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Author Topic: anyone try any of the ultra-cheap mics out there  (Read 3247 times)

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Offline keepongoin

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anyone try any of the ultra-cheap mics out there
« on: June 25, 2018, 04:58:17 PM »
There seems to have been a proliferation of massively cheap mics in the last few years.

they are all probably crap, but I am just curious if they are even useable for any application.

mics like this one: https://www.wish.com/product/5a9384b2da00377eca5eb82f
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” Sinclair Lewis: How Fascism Will Come To America (1935)

"Science is facts; just as houses are made of stones, so is science made of facts; but a pile of stones is not a house and a collection of facts is not necessarily science."- Henri Poincare

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Offline heathen

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Re: anyone try any of the ultra-cheap mics out there
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2018, 05:52:08 PM »
I couldn't even see the content of the page without signing up and logging in (which I'm not going to do).  Can you cut and paste the relevant details here?
Recordings on LMA: https://archive.org/search.php?query=taper%3A%22Lucas+Lorenz%22
Mics: Core Sound TetraMic | AT4031 | AT AE5100 | AT853 (C/SC) | Line Audio CM3 | Sennheiser e614 | Sennheiser MKE2 | DPA 4061 | CA-14 omni Pre: CA9200 Decks: Zoom F8 | Roland R-05

Offline jefflester

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DPA4061 HEB/AT943 -> CA-UGLY -> R-09
Samson C02/Superlux S502/iSK Little Gem -> DR-680MKII
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Offline keepongoin

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Re: anyone try any of the ultra-cheap mics out there
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2018, 06:25:53 PM »
I couldn't even see the content of the page without signing up and logging in (which I'm not going to do).  Can you cut and paste the relevant details here?


something like this one: https://www.amazon.com/Goetland-Condenser-Microphone-Recording-Streaming/dp/B074S1K41R
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” Sinclair Lewis: How Fascism Will Come To America (1935)

"Science is facts; just as houses are made of stones, so is science made of facts; but a pile of stones is not a house and a collection of facts is not necessarily science."- Henri Poincare

http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/pierce

Offline fmaderjr

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Re: anyone try any of the ultra-cheap mics out there
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2018, 12:23:52 PM »
These have tempted me for awhile: https://www.amazon.com/LyxPro-SDPC-2-Stereo-Condenser-Microphones/dp/B012OHZJ8O/ref=pd_sbs_267_6?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=YENXBN684YBRG7VMGFCG

Reviews are excellent and you don't lose much if they're not very good........
AT853's (all caps)/CM-300 Franken Naks (CP-1,2,3)/JBMod Nak 700's (CP-701,702) > Tascam DR-680
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Online fandelive

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Re: anyone try any of the ultra-cheap mics out there
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2018, 03:41:14 PM »
I couldn't even see the content of the page without signing up and logging in (which I'm not going to do).  Can you cut and paste the relevant details here?

BM-800 Condenser Microphone Kit Mic Set with Adjustable Mic Suspension Scissor Arm, Pop Filter for Studio Recording & Brocasting
255 €EUR 29 €EUR
Hors TVA

Description
PROFESSIONAL RECORDING KIT
Package Included:
1 x ZINGYOU BM-800 condenser microphone
1 x Adjustable Microphone stand
1 x Nylon pop filter
1 x Faux-metal shock mount
1 x Microphone windscreen
1 x XLR female to 3.5mm microphone cable
1 x USB sound adapter
1 x English manual instruction
Package not included:
Phantom power (Optional, for improving sound quality)

SPECIFICATION
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Frequency range: 20 to 20,000 Hz
Sensitivity: -34 dB±2 dB (0 dB=1V/Pa at 1kHz)
Max. SPL: 132 dB (at 1kHz≤1% T.H.D)
Equivalent noise level: 16 dB-A
Signal/noise ratio: 78 dB
Impedance: <=200 ohms
Recommended load impedance: >= 1000 ohms
Connector: 3-pin XLR to IEC
Cable Length: 8.2 ft/2.5M
Dimensions: ø50 x 160 mm (Dia. 1.9 x 6.3 in.)
Net Weight: 400g
Mics : Sony ECM-717, MM-HLSC-1 (4.7k mod), SP-CMC-4 (at853), 2x DPA4060, 2x DPA4061
Battery box : SP-SPSB-6524 w/bass roll-off filter, MM-CBM-1
Preamp : Church Audio CA-9100
Recorders : Sony MZR-700PC, Edirol R-09HR, Tascam DR-2d

