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I would like to ask for recommendations for a microphone, to be used for collecting sound effects and recording voice actors for my computer games. I need to be able to plug it into my computer (currently planning on using Audacity for recording).
I know that cheap microphones (for VoIP, etc.) are not going to be good enough to do the job and that I will have to spend some money to get good quality. My budget is in the $80-200 range (this will likely be a Christmas gift from my family).
I don't really have any experience in the audio field of computer games, so both specific product recommendations and important terminology would be helpful (so that I can research further on my own). Once I know what to look out for, and what important keywords and terminology is involved, I can look for further sources of information as well.
If you are just going to buy one microphone to do it all I would go for a decent shotgun mic.
Rode NTG2 AT 4073
Normally you would use a large diaphram condensor for voice overs, a shotgun mic for location recording, and maybe something more intimate for general effects recording.
Personally I record with a Rode NT4 for general sound recordings, but the thing is I don't think it would be good for voice overs (I use Studio Projects C1 for that). If you want that 'voice of god' close proximaty effect then something else would be better. If you don't need amazing voice over recordings and would only be recording indoors or ambient sounds out doors I would recommend the NT4, but if you want to record for example, a bird outdoors, it is going to capture way too much ambience.
A shotgun mic is perfect for location recording, it can be fairly good at voice over recording and it's flexible. Another bonus is if the place you normally record at doesn't have the best isolation, it captures mainly what you point it at and little on the sides or back..if that's what you want though =p
Oh and one more thing.. the preamps you have make just as much difference. When I bought my Focusrite Saffire audio interface, it made such a big difference to my previous cheap unit. Also, the acoustics make a big difference heh, when I bought some room acoustic isolation, it made as big a difference as the preamps =/ Some people's houses are naturally OK to record in, but mine is terrible. Hopefully yours is OK, cause it's not cheap =p
Good mic > Good Preamps in good acoustic space = professional sound without any tricks or mastery.
I'd suggest the Samson C01U. USB Interface, built in preamp, can take a beating. I've used it for near-studio quality vocals for hip-hop and pop production before, and I've always been able to get it to sound the way I wanted.