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March 17, 2013 at 3:11 PM #55391GeorgeParticipantHey,Looking for a voice over mic, under 200$. Not looking for over the top, but enough. I know they're out there, just with so many its mindboggling.Any help, with personal experiences? Thanks.
March 17, 2013 at 3:39 PM #206497Channel1ImagesParticipant
[quote=gkonyev]Hey,Looking for a voice over mic, under 200$. Not looking for over the top, but enough. I know they're out there, just with so many its mindboggling.Any help, with personal experiences? Thanks.
For voice over and at $200 or less, in my personal opinion you should look into the Shure SM-58, one of these can be had for about $120.
The SM-58 is not only an excellent sounding microphone, it is tough microphone as well.
Conversely though, if you can push the budget $100 higher then the choice would have to be the Electro-Voice RE-320.
March 18, 2013 at 6:41 AM #206500billmeccaParticipant
Almost as important, some may say more important than the mic is the recording area. It should be sound treated to reduce comb filtering, reverb etc. A good mic in a poor location will make it sound worse. 😉 I use either a Rode NT2 or an Electro Voice RE20, usually the latter.
March 18, 2013 at 9:14 AM #206503HarlinParticipant
while the sm58 is a workhorse I disagree for voice over. You want a condenser mic, preferably a large condenser. There are some cheaper ones on the market. I was a mastering/recording engineer for 20+ years. check link below.
March 18, 2013 at 12:34 PM #206505onehornParticipant
Here are a few great voice-over mics.
AKG Perception 420
The RE20 is pretty much the industry stadard, it is the most common mic in radio stations and for voice-over. The SM7 is probably next in line. Niether is cheap, but they are excellent voice-over mics.
The MD421u is less expensive and will do a very good job for you. The AKG Perception 420 can be found at some online music retailers for around $200. The AT2050 is about $30 more. Buth of those have selectable pick-up patterns and are useful when you need to record more than one voice at a time.
You might also want to consider a used mic.
March 18, 2013 at 1:15 PM #206506VidTTParticipant
Great question and timely too.
We're upgrading over VO mic to a CAD E100S.
I ordered it but it has not come in yet.
B&H sells them at a great price of $400 and judging from the reviews and research I've done this is one heck of microphone for VO and many other types of recording, while rivaling mics over twice the cost like the Neuman TLM103 that sells for a bit over $1000.
Both of these mics are large diaphragm condensor mics.
The Neuman's are fantastic and the TLM103 is a very preferred mic for VO.
What you want is a large diaphragm condensor for VO work.
The SM58 is a great workhorse mic and works great for live applications as it is a rugged microphone. I've used it in studio to mic and record musical instruments and it can work well with proper placement.
However, it's a dynamic type mic and thus is not as sensitive as a condensor, but more importantly it's not as quite as you want for VO work.
Stick with a condensor.
For a $200 budget there are a few choices.
A low cost mic I've used for about 5 years now is the Audio Technica AT2020 USB mic.
B&H sells it for $125 shipped, great price.
It is a large diaphragm condensor mic.
AT also has the AT2035, but it's not a USB mic it has XLR output like traditional mics.
If you go with an XLR out mic, then you'll also to invest in an XLR to USB adapter.
MXL makes a nicely reviewed and rate unit for like $40, and it goes up from there.
The great thing about the AT2020 USB is that it has a USB out, which you connect directly to your computer and can use it right away with your acquisition software.
I like the free Audacity software to do VO'. It's simply and straight forward and can output .wav and .mp3, which is really all you will need.
I output to .wav bring it into my NLV software and do the compression later when outputting the final product.
To get great sounding VO's always strive to get the cleanest and quietest recording during acquisition rather than relying on using software later to clean up a bad initial recording.
Garbage in is garbage out.
As the saying goes, "You can't polish a turd", or "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig." 🙂
So, make sure to get the best recording up front so that you will have the best final product.
A very essential item is a great "pop" filter that helps control the pop like when saying words with a "P". You've likely seen these. They typically come in a round shape. There is a frame and some acoustically transparent material stretched inside it. It has a gooseneck type arm that attackes to the mic stand. You can experiment with how to place it for best results. Typically you set it at least one fist length away from the mix, but experiment with different placement so that you get the best recording level while getting the quietest and cleanest sound.
