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Looking to "downgrade" mic
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 
Looking to "downgrade" mic

So I do commentary/narration/video essay like content on YouTube, and I saved enough enough that I wanted to upgrade to a "pro" mic, as I've been using an ATH 2035 for a long time that just felt flat and boring to me.

Preface: While I know enough to make youtube content, I am not an audio engineer, so I apologise for ignorance in this post.

Doing the best research that I can, I heard much about the MKH416 being the best voice over mic, and eventually settled one that. I had overlooked the largest criticism: that the mic is way too "in your face". After using it for enough time (but still in the return period), I found that to be true.

I'm using a Scarlett 2i2 for the audio interface, and as for room treatment, its not perfect. I do have a handful of DIY acoustic panels in front, as well as one to the side, with some cheat foam on other walls including a bookcase. While I do have some base traps and more panels coming, its not going to reach pro studio levels.

Basically, I'm looking for something "smoother" and better for longform narration, as the MKH416 hurts my ears after only a few minutes. I've seen that Wendover productions uses an Electrovoice RE20, and based on my room, I've been thinking about just getting back $500 and going with a dynamic mic+cloudlifter. That or an SM7B. I do understand you lose some clarity with that.

I've attatched some raw MKH416 audio as well as the same audio with Eq/compression. Would an RE20 or an SM7B fit my voice better? Or should I work a little harder on my space and get something like a TLM 103?

Thanks for help!
Attached Files

mkh416eq.wav (6.54 MB, 299 views)

mkh416raw.wav (6.54 MB, 294 views)

Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Your clips won’t play for me, which may be your problem or mine.
I find the A-T 20 series mics I’ve used to be honest and undistorted, but also not flattering to the voices or instruments I’ve tried them on. That seems “ballpark” with your experience. The SM7b I recently sold (after ten years) was not a solution to the blahs either.
I have no experience with the MKH416, and no recent experience with the RE20, so my suggestions are not put forward as being better than either of those.
So, my suggestions…
The “new” Shure dynamic (at least a half century newer than the SM7b), the KSM8 Dualdyne, is smooth, has a less dramatic proximity effect than other Shure dynamics, and will, I think, give you what you want.
It doesn’t need a Cloudlifter. It is relatively flat, so much so that it is a little disappointing when you first try it, but it actually shines in comparison to brighter mics, which sound harsh in A/Bs with the KSM8. It is so unhyped and relatively pricey that I think Shure may not sell a lot of them, and idiots may unload them on the used market. It’s a great mic, and worth the money, new or used.
My other suggestion is the Warm WA-84. For some reason, SDC mics don’t get much mention for voice, but this one (with a decent pop filter) fits the bill for you. It doesn’t have any presence boost and has a bit of transformer pizazz that makes a voice a little livelier without being at all harsh.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #3
Here for the gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman ➡️
Your clips won’t play for me, which may be your problem or mine.
I find the A-T 20 series mics I’ve used to be honest and undistorted, but also not flattering to the voices or instruments I’ve tried them on. That seems “ballpark” with your experience. The SM7b I recently sold (after ten years) was not a solution to the blahs either.
I have no experience with the MKH416, and no recent experience with the RE20, so my suggestions are not put forward as being better than either of those.
So, my suggestions…
The “new” Shure dynamic (at least a half century newer than the SM7b), the KSM8 Dualdyne, is smooth, has a less dramatic proximity effect than other Shure dynamics, and will, I think, give you what you want.
It doesn’t need a Cloudlifter. It is relatively flat, so much so that it is a little disappointing when you first try it, but it actually shines in comparison to brighter mics, which sound harsh in A/Bs with the KSM8. It is so unhyped and relatively pricey that I think Shure may not sell a lot of them, and idiots may unload them on the used market. It’s a great mic, and worth the money, new or used.
My other suggestion is the Warm WA-84. For some reason, SDC mics don’t get much mention for voice, but this one (with a decent pop filter) fits the bill for you. It doesn’t have any presence boost and has a bit of transformer pizazz that makes a voice a little livelier without being at all harsh.
Thanks for the suggestion! WA-84 is something I've seen suggested, I think I may go with that. I uploaded the audio clips though, just in case they might change things.

RAW MKH-416
https://vocaroo.com/1cIt6rB94vUY

EQ/COMP MKH-416
https://vocaroo.com/14sJjQx7o16C
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
OK, these play for me.
I hear what I think you also hear. Both clips just sound a little “hard”, and might tend toward annoying in a long piece or session. I didn’t think your EQd version improved anything. Not much difference… but between the two I’d use the unprocessed version.
I like your voice. It has a unique quality, but not SO unique that it seems at all odd. You certainly don’t need any enhancement of your intelligibility or “edge”.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
I just ordered a WA-84 for similar purposes (vocal mic including VO, never have been completely happy after a year of wrangling with my SM7B) and I can let you know how it goes when it arrives later this week.

For me, it feels like most vocal mic designs are made to add either fullness or presence, and I have both of those naturally, and as a result my voice through the typical vocal mics sounds like a cartoon version with exaggerated lows and mids.

Last edited by ziggysane; 1 week ago at 07:15 PM..
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggysane ➡️
typical vocal mics sounds like a cartoon version with exaggerated lows and mids.
… and with a handle like ziggysane you probably already have enough lean toward cartoons.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
0 I do, but the name also comes from being a near-lifelong Bowie fan.

"Funhouse Mirror" version would probably be an accurate description as well.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
the 416 is used for aggressive iso booth commerical narrations ("buy the car today!" "this action movie is amazing!") and film/tv dialog, where the recordist is combating a challenging audio environment and needs to keep the microphone out of the "frame".

for me personally, the 416 is unusable on my voice... it sounds terrible. so does the akg 414. they both compete for which one can sound most awful. and these are high-quality industry standard mics. they just happen to sound terrible on my voice.

something that does sound good on my voice that costs less than the 416 is the neumann tlm-102. but it is not a "tight" pickup pattern and picks up a lot of subsonic bass. so it's not the best for an acoustically-challenged environment.

you should definitely be able to find a good narration mic for less than the cost of a 416. you have a mismatch between your voice, your product, and the microphone.

national public radio (npr) uses u87s "all over the place". npr are the kings of professional sounding mellow vocal commentary. they practically define the category.

u87ai sounds a bit aggressive on my voice in the 4k-5k range. but it is wicked good at picking up articulation... it never drops a consonant (at least not on my voice). for example, "don't" always sounds like "don't", not "don.." it also has an extremely good proximity rolloff switch, so you can close-mic the voice without boominess. it's a fantastic mic, it wish it worked a little better on my voice.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Initial verdict! I need to hear it in a better room, but I’m really liking the WA84 sound. It doesn’t have the mid-honk, and it has that present but not hyped sound with hints of vintage blur, presumably from the transformer. “Fat” is indeed an appropriate adjective. It reminds me of some of the sounds I associate with early 70s soul records (probably from the prevalence of 84s, 86s, and 87s during the era).

It handled sibilance well, I had no trouble with plosives using a pop shield from 6 inches away, and the top end is smooth.

The only downside? Now I really want the Omni capsule.

Last edited by ziggysane; 1 week ago at 05:23 AM..
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggysane ➡️
I’m really liking the WA84 sound. Now I really want the Omni capsule.
I have the WA-84 with both capsules. To be honest, after trying both capsules, I like the cardioid so much that I’ve never put the omni capsule back on. The two capsules sound very similar. If I need a wider pattern or less proximity effect I wouldn’t hesitate to switch, but so far no need.
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