This is for recording books and educational voice-over. I live and record in Bali and have made the room as cushy as I can, but it is not a quiet environment there. I have a Blue Yeti, USB Condenser mic that goes straight to Audacity and I have to record things in the middle of the night three runs per section just to have enough “footage” to get the sound of scooters, dogs and roosters out. Therefore, while in the states, I am getting a dynamic mic for Christmas. I understand it is quiet so the volume needs boosting.
I am debating these two options:
RODE Podcaster USB - no pre-amp, etc.
RODE Podmike XLR - with Scarlett Solo
However, I am clueless when it comes to using the Scarlett Solo and it scares me.
Also, I am concerned that I may need something like a cloud lifter with both options?
As far as my voice is concerned, when reading books, it is dynamic, switching quickly from loud to soft, high to low. I have a high female voice.
Seeking your expert advice. Thank you so much! Oh, and please feel free to talk simply to me as much of the jargon goes right over my head.
A dynamic mic is less sensitive than a condenser so it picks-up less signal and less noise. Microphones are linear… A 10dB signal reduction is a 10dB reduction so there is no inherent advantage. The noise is less noticeable… until you re-boost the signal.
A dynamic mic gives you a worse signal-to-noise ratio from any preamp noise/hiss. (In your case, the preamp is built into the Yeti so with a different mic you’d using a different preamp.)
A directional mic helps (slightly) because the noise comes from all-around and the signal only comes from one direction. The Yeti has a directional setting, and I assume that’s what you’re using.
There is a caution that occurs to me almost immediately. You’re not expecting these to match are you? I can see you getting on a plane with a basket of sound files expecting to cut them in with the Yeti works. I think I’m pretty safe that’s just not going to happen. You can carefully do stand-alone works with either one.
I have a high female voice.
You would think this would be simple, but if you have a quiet, echo-free room, you can get almost anything to work. The RODE Podcaster USB is handy and convenient, but you’re never going to get more than one USB cable (6 feet, 2M) away from the computer. If your computer is noisy that can matter. Some USB microphones can have digital noises. It’s such a problem Audacity has a special filter to get rid of them.
The other microphone, the XLR one is more versatile. An XLR cable can travel across an auditorium or stage with no trouble. That’s it’s thing.
A dynamic analog-type XLR microphone and system is required for a Lifter. There is no Lifter for your digital microphone, USB microphone or a condenser type microphone.
You don’t need a Lifter. You can get close to a dynamic microphone and louder using oblique placement (B) instead of straight-on.
You do have to watch how animated you get. You can’t face away. Your crisp voice tones will drop away.
What would I do if somebody had a gun? Get the USB microphone and save the papers.
You might make good use of this design. This is a Kitchen Table Sound Studio.
It won’t get rid of all noises, but it will help a lot and it will make vocal echoes vanish.
It’s a home-made version of this.
Do you have good, sealed on the head, wired headphones? You can plug those into either the RODE Podcaster USB or the Solo. Listening to yourself goes a long way to keep your performance volume from going nuts.
You can’t listen to the computer with wireless earpieces. That will give you echoes.
You do need to make the 1/4" or 1/8" connections match. Some good headphones come with both.
So happy to find so many answers as I returned from Safeway! Ran out of turkey already. Thank you for the replies. Here are answers to your concerns for me:
I am only one person needing only one mic. That is not expected to change.
My computer is close but quiet and never a problem.
My headphones are good, wired and not creating noise.
My wires are good ones. Learned that!
I am speaking obliquely into the mic. Learning that.
I love the kitchen table home made sound resistant chamber. I can do that there for sure! THANK YOU!
