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I UPGRADED from a Rode M3 (condenser) to a Behringer XM8500! (dynamic) - The devil's in the details

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I UPGRADED from a Rode M3 (condenser) to a Behringer XM8500! (dynamic) - The devil's in the details

Postby dfira » Mon Mar 01, 2021 1:16 pm

So yes, the M3 is clearly a better mic. It gives a higher output signal, the higher frequencies are much more delicate, airy, open, the low frequencies are punchy and clean. It's more sensitive so has a much wider sweet spot, but it lacks body/warmth.

Enter the Behringer, it's all body, all warm, but terribly muffled sounding it honestly sounds like dog crap. And yet, it's an upgrade. Why?

My recording environment is crap. It will always be. And the M3 likes to remind you of that.

It picks up my computer fan, it even just kind of picks up this sort of city buzz, the muffled woosh of traffic that's all around you and you just don't notice (I'm not talking about the one car that drives past every couple of minutes or so), add some compression into your chain and your sound is ruined.

Now the M3 is no masterpiece of a microphone either. Don't get me wrong, but the Behringer picks none of that up, at the cost of having a 'lo-fi' character.

I think what I am experiencing here is a classic case of condenser vs dynamic. So I'm now on the hunt for a good cheap dynamic. And funnily enough, it takes me right back to where I started, when I came onto this forum looking for advice... Eyeing up the trusty '57!
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Re: I UPGRADED from a Rode M3 (condenser) to a Behringer XM8500! (dynamic) - The devil's in the details

Postby resistorman » Mon Mar 01, 2021 3:16 pm

I’m intrigued by this mic, but maybe it will be too “good” for you ;)

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/aston-element
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Re: I UPGRADED from a Rode M3 (condenser) to a Behringer XM8500! (dynamic) - The devil's in the details

Postby blinddrew » Mon Mar 01, 2021 4:00 pm

I bought an Aston Stealth a few months ago and I've been pretty impressed with it. It has 4 'voicing' options, two of which are horrible, but the other two are both very workable.
But I primarily recommend it here because it seems to have very good off-axis rejection.
Not cheap, but probably a good investment. In the 'good investment' category, have a think about a Beyer M201 as well.

But actual cheap dynamics, my preference is for the AKG D5. It's the nicest stage dynamic I've heard under £100. And being a stage dynamic it expects to be worked very close which will help reduce the effect of your room and background noise.

Or just get a '57 and know that you've got something that will be eternally useful. :)
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Re: I UPGRADED from a Rode M3 (condenser) to a Behringer XM8500! (dynamic) - The devil's in the details

Postby CS70 » Mon Mar 01, 2021 4:15 pm

dfira wrote:So yes, the M3 is clearly a better mic. It gives a higher output signal, the higher frequencies are much more delicate, airy, open, the low frequencies are punchy and clean. It's more sensitive so has a much wider sweet spot, but it lacks body/warmth.

Enter the Behringer, it's all body, all warm, but terribly muffled sounding it honestly sounds like dog crap. And yet, it's an upgrade. Why?

My recording environment is crap. It will always be. And the M3 likes to remind you of that.

It picks up my computer fan, it even just kind of picks up this sort of city buzz, the muffled woosh of traffic that's all around you and you just don't notice (I'm not talking about the one car that drives past every couple of minutes or so), add some compression into your chain and your sound is ruined.

Now the M3 is no masterpiece of a microphone either. Don't get me wrong, but the Behringer picks none of that up, at the cost of having a 'lo-fi' character.

I think what I am experiencing here is a classic case of condenser vs dynamic. So I'm now on the hunt for a good cheap dynamic. And funnily enough, it takes me right back to where I started, when I came onto this forum looking for advice... Eyeing up the trusty '57!

That until you try to boost the highs on whatever you recorded to make it sound modern.. then, either you don't have any highs, or you will hear the fan and the city all again. :D

A good mic will pick up the details because you want the details (when you want them, of course). There's no shortcut to have a recording space where the details you get are the only details you want.

