Microphones and YOU!

Robert Cat

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Howdy there, WWRP. This is my first post on the forums that would be considered Off-Topic.

I am here today to give a brief rundown and what to look for in a microphone. My background is pretty simple: I work in the musical instrument and professional audio retail industry. I have assisted many in this server with sound troubleshooting as well as seeking the best microphone for their voice and budget.

Not a whole lot of people really understand how microphones really work and even less understand terminology behind audio equipment. I am here to help you.

Definitions
I will start this off with some brief terminology that will help you understand some common things when you are looking to help your sound:

  • Acoustics: This word essentially means the area in which you are speaking and how the sound travels around it.

  • Clipping: This occurs when you are overloading the circuitry of the microphone. To put it plainly, clipping is when you are talking REALLY LOUD and your microphone sounds like a toaster (think a public Garry's Mod RP server... if you know, you know).

  • Active Microphone: These style microphones require +48v of phantom power from either a mixer or an audio interface. These microphones are typically tube driven or at the very least, emulate a tube microphone which gives it a warmer sound that plays well with deep voices.

  • Passive Microphones: These microphones do not require any sort of phantom power. Typically, plug and play into any mixer or interface.

  • Phantom Power: You know that +48v button you find on your interface? This is that. It supplies power to active microphones.

  • Compressor: These items are used to limit sounds that go over a decibel reading (this means no clipping :) )

  • Noise Gate: This is used to block out background noise such as an air conditioner or a loud mechanical keyboard in your room. You would set up a threshold and any noise that does not meet that threshold will not pass through the microphone.

  • Plosive: You know when someone pronounces T's, P's, and S's? It makes that pop sound usually? Yeah, that's a plosive.

  • Capsule: A part of a microphone that captures the sound.
For those that are curious, you can look at this weblink for more terminology.

Microphone Suggestions
Next, lets go over some microphones. At work, when I am dealing with customers who are interested in products I will typically come up with three different items. Best, Good, and then a budget friendly variation. I will use that same format here:

BEST: Shure SM7B Dynamic Cardioid Studio Vocal Microphone
- This is a dynamic microphone meaning that you do not need to utilize phantom power. That being said, it does require a bit of gain for it to get the full experience. You can siimply use a cloud lifter to help with that or if your interface/mixer can supply enough, that'll work too. Anyways, this is the industry standard in most broadcast stations, podcasts, and even in the studio for musicians.

GOOD: Warm Audio WA47JR Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
- An active microphone that requires phantom power. I personally use this microphone and love it to death. It has three different polar patterns to play with (I will go into detail about polar patterns) and a decibel pad for those who want to absolutely scream their brains out (like me).

BUDGET: Rode PodMic Cardioid Dynamic Podcast Microphone
- This is a popular microphone in the recent times of being locked inside our doors (2020 amirite?). A passive microphone that is plug and play into any mixer/interface. The sound quality is fantastic for the price and I have personally sold and used one of these bad puppies in the past.

(Notice I did not list the Yeti... please avoid the use of the yeti, they are no fun and turn into doo doo fast)

Some Accessories to keep in mind when building a microphone set up:
You want to have the most comfortable-for-you setup. Typically having an external XLR microphone means having something sit in front of your face during the duration of your gameplay. You also want to ensure that you sound crisp and clear.

  • The GoXLR: I use this bad mama-pajama myself and wowzers it is a game changer. Popular with the streaming community, this thing has it all. Audio Channels, Mic Preamp, Sample Pad, Voice Effects, XLR In with phantom power, 3.5mm headset capabilities, compression, noise gate, and a nice equalizer.

  • Boom Arms: These will typically clamp onto the side of your desk and allow you to mount your microphone and shockmount to it. Typically they have a spring assembly that supports the weight, and are foldable.

  • Pop Filters: You know those circular things that sit in front of microphones? Those are pop filters. They are used to help with dampening plosives.

What the hell is a polar pattern?
This is where we get a little science-y with microphones. Polar patterns are the shape in which a microphone can catch a sound. I really do not know how else to describe it, so enjoy this image I ripped from google.

1603121929975.png


The only polar pattern you will ever deal with when it comes to VOIP is typically the Cardiod pattern (lol it looks like a butt!). To know where the shape lies on your microphone depends on where the capsule is facing. For instance, the SM7B linked above has a capsule that captures sound from the top of it while the Warm Audio WA47JR has a side mounted capsule. It is important to know where this is so you know how to set up your microphone in a comfortable and optimal position.


