Shure MV51 – Condenser USB microphone review

Shure MV51 is a characteristic-wealthy USB mic with a very good low frequency response. It really works for all platforms, nonetheless solely iOS customers are given the choice to entry the mic’s superior settings, as this requires downloading Shure Motiv™ utility, which is just discovered within the Apple Retailer. Regardless of an array of options, Shure MV51 fails to fulfill the expectations of most customers. The supplied benefits are slim and so they come at a price! Regardless of how clear the low finish is, the higher midrange is clearly washed out, in order that’s the way it sounds. This in fact could be resolved with EQ, however for this worth it’s barely acceptable.

Sound & high quality

Shure MV51 makes use of a comparatively giant capsule, which measures 1-inch in diameter. By studio requirements, it’s not even thought-about an LDC; in comparison with different USB mics nonetheless, this capsule is big, and the dimensions distinction provides it some distinctive sound qualities. You will need to perceive that a larger capsule doesn’t essentially make it sound higher. But it’s actually harder to supply, so this explains the excessive value… What precisely are these distinctive qualities? For essentially the most half the variations are delicate; one vital distinction is about proximity impact, which makes a bigger capsule extra favorable for vocals.

Directional mics have an increase in low-frequency response when used near a sound supply. It’s known as the proximity impact. An SDC tends to roll off extra at low frequencies than an LDC. So the proximity impact emphasizes the mid-lows in an SDC, however emphasizes the deep lows in an LDC. Consequently, an up-shut SDC could have a “puffy” midbass increase – a coloration much less more likely to be heard with an LDC. As a result of its proximity impact tends to sound higher, an LDC is the preferred alternative for micing vocalists within the studio.

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Shure MV51 does an important job when shut-miking vocals, so long as the expertise stays on axis. The low finish produced by this mic may be very clear and it extends deeper than that of competing fashions. This even permits us to mike bass cabs and double bass, although a mean shopper in all probability received’t make any use of it. And but there are commerce-offs for having a big capsule. Guess, what occurs if you find yourself farther aback and off axis? – The mic will begin to produce a variety of colour! So, it’s not as versatile as they are saying it’s. For shut miking it’s effective however if you wish to seize each a guitar and vocal let’s say – this won’t work.

Frequency response and noise

There may be yet one more commerce off to utilizing this microphone. Whereas the general frequency response seems to be balanced, the midrange shouldn’t be as steady as we wish it to be. There may be some noticeable shade (even on-axis) and for the worth, it might be higher. Bigger capsules do are typically much less flat, however nonetheless the midrange is the place one would anticipate the least colour. Particularly the higher midrange is washed out and missing. It nonetheless has sufficient presence, so the vocals regardless of getting softened will retain readability. Nonetheless, a voice actor might lose a little bit of intelligibility, and musical devices – some punch and assault.

As compared, a less expensive MV5 does have a greater midrange and fewer shade. The low-finish doesn’t go as deep however neither does it sound skinny or unnatural. To not point out there isn’t a want for a pop-filter. Alternatively, MV51 does require a pop filter – except you don’t thoughts freaking out your viewers with occasional popping. Regardless of having a bigger capsule, MV51 isn’t higher than MV5 by way of noise too. The preamp circles in client audio are anyway shyte so the capsule dimension doesn’t make a lot distinction. The mic is quiet in flat mode, however in case you apply an excessive amount of compression and acquire… you higher plug your ears…

Options

mv51Shure MV51 has loads of options and settings, which might be additional expanded via the app. It gives a three.5mm headphone output for actual-time monitoring. Each the quantity and acquire will be adjusted by contact controls and the LED indicator will mirror the adjustments. When adjusting the acquire LED turns inexperienced, and, for monitor stage – orange. You possibly can change between the 2 by activating headphone selector button. On the left aspect, there’s a very useful mute button. Since it’s contact activated, it received’t make any clicking noise whereas switching. Few different mics provide first rate mute performance like this.

The center button acts because the mode selector. You possibly can change between 5 modes appropriate for various functions: speech, vocal, instrument, music and flat. These DSP’s embody numerous ranges of acquire, compression and EQ aside from the flat mode, which fits out with none processing. Motiv app has entry to the entire above settings and consists of some extra options, particularly compressor, limiter, EQ and wind discount. Wind discount is beneficial if in case you have followers within the room or in case you blow on it, too. The limiter and compressor are approach too primary… and the EQ solely has 5 bands and doesn’t do away with the colour.

Last remarks

Shure MV51 has an excellent construct high quality; it’s strong and weighty for the dimensions. Whereas MV5 was all-plastic, MV51 is all-metallic. However, MV51 can be bulkier and will hardly be known as moveable anymore. To not point out it’s twice costlier too, on the time of scripting this evaluation. There are nonetheless three causes to buy it although. 1) It really works very effectively for shut miking, particularly vocals, offered that you recognize the approach and are prepared to make use of a pop-filter. 2) Podcasting additionally works, it has all of the options like mute and so on. and the one con is a coloured midrange… 3) Excels in recording of bass and deep voice.

Nevertheless, in case you are on the lookout for all-round mic, and count on excessive worth for cash – it’s higher to look elsewhere. I consider having that many options is in a manner deceptive, as a result of one might imagine that Shure MV51, with all its completely different modes, ought to deal with something you throw at it… however this merely isn’t the case. As an illustration, there are way more versatile mics like Blue Yeti and Cyber Acoustics CVL-2004, which each present switchable polar patterns and are usually not restricted to shut miking. However, these particularly in search of a bigger diaphragm mic over USB will in all probability love this mannequin.

 

Professionals

  • Loads of options
  • Switchable DSP modes
  • Mute button
  • Headphone monitoring
  • Very clear low finish

Cons

  • Coloured midrange
  • Works effectively just for shut-miking

Blue Snowball iCE – budget USB mic review

Blue Snowball iCE is a trendy, entry USB mic with a beautiful price ticket. Not like the same-formed Samson Meteorite, it’s not as blatantly sizzling and it has a removable USB cable with a stable Sort B connector. The midrange is by far superior and technically, it produces a way more correct sound than the previous. Nevertheless, there’s actually nothing however midrange. It sounds skinny and darkish on the identical time, and it additionally produces popping. A bit bizarre combo – isn’t it? I’d say, this mic is ok for factor like skype and on-line gaming, however it might truly sound too boring for podcasting and voiceovers.

