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Gear talk: what's your favorite microphone?


tro2789
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Hey everyone! Since this category is new, I figured I’d kick off a fun discussion about gear. I personally love geeking out about audio gear; microphones, interfaces, channel strips, DAWs and plugins, I’m all about it. Today I want to focus on mics, since there are a ton of them out there.

What’s your favorite microphone for voice work, and why? What do you use in your studio?

Mine is my Sennheiser MKH416. I recently purchased it after a good month on Fiverr, and it’s been an incredible tool for my business. Voice overs sound clear and crisp, and clients have seemed to notice the change in the quality of my sound. Before that I used an SM7b.

Thanks for chatting with me :metal:

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Well, I’ve got quite a limited budget so I’ve only got three mics, I use my RODE NT1 for vocals and guitar, I like how it doesn’t colour the sound too much. I’ve got a SM58 and a Sennheiser e835, I barely use the SM58 I just find it muddy, the e835 on the other hand I use for recording percussion and my small practice amp lol. I really want to get a small drum set-up so I’m thinking about getting a pair of Beyerdynamic M-80s, I’ve had a chance to use them before and I think they’ve got a really nice warm tone to them.

Overall though, my NT1 is the mic I’ve always got ready to go so I’d definitely say it’s my favourite, I’m in an untreated room too so going any higher in price range would be pointless.

EDIT: I recently got for a RODE NT-USB Mini for my gaming livestreams and zoom calls but it’s garbage lol, wouldn’t recommend for anything.

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Can non voice actors comment too? I record e-learning videos for my students and I got GXT 252+ Emita Plus Streaming Microphone and before that I used 4$ mic from eBay.

I was so shocked by the difference in the voice recording in post editing.

It makes me wanna talk. And I love the arm so I can move it around the desk. The price was around 100-150$, something like that.

And I do my recording in open office room and it isolates noise really well.

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Didn’t even know this subcategory opened in the forum!

I have an MKH 416 myself as well. It is fantastic for that punchy vocal tone for commercials and short videos, but might be a bit tiring to the ears for long form narration and audio books. My only real complaint for the 416 is that it can be fairly sibilant at times, so proper positioning is an absolute must and a decent de-esser DAW plug-in helps as well!

I also have an Electro-Voice RE20, which is perfect for that warm American radio or podcast sound, but isn’t ideal for crisp, clean, super silent background voiceovers due to it’s noise floor without a proper lifter.

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Rhode NT1 (kit) and a scarlett 2i2 Interface 🙂

I feel the NT1 is quickly taking the lead. I have this exact same setup haha. Plus a Blue Baby Bottle which I love and is super versatile - for warm vocals, acoustic guitars… and occasionally some drum overheads but rarely track drums nowadays.

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Didn’t even know this subcategory opened in the forum!

I have an MKH 416 myself as well. It is fantastic for that punchy vocal tone for commercials and short videos, but might be a bit tiring to the ears for long form narration and audio books. My only real complaint for the 416 is that it can be fairly sibilant at times, so proper positioning is an absolute must and a decent de-esser DAW plug-in helps as well!

I also have an Electro-Voice RE20, which is perfect for that warm American radio or podcast sound, but isn’t ideal for crisp, clean, super silent background voiceovers due to it’s noise floor without a proper lifter.

Great having a RE20 in your arsenal. Such a classic sound

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I’ve settled for a U87 in my studio, although I use an MKH416 for streaming at home. The MKH does have that punchy sound that some people tag as “pre-EQ’d”, and it does give you a nice tight presence boost. Works wonders for that “radio/podcasty” voice when processed.

I just don’t fancy it that much with my voice acting style, sice I usually approach my recordings with a more laid back/natural tone and I’ve found the u87 deliver a very well-rounded, smooth capture.

Also had a TLM103 way back, but it now sounds a tad harsher than the u87 to my ears, so wouldn’t go back to it (even though it’s a great mic!)

Have an Avalon VT737sp waiting to be hooked up to that u87, really looking forward to hearing how it sounds compared to my current Avalon M5! Need to move to a bigger booth first, though. It’s a thicc boi. In due time!

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I’ve settled for a U87 in my studio, although I use an MKH416 for streaming at home. The MKH does have that punchy sound that some people tag as “pre-EQ’d”, and it does give you a nice tight presence boost. Works wonders for that “radio/podcasty” voice when processed.

I just don’t fancy it that much with my voice acting style, sice I usually approach my recordings with a more laid back/natural tone and I’ve found the u87 deliver a very well-rounded, smooth capture.