That is about all I have for right now, I can update this guide later on with extra information. If you have any questions, you can simply DM me here, or just simply reply! Ok! I'm going to drink more coffee before work now! Bye! Love you!
 

Mike Young

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Depending on the users voice if you have a more deep voice the SM7B is still a wonderful mic however might be a bit too boomy for this microphone.
The SM7B has defaltly a good bit of LOW EQ with this microphone.
Note: This is more of a personal preference if you like alot of low eq, boomy then fantastic mic.
Or if you wish it to be flat line it can easly be adjusted as you wish with a mixer,
A nice little cheep mixer with this option is a Yamaha MG06X .

If you have more of a HIGH EQ voice, more flat line and heavy boomyness in the voice and dont want it to get it amplifyed like the SM7B will do.
Id suggest the new Shure MV7 Podcast Microphone.
Shure SV7 Dynamic Podcast Microphone
This offers less default boom LOW EQ then the SM7B the SM7B defaultly has more.
Depending on the users Preference, Voice its all around a wonderful microphone aswell-
Shure SV7 is cheaper in price with the quality rivaling with the Shure SM7B.

Note:
The Shure SV7 was made with the focuse of Streamer, podcasting quality style.
Mixing the ideals of both the following microphones
Rode PodMic Microphone + Shure SM7B.

Note: SV7 has the ability to use ether USB or XLR cable.
-Rode PodMic Requiers: XLR cable (3-pin M/F)
-SM7B Requiers: XLR cable (3-pin M/F)

-I have a Rode PodMic.
 
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Robert Cat

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Id suggest the new Shure MV7 Podcast Microphone.
I was going to update this with that mic but work was busy as hell! Thank you!

Yes, I would recommend the MV7 in a heartbeat and might even order one myself for the hell of it. The choice to use USB or XLR is a crazy feature I have not seen before.
 
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Elizabeth Bastion

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I admit I am a budget gall and do have the Yeti BLUE. I've had little issues with it but I'm kind of soft spoken and it is able to pick up my speaking! But of course I don't know how I sound to others? I may look into the recs in this thread when I wanna update my stuff!

Thank you for the advice!
 

Saffron Mitchell

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I have a cheap condenser and... I don't know if I need to/ want to try something else? I feel it picks up my vocal fry and amplifies it ridiculously. Mic sounds a lot better than anything else I've ever had, but idk what sort of tuning I need to do to get the best I can out of it.
 

Robert Cat

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I have a cheap condenser and... I don't know if I need to/ want to try something else? I feel it picks up my vocal fry and amplifies it ridiculously. Mic sounds a lot better than anything else I've ever had, but idk what sort of tuning I need to do to get the best I can out of it.
If you have examples I can take a look and see! Also what make/model mic?
 

Robert Cat

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I admit I am a budget gall and do have the Yeti BLUE. I've had little issues with it but I'm kind of soft spoken and it is able to pick up my speaking! But of course I don't know how I sound to others? I may look into the recs in this thread when I wanna update my stuff!

Thank you for the advice!
For sure! If you have any examples or clips of your voice, send em on over and I can see what I can do to help. Need to see if a friend can loan me a yeti so I can tweak it and make em sound good.
 

Saffron Mitchell

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For sure! If you have any examples or clips of your voice, send em on over and I can see what I can do to help. Need to see if a friend can loan me a yeti so I can tweak it and make em sound good.
Mine isn't a yeti it's... uh... idk, that Newar condenser kit on amazon for like $36. It's XLR but I adapted it with usb stuff because it was getting feedback off my cpu (and my dad's HAM setup, go figure).

I've got lots of VOD, if you want to take a look --

edited to add: mic I've got -- https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01I6LIZ8S/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 

Mike Young

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@Saffron Mitchell
This "Fry" sound you speak of is Static.
Simple way to fix this is.

1. Hit Windows Key
2. Type Change System Sounds
1604129953957.png
3. Recording Tab
4. Select Microphone
5. Properties
6. Levels Tab
7. (Adjust Boost and Microphone)
tell (Static) is gone.

NOTE: This static might just be on the OBS Microphone lvl bar.
Test your microphone on TS3 aswell if theres no static when testing but there is on OBS its best to just lower the Microphone lvl bar on OBS and not
Change System Sounds.
 
