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Old February 17th, 2007, 11:28 AM   #1
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Dynamic or Condenser for voiceover in poor acoustics?

Infrequently, I will be doing voiceovers---mainly an occasional commentary track. My workstation PC can get noisey, and my post production suite doesn't have the best acoustics to begin with. However, on those rare occasions I will be doing voiceover work, I plan on making use of one of my closets--one of which is about 20-25 feet away from my PC--for voice work.

I am still concerned about picking up unwanted room noise(that PC fan can be loud). Therefore, am I on the right track by thinking in terms of getting a dynamic mic rather than a condenser mic? Unless I have read the posts wrong, a dynamic mic won't be as sensitive to room noise.

Thanks.
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Old February 17th, 2007, 07:59 PM   #2
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Dave,

a Dynamic mic will reject more of the room sound, but it will still pick up noise like the PC fan etc. You can do some relatively easy sound treatment, with rockwool, or acoustic foam, try to silence the PC as much as possible, or if possible put the mic in a different room than the PC.

if you use the closet, face into it, that way your body will block a good amount of the room noise, you can also make some gobos, out of acoustic foam and some PVC pipe and place them between the closet and the PC.
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Old February 18th, 2007, 07:23 AM   #3
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Jay Rose, in his 2002 book, says to "turn off computer towers and other noisy equipment and use a directional mic" to record audio (if you don't have proper acoustics.) Almost everyone else--based on the posts I've read--suggest a condenser--even in an unfriendly acoustic room.

In light of Jay's statement, would anyone suggest using a portable audio recording device for the occasional voiceover in a poor acoustics room (not for field work)?
Some posts here and elsewhere even suggest recording in a remote automobile. I assume a laptop or noisey camera isn't being used in these situations.
What about Hi-MD recorders or DAT, etc?

As for my studio-only mic budget, it is $120.00
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Old February 18th, 2007, 07:48 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Nicholson
...

In light of Jay's statement, would anyone suggest using a portable audio recording device for the occasional voiceover in a poor acoustics room (not for field work)?
...
What about Hi-MD recorders or DAT, etc?

As for my studio-only mic budget, it is $120.00
HiMD and DAT recorders still have motors for the drive/transport. Don't know how much of an issue that would really be, but for the quietest stand-alone audio recording, go with a CF card recorder. No moving parts to make noises.

A downside of using a stand-alone recorder and turning off the computers is now you can't use picture preview to help the timing of your reading.
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Old February 18th, 2007, 11:53 AM   #5
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With your budget and room, I'd definitely go dynamic. The el-cheapo condensers sound really "crunchy" to me. They'll pick up room noise, and have a noisy, distorted, scooped sound. If you can find a used SM-58 in your budget, go for that. A great dynamic will beat a crummy condenser any time.

Keep in mind that many pros use the EV RE20 dynamic for radio and TV voice. http://www.zzounds.com/item--ELVRE20

Typically singers will use condensers in studio conditions with headphones, but Bono has been known to record his vocals with an SM-58 in front of monitors. Sure, there's bleed, but not so much that it can't be effectively processed and mixed.

The other thing: an SM-58 is a keeper. A $100 condenser is useless after you upgrade.
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Old February 19th, 2007, 05:42 AM   #6
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Put the computer in another room. Just a bit of work and you won't regret it later. So much more pleasant for all your work to not have the constant buzz/hum of the computer in the background--not to mention for voiceover work too.
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Old February 19th, 2007, 07:40 AM   #7
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Okay, after much studying and hand wringing, I've decided to go the dynamic route for the occasional voiceovers I will do in the studio. I can get the following mics at about the same price (a Ben Franklin). Which is the superior mic, or is that sort of like asking who is your favorite child?

--Shure SM57
--Shure SM58
--Shure Beta 58A Supercardioid (what does "beta" improve?)
--SENNHEISER E835 (a bit more expensive)

I'm leaning to the SM58. A post I read from a voiceover professional stated that "the SM-57 sounds best several inches away from the user's mouth and works fine up to 12 inches away. The SM-58 has to be much closer to the mouth." In other words, it's more directional, which seems to appeal to my room acoustics and my own radio announcing background experience.
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Old February 19th, 2007, 08:25 AM   #8
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The SM57 and SM58 are the exact same mic, only the 58 has a pop filter capsule on the front. Beta 58A has a supercardioid pickup pattern which is more directional than a 58.
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Old February 19th, 2007, 12:23 PM   #9
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(The SM57 and SM58 are the exact same mic, only the 58 has a pop filter capsule on the front.)

--I learned something. thanks. Based on posts, like the one I pasted below, I thought there was a difference.

***
"But what's the difference between the SM-57 and the SM-58? Besides the grill, the main difference is Frequency response. Take a look at the charts in the manuals for both, and you'll note that in the slice of spectrum normally associated with the human voice, there's a boost with the SM-58. This may make your voice sparkle a little more on the SM-58, but if you were planning on possibly micing anything else, it's going to also have a boost in the same range, distorting the original sound slightly."
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Old February 19th, 2007, 12:46 PM   #10
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Here are some VO mic comparisons, the SM58 and SM57 are included:
http://www.transom.org/tools/recordi...otout-key.html
The blind test where you can listen to the mics in use is here:
http://www.transom.org/tools/recordi...shootout.html#
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Old February 20th, 2007, 12:29 AM   #11
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In a noisy environment I would choose a hypercardioid dynamic over most condensors. First off, the narrow pickup pattern will eliminate some of the background noise. Second, it's been my experience that because a dynamic generally outputs a weaker signal than many condensors, some noise may fall below the threshold that registers on the recording. In fact, I have been really pleased with recordings made in difficult settings using a ribbon mic. It outputs an even weaker signal than the dynamic and all sorts of background noise disappears. To use this technique, though, requires a very good quality preamp to adequately amplify the faint mic signal.

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Old February 20th, 2007, 01:18 AM   #12
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I don't know for sure, but I think the Beta is a cost reduced SM58 that has been packaged to be more consumer friendly. The version I've seen comes in a flashier clear plastic box and includes a cable. Maybe it's as good or better than the original, but my gut tells me to go for the real McCoy.
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Old February 20th, 2007, 01:37 AM   #13
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B&H sells the Beta58a for $159.00 and the SM58 for $99.00. The Beta 58 is Supercardioid and has an extended frequency response to 16kHz vs the SM's 15Khz. The Beta also has lower noise and higher gain before feedback which is good in a live setting. The Beta has a blue ring around the ball. I have a few of each and prefer the Beta 58.
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Old February 20th, 2007, 03:40 AM   #14
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I always thought the 58 spits a bit on sibilance for spoken voice, but it cuts through Ok, I always deessed going in. Watch out for the eastern knock-offs, Shure has warning signs at their dealers here.

You should get as many mics as you can to try for your voice.
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Old February 20th, 2007, 04:25 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Andrewski
Put the computer in another room. Just a bit of work and you won't regret it later. So much more pleasant for all your work to not have the constant buzz/hum of the computer in the background--not to mention for voiceover work too.
I'm with Richard. This is a no-brainer. Put your computer in the closet or in another room and cable to the keyboard, mouse and monitor. I've been doing that will all my computers since 1990.

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