Snowball iCE vs. Snowball

Snowball iCE is a comparatively new construct – the unique Snowball mannequin has been out there for effectively over fifteen years. Nonetheless, the brand new construct didn’t carry any new options however eliminated the previous ones. This transfer allowed them to scale back the retail worth considerably and make it way more worthwhile to buy. The eliminated options had been switchable -10 dB pad and omnidirectional capsule. This can be a good transfer as they have been ineffective anyway. Snowball all the time lacked achieve so nobody ever touched that pad and the omni mode in all probability has been the shittiest on this planet – muffled like loopy and really inconsistent.

Sound & high quality

As soon as once more, evaluating to Samson Meteorite, I used to be stunned to see the identical awkwardly broad polar response, which may very well be extra precisely described as sub-cardioid. So these searching for a tighter choose up so as to isolate the voice from the background will discover it disappointing. Nonetheless, Snowball Ice doesn’t sound practically as sizzling as Samson. The background nonetheless will get via nevertheless it sounds dampened, and subsequently being perceived to a a lot lesser extent. Nonetheless, the race between the 2 reminds a little bit of Particular Olympics as each are handicapped in comparison with Shure MV5 with a naturally tighter cardioid.

snowball_iceThe capsule contained in the Snowball doesn’t look unhealthy in any respect. It’s roughly the identical measurement as those utilized in Blue Yeti and all sides of the capsule presents six openings the place you may see a high quality mesh. It’s able to producing a clean sound with out a lot of any distortion and onerous resonances all through your entire audible vary. So sure, there isn’t any harshness and no sibilance to be heard. It additionally includes a comparatively correct midrange, which is essential for vocals. However it has a horrible EQ curve, which scoops out each the highs and the lows, actually leaving out nothing however midrange.

In the event you have a look at the frequency response of their handbook, it considerably correlates with what I’m listening to; nevertheless, in actuality the abyss between the lows, the mids and the highs is extra outstanding. The presence enhance above 10 kHz is considerably deceptive as a result of no USB DAC can adequately transmit it utilizing the given sampling fee of forty four.1 kHz. Because of this, an precise graph would have the highs repeatedly rolling off even earlier than reaching the ten kHz mark. For sure, it’ll sound darkish. And due to its unbalanced EQ response, an untrained ear may simply mistake its sound for an inexpensive 10$ headset.

Nonetheless, if we have been to regulate the EQ, Blue Snowball iCE would instantly sound like a dearer microphone. Too unhealthy, there aren’t any straightforward means for adjusting it, aside from making use of filters in your DAW, however for my part, this route form of defeats the aim of shopping for an affordable mic within the first place. And sure, there nonetheless stays an issue with popping. Despite the fact that the lows are neatly scooped out, and the sound is relatively skinny, robust plosives do get by and produce an odd quantity of bass, unexpectedly. After all, a pop filter would do it justice however once more the Shure MV5 sounds fantastic even with out it…

Construct and sturdiness

Blue Snowball Ice actually has a flashy design, however one might marvel how sturdy it’s? The mic itself is unquestionably sturdy. The plastic physique is kind of sturdy and it has no protruding controls or buttons. The one factor there’s the USB port on the again however it’s actually laborious to mess up. Like all USB mics, it might probably fail if it falls flat on the bottom, primarily because of the weak point of crystal oscillators. Nonetheless, it ought to work for a great whereas and a replaceable cable is one other benefit. That being stated, it has a horrible stand. Flimsy as it’s, amongst all mics that we’ve reviewed it’s the one one that may’t be tilted vertically!

Execs

  • Low cost
  • Easy sound
  • Correct midrange
  • Replaceable wire

Cons

  • Boring and lifeless tone
  • Horrible stand
  • Popping

Shure SM7B Review: Vocal Cardioid Dynamic Microphone

Shure SM7B is a legendary excessive-finish dynamic microphone, usually used for radio stations, voiceovers and studio recording as nicely. Many individuals imagine that to get the most effective sound it’s considerably necessary to make use of solely the costly condensers like Neumann and related. This microphone can simply show them unsuitable. 3 times cheaper than TLM 103 and eight instances cheaper than U37, it’s able to producing simply pretty much as good, and in some events, even higher outcomes! Having its personal execs and cons, it resurrects the previous subject of dynamics vs condensers, however in a nutshell, the sound high quality of SM7B is outstanding.

Sound & high quality

Shure SM7B has a really wealthy, but impartial and utterly pure sounding low-finish. On this respect, it’s akin to a top quality bass microphone. You gained’t hear any distortion or boominess of a typical client grade mic; it’s simply clear, deep and balanced bass. And this is among the explanation why folks fall in love with this microphone. Not do you must search for a compromise between sounding boomy and skinny, by reducing out that generally distorted low finish altogether. You’ll most likely see the advantages even should you don’t have a low-pitched voice, however in case you do, you’ll by no means commerce it for anything!

On the similar time, it doesn’t sacrifice the standard of its complete frequency vary. The midrange is simply as impartial, with little if any coloration, however the excessive finish is a gem. Regardless of the actual fact that there’s a seen dip on the frequency diagram, the highs are exceptionally easy and really clear. It does should do with the mic having a dynamic capsule, however it additionally has to do with the standard of the mic. To my ears, it sounds higher than any flatter condenser as a result of, as a result of even the costly condensers are inclined to have some quantity of edginess, graininess or harshness however the SM7B is simply fully easy.

sm7b-shureThere are in fact the downsides of it being a dynamic. It’s not as crispy as condensers and it doesn’t provide the prolonged response all the best way as much as 20 kHz however these aren’t actually cons – extra like frequent traits of any dynamic. Nonetheless, its roughly flat response, all the way in which as much as 12 kHz ought to be greater than enough for any vocal purposes. It has extra to do with the high quality of the excessive finish reasonably than how excessive it could possibly go. And naturally, the transient response is nowhere close to to condensers, so it gained’t be capable of seize as a lot of the element, but it surely’s nonetheless fairly first rate for a dynamic.

