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Old April 28th, 2009, 10:38 PM   #1
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Good yet economical USB mike for narration?

I have Blue Microphone's Snowball USB mic with a pop filter and a shock mount system. USB connectivity powers it.

http://www.bluemic.com/images/take_a_look/45.gif

Although there are plenty of good reviews and no real bad ones on this mic, I am not pleased with the sound of my own voice. I think it sounds nasally, and not like what you would hear directly listening to someone. Plus my acoustic guitar instructor laughed at me when she saw it! Oh the Humanity!

I like the simplicity of USB mics, and I am loathe to get some expensive preamped complicated fu-fu microphone system, as I am doing nothing but narrating into the mic in a quiet room for voice overs on videos, so if you all have some suggestions OTHER than getting some $500 system, I am all ears.

Thanks guys!
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Old April 28th, 2009, 11:09 PM   #2
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Hi Dave, I had the same predicament. While the mic plays a big part, reading your post it may not be your Snowball but the acoustic you're recording in.

I have this Portabooth, haven't really had the chance to try it on a job yet. But something like this may improve your sound before you throw the Snowball.

Quite frankly I was horrified when I first saw this apparatus, but it gets great reviews. Mine was delivered quickly, well boxed and fits together nicely.

Harlan Hogan - Voice overs Narrations Commercials Promos

Cheers.
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Old April 28th, 2009, 11:24 PM   #3
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Allan,

Here is an example of how I am hearing a reverb nasally sound on one of our videos:

Narration video
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Old April 29th, 2009, 12:12 AM   #4
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Hi Dave, dejavu, my outfit had the Philippines Dept of Tourism contract for A/V programs in the 90s. Great people to work with and a lovely part of the world.

We're our own worst critic you know, your voice track didn't sound bad at all. But I can hear what you mean. I'd keep your mic, get in a better acoustic so you don't have to project so much. I'd speak slower and a tad quieter, and more friendly by smiling. Most ppl have never heard of that location, so some small emphasis on the names would be good.

So..your audience is literally 2 feet in front of you, IMO your current narration would be great in a movie theatre.

Try this, get the same script and record a sample in a something like a clothes closet. Great pix btw.

Cheers.

Last edited by Allan Black; April 29th, 2009 at 01:52 AM.
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Old April 29th, 2009, 03:06 AM   #5
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Why not buy a USB interface? (I use an m-box 2 with pro tools) you can then get a far better choice of mics and more control over levels etc. The mic pre-amps are also better than a USB mic.
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Old April 29th, 2009, 08:31 AM   #6
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Sorry, the beginning of this is off topic,


Hello Gary, nice to see someone who works somewhere I am familiar with.

My daughter was visiting family there last summer, and was at the airshow in Seaham, and did a mock newscast, that one of your crew taped.

I am happy to say she did a great job at it, and your crew did a great job.
The resulting dvd, has been viewed many times.

I like your website, by the way, as it brings back fond memories, of time I have spent in the NorthEast, when I visit the extended family.


Dave,

I agree with Allan's points, as well as Gary's.

We have an Edirol usb box, that we use, and can plug in whatever flavour of mic that needs to be used at the moment.

Our Edirol unit is plugged into a webcasting, XP computer, and requires different types of mics plugged in.

We have a variety of rooms, that really don't reproduce well, but the audio that we get from the Edirol and the various mics, ie lapel, pzm/boundary, as well as shure SM58's, always sounds great. Some of these people are shy, and don't always speak up, so the variety, of what we plug into the USB unit, makes the difference, when you cannot control the environment or the talent.
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Old April 29th, 2009, 09:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
So..your audience is literally 2 feet in front of you, IMO your current narration would be great in a movie theatre.
I agree with Allan, nothing wrong with your mike, Blue makes nice stuff.

You are projecting as if you were talking to a mass audience, or a classroom.

My old broadcasting prof told us to remember that broadcasting (same principle in web video) is an intimate medium, you are talking to one listener at a time. His trick was: tape a photo of a listener to your console, sit a conversational distance from it, and talk to that person. Worked a treat. / Battle Vaughan /miamiherald.com video team
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Old April 29th, 2009, 11:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Allen View Post
I like the simplicity of USB mics, and I am loathe to get some expensive preamped complicated fu-fu microphone system, as I am doing nothing but narrating into the mic in a quiet room for voice overs on videos
There are some post processing tricks you can do to get that warm tone. Your voice plays a part in it as well.

However... I love the sound of the Heil PR-40 USB mic. Want to hear it in action? Listen to any of Leo LaPorte's podcasts such as This Week in Tech or Mac Break Weekly. Granted, Leo has a very polished voice, but the PR-40 delivers nicely. I was listening to one of his podcasts recently and he had John Dvorak on as a guest. Dvorak was coming through Skype and using the PR-40. It was just as warm as any broadcast I've heard. It's a great testament to that mic.

Not as cheap as the Snowball, but worth a look.

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Old April 29th, 2009, 06:30 PM   #9
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I was speaking loudly, as the recorded track imported into Final Cut Pro is so quite I have to double the audio track to bring it into a decent decibel range.

I noticed that if I am further away from the Snowball mic, the sound is less nasally, but then too quiet. If I am much closer, then although loud enough, it sound more nasally.

With the Snowball mic, I use Quicktime and just hit the >file> new audio recording, turn my stereo speakers off, and turn the slider all the way up on the record window.

Yes, Anilao was a blast, the footage and an interview of me along with footage of the production crew following me around made it onto a Philippines Nature Show.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 12:15 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battle Vaughan View Post

My old broadcasting prof told us to remember that broadcasting (same principle in web video) is an intimate medium, you are talking to one listener at a time. His trick was: tape a photo of a listener to your console, sit a conversational distance from it, and talk to that person. Worked a treat. / Battle Vaughan /miamiherald.com video team
I'll have to try that.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 09:46 AM   #11
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I meant to type "quiet", not quite. Why one cannot edit their post after it is up is strange.

A friend of mine does vocal coaching and she too suggested I try to smile when narrating.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 11:00 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Greg Boston View Post
I love the sound of the Heil PR-40 USB mic.
I have to correct myself. The mic I mentioned isn't USB, however it is a dynamic mic, which helps cut down on unwanted background noise.

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