New Mic Testing

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Esky
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Post by Esky » March 5th, 2011, 6:50 pm

I finally splurged and purchased the AT2020 microphone along with a pop filter, shockmount and boom stand. I'm very pleased so far, to say the least. I thought my old headset (a Logitech Clearchat USB headset) was good, but compared to the AT2020, the quality doesn't even come close. There is so much white noise in the headset that I never really realized was there until I couldn't hear it any more.

At first I was going to finish out my current project using the headset for consistency's sake in the sound, but my laptop battery has decided it doesn't want to work anymore and I can't record with the power pack plugged in since it puts a VERY noticeable buzzing on the recording when using the headset. Plus, the AT2020 is just so darned fun to use.

There is one thing that I could use some help on. My recordings with the AT2020 seem to sound slightly muffled. I can't put my finger on it, exactly but it just doesn't sound quite as clear as I would like. But then again, maybe that's how it SHOULD sound and I just never knew it. I've uploaded a test recording here and would appreciate any feedback. I currently do not apply any effects, noise cleaning etc. My recording "studio" is me sitting on the floor of my closet with the microphone hanging upside down about 6 inches to the side of my mouth and just below eye level. (thanks to sjmarky for the suggestions) It could be that I'm simply too close to the mic.

Any help or feedback on the sound would be greatly appreciated. (Oh and sorry for the randomness of the text. It's a one-minute section from The Wealth of Nations.)

earthcalling
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Post by earthcalling » March 6th, 2011, 12:51 am

I wouldn't say it sounds muffled, but it's a good idea to make sure you are getting the best sound out of it. I haven't used that particular mic, but with the two that I have used (Samson C01U and now the Blue Yeti) the tone varied a lot depending on the angle of attack - your position relative to the mic. The difference between front an back is an obvious one, with a cardioid mic; but even more subtle changes will give more or less bass, treble etc. Distance from the mic changes the tone too. So I'd suggest you do a short recording where you talk from various positions, describing where you are as you go round, and listen to the differences.

David

sjmarky
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Post by sjmarky » March 6th, 2011, 9:43 am

I think you're suffering from "condenseritis". Many times here somebody has switched from a headset to a condenser mic like the AT2020 and think they sound terrible. In fact, you sound very good! I have this exact mic; you can hear a poem recorded on it over in Short Stories in the Microphone Showdown Project (#14).

AT mics have a bit of a bass-bias, so they give that deep sound under the voice - especially male voices like yours. Normal - in fact good. You are losing a little brightness at the top (compare to my recording cited). Your basic positioning sounds perfect, however condenser mics have what is called "proximity effect", in which the sound on a condenser mic gets even bass-ier the closer you are. You might try backing off from the mic just a wee bit - no more than 12" and see how it sounds. Setting the mic off to the side is correct; just be sure it's rotated slightly so the capsule is facing your mouth. (The AT2020 has a bright blue light on the live side when plugged-in, so it's pretty hard to have it face the wrong way altogether - something I've carelessly done with other mics.)

Your recording was just a little on the weak side as well - try to have the peaks of the waveforms about half the height of the window (I think it's the 6db line in Audacity, if you're using that). Your recording is only about a quarter.

The sound difference between a headset and a condenser is dramatic. Headsets pick up almost no bass at all - like a telephone. The sound difference can be shocking. But really, you sound good
Last edited by sjmarky on March 6th, 2011, 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Samanem
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Post by Samanem » March 6th, 2011, 12:45 pm

I totally agree with sjmarky - you have a more rich sound - go for it.
"I ask to be allowed to have a lamp in the evening;
it is indeed wearisome sitting alone in the dark." ~ William Tyndale (1494-1536)
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Esky
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Post by Esky » March 6th, 2011, 7:26 pm

Thanks for the tips and compliments, everyone. I'll try backing off just slightly and see how it sounds.
Your recording was just a little on the weak side as well - try to have the peaks of the waveforms about half the height of the window (I think it's the 6db line in Audacity, if you're using that). Your recording is only about a quarter.
How would I go about adjusting this? The gain or perhaps the Amplify tool? I'm afraid that when it comes to the technical side of recording, I'm rather ignorant.

Thanks again.

sjmarky
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Post by sjmarky » March 6th, 2011, 7:39 pm

Esky wrote:Thanks for the tips and compliments, everyone. I'll try backing off just slightly and see how it sounds.
Your recording was just a little on the weak side as well - try to have the peaks of the waveforms about half the height of the window (I think it's the 6db line in Audacity, if you're using that). Your recording is only about a quarter.
How would I go about adjusting this? The gain or perhaps the Amplify tool? I'm afraid that when it comes to the technical side of recording, I'm rather ignorant.

Thanks again.
Via your recording software and/or audio input panel after you plug in the mic. Increase the mic input so the original recording is a little louder, rather than using Amplify post-recording.
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