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Handheld condenser microphone Condenser Microphones
Old 5th February 2017
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Handheld condenser microphone

Dear Gearslutz,

I've been looking at a handheld condenser microphone as my main mic for a couple of reasons:

- Price (usually around the same price as an LDC with basic features)
- Simplicity (point and speak/sing/play)
- Comfort (I've got four LDCs and only one satisfies me, and even that one is on its last legs after 2 years of nonstop usage - I know LDC mics are the standard but my experience with them has left me a little disappointed and yearning for a simpler setup)

I am reluctant to use a dynamic microphone as my main one (due to its reduced frequency response and my audio interface - a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 Gen 2 - doesn't have enough gain to get it up to an acceptable level) and I would prefer a handheld condenser (same form factor, different transducer technology) - I play the synthesiser/keyboard, egg shakers and spoons. I know a handheld condenser will technically either be an SDC or an MDC, and SDCs have better transient properties than their larger brothers, but I'm more interested in a balanced sound and a flexible mic. Any suggestions would be much appreciated (I have a budget of about £125, since I live in the UK).

Yours sincerely,
Swevicus.
Old 5th February 2017
  #2
Gear Nut
Are you *actually* looking for a small diaphragm condenser or something you can/will use handheld?

SDCs are typically more natural (What Is the Difference Between Large and Small Diaphragm Microphones?), but you can also get LDC handhelds like the Sennheiser e965
Old 5th February 2017
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Handheld condenser, ideally - I don't give much of a smeg about the diaphragm size.
Old 5th February 2017
  #4
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thismercifulfate's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swevicus View Post
Comfort (I've got four LDCs and only one satisfies me, and even that one is on its last legs after 2 years of nonstop usage .
What are you doing to this mic that it's 'on its last legs' after only 2 years? I use mics in commercial studios that have been used daily for decades. Even a budget mic should outlast a pair of shoes, unless you are abusing or mishandling it.

Last edited by thismercifulfate; 6th February 2017 at 05:12 PM..
Old 5th February 2017
  #5
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Use and abuse, wear and tear - voice, egg shakers, spoons.
Old 5th February 2017
  #6
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

One hand for mic, one hand for spoon handles, one hand on top of spoons... what will you do with your fourth hand? Shaker?
Old 5th February 2017
  #7
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thismercifulfate's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swevicus View Post
Use and abuse, wear and tear - voice, egg shakers, spoons.
Then maybe an SM58 or an i5 are the mic for you. They can take the abuse and they do sound good. If you're worried about gain on your interface, you can get a cloudlifter for cheap to help with that, or get an outboard preamp. A condenser studio mic is not built to be abused.
Old 5th February 2017
  #8
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MarkF48's Avatar
Years ago I bought a pair of AKG C1000s's and they served me well back then. If I was to look for a similar mic today I'd probably go with a RODE M3, which seems closest to what you're looking for and I think in your budget. Most handheld mics are going to be voiced for live use so they cut through a mix and quite a few are supercardioid, neither aspect you'd likely want. The M3 is relatively flat in response and not hyped at the top and cardioid. My C1000s could be 9v battery operated, which was a handy feature at times and the M3 is also capable of 9v battery operation or phantom. The only hitch is the sensitivity is 6.3mv/PA which is getting into the range of a dynamics sensitivity, but should be OK with your interface. Don't have a clue as far as durability for what you're using them for.
RØDE M3 | RecordingHacks.com
Rode M3 SoundonSound |
Old 6th February 2017
  #9
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

£125 is very low for a handheld condenser (it's what £100 would have bought you last June, before the Brexit vote ).

It's even low for a good dynamic.

Decent handheld condensers are getting towards the £1k price bracket.

With that low budget I would suggest getting the best dynamic you can.
Old 6th February 2017
  #10
Gear Addict
 

Lewitt MTP 940 (pretty big capsule, a little too much handling-noise, but sound is great)
Shure Beta 87 (better than SM58, cheap, but...boring, somehow)
EV MBK1 (discontinued, but a very nice cheap mic if you find one used in good condition)

I have those 3, the Shure is the one I could easily live without.