It is my room that lacks. And of course, there a lack of of desired materials available in Bali. The room is tiled floors, concrete walls with plaster on them and high ceilings. I have covered every wall with draping fabric hanging from the center light on the ceiling to the corners and draping to the floors so nothing is flat for sound to bounce from. I have blankets and carpets and pillows on the floor and plastic planters with bushy plants hanging from the ceiling on soft macrame strings. I stuff the exterior wall vents (no AC) with make-shift cardboard boxes (tremendous improvement compared to sample). I close the windows and drapes and sweat my a$$ off. (I wish that was more literal! LOL). And also, I close all doors and curtains outside of that room. As many as my husband can put up with - I don’t need him getting got under the collar as well. Strange studio, I know. A combination of really cool Boho style/ weird blankets on the walls and floors thing. It is the outside noises that still creep into the house. My voice is plenty loud most of the time, so I keep my gain around 50, but as I said, loud and soft.
So all that answered and more fully explained, I question - Is a dynamic mic going to fix my problems?
And, will the USB be adequate on a dynamic mic without any pre- amplification? I just found the SHURE MV7 which seems to be a perfect match for my needs and I can upgrade later to the interface because it has both USB and XLR.
I’m going to attempt a sample of raw footage where a scooter gets louder till I realized it and just stopped to let it pass.
Too much noise reduction. The voice quality would be fine but for the talking into a milk jug or wine glass honky sound. That may be OK for your application, but the audiobook testers will probably not like that. They like a more natural sound. Their goal is somebody sitting at the kitchen table with cups of tea telling you a story, not somebody talking to you on a phone.
Yes, I know the metaphor falls apart because in general, the last place you want to record is in a kitchen, but you get the idea.
There’s also a litle slap or echo in there. That’s either room echo or needing a blanket on the desk.
Note in most of these illustrations, there’s a blue heavy moving blanket on the desk. That’s not an accident.
In addition you have location-specific problems, too, so this is just fuzzy observation.
SHURE MV7. That is a new one. I do look carefully at the note that it has Built-In Digital Signal Processing. That sounds like something I’d be turning off as soon as possible. I’ll have to look that up.
That’s the Home/Podcast version of the Shure SM7b. Usually sold with a Lifter.
This is Joe Rogan and his.
If nobody’s watching it too closely, I’m taking it home with me.
Is a dynamic mic going to fix my problems?
A note about that. A “dynamic” microphone just means your voice vibrates a tiny coil of wire next to a powerful magnet. Full Stop. That’s how they make their sound. They have some typical characteristics. In their fully analog form, they’re almost impossible to break. That thing the rockers are screaming into…
…that’s a dynamic microphone. Somebody borrowed one from the shop for a show and it came back in two pieces…still running.
They tend to have very graceful tonal qualities and be missing that harsh, gritty “Essing” that the Yeti has. You might like that.
The Yeti is a condenser microphone. Your voice vibrates two spiderweb-thin pieces of metal foil. That’s how they do it. If I didn’t say so yet, Never blow into a microphone. Ever. That’s a good way to create an expensive pile of trash.
And see if you can run faster than the audio engineer.
Koz, thank you for everything you do here, and more specifically, for all of your helpful answers - they are most greatly valued!
First of all, I do have a quilt on my desk, but I will definitely make a blanketed box to surround my face.
“SHURE MV7. That is a new one. I do look carefully at the note that it has Built-In Digital Signal Processing.”
I don’t know what Built-In Digital Signal Processing is. If you hear anything about the MV7, please let me know of your opinion.
But here is the big question - Are you suggesting I work on my room and stick with my Blue Yeti? Or will a dynamic mic help me with, of course, the work in my room?
The moving blankets are heavy. The ones I bought are 17lbs, 7.7kg each. Sound has to move them to get in. This is also why packing foam doesn’t make very good sound material. Packing foam’s job is take up space and not weigh anything. Sound foam’s job is to weigh so much sound can’t get in.
I thought the goal was use something while you’re in the US.
No, I’ll be returning when its COVID safe to do so, hoping for January. I’ll not be able to get that big blanket, but their quilts are quite thick and I can get anything sewn or made there to suit my needs. I am going to buy it here to bring back with me and weight is a definite issue.