On opposite, for purposes aside from studio recording, condensers are sometimes too sizzling and actually seize every part. That is very true for radio stations, since you don’t wish to file each single fart of your visitor. To not point out the background noise, air-conditioning and all of the potential room reflections, that are unavoidable outdoors the studio partitions. However this isn’t the one motive why Shure SM7B is so well-liked. Not like studio-grade condensers, this mic can be far simpler to make use of. Due to this fact, it warrants for a extra constant manufacturing and leaves fewer probabilities for you or your visitor to mess up.

Options

Shure SM7B has an inner shock mount that gives greater than sufficient absorption, and it substitutes for these cumbersome exterior shock mounts you’ll normally see round Neumann’s. So although the mic initially appears to be like big, it’s really a lot smaller than a Neumann + shock mount combo. Furthermore, there may be additionally an built-in pop filter, which together with the mic’s foam cowl eliminates the necessity for exterior pop filters. Simply think about now the Neumann + shock mount + large pop filter on high of that. It will utterly impede your imaginative and prescient and make it unimaginable for a watch contact between the host and the visitor, except for different limitations.

There may be in fact a state of affairs whenever you wish to take away the froth windshield altogether and use a standard pop filter. When recording the vocals within the studio, that is precisely what you’ll do. The reason being, foams muffle the excessive frequencies, so the mic gained’t sound as vibrant as you’d need to within the combine. With SM7B, that is particularly essential, as a result of it smoothens and softens the highs, and thus doesn’t sound as vibrant as condensers. Nevertheless, it has a wonderful function referred to as presence increase that compensates for its lack of brightness and will get you higher outcomes in the long run. Low minimize can also be there, and it really has a pleasant ‘n easy transition however I didn’t discover myself utilizing it as a lot as excessive enhance.

Setup

Though Shure SM7B takes better of a dynamic mic, that you must be cautious about one factor. It requires numerous clear achieve (round 60 dB). In skilled studios, this gained’t be an issue however in case you are utilizing shopper grade mixers and preamps, make certain they’ve enough ‘horse energy’. In any other case, you might find yourself with noise or a really low output. To unravel this, you possibly can additionally place an extra preamp within the chain. For instance, Cloudlifter, however that is simply to offer you an thought. I’ve seen many individuals complain that it doesn’t work with their subpar high quality gear, however this isn’t the mic’s downside…

Professionals

  • Very pure sound
  • Crystal clear, wealthy lows
  • Exceptionally easy highs
  • Low minimize and excessive enhance filters
  • Ease of use
  • Works with out exterior shock mount and pop filters
  • Good sound isolation, not as scorching as condensers
  • Cheaper than excessive-finish condenser mics

Cons

  • Requires a good mixer or preamp

Samson Meteorite USB review – cheap, small and hot!

Samson Meteorite is an affordable USB mic with a small footprint, appropriate with Mac and PC. It additionally works for IPad when mixed with a Lightning USB adaptor, which isn’t included by the way in which. Nonetheless, an obscenely quick and flimsy cable creates limitations, so it’s onerous to justify utilizing it for something apart from a MacBook or a laptop computer. Samson says the mic’s pickup sample is cardioid however that’s a lie. Meteorite has a large sub-cardioid and so it picks up a ton of background noise from the room, to not point out the mechanical vibrations. Aside from that, the sound high quality is definitely fairly respectable, contemplating the worth.

Sound high quality

Samson Meteorite has a comparatively vivid and crispy sound. Another mics on this value vary might sound muffled, as in the event that they have been wrapped in a blanket… however the Meteorite isn’t one in every of them. There’s a draw back to this: generally it will get a bit chirpy or sibilant although you get the readability. Alternatively, it’s not almost pretty much as good as Blue Yeti, as a result of the latter manages to supply nearly the identical quantity of readability with out truly including a lot harshness. The midrange is extra on the impartial facet and for probably the most half it’s uncolored. The mic does produce an intelligible voice, but the low finish is lacking badly.

meteoriteGenerally when utilizing the mic, chances are you’ll get the impression as if you’re too distant, as a result of it sounds reasonably skinny. At shut vary, it positively will get higher, however nonetheless it doesn’t sound significantly wealthy. The nice factor is that it by no means will get boomy, as a result of the proximity impact can also be comparatively weak. Meteorite can be utilized for videoconferencing (Skype), creating non-industrial movies or Vlogs (YouTube) and even gaming; nonetheless, I wouldn’t advocate it for musicians. With its nearly non-existent low finish, it’s simply not musical and I don’t see how this may be fastened apart from by getting a distinct mic.

What I discover annoying about this microphone is that it picks up all the pieces – contained in the room and from the road… for a USB mic, it’s too sizzling! Though the producer claims the mic has a cardioid sample, this assertion is deceptive, as a result of a cardioid would solely choose up the sounds in entrance of the mic. Meteorite picks up the sound from just about any route and even from behind though to a barely lesser diploma. Other than the broad pickup sample, it additionally appears to endure from an in depth proximity to the desk. Lastly, the mic is delicate to among the mechanical vibrations coming via the stand.

If you’re talking at an in depth vary at a average quantity, you received’t really hear the background. However as you get a bit additional away from it, the background noise begins to creep in. And when you aren’t talking, then all you’ll hear is plenty of background. Sustaining the shut vary could possibly be a repair, however getting shut isn’t simple. The stand is simply too low and you would need to decrease your head all the best way all the way down to the desk. This can be a very awkward place, particularly if you’re attempting to report a video… One beauty of this mic: it doesn’t clip from loud sounds and may deal with quantity of sound strain!

Construct high quality

The construct high quality is about common. Samson Meteorite might look cool, but it surely most likely gained’t final you for years. One of many causes is a flimsy, non-removable cable. As quickly because it breaks, you’ll have to throw it away altogether. And contemplating the size of the cable, which is just 2 ft… I don’t actually know how you can react to this. Ought to I take it as a joke? As a result of I want no less than 6 ft of attain to plug it into my pc. Perhaps, the customers of cell gadgets wouldn’t thoughts. However I believe they might simply give you a distinct answer to fulfill either side, or a minimum of supply a removable cable with a high quality plug.

