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Buying a Microphone

Chris82Chris82 Posts: 1982.0 PRO
I'm hoping to get a conversation going about microphones. I want to buy a good condenser mic but I don't really know what to look for when it comes to a good singing mic. Back in the day when I streamed video games on twitch I used Blue Yeti USB Microphone. It sounded fantastic for speaking but I never tried to use it for singing. Does anyone have any experience with singing with this mic or have any suggestions on other budget friendly condenser mics?

My current requirements in a mic are:
• Needs to be USB
• Zero Latency Headphone Monitoring
• Designed to support a pop filter

Comments

  • DiegoDiego Posts: 8712.0 PRO
    Personally I have a Blue Yeti Mic. And it's very good. I would recommend it.
    The thing is how much are you willing to spend for a microphone?
  • doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Posts: 2,639Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management
    @Diego, does it support zero latency headphone monitoring? Doc
  • Chris82Chris82 Posts: 1982.0 PRO
    edited May 10
    @doc_ramadani It does. I used to own this mic a long time ago but it got lost in a move.

    @Diego I would like to keep it under $200 so this mic at around $100 is well within my budget but I also want a good mic that I won't have to be upgrading a year from now either. I wonder if their Blue Yeti Pro Mic is really worth the extra $150....

    Looks like the only difference between the normal and pro versions are the max recording resolution:
    • Yeti : 48 kHz/16-bit
    • Yeti Pro: 192 kHz/24-bit

    Is that going to make a huge difference and is that difference really worth an extra $150?


  • doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Posts: 2,639Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management
    @Chris82,

    you do not need the sample rate of 192 kHz but the sample depth of 24 bit increases the dynamic range. But personally I would stay with the normal Yeti because 24 bit won't make you sound better - but doing the scales will make you better.

    Shane told me a saying: "You can't put lipstick on a pig."

    I own a Rode NT-1A (around $ 100.-). It sounds a little bit harsh, to my personal opinion (others like the sound), but it works for everything that I need it for.

    Doc
  • MystiMysti Posts: 2782.0 PRO
    edited May 11
    I use an akg 200 condenser mic that works pretty well and runs around $150 US for the current iteration, the akg 220. I use an iRig pre analog to provide phantom power and connect it to my iPad for recording via the headphone jack. For PC or Mac, you can get an external sound card for around $10 US, or a good one like the soundblaster k3 for around $130. Just another option so you don't necessarily have to get a USB microphone.
  • blondiewalesblondiewales Posts: 351Pro
    edited May 11
    Great topic. I'm a bit of a gear snob, so I love talking about this. Is there a reason your mic HAS to be USB? There's been innovation in this area, but this requirement is quite a strong limitation in quality.

    Apogee, a high-end audio company, released a USB mic called their Mic+. I was quite surprised. However, they're basically just putting a small interface inside the mic. That's probably your best bet, sound-wise, although it's $249. Maybe you can catch it on sale.
  • DiegoDiego Posts: 8712.0 PRO

    @Diego, does it support zero latency headphone monitoring? Doc

    No, you need an interface if you want zero latency with this one.
  • MystiMysti Posts: 2782.0 PRO
    The focusrite looks like a better option. You can get the solo version for around 110 US and it has better preamp and gives you that 192khz / 24 bit along with the phantom power. You can then add whatever mic you want,

    Your post got me looking as I need something smaller than my xenyx 1204 to hook up to my laptop. I am looking hard at the focusrite 2i2 for $50 more and may pick one up today.
  • doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Posts: 2,639Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management
    I own the Scarlett Solo (USB) and the RODE NT-1A. I use this to make all my recordings (vocals, miking the guitar amp, drums, piano, trumpet ...). My next investment might be a tube preamp (e.g. Presonus - around € 300,- here in Germany).

