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Microphone recommendation for online student setup?
#3067839 01/11/21 10:12 AM
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Hey gang,

I'm going to be starting online lessons within a week or two (same teacher will be in-person when we're out of the Covid mess). I have an Roland RD-2000 with a couple of ADAM Audio AX7 monitors as my current setup.

My plan is to connect with the teacher though Zoom, Skype or what-have-you through a laptop using one quality omnidirectional mic connected to a Scarlet 2i2 (or similar) on a small boom a bit above the piano and my head. While I won't be using the mic for general recordings on the RD-2000, I do use microphones in much of my other work and certainly wouldn't mind picking up a high quality omni mic for this and other purposes. I have some other amazing mics but they're all of the boom variety, and being highly directional I don't think they're be suitable for picking up both the piano and my speaking voice unless I went with a multi mic setup. That's doable, but I'd rather not breakdown my other setups every time I take a lesson.

Does anyone have a microphone suggestion for this purpose. Budget would be ~$500 USD with some flexibility. I'm open to other options too, seeing as how my lack of knowledge on this front is likely limiting my perspective.

Thanks very much!


Roland RD-2000
Mastered: Mary Had A Little Lamb
Yet to Master: Everything else
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Re: Microphone recommendation for online student setup?
Schwa #3067878 01/11/21 11:29 AM
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Hmm, alternatively, maybe I could run two mono outputs from the RD-2000 and a mic into a mixer or preamp and then connect that to the PC via USB. Assuming the two lines are merged (either by the mixer or software) then maybe I could use that single audio output in the Skype settings? Lots of maybes here, lol. Big benefit if this can work is that I can adjust gain on each input and I won't have to buy another mic. The big downside, however, is that I won't have a shiny new mic! laugh


Roland RD-2000
Mastered: Mary Had A Little Lamb
Yet to Master: Everything else
Re: Microphone recommendation for online student setup?
Schwa #3067917 01/11/21 12:25 PM
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I don't have a microphone recommendation - but wanted to mention that you should enable "original sound" in Zoom. And, also go in the advanced Audio options and select stereo and "high definition". This will improve the sound significantly over Zoom.

Osho


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Current VST favorites (in the order of preference): Pianoteq 7/VSL Synchron Concert D//Garritan CFX/Embertone Walker D Full

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Re: Microphone recommendation for online student setup?
Osho #3067923 01/11/21 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Osho
I don't have a microphone recommendation - but wanted to mention that you should enable "original sound" in Zoom. And, also go in the advanced Audio options and select stereo and "high definition". This will improve the sound significantly over Zoom.

Osho
If, however, you find your connection freezing or dropping, try turning off Stereo. It takes a lot more bandwidth.


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Re: Microphone recommendation for online student setup?
Schwa #3067960 01/11/21 01:35 PM
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Most people doing internet lessons are use in built webcam or laptop mic. If you want to go all out on a setup that’s fine but it’s likely super overkill and streaming software will compress the beejeezus out of anything you do regardless. I would do one lesson with whatever you already have and then decide if it’s worth spending money to improve.

Re: Microphone recommendation for online student setup?
Schwa #3067973 01/11/21 01:58 PM
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I appreciate the Zoom advice. I will try using that instead of Skype and see how it goes.

I just tried to accomplish what I laid out in post #2 and failed... at least in part. For one thing I realized that I would still need to find a way to hear the piano myself, oops! blush My open headphones would likely cause some feedback for the teacher, and my closed headphones would make it difficult for me to hear the teacher over my tiny laptop speakers. I also had some difficulty determining whether or not the piano output was coming though in the call. There were indications the piano audio was working but I couldn't verify it.

Honestly, it all seems like a real PITA now that I've worked on it a bit I think I'd much rather keep it simple and use one mic to pick up both the studio monitors and my voice. Anyone with more audio recording than myself see any readily apparent issues with that setup?

Unless anyone has a better suggestion I might spring for something like a Neumann TLM 102. I've been eyeing one for my voice work anyway and I'm pretty sure it would fine for this application as well.


