Best Home-Studio Microphone for Vocals and Voice-Over work under $500

Aaron CozortCommissioned Research, Gear, Inexpensive, Recommended Items, Vocal RecordingLeave a Comment

best microphone for vocals under 500

I was helping a friend improve his recording. His current project involves multi track vocal acapella singing recorded and produced on an iPad Pro. He uses an XLR to lightning adapter (Saramonic SmartRig+ Di) and an Audio Technica AT-2035 microphone. He wants to keep the iPad for his production but wants to improve vocal quality.

He does not have a professional production studio environment, so my research and advice takes ALL these factors into play. It is not the single answer for everyone’s environment, but maybe it will help you.

X, (The person I was doing research for)

After doing some reading, I was considering sending you toward one of the very spectacular Large Diaphragm Condenser microphones out there, but the recommendation from some is to stay away from them unless you’re in a “noise treated” studio environment (or a sound stage).  

Since I do not know what your recording environment is, but think it might be more like mine (a basic room), the reading I did indicates you’ll deal with un-wanted noise in the recording from the room when using any kind of condenser.  

To that end, the recommendation was a Dynamic mic, and specifically the Electro-Voice (EV) RE-20.  I have personally used this mic, and it is in radio stations all over the country.  It is rock solid for vocal performance and has great rejection of room noise.   But some did mention the need for a “lot” of clean gain.  Since it is a dynamic mic, it does not need phantom power so one person recommended getting a device called a “Cloud lifter” (see link below) to use with it to convert phantom power to around 25db of clean gain.   This might accomplish getting you everywhere you need to be together with your current recording setup.  

The other dynamic microphone that I also have experience with that is found in many recording studios for vocals is the Shure SM7B.   (Here is a shootout between two LDCs and the Shure SM7B from Sweetwater’s studios – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wyvd–VsD2o)

Here are links: 

Note: they are affiliate links from Amazon.  If you prefer shopping on Amazon anyway, it would provide a little bit back to me for the time researching this.  If you prefer shopping at sweetwater or elsewhere, do not feel bad about not using the links. 

EV RE-20 with broadcast arm and shock-mount kithttps://amzn.to/2Yf3UYb 

EV RE-20 (mic with mic stand mount only) – https://amzn.to/2DT3CyE

Cloudlifter (turn Phantom power into clean gain) – https://amzn.to/2Jpdmo2

Shure SM7B (mic) – https://amzn.to/2ZZEuzz

Let me know anything else you might want to know! 

SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB SD Card for Audio Recorders and FAT32 devices

Aaron CozortDigital Media, Gear, InexpensiveLeave a Comment

sandisk extreme pro 32gb sd card

Why This Card?

You should use SanDisk Extreme cards because of reliability. When you are recording content, the reliability of the card matters. Spend a dollar or two more on the front end and avoid losing a recording because of cheap manufacturing issues.

Buy on Amazon.com

SanDisk 32GB Extreme Pro SD Card for Audio Recorders and FAT32 recorders

Muslin Backgrounds and Kits

Aaron CozortBackdrops, Studio Accessories, UncategorizedLeave a Comment

backgrounds for video neewer

Neewer Lighting Studio Background Kit
(VARIOUS COLOR OPTIONS AVAILABLE)
Includes: 8.5x10 feet/2.6x3 meters Backdrop Stand Support System, 6x9 feet/1.8x2.8 meters Black Muslin Backdrop, 6 Pieces Backdrop Clamps and Carrying Case

My experience with these lights:

I first used one of these backdrops and kits in an interview environment at Polishing the Pulpit.

They worked well, looks good on camera, and seemed to be stable enough for in-door work

Pros

  • Inexpensive.
  • Come with stand (if needed).
  • Decent colors

Cons

  • You can certainly purchase a better fabric.  This one is very basic. 

Inexpensive Studio Lighting

Aaron CozortLighting, UncategorizedLeave a Comment

Fovitec StudioPRO 900 Watt 16" x 24" Softbox Lighting Light Kit for Portrait and Film With Bag

My experience with these lights:

I first used these lights in the 3rd year classroom of the Memphis School of Preaching.   They were establishing a video production environment in that classroom for the purposes of live streaming to students all over the world.  The lights were hung from the drop ceiling grid and power was run to boxes in the drop ceiling and controlled by a single light switch so that a teacher could walk into the room and with a single switch turn on the three studio lights.  They were inexpensive, gave off a decent amount of light, and I don't know that a bulb has burned out in the three years since they were installed. 

I then used two of these lights to build out an office studio for a preacher in the greater nashville area.   Below is a view of the video with two lights, again hung from drop ceiling as a downward angle and then there is a tall two-bulb lamp back to the left of him that provides some backlighting.  These lights have been installed and in use for 2+ years and as well are working just fine. 