Execs

  • Low cost
  • Crispy sound
  • No clipping

Cons

  • The wire…
  • Plenty of background noise
  • Very skinny low finish
  • A bit sibilant

AKG C1000s Multipattern SDC Review

AKG C1000s is a reasonable all-round mic with a switchable cardioid / hypercardioid sample. It has a signature brilliant sound that creates an phantasm of upper constancy but in addition helps to clear up the sound in a stay atmosphere. Positively not the best high quality mic, but when used appropriately it may produce very respectable outcomes for devices and feminine vocals. For videographers, after all I don’t advocate it. There are merely no viable mics at this value vary, so don’t even hope for an inexpensive booming answer. This mic requires a little bit of endurance to arrange – positioning will play a vital function in getting a great sound out of it.

Options

Not so way back, AKG C1000s has been robbed of omni mode and steady variable sample. Now, you may solely swap between cardioid and hypercardioid – however the excellent news, it grew to become lots cheaper. It’s vital to notice that switching requires unscrewing the mic’s head and inserting a polar sample converter that appears like a perforated plastic cap. Apart from this polar converter, the bundle additionally contains one other low-cost trying cap that’s promised to ‘increase’ the excessive vary. This makes it sound even brighter however technically it’s not a booster. It’s a easy hello-cross filter so it truly reduces the lows, additionally ensuing in decrease sensitivity.

akg-c1000s-squareThis mic has two powering choices – phantom energy and two AA batteries. It attracts fairly a little bit of phantom energy, so don’t even consider powering it from digital recorders. Nonetheless, it’s way more environment friendly when working off inside batteries, that are claimed to final for one hundred twenty hours. A helpful on-off change is there to converse the vitality. Lastly, there’s a low lower change (that can additional assist males sound like castratus, although it may be safely used on cymbals) and 10 dB attenuation pad.

Sound & high quality

A lot of the small diaphragm mics obtainable available on the market have a flat frequency response, so that they sound roughly comparable. There are in fact many variations, however basically they share the identical character. Nonetheless, AKG C1000s doesn’t sound like the remainder. It’s fairly a bit brighter and creates an impression of a dearer sound. I personally take pleasure in it, and discover it very helpful for reside efficiency. This mic clears the issues up and helps musicians to chop by the place flatter mics don’t.

Then again, I can obtain an analogous sound by making use of EQ on some flat mic, so for me it isn’t an amazing deal. However, if you wish to have this brighter sound out of the field, then getting C1000s is absolutely justifiable. Nonetheless, this nice sound character and versatile multifunctionality may go collectively to divert your consideration from one thing that’s missing, and that one thing is high quality. Self-noise determine of 21 dB-A coupled with unusually low sensitivity of 6 mV/Pa may very well be thought of solely common at finest. It could be okay again in 2000s however for immediately’s requirements it’s pretty noisy!

Placement

AKG C1000s is little question a flexible mic, but it surely’s additionally delicate to placement. You need to by no means get too up shut and immediately on axis, in any other case you’ll possible get that brittle, harsh and distorted sound. Small diaphragm mics often want some house to breathe. Transferring barely off axis can even assist to scale back popping and management the brightness. It might truly take some time to seek out the perfect candy spot to your utility, contemplating there are lots of issues to play with… Nevertheless, when you nail it down, you’ll discover it fairly rewarding. When set appropriately, it ought to sound pretty much as good as costly pencil mics solely not as quiet.

Construct

This mic is obscenely large and big in comparison with different pencil mics. It could be strong and even sturdy however it feels low-cost. The glittery paint could look engaging at first however over time, it should get ugly with dents and scratches. The grille shouldn’t be solely the ugliest I’ve seen, but it surely’s additionally not very practical and the huge frontal openings truly expose the interior foam. The cheaply wanting plastic polar & frequency converters are the ultimate blow for me. Aesthetically I hate this microphone; nonetheless, the inner digital components and the connector look like high quality and deserve a credit score.

Execs

  • Supreme for stay surroundings
  • Nice vibrant sound with numerous readability
  • First rate high quality for feminine vox and devices
  • Switchable cardioid & hypercardioid patterns
  • Loads of options, versatile
  • Could be powered by batteries

Cons

  • Mediocre self-noise and sensitivity
  • There are cheaper rivals, see CAD e70

RØDE NTG3 Review: Professional short shotgun

Rode NTG3 is a correctly-priced expert shotgun that boasts stellar sound prime quality and low self-noise. It is glorious for funds film or space manufacturing the place it’s good to get among the best sound for the money. It might be an outstanding varied to Sennheiser MKH 416 on account of it does just about exactly the similar job at a decrease price. This mic has RF-bias capsule, which known as true condenser. This models it up from entry shotguns (which can be all once more electret) and permits attaining even larger sound whereas moreover giving the pliability to work in humid circumstances the place completely different mics fail. The one draw again – it requires phantom vitality to operate!

Sound & prime quality

Rode NTG3 is ready to producing an beautiful, pure sound the place it’s truly exhausting to hunt out any flaws. It has a flat frequency response with only a little bit of added brightness that makes it sound a bit further expressive. Much like MKH 416, although Sennheiser is a tad brighter, nonetheless the sound prime quality is almost almost pretty much as good. What you will significantly love about NTG3 is the best way it handles the highs – they’re utterly clear! It’s important, because of most entry shotguns (e.g. NTG2) do introduce a degree of harshness to bigger frequencies, which could be a lot much less noticeable though when evaluating compressed audio data.

