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n00b time...Pre-amps for a mic?

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Okay, complete n00b time. I do a little voice work for my own games and currently what I use is just a cheapie PC mike with a piece of very porous foam over the tip to keep breath noise to a minimum. I don''t like it, it''s very...spikey, tends to respond in what looks like a non-linear way to sound, any variation in volume causes it to bottom out the waveform on the resulting recording. It''s a PITA to do voice recordings and they usually don''t sound all that hot, even after extensive post massaging. So, I went and bought a vocal mic from Radio Shack. It wasn''t very expensive (compared to the other mics I''ve seen listed here), around $70 or so. My Audigy card is supposed to be able to handle low impedance mics, but I don''t get anything out of it when I hook it up. I think the pin-outs are correct on the Audigy and the mic, at least judging from the mic''s datasheet. I am guessing that in order to make this work I need a pre-amp, which is what folks are talking about in here, along with the mic? Or am I missing something here? --- - 2D/Pixel Artist - 3D Artist - Game Programmer - Ulfr Fenris [[ Gaping Wolf Software ]] [[ GameGenesis Forums ]]

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Chances are that if you bought it from Radio Shack it''s actually a high impedance mic.

What type of out put does it have? 1/4" or XLR?

A XLR will look like a hair curler with three pins in the middle. (Low Impedance)

A 1/4" will look rather phallic, with a single band around the sleeve right under the tip (High Impedance)

I''m too familiar with the Audigy Cards, I''ll go check their specs and see if I can find something for you.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Hello, FenrirWolf.

First of all, buying audio gear is a lot like buying a transport truck: great if your going to be constantly hauling goods from place to place, but bad if you''re just moving to a new apartment across town. In other words, if you only need the gear once or twice in a blue moon, rent it. for that same $70 you spent on a radio shack mic, you could have easily rented a small mic/preamp package for a day. Depending on where you live, you should be able to find a music store with a rental department. With a nice large-diaphram vocal mic, a decent preamp, a good pair of studio headphones (eg. Sony MDR-7506), a few quilts and mover''s blankets (for improvised soundproofing), and a armload of library books on basic microphone technique, you can easily enough record a voiceover track that will sound quite professional.

Getting back to your original question, I have a soft spot for the ART Tube-MP preamp. It''s small, inexpensive (around $100 Canadian), and has a nice warm tube sound to it. A nice fat line-level signal out of the 1/4" instrument output should work quite nicely with your Audigy''s line input.

Hope that helps.


Stephen Muir
Dreaming Monkey Sound Services Inc.
dreaming_monkey@hotmail.com
http://www.geocities.com/drmngmnky/index

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Do you have an Audigy Drive? I think you might have to short a jumper on the circuit board somewhere...

See page 23 of the user manual:

http://files.americas.creative.com/manualdn/Manuals/798/English.pdf

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Ack, I have neglected this topic. Bad me. Kind easy to lose stuff on GD.net. Anyway, to answer everybody's questions, the mic I bought was a unidirectional dynamic mic with an XLR connector-to-1/4"-phono connector. Which, from what I gather by reading online, means it's unbalanced. But the little spec sheet says, "XLR-type connector for low-impedenance balanced systems".

I borrowed a pre-amp from a friend (that can handle balanced/unbalanced), but the mic still doesn't work. So, now I think something is wrong with the mic itself.

However, I will see if I can get my hands on another mic of similiar state. I know the Line In2/Mic2 input on my Audigy Drive (I have the external one) works, as I'm using the standard, comes-with-your-PC-free crappy mic with it.

Kendar, I do indeed have a Drive, but it's an Audigy 1 external. I am not sure if it has that jumper or not. I'm confused here -- are PC microphones (the cheapie sort) electret condenser mics, or are they dynamic? I think this might be where I am screwing up here.

Good point on renting studio time, Stephen, but I honestly would prefer to have this gear on my own. I'm not looking for anything hugely professional, but if I move, or whatnot, I want to retain the ability to do my own soundwork.

UPDATE: To clarify, I have the Audigy Platinum Ex with the external drive. I'm seeing conflicting things. Some website say I need to set the jumper to get dynamic mics to work, others say that the external Drive is auto-detecting for condensor/dynamic. The Mic I am using is a Radio Shack PRO-301, which is some kind of Shure knockoff I think. The pre-amp is an ARTcessories' MicroMIX.

