Which microphone should I buy?

Discuss the hardware/software tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.
Post Reply

Which microphone should I buy?

Post by Raes »

Hello there,
I'm a language teacher whose business is related to teaching online.

I'm wondering what kind of mic I should go for. Currently, I'm using a Samsom Meteor, which is working perfectly. However, I'm thinking of improving everything related to my teaching environment so that's why I'm considering buying a mid/high-end mic (my budget is around 400-500$).

What kind of microphone is the best for my situation? I work walking around my setup, I sometimes have to write on my whiteboard which is attached to the wall behind, etc.

I was thinking of getting a shotgun mic, but I'm a bit lost, to be honest.

Thanks in advance!
Raes
New here
Posts: 10 Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2023 3:01 pm

Re: Which microphone should I buy?

Post by Philbo King »

A lavelier mic plugged into a wireless mic transmitter would be most practical, especially if you have wonky room acoustics.
Philbo King
Regular
Posts: 256 Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:07 pm

Re: Which microphone should I buy?

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Hi Raes, welcome to the forum.
Philbo's suggestion of a lavalier mic is a good one, but before we get too carried away it's important to understand exactly what problem we're trying to solve.
The chances are that the mic is not the weakest point in your overall signal chain. The data compression of your remote meeting software, and the acoustics of your room probably play a more significant part in the overall sound that reaches your listeners.
But I'll caveat that with your point about walking around your space and how that probably takes you a bit out of the original design parameters of the Samson mic.
In general, unless you're in a very large room, shotgun mics can introduce more problems than they solve indoors. So that brings us back to considering a lavalier as an option worth investigating.
User avatar
Drew Stephenson
Apprentice Guru
Posts: 25312 Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am Location: York
(The forumuser formerly known as Blinddrew)
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...
https://drewstephenson.bandcamp.com/

Re: Which microphone should I buy?

Post by Random Guitarist »

Funnily enough I was asked this by someone else today, and I would say a headset mic is your ideal solution. It moves with you keeping the level constant, and it is really close to the source minimising room sound artifacts.

This DPA article is IMHO a very read on this topic.

https://www.dpamicrophones.com/mic-univ ... 20300%20Hz.

(Edited as I forgot the link :headbang: )
Random Guitarist
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1039 Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:00 am Location: West Sussex UK
I've never liked a solo violin, you need at least five for a proper fire.

Re: Which microphone should I buy?

Post by Wonks »

Shotguns are also very directional. Which is fine if you are sat in one place all the time, but if you speak when you move around, then you'll go off-mic very quickly and become quiet and muffled.

The Samson Meteor is a USB mic, but with other mics, you'll probably need an audio interface. Have you already got one, or is that something else you'll need to get. If you need one, will that also come within the $400-$500 budget or on top of that?
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 17233 Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am Location: Reading, UK
Reliably fallible.

Re: Which microphone should I buy?

Post by The Elf »

A shotgun would be well down on my list of choices for this kind of use. I'd likely be thinking of a lavalier, or maybe a headset mic - maybe even an overhead omni if feedback is not likely to be an issue and I don't want to be attached to the mic.
User avatar
The Elf
Forum Aficionado
Posts: 20280 Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Which microphone should I buy?

Post by sonics »

A wireless lav mic would be way ahead at the top of my list for your situation.
You'll get great-sounding speech with little variation as you move around.

I'd be looking at wireless sets from Sennheiser, Shure and Audio-Technica.
sonics
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1889 Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2003 12:00 am Location: Canada
 

Re: Which microphone should I buy?

Post by shufflebeat »

Problems with wireless setups:

- Audio dropout - white noise or (more likely) silence when your transmitter stops talking to your receiver. More prevalent at the older/cheaper end.
- Batteries run out - white noise or silence when your transmitter flakes out
- Planetary destruction due to the number of alkaline batteries. Rechargeables demand a serious rotation regime.
- Interference - the lecturer next door has had the same idea and students have at least one phone each competing for the airwaves.

Problems with lavaliers:

- Feedback - if you’re amplifying in a room then the closer you can get the mic to the source the less you have to turn it up
- Room noise - the further your source is from the mic the more room noise, and nasty resonances, will be included in the amp’d signal.
- Fitting - if you’re a lady-woman or a gent who likes to wear a dress then there’s a good chance you don’t have a belt-pack belt, or possibly a lapel or tie for your lapel/tie-pin mic.

