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Voiceover microphone Condenser Microphones
Old 29th September 2018
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Voiceover microphone

Hi,

I am a voiceactor and I have a quick question about microphones.
So far I have been pretty successful with my ev-re20 in my self made vocal booth(not 100% soundproof).
Circumstances have changed and I will be building my own studio soon.
I will try to soundproof as much as possible.

Question is:

Assuming that I manage to make my studio quiet enough to use a condenser mic, would you recommend buying a 300$ condenser mic over the re20?
I know it’s usually the best to use a condenser mic if you have a well treated room.
But since I will be spending no more than 400$ on that new condenser mic (if I buy one), do you think it will make a considerable difference in comparison to the re20? The pickup range will be wider, yes, but will it be noticeable?
I don’t have the money to buy a 1000$ mic.
As I said, I have been quite successful so far with the re20.
I am considering the rode nt1 or the Sennheiser MK4.
What would you recommend?
Thank you in advance for your help.
Old 29th September 2018
  #2
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The0 View Post
Hi,

I am a voiceactor and I have a quick question about microphones.
So far I have been pretty successful with my ev-re20 in my self made vocal booth(not 100% soundproof).
Circumstances have changed and I will be building my own studio soon.
I will try to soundproof as much as possible.

Question is:

Assuming that I manage to make my studio quiet enough to use a condenser mic, would you recommend buying a 300$ condenser mic over the re20?
I know it’s usually the best to use a condenser mic if you have a well treated room.
But since I will be spending no more than 400$ on that new condenser mic (if I buy one), do you think it will make a considerable difference in comparison to the re20? The pickup range will be wider, yes, but will it be noticeable?
I don’t have the money to buy a 1000$ mic.
As I said, I have been quite successful so far with the re20.
I am considering the rode nt1 or the Sennheiser MK4.
What would you recommend?
Thank you in advance for your help.
It will be different, may also be very good, as in won't sound like the RE20, which is a great mic and will still make an excellent main mic in your new space.

It's not necessarily true that it's best to use a condenser if the room is well treated. While in a poorly treated room you'll want a mic that picks up less room and more of what's directly in front of it, in a good room a good mic will be good. IOW, many people would right away suggest to a voice actor in a less than optimum setting to get a large diaphragm condenser when an RE20 dynamic is also an excellent option.

The RE20 is a great voice over mic. If you're getting good results I wouldn't be concerned with what might be considered a better mic just to step up because of the new room. A second equally high quality mic is always a good idea if you can swing it. You may not have done any two character recordings (where you are the recordist) yet, but iy would be good to be prepared for it. I've personally not done voice overs with the Rode or MK4 but you can definitely find a $400 large diaphragm condenser that is flattering to your voice. Recommendations are tough because the question isn't "Is X a good choice for acoustic guitar?", which is easier to answer than if a certain mic will be right for your voice given you'll only have these two. If you can buy locally and return get one or the other or both and auction them and if you don't think the results are worth $400 you can return it. For example, B & H in NYC has an excellent booth to spend time with mics and listen back to them.
Old 29th September 2018
  #3
Lives for gear
 

With all due respect, I'd wait until I could afford to buy the $1000 voiceover LDC microphone.

Then...

Get the $300 (or less) LDC microphone.

FWIW the Sennie MK4 seems to have a good VO rep, with those who've tried it.
If you're the adventurous type, an Oktava 219 or 319 modded, can be cool too. If you're patient, these go for around $100 stock.

Another outlier choice, on the cheap, is MXL's attempt at a U87 clone... MXL V87.
Picked up mine used, mint/complete with original accessories, for $120.

The 3U Audio & ISK microphones, are also worth learning about.

