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submessenger
9/08/2017 5:16pm,
OK, didn't know where to put this, so YMAS seemed like the best place. I'm not an audio engineer, I'm soliciting help from anyone here that may have experience.

Here's where I'm at. I've recently connected several audio inputs and outputs through a Behringer Xenyx 1202 (12 channel mixer, no fx). That was an experiment, and I think it's going pretty well. I now have one mic, one set of headphones, and one amplifier output. The goal was to unclutter my office, and to be able to easily and seamlessly switch from skype conversation on PC 1 to netflix on PC 2, etc. That pretty much sums up the application - I spend all day on Skype calls, so I want to sound good, and I don't want to be switching gear all the time.

My mic is a Vocopro MK-7 dynamic, which came with a karaoke setup I bought a few years back. I'm not digging it. The response isn't great, and it desperately needs a preamp, because the pres on the Behringer seem to inject a lot of hiss when I crank the mic gain up to usable levels. Also tried a Radio Shack 3300660, which was just utter crap.

So, I'm thinking I grab a cheapo pre and see what that does for me? Did I mention that I want to do this for under $100?

laughingmonkey
9/10/2017 11:24am,
Hey submessenger. I'm a muso with a bit of engineering experience. It's most likely your mic that is the weak link. The Xenyx 1202 preamps should be ok for what you're using them for. Here's a link to a discussion about them on the website "gearslutz":
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/newbie-audio-engineering-production-question-zone/1052915-how-good-xenyx-preamps.html

There is not much in the way of praise for them but from what I've read they definitely shouldn't be very noisy.

The VocoPro is a consumer quality(read - piece of ****) mic. Ditto the radio shack. Any mic that isn't from a proper pro-audio company will be shyte. There are a few companies that make decent mics that you can often have for around $100. Check out "Rode" (the rode m1 looks ok) or "Shure" (Shure SM58, SM57 are both ok). There are a million(at least) different manufacturers who possibly have a good cheap mic. Audio-Technica is another that comes to mind. Have a google and see what you reckon. Get back to me if you need further direction. Or if you want to tell me to **** off or whatever.

submessenger
9/10/2017 11:55am,
I was shopping mics, yesterday and Friday. I'm leaning towards the SM58, but am still stuck on the price point. So, in the interim, I grabbed a cheapo phantom supply (Neewer, they seem to get pretty good reviews even though they are chinese crapola). $18 to at least diagnose the problem before making the leap for more expensive gear.

I appreciate the feedback (pun intended). I'll report back on success and next steps.

submessenger
9/10/2017 12:07pm,
For the curious, I put the mic on the FX bus (it's also on the main bus all the time, but mitigate with the main level on the mic - it gives the "comfort noise," that you are used to with a regular telephone conversation), and all my PCs, cell phone, CD player, etc on the main bus. FX runs to a splitter to mic inputs on the PCs. If I want to bring one of my main audios into a skype call, I just punch that channel into the FX bus, as well. Very handy - should also be able to bridge calls from 2 separate sources, like cell to skype, webex to skype, etc. Haven't tried that, yet.

laughingmonkey
9/10/2017 12:16pm,
Good luck. I'll check back in to see how it goes.

ermghoti
9/10/2017 3:28pm,
Phantom power has no effect on a dynamic mike. The problem is, most likely, your mike is wing chun. There were knock-off Shures a while back that worked well enough, GLS brand, IIRC. One cool thing about Shure is they will rebuild a broken mike on the cheap, so if you can find a non-functioning one (good luck, it's easier to break a hammer than a SM series mike), you can get it functioning like new for maybe half the cost of a new one.

submessenger
9/10/2017 4:17pm,
Phantom power has no effect on a dynamic mike. The problem is, most likely, your mike is wing chun. There were knock-off Shures a while back that worked well enough, GLS brand, IIRC. One cool thing about Shure is they will rebuild a broken mike on the cheap, so if you can find a non-functioning one (good luck, it's easier to break a hammer than a SM series mike), you can get it functioning like new for maybe half the cost of a new one.

I've heard the SMs are indestructible. I also really like the tonal range of the SM58, based on the youtubes I've watched.