Problems with headsets:

- Mic popping - put your mic directly in front of your mouth and every P, B, T and K (and some others) will have your audience wincing with discomfort. Wear protection at all times and keep your mic above your nose-line.

Good luck.
shufflebeat
Longtime Poster
Posts: 9158 Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 12:00 am Location: Manchester, UK
“…I can tell you I don't have money, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career” - (folk musician, Manchester).

Re: Which microphone should I buy?

Post by Arpangel »

Shotguns, headsets, lavaliers, oh well, seeing as the field is open, I’ll go for a U87.

:D
User avatar
Arpangel
Jedi Poster
Posts: 16939 Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Which microphone should I buy?

Post by Drew Stephenson »

shufflebeat wrote: Tue Jun 06, 2023 7:39 pm Problems with wireless setups:

- Audio dropout - white noise or (more likely) silence when your transmitter stops talking to your receiver. More prevalent at the older/cheaper end.
- Batteries run out - white noise or silence when your transmitter flakes out
- Planetary destruction due to the number of alkaline batteries. Rechargeables demand a serious rotation regime.
- Interference - the lecturer next door has had the same idea and students have at least one phone each competing for the airwaves.

Problems with lavaliers:

- Feedback - if you’re amplifying in a room then the closer you can get the mic to the source the less you have to turn it up
- Room noise - the further your source is from the mic the more room noise, and nasty resonances, will be included in the amp’d signal.
- Fitting - if you’re a lady-woman or a gent who likes to wear a dress then there’s a good chance you don’t have a belt-pack belt, or possibly a lapel or tie for your lapel/tie-pin mic.

Problems with headsets:

- Mic popping - put your mic directly in front of your mouth and every P, B, T and K (and some others) will have your audience wincing with discomfort. Wear protection at all times and keep your mic above your nose-line.

Good luck.

There's no amplifier been mentioned so a wired lavalier might be an option if you're careful with the cable run, I have an AKG for work that cost about a ton, probably nearer £150 now.
User avatar
Drew Stephenson
Apprentice Guru
Posts: 25312 Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am Location: York
(The forumuser formerly known as Blinddrew)
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...
https://drewstephenson.bandcamp.com/

Re: Which microphone should I buy?

Post by Random Guitarist »

shufflebeat wrote: Tue Jun 06, 2023 7:39 pm - Mic popping - put your mic directly in front of your mouth and every P, B, T and K (and some others) will have your audience wincing with discomfort. Wear protection at all times and keep your mic above your nose-line.

Have the mic to the side by the cheek, plenty of volume and no plosives.
Random Guitarist
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1039 Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:00 am Location: West Sussex UK
I've never liked a solo violin, you need at least five for a proper fire.

Re: Which microphone should I buy?

Post by Bob Bickerton »

Assuming the room is not acoustically treated and given you're moving around, then I'd say a headset or lavalier would be the way to go and I would have a preference for a high quality well-positioned (to avoid the plosives Shufflebeat mentions) headset. Wireless would assist with movement, again high-quality is recommended, but hard wired would be possible provided you're careful with cable management.

I use a DPA headset with Sennheiser G4 radio system - but you'd also need an audio interface to get it to talk to you computer.

Having said all that, I'd imagine there are bespoke high-quality wireless headsets specifically designed for this purpose (Sennheiser seems to have a range) but I'm unable to comment on them.

Bob
User avatar
Bob Bickerton
Longtime Poster
Posts: 5158 Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2002 12:00 am Location: Nelson, New Zealand

Re: Which microphone should I buy?

Post by jimjazzdad »

Rode Wireless Go https://rode.com/en/microphones/wireless/wirelessgo. Cheap as chips and just works. Check it out. You'll thank me. I have no affiliation with Rode. You'll have enough left in your budget to buy a simple audio interface. Lots of advice here on that.
User avatar
jimjazzdad
Regular
Posts: 242 Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2013 12:00 am
Halifax, NS, CANADA

Re: Which microphone should I buy?

Post by shufflebeat »

Drew Stephenson wrote: Tue Jun 06, 2023 9:24 pm There's no amplifier been mentioned so a wired lavalier might be an option…

Yeah, I was a bit unclear about the usage scenario so thought I’d cover all bases. I’d also veer away from wireless where possible on the understanding that the best wireless connection is no better than a length of copper wire.

Random Guitarist wrote: Tue Jun 06, 2023 10:22 pm
Have the mic to the side by the cheek, plenty of volume and no plosives.