Also had a TLM103 way back, but it now sounds a tad harsher than the u87 to my ears, so wouldn’t go back to it (even though it’s a great mic!)

Have an Avalon VT737sp waiting to be hooked up to that u87, really looking forward to hearing how it sounds compared to my current Avalon M5! Need to move to a bigger booth first, though. It’s a thicc boi. In due time!

Nice! Sounds like you’ve acquired a lot of great kit over time.

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Only have one mic right now, a Synco D2 shotgun mic. It doesn’t capture as much on the high end as an MKH 416 from what I see on the frequency graphs, but for 1/4 the price I can’t complain!

Honestly a great choice. I’ve seen many folks recommend that mic.

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Rode products in general are the best

Coughs. Genuinely.

Was going to wait till I’d completed my studio, done some training sessions and sorted a demo before jumping in here but I really did cough at that statement.

They were named after rats, “RODENT”.

With the exception the NT1, their products are verminous.

The NT-USB is a better headphone amp than it is microphone.

Rode’s PSA-1 is far surpassed by the Blue Compass in terms of style and cable management, that’s the only Blue product I would entertain, and even then I’d honestly resent paying them so I would more likely go for a Thronmax, or a Mika if I was feeling stupidly rich.

Sorry but I’m a mic-supremacist, and can’t stand things like the Podmic, RE20 or other mics people think pass as being broadcast worthy: too much coloration.

There are only three mics I take seriously for VO.

  1. U87 AI
  2. TLM 103
  3. Rode NT1

Why? Clean frequency responses.

There’s a reason why so many have the U87 AI and TLM 103: they’re Neumann’s flagship mic products and their capsules are what many other mic manufacturers try to emulate in a lot of cases.

The NT1 is common, it’s a poor man’s Neumann. The average ears on the street wouldn’t know the difference between them, or something recorded on a potato. Some of the audio demos here have convinced me some audio buyers must be tone deaf, and have tinnitus.

Anything else doesn’t cut it in my opinion. I can’t stand the SM7B, and dislike the MKH 416: too much coloration.

The SM7B needs a lifter, that’s like buying a car and needing to add an extra engine to it before it’ll drive. Pointless mic, so over-rated. Michael Jackson and Joe Rogan are not valid reasons to buy one. I’m not sure there is a valid reason to purchase one, ever.

“It looks good” er yeah, but it sounds like mud. Buy artwork based on how it looks. Buy microphones based on how they sound. How can people confuse these things?

The 416’s shotgun nature is great to reduce environmental sounds, and that raises the more important point about noise floors and recording environments: if that’s not right, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a homemade ribbon mic, a $10 wish dot com headset or a $12k Telefunken, it’s gonna sound baaaaad.

@torrelles “I’ve settled for a U87 in my studio” = nice. “settled for”, makes it sound like dropping a few grand on a mic is a casual purchase, and it makes it sound like a compromise. I’d settle for a hamburger without cheese, but I really wanted a cheeseburger. I’d settle for a 103 if I wanted an 87, I’d settle for a Synco over a 416, am joking about Synco, I wouldn’t but you know what I mean.

Was the U87 a compromise?

I might be a Neumann fanboy but know it’s not about the mic, it’s what you do with it.

Answer this: if you got your mic, weighed it and calculated it’s equivalent price in gold, would the value of the gold be higher, or lower than the money you’ve made with that mic?

I think the Zoom H4NPro is a noisy recorder, but know it’s worth more than its weight in gold in the right circumstances.

Ends my two cents… 😉

ahh fantastic, you destroyed my post… 😊 no, honestly, wonderful reply. Anyway voiceover guys, you have the best experience with mics, I presume, so I prefer to trust your words. The coloration is something that can spice my guitars, so I can’t say I don’t like it. But I agree for anything else.

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Rode products in general are the best

Coughs. Genuinely.

Was going to wait till I’d completed my studio, done some training sessions and sorted a demo before jumping in here but I really did cough at that statement.

They were named after rats, “RODENT”.

With the exception the NT1, their products are verminous.

The NT-USB is a better headphone amp than it is microphone.

Rode’s PSA-1 is far surpassed by the Blue Compass in terms of style and cable management, that’s the only Blue product I would entertain, and even then I’d honestly resent paying them so I would more likely go for a Thronmax, or a Mika if I was feeling stupidly rich.

Sorry but I’m a mic-supremacist, and can’t stand things like the Podmic, RE20 or other mics people think pass as being broadcast worthy: too much coloration.

