I NEED your help! (mic for PC)

IcyPRO

Member
2013-05-07 7:21 pm
Hello,

so my name is Icy and I would like to ask if you could help me figure out, how to connect a professional microphone to a PC.
These microphones (Superlux HO 8, Behringer C-1, MXL 440, etc...) are the ones I'm interested in, but they all have XLR connectors - I'm not sure if male or female (probably male).

Now how do I transform this XLR to my PC "Line In" or "Mic" without losing any sound quality?

Every useful help much appreciated!
Thanks in advance.
 
This is enlightening. I heard of phantom power but thought it was passe' and only for old condenser mikes.

I am using an awful "1950's 2-way FM base station" mike for ham radio. Tried an electret but didn't like it, and I don't anyway like using batteries when there are several clean DC rails in the station. 110V, +/-48V, 24V, 12V.
Can anyone direct me to a tutorial on those kind of mikes, all about phantom power, and what is a good high fidelity directional mike?
 
What exactly will you be using the mic for? I was unsure if you were using the mic for ham radio or if you were using a ham radio mic for something else.

Getting a hifi full range mic is pretty pointless for communications uses. Try running a 100Hz signal into a telephone and nothing will come out at the other end of the line.

If you are making recordings, that is a different matter. And it matters if you are recording human voice speaking or singing, or if you are micing say a guitar amp speaker or an organ Leslie.

Phantom power is alive and well, a good quality mixer would be naked without phantom.

When you say directional, assuming you want the mic to reject sound from the rear and off-axis, look for a "cardioid" pickup pattern.
 

IcyPRO

Member
2013-05-07 7:21 pm
Ok, so I got my answer before I read this, now I know that these condenser mics require phantom power (around 48V). For that I can "phantom power supply" or "XLR to USB with phantom power".

Both would top up the price of whole "mic for PC" setup by another 40€ - 50€.
Is there a way to resolve this cheaper?

I aim for the best quality mic (it will be for commentaries and voiceovers). I can't deal with some low-end mics for this particular thing. And condenser microphones are the best in audio quality and the "range" you can talk to them (sensitivity around -35dB).
 
OK, so you DO need full range sound then.

Always looking for options, if a USB input is OK with you, consider a USB microphone. Here is a selection of them from Musicians Friend.

USB Microphones | Musician's Friend


I would point out that there are excellent dynamic mics out there, many used in broadcast and recording. A dynamic mic removes the need for phantom power.

But for your condenser mics, they do make stand alone phantom power supplies. A small boxs you connect between the mic and the mixer. Presumably the mixer lacks phantom. They start at $20 and go up from there. But for the cost of such an accessory, you can buy a reasonable mic preamp that includes phantom.

For example, $30:
ART Tube MP Studio Mic Preamp | Musician's Friend


ANother plus of a mic preamp is that you will not have to rely on the computer sound card as a low noise preamp. The mic preamp puts out a line signal. You will have a cleaner signal on your recordings.

Since you are already considering the Behringer C-1, are you aware behringer also make the C-1U? The C-1U is the C-1 with a built in USB output. Costs about $10 more than the plain one.
Behringer C-1U USB Studio Condenser Mic | Musician's Friend
 

IcyPRO

Member
2013-05-07 7:21 pm
Alright, thank for your reply but I still need more info from you. xD
So there are 3 solutions for me right now:

- condenser microphone (45€) + phantom power supply (25€) + XLR to XLR cable (5€) + XLR to 1/8 inch cable (5€)
[pros: best sound quality, cons: final cost around 80€ or more without shipping - OMG]

- dynamic microphone (45€) + XLR to 1/8 inch cable (5€)
[pros: 50€ is fair price, cons: audio quality is lower and microphone sensitivity is lower which means I have to use it from closer range]

- USB condenser microphone (55€)
[pros: pretty cheap and practical, cons: audio quality is lower too]

So there it is. That's all I found out so far.
Well there is one thing I need to ask you - I found these two interesting Phantom Power Supplies and I wonder how do they work. Please check them out!