Also, if you have any clips available to post on this thread, that could help IMHO.
Chris
Old 29th September 2018
  #4
Lives for gear
You say soundproofing, which is very difficult and expensive. I think (and hope) you mean sound treatment, which is intended to make the room accurate for recording and listening, not to seal it perfectly from any sound leakage.
I think your RE20 is usually a better voiceover mic in any room than a $300 LDC is likely to be. I say “usually” because you may have a voice more suited to some particular LDC than to your RE20.
I am not familiar with the mics Chessparov recommends, so I can’t comment on them directly. But I have read a lot of chessparov posts, and I can offer the extremely high praise of saying that he’s not crazy or deaf. There is a good chance that you would like one of the mics he recommends. If you posted a clip of your voice on your RE20 he could probably narrow his recommendation to a specific mic.
Old 29th September 2018
  #5
Lives for gear
I track ADR with Neumann U87 to Protools HDX and Grace design preamp it’s very much Hollywood standard for voice over. Try to save money for that U87 if you consider.
Old 29th September 2018
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Thanks Bushman, for your kind words. As you can tell, within my (limited) understanding, I was trying to do my best in being helpful.

IMHO while the OP might save up the money over time to buy a U87,
I think an "interim" LDC could be a smart move, for several reasons...

One is that a more affordable microphone, may be a good match for someone's speaking voice, whereas a commercial facility needs to be ready for a wide range of male and female talent.
Secondly, getting a LDC in the $300 or less category, can be a low cost way to develop better technical skills in "working the mic".

I'm certainly open, to the (putting it mildly!) greater expertise of both Klaus, and the working professional VO artists who contribute on this thread.

Having said that, I've been amazed over the years, by some stellar sounding vocal captures, done even by just a humble dynamic microphone.

For the sake of example, an AKG D24 was used, for Sinatra's vocal on "It Was A Very Good Year". Not exactly a much heralded icon, ala U47/87, but still sounds "Very Good".

In any event, I suppose if the OP rented a U87 to do a direct comparison of U87 vs. RE20, that would at least set a sonic benchmark.

I certainly agree that getting a U87, is one of the best long term investments, for either voiceover or singing. A close friend of mine, did exactly what Klaus suggested... He bought a beautiful (pre-2000) U87 for about $2000.
FWIW his daughter has a good career going in VO, and she uses the AKG 414 BULS, that he gave her.

if it wasn't for having that U87 available for me (occasionally), for anything "important", I doubt I'd experiment as much with the various and sundry microphones in my-ahem-"collection".

Chris
Old 29th September 2018
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Thank you all guys for your opinion.

Bushman, I was talking about soundproof area in my house. I will be making a room with a double wall, air gap in between and inside the room put my vocal booth, so three layers.
Additionally, I am considering using drywall with green glue, but I thought I might first just make that studio and see how soundproof it will be.

I post a short audio I recorded today with my RE20. This one was in German, but you will still be able to check o n my voice and the quality.
What do you think?
Is this good enough (for professional level) or would you recommend a condenser?

Honestly, I was gonna buy a Rode nt1, then at some point invest a little bit more on the mkh416.
Never really thought about the U87.
That was kinda like another dimension for me, but you guys got me thinking.
Attached Files

01.wav (1.10 MB, 638 views)

Old 29th September 2018
  #8
Lives for gear
Did you EQ the sample? It seems very bright for a flat RE20.
Old 29th September 2018
  #9
Here for the gear
 

I just got rid of the lowest frequencies and the highest.
Nothing in between.
The high pass filter is not engaged.
Old 29th September 2018
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Along with that, you do have an excellent speaking voice!

IMHO you'd do well (for right now), with the Sennheiser MK4.
Chris
Old 29th September 2018
  #11
Lives for gear
I don’t know... I don’t think your voice needs a brighter mic. I also don’t know that you need to “get rid of the lowest and highest frequencies”. The mic has a very natural rolloff on the top, and I’m not sure that a little more bottom on your voice wouldn’t sound good. Using “a little EQ” you don’t really need can hurt more than it helps.
Maybe you are bored with the sound of your voice through an RE20, but I don’t find much to criticize with that combination.
Old 30th September 2018
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
dwpthe3rd's Avatar
Years and years of doing the (country music) DJ thing using an RE20... The first thing I notice is how mid range present (almost to point of being uncomfortably harsh) your voice sounds with your hi/low cuts; not natural for that mic. I also understand the reality of wanting mid range presence to "cut through", but for voice acting, I'd try a whole 'nother approach, my first thought would be to flatten out the RE20 response a bit or maybe try a different dynamic... perhaps a Sennheiser ME421. Just my $.02
Old 30th September 2018
  #13
Here for the gear
 

Thanks again for your ideas.

