Product Review: Page (3) of 3 - 12/04/07 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at MyDmn.com).print page facebook

New Microphones (and more) for Voice-Overs

What is the best microphone for voice-over recording?

This is a black and silver, large gold diaphragm condenser with a fixed cardioid pick-up pattern. The package includes the mic, a smart travel case, small table stand, and USB cable. The mic has a three-position (L/M/H) switch for adjusting levels. The L setting is not for quiet sounds; quite the opposite. The L means low mic gain which is better for loud sounds and you should use the H setting for quiet moments. There is an increase in some self-noise at the H setting, but negligible and is really whats to be expected.

The MXL .008 and a small laptop is all you need to record anytime, anywhere. Thats great for on-the-go work and/or for people who dont want to lug around a lot of gear or are less technically adept at connecting it up. Its plug and play all the way.


For VO auditions, podcasts, interviews, capturing live performances and sound effects, and any serious work, the .008 is handy to have. Its not as full sounding as the other mics discussed here, and it can be a bit poppy on some speakers, but it nevertheless holds up well making for a worthwhile investment.

There is one caveat that affects many USB mics: they are not a duplexing soundcard. Therefore, you cant monitor the sound on headphones as you record. You can watch level meters, but you cant evaluate whats happening as it records. You must wait to playback the recording though your regular soundcard. Most VOs prefer to hear themselves on headphones as they record. Unfortunately, this mic doesnt make that happen. There is another solution (see below).

MXL .008 Audio Example

CEntrance MicPort Pro
If you already have a mic you love, but would like the convenience that a USB-based mic offers, you really need to consider this next device. The CEntrance Mic Port (www.centrance.com)  is essentially a mini audio interface that plugs into your mic on one end and a USB cable on the other. It delivers phantom power to mics that need it and this is important has a headphone jack for zero latency monitoring while you record. The device even offers 24-bit/96kHz recording and includes a volume knob for setting levels and another for headphone volume (nice and loud, too).

The device works mostly as advertised with the standard USB driver on a Windows PC. I did, however, have trouble getting Sound Forge 9 to record at 96k, yet all other sample rates were fine. A quick call to the fine people at CEntrance resulted in a free universal driver that solved the issue once installed. The driver also allows using two MicPort Pros for stereo recording, though I did not test this feature.

Having 48V phantom power without needing batteries (it draws current from the computer USB port) greatly expands the range of the device. You can use it with any mic. I plugged in a dynamic Shure SM57, the condenser MXL M3B, and even a Sennheiser 416 short shotgun. I found the preamp to be low-noise and acceptable. It doesnt have a ?sound like some boutique mic pres, but thats not what youd want in such a device. Clean, clear, and natural is the order and the MicPort Pro delivers. Coupled to the preamp is a great A/D which means you hear the mic and talent, not the electronics.

Its a modern marvel how CEntrance was able to squeeze so much functionality and quality technology into this four inch device. The MicPort Pro is a must-have for anybody who records on-the-go. Itll work great in the studio, too, with its no-fuss design. Just add your favorite mic and recording software and let the MicPort Pro sit in-between delivering high-quality sound in its tiny package. VOs (and others) will love how they can hear as they record their pristine-sounding tracks at high bit depths/sample rates.

All-in-all this was an impressive set of new mics and more available now to get you closer to your sound goals. Give this a test drive and make your own evaluations. You might be surprised.


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Jeffrey P. Fisher is a Sony Vegas Certified Trainer and he co-hosts the Sony Acid, Sony Sound Forge, and Sony Vegas forums on Digital Media Net (www.dmnforums.com). For more information visit his Web site at www.jeffreypfisher.com or contact him at jpf@jeffreypfisher.com.


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