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Saturday, February 25, 2012
Pyle Pro PDMIC78 dynamic mic (and Hamilton Nu-Era tabletop mic stand)
Something screwed up with my freight forwarding, so I am forced to buy more stuff from Amazon, or pay USD$12 shipping for something worth USD$10 and could have been gotten for $15 with shipping.
Cheap mics, that is what where I live does not have. So might as well get one.
But question is, which. There are many cheap mics on Amazon but many of them appear to be crap. There is Nady SPC-15 condenser mic, but apparently it is said to suck even though it is a condenser, and US$39 for two is quite a gamble. There are other condensers in this price range (for one unit), but spending another $40 to help ship a $10 product is a bit... I'm not spending so much money so soon.
So cheap mics... I looked at dynamic... there are some from Nady, some from Sony, some from Audio-Technica, and some from Behringer. Then there are the SM57 and SM58 clones. When it comes to dynamic mics, Shure's SM57 and SM58 are famous. And popular. And expensive. And anything with all these three properties will get cloned. SM57 is for instruments and SM58 is for vocals, and I wanted an SM57.
Thing is, SM57 isn't as popular (or popularly cloned) as SM58. At first I wanted to get Behringer's because Behringer is a brand that is cheap yet really good, but Behringer doesn't clone SM57. In the end, I got a Pyle instead.
Well it's lucky that I got a dynamic mic, because I don't have my US-144 right now so I can't use condensers. You can use big dynamic mics with your computers' sound cards. However the output level from the mic is very low (in the order of a few millivolts), and that is when your mouth is next to it. A good sound card has a noise floor of perhaps 0.01mV. So your recording will be swamped by noise.
And that's why people get preamps. I don't have a mic preamp now, but I chained a Fiio E11 and an E5. Slight improvement - the gains of headphone amps are way less than the 100x to 1000x needed for mic preamps. So after I record I still need to insert 30-40dB of gain in Audacity, which results in noise which you will soon hear.
Alright, enough about me. I wrote this review because there are almost no reviews on this mic. And you want to know about this mic.
And what's better than recording done by the mic itself to demonstrate the performance of the mic?
Now before you think this product is rubbish, a few things to note -
- The high noise is most probably due to insufficient amplification, not actual fault of the product. Plus if I speak into the mic then I only need 20~26dB of further amplification in Audacity (vs 50dB when recording through my speakers), then the noise floor gets low enough.
- I recorded music coming out from my speakers - this adds quite a bit of distortion. And the (pre)amp is not designed for mics - possibly another source of distortions.
- I put the mic right in front of the speaker so that sound pressure levels are high enough. That close to the speaker, distances from tweeter and woofer becomes significant, and positioning can alter frequency response drastically.
- The equalization is very crudely done. I ran white-noise-based frequency response test (in retrospect, I should have done swept sine) then applied the opposite in Audacity. This is for recording 1. However, recording A2 which I only gave a 6dB rise @ 1.5kHz which goes to zero @ 150Hz and 6kHz and it sounded closer to original. I also EQ-ed a copy of recording A1 in a similar way as recording A2 (recording A1a).
As for how good this thing really is compared to alternatives, I don't know, so I'm not going to comment on that. But you can listen to the recording and decide for yourselves.
Next, the stand.
Comes with a handy bag to put the stand and mic and etc. Mic not included in the package, just included in the picture to show the size of the stand and the bag. The bag has two compartments so you can put the stand in one and the mic and etc in the other to avoid the stand destroying everything else.
The stand is quite sturdy, being made of metal and good plastic.
Nothing much to say here, the stand works and the whole package of stand + clip + bag can be had for $8 on Amazon, good value IMO.