overcoming dull, boxy, harsh sound of cheap dynamic mics

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overcoming dull, boxy, harsh sound of cheap dynamic mics

Post by dfira »

So I'm only recording dialogue, and I previously owned a Rode M3 (condenser), it had that classic airy/open high end, with really good bass extension and clarity (without being boomy). I sold it and bought the Rode M1 (dynamic) because a little too much room leaked in, and it wasn't punchy enough on the transients. I have had this M1 for a while now, and what I notice is that it sounds like absolute crap at a distance, but too close and the proximity effect takes over. It is boomy as all hell. Sure, I can EQ it out, and I have spent a while getting a good setting, but it still has that typical muffled dynamic sound, and the high end is either non-existent or just harsh/brittle.

What should I do? Consider going back to a condenser, or are there some tricks to to polish this turd?

edit: uploaded sample, in case you're curious: https://soundcloud.com/arifd/rode-m1-pr ... 7c57a99c11
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Re: overcoming dull, boxy, harsh sound of cheap dynamic mics

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

I would have kept the M3 and addressed the room sound, myself... ;)
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Re: overcoming dull, boxy, harsh sound of cheap dynamic mics

Post by dfira »

Yes. Sometimes we have to make mistakes in order to learn.

I'm considering buying it again. Second hand for around €50 I'm not sure what can beat it.

I'm also considering the Sennheiser E845, which is a super or hyper cardioid, with a reasonably flat response, from what I can tell, a less harsh upper end. So still get the characteristics of a dynamic that I like.
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Re: overcoming dull, boxy, harsh sound of cheap dynamic mics

Post by Bob Bickerton »

Yes, room treatment, microphone choice and correct usage are the biggest contributors to a good sound and it’s always better to get it right at source rather than fix after the fact.

I haven’t tried the M3 myself, but it has a good reputation around here. Lots of good alternatives too, but not many in that price range.

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Re: overcoming dull, boxy, harsh sound of cheap dynamic mics

Post by Mixedup »

There are some lovely dynamic mics out there; I don't know the M1. But if you want to be further away, the room will always come into it, whether dynamic or capacitor. You could try a fig 8 mic with a gobo/absorber behind. Or maybe an EV RE320 or RE20, which have no proximity effect. Or you could just treat the room and choose the €50 mic you already know does the job!
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Re: overcoming dull, boxy, harsh sound of cheap dynamic mics

Post by Sam Spoons »

At the risk of being shot down in flames by those more knowledgable than me, I think you've fallen for the misconception that capacitor mics magically capture more room sound than dynamics. They will capture more at the extreme high end but they also capture more of the wanted audio up there too but that aside, and given similar polar patterns a capacitor should not capture a higher ratio of ambience to wanted sound than a dynamic.
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Re: overcoming dull, boxy, harsh sound of cheap dynamic mics

Post by Bob Bickerton »

Interesting point. I think the misconception arises from the fact that many dynamic vocal microphones are voiced to be used close up - typically stage vocal microphones - whereas capacitor microphones are generally worked further away. When using an M201 or SM7 I’ll generally ‘eat’ the mic, well at least more so than say a U87! And so it’s the proximity to the microphone that can potentially attenuate room sound relative to source, if that makes sense.

At the end of the day though nothing beats decent room treatment.

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Re: overcoming dull, boxy, harsh sound of cheap dynamic mics

Post by Sam Spoons »

Good point, and that could certainly explain it.
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Re: overcoming dull, boxy, harsh sound of cheap dynamic mics

Post by dfira »

But since condensers are more sensitive, they end up picking up more of the tail-end room reflections than a dynamic would.

You know what though guys... I just took off the windshield and it has made a sizable difference to the upper end. :headbang: (more than I expected)
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Re: overcoming dull, boxy, harsh sound of cheap dynamic mics

Post by Wonks »

dfira wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 11:26 am But since condensers are more sensitive, they end up picking up more of the tail-end room reflections than a dynamic would.

Faulty logic there. More sensitive = less preamp gain required, less sensitive = more preamp gain required. So as long as the levels were matched, a dynamic would pick up just as much of the reverb tail (within its reduced frequency range) as a capacitor mic.

The difference is almost all in the relative placement to the mouth, and so the relative amount of room to ambient noise level going into the mic.
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Re: overcoming dull, boxy, harsh sound of cheap dynamic mics

Post by Tim Gillett »

Working the M3 or similar mic close would probably require a more substantial pop filter and probably EQ to roll off proximity effect bass. Proximity effect applies to both the M1 and M3.