Not to change the subject, but where to I find these blankets? On the internet, I have found 6 and 7 lb. blankets here:
and here: http://www.movingblankets.ca/
Are you referring to comfort blankets? Amazon.com
I will have someone in Bali make a heavy blanket. I’ll not be bringing back any more heavy stuff than necessary. Seventeen pounds is a lot! I don’t think I will have trouble making something extremely thick. When I get back there I can work on it till I no longer hear the room. I am interested in purchasing a dynamic mic for Bali, but only if it will help with the sounds of roosters, dogs and motorcycles. As you said, I have too much noise reduction, so I hope that by purchasing a dynamic mic, along with your great recommendations, these issues will be improved. I’m obviously still learning. Like most things worth pursuing, it has its challenges and learning curves. Thank you for your kind assistance, Koz.
I got mine in person from a large furniture moving company somewhere in South Los Angeles. But I did find serviceable blankets from Harbor Freight.
I think anything in that range should work. The object is to make a box with no gaps on the sides and be made out of a material that you can’t move off the table with your breath or a light breeze.
I may go back and change that formula since nobody seems to be able to find the heavier blankets. 6 lbs to 8 lbs seems to be the available sweet spot.
I probably worked a little too hard at the design because I actually cut the pipes to fit (all one size), but I didn’t have to. I found a display case in Home Depot that will sell me 24-inch long plastic pipes precut. Finish off with four corners and four end caps. No glue. There are no stress points and you can knock it apart for storage when you’re done.
If you use the longer pipes, you just have to be careful to lay the top blanket the right direction so it meets the table covering on all three sides. With the 20-in pipes I intentionally cut, you could place the top blanket any which way and it would always fit.
The Kitchen Table Sound Studio is the junior version. I’ve traveled with a full stand-up blanket studio.
The walls are hung double (third pix up). They’re remarkably effective in keeping casual noises out and they just kill echoes. It’s not a fully soundproofed room, but come back in 40 minutes and I’ll have the studio ready.
I will have someone in Bali make a heavy blanket.
Two. The design has a doubled-over heavy blanket on the table and a heavy blanket over the frame. It’s a complete tunnel with only one side open. If you leave the table free, not only do you risk slap and comb filter effects (talking into a wine glass or milk jug) but the possibility of desk, table, or floor noises leaking up into the microphone.
Sound studios are not just fuzzy rooms.
There’s a microphone note, too. The two “microphones” in my real-world tests were both stand-alone sound recorders. Zoom H4 and Zoom H1n. Tiny and no cables. This isn’t a soundstage.
Everything has to fit. The first time I met a Yeti was a surprise. Those things are enormous. They’re even bigger than the older broadcast microphones.
The roll of paper towels isn’t an accident, either. They absorb sound and make no noise. There’s a joke about fine tuning the microphone height with bathroom rolls. I shot my audiobook sound test with three bathroom rolls. I sit tall.
If the “mic stand” isn’t stable enough, you can built a towel/book stand. The fabric on the bottom is already there and you just need to add the book.
I will admit that reading from paper wouldn’t be the best idea and I would probably use a tablet. No way I’d be able to keep up on a phone, but if you do use a phone, make sure all the radios are turned off. No alerts or notifications, set airplane mode, and turn off the WiFi and bluetooth.
Didn’t know there was that much radiation in your pocket, did you? If your microphone gives you weird noises, see if they go away when you leave your phone in another room.
One forum poster built a walk-in studio out of plastic pipes.
They had a quiet neighborhood, so the light duty duvets work for them. Their real goal was to kill most of the bare room/wood floor echos.
I’ve been camping and away from the computer. Sorry. That is so cool. I can do all that! That will work great! I’m going to make photos of all of this and save it to my VoiceOver notes. I have already done that, while lurking, from several other threads you commented on in the past that addressed my concerns. That was such a helpful visual. I think I’m gonna to get that Shure MV7 as I already have my yeti there. Then I will have two options to see what works best. Thanks much, Koz!!! I feel set now.
So, did you get that MV7 in the end?
And if so, how did it go for your recordings?
I’m in Bali too and looking for a good voice over mic that would not catch too much of the noises from outside.