Roland RD-2000
Mastered: Mary Had A Little Lamb
Yet to Master: Everything else
Re: Microphone recommendation for online student setup?
AndrewJCW #3067974 01/11/21 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by AndrewJCW
Most people doing internet lessons are use in built webcam or laptop mic. If you want to go all out on a setup that’s fine but it’s likely super overkill and streaming software will compress the beejeezus out of anything you do regardless. I would do one lesson with whatever you already have and then decide if it’s worth spending money to improve.

Would you please stop making reasonable suggestions? I'm trying to justify more toys here!


Roland RD-2000
Mastered: Mary Had A Little Lamb
Yet to Master: Everything else
Re: Microphone recommendation for online student setup?
Schwa #3067984 01/11/21 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Schwa
Hey gang,

I'm going to be starting online lessons within a week or two (same teacher will be in-person when we're out of the Covid mess). I have an Roland RD-2000 with a couple of ADAM Audio AX7 monitors as my current setup.

My plan is to connect with the teacher though Zoom, Skype or what-have-you through a laptop using one quality omnidirectional mic connected to a Scarlet 2i2 (or similar) on a small boom a bit above the piano and my head. While I won't be using the mic for general recordings on the RD-2000, I do use microphones in much of my other work and certainly wouldn't mind picking up a high quality omni mic for this and other purposes. I have some other amazing mics but they're all of the boom variety, and being highly directional I don't think they're be suitable for picking up both the piano and my speaking voice unless I went with a multi mic setup. That's doable, but I'd rather not breakdown my other setups every time I take a lesson.

Does anyone have a microphone suggestion for this purpose. Budget would be ~$500 USD with some flexibility. I'm open to other options too, seeing as how my lack of knowledge on this front is likely limiting my perspective.

Thanks very much!

Shure SM7B if your room is not treated. It's a dynamic mic so you may need to buy a cloudlifter or something similar. Your interface has clear preamps though, so I'd first give the mic a try and then buy other things accordingly if there is too much noise.


[Linked Image]

*** This is suitable for recording vocals. It's not as sensitive as condenser mics.

Last edited by Abdol; 01/11/21 02:26 PM.

Kawai MP7SE, Yamaha MOTF XF6, Yamaha WX5, Yamaha Pacifica 112v
Re: Microphone recommendation for online student setup?
Schwa #3068008 01/11/21 03:03 PM
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Oh wow, the SM7B was on my short list about a year ago for another venture. Not "shure" how I overlooked it this time around but thanks very much.


Roland RD-2000
Mastered: Mary Had A Little Lamb
Yet to Master: Everything else
Re: Microphone recommendation for online student setup?
AndrewJCW #3068020 01/11/21 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by AndrewJCW
streaming software will compress the beejeezus out of anything you do regardless. I would do one lesson with whatever you already have and then decide if it’s worth spending money to improve.

I agree with your advise that do one lesson with whatever you already have. But, it is not true that "streaming software will compress the beejeezus out of anything you do". With the Zoom settings I had mentioned - it provides an excellent uncompressed sound - assuming, of course, the internet is sufficient fast on both the sender and the receiver side.

Osho


Mason & Hamlin BB
Kawai Novus NV10 + VST + Genelec 8050B monitors.
Current VST favorites (in the order of preference): Pianoteq 7/VSL Synchron Concert D//Garritan CFX/Embertone Walker D Full

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Re: Microphone recommendation for online student setup?
AndrewJCW #3068094 01/11/21 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by AndrewJCW
Most people doing internet lessons are use in built webcam or laptop mic. If you want to go all out on a setup that’s fine but it’s likely super overkill and streaming software will compress the beejeezus out of anything you do regardless. I would do one lesson with whatever you already have and then decide if it’s worth spending money to improve.

My experience with vocals, using Zoom, is that if "Original Sound" is turned on, there's not much compression, and there's reasonable bandwidth.