It's not so hard though - move the mic away from the computer, or move the fan. High freq coming from outside is easy to control. Low frequency rumble is harder but it's mostly vibrations really and you can always use an isolation pad. And of course treat the room for reflections - it doesnt need to be neither expensive nor intrusive.

All that said, _the_ good cheap dynamic is the SM7B worked near. There's others of course, but that works fine if you know how to work it!
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Re: I UPGRADED from a Rode M3 (condenser) to a Behringer XM8500! (dynamic) - The devil's in the details

Postby dfira » Tue Mar 02, 2021 4:09 pm

Lol, you're right that the missing high end is a bit of a problem, and does give my voice a cheap sound, and if god forbids, the mic picks up a plosive, then cheap headset impression suddenly goes to 11!

But the ambient noise is also reduced simply because it's not picking up as much of the tail end of the reflections of all sound bouncing off the walls. And I'm not looking for that boxy room wall sound!

In my use case, strictly as a web conferencing microphone, making vocal booths, repositioning etc are not easy options.

Thanks for the suggestions for dynamics, another interesting one is the Audix OM2.

The Aston Element reminds me of when I first heard Radiohead... YUUUCK, I thought, initially.

There is one condenser my unfaithful mind still wanders to in the dark of the night... the Oktava mk012, from what I can tell, it doesn't seem to care much about the room your in.
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Re: I UPGRADED from a Rode M3 (condenser) to a Behringer XM8500! (dynamic) - The devil's in the details

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Mar 02, 2021 6:45 pm

I think you are approaching this whole problem backwards. The problem is the room sound? Then fix the room, changing the mic to solve the 'room sound' problem will just result in different problems as you've discovered*. If you are in any way serious about improving your recordings/streaming audio you need to do some basic acoustic treatment. It needn't be expensive, intrusive or permanent, and it won't solve the external noise but it will give you a much better sound to work with. WRT to external noises, a little processing can help considerably as can good mic placement and learning to speak clearly.

* the difference between the capacitor mic and the dynamic is mostly down to frequency response, you can achieve much the same effect by using a LPF on the signal. Capacitors don't capture more room sound than dynamics as such but they do capture more of the higher frequencies where the room sound is most noticeable (so, in a way, I suppose they do capture more room sound but that's a side effect of a 'better' mic).
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Re: I UPGRADED from a Rode M3 (condenser) to a Behringer XM8500! (dynamic) - The devil's in the details

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Tue Mar 02, 2021 8:11 pm

CS70 wrote:That until you try to boost the highs on whatever you recorded to make it sound modern.. then, either you don't have any highs, or you will hear the fan and the city all again. :D

Sam Spoons wrote:I think you are approaching this whole problem backwards. The problem is the room sound? Then fix the room
These.
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Re: I UPGRADED from a Rode M3 (condenser) to a Behringer XM8500! (dynamic) - The devil's in the details

Postby dfira » Tue Mar 02, 2021 11:18 pm

Okay, so what the hell is the appeal in a dynamic then???
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Re: I UPGRADED from a Rode M3 (condenser) to a Behringer XM8500! (dynamic) - The devil's in the details

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Mar 02, 2021 11:26 pm

Moving coil dynamic mics have certain characteristics that work in certain situations with certain voices and instruments, reduced high frequency, slower transient response, stage vocal mics often have a presence hump designed to help them cut through a loud band and they are robust and relatively cheap.

* the Berry you have, if it performs as you describe, and I'm not misunderstanding, has an even more limited HF response and not much presence hump.
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Re: I UPGRADED from a Rode M3 (condenser) to a Behringer XM8500! (dynamic) - The devil's in the details

Postby blinddrew » Tue Mar 02, 2021 11:26 pm

It's a tool for a job, and for some jobs it's the right tool.
It sounds like that might well be the case for you at the moment, so embrace it if it's working.
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Re: I UPGRADED from a Rode M3 (condenser) to a Behringer XM8500! (dynamic) - The devil's in the details

