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the problem with a good mic is a bad room...

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the problem with a good mic is a bad room...

Postby dfira » Fri Nov 13, 2020 10:54 pm

So lets get this out of the way, my budget is super low.

I'm going to be doing more online conferences, so i want to sound good. But remember, most people will use trashy speakers to listen to me so it's not imperative to sound studio great either.

Originally i wanted to pick up an AT2020 for its well balanced, unhyped and uncoloured sound. But I've been listening to the Thomann t.bone sc400 (at half the price) I'm kind of convinced by its hypercardioid polar pattern. It cuts out so much of the room accoustic. Whilst its bottom end is terrible and thin, this wouldn't have to be a problem with the proximity effect in studio, however since we are recording video, I don't want the mic anywhere near my face, and I don't want to treat the room either.

So i was thinking, perhaps there is the "AT2020" of hypercarioids?

I looked at shotgun mics, but they don't have that crisp condenser sound either. Does anyone know of something maybe in the middle? Or alternative advice for me?
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Re: the problem with a good mic is a bad room...

Postby Sam Inglis » Fri Nov 13, 2020 11:17 pm

Shotgun mics are almost all capacitor mics, so there's no reason why they shouldn't have that 'crisp condenser sound'... indeed, the Sennheiser 416 has been used for countless voiceovers and so on.

I'm afraid I know nothing of inexpensive shotgun mics, though!
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Re: the problem with a good mic is a bad room...

Postby blinddrew » Fri Nov 13, 2020 11:25 pm

I'd be very wary of using a cheap shotgun mic indoors, they can be very phasey. I'd be more tempted by sticking with something like a nice-ish dynamic and just working it close enough to minimise room effects.
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Re: the problem with a good mic is a bad room...

Postby shufflebeat » Fri Nov 13, 2020 11:58 pm

My experience of online meetings suggests people with good sound are *either* working with a decent mic in a good room or using a well designed headset mic.

No need to reformulate pre-existing wheels.
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Re: the problem with a good mic is a bad room...

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Nov 14, 2020 12:04 am

Is there any reason why you can't improve the room? A couple of duvets just out of shot will, likely, make a surprising difference.
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Re: the problem with a good mic is a bad room...

Postby MOF » Sat Nov 14, 2020 5:34 am

Put your current microphone on a stand just out of the top of shot or buy a lapel mic’ and wear it under a shirt if you don’t want it visible.
If it was a drama you were filming I could understand your desire not to see the microphone, a conference is different, most people will be very accepting of mic’s in shot.
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Re: the problem with a good mic is a bad room...

Postby shufflebeat » Sat Nov 14, 2020 6:00 am

Sam Spoons wrote:Is there any reason why you can't improve the room? A couple of duvets just out of shot will, likely, make a surprising difference.

You could just stay in bed, of course. Clip-on "shirt and tie" bib and green screen the headboard into your "library".

They're all doing it, you know.
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Re: the problem with a good mic is a bad room...

Postby CS70 » Sat Nov 14, 2020 11:50 am

You can use the duvet trick behind you, simply covering up with a breathable textile so it looks nicer. And Teams’ background blurring feature is pretty good if you use that.

As f the mic, I would go for a good dynamic, you really don’t need that much air anyways for a video conference. It would capture less high end but you can then boost little what is captured afterwards - so long you keep the boosting low you will get detail enough but in a good way.

Plenty ways to do that boost cheaply, from software in the interface, software in the computer or even a cheap mixer - not usually something I would recommend but if all you’re going to use the onboard. EQ for is a 3dB high shelf, even a trashy EQ will work.

Hypercardioid is good but it’s hard work, your voice will drop off very quickly if you move a bit and conferences usually last quite long to stay in exactly the same position all the time.
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Re: the problem with a good mic is a bad room...

Postby CS70 » Sat Nov 14, 2020 11:55 am

shufflebeat wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:Is there any reason why you can't improve the room? A couple of duvets just out of shot will, likely, make a surprising difference.

You could just stay in bed, of course. Clip-on "shirt and tie" bib and green screen the headboard into your "library".

They're all doing it, you know.

Massive increase in suit jacket, shirt and tie sales and total drop in sales of the rest :D
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Re: the problem with a good mic is a bad room...

Postby dfira » Sat Nov 14, 2020 12:01 pm

Let's say i have a condenser close enough to enjoy some of that proximity effect, on a stand (either desk or floor standing) with a pop shield... That's still a lot of bulk in view.

If i can just pull back the mic a bit. Everything is solved, however, then there is little point in buying an expensive condenser / preamp because you're going to hear my room.

I can of course look into treating it, but it's a room i use for other things, so i don't want to put up and take down all the time, and also... If i start going to that length, then it never ends, what about good lighting and shadow a good camera etc.

So I'm hoping to just impress the average listener on his computer speakers or whatever with a clear enough sound, and a sort of plug and play attitude.

I could consider a clipon mic.any recommendations?
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Re: the problem with a good mic is a bad room...

Postby blinddrew » Sat Nov 14, 2020 12:12 pm

Just for clarity for anyone reading along, proximity effect is a property of microphone pattern, not transducer type. I.e. you will get proximity effect from both dynamics and capacitor mics if they've been designed that way. Likewise mics without any noticeable proximity effect can be found in both dynamic and capacitor form.
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Re: the problem with a good mic is a bad room...

Postby Kwackman » Sat Nov 14, 2020 12:16 pm

Maybe consider a headset style microphone?
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Re: the problem with a good mic is a bad room...

Postby CS70 » Sat Nov 14, 2020 1:02 pm

dfira wrote:
I can of course look into treating it, but it's a room i use for other things, so i don't want to put up and take down all the time, and also...

Since I have my home studio in a section of the living room, I have exactly the same issue. Solved with a couple absorbers with same color as the wall (white) so that they are not noticeable at all, on the contrary they look rather good.

[/quote]
If i start going to that length, then it never ends, what about good lighting and shadow a good camera etc.?[/quote]

Not really, video is not that relevant for the success of a video conference - people has had phone conferences without video for ages with no problems.

Whereas bad audio means certain annoyance and most likely failure
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Re: the problem with a good mic is a bad room...

Postby adrian_k » Sat Nov 14, 2020 2:41 pm

I have been told that my Zoom sound is good. When I do a mic test in Zoom I think it sounds a bit muffled on my monitors, but ok on laptop speakers.

What I do is put an inexpensive cardioid LDC on a short stand between my knees so it comes up to just above desk height. I’ve also put a foam windshield on it. I have the mic leaning back so pointing upwards towards my chin. My mouth is about a foot away from it I guess.

The mic is out of shot because the laptop camera doesn’t pick it up. The room does have some treatment but I think actually my body is acting as an absorber too. Maybe this approach plus a couple of duvets in the room?
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Re: the problem with a good mic is a bad room...

Postby dfira » Sat Nov 14, 2020 3:57 pm

adrian_k wrote:an inexpensive cardioid LDC

What is this?

Yeah the t.bone sc400 really is a terrible mic as far as mics go (on a par with behringer). But what sets it apart from others is its supercardioid pattern which on the shootouts I've listened to, does help immensely with the room ambience picked up (which is why I'm surprised not more mics offer this), i can make up for the rest with a good EQ, i think.

So I'm thinking to pair that up with a low end DAC. Maybe treat myself to something in the 100€ range, if I'm feeling extra special. :) The new Tascam DACs coming out in Dec i have my eye on, since I've always been a fan of Tascam pres
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