This mic moreover has a additional impactful copy of dynamics and apart from dialogues it could probably take care of further explosive sound outcomes. One different key perform of NTG3 is the low self-noise decide of solely 13 dB (A-weighted) that is greater than any entry diploma shotgun. Apparently, MKH 416 will also be rated 13 dB-A, and however Rode has a barely bigger sensitivity decide (31 mV/Pa vs 25 mV/Pa). In reality, that is not the high of the highway. There’s, for instance, one different harmful-ass shotgun from Sennheiser – MKH60, which is significantly further quiet nonetheless may also be twice costlier than the NTG3…

Directionality

The pickup pattern of NTG3 is wider than most entry shotguns, along with the popular MKE 600, NTG4, NTG2 and AT897. The broader pickup makes it a bit a lot much less forgiving when an actor goes off-axis and results in a lot much less hyped low end when up shut as a consequence of proximity. Then once more, it could possibly moreover determine up a bit further of the background nevertheless for booming I’ll take it any time over the above talked about mics – the cleaner sound of NTG3 is worth it. Sennheiser MKH 416 has even wider pattern, which moreover means a lot much less proximity, nevertheless by far it moreover has the poorest rejection than another shotgun.

RF-bias capsule

ntg3-adAlthough every expert and entry-diploma shotguns often use condenser capsules, it’s important to know the excellence between once more electret and RF-bias condensers. They’re principally two methods of polarization that apply electrostatic value to the diaphragm in an effort to make it delicate adequate for the mic to work. Once more electret has some electrostatic supplies utilized to the once more of the capsule that gives it a eternal value; RF-bias or true condenser capsule requires an electrical current from the floor to become polarized, and this current is offered by the use of phantom power.

Whereas having positive limitations, once more electret shotguns can work on low voltage they usually’re pretty power surroundings pleasant. As an example, NTG2 can work for a pair hundred hours from a single AA battery. Then once more, true condensers and significantly NTG3 are power greedy. Even if it’s potential to connect it on to digital recorders like Zoom H4N that do present phantom power – they’re going to be drained in a short while – and the equivalent applies for cameras, so don’t do this mistake! In the event you want a quick and simple reply in your digital recorder, please take into consideration NTG4+ or MKH 600 as a substitute.

Power decisions

In case you don’t want to just accept entry shotguns and need expert sound, proper right here is how one can go about NTG3. You must use a topic mixer: these items match as a lot as eight AA batteries and that’s ample to vitality this and completely different XLR mics for lots of hours. Mix if wished, then merely feed it to your recorder. Topic mixers are helpful for run and gun / ENG, though I would like NTG3 moreover had some low decrease to make use of for vocals straight away. Sound Models produce expert mixers which have glorious preamps and a great deal of choices. Ought to you possibly can afford one, you’ll perhaps get increased outcomes than if plugging to the digital recorder alone.

Amongst cheaper ones, there’s Azden. They’re major nevertheless they get the job executed with out fuss. Notably, I counsel FMX-32, which inserts 6 AA batteries and supplies three channels, and have to be ample for our operate. Another option is to get Zoom F8. It is a robust recorder with eight channels and eight inside batteries, and it really replaces the need for topic mixer. It moreover has limiters the place you presumably can see immediately what’s taking place nonetheless in distinction to mixer, it could report every the mixture and specific particular person channels too! Whenever you don’t already private an trustworthy recorder, then going straight for Zoom F8 could also be an altogether increased reply.

Humidity

Humidity is another reason to resolve on NTG3 over the entry once more-electret shotguns. The problem with once more electret capsules is that they cannot stand elevated ranges of humidity. If uncovered, they’re going to produce lots of pops and crackles, and which may be a really ugly issue to hearken to. Since shotguns are principally used open air, this might be a big obstacle. You don’t must put it beneath heavy rain to experience that; having some moisture inside the air is all it takes. That may be triggered when anyone is totally respiration or spitting into the mic. When indoors, you additionally must be vary of humidifiers.

Some areas naturally have better humidity, so take it into consideration as properly. Nations with tropical native climate or close to equator, notably South East, Central Africa and components of Latin America are first throughout the itemizing. Moreover, be cautious when going to safari or capturing documentaries. Early mornings exterior, you would possibly get condensate that may very well be very harmful in your entire gear. Fortuitously, moisture publicity has solely momentary outcomes and when dried up, electret mics will work as soon as extra. However, this will nonetheless hinder your manufacturing… within the meantime prolonged publicity of any microphone might trigger eternal damage. Rode NTG3, then once more, like all expert shotguns has no factors with extreme humidity.

Assemble and setup

This mic measures 10” prolonged and weighs 163 grams. It has a simple nevertheless sturdy design, no LEDs nor switches to be found. Like all Rode mics, it is coated by extendable 10 years assure. The cool issue about NTG3 – it’s out there in a rugged waterproof aluminum case, which feels additional like bulletproof… It consists of regular foam which will protect it from delicate wind. If you want a bit further security, you’ll get Rode WS7 nonetheless for expert mics, I usually advocate getting blimp immediately. It’ll forestall from disappointment when someday wind abruptly creeps into your recordings.

There are principally two selections: Rode Blimp and Rycote Super Shield. Blimp is in truth additional widespread because of it’s promoted by Rode, nonetheless it has two disadvantages. The carcass is constructed from questionable prime quality plastic that sorts hexagons as you can see on the images. After good amount of use, it’d start to develop cracks that don’t look attention-grabbing the least bit. One different downside is weight: whereas great defend weighs solely 2.1 kilos, blimp weighs 2.eight kilos and when holding it on a pole it really feels heavier. Rycote defend is costlier nonetheless it moreover has replaceable entrance and rear rod parts.

Execs

  • Expert prime quality
  • Pretty, pure sound
  • Fully clear highs
  • Low noise, good sensitivity
  • Is out there in a rugged waterproof case
  • Works in humid environments
  • Good price for money

Cons

  • Drains phantom power
  • Lacks low decrease filter

Audio-Technica AT2035 Review – Best Affordable LDC

AT2035 is an inexpensive back electret condenser from Audio Technica that boasts pretty clear and balanced sound with low noise floor. This mic is a veeery good tradeoff between price and quality and hence, an ideal choice for home studios where budget is a factor. AT2035 has cardioid polar pattern and large diaphragm that actually works for both vocals and instruments. Having said that, the essential features of pad and low pass make it an even better all-rounder that should handle most recording scenarios. With this baby, you can really put down some quality tracks at home…

Sound quality

Despite relying on back electret polarization, AT2035 sounds more like a typical true condenser. Back in the days, electret microphones used to be less reliable but as the technology stepped forward, the question of which is better is now arguable. Today it all depends on a particular capsule – some are just bad but some are good. Back electret capsules are still more likely to be found on budget mics though, whereas true condensers are being sold as premium. Yes of course, an externally polarized capsule can be seen as a more flexible solution but the question is do you really need this for a home studio?