Postby dfira » Tue Mar 02, 2021 11:35 pm

This channel does fantastic comparisons: https://youtu.be/q9NNpMaONh8 i can really hear that same xm8500 sound that i get at home, not only in this video, but his others where's he is comparing guitar, so i trust it.
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Re: I UPGRADED from a Rode M3 (condenser) to a Behringer XM8500! (dynamic) - The devil's in the details

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Mar 02, 2021 11:42 pm

Cool, the way YT mangles any audio posted on its platform makes it not the best forum for comparisons but I'll give that video a listen tomorrow in the studio, laptop speakers certainly don't make critical comparisons easier. Of the mics he tested I only have a SM58 and a few Beta 57s but could try them as a baseline.
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Re: I UPGRADED from a Rode M3 (condenser) to a Behringer XM8500! (dynamic) - The devil's in the details

Postby ef37a » Wed Mar 03, 2021 12:56 pm

If you want to keep the wide response of the capacitor but reduce the "grabs every mortal sound" effect, just buy a 20dB XLR attenuator slug.

But yes, FFS do something about the room!

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Re: I UPGRADED from a Rode M3 (condenser) to a Behringer XM8500! (dynamic) - The devil's in the details

Postby CS70 » Wed Mar 03, 2021 1:17 pm

dfira wrote:But the ambient noise is also reduced simply because it's not picking up as much of the tail end of the reflections of all sound bouncing off the walls. And I'm not looking for that boxy room wall sound!

Er.. yes and no. This is a common misunderstanding. Sure, some dynamic mics roll over highs more quickly but they do not distinguish between good stuff (your voice high range) and bad stuff (reflections). So if it's not picking up reflections, it ain't picking up your voice either. And if you try to boost what there is to get the latter out, you will inevitably boost the reflections as well.

Besides, high freq sounds dissipate fast so most reflections which have enough energy to bounce are actually from midrange down (a common exception is ringing between hard floor and hard ceiling). "Boxy" means "too much midrange".. try to sweep something with an EQ bell with Q=1 or 0.5, and you'll immediately see the band that produces boxyness. Mid highs get clarity (when exxagerated, it makes the sound "sharp") and the more you get into the highs the more you get a certain "fizzyness" - at least if there's something to pick up. Sweeping an EQ is the easiest way to hear what these terms mean.

And then there's the SM7B, which is as full range as any condenser... and still works just fine.

The specific mic frequency response may make things different - not the one you see plotted, which has too little resolution - but the actual one, with small-band dips and peaks, which overall may slightly help (or make worse); or even mic resonances that may happen, in a given position with a given source, to counter filtering.

For example the SM57 and 58 are essentially the same mic, but the grille is very different and sometimes that makes a difference due to how the sound bounces around inside it.

In my use case, strictly as a web conferencing microphone, making vocal booths, repositioning etc are not easy options.

Well, keep in mind that it doesn't need to be a big change.. positioning is really about half centimeters or quarter inches, very often, and angular orientation both in the horizontal and the vertical plane. That's often discovered by beginner vocalists when they move around the mic just a little :D Spend some time trying and you may be surprised..

And treatment is always an option. For example, just placing a duvet behind you (maybe covered with some nicer neutral fabric if video is involved) will make way more difference than changing microhpone.

There is one condenser my unfaithful mind still wanders to in the dark of the night... the Oktava mk012, from what I can tell, it doesn't seem to care much about the room your in.

Again, you're chasing ghosts, amplified by the Internet ignorance. All microphones care about the room you're in (or they don't, and then they don't care for any high frequencies whether they're room or not). :D
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Re: I UPGRADED from a Rode M3 (condenser) to a Behringer XM8500! (dynamic) - The devil's in the details

Postby ef37a » Wed Mar 03, 2021 1:24 pm

Yes CS70, my point about attenuating the capacitor mic should have included the fact that with lower sensitivity you have to get closer to the mic. That is the thing that reduces 'room' effects.
All about that 'Critical Distance'.

Of course, at just 50mm or so from the mic OP will need a good pop filter.

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