    As DAW I own Logic - the bigger brother of GarageBand. But GarageBand is already very powerful.
  • Chris82Chris82 Posts: 1982.0 PRO
    I went ahead and ordered the normal blue yeti. If it's good enough for @Diego then it's good enough for me! Though @Diego I'm pretty sure the blue yeti has monitoring (at least my old one did). You just plug a headset into the bottom and turn the volume knob to adjust the monitor volume and then make sure the mute button is off. I just really hope I can get it working with my phone or iPad otherwise I will be pretty sad faced.
  • DiegoDiego Posts: 8712.0 PRO
    @Chris82 Yes it does have monitoring, what I was talking about it having zero latency .
  • Chris82Chris82 Posts: 1982.0 PRO
    edited May 23
    So I went with the blue yeti USB microphone and finally got it setup tonight. I wanted to test it out but my kiddo is sleeping so I had to sing super soft. I LOVE this thing! I've got some extra parts coming that will hopefully allow me to hook it up to my iPhone too (the reason I wanted USB) and be able to record anywhere.

    Here is a small sample:
    https://vocaroo.com/i/s06vsVqWa0Qy

    @Diego @doc_ramadani @Mysti @blondiewales
  • doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Posts: 2,639Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management
    Hi @Chris82,

    so congratulations. Hopefully you will not be infected by GBS (gear buying syndrome). You have a light background humming in the recording. Do you use a USB cable with shielding (spool)?

    Doc
  • Chris82Chris82 Posts: 1982.0 PRO
    edited May 23
    I think that is the fan on my PC whirling. I did have the gain up quite a bit though. I'm using the cable that came with the Yeti Mic. I can see about upgrading it though.
  • VocalityVocality Posts: 7522.0 PRO
    My setup is a little different I have Sennheiser dynamic mic, connected to my mixer and onwards to a maudio pci sound card 24bit connected to my PC. Also will be upgrading my mic don’t have the cash just now, but will be going for a condenser also my mixer has phantom power.
    I run both Cubase and Soundforge for recording and editing.
  • Chris82Chris82 Posts: 1982.0 PRO
    So I had a chance to really sing into this thing and here is what it sounds like:

    LAH Triad:
    https://vocaroo.com/i/s1o5cuwrLMz5
  • DogMeatDogMeat Posts: 1562.0 PRO
    I have Focursite + Rode NT1, and very happy with the way they work. Zero latency monitoring is great and definitely a must. Focusrite was bundled with Ableton Live Lite, but after a while i decided to buy Reaper, which is a great DAW for budget price of ~60€.

    @doc_ramadani funny that you mentioned GBS. Two of my friends have gone mad with their modular synth hobby lately. Both have already spent over 20k€ on them :smiley:
  • DogMeatDogMeat Posts: 1562.0 PRO
    @Chris82 Yeti is cool. Did you mount that mic on your table, or do you have a mic stand? I can hear some humming/noise from the background. These mices are very sensitive and powerful, and pick my pc humming very easily from the background. Also took a while to find the suitable input levels and distance. Keep experiencing.
  • DiegoDiego Posts: 8712.0 PRO
    You can take the gain down a bit and you can also get an app called voicemeeter to make it sound better. I think tgere are some premade settings somewhere in youtube.
  • Chris82Chris82 Posts: 1982.0 PRO
    Diego said:

    You can take the gain down a bit and you can also get an app called voicemeeter to make it sound better. I think tgere are some premade settings somewhere in youtube.

    Thanks Diego. I already did the voice meter thing. Problem is my PC has a really loud fan and the mic keeps picking it up. Hopefully my stuff to hook it up to my iPhone comes soon and then I can move the mic somewhere quieter.
  • MystiMysti Posts: 2782.0 PRO
    @Chris82
    Can you put some cloth or foam between the pc and the mic? That might be all you need to take care of it while you wait.
  • Chris82Chris82 Posts: 1982.0 PRO
    @Mysti I have one of one of these on the way. I already have a pop filter but it only really protects from the front of the mic.