There are only three mics I take seriously for VO.

  1. U87 AI
  2. TLM 103
  3. Rode NT1

Why? Clean frequency responses.

There’s a reason why so many have the U87 AI and TLM 103: they’re Neumann’s flagship mic products and their capsules are what many other mic manufacturers try to emulate in a lot of cases.

The NT1 is common, it’s a poor man’s Neumann. The average ears on the street wouldn’t know the difference between them, or something recorded on a potato. Some of the audio demos here have convinced me some audio buyers must be tone deaf, and have tinnitus.

Anything else doesn’t cut it in my opinion. I can’t stand the SM7B, and dislike the MKH 416: too much coloration.

The SM7B needs a lifter, that’s like buying a car and needing to add an extra engine to it before it’ll drive. Pointless mic, so over-rated. Michael Jackson and Joe Rogan are not valid reasons to buy one. I’m not sure there is a valid reason to purchase one, ever.

“It looks good” er yeah, but it sounds like mud. Buy artwork based on how it looks. Buy microphones based on how they sound. How can people confuse these things?

The 416’s shotgun nature is great to reduce environmental sounds, and that raises the more important point about noise floors and recording environments: if that’s not right, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a homemade ribbon mic, a $10 wish dot com headset or a $12k Telefunken, it’s gonna sound baaaaad.

@torrelles “I’ve settled for a U87 in my studio” = nice. “settled for”, makes it sound like dropping a few grand on a mic is a casual purchase, and it makes it sound like a compromise. I’d settle for a hamburger without cheese, but I really wanted a cheeseburger. I’d settle for a 103 if I wanted an 87, I’d settle for a Synco over a 416, am joking about Synco, I wouldn’t but you know what I mean.

Was the U87 a compromise?

I might be a Neumann fanboy but know it’s not about the mic, it’s what you do with it.

Answer this: if you got your mic, weighed it and calculated it’s equivalent price in gold, would the value of the gold be higher, or lower than the money you’ve made with that mic?

I think the Zoom H4NPro is a noisy recorder, but know it’s worth more than its weight in gold in the right circumstances.

Ends my two cents… 😉

I thought the weight in gold exercise was a funny one, so i went ahead and did it for giggles.

MKH416

Price: $999

Weight: 165g

value of 165g of gold today: $9,634.18

The value of gold for that weight is less than what I’ve made with the mic. I’ve passed the test. lol

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Rode products in general are the best

Coughs. Genuinely.

Was going to wait till I’d completed my studio, done some training sessions and sorted a demo before jumping in here but I really did cough at that statement.

They were named after rats, “RODENT”.

With the exception the NT1, their products are verminous.

The NT-USB is a better headphone amp than it is microphone.

Rode’s PSA-1 is far surpassed by the Blue Compass in terms of style and cable management, that’s the only Blue product I would entertain, and even then I’d honestly resent paying them so I would more likely go for a Thronmax, or a Mika if I was feeling stupidly rich.

Sorry but I’m a mic-supremacist, and can’t stand things like the Podmic, RE20 or other mics people think pass as being broadcast worthy: too much coloration.

There are only three mics I take seriously for VO.

  1. U87 AI
  2. TLM 103
  3. Rode NT1

Why? Clean frequency responses.

There’s a reason why so many have the U87 AI and TLM 103: they’re Neumann’s flagship mic products and their capsules are what many other mic manufacturers try to emulate in a lot of cases.

The NT1 is common, it’s a poor man’s Neumann. The average ears on the street wouldn’t know the difference between them, or something recorded on a potato. Some of the audio demos here have convinced me some audio buyers must be tone deaf, and have tinnitus.

Anything else doesn’t cut it in my opinion. I can’t stand the SM7B, and dislike the MKH 416: too much coloration.

The SM7B needs a lifter, that’s like buying a car and needing to add an extra engine to it before it’ll drive. Pointless mic, so over-rated. Michael Jackson and Joe Rogan are not valid reasons to buy one. I’m not sure there is a valid reason to purchase one, ever.

“It looks good” er yeah, but it sounds like mud. Buy artwork based on how it looks. Buy microphones based on how they sound. How can people confuse these things?

The 416’s shotgun nature is great to reduce environmental sounds, and that raises the more important point about noise floors and recording environments: if that’s not right, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a homemade ribbon mic, a $10 wish dot com headset or a $12k Telefunken, it’s gonna sound baaaaad.

