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And the winner for the "Worst VO Mic" goes to ... #3002775 08/11/19 06:06 PM
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matthew mcglynn Offline OP
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I just looked at a couple "top mics for voiceover" websites and found the results to be really depressing. I guess the big disclaimer is that the top-ranking sites were put together by people who know a lot about how to get a site to rank well in Google search, but not so much about voice recording, so probably I should just ignore this, throw another virtual dart at a virtual effigy of Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and move on with my day. Or I could gripe about it here, which is maybe more entertaining.

The first article I saw listed a mic that is, indeed, often cited as a top VO mic for beginners. It's priced in the sub-$300 range, and it wins points for its very low noise floor, but I personally find its voicing to be far too bright for voice recording. I find it painful to listen to, because its frequency curve makes it exaggerate mouth sounds.

The number two mic is sold as a purpose-built $299 VO mic. The mic uses a common China-made 32mm K67 capsule and transformerless (Schoeps derived) circuit. This is a familiar design; it can be found in dozens of mic models from at least a half-dozen companies we've all heard of. If I had to use this mic, I would expect to have to do some corrective EQ and probably a bunch of surgical editing too.

Further down the list is the "Newmann TLM 103." Even when spelled properly, that mic -- despite being a legitimate top-selling VO mic -- would not be my first choice, or second. I think that mic can excel for big acoustic guitars and certain intimate vocals, but I would personally avoid using it for VO due to its exaggerated high-frequency response.

What's the theme here? It's all about the voicing. I find most of the microphones listed in most of these "top VO mic" roundups to be too bright to excel at the stated task. I admit readily that the market proves me wrong -- because most of those listed mics have sold many thousands of units to people who are using the hell out of them ... to record sibilant, irritating, shouty voiceover tracks. ;-)

That's a pet peeve of mine. YMMV, and if so, I'd love to get your feedback. Do you like bright mics for VO? What am I missing?


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Re: And the winner for the "Worst VO Mic" goes to ... [Re: matthew mcglynn] #3002778 08/11/19 06:13 PM
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Dave Bryce Offline
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I wish I knew enough about microphones to know which ones you’re talking about in the first two examples. You can name names, y’know...just like you did with the “Newmann”. poke grin

I’m an RE20 guy. It and my voice just get along fabulously. twothumbs

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Re: And the winner for the "Worst VO Mic" goes to ... [Re: Dave Bryce] #3002800 08/11/19 08:30 PM
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matthew mcglynn Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
You can name names, y’know


I don't want to throw anybody under the bus. I was just lamenting the sorry state of online mic recommendations, and to some degree, the sorry state of best-selling "VO" microphones. ;-)

(Mentioning the TLM-103 doesn't throw Neumann under the bus. Georg Neumann is *driving* the bus.)

The RE-20 is a great voice mic, especially in an untreated room. Its younger, lower-cost sibling, the RE-320, is nice too.


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Re: And the winner for the "Worst VO Mic" goes to ... [Re: matthew mcglynn] #3002838 08/12/19 01:45 AM
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Dr Mike Metlay Online Content
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I don't mind naming names, because I have some personal bests for VO work (I do a radio show once a week from my home studio)...

If you have very little money to spend and you want something that's not voiced to take the top of your head off with a chainsaw, the new PodMic from RODE is surprisingly good. It's a large diaphragm dynamic with pretty good internal protection against wind and plosives. If you're used to shrieky condensers, it will probably sound muffled and tubby to you, but it translates well to the airwaves. The Cloudlifter pairs well with it for a bit more oomph, if that's your jam.

If you have a decent chunk of money to spend and you want a condenser that actually has put some thought into voicing for, you know, voices, the Lauten LS-208 is kind of neat. Good pickup pattern and off-axis rejection, and the fact that it has not only a low-cut filter for rumble rejection but also a high-cut filter to tame the top end makes it pretty easy to slot into a channel for VO. Internal shockmounting and pop rejection are really good too.

If you have some but not a lot of money to spend and you want to use a condenser that won't make your listeners' ears bleed, it is not easy to do better than the Roswell Mini K47. Not blowing smoke up Matt's skirt here, that little mic is more of a public service to the audio world than just another product; it's stupid good for the money. Add a good pop filter and get up decently close, and it's a really tasty alternative.

A lot of this also depends on the voice. The SM7B and RE20 are great mics, but everybody knows about those and they don't sound good on everyone. Conversely, I knew one on-air DJ who tried for five years to find a mic that suited his voice better than an SM57 with an A2WS windscreen, and never could at any price.


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, whoop de doo)
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Re: And the winner for the "Worst VO Mic" goes to ... [Re: matthew mcglynn] #3002840 08/12/19 01:53 AM
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Dr Mike Metlay Online Content
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Oh, and the Copperphone Mini from Placid Audio is the best voiceover mic ever made. grin


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, whoop de doo)
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Everyone on this forum is a friend I haven't met yet
-- except for Bryce, who's, well, YOU know.
Re: And the winner for the "Worst VO Mic" goes to ... [Re: matthew mcglynn] #3002881 08/12/19 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by matthew mcglynn
I just looked at a couple "top mics for voiceover" websites and found the results to be really depressing. I guess the big disclaimer is that the top-ranking sites were put together by people who know a lot about how to get a site to rank well in Google search, but not so much about voice recording, so probably I should just ignore this, throw another virtual dart at a virtual effigy of Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and move on with my day.

I bet you should also mention Jeff Bezos, because I'm guessing each mic listed also has an Amazon Affiliate link, making the poster some change for each mic they help sell. In fact, too many "best of" lists like that are complete BS and just about the Affiliate linking.


The great thing about music is that there's always something to learn. The frustrating thing about music is that there's always something to learn!

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