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Does anybody have experience with these mics?
Old 6th May 2021
  #1
Does anybody have experience with these mics?

What's good?

I'm looking to buy a mic to record some rap vocals.

Nothing serious. Just starting out. But I like getting the best bang for my buck.

After watching many comparison videos I nailed it down to these mics:

Blue Ember

Audio Technica AT2020

AKG P120

Shure SM58



My room is barely treated. Treatment improvements will be made in the near future. Room doesn't sound good right now.

I read that dynamic mics are more forgiving when recording in subpar rooms and people recommended the Shure SM7B. The SM58 is very similar and cheaper that's why I put it on my list, in case you were wondering why I had a dynamic mic listed.


Does anybody have experience with any of these mics?
One better than the others?



Only mic I recorded with a few times is the Rode NT1 A and I hated the plosives and razor sharp S that it produced.


Thanks in advance.
Old 7th May 2021
  #2
Gear Maniac
I haven't heard the Ember but of those four I'd recommend the AT2020.

P120 is very meh, SM58 is for live **** and acoustic music.
Old 9th May 2021
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
audio technica provides excellent value in all of their $700 or less microphones.

sm58 is a stage mic. it has a cheap sounding presence boost.

if it were me, i would get the 2020 and then find a way to get a dry recording signal.
Old 11th May 2021
  #4
Gear Head
 
MiNuS31's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hip Hop Head ➡️
My room is barely treated. Treatment improvements will be made in the near future. Room doesn't sound good right now.
Cheap fix until you can get your room treated...buy a few “moving” blankets off ebay or somewhere...they are thin but solid also buy some PVC pipes and build a booth with the PVC pipes and zip tie the moving blankets to use as curtains...or create a tint/big hoodie somehow with the moving blankets...I sit at a desk to record and use a shield behind my mic and got moving blankets and PVC pipes to build a wall right behind my desk...major difference...and of course use a noise reduction plugin...
Old 11th May 2021
  #5
Gear Addict
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hip Hop Head ➡️
What's good?

I'm looking to buy a mic to record some rap vocals.

Nothing serious. Just starting out. But I like getting the best bang for my buck.

After watching many comparison videos I nailed it down to these mics:

Blue Ember

Audio Technica AT2020

AKG P120

Shure SM58



My room is barely treated. Treatment improvements will be made in the near future. Room doesn't sound good right now.

I read that dynamic mics are more forgiving when recording in subpar rooms and people recommended the Shure SM7B. The SM58 is very similar and cheaper that's why I put it on my list, in case you were wondering why I had a dynamic mic listed.


Does anybody have experience with any of these mics?
One better than the others?



Only mic I recorded with a few times is the Rode NT1 A and I hated the plosives and razor sharp S that it produced.


Thanks in advance.
SM75 is a good mic. IMO SM58 is not a good mic. I had a 2020 I used it on toms and I hated it. Consider a used bluebird??
Old 19th May 2021
  #6
Lives for gear
 
E.rOk.stA's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
If you wanted to go dynamic, the Shure SM57 is closer to the SM7B. You're gonna need like 60db of gain tho' to make it sound good. You can also find a Triton Audio FET Head that'll help get you there...it also rocks for guitar or bass cabs..........or snares (top).

Condenser, I'd go for the 2020..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
Deleted 4a8b4d3
Guest
Deleted

Last edited by Deleted 4a8b4d3; 1 week ago at 09:58 AM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
a 2020 with the blankets BEHIND YOU...not the mic
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
Here for the gear
 
sm58 can sound really great

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Old 1 week ago
  #10
Gear Guru
 
The newest version of the AKG P120 (black), is a very good sounding MDC. (I have one)

IMHO this would be the easiest to get quality sound out of (out of your list)

This is AKG's "best kept secret" of its entire mic line IMHO. It has a wide cardioid pattern though, so improve that room.
I'd only rate the 414's above it.

The AT2020 is OK. (Had one)
With a 57/58, be prepared to pummel it into Vocal Processing submission! (I have one)

Below is a portion of a vocal recording, where the P120 was used on my lead vocal-including "Streeeaaam ooooooonnnn" high part .
(FLEA 49 and vintage U87 on the other two voices BTW)

An excellent alternative/addition, would be the Beyer M88TG.
It avoids bad room tone even better, than any of the Shure's.
Chris
Attached Files

MangleWithCare (Modern Pop style).wav (4.08 MB, 296 views)

Old 1 week ago
  #11
Lives for gear
 
XHipHop's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I'm voting SM58 if you have nothing else.

