Best Affordable Microphone

Have you come up with a good Moho trick? Need help solving an animation problem? Come on in.

Moderators: Fahim, Distinct Sun, Víctor Paredes, erey, Belgarath, slowtiger

User avatar
Hopper200456
Posts: 129
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:35 pm
Location: Not sure; but is smells good here
Contact:

Best Affordable Microphone

Post by Hopper200456 » Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:00 pm

Hey guys!
So, I'm not really sure if this is in the right section, so I'm sorry if not.

I'm in the market for a good High Quality Microphone. I'm going to be using it with Anime Studio for animations.
I would like it to record very good audio,
not pick up very much background noise,
and it has to be pretty affordable. I don't really have very much money.

Also, while we're at it, what accessories (like pop filters and things) should I look into getting that I'll need for voice acting/sound recording?

Thanks for the help guys!
Image
"Greatness from small beginnings."
User avatar
jahnocli
Posts: 3379
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: UK

Re: Best Affordable Microphone

Post by jahnocli » Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:26 pm

Good microphones can be expensive. Have a look at this: Comparisons. USB mics mean you don't need phantom power (whatever that is), so it's plug and go - hopefully. You can make a pop shield out of a small embroidery ring (look 'em up) and a fragment of tights material. That's my two pennies...there are people on this forum that know a lot more than me, so I hope one or two of those can chip in. Good luck.
You can't have everything. Where would you put it?
User avatar
slowtiger
Posts: 5509
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2006 6:53 pm
Location: Berlin, Germany
Contact:

Re: Best Affordable Microphone

Post by slowtiger » Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:00 am

You need a combination of mic and amplifier and interface, either as separate gadgets, or all-in-one. I use the first option because I also produce music.

USB mic: all-in-one, but usually only suitable for simple speaker stuff.
Other mics: need amplifying and some interface. Amplifier and interface (analogue/digital) are often combined into one, a good solution is called "channel strip", but simpler devices will do as well.
The trick with microphones is to use them correctly, a cheap mic in good position can result in better sound than an expensive one in a poor situation.

Think about flexibility. Since you are easily in the 300$ range you should consider to buy a digital recorder like the Zoom H4n or similar. It has good all-purpose mics, very good recording quality, can even be used as interface to your computer, but the best part is that it's mobile and you can record anywhere - I use it to record rain and wind and cars and stuff.
AS 9.5 MacPro Quadcore 3GHz 16GB RAM OS 10.6.8 Quicktime 7.6.6
AS 11 MacPro 12core 3GHz 32GB RAM OS 10.11 Quicktime 10.7.3
Danimal
Posts: 1584
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 3:06 pm
Location: The Danimal Kingdom
Contact:

Re: Best Affordable Microphone

Post by Danimal » Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:12 am

The MXL990 is a great mic for voiceover work. I've used one for years and it has many positive reviews on the web as well. It's about $60 and comes with a case and shockmount. Musician's Friend will occasionally run a special where it comes with a pop filter, but if not you'll need one of those as well. You'll also need a stand for the mic. It's not needed since you can always just hold the script, but a music stand is good to rest your script on. Again, that's not necessary. What is necessary, though, is an XLR mic cable. All told, you should be able to get all that stuff, including a small preamp for the mic, for around $100, maybe a bit more.

Condensers like the 990 do require phantom power, which comes from an external source as already noted. There are some dynamic mics that don't require the power, but the quality suffers. Even the high-end, expensive ones pick up LOTS of noise and generate LOTS of hiss.
~Danimal
User avatar
Hopper200456
Posts: 129
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:35 pm
Location: Not sure; but is smells good here
Contact:

Re: Best Affordable Microphone

Post by Hopper200456 » Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:18 am

slowtiger wrote:You need a combination of mic and amplifier and interface, either as separate gadgets, or all-in-one. I use the first option because I also produce music.

USB mic: all-in-one, but usually only suitable for simple speaker stuff.
Other mics: need amplifying and some interface. Amplifier and interface (analogue/digital) are often combined into one, a good solution is called "channel strip", but simpler devices will do as well.
The trick with microphones is to use them correctly, a cheap mic in good position can result in better sound than an expensive one in a poor situation.

Think about flexibility. Since you are easily in the 300$ range you should consider to buy a digital recorder like the Zoom H4n or similar. It has good all-purpose mics, very good recording quality, can even be used as interface to your computer, but the best part is that it's mobile and you can record anywhere - I use it to record rain and wind and cars and stuff.
Thanks! All this stuff is way beyond me :P I'll be sure to keep checking back to this post to make sure I don't mess up!
Danimal wrote:The MXL990 is a great mic for voiceover work. I've used one for years and it has many positive reviews on the web as well. It's about $60 and comes with a case and shockmount. Musician's Friend will occasionally run a special where it comes with a pop filter, but if not you'll need one of those as well. You'll also need a stand for the mic. It's not needed since you can always just hold the script, but a music stand is good to rest your script on. Again, that's not necessary. What is necessary, though, is an XLR mic cable. All told, you should be able to get all that stuff, including a small preamp for the mic, for around $100, maybe a bit more.

