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Can You Make a Cheap Mic Sound Better – An Update

Last year we asked the question, Can You Make a Cheap Mic Sound Good? Since then, it’s turned into one of our more popular posts. That also spawned my giveaway ebook, Podcast Secret Sauce which walks you step-by-step through the process of adjusting your current recording setup to get the optimal Big Voice sound. Look to your immediate right to see how to get your free copy right now.

Okay, enough shilling for my stuff – recently, I had the wool pulled over my eyes by Michael Dean, a buddy of mine who runs the Freedom Feens blog and podcast.

Michael has always been a stickler for getting the best out of his equipment so it wasn’t surprising to me that a couple of days ago I saw this post on Facebook:

AUDIOPHILE INPUT PLEASE: Please check out this 20-second MP3. What do you think of the sound of this RE-20 microphone? I bought the mic, but it’s a “try before you buy” deal and I have two weeks to return it for a refund. It was expensive, and I might keep it, but need your opinions, especially compared to the ribbon and condenser mics I usually use on the Feens.

Other than myself, a number of other podcasters, audiophiles and studio folk were tagged to respond to this request.

I listened to the recording and heard a thick, robust sound coming from Michael’s mic. My comment was (sic), “The RE20 is always a great sounding mic, but have you considered the RE320 – basically the same good sound but at a much lower price.”  Please note, I couldn’t find Michael’s original post so my response is via memory.

I hit the Enter button and added my post to an ever-growing list of responses to his question. All the while basking in the glow of being able to help out a fellow podcaster in need.

Okay, fast-forward to today. I jump on to Facebook and came across this post left on my wall from Michael:

Yup, turns out the $430 RE20 he was speaking of was actually a $17 mic and this was the one way he could do a truly blind test of the equipment.

The Moral of This Story

Don’t fall for marketing hype – use your ears. If it sounds good, the price tag is meaningless.

Here’s the full story – in Michael’s words – that’s posted on his Freedom Feens website.

Well played, sir… well played.

About Jay Walsh

With a combined 25 years of design, marketing, podcasting, video and social media knowledge, Jay created with the goal of helping you make a better podcast.

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