DV Info Net

DV Info Net (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/)
-   All Things Audio (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/all-things-audio/)
-   -   Voiceover mic for under $300; looking at Rode? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/all-things-audio/21016-voiceover-mic-under-300-looking-rode.html)

John Britt February 7th, 2004 11:28 PM

Voiceover mic for under $300; looking at Rode?
I've been perusing the forums here and at dv.com for the past few days -- and while it's obvious that the "advice on mic" questions are common, I'm still looking for help.

I'm looking for a microphone under $300 for voiceovers for my :30 sec. cable television commercials. Preferably, it would work well with a variety of male and female voices; I do most of the voiceovers, but sometimes the business owners will do their own voicework.

When recording the owners' voices, I typically have to meet them at their business -- not an ideal recording location, so the mic would preferably work somewhat well in acoustically "live" rooms.

The mic will also be plugged straight into my DVC80, which offers phantom power.

Based on what I've read, I'm looking at some of the Rode mics: the NT1A, the NT1000, and the Broadcaster. Can anyone offer their opinions on these mics, or similarly-priced ones? I'd like to keep the price cap at $300, and obviously cheaper is better (though I know that you get what you pay for). I know that Bryan Beasleigh and Matt Gettemeier have tested these mics, but any additional information and advice would be helpful.

If you watch the demos at my site at http://www.karatemedia.com/video/ you'll see that I still have much to learn on the mixing end (compare the "Gardens at Eden, Fall Specials" ad, which features a professionally-recorded audio track, with the "Georgia Theatre" spot, which is all me on a AT MB4000C mic). Don't worry, I've got some Jay Rose books on the way. But I know that a good voiceover starts with good source material, so a quality mic that fits into my budget would be a good start.

Thanks for your help, and for reading another lengthy JB post.

Martin Garrison February 7th, 2004 11:46 PM

It's like I have a macro:

The oktava 012 w/hypercardioid, is a great mic. There are better VO mics, but a hyper will help you deal with less than ideal recording situations. Popping from plosives is a problem, but keep the mic about cheek level with a windscreen and it sounds great.

Matt Gettemeier February 8th, 2004 01:06 PM

John, I really liked the sound of the NT1a. Beas and others feel that it has a "raspy" mid to top-end. I would expect the NT1000 to be the same as the NT1a minus the "raspyness".

I bought an NTK and I positively loved it. I sold it because I didn't want to deal with the big tube amp which MUST be used with that mic. Having to deal with it meant needing AC current to power the amp, power cord to the wall, and a proprietary 30' cord from the pre-amp to the mic and THEN you plugged in your XLR from the cam to the pre-amp. Sound like a pain in the butt for location recording? It was... so I sold it.

I thought an NT2000 would be the next best thing, but it turned out to be an entirely different mic with a far more neutral sound, much to my disliking.

So if I was to guess. I'll bet that an NT1000 sounds a lot like an NT2000 minus the luxury of variable pattern, cut-off, and pot. Personally I'd probably get an NT1000 before I'd get another NT2000 (I returned the one I bought) because I found the cardioid pattern of the NTK to be far better then all of the choices on the NT2000... The NTK's (and probably NT1000) "one trick" cardioid pattern is better. That fact is both heard as well as seen on the plots that are up on the Rode site.

The issue I think you should consider if you go with a large diaphragm side address mic such as the NT1a or any of the other mics we've discussed, is that they're so sensitive that any kind of live room may ruin a VO that a normal hyper would get. When I had the NTK in my bedroom you could hear a person whispering 20' away down the hall. Sometimes getting that last 10% of quality takes a lot of work in other details. You may find yourself needing sound blankets and careful setup to get what you want out of a side address mic. Unfortunately I don't have any experience with the Broadcaster, but I'd expect it to yield better VO results then the other mics 90% of the time. I also think the suggestion of a hyper is VERY practical... As a cheaper alternative you may want to consider an NT3, which I liked pretty much... Again it's a step down from the side address mics we've been talking about in POTENTIAL sound quality, but it's more likely you'll be successful in getting a CLEAN recording which is more important then getting every last, breathy detail of the speaker's voice.

Martin Garrison February 8th, 2004 03:53 PM

Another way to get good VO in less than ideal rooms, is with a large diaphragm dynamic mic. They aren't as sensitive, and are made for real close talking. A shure SM7 would be close to your price range.

Glenn Chan February 8th, 2004 04:17 PM


I do most of the voiceovers, but sometimes the business owners will do their own voicework.

When recording the owners' voices, I typically have to meet them at their business -- not an ideal recording location, so the mic would preferably work somewhat well in acoustically "live" rooms.
Is the voice-over person going to be on camera? If it's a business owner, you presumably want to see his/her face. Otherwise I'd be renting out studio time and paying someone who's good at VO work. If you have the business owners on camera, you might want to use a wired lav in that scenario.