Offline Dirtbeard

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Re: anyone try any of the ultra-cheap mics out there
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2018, 11:48:37 AM »
I have tried the M-Audio Pulsar II with great results. They are not manufactured anymore but can still find some used or Old New Stock. You may also consider the famous Nak CM-300. You can find them at the yard sale here sometimes. You can always go which Church Audio. You can get the mics and battery box for a fairly cheap price. All these options are mostly under $200 dollars. Good hunting.

Offline DSatz

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Re: anyone try any of the ultra-cheap mics out there
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2018, 03:08:46 PM »
If you're going for bottom-dollar microphones, I think you are generally better off choosing omnidirectional rather than cardioid. Pressure transducers are simpler to design and manufacture--they've become more or less cookbook items by this point. So for any given investment (yours and the manufacturers), the quality tends to be somewhat better.

Most low-cost directional microphones are designed primarily for speech applications. They have frequency response that is deliberately made "non-flat" for the sake of clarity: reduced low-frequency response to cut down on room noise and reverberation below the speech range, and one or more peaks at higher frequencies (2 - 3- 4 kHz) to improve consonant articulation. When used for full-range music, such microphones tend to sound thin or even screechy (I'm thinking back to my god-awful Sony ECM-22P electrets from ca. 1970), whereas again, omnidirectional microphones don't usually have that problem so much.

Finally, one thing that you pay a lot for with expensive microphones is consistency--the similarity of any two microphones' frequency and polar response to their design ideal, and thus to one another. This matters much more if you use closely-spaced pairs of microphones than if you space your mikes farther apart. (For critical applications some people prefer selected, matched pairs for stereo recording--even from the best manufacturers.) But if you're going to record with spaced-apart microphones, omnidirectional and "wide cardioid" patterns usually give the best-sounding results anyway. Since most cheap condensers aren't available as "wide cardioids", again that leaves omnidirectional as the choice I'd suggest.

The extreme opposite case is hyper- or supercardioids. Nearly all of those, even in the higher price brackets, are designed for speech; for example, the interference tube is designed w/r/t sound wavelengths so that it will increase articulation of spoken consonants. Only a precious few super- or hypercardioid microphones have frequency response that is (a) wide-range, rather than being tailored for speech, and (b) consistent enough at all main angles of sound incidence to support the types of stereo setups that we talk about in these forums.

In other words, super- and hypercardioids are where the biggest "spread" in quality occurs from bottom- to top-tier microphones, especially for recording music.

--best regards
« Last Edit: July 01, 2019, 03:56:36 PM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline heathen

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Re: anyone try any of the ultra-cheap mics out there
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2018, 06:23:05 PM »
Only a precious few super- or hypercardioid microphones have frequency response that is (a) wide-range rather than being narrowly tailored for speech, and (b) similar enough at all angles of sound incidence to support the types of stereo setups that we talk about so much in these forums.
I'm not trying to instigate a flame war, but genuinely curious...which mics do you have in mind that fit those criteria?
Recordings on LMA: https://archive.org/search.php?query=taper%3A%22Lucas+Lorenz%22
Mics: Core Sound TetraMic | AT4031 | AT AE5100 | AT853 (C/SC) | Line Audio CM3 | Sennheiser e614 | Sennheiser MKE2 | DPA 4061 | CA-14 omni Pre: CA9200 Decks: Zoom F8 | Roland R-05

Offline DSatz

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Re: anyone try any of the ultra-cheap mics out there
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2018, 03:48:51 PM »
heathen, it's been years since I "played the field" and tried out many different types of microphones. The Schoeps MK 41 was out there alone for several decades (its tube predecessor was the world's first small, single-diaphragm super- to hyper-cardioid condenser microphone), and I've recorded >1000 classical concerts with it, gravitating more recently to the "V" variant.