Audio Technica AT2035 can be compared to AKG C214, which is actually studio grade true condenser. Both have very similar SPL (158 vs 156 dB with pad), Signal-to-noise ratio (82 vs 81 dB), Sensitivity (22.4 vs 20 mV/Pa) and Equivalent noise level (12 vs 13 dB-A). Believe it or not, every stat slightly favors AT2035, including the noise! Frequency response, of which we will talk later, is analogous too. Both mics produce a very natural sound, crispy and detailed on the high-end, rich and juicy on the bottom-end. However, AKG has a larger diaphragm and may sound a tad smoother, and, more flattery.

Frequency response

This mic features neutral, easy to work with frequency response, especially solid on the bottom end and mid-range. High end gets a very gentle boost that adds just a pinch of brightness. This starts after 2 kHz where it gains 1.5 dB of output and keeps steadily increasing all the way up until 13 kHz, peaking at 3.5 dB. For a budget mic with relatively large diaphragm, it’s quite nice to see such stable curve. And it’s not just a random pattern as some may presume. It is actually tailored that way as it adds some flavor of presence to your vocals as well as clarity for the instruments.

Noise levels

at2035-bannerAT2035 has an excellent self-noise of only 12 dB-A – such figures you will find on Neumann’s and other mics at least twice more expensive, whereas for most studio purposes 16 dB-A is considered more than enough and I’m talking about professional studios. In reality, even a very quiet environment will have ambient noise exceeding 12 dB threshold, so unless you are trying to record the ticking of a hand watch while being in a soundproof room, you will not be able to discern the self-noise produced by this mic. Keep in mind, preamps may add some noise too so get something decent to cross this off the list!

Setup

If you’ve done recording before and have the equipment handy you’ll already know what to do. Audio Technica AT2035 connects through XLR interface and requires phantom power. It’s pretty much standard and being back electret it is also forgiving about voltage (Rated 11-52V DC). If you don’t own one already we do recommend getting an audio interface so you can connect it with pc. There are many options… Steinberg UR22MKII is a very powerful but inexpensive tool. Focusrite Scarlett is ok too – though kind of sucky compared to the above, but never settle for cheaper imitations to avoid headache.

Features, Build & Accessories

AT2035 has a standard Audio Technica’s body, which is identical to any 20XX, 30XX and 40XX models. It is solid, heavy and durable and does not need much handling care, unless you want to maintain its brand new look. It has two switches at the back for -10 dB pad and 80 Hz low cut. With pad, it can handle the maximum SPL of 158 dB at 1% THD. Just so that you understand, such sound pressure could rapture your eardrums in an instant. In reality, it is unlikely to achieve even if put next to a very loud guitar amp but anyway it’s nice to have that extra margin.

The low cut is also a good bonus: it can help reducing popping when up close as well as low frequency ambience when recording in less than ideal sound environment. In any event, do not forget to get some nice pop filter when recording vocals – this is a must for any LDC. This mic uses standard 5/8″ – 27 mounting thread and comes with adapter nut for 3/8″ – 16. The package also includes AT8458 shock mount, which alone costs around $50-60. Although made of plastic, it’s quite efficient in what it does and appears to be durable too. Considering the mic price, it’s a real steal!

Pros

  • Amazing price / quality
  • Natural sound & balanced response
  • Crispy and detailed high end
  • Low self-noise
  • Handles high sound pressure
  • Comes with a decent shock mount

Cons

  • No cons
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Shure MV5 Review – Portable USB microphone

This device reminds us of legendary ‘Elvis Microphone’ except it is digital… and, it is packed with new features! Shure MV5 is a solid USB mic that boasts very decent quality at reasonable price (probably the best in up to $100 category). It is portable and highly compatible with Windows, Mac, iPad, iOS, iPhone and Android. Although it may lack the clarity of more expensive mics, the difference is not that huge. On a positive note, it delivers good noise levels and produces no audible hiss. The unique feature of MV5 is that it has 3 DSP presets to enhance the sound, switchable on the fly.

Sound quality

Shure MV5 is surely capable of producing quality sound. It boasts to have good dynamic range and it can easily handle high SPL without clipping, at the same time producing low amounts of noise. The hiss you will often hear on cheap or in-built mics is nowhere to be found. Despite the small size, MV5 offers quite sophisticated electronics on board that are responsible for signal processing. The way it is processed can be adjusted through 3 different DSP presets as well as through a downloadable app, which is nevertheless optional. I will try to describe in detail what it does and why it is important.

Back in time USB mics didn’t have any signal processing and whatever they captured would be immediately sent to PC only converted to digital format. This was producing horrible results and users were eventually figuring out that getting an XLR mic with a decent preamp (where they could at least set up some compression) would be a much more viable solution. Today things are starting to change. With those DSP presets of MV5, not only do you get the benefits of well set up EQ and compression – there is an actual de-esser for vocals!

shure-mv5Aside from a vocal mode, the other options are ‘acoustic’ and ‘flat’. The acoustic preset offers lower ratio compression plus a touch of EQ that seems to add some brightness and reduce the mud. I have not tested this much but it did work beautifully for a 6-string acoustic guitar. For those who want raw or unprocessed output there is a ‘flat’ preset. It is hardly useful by itself but it gives you an idea for comparison. I like very much how they implemented those modes and they do bring a noticeable improvement but this still does not compensate the lack of clarity in the high-end.

Design and accessories

Shure MV5 has a ball-like design, about 2.6 inches in diameter, weighting only 90 gram. Both the mic’s body and grilles are made of plastic, which look stylish but just don’t feel substantial nor very durable. The stand is actually made of duralumin and it does a good job of suspending the mic. By adjusting the nut, it is also possible to tilt the mic upwards or downwards. MV5 comes equipped with USB and Lightning Cable, both 1-meter long. Last but not least is the User Guide – it is well written and in fact gives you some useful instructions for achieving a better sound.

