[LAU] OT: Which crappy mic should I use?

Ken Restivo ken at restivo.org
Fri Mar 19 18:10:11 EDT 2010

On Fri, Mar 19, 2010 at 07:21:04AM +0000, Gordon JC Pearce wrote:
> On Thu, 2010-03-18 at 17:24 -0700, Ken Restivo wrote:
> > So I am recording the band's vocals tomorrow for this record, and, due to acute poverty and our practice-room-mates absconding with all the mics, the only mics we have available to us now are:
> > 
> > 1) Shure PG-58 (with on-off switch! woo-hoo!)
> > and
> > 2) Zoom H2
> > 
> > Which of these not-very-good choices would you recoomend would be slightly less crappy for recording vocals?
> > 
> > The Zoom has condenser mics, which to my ears are quite good, but are designed for ambient recordings and might not handle sound pressure levels of close-range vocal use. Also, it has that 188ms delay in it too, and no way to turn off hardware monitoring. How bad is the PG-58 though?
> > 
> Doesn't matter.  Just use *some* kind of mike and get it recorded!
> People wax lyrical about the difference in tonal quality between
> different microphones.  I can't hear a bloody difference, at least not
> once you've gone beyond a cheap crappy PC desk mike out of the ??1 shop.
> What I can hear is people not getting on with the job because they heard
> somewhere on that there Intarweb that SM57s are drum mikes and cannot be
> used under any circumstances for vocals ;-)

Wow, thanks.

I did an A/B test between the PG58 and the Zoom, and I'll be damned if I could tell the difference between the two in a proper double-blind scientific test.

The Zoom had a slightly better high-frequency response-- not surprising since it's condensed carbon, and the PG58 is basically a tiny speaker with a coil and a diaphragm. But it wasn't anything I would make a big deal about.

Also, at close range I didn't hear much background noise, so the either the Zoom isn't very omni or the PG58 isn't very cardioid :-)

And, the PG58 with its built-in pop screen lets MORE pops through than the Zoom with it's little foam windscreen. Go figure.

Another disadvantage to the Zoom, though: little clicks and pops-- probably due to the Zoom's little microcontroller not being able to shovel bytes to and from the USB fast enough.

It's going to come down to convenience, I think. I prefer dealing1 with my M-Audio FastTrack with its nice XLR and TRS connectors and ability to turn off hardware monitoring, than dealing with the Zoom with its always-on hardware monitoring and dinky 1/8" jacks. So I'll probably end up using the PG58 for everything except background vocals where we'll have 3 or 4 of us standing around the Zoom in a 120-degree pattern.


More information about the Linux-audio-user mailing list