I don't know exactly where "diminishing returns" happens, but IMHO you _can_ make substantial, audible improvements over most laptops' built-in mics. I've used dynamic vocal mics (Shure SM58 and Sennheiser e945 (not cheap)), and they give good results. The Boya mics have good reputations in the low-price category.

I'd try using open-back headphones -- not too loud -- for listening to my teacher, and an outboard mic, maybe 6" off my lips, for picking up my voice and my piano. The leakage from the headphones is nowhere near as loud (at the mic) as the sound would be, from loudspeakers playing back my teacher's voice and piano.

A small mixer, with an audio-over-USB link to the computer, makes this much easier. Then, using closed-back headphones, listening to my teacher through one ear, and my own playing and voice through the other ear, is fairly simple to set up.


. Charles
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Re: Microphone recommendation for online student setup?
Schwa #3068112 01/11/21 07:41 PM
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I really appreciate all the advice and suggestions regarding microphones and stream settings. Very helpful.

I ended up order an SM7B and I'll use equipment I own for the rest of the setup. I'll report back in this thread when I get everything setup and get through a Zoom call with my teacher.


Roland RD-2000
Mastered: Mary Had A Little Lamb
Yet to Master: Everything else
Re: Microphone recommendation for online student setup?
Schwa #3068128 01/11/21 09:00 PM
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I had the same requirements when the pandemic caused all lessons to be virtual.

After trying many different solutions, what worked best for me is a mixer with a loopback. Basically, you setup zoom + piano into the speakers (so you hear only the teacher speaking/playing and your piano), and piano + mic back into zoom (so the teacher only hears your piano and voice).

I used a dynamic mic so feedback from the piano from the mic into zoom was not an issue. It picks up sound only a couple of inches in front of it, so the speakers that are behind it are barely audible. You can also use a headset to eliminate this issue completely.

Since teacher hears the original digital sound generated by the piano, he was able to pick up a lot of nuances in the playing that he couldn't before when I had the sound go out through the speakers and back into a mic.

Here's the equipment I used:
VST - pianoteq - I connect to the UCX via USB, so the sound never even gets converted to analog before feeding into zoom
Mixer - RME UCX - I think the Scarlett 2i4 also has loopback
Speakers - Centrance 2504 + DACmini PX
Mic - Sennheiser E935 - It's only for voice, so anything would work

Hope this helps.

Last edited by JoeF; 01/11/21 09:06 PM.
Re: Microphone recommendation for online student setup?
Schwa #3068191 01/12/21 12:39 AM
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RD-2000 has line-in + USB interface. If the OP only needs to "mix" the performance and vocal, a mixer is not necessary.

Only a mic is needed, and my humble guess is that 2i2 has more than enough preamps for a zoom call.

I don't think 2i2 has a loopback.

https://support.focusrite.com/hc/en-gb/articles/207546775-Does-the-Scarlett-range-have-loopback-

I have mentioned it so many times here. A decent mixer is better than a cheap interface. 2i2, UR22, etc. these are all budget interfaces, and unless you're on a budget, it's better to avoid them.

A simple digital mixer at this price range offers better features. Zoom and Yamaha both make good ones:

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/music_production/interfaces/ag_series/ag06.html#product-tabs

I'd personally get Behringer XR18 but this thing isn't going to go on sale and it's not in stock in almost everywhere.


Kawai MP7SE, Yamaha MOTF XF6, Yamaha WX5, Yamaha Pacifica 112v
Re: Microphone recommendation for online student setup?
Schwa #3068419 01/12/21 02:13 PM
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I'm guessing none of your other mics are of the interchangeable capsule type? I would've gotten a less directional capsule in that case. But can't go wrong with the Shure.

Re: Microphone recommendation for online student setup?
Abdol #3068769 01/13/21 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeF
After trying many different solutions, what worked best for me is a mixer with a loopback. Basically, you setup zoom + piano into the speakers (so you hear only the teacher speaking/playing and your piano), and piano + mic back into zoom (so the teacher only hears your piano and voice).