Condensers like the 990 do require phantom power, which comes from an external source as already noted. There are some dynamic mics that don't require the power, but the quality suffers. Even the high-end, expensive ones pick up LOTS of noise and generate LOTS of hiss.
Thanks! I might go with this one, as it is cheaper. And I actually have a music stand that'll work, too!

Thanks again guys!
Image
"Greatness from small beginnings."
sbtamu
Posts: 1911
Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:05 am
Location: Texas
Contact:

Re: Best Affordable Microphone

Post by sbtamu » Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:08 am

My 2 main "CHEAP" mics are these 2 here. A Shure and a Blue.

Image
Sorry for bad animation

http://www.youtube.com/user/sbtamu
User avatar
Hopper200456
Posts: 129
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:35 pm
Location: Not sure; but is smells good here
Contact:

Re: Best Affordable Microphone

Post by Hopper200456 » Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:34 am

sbtamu wrote:My 2 main "CHEAP" mics are these 2 here. A Shure and a Blue.

Ah yes. I was actually going to look into a Blue Microphone (I was thinking the Snowball). Are they good? I love Rhett & Link, and they use a Blue microphone (the one you have, I think.) for their morning show, GMM.
Image
"Greatness from small beginnings."
User avatar
DK
Posts: 2513
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2004 6:06 am
Location: Australia

Re: Best Affordable Microphone

Post by DK » Sat Nov 02, 2013 11:41 am

OK....that pic is of an SM58....I have been using them for over 30 years in bands. They are the best microphone you can get for live performance and a LOT of studios use them for recording. You really need a mixing desk to record through so you can adjust gain and graphics etc. Phantom Power is for mics that need a power source. Most mixing desks have a Phantom power button for that.

D.K
Danimal
Posts: 1584
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 3:06 pm
Location: The Danimal Kingdom
Contact:

Re: Best Affordable Microphone

Post by Danimal » Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:53 pm

Never used Blue mics but they're well regarded for their preamps. The one pictures above and the one you mentioned appear to both be USB powered so you wouldn't need a separate preamp, and they also look to have a built-in desk stand so there's another cost savings. The Shure SM58 is a dynamic mic and it, along with the SM57, are pretty standard in music recording and live performance, not so great for voice recording.
~Danimal
User avatar
drumlug13
Posts: 489
Joined: Sun May 22, 2011 9:16 pm
Location: Beautiful St. Louis, MO

Re: Best Affordable Microphone

Post by drumlug13 » Sat Nov 02, 2013 2:28 pm

I love Blue microphones. They just put out a new model. The Nessie. It's on sale at Guitar Center & Musician's Friend for $99. (Links Below) It has an internal pop filter, level control and a couple of different recording modes that might be helpful for people who don't have access to different recording rooms that isolate sounds. It looks like it takes a lot of guess work out of setting up a mic for recording for those of us that are not studio engineers :D

I don't have a Nessie but I use the Blue Spark and I love it. I've used it for everything from vocals & guitar to drums. If I just needed a good USB Mic I would definitely try out their Nessie.

I totally agree with Danimal & DK. Shure SM57 & 58's are awesome and we use them with the band live but there's better options for doing voice recording in a studio

http://bluemic.com/nessie/
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audi ... microphone
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Blue-Nessie ... 3232830.gc
User avatar
Greenlaw
Posts: 4724
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 5:45 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: Best Affordable Microphone

Post by Greenlaw » Sat Nov 02, 2013 3:44 pm

I have an older model H2, which is not just a microphone but is actually a self-contained portable recorder. Here's the link for the latest model:

http://www.zoom.co.jp/english/products/h2/

What's nice about the H2 is that you can record anywhere with it and the audio quality is great. I take it with me everywhere to make relatively high-quality recordings of soundfx, and if I need to record dialog that I'm performing myself, I like to go out into the car with it late at night and so I don't disturb anybody. The H2 makes this much more convenient than using a laptop or other recording device. You record the audio to an SD card and it can be transferred to you computer via USB or by simply moving the card.

We also used the H2 to record the musical performances and singing for our 'Brudders 2' short film. We're still working on this project but you can watch a 1 minute excerpt here: https://vimeo.com/channels/littlegreendog/68543424

I think the music came out nicely, especially considering I didn't know what I was doing at the time I recorded it.