Also a valid approach, the main point being, keep it away from the front of your mouth, you’re not in a helicopter. Lots of headsets don’t allow for horizontal movement so above-nose or under-chin is the only option, except in the latter case you can’t look down.

But point taken.
shufflebeat
Longtime Poster
Posts: 9158 Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 12:00 am Location: Manchester, UK
“…I can tell you I don't have money, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career” - (folk musician, Manchester).

Re: Which microphone should I buy?

Post by MarkOne »

shufflebeat wrote: Tue Jun 06, 2023 7:39 pm Problems with wireless setups:

- Audio dropout - white noise or (more likely) silence when your transmitter stops talking to your receiver. More prevalent at the older/cheaper end.
- Batteries run out - white noise or silence when your transmitter flakes out
- Planetary destruction due to the number of alkaline batteries. Rechargeables demand a serious rotation regime.
- Interference - the lecturer next door has had the same idea and students have at least one phone each competing for the airwaves.

Problems with lavaliers:

- Feedback - if you’re amplifying in a room then the closer you can get the mic to the source the less you have to turn it up
- Room noise - the further your source is from the mic the more room noise, and nasty resonances, will be included in the amp’d signal.
- Fitting - if you’re a lady-woman or a gent who likes to wear a dress then there’s a good chance you don’t have a belt-pack belt, or possibly a lapel or tie for your lapel/tie-pin mic.

Problems with headsets:

- Mic popping - put your mic directly in front of your mouth and every P, B, T and K (and some others) will have your audience wincing with discomfort. Wear protection at all times and keep your mic above your nose-line.

Good luck.

Well, I normally would agree with Mr Beat, but on this occasion I have to dissemble. We use both a wireless lav and a wireless handheld on a weekly basis and a wireless head-worn wireless mic semi-regularly. (All Sennheiser) - Admittedly we pay to use the licensed spectrum, but even so, we don't have a dedicated set of channels.

I can't remember the last time we had dropouts, or interference, charging is no more difficult than making sure your phone is charged, and we all seem to manage that

Headset popping. That really depends on the headset mic you choose, and how to site the boom on your face. (We have one of those tiny flesh coloured transducers and it seems to sit quite naturally slightly to the side of and below the mouth)

Feedback is not really a problem on lavs, any more than other mics. I've been to dozens of large conference keynotes (and even done one or two myself in the past) and I never remember a problem with feedback on lavs.

However, of course, your mileage, as they say, may vary.
MarkOne
Frequent Poster
Posts: 2818 Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:00 am Location: Bristol, England, Earth, Perseus Gap, Milky Way
My Music on Apple Music
My Music on Spotify

Re: Which microphone should I buy?

Post by shufflebeat »

MarkOne wrote: Wed Jun 07, 2023 11:43 am
shufflebeat wrote: Tue Jun 06, 2023 7:39 pm More prevalent at the older/cheaper end.

Admittedly we pay to use the licensed spectrum, but even so, we don't have a dedicated set of channels.

I don’t really see anything to disagree with here, you seem to have taken the wise steps I would have taken to avoid the issues I allude to.

I’ve been to lots of well organised events which didn’t suffer from any of the issues mentioned, unfortunately I’ve also attended quite a few where valuable time has been spent hunting out batteries/tech support/wired mics and whenever I’m persuaded to provide a wireless mic, either “the “talent’s” own or my little Xvive or ye olde Shure system I always have a tame ‘58 on a long lead within reach for when a worried looking event organiser changes their mind.
shufflebeat
Longtime Poster
Posts: 9158 Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 12:00 am Location: Manchester, UK
“…I can tell you I don't have money, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career” - (folk musician, Manchester).

Re: Which microphone should I buy?

Post by wireman »

I have a similar situation.
I'm involved in training events that are often held in rooms with say 20 people and where there may or may not be a PA setup in the room. Presenters stand in front of the class and move around. Even if a room has a professional sound setup with lav or head-worn mics and transmitters the problem is integrating this into online platforms, the sound needs to get into a laptop without a delay.
The setup is typically a teams or zoom call with slides and audio shared.

One of the trainers has a DJI mic setup and this is nice integrated solution, some reviewers like the Rode GO II but it is not such a neat package.

I would be interested in anyone who has experiece of these in an education/training setting.
wireman
Frequent Poster
Posts: 785 Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2004 12:00 am

Re: Which microphone should I buy?

