

However, that misunderstanding is pretty common, so I tried to make a summary on the subject in my blog post here. It's basically what I would have usually replied in the forum.
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Re: Thinking of getting a new mic, can anyone give me info on mics?

Postby seriousnewbie » Thu Sep 03, 2020 9:31 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:There are several very good and highly detailed books available that can easily overload you with information about microphone technology, if that's what you want. It would be pointless to try and duplicate all that material here.

However, we could offer some practical suggestions on appropriate microphones if we knew more about your specific circumstances and requirements.

So, what do you want to record?
What's your recording environment like?
What equipment will you be using the mic with (preamp/interface etc)?
What's your budget?

...and what is it about the Yeti that disappoints?

Yes you are right, I probably should have looked first :headbang:. But I wanted to be able to personalize the answers I need.

1. I want to record vocals (probably country/country-rock)
2. Pretty acoustically treated small-mid sized room.
3. I do plan on upgrading soon, probably even before I get a new mic, although as of now I would have it going directly into my mixer (Alto Professional Live 1202), which goes into 2 channel Focusrite Scarlet solo 3gen audio interface. The mixer is going into the other AI because my mixer AI is not great, a lot of noise, and its not multitrack so track numbers already don't matter.
4. probably a couple hundred dollars max, but that depends on the type of mic I end up going with
5. The Yeti Mic just hasn't given me the best quality since I got it, I acknowledge the fact that maybe it is either a user issue or a not so great mixer issue, I plan on testing it with just my Scarlet solo to see if that is the case.
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Re: Thinking of getting a new mic, can anyone give me info on mics?

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Sep 03, 2020 10:40 pm

What instruments, if any, do you record? If the answer is 'none' then why do you need the mixer? The Focusrite has very capable mic preamps, you say your room is well treated and the Blue Yeti is a reasonable mic so plug the mic straight into the Focusrite and you have a rig/environment capable of producing decent recordings.
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Re: Thinking of getting a new mic, can anyone give me info on mics?

Postby seriousnewbie » Fri Sep 04, 2020 12:35 am

Sam Spoons wrote:What instruments, if any, do you record? If the answer is 'none' then why do you need the mixer? The Focusrite has very capable mic preamps, you say your room is well treated and the Blue Yeti is a reasonable mic so plug the mic straight into the Focusrite and you have a rig/environment capable of producing decent recordings.

I agree, although I play bass, guitar, piano, and am getting into drums, and I want to learn more. So I certainly have a reason for one.
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Re: Thinking of getting a new mic, can anyone give me info on mics?

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Sep 04, 2020 10:48 am

Still not sure why you need a mixer if you are recording just yourself? Do you have the Blue Yeti Pro, the base version is USB only so won't work with the mixer or the interface?
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Re: Thinking of getting a new mic, can anyone give me info on mics?

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri Sep 04, 2020 11:25 am

I'd urge you to consider the Neat Mics Worker Bee... fantastic vale for money!

Video review from someone who knows his stuff:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScI1U3ey9ZY
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Re: Thinking of getting a new mic, can anyone give me info on mics?

Postby seriousnewbie » Fri Sep 04, 2020 5:33 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Still not sure why you need a mixer if you are recording just yourself? Do you have the Blue Yeti Pro, the base version is USB only so won't work with the mixer or the interface?
it has stereo a stereo ability with XLR as well as USB. I prefer working with Mixer's, that is just preference. Although most of the time I am, I don't always just work with myself. Mixers are also much more flexible.
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Re: Thinking of getting a new mic, can anyone give me info on mics?

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:08 pm

TBF I use an X-32 Compact as my interface but I do record as a band on occasion (and used it live as a sound guy before I retired a couple of years ago) so need at least 7 inputs to 'tape'. Obviously the X32 has lots more than that but, like you I like having real faders. I also have multiple instruments and mics plugged in and ready to go. However, I wouldn't compromise quality to achieve that end and it sounds like your Alto is not delivering. If you are recording several musicians you need several inputs (and, probably several mics) and the ability to record them to separate tracks so a mixer or audio interface with multitrack is pretty much essential.

WRT mics, Mike's suggestion of the Worker Bee is born out of first hand experience so is definitely a good steer, last time I looked that would leave you almost enough to buy a reasonable small diaphragm capacitor like a Line Audio CM4 or Rode NT5 in your budget.
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Re: Thinking of getting a new mic, can anyone give me info on mics?

Postby Mister Natural » Fri Sep 04, 2020 11:41 pm

tho I have zero affiliation; I'm a huge fan of the beta-series from Shure for both vocals(58a) and general purpose(57a)
this brand is also perhaps one-step beyond reliable for pro/daily duty
best of luck
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Re: Thinking of getting a new mic, can anyone give me info on mics?