Very popular in the last few years: Neumann KMS105.
Old 6th February 2017
  #11
Lives for gear
 

I have been considering a new handheld mic and was thinking of dynamic. However after a lot of studying the info on the internet I ordered an Audio Technica 2010 condenser hand held mic. It is very similar to the 2020 but in a hand held version. $100 and very nice reviews.

It is true that a condenser will not take as much abuse as a dynamic but it simply depends if you are careful with your equipment.
Old 6th February 2017
  #12
Here for the gear
 

It's either the Audio Technica AT2010 or Røde M3 (I was going for the AKG C5 but I spotted a 6-pack muiltipack on GAK for about £1000 and I didn't want to be tempted). I'll have to think about it.
Old 6th February 2017
  #13
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Shure beta 87A works for me
Old 6th February 2017
  #14
Share beta 87A is a very good handheld condenser to look at. I have heard several different ones, and the beta 87A is one of my favorites. You might also look at the Blue lineup of handheld condensers, also decent mics in that category & price range.
Old 7th February 2017
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Landon Hook View Post
Share beta 87A is a very good handheld condenser to look at. I have heard several different ones, and the beta 87A is one of my favorites. You might also look at the Blue lineup of handheld condensers, also decent mics in that category & price range.
+1 on this. I currently own the Beta 87A and it's awesome for live shows. Has a great condenser tone but with the handling and functionality of a dynamic.

My main question tho...will you be using this for live or in the studio and are you using the mic for vocals, instruments or both?
Old 7th February 2017
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swevicus View Post
Use and abuse, wear and tear - voice, egg shakers, spoons.
Still not adding up for me. Are you hitting the mic with the shakers and spoons?! Do you drop the mic a lot?

Normal wear and tear on a mic should be a non-issue. Most of my mic collection is close to twenty years old.
Old 7th February 2017
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

On a potentially more helpful note, I've never owned the Shure handheld condensers, but have had good experiences several times taking splits from them in live recording situations. Can't say for sure if it was Beta87, SM87, or SM86 (maybe different ones on different gigs?) but the sound was clearer, richer, and crisper than the 58s and such generally found in stage use. I was quite pleased.
Old 7th February 2017
  #18
Gear Addict
 
EV676's Avatar
Dynamic Heil PR-35. Built like tank, eats SM58's for breakfast. Condenser, AKG 535. It just sounds good.
Old 7th February 2017
  #19
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swevicus View Post
Use and abuse, wear and tear - voice, egg shakers, spoons.
yeah, of course, nothing will wear out a microphone like recording voices and egg shakers on it! And spoons? No wonder it's on its last legs. Seems to me if you are 'wearing out' mics in a year or two, you need an even tougher dynamic, not a condenser.

and why hand-held? Condensers (especially in your rather low price-range) will have greater handling noise. Hand-held mics are generally a compromise designed for live use.

Or do you play keyboards with one hand and hand-hold the mic in the other?
Old 7th February 2017
  #20
Lives for gear
Beta 87 is a good choice. Note that is is VERY directional, and is an electrete. The sound will break up w/ a close scream. The quality is very good.

The top of the line stuff will not have that problem, but they also cost 400+ used.
Shure KSM9 and Neumann KSM105

But all of those are SDC's designed for hand held use.

Most LDC's are not. I would look the Neumann 102, or Advanced Audio CM47ve

That Advanced audio mic is designed for spot mic not vocals, so it will not overload on voice.

and in general, look for stuff w/ internal shock mounts and low self noise.

It's a strange shape, but one of the neumann right angle announcer mic's is an LDC, w/ a shock cage around it. Just might be what you want.
Old 7th February 2017
  #21
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum View Post
... But all of those are SDC's designed for hand held use.

Most LDC's are not.
The Gefell M 900 and M 910 are both LDC condensers designed for handheld use.