Post by sonics »

To repeat the best solution I've found that I mentioned earlier, a lav system like a Sennheiser XSW has both balanced and unbalanced outputs (with level switching on the latter) so you can feed both a PA and a computer simultaneously. Replace the lav with a head-worn mic if that suits better.
sonics
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1889 Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2003 12:00 am Location: Canada
 

Re: Which microphone should I buy?

Post by Raes »

wireman wrote: Sat Jun 10, 2023 3:16 pm I have a similar situation.
I'm involved in training events that are often held in rooms with say 20 people and where there may or may not be a PA setup in the room. Presenters stand in front of the class and move around. Even if a room has a professional sound setup with lav or head-worn mics and transmitters the problem is integrating this into online platforms, the sound needs to get into a laptop without a delay.
The setup is typically a teams or zoom call with slides and audio shared.

One of the trainers has a DJI mic setup and this is nice integrated solution, some reviewers like the Rode GO II but it is not such a neat package.

I would be interested in anyone who has experiece of these in an education/training setting.

Let's up the post and see if we can get more replies :bouncy::bouncy:
Raes
New here
Posts: 10 Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2023 3:01 pm

Re: Which microphone should I buy?

Post by l-l1tsb0urg »

Philbo King wrote: Tue Jun 06, 2023 4:18 pm A lavelier mic plugged into a wireless mic transmitter would be most practical, especially if you have wonky room acoustics.

I will echo what others have stated. This 100%. Especially for your requirements. As previously mentioned, Sennheiser, Shure. Don't cheap out if you go this route.
User avatar
l-l1tsb0urg
New here
Posts: 13 Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2022 3:26 am Location: MS, USA
I didn't choose this, but I can't seem to stop myself either.

Re: Which microphone should I buy?

Post by Raes »

l-l1tsb0urg wrote: Sat Jul 08, 2023 1:28 am
Philbo King wrote: Tue Jun 06, 2023 4:18 pm A lavelier mic plugged into a wireless mic transmitter would be most practical, especially if you have wonky room acoustics.

I will echo what others have stated. This 100%. Especially for your requirements. As previously mentioned, Sennheiser, Shure. Don't cheap out if you go this route.

Any specific recommendation?
Raes
New here
Posts: 10 Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2023 3:01 pm

Re: Which microphone should I buy?

Post by Raes »

I was thinking of getting the RODE wireless go II. What's your take on this, guys?
Raes
New here
Posts: 10 Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2023 3:01 pm

Re: Which microphone should I buy?

Post by ajay_m »

I found for any kind of presentation where I wanted to record the session, or doing voiceovers for internal company stuff, that an earset mic provided by far the best results in terms of even sound levels and a complete lack of 'room tone'. They are also fairly unobtrusive, especially if you omit the pop guard which generally I found unnecessary. I did try a lavalier mic but I really didn't find it as clear as the earset mic and it was challenging to avoid accidental noise from movement etc. unless you were pretty careful with cable dressing.

Coupled to a decent quality wireless system this would normally be pretty reliable and allows the presenter to just wander around without being tied to a lectern or whatever. The only time I got tripped up was taking everything over to the US and finding that mobile signal bands there are right in the middle of the UK bands the gear used making it completely unusable. Of course I would probably have been breaking some FCC rule as well and liable to be hauled off by the cops mid presentation...)

Although I did use a fairly low-cost Samson earset, I did find that sibilance was a problem and had to set up some fairly drastic EQ in Reaper to tidy up the audio; this wasn't really an issue for live work as the level of sound reinforcement is lower and you don't really notice it, but listening to the recording on headphones does tend to bring it out. So I would probably look at a higher-end device (Countryman for instance) although they don't come cheap.

The wireless setup I used was one of the lower cost Sennheiser rigs which has a beltpack that takes a standard earset (they use 'plugin power' which is just a low-voltage source to power the mic).
ajay_m
Frequent Poster
Posts: 866 Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:08 pm

Re: Which microphone should I buy?

Post by Raes »

Well, one more time, Here I am.

I'm considering getting something similar to sony uwp-d21 (maybe second hand as I wouldn't like to spend more than 300€).

Also, I've been thinking of getting something like the DJi Mic or the RODE wireless GO II since I'll be also recording Reels using my Iphone 15 Pro Max.

I've learnt that Dji one is better than the RODE option.

What's your take on this, guys?
Raes
New here
Posts: 10 Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2023 3:01 pm
Post Reply