I think that will need the LEAST processing.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
Gear Guru
 
Not with me!
Chris
Old 1 week ago
  #13
Lives for gear
 
illynoise's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
A 57 is a 58 with a head basket FYI. It would work great and an untreated room because you won’t get the reflections that you would get with a 2020. The only thing about getting an SM 7B or a 57 would be that you would need a lot of gain for the SM 7B. The 2020 is a good Mic for the price. Just go to a place like Harbor freight and get some moving blankets.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
Gear Head
save up and buy a better mic and treat the room
Old 1 week ago
  #15
AT2020 picks up a lot of room sound. Its actually their biggest diaphragm that I know of. I'd say no
Old 1 week ago
  #16
Gear Head
 
What kind of music do you intend to create? If you're going for a more old school boom bap vibe, then a dynamic might be more to your tastes. An Sm57 with a windscreen would be an inexpensive and viable option for this (and would sound quite similar to the overrated Sm7b) and would be generally more versatile than an Sm58 (they're literally the same mic but the 58 was designed for live performers who drop it on the ground cause they're drunk etc.). An Sm57 doesn't require as much gain as the 7b either, meaning you won't need to buy an external preamp or cloudlifter if your current preamp isn't sufficient.

If you're going for a more modern vibe, you're going to want to stick with a LDC (or MDC...) Both the AT2020 and the AKG P120 would satisfy this. I'd probably opt for the AKG, given the choice. Most LDCs/MDCs will sound pretty "meh" if you're in a crappy room. With these types of mics it is paramount that you apply some sort of treatment to your room. Others have given good suggestions in this thread for doing this on the cheap. Thick moving blankets or mattresses behind YOU while you're recording (preferably in a sort of "V" shape) . Don't bother with those cheap 1 foot x 1 foot foam panels, they're garbage.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
tdot's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by illynoise ➡️
A 57 is a 58 with a head basket FYI. It would work great and an untreated room because you won’t get the reflections that you would get with a 2020. The only thing about getting an SM 7B or a 57 would be that you would need a lot of gain for the SM 7B. The 2020 is a good Mic for the price. Just go to a place like Harbor freight and get some moving blankets.
I agree with this. I wouldn't recommend getting a dynamic. I just don't think it's going to give anyone the sound they're "looking for". For sure it's going to be easier to work with in an untreated room, but they do also require a lot of clean gain to sound decent, which a cheap interface might not do well (without introducing a bunch of noise).

I used the 2020 for years and for rap vocals I don't think there's much better for anywhere near the price. I would recommend going for that, and trying to treat as best you can one area of the room to be a "recording area". The only problem is, I can't think of many ways to "properly" treat it that don't cost more than many times the price of a 2020. Finding the best spot in the room with a few layers of moving blankets might be suitable enough.

My new (vocal, my mixing room is "treated") room is also a ****ty room, but I built a stand for a little "wall" of 2 inch fiberglass panels behind the mic, and I also have one of those "fold out" fiberglass stuffed "vocal booths" behind the artist. If you position the mic right you can get a nice little bubble of dryness in a **** room, without treating the entire room. However, those fiberglass panels are not exactly "cheap".

There are also "things like this" (I think there are cheaper "mic isolation shields" available, this is just the first one that came up)
https://www.amazon.ca/Monoprice-Micr.../dp/B00GR9W1MS
That can help with reflections behind the mic - using something like that with a few heavy blankets behind the artist might produce an acceptable result.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #18
Gear Head
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdot ➡️
There are also "things like this" (I think there are cheaper "mic isolation shields" available, this is just the first one that came up)
https://www.amazon.ca/Monoprice-Micr.../dp/B00GR9W1MS
That can help with reflections behind the mic - using something like that with a few heavy blankets behind the artist might produce an acceptable result.
Assuming you're using a cardioid style microphone for recording your vocal, there won't be any "reflections behind the mic". I would implore everyone to stay away from these microphone "reflection filters". They're overpriced pieces of marketing hype above all else.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
XHipHop's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by normanrichardson ➡️
Assuming you're using a cardioid style microphone for recording your vocal, there won't be any "reflections behind the mic". I would implore everyone to stay away from these microphone "reflection filters". They're overpriced pieces of marketing hype above all else.
I agree with you that people should stay away from the reflection filters, but disagree that there won't be reflections with a cardioid microphone.

