November 19, 2004

Curious George - Microphone Best Buys I know that this very topic was discussed here before, but when I did a search it seems that it was lost in the great server crash of 04. I have a couple of good lavs that I use for my video work, but have struggled by without owning a hand held mic or a boom mic for a while, either renting or borrowing them from friends. I just bought a "butt plug" transmitter and receiver for a hand mic and would like to get one (i.e. a quality hand mic) that I can use for ENG type stuff as well as doing VO in my edit bay. I also would like to buy a high quality boom mic rig and in a perfect world the same mic could be used as an on camera mic when the situation calls for that sort of shooting.

My current on camera mic is ok, but leaves a bit to be desired if you know what I mean. Oh, and I am more than happy to buy used (I loves me my eBay...) Any audio/video monkeys have some good advice?

  • Shure SM-58. Best general purpose mic ever made.
  • Please hand me the dithered continuous-tone groupware decompressor. The key is the wearable texture-mapped ecommerce adapter. Who cares about the intelligent brick-and-mortar audio system? Random Jargon The best thing about the SM-58 is you can beat the shit out of it and it still works. Thats just something I heard a musicain friend say once. Seriously, I'm kinda curious, can you post a link defining ENG and VO 'n stuff?
  • ENG is Electronic News Gathering (i.e. TV news fieldwork), VO is voiceover...
  • That random jargon machine is way too much fun. Or, on the other hand, "Oh no! Not another state-of-the-art streaming knowledge utility."
  • SM58's are great for musicians, and yeah, you can drop them/spill beer on them/whirl them round your head and smash them into a spot (seen all of these things) without apparent damage. But I'm not sure they'd fit the bill here. They're not that sensitive, they have a cardidoid envelope and aren't very directional. I think you'd use them on stage and for low-end music recording. Squidranch's needs seem specialised in other areas.
  • Shure Brothers SM-58 is a great mic for voices, especially if you're not in a perfect studio environment where very expensive, very fragile mics can be treated like gold. It's not the best choice for recording instruments (although the SM-57 is a good first choice). If you're going on the road, an SM-58 is probably the best vocal mic at any price until you're starting to fill some pretty big halls. It is, as advertised, able to soak up a lot of damage and still work like a champ. Borrow or rent anything you want to buy, and see if you like it.
  • Pikestrider, I didn't feel it would be nessesary to define the terms VO and ENG because if you didn't know what they meant, you wouldn't have been able to answer my questions anyway.
  • We use EV 635's for hand mics. They are indestructable. Remember the ad where they hammered a nail with one? It's no fake, and they are cheap. For Shotgun we use Sennheiser K6/ME66. For an inexpensive RF mic try the Sennhieser Evolution G2 line. Cheap but reliable. We use the AKG C 535 for one of VO booths.
  • The SM58 may be a tad heavy for a lot of hours of ENG or other mobile work, but there's no denying they're top-notch. For noisy environments, you may want to also consider a mic which is a little less sensitive to off-axis sounds. But I don't have any personal experience with unidirectionals.
  • SM57 is my choice for best ever general purpose mic, no question about it. For just voice, I'd chose a SM58. Either will work in most situations. They don't have the exteremly wide, flat frequency response or sensitivity of a good (expensive) condenser, but no condenser mic could survive a tenth of the punishment SM57's and 58's can. Recording for video, you'd might be better off with a shotgun, and I'd pick a Sennheiser.
  • Related question: as a classical singer, I intend to experiment with using ProTools to make my next demo (just me and a piano, probably in a smallish resonant room). I'd be interested in your informed opinions as to what the best mike is for the job?
  • Sorry squidranch, sometimes I can't help being a smartass.
  • If you're going to be a smartass, at least comment on the butt plug transmitter.
  • If you're going to be a smartass, at least comment on the butt plug transmitter. That's for Advanced Classical Recordings (ACR) only. Oh, and Gay Porn (GP).