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Thread: Go-to Mic for Voice Over work

  1. #31
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    Where is all the hiss coming from? I sit in my studio and I hear no hiss. If I put my ear near the HF I can hear a low hiss, which in fact appears to be from the output of my interface, through two channels of my Soundcraft mixer and the monitor amp (passive speakers). Sit back and I cannot hear it. This doesn't change when I use an SM7 - a very deaf mic, or a decent condenser. At the gains they use for proper record levels, hiss is simply NOT an issue.

    I'm intrigued by dwillis's comment on the SM7 rejecting ambient noise? I've never noticed this - it's just a nice warm mic you can use close in without it booming. Mine appears to be a fairly standard cardioid response. The EV I have is a nice useful mic that doesn't change tone as people move in or out from it, but again I don't think it's special. I've got an old AKG D202 that also is pretty neutral used close in - they all just sound a bit different in how they respond to different voices.

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    Some microphones are quieter or noisier than others......well according to microphone comparison tests on Youtube.

    A good comparison test of various microphones is actually a voice over guy. He has tested probably a fair few of the microphones in this thread. BoothJunkie ...... YouTube

    Perhaps his videos may answer your questions but there are quite a few others as well.

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    I would browse around in this site, selecting a genre of VO that best fits what you intend to do with the mic....... Search Voice Actors By Voice Over Category | Voices.com

    - Select the genre
    - Browse the VO artists and listen to his/her demos
    - Many of the artists have bios that list the mic(s) they use as well as other gear
    - Credits and reviews may be a good indication of artists expertise and choice of mic and gear
    Mark.......

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    I have a Lewitt Subzero, and it is far better than I expected. No reservations in recommending it. Also, the Roswell Delphos (now replaced by the Delphos II) is excellent.

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    I'm going to try my collection today if I get a chance. I'll put a mic up in my quiet room. The one treated and with no computers in it, and I'll turn up the preamp until I see its noise component clearly on the meters and can hear it with my ears. I'll turn phantom on, the monitors down and plug each mic in, one by one. I'll say which is which and the. When done, I will remove each of the clicks from phantom being connected and handling noise from each section and join them up. Then I'll normalise the track to get the noise levels up to obvious levels. I won't be able to do any sensible accurate measurements, but will have a clear set of differences from my collection. I wonder which mic will come out best? I'm not convinced hat any are bad, or even not good that I've noticed by using them. I'll grab as many mics as I can from studio and my live connection, including even a few strange ones. I've got some of those weird scarily dirt cheap Chinese ones that get sold as podcast mics, the ones that work on 5 v computer power as well as phantom. I wanted 6 angle poise arms for a project and bought 6 of these as packages and never used the mics. I've got new studio project to complete and send off (to get paid) first, but will then have a go at this. I don't quite know what to expect. The dearest mic I have is the sm7b so if I start with a very low output dynamic that seems to be a good baseline. I'm expecting all the dynamic to be equal in terms of self-noise, and then see a jump between all the condensers. I don't even know how obvious the differences will be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob aylestone View Post
    I'm going to try my collection today if I get a chance. I'll put a mic up in my quiet room. The one treated and with no computers in it, and I'll turn up the preamp until I see its noise component clearly on the meters and can hear it with my ears. I'll turn phantom on, the monitors down and plug each mic in, one by one. I'll say which is which and the. When done, I will remove each of the clicks from phantom being connected and handling noise from each section and join them up. Then I'll normalise the track to get the noise levels up to obvious levels. I won't be able to do any sensible accurate measurements, but will have a clear set of differences from my collection. I wonder which mic will come out best? I'm not convinced hat any are bad, or even not good that I've noticed by using them. I'll grab as many mics as I can from studio and my live connection, including even a few strange ones. I've got some of those weird scarily dirt cheap Chinese ones that get sold as podcast mics, the ones that work on 5 v computer power as well as phantom. I wanted 6 angle poise arms for a project and bought 6 of these as packages and never used the mics. I've got new studio project to complete and send off (to get paid) first, but will then have a go at this. I don't quite know what to expect. The dearest mic I have is the sm7b so if I start with a very low output dynamic that seems to be a good baseline. I'm expecting all the dynamic to be equal in terms of self-noise, and then see a jump between all the condensers. I don't even know how obvious the differences will be.
    Wow! Cannot wait for those results Rob. I should know but what will the pre amp/converters be? Can I ask for a further, baseline test please? A 150 or 200 Ohm metal film resistor inside an XLR across pins 2&3. That will give a good idea of the pre amp noise.

    The dynamic's noise might surpise you! The mics have transformers and some have inductors and thus different DC resistances. It is hard for instance to pin down exactly what the output impedance of an SM57 actually is and it has probably changed anyway in fifty years!

    Dave.

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    OK Dave - I can do the resistor for the initial zeroing. You mention SM57s - I've got somewhere the very first one I bought in the late 70s, and a new one from last year - I'll do both. Interface isn't special in any way - A Tascam 16/4. Think further, I'll normally the results so the loudest noise source is at 0, this will give a measurable difference between noisiest and the others. The test n' do it the other way around, as in actually measure the quietist - I'm never convinced any of the meters read correctly at the bottom of the scale, but the do at the top. This will give the resistor as the lowest result in the range. Everything else going noisier. I'll try to match some photos up if I can arrange it. I've got a few less common mics I can try too.