I will compare the flat re20 with the EQ’ed and will let you know.

By the way, what do you think about the tlm102.
That’s like in between the re20 and the mkh416.
Recommendable on my voice, or better just save up money for the mkh416?
Old 30th September 2018
  #14
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by The0 View Post
Thanks again for your ideas.

I will compare the flat re20 with the EQ’ed and will let you know.

By the way, what do you think about the tlm102.
That’s like in between the re20 and the mkh416.
Recommendable on my voice, or better just save up money for the mkh416?
Before you spend a bunch of money on another mic, get the best sound you can with the RE20. Then rent or borrow (or buy, if you can return) whatever mic you hope is better than the RE20. Do your own shootout or post some comparison clips here. Don’t confuse “different” with “better”. Make the new mic prove it is really better, or that it gives you a good different flavor. Maybe you switch, maybe you don’t, maybe you keep both.
To my ear, the RE20 usually sounds better on spoken word than condensers, until you get above $1,200 for the condensers. Chessparov has much cheaper condensers that he likes, and I have heard good things about the Warm mics, but I haven’t heard those mics.
Old 30th September 2018
  #15
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Maybe you are bored with the sound of your voice through an RE20, but I don’t find much to criticize with that combination.
Me neither - the clip sounds perfectly good to me for a home recording.

You're not going to miss out on getting work with that on your showreel.

Spend the money instead on a nice holiday for you and a loved one!
Old 30th September 2018
  #16
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

I would NOT recommend buying a cheapo $300.00 condenser mic over a really great RE20!
i would say if you need a condenser, get a realy nice well made know quality mic.

Last edited by pan60; 30th September 2018 at 08:29 PM..
Old 30th September 2018
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
dwpthe3rd's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by The0 View Post
By the way, what do you think about the tlm102.
That’s like in between the re20 and the mkh416.
Recommendable on my voice, or better just save up money for the mkh416?
If you like the eq'd sound of the RE20 I don't think you'd like the tlm102. I've owned this inexpensive Neumann for a couple of years and my opinion is it would work well on a thin voice needing a rich, full bottom. It just doesn't work with my somewhat muddy speaking voice and so it sits in a box. I get what I need quicker with an iSK Pearl at a fraction of the tlm102 cost.
Old 30th September 2018
  #18
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kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dwpthe3rd View Post
If you like the eq'd sound of the RE20 I don't think you'd like the tlm102. I've owned this inexpensive Neumann for a couple of years and my opinion is it would work well on a thin voice needing a rich, full bottom. It just doesn't work with my somewhat muddy speaking voice and so it sits in a box. I get what I need quicker with an iSK Pearl at a fraction of the tlm102 cost.
For me, the iSK Pearl is becoming a wonder mic. I'm using it on a lot of sources, one of them being my vocal mic, and I've got a lot of mics around. It killed on a Martin acoustic track the other day. But one thing I probably would never use it on would be VO.

That said, the RE20 sounds very good on your voice, IMHO. If you are rolling off HF and LF, try not doing that. Try working it a little closer, a little farther, etc... As Bushman stated, get the best you can from your RE20 before expanding. Of course, a nice U87 or ai is a great VO mic, but do you NEED it? I don't think so. Regarding cheap 87 wannbees, I'd say steer clear.
Old 30th September 2018
  #19
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VO Guy's Avatar
 

I'm also a voiceover guy. For me, the RE20 lacks the finer detail that I can get with a condenser(U87 or AKG 414) or shotgun mic (Sennheiser 416).
I do a lot of corporate and commercial work and most of the higher-level studios and post houses that I sometimes work with pretty much expect
at least a decent condenser mic on my end. Other clients are less demanding and would have no problem with an RE20. So IMO it depends on the kind of work you're doing, the kind of work that you aspire to, and what your current and prospective clients expect from your signal chain.