At the back panel, you will find micro USB output and 3.5mm port for realtime monitoring. Also a knob allows you to control the headphone volume but it does not have gain control. The gain can be adjusted through the mic settings or a downloadable app. Good news; you don’t actually have to adjust it as it works well by default; the built-in compressor helps to balance the output and prevents clipping. Finally, there are two more buttons for switching the DSP profiles and muting the mic. When activated you will see the corresponding LED indicators at the top.

Three major advantages

1. MV5 is supported by virtually any device, whereas few mics will work on Mac, Windows, iOS and Android at the same time. Considering its portability you can take it anywhere with you and make some quality audio on the go. 2. It is probably the best choice if you want to get maximum of your mic but not willing to spend over one hundred bucks. Keep in mind though; it’s not on a par with more expensive Rode NT-USB or Apogee 96k. 3. The internal signal processing makes it sound good right out of the box with little to no adjustments. If all you want is the job done fast and easy, then look no further.

Pros

  • Great quality for the price
  • Very useful DSP presets
  • Decent noise levels
  • Good sound out of the box
  • Provides realtime monitoring
  • High compatibility
  • Helpful user guide

Cons

  • Plastic body does not feel very durable
  • Lacks some clarity compared to more expensive mics

Apogee MiC 96k for Mac, iPad & iPhone review

Apogee MiC 96k behind the simple look offers a polished performance alongside with native Apple compatibility. This device brings a smooth experience for users of iPhone, iPad, Mac and new iPod. However, Microsoft Windows and likely other operating systems are not supported. As the name suggests the mic supports up to 96k sampling rate via 24 bit DAC. Paired with Core Audio interface it also results in a very low latency and can give demanding users a tremendous advantage. If there were such a thing as “professional” USB mic, Apogee MiC 96k would certainly fit this category.

Sound and quality

Apogee 96k is a very clear sounding mic. It has an extended response and it’s flat, which means it sounds as is. Flat mics are preferred for recording because of tonal accuracy that also gives more room for post processing. Nevertheless, MiC 96k has one thing that others don’t – brilliant highs that will blow you away, especially if you have some decent monitors handy. Apogee uses some quality mid-sized cardioid capsule and it’s a bit easier to use than a regular LDC (large diaphragm condenser) due to fewer off-axis coloration. It has a good balance of proximity and I’ve yet to hear it “puffy” when up-close.

USB interface

Successful sound production in studio relies not only on the mic itself but also on other equipment. Even if you can afford some professional stuff, it takes time to learn all the nuances and if you take this route, funnily enough it will take you …more investments. Both in terms of time and in terms of money – otherwise, it is easy to end up committing those seemingly small mistakes, which nevertheless diminish your efforts. However, this is not the case with USB mics, which come with in-built preamps and DACs. You can buy either a nicely made or a badly made unit but unlike XLR setups, it’s hard to mess up.

apogeeCheaper mics usually bundle inferior capsules with noisy preamps and sluggish interface. As a result, they sound bad, noisy, delayed and unnatural. On the other hand, a well-integrated unit from Apogee can give you a near studio experience with literally zero technical knowledge… not to mention its portability. Apogee MiC 96k is of course more expensive but the quality is above par. One of the most exciting things about this mic is the interface itself. In addition to its superior sampling rate, the latency is very low and negligible. Another great news, it works even without installing any drivers.

The credits for this interface go to Apple. It’s been invented quite a while ago and called Core Audio. Now it is natively supported by each and every Apple device. Its plug and play capability, superior bandwidth and minimal latency make Apple an indisputable favorite when it comes to USB Audio. I’m not the fan of Apple but here Windows’ framework is clearly at loss. Core Audio simply tramples on Windows drives and even smashes ASIO. Note that USB mics for Windows also produce huge monitoring delays and it’s one of the reasons why so many of them require additional monitoring outputs.

Comparison

Although initially it seemed somewhat overpriced, when put to test, my other USB mics suddenly got outshadowed by its beauty. As it turns out, it doesn’t need many features to sound great. I still consider it expensive but at least you get what you pay for. Comparing to Rode NT USB, which has no disadvantages and lower price, Apogee sounds more natural and transparent. Apparently, higher bitrate is the reason. Another mic, Yeti USB Pro also features a high bitrate and cost around the same. However, it is far from Apogee and receives way too much negative feedback from the users.

Build, accessories

Apogee MiC 96k is actually very compact and relatively lightweight, which once again proves to be an excellent portable solution. Duralumin body feels sturdy enough so you don’t have to worry about the handling. This mic comes with two cables: USB for Mac and Lightning cable for IOS devices. Both are 1 meter long and some may consider it short. You will also find a small but quality tripod as a part of the package. There is yet another interesting feature that helps monitoring the input levels. When the input is detected, LED changes color to green. In case of overload it will turn red, suggesting you should lower your gain.

Pros

  • Superior quality
  • Very clear sound
  • Low latency
  • Plug and play
  • Portable

Cons

  • Not really

RØDE NTG4+ Review: Semi-pro short shotgun

NTG4 Plus is the newest brief shotgun from Rode, which options digital controls, rechargeable lithium battery and improved sound high quality. It’s positioned in between the basic however cheap NTG2 and professional NTG3. Nevertheless, when it comes to worth, it nonetheless matches into the entry class, so think about it a excellent funding! The utilization is a complete breeze, and consider it or not, it gained’t depart you detached. Whether or not you’re a skilled or only a newbie, NTG4+ has all you could accomplish most of your videography duties …with a strong A!

Noise ranges

Rode NTG4+ does deliver a greater high quality in comparison with earlier fashions, and this includes quite a lot of elements. To start with, it has improved noise traits. Shotguns are considerably noisy by nature and this noise is often perceived as a background hiss. Typically, it stays inaudible however typically it may possibly spoil your work, particularly when there’s a want for publish-processing. Noise discount nevertheless has a dramatic impression on worth, and it is likely one of the explanation why skilled shotguns are so costly. Now, this mic does an excellent job of filling that hole between entry and professional shotguns.