HERE
and
HERE
 
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I don't think those two will help you. The first one is an adaptor, not a supply. Read the descrtiption, it takes the phantom from the mixer. It is an adaptor from the XLR connector down to the small mini-XLR connector. The second appears to be similar.

SOmething called a phantom power supply probably does not include a preamp, correct, but a mic preamp usually does include phantom power. And the ART model I linked does both for only $30.

How are you determining the sound quality is better or worse? You cannot look only at type of mic and make that judgement. You cannot say all condenser mics have better sound than all dynamic mics. There are excellent examples of both, and there are some of both types that are not very special. For vocals, most studios do have large condenser mics, but those same studios also probably have good old SM57 Shure mics too. You are looking at mics like the Behringer C-1, which is a $50 mic. It may be an excellent mic, especially at that price, but then compare it to a Neumann. And when you say a USB mic will be of poorer quality, then I have to wonder, the example I gave was one of the mics you were shopping for, the C-1, that had the USB interface added. If you are using your mic with a computer, the sound is going to be digitized in your sound card. So a C-1 plugged into you sound card or a C-1U plugged into the USB will result in a ditital signal on your hard drive. The difference will be which input has the better analog to digital conversion, and I would not wager against the C-1U myself.

And condenser is a broad range of mic. There are large diaphragm and small diaphragm types. You earlier disliked electret condensers because they use batteries, but many of the battery mics also come in phantom versions. And the mics that use AA cells generally last quite a while on a battery. There are some nice handheld condenser mics.

I suggest you visit a showroom that sells microphones and audition a selection of them. Spoken word at normal volumes is not hard to pick up with a microphone. DO you have special needs? THat is, will you be speaking very quietly so as not to disrupt some other activity? Or will this be a normal voice recording.

One thing dynamic mics have is the proximity effect. That is the sound is different if you are right on top of the mic as opposed to being a foot or two away. A performer learns to "work" the microphone to get different tones. If you are voicing two people sitting at desks in an office talking to each other, the sound has a different timbre from the sound of two people together in intimate embrace. A condenser mic usually does not do this.

On the other hand, the farther away from a mic you are, the more you will sound "off-mic." Record yourself with the mic 15-20cm from your mouth. Now repeat the recording but move the mic 2 meters away. Now the voice recording has the sound of the room in it. That is because at distance, the voice sound can reflect off other surfaces and combine at the mic. Look up PZM mics. Pressure Zone Mics. Also called boundary mics. These are funny looking things that lay flat on the table or other flat surfacce. But they can record sound from a distance. They are good at a conference table for example, or flat on a lectern.
 

Ron E

Member
2002-06-27 10:41 pm
USA, MN
For commentaries and voice overs, probably the best mic is going to be a USB microphone - it will also be the simplest and probably not have problems with ground loops and such from having a bunch of different devices with different power supplies, etc..

The cheapest is to just get a cheap unidirectional (cardioid) mic that plugs directly into the PC microphone input.
 

IcyPRO

Member
2013-05-07 7:21 pm
Ok, well thanks again for this reply, please do not be offended by my previous faulty statements, because "all this" I know now, I learned over 36 hours.

**
So basically I'm crossing out dynamic microphones from my list. It's because they do change the sound of user's voice and are a little bit tricky. They are NOT good for commentaries (plus voiceovers - whispering, shouting, high or low voice...) and are NOT good for further-range usage.

**
I take it back about USB condenser mics, because they can be as good as "normal" phantom powered condenser mics. This is probably the easiest solution and right now I'm thinking about "Samson C01U" or "Behringer C-1U" - those seems to be the best ones in their price range...

**
Now for the typical XLR condenser microphones as far as I know (to use them with PC) I need a little box called phantom power supply (like THIS or THIS or THIS) - don't argue with me on this one, cuz I'm 100% sure now.. xD This little box uses other adapter which powers the box by itself. Also I would need to more cables to connect mic with that box and then the box with the PC.
Is that right? Please say yes, so I can finally be sure that I know what I'm talking about.