Nowadays, however, there are small, single-diaphragm super- / hypercardioids from several other serious manufacturers. I owned a pair of Neumann KM 150 for several years, and found numerous uses for them--but mostly spot miking and speech pickup, not full-range music recording. They're ~8 dB down at 50 Hz even with a 1-meter effective measuring distance. When there's no proximity effect, their bass response is even less.

I hardly follow DPA's products at all, despite their undoubtedly being a first-tier manufacturer. Their 4018A looks interesting on paper, but DPA's frequency response curves are "corrected" to a _30 cm_ (!) equivalent measuring distance, i.e. less than 1/3 what Schoeps, Neumann, AKG or Sennheiser uses. Comparing apples to apples, their low-frequency response must be quite a bit less linear and extended than what seems to be shown in their published graphs. (If you think you hear a "tch, tch!" in there, you're not wrong ...) So I haven't ever bothered to try theirs; it's like a gentle boycott, in addition to the fact that I'm happy with what I already use.

I've similarly never tried the small, single-diaphragm supercardioids from Sennheiser, Microtech Gefell or MBHO, but I would certainly take them seriously. AKG used to have one as well, but again I never tried it, and now they're gone.

AudioTechnica has a model AT4053b, but its response curves (at least the ones on line) are also corrected to 30 cm (or 12"), so the actual low-frequency response for more distant recording can't be nearly as good as what they show. Plus the polar diagrams for this model vary at different frequencies too widely for effective coincident or closely-spaced stereo "main miking" in my opinion. May I emphasize: To the extent that the polar response of any microphone varies at different frequencies, its frequency response varies at different angles of sound incidence; those two things directly imply one another.
  • For coincident or closely-spaced stereo pickup arrangements, that variation (some amount of which is inevitable) needs to be as small and as smooth as possible.
  • I am attaching (below) what may be the worst-looking set of polar diagrams I've ever seen. Try to imagine what the off-axis response of this microphone would be like! Plus (a) these are obviously smoothed-out, hand-drawn curves, and (b) knowing how this type of microphone works, I don't believe that the 4 and 8 kHz curves could really be similar enough to share one trace as they do in this illustration--so a more truthful set of diagrams would be even wilder.
And that's a lot of why better microphones cost more. Unfortunately the microphone market wasn't created with personal fairness or democracy in mind. Proportionate values aren't necessarily available in all categories and price ranges. This is true particularly for directional microphones, which are much harder to design and manufacture. Again, that's why I suggested omnis for low-cost microphones.

--best regards
« Last Edit: July 01, 2019, 04:12:24 PM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline heathen

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Re: anyone try any of the ultra-cheap mics out there
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2018, 03:56:35 PM »
Thanks for indulging my curiosity.  I currently don't have an interest in using hyper- or super-cards for recording.  That may change some day, and if so I'd certainly think about your perspective on the subject.  For now, though, I'm perfectly happy with nothing more directional than a cardioid.
Recordings on LMA: https://archive.org/search.php?query=taper%3A%22Lucas+Lorenz%22
Mics: Core Sound TetraMic | AT4031 | AT AE5100 | AT853 (C/SC) | Line Audio CM3 | Sennheiser e614 | Sennheiser MKE2 | DPA 4061 | CA-14 omni Pre: CA9200 Decks: Zoom F8 | Roland R-05

Offline keepongoin

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Re: anyone try any of the ultra-cheap mics out there
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2019, 03:24:50 PM »
Where is the +T button again?   :bigsmile:


heathen, it's been years since I "played the field" and tried out many different types of microphones. The Schoeps MK 41 was first in this field by several decades, and I've recorded >1000 classical concerts with it, gravitating more recently to the "V" variant. Nowadays, however, there are small, single-diaphragm super- / hypercardioids from several other serious manufacturers.

I owned a pair of Neumann KM 150 for several years and found numerous uses for them--but never for music where full low-frequency response was called for. They were nearly speech microphones according to their frequency response--ca. 8 dB down at 50 Hz even with a 1-meter effective measuring distance (which boosts the measured low-frequency output by several dB due to proximity effect).

I hardly follow DPA at all. Their 4018A looks as if it might be a suitable "candidate" but DPA's frequency response curves are "corrected" to a _30 cm_ (!) equivalent measuring distance. For sound sources recorded from the audience position at a concert, the low-frequency response would be quite a bit less than what's shown. (If you think you hear a "tch, tch!" in there, you're not wrong ...)