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    The metal-film resistor in the XLR plug is how I have seen this kind of testing done. I actually had a couple resistors in my cart at Mouser but with a couple weeks vacation/holiday on the immediate horizon decided to wait until I return to rig a couple of those up. (I sometimes miss Radio Shack!)

    If you test a condenser after the baseline, you'll probably want to have a very good and very short cable to remove its contribution.

    (Apparently the US "standard" is to test with 150Ω, but in Germany it's 200Ω, according to one video I saw.)
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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    Right then - I have the results, but frankly I'm at a loss to explain some of them.

    I'll detail in full the test conditions - because hopefully somebody will spot the flaw I must have made to produce these results. Clearly, I have no ability to measure each mics self-noise in any quantitive way, so following Dave's suggestion, I took a DMX terminator, and replace the 680Ohm resistor with a 150Ohm. In my studio, I set the mic pre-amp in my Tascam 16/4 to the setting I would normally use for fairly close in VO type work, which is around 60% rotation of the knob and never a problem, noise wise, even with the least sensitive mic I have - the Shure SM7B.

    I then plugged an XLR cable into the other studio, where there is no machinery or noise generating items. I set out a towel, centre of the room to place the mics on, one after the other, and set up a video camera on a mic stand. There is a very low level noise source in the room - an almost unperceptable low frequency rumble from the air handling, which I forgot to turn off and I think I can hear in some of the clips, but not in others.

    The test procedure was as follows. Starting with the line terminator, I put Cubase into record, and the same with the video camera. Then, one by one, without turning off phantom, I simply disconnected and reconnected each mic. I announced each mics name from around two feet away, again - hardly audible I discovered on revising the recording. Each mic would have a loud click or pop as the XLR went in, then some handling noises as I positioned it on the towel, then a quiet announcement of which one it was. I then stayed as quiet as I could for a few seconds, then repeated the process with the next mic. NO adjustments to the recording at all.

    On the conclusion of the tests I brought into cubase the video file and slid it to line it up against the audio recording. The audio from the camera was not used.

    Then, clip by clip, I edited out the clicks, and handling noises, and my announcement - just leaving a short recorded silence. I then Moved these all up to each other producing a noise floor that goes up and down - and is produced by the microphone - the preamp and system noise remaining constant throughout.

    I could see on the screen a few had defined raised noise floors, but at this time I didn't;t do anything about it. I then exported this audio track to a file on disk. All this took place at 44.1KHz, 32 bit sampling - which is the current template I'm working with for some CD products.

    This file I then brought back into Cubase and normalised it to 0dB, making the noisiest microphone virtually full scale, and then the quieter ones able to have a reading taken from the Cubase LUFS meter I now use lots, thanks to this forum.

    I tabled the results and they are as follows:
    150 ohm resistor -42.2
    shure sm57 1970's -35.8
    shure sm57 modern -38.2
    shure sm58 -40.2
    shure beta 58 -23.1
    shure beta 57 -41.3
    Beyer M201 -40.2
    shure sm86 -33.8
    thomann sc-100 -21
    samson c-01 -16.2
    oktava mk-309 -18.8
    chinese mc-100 - 10.6
    akg 414 -2.8
    at 2020 -22.2
    akg d112 -38.6
    akg190 -32.9
    thoman condenser -21.7
    chinese mc10 -0.1
    shure sm7b -39.4
    electrovoice re320 -37.7

    None of these mics cause me any issues when I use them, but I'm at a loss to make sense of these results. The second noisiest mic is the AKG 414 which makes no sense, but I re-ran the test and got the same results.

    There MUST be a functional and basic flaw in this test, but I cannot think what it is?

    The video showing what it looks like is

    The second half is the sequence without the normalisation.

    There are a few other issues. There appears to be problems with at least a couple. The Shure Beta58 when the gain is ramped up in the normalisation process brings with it some strange noises. Some of the noisy mics have constant noise, but others it changes in volume and texture?

    I'm hoping that some of you can find the flaw in the test process, or if not can maybe replicate the results with their kit.

    My thought process was simple - if I found the noisiest clip, then increasing this to maximum level by adding gain in the normalisation process would raise EVERY clip by the same amount. This worked as expected on most, but the noisiest mic I believe to be actually faulty - you can hear it's noise when used at normal recording distances and gain - BUT the AKG 414, the second noisiest mic in the test is NOT a noisy mic - but where is this noise coming from? The dynamics are all less sensitive and have low noise figures, bar one. The two Shure 57s with nearly 40 years between them are close but not identical. The quietest Shure condenser the 87 does pretty well compared to others.

    Is the test flawed in a way that I haven't spotted? Clearly, they all have different sensitivities, but the gain setting on the preamp was where I expect give or take a bit. What has gone wrong? Clearly my expectation that the differences would be small were totally wrong - I really didn't expect these results at all. Mics I figured would be less good aren't and ones I really like doing less well.

    I really need somebody else to do something similar and see if the results follow the same trend.

    I very strange set of results - the conclusion just differs from the expected!

    The noise for each one is different - which is interesting.

    Sorry for the on screen watermark - I thought I had the full version and turned out to be a demo!

  10. #40
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    Here's a procedure I was going to try - still probably will when I have time in a few weeks.

    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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