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Poor Mic quality

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Re: Poor Mic quality

Postby Giggo96 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 12:37 am

Wonks wrote:Sounds like the mic then.

No. It was apparently dispatched today, so should hopefully arrive tomorrow (lockdown delays). Don't worry, I'll comment here as soon as it comes and I've plugged it in.

At the moment be very wary of using a mic someone else has used without cleaning and disinfecting the grille and internal foam first (unless you know they haven't used it for at least couple of months (before CV19 spread). Even then, it's always good practice to clean and disinfect if you can.

Cool, cheers!

Yeah definitely worthy advice, cant be too safe now..

So in your opinion whats the best mic that one can get is it the Beta 58a? from say 50 quid to 100 quid?

Im looking at a few Shure beta 58as on ebay (one I'm looking at has been fully disinfected lol) so ill see what its going for and maybe place a big.
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Re: Poor Mic quality

Postby OTE2020 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:43 am

I've opened up just a few mics in my time and ummm its not really nice in there when you find a 3 year old sweat filled section of foam - ohhh errrr lol. !!!
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Re: Poor Mic quality

Postby Bob Bickerton » Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:09 am

Giggo96 wrote:So in your opinion whats the best mic that one can get is it the Beta 58a? from say 50 quid to 100 quid?

Depends on your voice and genre. I’d go Sennheiser e835 for jazz and acoustic and if you want a more open sound, maybe SM58 if you’re a rock and roller or belter.......

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Re: Poor Mic quality

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:51 am

Also watch out for fake Beta 58s.
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Re: Poor Mic quality

Postby Wonks » Thu Mar 26, 2020 12:05 pm

The Stag SDM50 has arrived, so here's a mini review for the benefit of others.

It is wired correctly for balanced operation, and has a DC resistance of just under 600 ohms between pins 2 and 3 (600 ohms quoted). Pin 1 is connected through to the body and grille.

It is very bassy. I had to turn the bass down to -12dB and the mids at 400Hz down to around -6dB to get a sound that was something near to the sound of an SM58. Once I'd done that, it was certainly useable, but you shouldn't have to go to those drastic extremes to get a decent sonic response.

It certainly had a much higher basic out output than an SM58 with the EQ set flat, but a lot of that was all the excessive bass end. Sibilance and plosive levels were similar to the SM58, but handling noise was significantly worse. Strangely, given the hyped bass-end, the handling nose was fairly high pitched and didn't improve when the bass was rolled right off.

Image

The mic comes in a Behringer-style plastic case with an XLR-XLR lead, but no mic clip/stand adapter. It's a lighter mic than an SM58, approximately the same size but with a very slightly ovoid grille compared to the round one of the 58. It comes with a switch (there is no non-switch version avilable), but it can be locked in the 'on' position by rotating a plate beneath the switch (which I did). A combination of the switch, the shiny grille and the adhesive label with "Dynamic Condenser 600 Ohms" just under the grille all combine to make it look like a cheap mic.

One big negative point for me is that the slot for the XLR locking pin is too far from the base to allow an XLR to lock. I tried both the supplied cable XLR and my Neutrik XLR leads and neither would lock, even when pushing the XLR in hard.

For the money (this sells for between £15 and £24), there are far better mics out there. If anyone says this is a bargain SM58 replacement, tell them in no uncertain terms to go away and actually try it against one, then think again. It really is quite nasty IMO.

The £14 Behringer XM8500 is cheaper (OK, no mic lead but it does have a stand clip) and required far less EQ to get a reasonable sound from it and you can lock a lead into it. The £33 Prodipe TT1 is a much better mic all round, and whilst still slightly bassy, doesn't take much EQ to correct it.

So, Giggo96, it's definitely the mic, not the Boss VE-8.
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Re: Poor Mic quality

Postby Wonks » Thu Mar 26, 2020 12:46 pm

There is no 'best stage vocal mic'. There are certainly poor quality mics, ones that feedback easily or have excessive boominess or sibilance or handling noise.

Once you move on to ones that don't have those issues, you then come down to matching the mic against your voice, the type of music you perform, matching it to suit your PA system and picking the best polar pattern (cardioid, super-cardioid or hyper-cardioid) for how you move about in relation to the mic and how you like to set the mic position in relation to any stage monitors.