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Saffron Mitchell

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@Saffron Mitchell
This "Fry" sound you speak of is Static.
Simple way to fix this is.

1. Hit Windows Key
2. Type Change System Sounds
View attachment 3719
3. Recording Tab
4. Select Microphone
5. Properties
6. Levels Tab
7. (Adjust Boost and Microphone)
tell (Static) is gone.

NOTE: This static might just be on the OBS Microphone lvl bar.
Test your microphone on TS3 aswell if theres no static when testing but there is on OBS its best to just lower the Microphone lvl bar on OBS and not
Change System Sounds.
Did you hear static in my stuff? I was literally speaking of how bassy it makes my voice sound, and amplifying my vocal fry... which is a way of speaking.
 

Robert Cat

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Mine isn't a yeti it's... uh... idk, that Newar condenser kit on amazon for like $36. It's XLR but I adapted it with usb stuff because it was getting feedback off my cpu (and my dad's HAM setup, go figure).

I've got lots of VOD, if you want to take a look --

edited to add: mic I've got -- https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01I6LIZ8S/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Sorry for the late reply! It has been a busy weekend and also my partner's birthday, we did not have cake unfortunately.

It does sounds like your levels are just boosted a little bit high. I'm not really hearing too much of low end frequency clipping though. Keep in mind, with USB mics, you might encounter a bit of noise. My recommendation would be to check windows settings and make sure that the level isn't boosted in the sound control panel then double check your levels on Teamspeak as well. What I did hear though, your noise floor is pretty high.

Noise floor is essentially active noise from the room you are in, so if your computer has loud fans, and is picked up, that affects the noise floor. You can help treat this by using rubber grommets where your fans are screwed in. As for HAM radio interference, that's a tough one. The only way to deter that is with shielding foil honestly, but that's a hassle.
 

Saffron Mitchell

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Sorry for the late reply! It has been a busy weekend and also my partner's birthday, we did not have cake unfortunately.

It does sounds like your levels are just boosted a little bit high. I'm not really hearing too much of low end frequency clipping though. Keep in mind, with USB mics, you might encounter a bit of noise. My recommendation would be to check windows settings and make sure that the level isn't boosted in the sound control panel then double check your levels on Teamspeak as well. What I did hear though, your noise floor is pretty high.

Noise floor is essentially active noise from the room you are in, so if your computer has loud fans, and is picked up, that affects the noise floor. You can help treat this by using rubber grommets where your fans are screwed in. As for HAM radio interference, that's a tough one. The only way to deter that is with shielding foil honestly, but that's a hassle.
I dont have the ham interference since I used a usb to adapt the mic.

Yeah I do have it boosted in the control panel because if I dont, people constantly ask me to repeat myself and I feel like I cant be heard. I might try tuning it back down again though.

Yeah people have mentioned noise gates... my computer has lots of fans but is pretty quiet. I do run a small fan across the room for air circulation and night time noise though and the cars driving by my window outside come through loudly.

I was afraid a noise gate would cut the nuance from my voice even more tho
 

Robert Cat

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I dont have the ham interference since I used a usb to adapt the mic.

Yeah I do have it boosted in the control panel because if I dont, people constantly ask me to repeat myself and I feel like I cant be heard. I might try tuning it back down again though.

Yeah people have mentioned noise gates... my computer has lots of fans but is pretty quiet. I do run a small fan across the room for air circulation and night time noise though and the cars driving by my window outside come through loudly.

I was afraid a noise gate would cut the nuance from my voice even more tho
It really depends. You can level out the threshold and attenuation to play nice with your environment. Also, compressors will also help you with boosting your quietest noises.
 

William "Rush" Klein

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Is there anything worth $50 or less? I wasn't in the market for a mic, but in a family gift exchange with $50 max, and I have no idea what to ask for. Figured I'd see if there was anything worthwhile. Currently using a Corsair VOID Elite headset when I play. Thanks!
 

Robert Cat

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Is there anything worth $50 or less? I wasn't in the market for a mic, but in a family gift exchange with $50 max, and I have no idea what to ask for. Figured I'd see if there was anything worthwhile. Currently using a Corsair VOID Elite headset when I play. Thanks!
I am assuming you are looking for a USB microphone. There's not really much of anything in terms of quality in that price range, but I did find this:


Mackie is a pretty neat company but I have never used their microphones. Here is a review of the non-USB version.