(edited later to add:)
Proximity effect affects only the pressure-gradient sensitivity of a microphone. In any on-axis frequency response curve, the greater the capsule's proportion of pressure-gradient sensitivity (relative to its pressure sensitivity) AND the closer you measure, the more the apparent 0-degree frequency response will get a boost from proximity effect. So you have to keep that in mind when you compare frequency response graphs (a) for microphones with different directional patterns and (b) for directional microphones, when you compare curves obtained at different measurement distances.

I've never tried the small, single-diaphragm supercardioids from Sennheiser, Microtech Gefell or MBHO, but would certainly take them seriously. AKG used to have one as well, but again, I never tried it, and now they're gone.

AudioTechnica has a model AT4053b, but its response curves (at least the ones on line) are also corrected to 30 cm (or 12"), so the actual low-frequency response for semi-distant recording can't be nearly as good as what they show. Plus the polar diagrams for this model vary at different frequencies too widely for effective coincident or closely-spaced stereo "main miking" in my opinion. May I emphasize: To the extent that the polar response of any microphone varies at different frequencies, its frequency response varies at different angles of sound incidence; those two things directly imply one another.
  • For coincident or closely-spaced stereo pickup arrangements, that variation (some amount of which is inevitable) needs to be as small and as smooth as possible.
  • I am attaching (below) what may be the worst-looking set of polar diagrams I've ever seen. Try to imagine what the off-axis response of this microphone would be like! Plus (a) these are obviously smoothed-out, hand-drawn curves, and (b) knowing how this type of microphone works, I don't believe that the 4 and 8 kHz curves could really be similar enough to share one trace as they do in this illustration--so a more truthful set of diagrams would be even wilder.
And that's a lot of why better microphones cost more. Unfortunately the microphone market wasn't created with personal fairness or democracy in mind. Proportionate values aren't necessarily available in all categories and price ranges. This is true particularly for directional microphones, which are much harder to design and manufacture. Again, that's why I suggested omnis for low-cost microphones.

--best regards
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” Sinclair Lewis: How Fascism Will Come To America (1935)

"Science is facts; just as houses are made of stones, so is science made of facts; but a pile of stones is not a house and a collection of facts is not necessarily science."- Henri Poincare

http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/pierce

Offline jerryfreak

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Re: anyone try any of the ultra-cheap mics out there
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2019, 04:51:42 PM »
I hardly follow DPA's products at all, despite their undoubtedly being a first-tier manufacturer. Their 4018A looks interesting on paper, but DPA's frequency response curves are "corrected" to a _30 cm_ (!) equivalent measuring distance, i.e. less than 1/3 what Schoeps, Neumann, AKG or Sennheiser uses. Comparing apples to apples, their low-frequency response must be quite a bit less linear and extended than what seems to be shown in their published graphs.

links below are worth a look. while ive found the miniature series to be a little thin on the low end, the full size 4018 series seemed to have good bass extension at a distance. Comparable to any mk41 ive used. all these were recorded from near the sbd with the stacks spaced at prob 60-70 degrees
https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=191177.0
https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=191177.0

while i didnt add to that comp, i also ran schoeps mk4 on the same pole as the 3X supercard comp

« Last Edit: July 09, 2019, 05:41:58 PM by jerryfreak »
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Offline celticrogues

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Re: anyone try any of the ultra-cheap mics out there
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2019, 12:06:16 PM »
I’ve used the iSK Pro Audio Little Gem on a bunch of live sound jobs. Sounds great IMO - clean and flat and plenty of headroom.

https://www.iskproaudio.com/collections/microphones/products/little-gem

$49 includes 3 interchangeable capsules.

The iSK pearl is great too and cheaper but I usually want to run hypers outside so I go for the little gem.

-Mike
Michael Fowler
www.mobilemikesny.com

Offline Nick's Picks

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Re: anyone try any of the ultra-cheap mics out there
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2019, 09:55:14 AM »
I'll 2nd the M-Audio Pulsar II's.    Great sounding mics.   Big, Fat sound.
but for $200, the Superlux s502 still reigns supreme, IMO

 

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