One trick I've learn to recording dialog with minimal background noise is speak closely to the mic--so close you're almost touching the device with your lips. You might still get some bg noise but the fg sound will be loud enough that, when you bring it down the bg noise will practically disappear. You should also record a few seconds of 'room noise', which can be used to cancel out bg noise later in post.

For cleanup, I like to use a program called RX2 (now RX3) by izotope. This tool lets you remove any audible bg noise and it gives you visual editing tools for fixing and cleaning up random sounds from your audio. For example, the audio is represented as a color map, which makes it easy to identify somebody coughing in the bg, and you can use a lasso tool to select and remove it, and then fill the 'hole' with surrounding audio. What the program does is a little more sophisticated than that but that's the basic operation. I swear, this tool has rescued and improved many poorly recorded sessions for me--I don't know what I'd do without it. (Okay, maybe I'd learn to record better audio more quickly.) :)

Here's the link for the newest version of RX: http://www.izotope.com/products/audio/rx/

Sorry, I know my suggestions are not necessarily 'cheap' but the above combo has been very flexible for me and well worth the investment.It's actually a great value if you're an indie film-maker on a tight budget and can't afford 'high end' audio gear or an expert technician.

G.
D.R. Greenlaw
Artist/Partner - Little Green Dog | Little Green Dog Channel on Vimeo | Greenlaw's Demo Reel 2019 Edtion
Lead Digital Animator, Dreamworks Animation

Image
User avatar
heyvern
Posts: 6964
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2005 4:49 am

Re: Best Affordable Microphone

Post by heyvern » Sat Nov 02, 2013 6:30 pm

I have a Zoom H2 as well.

It's great. I even use it as a USB microphone for my computer sometimes. Total overkill for chatting on skype but the sound quality is amazing when I do.

My favorite feature is the 4 separate microphones and recording 4 track stereo. You get this amazing "3D" audio. The recording quality is off the freaking hook. I got too close to the wall in my house while recording once, had the record settings really high, and recorded a ferocious screaming argument of my neighbors... through the wall. I was annoyed to have to change the settings and re-record but was impressed I picked up the voices clearly. There are 3 settings and I usually have it set to the lowest. Otherwise it picks up neighbors dogs barking, kids playing in the park behind my house etc.

It allows for plugging in an external microphone. Then you have a sort of digital storage device with good recording quality, and you can use other types of microphones for other purposes but use the same device to store the files. I have actually used it on several occasions to record music from old vinyl albums just plugging it in to the stereo line out.

It is like a "mini" portable recording studio to some degree. It has editing functions on it if you have the patience to use that with buttons on an LCD. I haven't played with those features. Easier to use a real app on a real computer.

The worst feature is the device navigation and control screen. It should be a little easier to change some basic settings and quickly start recording. Tough for me to compare since I never used any other device. I just hate having to click through menus on a small LCD just to change simple recording options.

It is kind of "big" but not huge. It's larger compared to others I was looking at that could fit in a shirt pocket like a pen ;) . The removable handle is a bit short, so it can feel top heavy, but it comes with a small desktop tripod thingy which is nice when I use it for recording to the computer or as a skype microphone.

The screw in handle means you can also attach it to a boom or mic stand as well. It's shaped like "pro" mic, rectangular so the size and shape gives it a solid feel.
User avatar
Hopper200456
Posts: 129
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:35 pm
Location: Not sure; but is smells good here
Contact:

Re: Best Affordable Microphone

Post by Hopper200456 » Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:28 pm

Man, this is all really great guys! Thanks for all the feedback!

Yeah, I don't have a studio (obviously) to record in (I'm going to try using my garage; it's very quiet in there.)

I really like what I've heard on the H2 Handy Recorder. It looks really cool. But Hmm! So many choices! Thanks for your help guys!

Edit: Ouch. That price. I didn't realize Microphones where so expensive!!
Image
"Greatness from small beginnings."
User avatar
jahnocli
Posts: 3379
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: UK

Re: Best Affordable Microphone

Post by jahnocli » Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:38 pm

Told ya.
You can't have everything. Where would you put it?
User avatar
Greenlaw
Posts: 4724
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 5:45 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: Best Affordable Microphone

Post by Greenlaw » Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:32 am

I noticed the H2 has apparently been replaced by the H2n, which according to reviews has a much better recorder/mic. Also, it seems a bit cheaper on Amazon right now too. I've had my old H2 for several years now--it still works well but after reading the reviews, hmm, maybe it's time to upgrade? Nah. :p

G.
Last edited by Greenlaw on Sun Nov 03, 2013 5:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
D.R. Greenlaw
Artist/Partner - Little Green Dog | Little Green Dog Channel on Vimeo | Greenlaw's Demo Reel 2019 Edtion
Lead Digital Animator, Dreamworks Animation

Image
Post Reply