I think a u87ai is only down like 10db at 150 degrees off axis (30 degrees from the rear) at many frequencies, and there are a lot of mics that copy it badly with weird heardgrills, and weird frequency peaks all around the mic.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #20
Gear Head
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by XHipHop ➡️
I agree with you that people should stay away from the reflection filters, but disagree that there won't be reflections with a cardioid microphone.

I think a u87ai is only down like 10db at 150 degrees off axis (30 degrees from the rear) at many frequencies, and there are a lot of mics that copy it badly with weird heardgrills, and weird frequency peaks all around the mic.
I see your point - fair enough! I suppose a more accurate explanation would be that the rear reflections (sound bouncing off of the wall behind the mic) are much more effectively tamed by treatment behind the vocalist, where both the immediate and reflective room waves will ultimately be directed.

These hobbyists directed reflection filters are constructed with the same crappy foam that you see many DIYers put up on their walls which do virtually nothing for frequencies below 1k. As a side note, if you're using one in attempt to combat outside noise from getting into the mic, you have a larger problem on your hands, like finding a different room to record in.
Old 1 week ago
  #21
Lives for gear
 
XHipHop's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Well, nobody picked the Blue Ember.

I think any of the other 3 choices are fine.

Your experience with any mic is going to be interactive aka mic placement to find the best results.

Maybe the NT1a would've sounded ok if you moved it off axis a bit (maybe not).

Maybe these other mics will need a presence boost.

Maybe you will need to be 6 inches away for them to sound balanced.

Maybe the proximity effect of one mic is wooly on you and the other brings out exactly what you want, etc.

You'll figure it out. They won't bite like the NT1a, so that's a start.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
illynoise's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by normanrichardson ➡️
I see your point - fair enough! I suppose a more accurate explanation would be that the rear reflections (sound bouncing off of the wall behind the mic) are much more effectively tamed by treatment behind the vocalist, where both the immediate and reflective room waves will ultimately be directed.

These hobbyists directed reflection filters are constructed with the same crappy foam that you see many DIYers put up on their walls which do virtually nothing for frequencies below 1k. As a side note, if you're using one in attempt to combat outside noise from getting into the mic, you have a larger problem on your hands, like finding a different room to record in.
Been in a fair amount of big studios. Never saw a reflection filter. I have seen boom stands raised up in a T configuration with moving blankets draped over...behind the performer. Never in front.

Maybe there's a reason for that. :-)

The best vocal booth for the money is 3 doors hinged together. Portable. Movable, and cheap.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #23
Gear Head
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by illynoise ➡️
Been in a fair amount of big studios. Never saw a reflection filter. I have seen boom stands raised up in a T configuration with moving blankets draped over...behind the performer. Never in front.

Maybe there's a reason for that. :-)

The best vocal booth for the money is 3 doors hinged together. Portable. Movable, and cheap.
Good idea @ illynoise
Curious - how do you treat these doors? Roxul sheets attached via adhesive paste? How heavy does this configuration get? Are you using them with wheels on the bottom for portability?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
tdot's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by illynoise ➡️
Been in a fair amount of big studios. Never saw a reflection filter.
Well, if the room is treated properly, then there's absolutely no point anyway

Quote:
Originally Posted by XHipHop ➡️
I think a u87ai is only down like 10db at 150 degrees off axis (30 degrees from the rear) at many frequencies, and there are a lot of mics that copy it badly with weird heardgrills, and weird frequency peaks all around the mic.
Correct. Cardioid does not mean the mic will magically not pick up anything from one side. It means there's a significant dip in certain pattern. It's not like if you talk into the back of a condenser it's not going to record anything.

I personally find the reflection filters helpful. It has less to do with the padding inside the reflection filter as the fact it surrounds the back and sides of the microphone, often with a metal or plastic backing, that is going to reflect waves hitting it from that angle.

It's not like sound goes one way and then stops - the entire reason you need to treat behind the artist when they're speaking forward, it because the sound will bounce off the wall in FRONT of them, continue to the wall behind them, and bounce off the wall behind them into the mic. Assuming the mic is cardioid, it will be much more sensitive to those waves. However, it will STILL pick up the waves bouncing back from the wall in front, as well as the waves bouncing off the side walls, if you don't shove something in between those waves and the mic (a reflection filter).