With many condensor mics there can be a "proximity" effect, where there is an increase in low end pickup the closer you get to the mic. This can be a wanted effect or a negative depending on the person's voice and how you want it to sound.
Thus, mic placement and VO talent placement are a science and an art. You'll have to experiment with different placements to get what you want.
As one poster commented, it's not just the mic but the acoustics of the room and the treatment to help shape the sound. You want as quiet of a space as you can find, and you want the ambience of the room/space to be as "dead" as you can get it, meaning you want to eliminate any reverb or sound wave reflections getting back into your mic.
Recording VO's is different than recording musical instruments where many times you want a certain room sound. With VO you want clarity and quiet.
You can build a box lined with acoustic foam to make an effective quiet space. You leave one side of the box open and that is where you speak into, placing the mix inside the box.
An often overlooked aspect is the space behind you/VO talent. Many people forget to treat that as well as it can be a source of reflection that can get into the mix.
Something as simple as hangin a thick blanket behind you really helps reduce or eliminate that asepct. Some people will use a coat closet with coats and jackets already in there as they dampen reflections and can make for very quiet spaces to a VO.
Good luck with your shopping.
Go to B&H and look up large diaphragm condensor microphones. You can select the price range from $0-$250 and you'll find there are quite a few choices, a lot actually.
If you can swing $400 go for the CAD E100S. 🙂
March 19, 2013 at 4:58 AM #206518darbyoharaParticipant
Well unfortunately you can agree to purchase the best microphone in the world, it isn't going to make a big difference without having a great preamp and ad/da converter. I am a newbie with filming and photography, but I am an experienced studio owner (dating back to the 70's).
I think the biggest question is what are you trying to achieve… it doesn't matter if it is voice-over or any other vocal application. A dynamic mic (such as the Shure 58) with a decent preamp would be just fine in most situations. If you are on a budget, I even recommend the cheaper Art Tube MP mic preamp like here:
I've used this with many different mics and acoustic situations and done the job well. Low noise and lots of gain for the price.
As others have stated, be sure your room and area has proper sound proofing.
If the vocals on the voice-over are critical… meaning you want to capture even the person's inflection sounds, then consider a condensor (which you'll need phantom power). Just a push of the button on the Art Preamp.
Most smaller diaphram condensors have more high frequency sensitivity and the larger have more low. In some cases, I prefer a small diaphram for females (alto to soprano) and larger diaphram for male (alto to bass). But this is not bible…
As a studio, it is always best to have a locker full of mic choices, both large, small and both dynamic and condensor. One mic NEVER fits all situtions. Hope this helps a little.
You might even consider hiring a pro studio for this work since they usually have a locker full of mic choices and have the expert knowledge of sound, especially vocals and acoustics.
March 19, 2013 at 7:08 AM #206521VidTTParticipant
Some things to keep in mind are that VO requirements are a bit different than micing for musical vocals in terms of what we want for the finished product. With musicical instrument and vocal recording adding warmth or even distortion can give you a sound you're looking for and it works for musical recordings.
The sound we're looking for with VO is clean with clarity.
I suggest not to use a tube pre-amp nor a tube mic as tubes add coloration and tend not to work too well for VO.
Your suggestion on choosing the right mic is spot on.
And, for a recording studio one would love to have a locker full of mics for the various instruments and vocal types that will come through.
But that's not needed for what the OP is asking for, nor for those or strictly do VO work for video.
When choosing a mic for VO the best recordings are done with large diaphragm condensors.
With VO we want clarity and we want to hear the words and pronunciation as cleanly and accurately as possible. This is why condensors are overwhelmingly preferred for VO work.
Have an excellent pre-amp is ideal, but getting into the better units the cost gets to be much greater that what the mics cost.
A highly used and respected preamp is the Grace Design M101.
Even at a discounted cost it sells for around $700.
I do want to add this preamp to my gear, but for now a much lower cost and still clean preamp with
A/D USB conversion can be had for between $150-$200, such as from M-audio or Focusrite.
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