John Britt February 8th, 2004 04:43 PM


No, sorry, I mean business owners doing off-screen V/Os. I do have an ECM-44B lav for use when the owner (or whoever) in on screen (eg, in my "Gardens at Eden, Christmas" or "Musician's Warehouse, Christmas" ads).

Sometimes, though, I have the owner do an off-cam V/O (one example is the "All About You" ad on my site -- and *no* this thread is not just an excuse to pump up my site's vistors :D ).

I already charge ridiculously low rates, and there's no room for paying for V/O work. So I give businesses the choice of *my voice* or *their voice*. Of course, if the business is willing to pay extra, there are any number of options in this music town for quality studios. I just want to improve the quality of the voiceovers that I can offer at my lowest prices. I think just the simple step of getting a mic that is better than my AT MB4000C will be a big help

Matt & Martin -- I may be able to get my mics on trade with a local music store. Perhaps I can get a Shure SM58 for location VOs and the NT1A for my in-house VOs and still meet my budget of $300 -- that is, the Shure for less-than-ideal locations and the Rode for my own, personal, controllable environment?

Matt Gettemeier February 8th, 2004 09:33 PM

I wish I knew more about the Sure mics John. I hear the sm58 is supposed to be a "work horse" which presumes many people like it... I asked about the new SM86 and Beta87c and unfortunately received almost no response.

That sounds like a good plan though. I only know of the NT1a from Beaser... He's the one responsible for me buying THREE Rode mics. He sent me a sound clip of the NT1a in a comparison to the me66 which I had at the time. I had one of higher end Rode mics within 10 days. I thought the NT1a had a very pleasing sound. I think for video you'd be hard pressed to hear that mic's shortcomings... As a little aside, did you know that mic is only 5 or so db in self noise? That's FREAKY low... unbelievable!

Anyway, hopefully Beas will chime in on this as he has direct experience with that mic. I don't expect he'll tell you much different then I did though.

If I buy ANY Rode mic OTHER then the NTK (my personal fav for sound NOT convenience) then it would be the NT1a.

Bryan Beasleigh February 8th, 2004 10:06 PM

I have several clips of the NT1A and as Matt said the mic is about the quietest out there. It has a pretty good shockmount packaged with it which makes it a bargain. Listen for yourself. there is a clip comparing the NT1A with a sennheiser ME66

I have several others if you're interested. The AKG D230 dynamic does a good job for very little money as well. I have a comparison clip of that as well. I'd have to email them to you.

John Britt February 8th, 2004 10:42 PM


The NT1A sounds so full! Is it just my imagination, or does it have more depth than the ME66, Oktava, et al? It definitely seems to knock the Oktava out of the competition.

And yes, I would love to hear the AKG D230 as well. Feel free to email it to the address listed in my profile.

Thanks for the help. I'm beginning to lean towards the NT1A now... I wonder if I can make it sound as good as that sample...

Noah Posnick February 9th, 2004 11:16 PM

You can. I have the NT1a and it's worked like a charm for me every time i put it to use. It's also been great for foley.

John Britt February 17th, 2004 01:01 PM

Now that I want it, I can't get it...
Can anyone recommend a quality online retailer who has the Rode NT1A? B&H is now out of stock, and none of the other dvinfo.net sponsors carry it. There are other online stores who claim to have the NT1A, but does anyone here have any recommendations?

(by the way, I'm now considering the ElectroVoice EV635 as my on-location VO mic, for those of you keeping score...)

Bryan Beasleigh February 17th, 2004 02:23 PM

i've sent you 2 clips of the D230. For $120 it does a nice job

John Britt February 17th, 2004 02:45 PM


Thanks, I'll listen when I get home. I actually haven't had a chance to hear the ElectroVoice in action, but I figured that 50,000 broadcast reporters can't be wrong... :)

And I know you're up in Canada, but do you ever deal with any reputable online US audio retailers?

Bryan Beasleigh February 17th, 2004 04:28 PM

B&H and Markertek
I'm actually getting better pricing on some items up here than you can get in the US. (Sanken, Schoeps, rycote, Lightwave) the difference isn't worth the hassels bringing them accross the border, but it's nice to see some suppliers try and compete.

John Britt February 18th, 2004 11:54 AM


The D230 sounds good, I'll need to call B&H for their "better price."

Unfortunately, B&H doesn't know when they're getting the NT1As back in -- they said ask again on Friday.

Markertek has a good price on the Rode, but they won't give you the shipping cost until you enter in your CC# and place the order. I don't like that and won't order from them if I can't get a shipping cost before placing the order (there's no way to tell if once I fill out the order form and click "next" that I'll have the option of cancelling the order once I see the shipping cost).

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:29 PM.

DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2021 The Digital Video Information Network