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PICKING A CHEAP MICROPHONE FOR YOUR HOME STUDIO
midichords // about 2 years ago //

By Patricia Lomako

If you are an electronic music producer and you want to add speech or some vocal lines to your track, then you will obviously need a microphone. But if you are on a tight budget you really do not wish to pay a lot of money for a top class microphone.  In this article we will compare two cheap microphones that promise to give you a very good recording quality and compare them in terms of sound quality.

The mics we will look at in this article are the Sure PG58 and the Samson Go Mic.

The Shure PG58 Dynamic Vocal Microphone is a microphone designed to be used in lead and backup vocal performance applications. It is a so-called cardioid microphone, which picks up sound that comes from the front and much less from the rear or sides. This makes it good for live performances, especially when several mics are used at the same time.

While not meant for a studio recording there are various articles that mention the PG58 is quite often used for vocal recording, even by famous musicians in high-quality recording studios. This makes us curious of course, which is why we will give this microphone a try in this article. 

Original price USD 104, but we saw that at amazon.com you can be the proud owner for around USD 60.

The second microphone is the Samson Go Mic which is a very cheap version of a condenser microphone. In general, what makes a condenser microphone good for studio recordings is its sensitivity, its capability to capture the subtle nuances in a singer’s voice.

Our microphone, the Samson Go Mic, is perhaps not really meant for a vocal recording though, but rather for speech. It’s primarily meant for voice-overs, for clear conversations via programs like Skype as well as for video/audio lesson recordings. Despite of this, we were really surprised by the quality of the vocal recordings done with this microphone.

For around USD 40 you can get one at amazon.com.

Now, enough talking, let’s have a listen to some recordings done with these mic’s. Before listening, note that both samples were recorded in the same environment (bedroom) without any soundproofing. No effects added, everything is completely dry.

Shure PG85 sample:



Samson Go Mic Sample:



Can you hear the difference? Both do a good job, but the Shure microphone – despite the stories about famous musician’s and pro recording studio use – has some (unnecessary) noise in the recording. The recording done by a Samson mic is much cleaner, the tone is a lot more pleasant to our ears.

Of course, the purpose of dynamic (Shure) microphone is to have a mic for live performances and not for studio recordings. So we’re comparing apples with pears. But if you’re tempted by marketing phrases like “used by famous musicians in professional studio’s”, then think again. It’s not a bad microphone, but for studio recordings I’d rather go with the Samson Go Mic. It’s cheap, it’s easy to use (plug and play) and delivers a remarkable clean recording.
 

Patricia Lomako - also known as Patricia Blush - is a professional singer, composer, music producer and music tutor. She finished the BMus Degree in Contemporary Performance (Vocals) at the Academy of Contemporary Music (Guildford, UK) and holds a Higher Certificate in Contemporary Vocal Teaching. She composes and produces various styles of music for video's, blogs, websites, etc. She also produces electronic music (mainly pop, but influenced by and mixed with House, Deep House, Drum and Bass and Electro). Her tracks are used in playlists for retailers, restaurants, gyms around the globe. Some of her clients are: M&S, SportsDirect, KFC and Clas Ohlson. Visit her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/officialpatricialomako You can listen to some of her tracks on her soundcloud page:  www.soundcloud.com/patriciablush

 

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