There are basically three capacitor mics in the world that have seriously low noise floors, and are suitable for voice-over work - stuff like Audiobook recording. There's the Neumann TLM 103, for a start - much quieter than other Neumanns, and the ones used by at least one national 'talking books for the blind' service. Then there's the AKG C414B-XLS (or the newer one without the B). These have about the same noise floor, and rather more pattern choice. They are also about the same price as the Neumann, but there's one major difference between the two in capsule terms; the AKG uses a 'normal' suspended diaphragm, whilst the Neumann uses a centre-pole type. It has been claimed that the Neumann suits the spoken voice better, but having directly compared the two, I'd say that there are other factors that will inevitably make more difference - like the acoustic you are using it in, for instance. And if there's any doubt about that at all, then the variable-polar-response AKG will get you out of trouble better. But other than that, they are hard to tell apart for this sort of application.
I said three mics, and there's a joker in the pack - the Rode NT1-A. It's significantly cheaper than the other two, but just as quiet. And they are getting used more and more for voice work. Don't believe all the hype on the website in terms of reviews - most of the users who buy them don't and can't make meaningful comparisons between them and the more expensive mics. I've had a good long play with one, and whilst it isn't a C414 (of which I own two - there's my bias!), it's by no means a bad mic for voice work. And when you consider the price difference, you'd be hard pushed to say that really, it wasn't better value for money.
But if you want to play safe, and also have mics that will retain their value, then you go for either the Neumann or the AKG.
I would go with the Rode NT1-A. I recently suggested this mic to a narrator and the samples I received from her have fewer mouth noises and hum.
dib pwnt wrote:
...and the samples I received from her have fewer mouth noises and hum.
I think she was using a CAD GXL2400 before.
Once again a mine of great info.
We have borrowed a Neumann TLM 170 mic and the differance is amazing, no noise at 50db of gain on my One Q.
While its not the recommended one it the way to go. Will definatly be sourcing a Neimann TLM 103 as Steve recommends.
The Neumann TLM is hard to beat in terms of price performance, but we find some voiceover clients don't do as well on our Neumann mics, as they pick up all the little imperfections too much. From a Neumann standpoint, the M149 would be at the top for us, and it gets a lot of use. Still, if we hit a voiceover person that's not a good fit for our everyday mics, we go with a Shure SM7, and that's a mic that has saved our bacon more than once. It's way more forgiving, and is also inexpensive. A rarely seen mic by the Swedish designer Goran Ehrlund is really distinctive, and he makes a broadcast version, called the EHR-B. We did a mic shootout with it and some others for voiceover work, and it received top honors. He uses a triangular capsule. Another mic I see in broadcast rooms around here is Gene Lawson's L47 - current model is L47MP. There are some excellent mics to choose from these days.
Many thanks for your reply.
Because a lot of our work is soft spoken we are looking for the Quitest mic we can get. I,am not really worries about picking up Lip smacking or Swollowing as the Noise gate solves that prob.
Do you find the M149 is quite.
Yes, The M149 has very good noise specs, but so do the other mics you're looking at. A mic can actually be a good investment, unlike a lot of the other audio tools we have to buy, so this is one time it's a good plan to get the best mic you can afford. Happy hunting.
Many thanks for your advice. Its a Neumann so.
J. Rees wrote:
The Neumann TLM is hard to beat in terms of price performance, but we find some voiceover clients don't do as well on our Neumann mics, as they pick up all the little imperfections too much.
Isn't that a definition of what a microphone should do? Represent exactly what's happening in front of it?
I must admit that I've had similar issues in the past, but the answer has always been to 'improve' the performer - most of these problems can be simply fixed at source. We had a lot of material about this in a thread years ago, but I think it's dropped off the bottom of the stack - I might redo it all in an AudioMasters FAQ if I get time.