---
- 2D/Pixel Artist - 3D Artist - Game Programmer - Ulfr Fenris
[[ Gaping Wolf Software ]] [[ GameGenesis Forums ]]

[edited by - FenrirWolf on March 4, 2004 1:51:19 PM]

[edited by - FenrirWolf on March 4, 2004 2:26:18 PM]

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Alright, I went and had a look at the manual for the Platinum eX:

Audigy Platinum eX Users Manual

From what I can tell, the Line2/Mic2 input is variable line level and mic level. It could be that at the moment, it''s set at line level and it should be at mic. Take a look at the manual (pg 20) and see if switching over the knob helps any. I''m not familiar with the Audigy cards, as I said above, so after this, I''m stumped.

RM

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Yeah, it''s a knob setting. If you click it all the way counter-clockwise (despite what the manual says..) it acts like a regular line-in. But turning it beyond that makes it act like a mic gain.

Thanks for the help. I''ve tried the mic out on some other equipment and it''s toast! Seems I had a bad mic afterall, which is why I couldn''t get it to work...

---
- 2D/Pixel Artist - 3D Artist - Game Programmer - Ulfr Fenris
[[ Gaping Wolf Software ]] [[ GameGenesis Forums ]]

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haha, all that typing for nothing!

Well, just some follow up information for anyone, on how to tell the difference between balanced and unbalanced 1/4" connectors, just as a reference.

There are two types of 1/4" plugs: TS and TRS. Tip-Sleeve and Tip-Ring-Sleeve respectively. TS is unbalanced, while TRS is a balanced connection.

Some extraneous, OT cable info I feel like typing because I''m bored:

TRS is also capable of sending a stereo signal or sending a mono signal and having it return. ie:

Tip - Send
Ring - Return
Sleeve - Ground

The difference between the two cords is in the wiring. A TS plug has one wire and a ground (sheild), whilst a TRS has two wires and a ground (sheild). In all onewire-with-a-ground (unbalanced) type cords, the negative end is connected to the sheild and sent through there, while in two-wires-and-a-ground (balanced)plugs have a seperate positive and negative wire, surrounded by a sheild.

Balanced plugs greatly reduce noise that is picked up by the cord. As, esentially, unbalanced cords are just long antennae anyway.

I don''t see how any of this relates to the given topic, but ... whatever. My apologies :D

RM

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RelativeMischief, yeah, I''m annoyed I went to all this trouble for a mic that was busted in the first place. Well, back to Radio Shack I go...

And thank you for the info on the balanced/unbalanced difference! That makes a lot of sense.

---
- 2D/Pixel Artist - 3D Artist - Game Programmer - Ulfr Fenris
[[ Gaping Wolf Software ]] [[ GameGenesis Forums ]]

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that means you're gonna get a new mic?
if you get your money back, you might consider buying a different mic.

for about $100 you can get a fairly good (for its price unbeatable) large membrane full range condenser mic (20..20000Hz pretty linear, 1" diameter gold membrane), a kind of mic they use in studios. mics like that cost like $800 and lots more, but this one, the STUDIO PROJECTS B-1, has pretty good quality and a really good price.

you will, after trying this mic, kick any dynamic mic like the sm58 etc into the trash bin :D

you'll need a balanced pre-amp with 48V phantom power for this kind of mic.





[edited by - unshavenbastard on March 9, 2004 11:15:44 AM]

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quote:
Original post by UnshavenBastard

you will, after trying this mic, kick any dynamic mic like the sm58 etc into the trash bin :D



Well, until you try to mic a kick drum or guitar/bass cab with it, then thats a pretty looking paperweight

[edited by - RelativeMischief on March 12, 2004 4:54:49 PM]

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naaah, works well for guitar, although in that case it can be useful to use BOTH together for that: condenser mic one channel, dynamic another, the two mics tied together with duct tape, with some distance.

kickdrum, well, of course :D that's not exactly built for that kind of application.

but if you want to record all different kinds of sounds and voice to make sound effects, it's nice to have a full range mic available!



[edited by - unshavenbastard on March 12, 2004 11:30:56 AM]

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