Are there affordable microphones that last for decades?

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crocket
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Are there affordable microphones that last for decades?

Postby crocket » Fri Apr 05, 2019 6:32 am

I currently own Blue Snowball iCE. I'm disappointed that it has short lifespan.

I want an affordable microphone that lasts at least 15 years. I will plug it into Raspberry Pi 3 B+.
It just needs to record my voice.

Does anyone know such microphones?

Musicteacher
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Re: Are there affordable microphones that last for decades?

Postby Musicteacher » Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:17 am

Most people here do not use usb microphones.
From what do you conclude the short lifespan? Is yours defective?

Microphone manufacturers often give long warranties to ther products (Rode for instance has a 10-year-warranty). The least expensive vocal mic (nt1-a, costs about three times as much as your current mic) has the 10-year-warranty, too.
But: They also sell usb microphones. For those, the warranty is only 2 years. I guess that the usb-part is the problem.

So the answer is: There are microphones with a long lifespan, but probably no usb-microphones. You would need an additional audio interface for that.

Generally speaking, microphones have a very long lifespan if you treat them correctly. It seems that this is not true for usb-microphones, but I have no personal experience with that.

Regards,
Andreas

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Re: Are there affordable microphones that last for decades?

Postby rizzin » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:34 am

I don't think microphones degrade really. It depends on how you treat them.

Back in 2007 I bought a cheap computer microphone (made by Genius I think) to use VoIP communication. It has lasted me well until around 2016. And at that time it was just a cable issue fixable with a soldering iron.

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bluebell
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Re: Are there affordable microphones that last for decades?

Postby bluebell » Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:20 pm

crocket wrote:I currently own Blue Snowball iCE. I'm disappointed that it has short lifespan.

I want an affordable microphone that lasts at least 15 years. I will plug it into Raspberry Pi 3 B+.
It just needs to record my voice.

Does anyone know such microphones?


My son's USB mic lasts for some years now without any problems. I ordered it 2015:

https://www.thomann.de/de/the_tbone_sc440_usb.htm
Linux – MOTU UltraLite AVB – Qtractor – https://soundcloud.com/suedwestlicht

zoco
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Re: Are there affordable microphones that last for decades?

Postby zoco » Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:45 pm

My best HQ microphone is about 35 years old. :mrgreen:
Good brand. Hi end type. Still performing perfect. Now for sale for about $200-250. Used offcourse, so test before pay.

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Linuxmusician01
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Re: Are there affordable microphones that last for decades?

Postby Linuxmusician01 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 1:15 pm

bluebell wrote:
crocket wrote:I currently own Blue Snowball iCE. I'm disappointed that it has short lifespan.

I want an affordable microphone that lasts at least 15 years. I will plug it into Raspberry Pi 3 B+.
It just needs to record my voice.

Does anyone know such microphones?


My son's USB mic lasts for some years now without any problems. I ordered it 2015:

https://www.thomann.de/de/the_tbone_sc440_usb.htm

Looks nice, sturdy and affordable. Are you satisfied with the sound quality?

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davephillips
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Re: Are there affordable microphones that last for decades?

Postby davephillips » Fri Apr 05, 2019 1:24 pm

My Shure SM58 has been with me for decades, it's still the best mic for my vocals and it's designed for heavy-duty use. The USB mics I've seen and used have been poor contenders by comparison, but I'll be the first to admit that I've not kept up with the technology.

Are you using your mic for singing or just speaking ?

Best,

dp

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bluebell
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Re: Are there affordable microphones that last for decades?

Postby bluebell » Fri Apr 05, 2019 1:37 pm

Linuxmusician01 wrote:
bluebell wrote:
crocket wrote:I currently own Blue Snowball iCE. I'm disappointed that it has short lifespan.

I want an affordable microphone that lasts at least 15 years. I will plug it into Raspberry Pi 3 B+.
It just needs to record my voice.

Does anyone know such microphones?


My son's USB mic lasts for some years now without any problems. I ordered it 2015:

https://www.thomann.de/de/the_tbone_sc440_usb.htm

Looks nice, sturdy and affordable. Are you satisfied with the sound quality?


Yes, it sounds ok. Since it's a mic AND an audio interface you can't expect a sound quality of a $3000 tube mic.

But let's be honest: many vocal recordings are pimped with EQ, Exciter and De-Esser so that small differences between the mics don't matter.
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Linuxmusician01
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Re: Are there affordable microphones that last for decades?

Postby Linuxmusician01 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 1:43 pm

davephillips wrote:My Shure SM58 has been with me for decades, it's still the best mic for my vocals and it's designed for heavy-duty use. The USB mics I've seen and used have been poor contenders by comparison, but I'll be the first to admit that I've not kept up with the technology.

Are you using your mic for singing or just speaking ?

Best,

dp

Was just looking at this mic that is recommended by lots of people. It's $100. @bluebell: thank you for the recommendation. I guess that one just cannot expect decent sound quality for 10 Euro's (link T.Bone MB45 II from Thomann).

crocket
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Re: Are there affordable microphones that last for decades?

Postby crocket » Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:44 pm

davephillips wrote:My Shure SM58 has been with me for decades, it's still the best mic for my vocals and it's designed for heavy-duty use. The USB mics I've seen and used have been poor contenders by comparison, but I'll be the first to admit that I've not kept up with the technology.