To my ears the EQed M1 voice track sounds fine. It may not be a really wide range sound but it's clean, balanced and listenable speech. I've heard a lot worse.
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Re: overcoming dull, boxy, harsh sound of cheap dynamic mics

Post by dfira »

Tim Gillett wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 11:45 am To my ears the EQed M3 voice track sounds fine. It may not be a really wide range sound but it's clean, balanced and listenable speech. I've heard a lot worse.

The recording I uploaded in this thread is the M1.

Since you're listening, out of interest, here is with windshield:
https://soundcloud.com/arifd/m1-process ... f615526c97

and without:
https://soundcloud.com/arifd/rode-m1-pr ... 6b4a14c3d1

(Along with the processing that was also present in the recording in my first post, I've also added a gentle boost of 0.8dB at 100hz and 7000hz)
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Re: overcoming dull, boxy, harsh sound of cheap dynamic mics

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Maybe I have low standards ;) but I have no problem with either of those recordings. Yes there's more high end in the windshield-free version but neither are sounding dull or boxy to me.
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Re: overcoming dull, boxy, harsh sound of cheap dynamic mics

Post by ef37a »

Don't laugh but I have just bought 2 sets of Behringer C2 SDCs. I find them fine on speech and I sent a set to son in France and he really likes them on classical guitar.

35 quid post free from 'Zon. Worth a punt? (yes, 'do' the room but that's a given, duvets and such ****.)

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Re: overcoming dull, boxy, harsh sound of cheap dynamic mics

Post by ef37a »

Wonks wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 11:33 am
dfira wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 11:26 am But since condensers are more sensitive, they end up picking up more of the tail-end room reflections than a dynamic would.

Faulty logic there. More sensitive = less preamp gain required, less sensitive = more preamp gain required. So as long as the levels were matched, a dynamic would pick up just as much of the reverb tail (within its reduced frequency range) as a capacitor mic.

The difference is almost all in the relative placement to the mouth, and so the relative amount of room to ambient noise level going into the mic.

Thanks Wonks...The number of times I have had to say that in forums!

Dave.
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Re: overcoming dull, boxy, harsh sound of cheap dynamic mics

Post by MOF »

You can use a condenser microphone really close to the mouth, either above or to the sides, the plosives go forwards and downwards, check it out by putting your hand next to your mouth to feel where the plosives are.
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Re: overcoming dull, boxy, harsh sound of cheap dynamic mics

Post by Sam Spoons »

ef37a wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 1:12 pm
Wonks wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 11:33 am
dfira wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 11:26 am But since condensers are more sensitive, they end up picking up more of the tail-end room reflections than a dynamic would.

Faulty logic there. More sensitive = less preamp gain required, less sensitive = more preamp gain required. So as long as the levels were matched, a dynamic would pick up just as much of the reverb tail (within its reduced frequency range) as a capacitor mic.

The difference is almost all in the relative placement to the mouth, and so the relative amount of room to ambient noise level going into the mic.

Thanks Wonks...The number of times I have had to say that in forums!

Dave.

Me too [facepalm]
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Re: overcoming dull, boxy, harsh sound of cheap dynamic mics

Post by MOF »

it wasn't punchy enough on the transients.

Condensers are very capable when it comes to capturing transients.
I presume you mean the more damped response of the dynamic diaphragm is what you wanted; I’d use a tape plugin or fast compressor to reduce the transient levels.
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Re: overcoming dull, boxy, harsh sound of cheap dynamic mics

Post by dfira »

MOF wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 7:42 pm
it wasn't punchy enough on the transients.

Condensers are very capable when it comes to capturing transients.
I presume you mean the more damped response of the dynamic diaphragm is what you wanted; I’d use a tape plugin or fast compressor to reduce the transient levels.

Oh, maybe I mean this, can you explain a little?
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Re: overcoming dull, boxy, harsh sound of cheap dynamic mics

Post by MOF »

Certainly. The dynamic microphone diaphragm is attached to the output coil which is moving relative to the permanent magnet. This added weight makes it less responsive than a condenser microphone’s diaphragm (which is unencumbered in its movement) and so transients are, for want of a better word, compressed i.e. lower in level than the ‘sustain’ part of the audio.
This is partly why dynamic microphones still tend to get used on bass drum, toms and snare since they help fatten up the sound and they were less expensive at a time when condensers were very expensive and likely to be damaged by high SPLs. Condensers are used on hi hats, snare wires and cymbals since they have less dynamic range and higher frequency range that the faster moving diaphragms can cope with.
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