Home Recording/A question about Shure microphone
QUESTION: Dear Sir,
Could you pls help me?
I need to buy a microphone, specifically to record my vocal for demos.
I record my song in a normal, quiet room in my home (not a studio). I use a laptop and the Lexicon audio interface.
My budget is up to $250.
For this purpose and context, is the Shure SM58 or Shure Beta 58a the best choice?
ANSWER: Hello Kevin-
If you could actually save a little bit more money, the Shure Sm7b is a GREAT Dynamic Microphone, and is used on many many Major Label Releases for Leads sings, most notably Michael Jackson and the lead singer of Metallica James Hetfield. It is a great microphone because it can handle loud sources without distorting, and has a warm tone. It is also used on Guitar Cabinets, and anything else you might find it sounds good on.
It is listen at $350, but I bet you could find one used on eBay or locally in pawn shops, or Craigslist. The 2 microphones you mentioned (Sm58 & Beta 58a) are nice microphones, but are specialized for live performance stage use, and not used in the studio for various reasons. If you want that live vocal sound, definitely go with the Shure Sm7b their older brother.
Another great Microphone in that pricerange is the Electrovoice RE-20, a Broadcast DJ microphone, commonly used on Kick Drums, Bass Cabinets & Vocals.
Best of luck!!!!!
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Dear Sir,
Can you briefly explain the difference between live performance and studio performance? Why are some microphones aimed at live performance only?
Well, this first step is to understand what matters for each application.
Rugged and won't break. Cost effective with good enough quality for live, yet still affordable. Quality of outside body or housing comes before quality of internal parts, so that they "blend in" on stage, and don't break if dropped. Very tight directional pickup so that no unwanted sounds are gathered by the microphone, and there is less chance of feedback. Less weight in parts to reduce overall item weight (in audio this often reduces quality).
Sacrifice nothing when it comes to quality of recording. Body or housing of Mic is secondary to internal parts. Weight is not considered, instead the best part available in the build budget is used. Pickup patterns are much more open and wide (depending on several factors including selectable pickup patterns on Condenser Microphones), feedback is not considered, may include proprietary power supply instead of 48v "Phantom Power" etc. etc. etc.
There re 3 Basic Types of Microphones to be familiar with in Recording.
Dynamic: Built for High Sound Pressure Level Sources, less detail in top end frequency information, known to lightly "compress" audio on the way into the recording.
Condenser: Built for High Quality Studio use (Large and Small Diaphragm), large frequency response in high and lows, variable pickup patterns to help "reject" audio coming from specific directions, may include a Tube for extra character / tone.
Ribbon: Uses a Metal "ribbon" filament instead of a "diaphragm". Has a unique "warm" tone, and sounds great on many things including Guitar Cabs.