Postby DC-Choppah » Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:42 am

Hey man, I was like you and had no idea about mics. I would show up at a session, and they had mics. No worries.

But once I had my project studio I could try different mics. The differences are quite striking.

This is hard to put into words.

Getting your hands on mics is hard. But you will need to. Record using different mics so you can hear the difference. Once you can hear the difference, you can start to gravitate to the sounds you like. You can also start to interpret the SOS mic reviews - what it means. But you have to train your ears and know what you like to interpret the words.

Also if there is a recording you like, try to find out what mic they used. Weird but true!?!?
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Re: Thinking of getting a new mic, can anyone give me info on mics?

Postby bill555 » Fri Sep 11, 2020 10:42 pm

The wide world of mics is an interesting one. TONS of choices and even more opinions on them. The good news is tech is so good now that you don't need to spend a lot to get a great one.

You don't need to read a book cover to cover, but you really should at least look up the basics about mics (there is tons of info on the net) and become generally familiar with at least the main types (3, basically: dynamic, condenser, and ribbon), their pros/cons, etc. It would be wise to read up on basic info like how to read the specs on a mic too.

The diff between models and makes, generally speaking, is IMO far more often than not overrated, often greatly so, but mics tend to be the most emotional of choices for people.
:) It's more about what type you get and knowing how to use it. You have a well-treated room so with that basic knowledge in mind, you're 90% there.

IMO you would be fine with a Shure SM57 dynamic mic ($100) for your instrumentation, and it might work well on your voice as well. Shure is one of the top names in the business and the 57 one of the most popular mics, but I don't think you should buy it because it's popular; it's simply a very good mic and great bang for your buck that will cover a lot of bases.

Some may say "you need a condenser mic for vocals" but that's not necessarily true at all. I would try the 57 and see how it goes. Again it's great for instrumentation, generally, so it won't be money wasted. Other personal favs of mine in the lower end for vocals:

Dynamics
- isK ICDM (a great mic and only $60, may still be able to get the promo price half off which is a crazy steal)
- Sennheiser 835
- Shure SM58

Condensers
- Studio Projects B1
- sE X1A
- Oktava 319

Those are all roughly $100 or less except the Oktava, which is a little over $200.

g/l!
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Re: Thinking of getting a new mic, can anyone give me info on mics?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:13 am

bill555 wrote:...and become generally familiar with at least the main types (3, basically: dynamic, condenser, and ribbon)

Donning the pedant hat again, just to avoid potential confusion... a ribbon mic _is_ a dynamic mic, and strictly speaking there are only two 'main types' in common use, each with two sub-types.

Most mics can be categorised as either electro-magnetic or electro-static, these being the two basic electrical operating principles -- at least as far as typical studio mics are concerned. There are other technologies, of course, like piezo, optical, microflown, Mems, and others... but they tend to be used in more specialised applications. (Piezo is commonly used in contact mics, as used on acoustic guitars etc).

The electro-magnetic type of microphone generates an output voltage by using the sound waves to move a conductor within a magnetic field. The electro-static type uses sound waves to move a conductor within an electrostatic field, varying the capacitance of the mic capsule, and an impedance-converter circuit uses that to generate an audio output voltage.

For the sub-types, electro-magnetic mics can be either moving-coil (often referred to as dynamic) or ribbon.

And electro-static mics can be either capacitor (condenser) or (back-) electret.

Capacitor (condenser) mics are either DC-biased or RF-biased by external circuitry, while electrets are permanently biased by an internal substrate.

All electro-static mics require active impedance-conversion circuitry, so they all need to be powered in one way or another.

Some electro-magnetic mics also now incorporate active buffer amplifiers so may need powering too.
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Re: Thinking of getting a new mic, can anyone give me info on mics?

Postby bill555 » Sun Sep 13, 2020 1:56 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Donning the pedant hat again, just to avoid potential confusion... a ribbon mic _is_ a dynamic mic, and strictly speaking there are only two 'main types' in common use, each with two sub-types.
True, and that's why I said "basically," i.e. for all intents and purposes...the diff as you say is pedantic and so IMO things that someone just starting to learn about mics doesn't really need to get tangled up in, nor is the rest of what you said. Just saying walk before they run and all that. :) Further, if you shop for mics, you will almost always find ribbon mics as a separate category from the other two. Info like that, and what the general characteristics of them are, the pros/cons, stuff like that is IMO more important for a musician/gear shopper to know than the hard-core tech/electronic diffs.
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