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Thread: Audiophiles-need some guidance on microphones

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    Audiophiles-need some guidance on microphones

    My knowledge of audio equipment is quite rudimentary. USB plug and play stuff.
    My priest, who is a boomer, has even less.

    Were an Orthodox Christian mission and my priest conducts services online for his partitioners that cant attend. I try to attend myself for matins and vespers but the audio quality is very poor. He uses go to meeting for the services and a MacBook with its built in web cam and a very inexpensive mic to broadcast from.

    Since I try to make regular attendance of these daily services Id like to contribute toward making them better and issue number 1 is audio quality. I know he needs a better mic but I have no idea what would be appropriate.

    An orthodox matins/vespers service isnt a pulpit performance either-he is constantly moving about in our little mission and chanting/singing the scriptures.

    What wed ideally have is a stationary mic that can plug into his laptop and clearly hear him in a space of about 300sqft. Budget, well ideally $100 or less.

    So whats out there that would fit the bill?

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    Ok so you are digital since you are plugging into a laptop (which has it's disadvantages), what is being used for a sound system?

    Are you trying to get by with simply computer monitors attached to a laptop or is the signal being sent to an amp? I suspect the problem isn't the microphone he is currently using and if you aren't running an amplifier no microphone in the world is going to change anything.

    And you certainly aren't going to get any meaningful improvements for $100 or less. Remember those cheesy little speakers they used to make for walkman cassette players? That is probably something like you currently have when you really need a boom box.
    Last edited by SteyrAUG; 09-17-21 at 22:11.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteyrAUG View Post
    Ok so you are digital since you are plugging into a laptop (which has it's disadvantages), what is being used for a sound system?

    Are you trying to get by with simply computer monitors attached to a laptop or is the signal being sent to an amp?
    No hardware other than the laptop. It’s basically a conference call. He starts the conference meeting, we sign in on GoToMeeting, and begins the services.

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    Sure SM57 is a standard. Inexpensive and excellent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grendelshooter View Post
    No hardware other than the laptop. It’s basically a conference call. He starts the conference meeting, we sign in on GoToMeeting, and begins the services.
    Ok, so everyone is hearing him on their own computers, not in person?
    It's hard to be a ACLU hating, philosophically Libertarian, socially liberal, fiscally conservative, scientifically grounded, agnostic, porn admiring gun owner who believes in self determination.

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    Since the audio signal should be USB at the computer, it should either be a USB microphone, or an analog to digital interface can be used between the mic and PC. Should it be a handheld mic, body worn lavaliere, or boundary mic (to pick up an area, not a single person)?

    Whats the budget?


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    What Grizz said. A USB mic can be very effective for a low entry price, and nothing else is needed. For a standard mic, youll need the audio interface ($60-$120+) as well as an XLR cable ($10-$20). If you want to host guests then step up to a podcaster interface like the one from Rode. Not cheap but very good for the price. Id add call Sweetwater and explain you purpose, and they can assist. Im not a rep or receive anything from them, but as a customer, their service is top notch.

    https://www.sweetwater.com/shop/studio-recording/microphones/

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    In that size and roaming of a area you can not have a mic connected to a laptop and have him move and get good audio for under $100 sadly

    You will need to set him up with a lav setup so he has the mic on him if he is moving 2 parts one is on him with a small mic and the other receiver connects to the laptop

    There are lav setups around your price range

    Rode Go is more than your budget at $200 but super good and super easy look at its less expensive competitors would be my vote for ya to start searching for

    It will take charging or replacing a battery once in a while and clipping on a mic so a touch of setup but easy to do

    Call up BH Photo or Sweetwater (2 huge online stores) and tell them what you want to do and budget and see what they say and do a bit of research on what they recommend LOTS of good audio mic reviews on youtube etc... a few systems at the just over $100 range can be had and I would say might be best because of him moving around some as the mic is on him stays a set distance say clipped on his shirt so you get consistent audio
    Last edited by Honu; 09-18-21 at 11:31.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grendelshooter View Post
    My knowledge of audio equipment is quite rudimentary. USB plug and play stuff.
    My priest, who is a boomer, has even less.

    We’re an Orthodox Christian mission and my priest conducts services online for his partitioners that can’t attend. I try to attend myself for matins and vespers but the audio quality is very poor. He uses go to meeting for the services and a MacBook with its built in web cam and a very inexpensive mic to broadcast from.

    Since I try to make regular attendance of these daily services I’d like to contribute toward making them better and issue number 1 is audio quality. I know he needs a better mic but I have no idea what would be appropriate.

