unbalanced dynamic microphones...or not?

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unbalanced dynamic microphones...or not?

Post by nunosga »

Hi,
I'm on the market for a new dynamic microphone, and I got confused over the balanced unbalanced issue.
A lot of lower cost mics , dispite having a XLR connectors, have un unbalanced output (some actually come with XLR/jack cable).
So, looking at the mic one does not know if it is balanced (supposingly balanced provide mirrored signals that cancel noise better)

I actually used my mulktimeter to test two of my microphones. One of them i know is unbalanced: Image

I got even more confused.
I need some ligh!
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Re: unbalanced dynamic microphones...or not?

Post by resistorman »

Just buy a decent mic from a reputable company like Shure. You want balanced.
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Re: unbalanced dynamic microphones...or not?

Post by James Perrett »

I'm guessing that if you haven't written down a reading it is open circuit. So mic 1 would appear to be a low impedance balanced mic and mic 2 is a high impedance unbalanced mic.

In my experience, unbalanced dynamic mics tend to be cheap and poor quality so, if you are looking for another one, stick with balanced mics.
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Re: unbalanced dynamic microphones...or not?

Post by ef37a »

"Image failed to load"

A cheap dynamic mic is very unlikely to contain a transformer as do the SM57/8s of this world. This does not preclude a balanced output, just be the diaphragm coil. This should be brought out to XLR pins 2 and 3 and pin 1 connected to the mic body. Some mics I know strap pin 3 to pin 1 and the body may or may not be connected to pin 1. You might get 2 and 3 correctly wired but a floating body, that is a recipe for RFI hell! Most XLR mic cables do not I think tie pin 1 to the plug body?

Where a mic is supplied with an XLR to mono jack plug cable the '2/3' strap should be in the CABLE's XLR and not the mic. Always check the mic directly.

If you want a suggestion for a pretty decent cheap dynamic, the Behringer XM8500 is really good value. Nice heft, properly wired and comes in a sturdy plastic case that shames the boxes many very much more expensive mics come in!

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Re: unbalanced dynamic microphones...or not?

Post by ef37a »

Heh! We all seem to have 'landed' about the same time!

Why did I not get the picture first time around?

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Re: unbalanced dynamic microphones...or not?

Post by MarkOne »

resistorman wrote: Thu May 18, 2023 1:31 pm Just buy a decent mic from a reputable company like Shure. You want balanced.

Or if you can't afford a Shure there are examples from the likes of AKG, Audio Technica, Superlux and SE Electronics that will be balanced and do the job OK for quite a bit less.

And in my opinion for the same money as a Shure SM58 there are much better mics to be had.
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Re: unbalanced dynamic microphones...or not?

Post by Wonks »

A few years ago when I was investigating cheap dynamics to see if there were any real hidden bargains, I found quite a few that were unbalanced and had pins 1 and 3 connected, often because they came supplied with an XLR to TS jack plug cable (or also got offered with that sort of package, often along with a mic stand).

All of them could be made balanced by undoing the screw holding the male XLR connector in, and making sure the capsule connections went to pins 2 and 3 and unsoldering any link between pins 1 and 3.

The mic's XLR connector will typically have a spring contact connected to pin 1 that should touch and ground the body, but you may find that's not the case. Other times I've found a case grounding wire internally screwed to the body and wired to pin 1.

But generally I've found most cheap mics to be a waste of money, especially if to be used for stage use, with bad handling noise and poor feedback rejection.

The Behringer XM8500 is by far the best cheap dynamic mic I've tested, and far better than the other Behringer (and everyone else's) cheap SM57 and SM58 styles. It's a bit bass heavy and treble light, but that can be fixed with a bit of EQ.
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Re: unbalanced dynamic microphones...or not?

Post by Drew Stephenson »

I'm a big fan of the AKG D5 as a good budget dynamic.

[EDIT] Correction, I was. It's still a good mic but it appears to be one of those things that's had a huge price hike in the last couple of years and it's no longer such a bargain.
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Re: unbalanced dynamic microphones...or not?

Post by ef37a »

I posted that the Prodipe tt1 is very good and a third the price of a '58 but the post seems to have vanished.

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Re: unbalanced dynamic microphones...or not?

Post by Wonks »

I have a Prodipe TT1 and a Prodipe M85 Lanen and the M85 is a better mic than the TT1 for not a lot more money. The M85 name should indicate that it's trying for an SM58 sound (it's not a look-alike), and it's quite close. But the SM58 is better.

The D5 is very good but has gone up a lot recently. It's quite bright, so won't suit everyone, but it helps if you need to cut through a busy mix.

The SM58 is still a very good mic and hard to beat as an all-round mic IMO, though a Beta 57A is my own choice as the best dynamic I have (and is cheaper than the identical sounding Beta 58A). But neither are budget mics.

The sE V7 is one I've yet to try out, but that is a lot of peoples favourite, and slightly cheaper than a D5.

If you've only got £20 to spend on a dynamic mic, then your choice is rather limited (but an XM8500 would definitely be my choice), but being able to spend more but choosing not to will compromise the basic sound. Yes you can often compensate with EQ, but it's nicer not having to do that.

If it's not for stage use then handling noise and feedback rejection are less of an issue, but I still think it's worth spending a bit more if you are after better sound quality.
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Re: unbalanced dynamic microphones...or not?

Post by James Perrett »

ef37a wrote: Thu May 18, 2023 1:39 pm Why did I not get the picture first time around?

I fixed the link to the pictures in the meantime.
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Re: unbalanced dynamic microphones...or not?

Post by ef37a »

James Perrett wrote: Thu May 18, 2023 3:21 pm
ef37a wrote: Thu May 18, 2023 1:39 pm Why did I not get the picture first time around?

I fixed the link to the pictures in the meantime.

Ooooo! You clever devil you! Thanks James.

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Re: unbalanced dynamic microphones...or not?

Post by hz37 »

Just don't consider the unbalanced ones. A good balanced dynamic microphone will last you a lifetime and will serve you well! I have three Shure SM58's and they sound lovely and are very robust. I have two Sennheiser e945 dynamic mics which I find a bit better on voice. Those are my number one dynamic mics, which I use for all kinds of podcast recordings for clients.

Good luck and have fun!

Hens Zimmerman

nunosga wrote: Thu May 18, 2023 11:46 am Hi,
I'm on the market for a new dynamic microphone, and I got confused over the balanced unbalanced issue.
A lot of lower cost mics , dispite having a XLR connectors, have un unbalanced output (some actually come with XLR/jack cable).
So, looking at the mic one does not know if it is balanced (supposingly balanced provide mirrored signals that cancel noise better)

I actually used my mulktimeter to test two of my microphones. One of them i know is unbalanced: Image

I got even more confused.
I need some ligh!

hz37
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Re: unbalanced dynamic microphones...or not?

Post by Wonks »

Note that mic 2 won't work at all with an XLR-XLR cable into a balanced XLR input. As a minimum you'd need to connect pin 3 to pin 1, but it's much better to rewire it for balanced operation. But with a 2.5k output impedance, it's would be best to stick to keeping it as an unbalanced mic using a TS jack to connect it to a high impedance mic input (often found on Karaoke machines).
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