Though way over the OP's budget.
Old 7th February 2017
  #22
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
yeah, of course, nothing will wear out a microphone like recording voices and egg shakers on it! And spoons? No wonder it's on its last legs. Seems to me if you are 'wearing out' mics in a year or two, you need an even tougher dynamic, not a condenser.

and why hand-held? Condensers (especially in your rather low price-range) will have greater handling noise. Hand-held mics are generally a compromise designed for live use.

Or do you play keyboards with one hand and hand-hold the mic in the other?
I play the keyboards with one hand (connected to my audio interface - a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 Gen 2) and hold the spoons in the other, alternating between hitting them on my leg and bouncing them off my teeth to produce a unique sound (the mic is firmly affixed to the stand - it's a £60 mic that came with my Focusrite Scarlett Studio bundle - I'm going to try and open it up in a day or so to see what I can do). The more I learn about handheld condensers, the more I begin to reconsider my initial plan.
Old 8th February 2017
  #23
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swevicus View Post
I play the keyboards with one hand (connected to my audio interface - a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 Gen 2) and hold the spoons in the other, alternating between hitting them on my leg and bouncing them off my teeth to produce a unique sound (the mic is firmly affixed to the stand - it's a £60 mic that came with my Focusrite Scarlett Studio bundle - I'm going to try and open it up in a day or so to see what I can do). The more I learn about handheld condensers, the more I begin to reconsider my initial plan.
well as 'unique' as your style seems from one point of view, your use of the microphone is pretty 'ordinary'. It's on a stand.

There is no reason that a non-handheld mic could not also be affixed to the stand instead. If you are doing this live, I would stay with a dynamic for the ruggedness and reliability "on the road". In the studio -as long as you are not literally spitting on or banging into the mic, you could use any one of a number of mics. Including a condenser. Your selection could be based on sound quality rather than form-factor.

The "handheld" thing strikes me as irrelevant to your application.
Old 8th February 2017
  #24
Here for the gear
 

OK, I am officially a fool - it looks like it was a bit depth/sampling frequency issue (my audio interface is set to operate at 24-bit depth and 192 kHz with a buffer size of 1024, and I tend to unplug my computer when I switch it off, a habit carried over from when my computer wouldn't switch on due to a faulty BIOS battery, which I have since replaced - every time I would switch it on again, the audio settings would reset to their default values (24-bit, 48 kHz, buffer size 128). I must remember to leave the PC plugged in (the same issue caused my headphones to malfunction and act up).
Old 8th February 2017
  #25
Gear Maniac
 

Glad you got your problem solved. Congrats!
Old 9th February 2017
  #26
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swevicus View Post
my audio interface is set to operate at 24-bit depth and 192 kHz with a buffer size of 1024,... default values (24-bit, 48 kHz, buffer size 128).
If your are having sound quality "problems" I seriously doubt this is the source of them. The default setting is itself still considerably better than CD quality. And lots of people consider 192k to be overkill - even many of those who regularly work at 96k will say that.

In fact , studies have found many trained listeners will be unable to pick out the difference in sample rates in a blind test. At least not with full-program material at normal volumes. A lot of people think the differences between sample rates are "big" until they put on a blindfold and try to pick them out.

recording at 48k or 192k, with a £60 microphone, my guess is that the mic is the weak link.
Old 9th February 2017
  #27
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
If your are having sound quality "problems" I seriously doubt this is the source of them. The default setting is itself still considerably better than CD quality. And lots of people consider 192k to be overkill - even many of those who regularly work at 96k will say that.

In fact , studies have found many trained listeners will be unable to pick out the difference in sample rates in a blind test. At least not with full-program material at normal volumes. A lot of people think the differences between sample rates are "big" until they put on a blindfold and try to pick them out.

recording at 48k or 192k, with a £60 microphone, my guess is that the mic is the weak link.
I agree 100% that 48k, 16 bit won't hold back most people, especially when they're starting out.

I assumed the OP meant that the changing settings were causing glitches, dropouts, etc. I can easily imagine that audible glitches and digital dropouts could be mistaken for microphone malfunction.
Old 9th February 2017
  #28
I've used AKG 535's for decades here live. Great results, like a studio recording.
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