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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking at getting an XLR mic that I can use on my computer with a small mixer board. I like the idea of a flexible neck and small, out of the way microphone.

Are gooseneck mics in general suitable for use when you're not talking directly into them or should I be looking at other types of mics for this purpose?

I don't need a mic that's really high quality, just one that won't pick up much noise and will be higher quality than your average cheap-o mic.
 

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Depends.

Most of the gooseneck mics I see on Thomann are cardiod types so they are are directional (they are not very sensitive to sound behind the capsule).

You would use a directional mic like a cardiod condenser because you don't want to pick up ambient noise/spill. You angle them away from undesirable sound sources. With a gooseneck, the angle is more limited than if using a stand + shock mount, but limited positioning may not affect you. It really depends on what you are trying to do. If you move around a lot, you may not want a very directional mic that is stuck to your desk because as soon as you turn away from the front of the capsule, it doesn't pick up the sound of your voice very well.

The reason you close mic is so the direct sound of the source drowns out the reflected sound of the source and/or other unwanted/incidental noise. If you have a really quiet recording environment and a room with controlled acoustics, you may want to pick up the reflections.

You may want to record from multiple mics (i.e. close directional mic + far omni-directional mic) and then mix some of the room ambiance back into your "dry" voice.

If you are recording at home, you probably don't have good acoustics though since residential homes tend not to be built for the controlled propagation of sound waves.

I live in one of those cardboard box houses built during the property boom and the acoustics are terrible. Its not terribly quiet either so I close mic everything and use very directional mics to minimize the influence of a (bad sounding) room and unwanted incidental noises. Then I attempt to simulate room ambiance in post processing using things like reverb. If all you have is lemons, just make lemonade.

As for quality? You can get very good results from very cheap mics but it is highly contingent on your recording environment, mic placement and recording + mixing technique.

Even if you have a €5,000 ribbon mic, you can still get crappy results if you attempt to record a weak delivery in a cardboard box bedroom with bonkers acoustics and no idea how to record or mix.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the response. My setup will probably be pretty noisy to start with but I plan on moving into an apartment soon and getting some sound deadening and isolation materials to help keep sound in/out and cut reflections plus move my computer a little farther away.

I'm not sure how my mic will be positioned, though it probably won't be directly in front of my face for most use (voice chat), which I presume is what most gooseneck mics are primarily designed for. I won't need to move much or at all while using it though, and if I do, the goosenck itself should provide more than enough range of movement.

I'd definitely prefer to keep it to a single mic for cost and simplicity's sake.

Do you have any examples of any specific kinds of mics I should be looking at?
 

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Whats the mic for? If its just voicechat, a lavelier mic or a headset works decently and you dont have to worry about having the mic right in front of you and near your mouth at all times.

If you plan on doing any sort of instrument recording then its hard to avoid using a stand + shockmount at some point because you need to shape the mic's position around comfortable playing posture (whatever that may be). You dont really want to have to change your posture to work for the mic.

2 way conversation? If face to face you can get bi directional mics for that.

Do you have a soundcard? Do you need a (phantom) power supply? Condensers will need to be powered so look for that. The cardiod condensers I use need preamplification and phantom power but I have a soundcard that can provide both.

Generally for affordable home recording I would go with a unidirectional mic (i.e. cardiod), I would mic up close range and reduce the influence of (bad) room acoustics + ambient noise, then fake room ambience in post production (if necessary). Better alternatives get expensive quickly and may require substantial alteration (or in extreme cases reconstruction) of your room.

I already have mixing/post production software and it can get expensive so bear that in mind too.

If you mic super close and super directional, the raw recording you get is going to sound...somewhat unnatural. It doesnt matter how much you spend on the mic. It will be very "dry" and will need something extra - multi micing, clever layering/mixing, post production etc.

The software required to do mixing/post it can be expensive though.

Its hard to recommend a specific mic because I cant visualise your use case scenario. Also my vocabulary of mics is limited. Its really just SM57s, AT4040s and AT4033s plus a bunch of random cheap laveliers for use at work.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I really hate clip on and headset mics, which is why I'm looking at other types. I also use multiple sets of headphones and occasionally speakers, so headset mics are out anyway.

I've found cheap goosenecks, but they all have shorter necks and all the ones I've ever heard or tried have quality so bad I don't even want to use them for voice chat.

Voice chat will be the most common use, but I also like to be able to record my voice in quality higher than a basic 3.5mm mic. I currently use a fairly cheap USB mic of reasonable quality, but it sits on my desk, taking up room and also picking up vibrations from my desk and the sound of me typing pretty loudly, so I want to get something I can set/mount away from my keyboard.

I know everything I'll need for the setup I think I want, I just don't know if it's right for me or if I should just go the generic Yeti (or other USB mic) route.
 

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Maybe check out something like a Shure CVG18. You can shockmount those things if desk vibration is going to bother you. The neck should be long enough that you don't need the stand right in front of you, interfering with your mouse and keyboard and all that. Those podium electrets can be quite sensitive so you don't need to shove them down your throat to pick up your voice properly. You can turn away from them and stand really far back but condensers gonna condenser. Cranking the gain to do that is going to pick up the sound of an ant farting next door, so I hope you have a quiet PC. My AT4040s and 4033s pick up my case fans when the system is under load, even when angled away from the case. Such is life when you try to set up a condenser less than 3 feet away from your PC.

This mic definitely needs phantom power. I don't know if it needs an external preamp but if you have a soundcard that can provide both then you are good to go. Something like a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 would do the trick and they are pretty cheap (about €100.00 ish for a used 2nd gen). If you don't like the price, maybe look at comparable podium electret cardiod condensers and go for the longer necks (i.e. 18"). If you are really cheap, you can probably DIY your own shockmount. I made one out of a pencil holder and some rubber bands and have a pop shield made from a pair of tights stretched over a coat hanger. If you need a shockmount, don't get trapped by optional extras. Pricecheck the shockmount or consider making your own because they can be crazy expensive. I got my 4033 used for a really good price and ended up needing the shockmount later. When I checked the price of the AT shockmount, it was more than I paid for the mic (!!).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the advice, but in the end I've decided to go with the simpler USB mic option. Gamestop has a Yeti + AC:Origins bundle for $90 today, so that'll be much cheaper and simpler than an XLR mic + mixer and I can deal with the size of it.
 
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