The self-noise of NTG4 is rated at sixteen dB-A, which is about the identical as MKE600, however with a better sensitivity of 25mV/Pa vs 21mV/Pa, it provides us a barely higher noise flooring, although each are primarily very comparable. Nevertheless, evaluating to NTG2 with 18 dB-A equal noise and sensitivity of 15mV/Pa we do get fairly a noticeable enchancment. Utilizing the next method 20·log10(V1/V2), we will convert the sensitivity into efficient dBs. So we’ll find yourself with four.four dB extra sign and a couple of dB much less self-noise over NTG2. General, I might say it’s very respectable and simply the best way a semi-professional mic ought to be.

Frequency response

Frequency response is one other essential issue that determines how pure will a sure mic sound (however in fact it’s not the only issue). Plotted on a diagram, it exhibits a deviation measured in dB all through the mic’s nominal frequency vary. As a rule, we need to see a clean line as a result of any abrupt deviation might signify an anomaly. A flat line means a impartial response or an uncolored sound, and for shotguns it usually works greatest. Nevertheless, small bumps of as much as 2 dB might be thought-about insignificant particularly in the event that they happen above the higher midrange.

What’s fascinating about Rode NTG4 is that aside from an anticipated low-reduce change we discover one other that increase the excessive frequency, thus we find yourself with three totally different diagrams. And naturally, if we use each low-reduce and excessive increase we’ll find yourself with 4, which provides us some versatility at no further value. I need to admit that each filters are very helpful and I utilized them often relying on the setting and what’s being recorded. However first allow us to talk about the pure, unfiltered response, which is marked with the purple line on our diagram:

Frequency_Response_NTG4_Plus

In the direction of the underside finish ranging from 200 Hz, NTG4+ easily drops a pair dBs and that’s a great factor, as that vary often incorporates nothing however noise, to which line mics are particularly delicate. All through the entire midrange, which is crucial half, it’s fairly regular and unbiased. At 7 kHz, we will clearly see a small droop that would end in lowered presence, and but the amplitude isn’t vital. Lastly, in the direction of 10 kHz the degrees get again to regular. Personally, I really like the curve of MKE 600 higher however truthfully, there’s nothing improper with NTG4 both.

With a excessive frequency increase, you possibly can absolutely compensate that small droop and provides it a little bit of presence and sparkle, that are there by default in MKE 600 and NTG2. This function is sort of mild and but nonetheless, even the dullest sound it can convey again to life. I often have it on when miking indoors and off when outside as an excessive amount of presence could be tiring. Then again, the low-minimize is sort of highly effective and even aggressive because it begins from four hundred Hz, however it does a superb job in decreasing each equipment, dealing with & wind noises and boomy mud from the voice. Much better than NTG2’s low cross!

General sound high quality

NTG4-plusAlthough MKE 600 can boast a barely smoother response, Rode NTG4+ does have a few of its personal benefits. Notably I discover it working higher in aggressive circumstances, particularly when somebody shouts or blows on it, additionally you could discover the ten dB pad fairly helpful. Males with deeper voices are likely to sound a bit cleaner too and this isn’t about excessive-move. I consider it simply has an excellent capsule, and since this can be a new mannequin, we shouldn’t be stunned! The distinction is in fact not that massive – as a result of each NTG4 Plus and MKE 600 are two very strong mics.

If I have been to explain the way it sounds with out referring to different models, I might say fairly a number of issues. NTG4 sounds fairly pure and really clear all through the working vary. The upper finish has a great quantity of crispiness whereas the low finish sounds fuller and richer. It’s good not just for recording of voices and dialogues, with a little bit of booming expertise it may deal with musical artists and even choirs, and belief me it doesn’t sound boring in any respect. Lastly, with using frequency filters chances are you’ll discover it pointless to carry out any publish EQ.

Directionality

Rode NTG4+ has a supercardioid sample that’s wider than each NTG2 and MKE 600 however nonetheless somewhat bit narrower than NTG3. As such, it gives much less aspect rejection and extra of again rejection than NTG2 would. Subsequently, when it comes to directionality you shouldn’t anticipate it’s an improve… you see, it’s extra about high quality! Then again, an improved again rejection can be helpful, particularly should you don’t have a growth operator and need to mount the mic on prime of the digital camera. Since you can’t see what’s occurring behind your again, it’s best if the sound from that path is rejected.

Options & construct

Rode NTG4+ brings an entire lot of innovation to the world of shotgun microphones. Should you take a look at their NTG2 predecessor, it used to have solely single management for low-reduce (which anyway did nothing) and it was a ache to entry. In the event you take a look at Audio-Technica shotguns, they weren’t any higher. Most didn’t also have a easy on-off change to converse the battery. Sufficient stated. NTG4 has introduced three digital controls directly that carry out the important features of pad, presence increase and low-minimize; holding the pad key additionally serves as an influence key. The comfort is clear.

Battery

Apart from above, NTG4 Plus options an built-in lithium battery that lasts for as much as one hundred fifty hours. For those who use it 5 hours a day it can work for an entire month! The mic has a LED, indicating the present cost by altering colour. When it drains, it may be utterly recharged from any USB port inside solely 2 hours. I discover this extra handy than messing with AA batteries since you by no means know once they drain, after which it’s a must to purchase the replacements. Lastly, a Li-ion battery has a cycle sturdiness of as much as 1,000 recharges, so in concept it ought to proceed to work even after many years…

Equipment

The package deal features a MicroUSB cable for battery charging, a primary foam windshield and naturally the mic itself. The inventory windshield seems to be equivalent to that of NTG2 and it’s fairly ineffective towards a average wind. Nevertheless, an improved roll-off does a much better job in decreasing the wind noise. If you wish to be prepared for every thing, I might recommendation getting WS6 sock, however don’t purchase Rode deadcat – I used it earlier than and I can say that it’s much less efficient. Be mindful, a great windshield will add up for the fee however contemplating an enormous low cost we get on the mic, I might not skimp.

Execs

  • Nice high quality, pure sound
  • Very respectable noise ranges
  • Can work in aggressive setting
  • Function wealthy, breeze to make use of
  • Built-in lithium battery
  • Properly-priced for a brand new mannequin!

Cons

  • No cons