Wow, this sounds like a perfect solution! Hopefully that's something I can duplicate. This is a little outside my wheelhouse despite all the voice recording I do at home, so I may PM you to pick your brain at a later date if you're amenable to that. It will still be about a week before my monitors arrive and I don't have any other speakers to start testing this solution, but I can't wait to try.

Originally Posted by moshuajusic
I'm guessing none of your other mics are of the interchangeable capsule type? I would've gotten a less directional capsule in that case. But can't go wrong with the Shure.

I do not have any interchangeable capsule mics. I have some lavaliere mics, a couple of highly directional boom mics for my camera, and an amazing Sennheiser MKH50 that I use primarily for voice recording. The Shure arrived and its great. You're right that's its probably not the best mic for the application I was originally considering, but I think it will be ideal for the solution JoeF mentioned above if I can get that working. I also really like the color the Shure gave me on some test voice overs as it gives me something a little different to work with than my MKH 50.

Originally Posted by Abdol
RD-2000 has line-in + USB interface. If the OP only needs to "mix" the performance and vocal, a mixer is not necessary.

Only a mic is needed, and my humble guess is that 2i2 has more than enough preamps for a zoom call.

I don't think 2i2 has a loopback.

I have mentioned it so many times here. A decent mixer is better than a cheap interface. 2i2, UR22, etc. these are all budget interfaces, and unless you're on a budget, it's better to avoid them.

A simple digital mixer at this price range offers better features. Zoom and Yamaha both make good ones:

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/music_production/interfaces/ag_series/ag06.html#product-tabs

I'd personally get Behringer XR18 but this thing isn't going to go on sale and it's not in stock in almost everywhere.

You bring up some great points, not the least of which is that I need to do my due diligence and learn the full capabilities of my RD-2000. The 2i2 doesn't have loopback but I also have a 3rd gen 8i6 that does. Both of those units pale in comparison to the gorgeous beast you posted (the XR18). As you said, that looks like a much better solution than what I'm currently working with so I'll certainly consider it going forward.


Roland RD-2000
Mastered: Mary Had A Little Lamb
Yet to Master: Everything else
Re: Microphone recommendation for online student setup?
Schwa #3068772 01/13/21 02:25 PM
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Schwa, XR18 is a budget digital mixer!

Back in the days, it would cost an average musician thousands of dollars to afford what XR18 does for only a few hundred bucks! Behringer isn't known for quality but the idea and the price of this mixer are so good for a small band on a budget that it sells very well.

Obviously being a Behringer, it has some issues but at this price point, nothing beats it.


Kawai MP7SE, Yamaha MOTF XF6, Yamaha WX5, Yamaha Pacifica 112v
Re: Microphone recommendation for online student setup?
Schwa #3068773 01/13/21 02:30 PM
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So its not a beast so much as a Labrador retriever? lol, sounds about right for the likes of me anyway. Thank you very much for the info.


Roland RD-2000
Mastered: Mary Had A Little Lamb
Yet to Master: Everything else
Re: Microphone recommendation for online student setup?
Schwa #3069087 01/14/21 01:10 PM
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As well as some other people on the forum I use a Yamaha AG06 (cost me ~150 EUR) as follows:
- Connect line-out of digital piano to feed into mixer
- Connect mic to mixer
- Connect headphones to mixer
- Connect mixer with USB to laptop

Put mixer in "input mix" and use mixer both as audio input as well as audio output on laptop. Done, works as a charm.
I can hear piano & teacher (and myself unless I mute) over headphones, teacher cannot hear himself, but can hear me & my piano.

Re: Microphone recommendation for online student setup?
rmnd #3069129 01/14/21 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by rmnd
Put mixer in "input mix" and use mixer both as audio input as well as audio output on laptop. Done, works as a charm.
I can hear piano & teacher (and myself unless I mute) over headphones, teacher cannot hear himself, but can hear me & my piano.

If you want your teacher to listen to some audio source from your PC (e.g. youtube video, mp3 song, VST), then you will need to set it to loopback.


Kawai ES8, Roland RD2000, Yamaha AG06 mixer, Presonus Eris E5 monitors, Sennheiser HD598SR phones.
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