Pie in the sky, I would get a second mixer for mics, and put 3-4 in the office, allowing stereo output. My desk is L shaped, so one on each end (L and R), and one in the kink. Maybe an overhead mic, too.

ermghoti
9/10/2017 4:51pm,
Results would depend on a lot of things. Unless your room is treated specifically for audio, overhead miles are going to capture a lot of odd reflexions. Easier to close mike everyone unless you're going to have a ton of speakers.

I understand it's really cheap and easy to build tiny omnidirectional mikes, that might be another way to go. You could build them with clips, use them as lavaliers, and the proximity to the speaker would produce the off mike rejection you want.

ChenPengFi
9/10/2017 4:53pm,
Office?

You guys sing at work?
You're spying on co-workers and/or employees?
What's going on over there?!

submessenger
9/10/2017 6:01pm,
Office?

You guys sing at work?
You're spying on co-workers and/or employees?
What's going on over there?!

LOL. Sometimes I sing. I home-office, these days. Spend much of the day on Skype and other teleconf technologies.

submessenger
9/11/2017 11:26am,
So, I thought this was cool - a little while ago, I was on a Skype call over a VPN. It was choppy as hell, so I joined the call from a second PC, dropped the call from the VPN'd PC, and didn't miss a second of audio. Everyone should have a mixing board.

ChenPengFi
9/11/2017 11:45am,
LOL. Sometimes I sing. I home-office, these days. Spend much of the day on Skype and other teleconf technologies.





http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06X5HYynP5E

Karish
9/11/2017 3:31pm,
Nowadays, USB-plugged mikes are a thing and works well for skype call/podcast and things like that. But since you seems to have a lot of fun with your mixer, I would recommand you to get a SM58 which is probably the best voice mike you could get for under 100.

And because you seem interested in getting good voices tone for your skype call, be aware that having many mikes is not a ideal solution, because you will get the bad tone and reflections of an untreated room as ermghoti said. Plus, you have to get the phase relationship right or the mikes are going to sound worst when put together. Close miking is definitely the way to go.

If you want to take your voice up to a whole new level, you might consider EQ'ing, compressing and de-essing your voice but we are already digging into more technical stuff there that only audio nerds care about

submessenger
9/11/2017 3:40pm,
Nowadays, USB-plugged mikes are a thing and works well for skype call/podcast and things like that. But since you seems to have a lot of fun with your mixer, I would recommand you to get a SM58 which is probably the best voice mike you could get for under 100.

And because you seem interested in getting good voices tone for your skype call, be aware that having many mikes is not a ideal solution, because you will get the bad tone and reflections of an untreated room as ermghoti said. Plus, you have to get the phase relationship right or the mikes are going to sound worst when put together. Close miking is definitely the way to go.

If you want to take your voice up to a whole new level, you might consider EQ'ing, compressing and de-essing your voice but we are already digging into more technical stuff there that only audio nerds care about

It's not just about the mixer, it's about the multiple devices that I want audio to and from. So, USB mic is out of the question. I considered a VHF solution, but that got very expensive very quickly. IIRC, this is how they do things in environments like NFL, NASCAR, etc.

I *am* interested in the audio nerd stuff, though, so please feel free to talk more about it.

submessenger
9/14/2017 3:41pm,
Following up, on this... I got the phantom in (I didn't previously notice the mixer had switched phantom built in, RTFM FTW). As predicted, it did nothing for me. What made a HUGE difference was using the XLR->XLR cable from the mic directly to the board. I was previously using XLR->1/4" mono, then XLR->XLR(phantom)->1/4" mono. Line noise has dropped to acceptable levels, and there was apparently a lot of mic attenuation, as well. Crappy cable, I guess. The phantom cost $19 and came with the XLR->XLR, about the same as a "good" XLR->XLR cable would be by itself, so I don't feel like I completely wasted the money.

Now, I am going to get a better mic, at some point, soon. This one is omni-directional; I'd like to get a cardiod to help mask out keyboard clicking, and preferably also with shock absorber because the mic does pick up vibration from the desk.

ermghoti
9/14/2017 6:36pm,
What made a HUGE difference was using the XLR->XLR cable from the mic directly to the board. I was previously using XLR->1/4" mono, then XLR->XLR(phantom)->1/4" mono.

AUGH! God. No. Never do that. If you have to go XRL->1/4" without a direct box, you need the little plug adaptor with a transformer in it. They're like $15-20 or so.