Are you using your mic for singing or just speaking ?

Best,

dp


I use Blue Snowball iCE to record my voice and play it back for foreign language practice. I also use it to participate in audio calls from time to time.
I don't need a microphone that delivers high quality voice. I want a microphone setup that lasts 15 years or more.

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bluebell
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Re: Are there affordable microphones that last for decades?

Postby bluebell » Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:09 am

Linuxmusician01 wrote:
davephillips wrote:My Shure SM58 has been with me for decades, it's still the best mic for my vocals and it's designed for heavy-duty use. The USB mics I've seen and used have been poor contenders by comparison, but I'll be the first to admit that I've not kept up with the technology.

Are you using your mic for singing or just speaking ?

Best,

dp

Was just looking at this mic that is recommended by lots of people. It's $100. @bluebell: thank you for the recommendation. I guess that one just cannot expect decent sound quality for 10 Euro's (link T.Bone MB45 II from Thomann).


You can't compare an USB mic (builtin audio interface) with a "naked" mic.
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zoco
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Re: Are there affordable microphones that last for decades?

Postby zoco » Sat Apr 06, 2019 1:15 pm

davephillips wrote:My Shure SM58 has been with me for decades, it's still the best mic for my vocals and it's designed for heavy-duty use.

A question i have always had?
There are USB condensor microphone for sale from around $100 or so. Is it not impossible for those to compare in quality with 'real' condensor microphones?

bluebell wrote:You can't compare an USB mic (builtin audio interface) with a "naked" mic.

On the other hand. Do not underestimate the quality of nowadays condensor microphones, many used in small devices like mobiles. I have DIY microphone build tutorials were they used those with high quality results.

davephillips wrote:My Shure SM58 has been with me for decades, it's still the best mic for my vocals and it's designed for heavy-duty use.

I am with u. Another one of my decades old microphones also is a Shure although no 58.

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Linuxmusician01
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Re: Are there affordable microphones that last for decades?

Postby Linuxmusician01 » Sat Apr 06, 2019 2:33 pm

bluebell wrote:You can't compare an USB mic (builtin audio interface) with a "naked" mic.

Aha. Do you mean that an USB mic has extra hardware built in so it can function as a "stand alone" device that does not need an audio card? That will make it's price higher. Or are there any other caveats for (USB) microphones? I know nothing about the subject, I don't even know what a condenser microphone is... So excuse me the stupid questions. ;)

I think that the best choice, price wise, would be a naked mic, no?

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bluebell
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Re: Are there affordable microphones that last for decades?

Postby bluebell » Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:15 am

Linuxmusician01 wrote:
bluebell wrote:You can't compare an USB mic (builtin audio interface) with a "naked" mic.

Aha. Do you mean that an USB mic has extra hardware built in so it can function as a "stand alone" device that does not need an audio card? That will make it's price higher. Or are there any other caveats for (USB) microphones? I know nothing about the subject, I don't even know what a condenser microphone is... So excuse me the stupid questions. ;)

I think that the best choice, price wise, would be a naked mic, no?


Yes, with an USB mic you don't need an audio interface with a good mic preamp because it's builtin in the mic. If the computer's audio interface is good enough for listening (most are) but has a noisy preamp (many have), then this might be a solution - especially for people who record speech or do broadcasting stuff.

Of course a separate audio interface and a "naked" mic (without USB) offer more choices but are more expensive. A good audio interface starts about 100 € (e.g. Focusrite Scarlett Solo). It offers 48V "phantom power" so you can connect both dynamic mics (e.g. Shure SM58, good on stage) and condenser mics (AKG P120, good for recording).

However, if you go for "pro audio", say you will use a DAW in mid or long term, apply effects, record music, I recommend a separate audio interface and a "naked" non-usb mic. On the software side, if you want to use jack (and you will in this scenario) then you should use the same interface for input and output.
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Linuxmusician01
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Re: Are there affordable microphones that last for decades?

Postby Linuxmusician01 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:09 pm

bluebell wrote:Yes, with an USB mic you don't need an audio interface with a good mic preamp because it's builtin in the mic. If the computer's audio interface is good enough for listening (most are) but has a noisy preamp (many have), then this might be a solution - especially for people who record speech or do broadcasting stuff.

Of course a separate audio interface and a "naked" mic (without USB) offer more choices but are more expensive. A good audio interface starts about 100 € (e.g. Focusrite Scarlett Solo). It offers 48V "phantom power" so you can connect both dynamic mics (e.g. Shure SM58, good on stage) and condenser mics (AKG P120, good for recording).

However, if you go for "pro audio", say you will use a DAW in mid or long term, apply effects, record music, I recommend a separate audio interface and a "naked" non-usb mic. On the software side, if you want to use jack (and you will in this scenario) then you should use the same interface for input and output.

Thanks for the info. I have an external audio device (Behringer 404 w/ Midas pre-amps, they say the Midas pre-amps are pretty good...).However, I'd hate to use the 48 Phantom Power because on my audio device then all inputs have that phantom power. That means that I cannot connect a dynamic mic and a synth at the same time. Any idea what might be an affordable non-phantom power mic like the Shure SM58?


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