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Great Mic Sound for your CB or Export Radio-part 3

Discussion in 'General CB Services Discussion' started by Robb, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. Robb Yup

    Dec 18, 2008
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    Previous article: http://www.worldwidedx.com/installa...itizens-band-radio-export-radio-part-2-a.html

    Mic preamps

    For our purposes, we will require a preamp that cost $100 or less to keep the cost low for this project. They can be far more expensive than this (some used in the recording industry can cost several thousands of dollars!), but our preamp will only need to have certain functions. We don't require the quality that these $3000 preamps provide. Both ART and Behringer (pictured below) make a fine preamp for $40-60 that uses tube sound to give it 'warmth'; but we need one because of its low noise and high gain. We will choose either one of them as the basis for putting this system together. They are far better than the preamps found in any power mic that you might have.

    I use the Behringer UltraGain Pro 2200 that cost $100 new/$60 used. But either one of the aforementioned preamps will work just fine. They all use a balanced XLR cable for the input and output on the preamp which we will take advantage of. They all have a 'phantom power' on/off switch (no; this is NOT the name of a would-be superhero) which is necessary to power a condenser mic with +48 volts. If using a dynamic mic; we will just shut this switch off. It offers absolutely nothing beneficial for a dynamic mic - and possibly even damage it. These preamps use 110vac and use a real tube to emulate the warm and even harmonics that are pleasing to one's ear.

    There are other buttons/switches on these preamps for padding down/attenuating mic output, phase reversal, low freq cut, and the phantom power on/off. Some will have a meter, and another may not. They will suit our needs; but the Behringer UltraGain Pro 2200 is best bang for the buck. It has a parametric equalizer on it with a adjustable low cut. But I don't use the parametric EQ features; I prefer to let the mic do the work 'unvarnished'. This is precisely why we are choosing professional-grade mics over a poorer grade; EQing is optional but mostly unnecessary.

    Making the choices

    We need a mic to pair with the preamp. A dynamic mic will have a built-in freq curve that will dictate the sound being broadcast. While a condenser mic will be nearly flat and provide a more natural sound. It is a judgement call at your end, as they cost about the same new or used. If you find a decent Shure, AKG, or ElectroVoice dynamic mic for used/$50 on eBay, you can do that and be quite satisfied with the results. A Shure SM57 or SM58 would be excellent choices. So would an ElectroVoice ND 757 or ND 408B for $50. The AKG's might be a bit higher in price; but not any better. I recommend staying with the Shure or ElectroVoice choices for best results (pictured below).

    Once you have chosen a dynamic mic; you will be set for whatever freq curve it has. Most of the ones I've listed will work very well and I'm sure you will be very pleased with them. This is a 'no-guess' list; they are all fine performers that will hold their resale value. They are standards in the recording and live sound industry as 'go to' for varieties of applications for predictable sonic performance.

    Many condensers can be found in the $50-100/used price range and $100-160 for a new one. This is why I said to get a condenser mic; as they will be far better for the same amount of money spent on a dynamic mic. I bought mine locally for $80 (sells for ~$160/new); but I could have found it on eBay for less. If you spend up to the same amount, you will have a fine mic that can be used for years to come and never be dissatisfied with it. I prefer the MXL brand of condensers; a LOT of bang for the buck. The MXL 990, V67, V88, and 2003a can all be found used for less than $100 and will easily exceed your largest expectations (pictured below). There are other brands that will also work; such as M-Audio, CAD, and Rode. But I am most familiar and trust the MXL mics that have proven to me their quality vs price. WE don't want to consider a small capsule condenser mic; they just don't provide enough full range flat response. Stick to choosing the large capsule element mics, which are 1 inch or slightly larger. For best results, try to stick with my recommendations.

    Budget yourself for $50-100 for a used mic, and $100-160 for a new one. A new preamp will cost between $30-100, and $20-100 for a used preamp. A XLR mic cable might be included in your purchase; but if not - it might cost anther $10 for a used cable, $20 for new. We will also need another XLR cable for the output of the preamp to the mic input of the radio, and a 4 pin female plug for the radio.

    May I suggest?

    I will make this easy by choosing a couple of different combinations for the sake of this article. Or maybe you just need to be helped some more. I will keep them in the ~$150 price range/budget. Either of these choices will far exceed what a Silver Eagle or Turner mic could ever accomplish. There is no comparison to using a professional grade mic and amateur preamp to one of the classic CB mics. Be prepared to be blown away.

    PreSonus TubePre and MXL990 Condenser Microphone and more Microphone Preamps at GuitarCenter.com.
    MXL V63M Studio Condenser Microphone with Shockmount and more Condenser Microphones at GuitarCenter.com.
    ART Tube MP Studio Mic Preamp and more Microphone Preamps at GuitarCenter.com.

    Dynamic mic/preamp:
    Behringer MIC200 Tube Ultra Gain Preamp and more Microphone Preamps at GuitarCenter.com.
    Shure SM58 Mic and more Dynamic Microphones at GuitarCenter.com.

    NOTE: I used Guitar Center links as a reference and out of convenience. One can probably find the same items on eBay or Google to get bargains. I would . . .

    Best choices vs cost/benefit

    The MXL V67 is the best bang for buck - as far as my recommendation for a top grade/low cost mic - hands down. You can buy them new for ~$90:

    The mic preamp with the best bang for buck is the Behringer Ultra Gain Pro 2200 for ~$100. Another hands down choice! Very low noise and decent quality build:

    You should do very well with these choices. Even if you are a Ham, CB radio enthusiast, or do home recording with your computer. You will be more than satisfied with the sonic quality they both provide!

    Wiring it up

    After choosing a mic and preamp, we will need to wire it all together. We will do this tomorrow.

    Pictured from left to right:
    One of MXL's best mic for the price; the MXL 2003a
    Shure SM58 dynamic mic
    M-Audio Condenser mic
    ElectroVoice Dynamic mic
    ART mic preamp

    Attached Files:

  2. T23 Active Member

    Apr 17, 2010
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  3. kevin IB/379 Stringbean Active Member

    Oct 15, 2006
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    Very enjoyable read there Robb.Thanx and keep it up
  4. Robb Yup

    Dec 18, 2008
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    This is another valid and inexpensive preamp choice that has a compressor built in. Has a useful noise gate as well. Has phantom power for that condenser mic you might well be considering too.

    At $80, a lot of bang for the buck. The noise gate and compressor can give you a real leg-up for great sound. It is important to understand how to use these functions. Before you understand and use these functions, just stick with just using the preamp. Using a noise gate and compressor isn't difficult; but it will take some time to understand what they do, how to use them, and how to adjust yours properly. One step at a time - please. Respect the learning process for best results.

    Buy Behringer Shark DSP110 | Feedback Suppression | Musician's Friend

    Attached Files:

  5. Robb Yup

    Dec 18, 2008
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