Also I apologize for confusing you with C-1 - because one site (which I use for comparison) said it was an USB mic, which is not - so I wrote some nonsensical things.

I don't judge microphones only by their type. I judge them also by frequency and sensitivity, which are the key features for me. Also I go on YouTube to listen to some sound tests of these microphones.

Also I can say that I can trust my sound card. It was pretty expensive motherboard with a really good on-board sound card so I don't worry about that.

Well thanks again Enzo for your time, you tough me some new things and I appreciate that.
 

IcyPRO

Member
2013-05-07 7:21 pm
For commentaries and voice overs, probably the best mic is going to be a USB microphone - it will also be the simplest and probably not have problems with ground loops and such from having a bunch of different devices with different power supplies, etc..

The cheapest is to just get a cheap unidirectional (cardioid) mic that plugs directly into the PC microphone input.

Those which go straight to "mic" slot are truly the cheapest ones, but also the worst ones. Don't want these ever again...
 
Now for the typical XLR condenser microphones as far as I know (to use them with PC) I need a little box called phantom power supply (like THIS or THIS or THIS) - don't argue with me on this one, cuz I'm 100% sure now.. xD This little box uses other adapter which powers the box by itself. Also I would need to more cables to connect mic with that box and then the box with the PC.
Is that right? Please say yes, so I can finally be sure that I know what I'm talking about.

No argument that your mic needs phantom power, but I will argue that the power does not have to come only from one of those supplies. As I said before, most mic preamps INCLUDE phantom power, and for a similar amount of money you get the phantom power along with the preamp functions, such as VU meter, phase invert switch, and a pad. And the one by ART that I linked is only $30, about what your phantom-only units cost.

ANything that provides phantom power has to get its voltage from somewhere, so yes, you will have a little wall plug-in power adaptor for that.

The C-1 comes in both versions: with USB and without USB.


I have nothing against condenser mics, I like them. But I also have to say, I worked in broadcast for a number of years as an announcer and on-air personality, and I always used a dynamic mic.
 

IcyPRO

Member
2013-05-07 7:21 pm
Ok, well I came to a conclusion: USB mic it is.

Now my price range is from 50$ to 100$ (on Amazon) and now I'm trying to chose from these microphones. Can you maybe help me out?

- Blue Snowball (i believe it captures a lot of background noise and you have to be close to it)
- Samson C01U (it has higher background hum than the others)
- Samson Meteor (sound seems to me to be less natural)
- AT2020 USB

So which one is it I should pick?
Maybe you wanna offer me some other from these I found...
 
I don't know about Amazon, but I see Musicians Friend says "ships worldwide" by the products, so perhaps you can still get American prices.

I didn't find detailed spec sheets, but in general, be careful not to over analyze them. In other words if hum is down 90db in one mic and 93db in another, that really is not much of a difference. Aside from it only being a few decibels, even the "worst" one is still 90db down.
 
Yes you can order it from the US but if the item is worth over $20 you will have to pay customs&excise duty, VAT and international, insured air mail. After that it will cost you just as much as buying in Europe where you have the advantage of (hopefully) decent customer care and warranty.

Also what is probably the most popular mic for voice over and announcing work is a dynamic not a condenser, the Electro Voice RE20. Costs about €460 though.

I'd get a USB audio interface with built-in mic pre and phantom power.
There are hundreds out there but since I use FireWire I know practically nothing about them in any kind of detail. That said my daughter uses a Tascam US-122 (£69) and is quite happy with that.
 

IcyPRO

Member
2013-05-07 7:21 pm
Well, right now I can't afford a pre-amp with phantom + a microphone (because it will cost over 100€ here in my country).
So for me the only solution is just USB mic.

But what about dynamic microphones? I'm just curious, would simple XLR to 1/8 inch cable work? Because these doesn't need any power supply, right? Or do I need pre-amp so I could actually hear anything?

Idk... Tell me.