I want to say one thing right from the start ...
I am not one of those people who talk, only to hear themselves.
I enjoy conversation ... two (or more) sided conversation, and
if we can inject a little whitisizm, humor or sarcasm - all the better!
.: Microphones :.
I have tried a LOT of different microphones over the years.
Everything from Electrovoice, Heil, Sony, AKG,
Audio Technica and Shure, just to name a few.
I currently own over a dozen mics!
I have learned that the best microphone (for HAM radio)
is a dynamic mic. A close second, is a condenser mic.
The main problem with a condenser mic, is that they are incredibly
sensitive and will pick up background noise, like an amplifier
fan, screaming kids (XYL?), or a fire truck siren going by.
A dynamic mic is much better at suppressing background noise
but since it is less sensitive, they sometimes lack clarity.
My most recent addition (June 2020) is a Neat King Bee large
diaphragm condenser which boasts a 34mm capsule providing great
frequency response and clarity for voice communications.
It also has a 6.5 db noise floor which is almost
unheard of, for a microphone in this price class.
Some would say it looks like a toy, because of it's rather
... unique (odd?) color scheme and appearance.
If you can get past the looks, I think you'll be impressed with
the sound, but hey ... you will have to be the judge!
It's also not that expensive.
I paid $190 CDN for the King Bee.
At the current pricing, it is less expensive
than an Audio Technica AT2035
which offers a 12 db noise floor.
If you'd like to hear a sound clip using the King Bee ...
(wear headphones for best audio quality)
Before buying the King Bee, I was using a Marshall MXL-2001.
This mic worked great for many years, until I decided to upgrade.
I have nothing bad to say about the MXL-2001, except
that it has a 18db noise floor (background hiss).
While the MXL-2001 is no longer in production, you will find
similar MXL models available, some in the $100 price range.
Sure okay ... I'd love to have an
but I can't justify a $700 price tag to own one.
.: Processing :.
In the past I have used as many as six pieces of audio rack equipment.
I look at it as part of a never-ending learning curve.
What did I learn?
Use as few devices as possible, to mitigate the possibility of RFI
apply the K.I.S.S. principle! (Keep It Simple Stupid)
Now, I only use two pieces of audio processing equipment.
A mic processor, with a aural/sonic exciter in the side chain.
The Pro Announcer PH-500 microphone processor has a compressor/expander,
three band equalizer, de-eSSer, noise gate, and phantom power making it one of the best "on air" mic processors around.
AirCorp is no longer around, making them desirable and hard to find.
Used predominantly in AM & FM broadcasting studios,
when paired up with a good quality microphone,
you'll almost always have good audio.
If I were asked for an alternative to this great processor,
I'd recommend the
Aphex 230 or
Don't waste your time & money on a Behringer mic processor.
The ones I have tried were either noisy or lacked features.
In the side chain ...
The Behringer SX3040 is a 2 channel Sonic Exciter & Sound Enhancement Processor
From the manufacturer:
The SX3040 provides increased clarity and punchy bottom end to your sound system. It improves the natural brightness through harmonic enhancement and adds density to the low frequencies through phase compensation.
Produces natural brightness through harmonic enhancement and tighter bass with increased punch through phase compensation.
Dramatically improves your sound by adding clarity, dimension and depth.
Improves sound systems by adding sparkling high end and super-tight bass.
Dramatically increases voice intelligibility and your music gains presence.
Adds loudness and "live presence" even on small car or computer speakers
Dedicated Tune, Harmonics and Mix controls per channel on the Sonic Exciter section
Dedicated Drive, Tune and Mix controls per channel on the Bass Processor section
Servo-balanced inputs and outputs with ¼" TRS and gold-plated XLR connectors
The SX3040 is often referred to as the "poor mans" Aphex 204
What about a mixing board?
Since my whole "audio chain" is only one piece with
another in the side chain, I really don't need one.
I can recommend a
which has low noise op-amps in it.
Can you improve your audio? ... of course!!
It doesn't have to cost you hoards of money either.
After all ... we as HAM's usually live on a HAM budget.
Don't be afraid or intimidated by the big mean eSSB guys.
Remember, you'll need a radio that can transmit 3 khz
(or more) wide audio to get un-solicited compliments!