I’ve bought a little bit more sound equipment recently to help me with the kinds of production tasks I am attending to regularly. Over most of the last year with my home functioning as an ad hoc music and video studio, I’ve done pretty well with what I had but, with at least a couple more months of that to go, it felt like time to get some upgrades to get better results more quickly (and to keep that ease if use when I return to more focus on supporting live music).
The first of those has been getting a decent condenser mic. I’ve got a lot of mileage out of my Zoom H1 but it’s real purpose is as a field recorder (that doesn’t mean you have to use it in a field; for example, this has been brilliant as a ‘notepad’ to capture rehearsals) and it is too good at picking up background noises. I’ve also got a solid dynamic mic, a Shure Beta 58A. That’s great for belting out live vocals but you need to give it a good signal from fairly close up. That is by design rather than a weakness but it is different intended application. A good condenser mic sits between those two – a rich sound without having to get too close to the front but good rejection of extraneous noise from other directions.
I opted for an Audio Technica AT2020 – a reputable brand, affordable price and excellent reviews. I didn’t realise how relatively old the design is. I now understand it was released in about 2004 and I found this 2006 review from Sound on Sound. It is still popular though and still gets frequent new reviews; dependable technology that is showing signs of standing the test of time.
Early results have been pleasing. I did a bit of voice over that will probably make it into Sunday’s services (liturgical responses to help the viewers) and also tracked several sung parts for a song I was putting together for the toddlers’ group. I might want to get a couple of these for the church, where I think they might do better than the mics we presently have available when we get back to filming services in church. For now though, this purchase looks like being a boon in my home studio: hello mic!