If you are an intimate singer/songwriter type, then you may want the mic to be as detailed and natural sounding as possible, so a condenser would probably be the best choice. The new Behringer SB 78A isn't a bad cheap condenser at £35, with a very flat response, but spend more and you should notice the difference. But you'll need a decent PA to hear it through first.

If in doubt, go for a real SM58 (which generally means buying new) as it will always work. It may not be the best mic for all applications, or even your voice, but you'll get a useable sound.

The Beta SM58A is a different sounding mic with a bit more high-end extension and a higher output., but still a very good mic and used by a lot of PA companies. But I'd go for a Beta 57A myself, which is around £20 cheaper but almost identical in sound. A lot of people use it as a vocal mic. I did a frequency comparison test with a Beta 57A and a Beta 58a and there wasn't really anything in it at all. The 58A is a tad brighter, but not much. Unlike the SM versions, the grilles don't make any difference to the sound - I did swap them over to check and nothing changed.

The AKG D5 is a very good mic, but I'd say it's slightly more specialised than an SM58 in the voices it's best suited for.

There really is no better way to find out than go and try a load out. However a tiny virus has put paid to that option for the foreseeable future.

And as has been said, there are a lot of fake SM57s, SM58s, Beta 57s and Beta 58A floating around on eBay and second-hand generally. Unless you know exactly what to look for in a real one or buy from someone with known provenance, it is best to buy those Shure models new.
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Re: Poor Mic quality

Postby Giggo96 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:43 pm

Wonks wrote:The Stag SDM50 has arrived, so here's a mini review for the benefit of others.

So, Giggo96, it's definitely the mic, not the Boss VE-8.

Hi Wonks,

Really appreciate the feedback on the SDM 50. A genuine insight and very beneficial to hear what someone who knows a bit about them has to say!

Just want your opinion.

I use a behringer xenyx 1202fx mixer. I had deemed the pre-amps to be bad on it, as I was getting bad vocal quality from it, when I plugged the same mic (SDM58) into the Boss VE-8, I did get slightly clearer vocals, how ever still couldnt get a clear vocal eq going on, whether I went straight from VE-8 to speakers or from VE-8 to mixer then to speakers.

Do you think this is down to the mic and the Xenyx actually may be a powerful enough mixer? I am currently in the middle of trying to get rid of my Boss VE-8 to create funds to allow me to buy a mic, probably beta 58 or sm58, and try it with my Xenyx mixer, and maybe even try and look at better mixer also (possible yamaha MG10xu) if it may be more powerful in terms of clarity

Be interested to see if im thinking straight here or if im wasting time

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Re: Poor Mic quality

Postby Wonks » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:02 pm

With a better mic, the mixer should be fine. There was a point in time when a lot of the Behringer mixers were very noisy, but the Xenyx range started after that point. I'm using an oldish Alesis Multimix8 USB FX, which has a more flexible EQ on the first two of its channels than your Xenyx. The fixed 2.5kHz mid frequency EQ control on the Xenyx is too high to clear the mud on the Stagg mic (which is why you had to turn the mids all the way down in order to start affecting the problem areas), whereas the semi-parametric mid-EQ on the Alesis meant that I could more easily target the problem area to get a workable sound with less cut.

Whilst I'd always encourage people to get better quality equipment, the mixer will currently be fine when paired with a better mic. It's hard to get a small channel count but fully-featured analogue mixer without straying into pretty expensive territory, by which time you're far better off getting a small digital mixer.
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Re: Poor Mic quality

Postby Giggo96 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:51 pm

Wonks wrote:With a better mic, the mixer should be fine. There was a point in time when a lot of the Behringer mixers were very noisy, but the Xenyx range started after that point. I'm using an oldish Alesis Multimix8 USB FX, which has a more flexible EQ on the first two of its channels than your Xenyx. The fixed 2.5kHz mid frequency EQ control on the Xenyx is too high to clear the mud on the Stagg mic (which is why you had to turn the mids all the way down in order to start affecting the problem areas), whereas the semi-parametric mid-EQ on the Alesis meant that I could more easily target the problem area to get a workable sound with less cut.

Whilst I'd always encourage people to get better quality equipment, the mixer will currently be fine when paired with a better mic. It's hard to get a small channel count but fully-featured analogue mixer without straying into pretty expensive territory, by which time you're far better off getting a small digital mixer.