    An orthodox matins/vespers service isn’t a pulpit performance either-he is constantly moving about in our little mission and chanting/singing the scriptures.

    What we’d ideally have is a stationary mic that can plug into his laptop and clearly hear him in a space of about 300sqft. Budget, well ideally $100 or less.

    So what’s out there that would fit the bill?
    The Sure SM57 is dead on $100 and by all accounts, great. Well under $100, I'm using this FiFine kit for my new livestream show and it's worked/sounded great:

    https://www.amazon.com/FIFINE-Microp...dp/B07Y1C6GDS/
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  10. #10
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    What Honu said.


    If I am reading you right... You want a stationary mic that he can walk around a room, talk, sound good, and cost $100. That defies the laws of physics as we currently know it for a typical room.


    What you want simply can not be done. It's impossible. The SM 57 would be horrible. It's a great mic to stick in a guitar cabinet that is blasting away or on a snare drum. Even some vocals. You don't stick one up in a room and have someone walk around, talk, have others chime in from across the room, and sound good. That scenario would require an acoustically treated room, a very expensive mic, and in your scenario with the computer a software plugin compressor/limiter to level the signal.

    The Rode setup Honu mentions --I think-- has a setup for two lav mics. So he would wear one and you could wear one. Rode is very good quality. Look them up on YouTube.

    Now your other option is get a cheap mixer like a Behringer for $100. You plug 1-4 mics in the mixer and the output from the mixer goes to the Mac as a stereo or mono signal. So then you could have people talking into 4 different SM57 mics ( not what I would choose ) handheld. But now you are at $500.

    For what you are asking you would need an omni directional mic say center of the room. It will pick up all sounds from all directions. All the echos off the walls. It will sound like you are all in a distant cave if you step back just a bit. Then someone walks near the mic and they are suddenly blasting loud. So that is opposite of your #1 requirement of good audio quality.

    For your budget you need to rethink your presentation environment. You will need to make your presentation space smaller. You will need to cut down on reflective surfaces by means of carpets, blankets, whatever. You need to think close setting. Then likely a USB omni-directional mic. Picture four people sitting around a table in a cafe made for 2 people. The table covered with heavy cloth. Likely a similar barrier behind all the speakers. Then you might get by with something like a Blue Snowball, Nano , etc. , some free plugins for the Mac. https://www.zzounds.com/item--BLUYETINANO

    The SM57 is cardioid pattern mic meaning it rejects sound from rear and sides. Omni means the mic picks up sound from all directions. The Lav mics are given to each participant and they have to be combined in a mixer but they will cut all the room noise. Think of them as 'only me' for each Lav mic.

    You need a $500 budget or change your methods. If he wants walk around with an SM57 that could work... but that leaves you out. I would get a Audix over Shure for that type use. But... every voice has a mic that suits it... unfortunately, unless you have deep pockets or a serious mic locker.


    The other option which could be free. What you get now, the results, they could possibly be made better by recording techniques and there are a lot of very good free plugins available. Someone would need to hear what you are getting now and what you want it to sound like though.

    Oh BTW, with a cheap little mixer, one person could be walking around the room with a mic and a couple others could be at a single stationary mic. So then you could do the SM57 thing for the walker and a couple others in a more acoustically treated situation with a shared Omni mic. So maybe $300


    BTW... when you say audio quality. Do you mean on the receiving end? An Internet listener? That is another whole ball of wax. So I was just curious what is your reference point. Where are you hearing the quality from? If you deliver a certain quality to someone like Youtube it can be altered and sound better or worse depending on how you are delivering it.

    BTW2... The SM57 is a low impedance mic and when you pick it up you will say oh this feels nice and professional... how do I plug it in. You can't, not to a computer. It will take an adapter or a small mixer / audio interface.

    Here is a dynamic you can hear for yourself. This guy gets called on by the top names in the industry. He works for Yamaha / Steinberg ... he's working out of his home. You could put a $100 mic on him and he might have a $100 mic on. Aside from his Yamaha gear it's his knowledge that makes it happen. Listen to the opening.... then go to the end where the Zoom meting starts... Two totally different results with respect to 'audio'. You can see how the experience falls apart. I have not participated in the Zoom, so maybe it's better in the Zoom. The point is this is complicated situation. It's not a $100 situation but a lot of the things are actually free. He is not using super high dollar gear.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Sgp5LyQxmQ
    Last edited by tb-av; 09-19-21 at 01:02.

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