- Mar 18, 2019
- Somerville, MA
That is precisely the crux. LDCs (or MDCs) will get a nice natural to airy sound with good bass response (including optional proximity effect boost) and low self-noise at a moderate price - an NT1 may be as fancy as most of us may need. (AT2035, NT1 and Sennheiser MK4 are some of my midrange faves for spoken word. All have only a mild treble boost of 2-3 dB.) Their relatively broad cardioid response means the environment has to be right though (PGA27 is one of the few supercardioids).
SDC pencil condensers tend to have a more even pickup pattern and tend to be used where low coloration off-axis is critical (e.g. X-Y array). They may have weak low end and tend to exhibit higher noise levels though, and may be subject to some peculiar midrange colorations you don't come across in side-address condensers. A good one isn't really any cheaper than a good LDC.
Dynamic mics interesting for vocal use generally come in 3 flavors, "voice" (presence boost and not overly present bass to compensate for proximity effect in close-up use), "broadcast" (presence boost and neutral to even boosted lows) and occasionally "WTF". I think it is the inherent raggedness in dynamic driver high-frequency response that makes it hard for them to sound quite as transparent as a good condenser, even if the SM7B tries really hard. Due to fundamental resonance, they basically come with a built-in highpass around 100 Hz - something that on voice may be desirable anyway. They will never be as low-noise as good condensers, but still pretty decent in practice (using them for vocal work up close definitely helps in that regard).
What many of us would want is a (short) shotgun mic, but finding one with even dispersion, flat response and good low end is hard. You're looking at around $300 minimum, and some Deity mic was one of the few I've come across that sounded anywhere near as good as a Sennheiser MKH416 (sounds great, but $1000, yikes).
The shotgun mics that are good enough for serious use are rare and expensive. Still, in the hands of experts, these are the mics we hear on TV and Films all the time! Here's a video where a dude compares it to a TLM 103:
I find that in this video the Sennheiser sounds similar to a dynamic in some ways, I can't put my finger on how. Really civilized upper HF, great intelligibility.
I have an inexpensive dynamic (Behringer 8500). With a little EQ to take out my fundamental, it sounds more intelligible, but less hifi, than my condenser. I don't find the added gain to be an issue.
One thing I like is that it is totally free from brittleness - the mids and treble are sort of rough and textured, but never piercing or hissy. De-essing is not really needed (this is without a pop filter or windscreen.)
Between the AT2035, NT1 and MK4 (and any others you've owned) what would you recommend for a condenser which has that kind of forgiveness?