Again very helpful!

One last thing,

Im shortlisting these mics to keep an eye on for myself;
- Beta 58a
- Sennheiser e835
- SM58

This is all based off of the reviews you have given above. ignoring price, what do you chose?
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Re: Poor Mic quality

Postby Wonks » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:57 pm

What sort of voice do you have (compare to other singers if you want) and what sort of material do you play?
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Re: Poor Mic quality

Postby Giggo96 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:11 pm

Wonks wrote:What sort of voice do you have (compare to other singers if you want) and what sort of material do you play?

Not sure how to describe it, probably a Bass/Baritone kind of voice? Not sure who I would compare it too off the top of my head.

I play all pop acoustic kind of stuff middle of the road. Ed sheeran, Avicii wake me up, Call me Al, George Ezra, With or without you U2, Gerry Cinnamon, Brown eyed girl, when you say nothing at all, and not forgetting WONDERWALL!
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Re: Poor Mic quality

Postby Wonks » Fri Mar 27, 2020 9:39 am

It's still a hard choice. All the mics there are decent. Of the three, I'd be tempted to go with the e835 if choosing blind. But if you can borrow the D5 and take the grille off (and disinfect it), that could work well on a bass/baritone, lifting the top end without overemphasising the bass end.

I'm useless at making decisions!
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Re: Poor Mic quality

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:40 am

This has been a fascinating thread - and will probably continue to be so....

Just a comment or two from an old sweat who's now retired from Live Sound:

I used to have about 4 or 5 varieties of live vocal mics in my cases, because the mic/voice combination is crucial. A lead vocal that sounded less than stellar in sound-check could be transformed by swapping-in a different mic. And despite doing the biz for a long time I'd sometimes get it wrong... hear the voice/style, choose a mic, listen... nah! Chose what I'd imagined would be a 'no-no' and - bingo!

And the seasoned pro's who'd turn up with what to me seemed a decidedly average/unsuitable mic were often spot-on. For their voice and style 'their' mic was just right.

Wonks has done us all a service with his excellent analysis and assessment. But as he says there are guidelines for choosing mics, but no formula.
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Re: Poor Mic quality

Postby James Perrett » Fri Mar 27, 2020 3:51 pm

Giggo96 wrote:Im shortlisting these mics to keep an eye on for myself;
- Beta 58a
- Sennheiser e835
- SM58


One word of advice - buy them from a proper dealer rather than Ebay or any other low price site. The mics on Ebay that seem like a bit of a bargain are usually fake. I've been getting adverts for Wish on my Facebook feed and they're advertising obviously fake Sennheisers.

And I would totally agree with this advice from Wonks
If in doubt, go for a real SM58 (which generally means buying new) as it will always work. It may not be the best mic for all applications, or even your voice, but you'll get a useable sound.
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Re: Poor Mic quality

Postby Wonks » Fri Mar 27, 2020 5:23 pm

Just done my normal (by now) mic relative frequency comparison of the Stag SDM50 against my SM58. (I don't have a proper test rig, so this is just pink noise through a single monitor at roughly 6" away and equidistant from both drivers, with all the inherent frequency bumps and dips associated with such a method).

The SM58 trace is in black, the Stagg SDM50 in red. I've adjusted the levels so that they have (as close as I could get) the same relative dB value at 1kHz.

Image
You can easily see that the Stagg's got a lot more bass-end than the SM58, and that the upper mids as well as the treble are boosted by 3-4dB compared to the SM58. The bass end will be further boosted by the proximity effect when singing/speaking right into the grille.

So you should be able to tell why the Stagg's so bassy, and with those very boosted upper mids, you aren't going to get a natural sounding voice at all. If the response was flatter from 1.5kHz upwards, then you could probably make it work with a lot of bass cut. The extended high-frequency response (compared to an SM58) could then be very useful, especially with a female voice. But all that extra boosting (or alternatively, a lack of low- and centre-mids) just makes it too much hard work to bother with it. There are better (if not perfect) mics out there for similar money.

On the other hand, with the boosted bass and upper-mids/treble, it would be worth trying it as kick drum mic, as its overall frequency response is broadly similar to an Audix D6.
I'm not going to get a chance to do that for quite a while though.
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