Depending where and in what room, I've had instances where I realized the reflections were coming off the goddamn ceiling, and sticking a blanket OVER the booth was what stopped them. (Repositioning it in the room also worked, I was just trying to validate my theory ...)

No, they are not magic like they claim, but I do believe they can help reflections from making it back to the mic. But again, to get a dry signal, you need to have an understanding of what the waves are doing in that room to begin with, which should answer if one can be helpful.

Unless you want to get a measurement mic and get serious, it's mostly trial and error and critical listening.

I have an 87 and that thing is so sensitive it will pick up when the furnace is blowing air gently through the vent from the other side of the room, but its all relative. As long as the dry ends up becoming much much louder than everything else, you'll never hear it in a mix.

Quote:
Originally Posted by illynoise ➡️
The best vocal booth for the money is 3 doors hinged together. Portable. Movable, and cheap.
I guess technically you could build what I have for a reasonable price. It's essentially 2 door frames hinged together, stuffed with fiberglass, covered with cloth ... if you're comfortable working with fiberglass it wouldn't cost "that much". I hate the stuff so just bought one.

Depending on the goal, I'm not sure a door itself is a great idea. I'd imagine the surface of that would be pretty reflective which is the opposite of what you want? Unless you're planning on covering the doors with layers of heavy blankets

Quote:
Originally Posted by normanrichardson ➡️
Good idea @ illynoise
Curious - how do you treat these doors? Roxul sheets attached via adhesive paste? How heavy does this configuration get? Are you using them with wheels on the bottom for portability?
It's not THAT heavy. I'm assuming he's talking about indoor doors which are hollow and relatively light.

With my booth, the damn thing is 8 feet tall which makes it a little awkward to carry/move, it is heavy but I can carry it myself.

Last edited by tdot; 1 week ago at 11:06 AM..
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
illynoise's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdot ➡️
Well, if the room is treated properly, then there's absolutely no point anyway



Correct. Cardioid does not mean the mic will magically not pick up anything from one side. It means there's a significant dip in certain pattern. It's not like if you talk into the back of a condenser it's not going to record anything.

I personally find the reflection filters helpful. It has less to do with the padding inside the reflection filter as the fact it surrounds the back and sides of the microphone, often with a metal or plastic backing, that is going to reflect waves hitting it from that angle.

It's not like sound goes one way and then stops - the entire reason you need to treat behind the artist when they're speaking forward, it because the sound will bounce off the wall in FRONT of them, continue to the wall behind them, and bounce off the wall behind them into the mic. Assuming the mic is cardioid, it will be much more sensitive to those waves. However, it will STILL pick up the waves bouncing back from the wall in front, as well as the waves bouncing off the side walls, if you don't shove something in between those waves and the mic (a reflection filter).

Depending where and in what room, I've had instances where I realized the reflections were coming off the goddamn ceiling, and sticking a blanket OVER the booth was what stopped them. (Repositioning it in the room also worked, I was just trying to validate my theory ...)

No, they are not magic like they claim, but I do believe they can help reflections from making it back to the mic. But again, to get a dry signal, you need to have an understanding of what the waves are doing in that room to begin with, which should answer if one can be helpful.

Unless you want to get a measurement mic and get serious, it's mostly trial and error and critical listening.

I have an 87 and that thing is so sensitive it will pick up when the furnace is blowing air gently through the vent from the other side of the room, but its all relative. As long as the dry ends up becoming much much louder than everything else, you'll never hear it in a mix.



I guess technically you could build what I have for a reasonable price. It's essentially 2 door frames hinged together, stuffed with fiberglass, covered with cloth ... if you're comfortable working with fiberglass it wouldn't cost "that much". I hate the stuff so just bought one.

Depending on the goal, I'm not sure a door itself is a great idea. I'd imagine the surface of that would be pretty reflective which is the opposite of what you want? Unless you're planning on covering the doors with layers of heavy blankets



It's not THAT heavy. I'm assuming he's talking about indoor doors which are hollow and relatively light.

With my booth, the damn thing is 8 feet tall which makes it a little awkward to carry/move, it is heavy but I can carry it myself.
yeah, indoor doors. I don't treat them per say. Just use moving blankets and clamps. It's pretty ghetto, but it really works VERY well.
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