Pros

  • Inexpensive.
  • Come with light stand (if needed).
  • Light enough (in weight) to hang from drop ceiling. 
  • Softbox.
  • Decent color -- not amazing but decent.
  • Not on talent.

Cons

  •  Not true "professional" grade lighting -- these are not $600 lights -- do not pretend they are.
  • Very minimal control of brightness.  Use of two switches that control a portion of the lights. 
    Both on = full brightness. 
    One on = partial brightness.
  • CFL bulbs -- last a long time, are bright, but can break very easily and usually contain mercury -- not the best situation for travel. 
IMAGES

How to create a text file list of the contents of a folder

Aaron CozortBlog, CMD (Command Prompt), Tips & Tricks, Tutorials, WindowsLeave a Comment

Original content from: Microsoft Support Website (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/196158)

Summary: This article describes how to create or print a list of files in a folder at a command prompt. This procedure may be useful when you view or print a list of the contents in a folder.

 

How to Create a File List at a Command Prompt

  1. Click Start, point to Programs, and then click MS-DOS Prompt (or Command Prompt in Windows NT).
  2. At a command prompt, locate the drive that contains the folder whose contents you want to list. For example, if you want to create a text file that contains a list of the contents of a folder on drive C, type the following command at a command prompt, and then press ENTER:
    c:
  3. At a command prompt, locate the folder whose contents you want to list. For example, if you want to create a text file that contains a list of the contents in the Windows folder on drive C, type the following commands at a command prompt, and press ENTER after you type each command:
    cd
     cd windows
  4. Type the following command at a command prompt, and then press ENTER, where filename is the name of the text file that you are creating:
    dir > filename.txt

    For example, if you want to create a file named Windowsfolderlist.txt, type the following command at a command prompt, and then press ENTER:

    dir > windowsfolderlist.txt

    NOTE: The text file that you create is located in the folder that you are in when you follow these steps. In the earlier example, the Windowsfolderlist.txt file is located in the Windows folder.

  5. Use a text editor, such as Notepad, to view or print this file.

NOTE: You cannot export or print a list of the files that are contained in a folder in Windows Explorer.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/196158

RUFUS – Create DOS bootable USB drive in Windows

Aaron CozortBIOS, DOS, hardware, motherboards, TutorialsLeave a Comment

2013-07-03_15-53-05

 

How to Create a Bootable DOS USB Drive

(original article from: http://www.howtogeek.com/136987/how-to-create-a-bootable-dos-usb-drive/)

usb-drive-with-dos-header

DOS isn’t widely used anymore, but you wouldn’t know if from reading instructions written by manufacturers for BIOS updates, firmware-updating utilities, and other low-level system tools. They will often require you to boot into DOS and run the utility.

We once formatted our floppy disks with MS-DOS using the format utility built into Windows, but most computers don’t have floppy disk drives anymore. They may not even have optical disc drives!

Use Rufus

Windows won’t allow you to select the “Create an MS-DOS startup disk” option when formatting a USB drive – it’s grayed out. We will be using Rufus instead. It’s a fast, lightweight application that includes FreeDOS.

Download Rufus and launch it. Rufus doesn’t require any installation – you will see the Rufus application as soon as you launch the downloaded .exe file.

Creating a bootable USB drive with DOS is simple:

  1. Connect your USB drive to the computer and select it in the Device box.
  2. Ensure the “Create a bootable disk using” checkbox is enabled and ensure FreeDOS is selected. (Rufus includes FreeDOS, so you won’t have to download anything else.)
  3. Click the Start button. This will erase the contents of your USB drive! Back up any important files on the USB drive first.

These should be the default options, so you may not even have to configure Rufus at all. The process should be extremely quick – it took five seconds on our system.

Copy Your Files Over

You have probably created this boot drive because you have a DOS-based program to run, such as a BIOS update utility or another low-level system program. To actually run these files from DOS, you will need to copy them over to your USB drive. For example, you may have a BIOS.BIN and FLASHBIOS.BAT file you need to run in DOS. Copy these files into the root directory of the USB drive after formatting it.

Boot Into DOS

You can now boot into DOS by restarting your computer. If your computer does not automatically boot from the USB drive, you may need to change your boot order or use a boot menu to select the device you want to boot from.

Once you are in DOS, you can run the program you copied to your USB drive by typing its name at the DOS prompt. Follow any instructions provided in the manufacturer’s documentation to run the application.


These utilities still use DOS to ensure they have low-level access to the hardware without any other programs interfering or Windows getting in the way. This helps ensure BIOS updates and other low-level operations work properly.

You could use a bootable USB drive to run old DOS applications, but you would be better off using DOSBOX to run old DOS games and other applications.