@torrelles “I’ve settled for a U87 in my studio” = nice. “settled for”, makes it sound like dropping a few grand on a mic is a casual purchase, and it makes it sound like a compromise. I’d settle for a hamburger without cheese, but I really wanted a cheeseburger. I’d settle for a 103 if I wanted an 87, I’d settle for a Synco over a 416, am joking about Synco, I wouldn’t but you know what I mean.

Was the U87 a compromise?

I might be a Neumann fanboy but know it’s not about the mic, it’s what you do with it.

Answer this: if you got your mic, weighed it and calculated it’s equivalent price in gold, would the value of the gold be higher, or lower than the money you’ve made with that mic?

I think the Zoom H4NPro is a noisy recorder, but know it’s worth more than its weight in gold in the right circumstances.

Ends my two cents… 😉

  1. U87 AI
  2. TLM 103
  3. Rode NT1

Why? Clean frequency responses.

I’ve read enough audiophile forum posts from various websites to know that there are people who would turn their nose upon seeing your selection as well! 😉

They’d say the U87 AI is a horrific abomination of a “true” authentic old school U87, or even better, a vintage U47 that’d you’d have to sell your kidney to acquire a prime condition used model from some other audiophile’s microphone locker.

They’d say the TLM 103 is the poor man’s introductory version of a Neumann and is only fit to record the sound of flatulence for a gag reel.

They’d say the Rode NT1 is fit to record audio for only those suffering from substantial hearing loss.

The world of audiophiles is indeed a wondrous thing!

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  1. U87 AI
  2. TLM 103
  3. Rode NT1

Why? Clean frequency responses.

I’ve read enough audiophile forum posts from various websites to know that there are people who would turn their nose upon seeing your selection as well! 😉

They’d say the U87 AI is a horrific abomination of a “true” authentic old school U87, or even better, a vintage U47 that’d you’d have to sell your kidney to acquire a prime condition used model from some other audiophile’s microphone locker.

They’d say the TLM 103 is the poor man’s introductory version of a Neumann and is only fit to record the sound of flatulence for a gag reel.

They’d say the Rode NT1 is fit to record audio for only those suffering from substantial hearing loss.

The world of audiophiles is indeed a wondrous thing!

for only those suffering from substantial hearing loss

haha fantastic… love it 😊

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, I just shelled out a whole lot of money myself for a Neumann U87Ai to (hopefully but I doubt) complete my personal mic collection. I plan on using the MHK 416 specifically for commercial audio or as a boom for my green screen gig, the RE-20 specifically for radio work, and the U87 Ai for basically everything else.

Once it comes in, I need to redo my gig videos and audio demos as well, but that will give me plenty of recording to familiarize myself with it.

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Shure SM7B. I’ve been in radio for 30 years, and this mic seems to be the most on point out of any I’ve ever used. It’s rich and it doesn’t pick up a lot of ambient noise. I love it.

Shure SM7B. I’ve been in radio for 30 years, and this mic seems to be the most on point out of any I’ve ever used.

I agree, it’s very powerful. The voice is so good you don’t even need post processing. I know it but still don’t own one. It’s my next product to buy, in my wish list.

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  • 4 months later...

Depends on the situation. I’m quite fond of the M149 though…C12, U47…C800G…U87, U67, 251, SM7b, Re20, and some other less recognizable things…I don’t think it’s reasonable to say there is “one go to mic for vocals”…9/10 times the first thing I put up is the M149 though =)

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Didn’t even know this subcategory opened in the forum!

I have an MKH 416 myself as well. It is fantastic for that punchy vocal tone for commercials and short videos, but might be a bit tiring to the ears for long form narration and audio books. My only real complaint for the 416 is that it can be fairly sibilant at times, so proper positioning is an absolute must and a decent de-esser DAW plug-in helps as well!

I also have an Electro-Voice RE20, which is perfect for that warm American radio or podcast sound, but isn’t ideal for crisp, clean, super silent background voiceovers due to it’s noise floor without a proper lifter.

I also own a Sennheiser MKH 416 and I love it! It cuts through a music bed mix really well and I really like the presence boost it has in the upper midrange, but I do agree with you on it not being the best mic for long form narration or audiobooks. I also have a Harlan Hogan VO-1A mic (made by MXL) and its actually a really good mic and has a better sound for longer projects.

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Only have one mic right now, a Synco D2 shotgun mic. It doesn’t capture as much on the high end as an MKH 416 from what I see on the frequency graphs, but for 1/4 the price I can’t complain!

I would like to get a Synco D-2 for making up a travel rig. I have heard nothing but good things about that mic and how similar it is to the MKH 416.

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