    @Diego
    Which pattern do you use for singing? I've been experimenting with Cardioid and Stereo Mode. Looks like Cardiod might do better at eliminating some of the background noise but personally I feel the Stereo pattern sounds better. As far as gain I'm still trying to figure that out. I have an issue where even with gain at the lowest setting i'm still maxing out the volume bar (going into the red). I might just have to train myself to sing with less weight (something I need to work on anyways since singing with weight feels easier for me than holding back.

    @DogMeat I am just using the basic stand that comes with it. I don't have a boom or shock mount for it yet. I have a room in my basement with my piano that might work well as a simple recording studio. Do you think it would be worth it to get something like this?

    @doc_ramadani I will try to not get sucked into GBS. I am trying to keep the cost of all this down for sure and just kind of add to my gear over time.
  • MystiMysti Posts: 2782.0 PRO
    edited May 24
    @Chris82 I meant something more along the lines of hanging a towel near your pc to capture the fan noise before it can get to your microphone. A foam cooler standing next to the PC might do the same. No biggie either way. Just trying to help.
  • blondiewalesblondiewales Posts: 351Pro
    @Chris82 It sounds okay. It's a little brittle, but it should be enough for vocal demos. It doesn't sound like it'd be good enough for professional or semi-professional recording, but I'm not entirely sure what it's capable of. Try turning down the gain a bit
  • DogMeatDogMeat Posts: 1562.0 PRO
    @Chris82 i think it is, because these mics are so sensitive for any external sounds.
  • Chris82Chris82 Posts: 1982.0 PRO
    edited May 27
    Update: So a lot of my stuff came in. I have a closet in the basement that I thought would be perfect so I cleaned it out and moved the stuff to the shed and decided to try and set it up as a little recording booth. Here are some pics:




    All in all I've spent less than $350 for the whole setup and I've still go a little more foam coming for the walls. It hooks right into my iPhone or PC so I can record on both Smule and audacity.

    Here is a song recorded with the setup:
    https://www.smule.com/recording/old-maui/2005406562_2966337188

    Thanks so much guys for the help and advice.

    Edit: Changed to song to an a capella song since I think it will be easier to judge the mic that way. Raw audio.
  • VocalityVocality Posts: 7522.0 PRO
    edited May 27
    @Chris82

    Nice little vocal booth, it’s ideal and not cost the earth to build. Does the cat have a chance to sing along :) . That’s a really good recording nice and clear great value for money mic.

    George
  • doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Posts: 2,639Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management
    I love the cat. <3

    Chris, sounds really good. If you know put some foam on the walls it will be even better. Nice booth.

    Doc
  • blondiewalesblondiewales Posts: 351Pro
    That looks really nice. Cedar is a little reverby, but that's not always a bad thing.

    Smule works with mics now?
  • MystiMysti Posts: 2782.0 PRO
    edited May 27
    @Chris82 Looks very nice! That is cool you have that space available. It looks like it will work out great for you.
  • Chris82Chris82 Posts: 1982.0 PRO
    edited May 27

    That looks really nice. Cedar is a little reverby, but that's not always a bad thing.

    Smule works with mics now?

    @blondiewales

    Yep I wasnt sure if it would work or not but it did. You can use any USB mic if you have this adapter. The mic will really draw power from your iOS device so you just plug it into the wall or buy a battery pack and then it becomes mobile.
  • DogMeatDogMeat Posts: 1562.0 PRO
    @Chris82 you can also remove the pc humming very easily with a gate vst-effect.
  • BarnieBarnsBarnieBarns Posts: 3Member
    Nice vocal booth indeed. The studio that usually records my band uses only Shure microphones. It's full of these https://www.shure.com/en-US/products/microphones/sm58 because they're quite cheap and have okayish quality. My drummer's using Shure SE because as reviews say it has great isolation. As for the Blue Yeti, I would say, SM58 is far superior from my experience.
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