In addition to the fact that switching to a condenser requires better room treatment and noise isolation.

In fact, if you do decide to pull the trigger on a condenser, if possible hang onto your RE20 until you're sure that your recording space is up to snuff for the much more revealing nature of an LDC mic.
Old 30th September 2018
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Not to hold up the OP, in case he decides to get an LDC soon. But...

I'll try to do my own VO shootout, of my LDC cheapies next week, and hear if I can exceed the "detail quality" of the OP's earlier clip.

Anything worthwhile happens, I can post up the best one.
Chris
Old 30th September 2018
  #21
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Do you mean you WOULD recommend him buying a cheapo $300 condenser, or you would NOT recommend a cheapo condenser over the RE20?
thanks for the catch i correted that.
Old 1st October 2018
  #22
Here for the gear
 

Thank you very much again for all your help.
I really appreciate it.

I am trying to figure out how to get the best out of my RE20.
So, I have posted three versions of the same recording.
I would really be thankful if you could listen to them and tell me which one sounds best to you ears.

1. Flat: No EQ at all

2. Roll off LF HF: rolled of the two extremities, nothing in between.

3. EQ: +4dB on 180Hz and +4dB on 3000Hz Bandwidth: 2.0

I don't think there is a need to add warmth to the RE20 but I'd like to know what you think as well.

By the way, do you notice any flaws in terms of room acoustics?
I am also working on that...

Please let me know.
Thanks a lot!!
Attached Files

Flat.wav (1.10 MB, 367 views)

Roll of LF HF.wav (1.10 MB, 366 views)

EQ.wav (1.10 MB, 372 views)

Old 1st October 2018
  #23
Gear Maniac
 

To the OP.... Worry about other microphones AFTER you have completed your studio build.

Things may change by that time.
Old 1st October 2018
  #24
Gear Maniac
 

To the OP.... Worry about other microphones AFTER you have completed your studio build.

Things may change by that time.
Old 1st October 2018
  #25
Lives for gear
 

IMHO I thought the "last take"/3rd clip sounded the best, the flat version 2nd place.

The tiny bit of listening experience I have, IS edging me more towards the U87 end of the spectrum, the more I listen lately to the lower cost LDC's.
Honestly, I didn't realize how critical getting "the right kind of sound" was for VO vs. singing.
Chris
Old 1st October 2018
  #26
Lives for gear
I liked 1 and 3. I liked 1 slightly better than 3, but I did like the LF boost on 3. If you were to do a 2 db boost instead of 4 db at 180, and not boost 3khz at all, I think that would be the best to me.
Old 2nd October 2018
  #27
Here for the gear
 

Thank you very much again for taking the time to help me.

So, Bushman, this is the EQ you suggested.
Does this sound better than all the other versions?
Attached Files

+2dB 180Hz.wav (1.10 MB, 320 views)

Old 2nd October 2018
  #28
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by The0 View Post
Thank you very much again for taking the time to help me.

So, Bushman, this is the EQ you suggested.
Does this sound better than all the other versions?
The new clip doesn’t play. I don’t think the problem is on my end, because your earlier clips still play without a problem.
Old 2nd October 2018
  #29
Lives for gear
 

The clip played for me. Sounds good!
Chris
Old 2nd October 2018
  #30
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mbvoxx's Avatar
I was surprised a few years ago to learn that one of the busiest VO guys I've ever known uses an old RE 20 thru an equally old Rane pre. His tracks are consistently magnificent sounding, no matter the energy of the read. So one day I asked him how he got that great sound and when he shared the simplicity of it with me I realized the truth of "It's the talent, not the gear". Including his DAW, which was Sony Acid, he had about $700 invested in the whole rig.

Advice: stay with the 20 until you need to spend money to accumulate tax deductions on studio expenses. Then, and only after your room is very well treated, get a good LDC. Any of them will work fine.
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