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Old May 14th, 2011, 09:53 PM   #16
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Re: good budget large diaphragm condenser for voice over/singing?

+1 on the AT-2020's for good and cheap! They were my first pair of mics for stereo stuff (drums overheads mainly), but I also like them on some voices as well. I ended up selling the other three pairs of mics (1 pair LDC's, 1 pair SDC's, and a pair of ribbons) I had bought since then and keeping the 2020's.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 02:55 AM   #17
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Re: good budget large diaphragm condenser for voice over/singing?

Get over to advanced audio in vancouver and check out Dave Thomas' condenser mics. they are very good.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 04:03 AM   #18
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Re: good budget large diaphragm condenser for voice over/singing?

When you say get over. . .I assume you mean a road trip. I'm in Houston. See you at 8am. :-)
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Old May 17th, 2011, 05:45 AM   #19
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Re: good budget large diaphragm condenser for voice over/singing?

I just meant visit the site and considering these mics. I have a AA cm47 fet USB2 16 bit mic that goes directly into the USB port on my MacBookPro. It is very good. Less that $300.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 05:52 AM   #20
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Re: good budget large diaphragm condenser for voice over/singing?

I was just. . .JOSHING you.

Those are a bit out of my price range. . .I'm thinking the way to go is either cheap new or something used that goes for around $450-500 new.

And is USB the way to go? Folks emphasize preamp quality so much. I have this beautiful Apogee Duet (the one that generates phantom power, not to be confused with the pocket model) just sitting here. . .don't I want it preamping my mic (unless I got an even fancier preamp, which I'm not really looking into right now)?
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Old May 17th, 2011, 07:08 AM   #21
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Re: good budget large diaphragm condenser for voice over/singing?

No sweat mate. You've got choices ... USB serves me well on the go ... but to each his own. He makes tubes designed on the U47 & U87 ... also, fets ... and they are very reasonable. Top quality stuff. I mentioned these because you said inexpensive.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 01:14 PM   #22
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Re: good budget large diaphragm condenser for voice over/singing?

Here are some decent budget LDC's I did a shootout of. My Faves are the NT2000, and the AT4050. But you can get an NT2a for 400.00 with a cable and pop filter. It's the same as the NT2000, but with switchable polar patterns rather than variable, which isn't a big deal at all.

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Old May 17th, 2011, 01:16 PM   #23
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Re: good budget large diaphragm condenser for voice over/singing?

Oh and I see AT4050s used for 350.00 often. Also check the B&H used section under mics. They often have some nice ones for a good price.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 01:27 PM   #24
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Re: good budget large diaphragm condenser for voice over/singing?

I'm a big fan of the M-Audio Nova. Looking much like the Neuman U87, this mic sounds really good for an entry level studio mic. Street price under $100usd.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 11:13 PM   #25
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Re: good budget large diaphragm condenser for voice over/singing?

Thanks. Lot of good suggestions here. I did a quick search and it looks like there are some disadvantages to USB mics, cost aside--


-most, if not all, record in 16 bit (or so I read). I have Logic and the Apogee Duet which, both of which allow for 24 bit recording

-if I ever did get a fancy preamp, I'd have to get yet another mic since the USB couldn't work with it

-usb apparently stops being effective at a certain cable length, not so with XLR

there are more, but those are the ones that really struck me. I think I'll keep searching for a non-USB condenser.

Pretty sure a simple cardioid pattern will do for me, likely won't need other pattern shapes. And able to handle high SPL levels.

As much as I don't want to, I may just have to go down to Guitar Center and do a quick shootout. . .maybe bring my Tascam recorder and record into that with a bunch of mics, read the back of a box or something. There are just too many choices, overwhelmingly so. Much worse than the "which camera do I buy" problem, in my opinion.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 12:39 AM   #26
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Re: good budget large diaphragm condenser for voice over/singing?

To me, a USB mic makes sense for podcasts and such where you work tethered to a computer and deliver on the web. An XLR mic can offer better sound and more flexibility. For instance, you might want to hook the mic to a field recorder for foley recording or remote work. You can bring a laptop, but then you have to deal with fan noise.

Chad has some great recommendations. The NT2-A is a definite upgrade from the NT1-A, giving you selectable patterns as well as higher-end condensers. Some time ago I had the chance to demo the Audio Technica line of large condensers, and each model up was a definite step up in sound quality, IMHO. By the time we worked up from the lower mics, the AT4050 delivered everything the lower mics were lacking.

Having switchable patterns is really nice. I'm borrowing a friend's Soundelux U97 (serial number 1!) for a corporate interview. Yesterday, I tested the available mics and the Soundelux in super-cardioid mode was the clear winner. Frankly, it's more of a singer's mic with a strong bass and smooth top end, but its lack of distortion and it's ability to tame reflections naturally put it on top. Regarding the response, with EQ I can make it sound boomy or thin, so the bassy, scooped frequency response won't be a problem. It will be mounted on a stand, so it doesn't matter that it's heavy for video use.

Unfortunately, neither the NT2-A or AT4050 have switchable super cardioid modes. Omni is only useful with an LD condenser if you have a good room, and figure-8 is only helpful is you do mid-side recording with two mics. Having these patterns won't hurt, but they might not get used much.

I wonder if you dial the NT2000 mid way between cardioid and figure-8 if you get a super or hyper cardioid? If so, the NT2000 might be the most flexible. Go between omni and cardioid for VO and put it on a stand between cardioid and 8 for sit down interviews - or on a boom if your audio guy is from muscle beach.

Again, you can EQ a response, but it's tough to remove distortion, and even tougher to remove natural echo in post.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 12:44 AM   #27
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Re: good budget large diaphragm condenser for voice over/singing?

When you say "distortion" do you simply mean from overmodulated recording, or something inherent in a mic's sound, regardless of levels/gain structure, etc.? Are there mics that distort no matter what?
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Old May 18th, 2011, 01:39 AM   #28
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Re: good budget large diaphragm condenser for voice over/singing?

There's hard clipping due to overdriving a preamp. You can also overdrive the mechanical element in the mic itself. And then there's THD or total harmonic distortion. That's just a way of saying that the electrical signal doesn't track the sound pressure signal exactly. A crummy system will sound like a bad telephone. A good one will sound like you're there. Typically, a mic with some distortion will sound a bit harsh, brittle, or even raspy. The NT1-A is guilty of some harshness, for instance, though it's really not too bad. It doesn't match the creaminess of a top mic though.

To me, the sound of a special microphone will be creamy smooth, but have a bit of bite to it as well. If you think of a baked potato, a clinical mic will be just the potato. A distorted mic will have too much pepper - if not sand! A smooth mic will have butter. A special mic will have butter and salt with only a hint of pepper - and no sand!

I should make a video of that analogy. :)
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Old May 18th, 2011, 02:03 AM   #29
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Re: good budget large diaphragm condenser for voice over/singing?

I don't think you'd make it through the video. You'd eat the talent.


But all these issues are either gain issues (overdriving preamp) or other operator errors, (overdriving mic element itself). . .as opposed to "this is just the way this mic sounds no matter what?", right?
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Old May 18th, 2011, 06:48 AM   #30
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Re: good budget large diaphragm condenser for voice over/singing?

Some good advice throughout this thread.

I remember spending hours perfecting a voice over track for a client (Rode NT1a mike). Superb sound, it sounded great on my system. Gave the job to my client who promptly placed the DVD in his player and watched the production through the TV with its in-built speakers. The sound was $#i'T ? to say the least.

The moral of this, is that you are never going to be in control of how the final production is heard. Get the best you can afford and optimize the sound quality, you can't do more than that.
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