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Thread: Mic suggestions needed

  1. #1

    Default Mic suggestions needed

    Hi all,

    Sorry for the long post...

    I've been live streaming weekly Q&A's on YouTube, and moments before today's event, my trusty Audio Technica 2020 USB mic that I've probably had for a decade finally died on me.

    Here's how I'd been using it in livestreams (you can see it in the upper left corner):

    I'd also been using it to create all of my play along tracks, such as this example:

    Now that I need to replace it, I wonder if anyone has suggestions for an upgrade that would better suit those purposes. I have a Focusrite interface I could run an XLR mic through, though there is a something nice about just using a USB mic on a boom as it's one less box and cable to deal with. That said if an XLR mic can really up my audio game, I'll do it.

    I run OBS on my macbook pro and stream the video at 1080p, which gets the fan working hard, which can be heard in the video at high volumes. Would a shotgun on a boom help cut out some of that background noise? I've got an Audio Technica 4041 that I could try out next week. It's not a shotgun, but probably more directional than the 2020USB.

    I'd love to find something that could improve the quality of the live stream and my play along tracks. Ideally it could stay (mostly) out of sight in the live stream and pick up my voice and instrument evenly, but also be used closer in for the play along tracks and be suitable for mandolin and guitar.

    Seems like my options are:

    1) Get another AT2020 USB
    2) Hook up my AT4041 to my interface
    3) Buy a shotgun mic (Rode? Others?)
    4) Something else?

    I'd like to stay under $300, but somewhat flexible.

    MandoLessons: Free Online Mandolin Lessons
    Velocipede: My Fiddle Tune Duo
    Old Time Mandolin: Solo Old Time Mandolin Album

  2. #2

    Default Re: Mic suggestions needed

    Here's a shot of my livestream setup in case that is helpful:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    MandoLessons: Free Online Mandolin Lessons
    Velocipede: My Fiddle Tune Duo
    Old Time Mandolin: Solo Old Time Mandolin Album

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Galway, Ireland

    Default Re: Mic suggestions needed

    No suggestions here, but it is nice to see what your set up for the live streams looks like

  4. #4
    Registered User Gabriel Wiseman's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Marion NC

    Default Re: Mic suggestions needed

    Look at the DPA 4099. lots of applications, sound AMAZING, out of the way. Only downside is cost.
    Gabriel Wiseman
    Northfield Master Model #70 (Driver),Bob Shue F-5
    2017 Martin Custom D-28,1947 Gibson J-50
    Taylor GS Mini acoustic bass, Fishman Loudbox Artist, K&K Pickups, Redeye by Fire Eye

  5. #5
    Registered User Steve Lavelle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Silicon Valley

    Default Re: Mic suggestions needed

    DPA 4099 would not "pick up my voice and instrument evenly" as the OP states in his description of what he wants. THe AT2020 is still available with an XLR interface that can be plugged into the Focusrite for ~$100. Or spend a little more for the USB version, if it's working for you (~$130). or move up to the AT2035 (~$150), which has slightly lower self noise. the At 4040 is at the top of that $300 price limit. There are a number of low cost mics like the AT2020 in the same price range.

    Rejecting the fan noise is not that easy if you also want to capture mandolin and vocals evenly. If the room is small and reflective, it's going to be difficult. Maybe put a foam screen on the back side of the mic to cut it down a little? the 4041 is more directional, with some aiming, it could do the job.
    Steve Lavelle
    '93 Flatiron Performer F

  6. #6
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Pacific Northwest, USA

    Default Re: Mic suggestions needed

    A shotgun mic isn't a great solution here, because the two sound sources are so far apart (voice and mandolin).

    If it were me, I'd use a DPA 4099 clip-on mic for the mandolin, and a lavalier mic clipped to your shirt for voice. That will get each mic very close to the sound source, and allow balancing volume and EQ separately. You can also mute each track separately in the mix if necessary, which would help with ambient noise.

    Another option for the mandolin would be just a small diaphragm condenser mic on a low boom stand, pointed up at the bottom of the instrument, fairly close but just out of camera frame. Either way, I'd still use a small lavalier mic for your voice.

  7. #7
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    40.1646 N, 74.2083 W

    Default Re: Mic suggestions needed

    We need to talk about the laptop keyboard
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  8. #8
    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Cornwall & London
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Mic suggestions needed

    If you build yourself a couple of decent baffle boards and stand them between you and the PC you should be able to attenuate the fan noise so it is not an issue for the recording. RockWool mounted on hinged boards with corner top should put enough between you and the fans without stopping airflow to the PC. It only has to attenuate the volume enough at the mic, rather than completely silence it at source. That then gives you more flexibility with mic choices.

    A riser under the laptop will ease the cooling load on the machine so the fans will be able to cope better than when directly in touch with the desk in the stubby feet pads.

    "Forget that anyone is listening to you and always listen to yourself" - Fryderyk Chopin

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