Tuesday, 23 May 2017


I got a microphone for christmas. It has languished in its' box until this evening. I'd asked for it, expecting something fairly run of the mill. One step up from the things you can get to do karaoke games on the playstation.

Instead I got a big box with an assortment of shiny and professional looking bits and pieces inside. It has a stand that clamps onto a desk. The stand itself is all springs and cantilevers and lockable pivots so that it can be moved around from an anchored base. The microphone itself certainly looks good, in its electric blue anodised casing, and it has a foam cover that slips over the head of the mike like a Buck house guards hat. It has an attachable pop filter (so that your "p"s don't become "P"s.


So I've put it all together, and hooked it up to first my computer, then to my effects pedal. 

Nothing. Not a peep of my voice could I hear in my headphones, when I said the obligatory "tap... tap... 1... 2... 1... 2... Hello...? Is this thing on...?

 I opened it all up, to see if it needed a battery. Nope. No where for a battery to go. I looked closely for an on/off switch. Nope. Just silence. Eventually, I dug out the instructions. They turn out to be a masterpiece of broken English.

It starts out promisingly enough. "BROADCASTING AND RECORDING MICROPHONE" is splashed, full width across the top of the instruction sheet.

But then it goes on, "This is a professional condenser microphone," All just spiffing. Concise and coherent.

The sentence continues, "which adopts the exacting complete electronic circuit control and gold-plate diaphram capsule,the microphone with a good cardioids pickup pattern," I ran through this sentence several times, (Question... If the things between full stops is a sentence, is there a word for the thing that lies between two commas?) and sort of got the gist. It's gone all long winded and is trying to blind me with jargon. It goes on through several more commas, extolling the virtues of this microphone using idiosynchratic terms and erratic syntax. No help troubleshooting there, but after detailing the specs of the mic, it gives the following handy hints under the heading, "Usage:"

1.Turn on your amplifier or mixing board and set the volume control to minimum position. To connect the phantom power to the microphone turning on the phantom switch, accomodate the volume control from low to high so obtained effect to your moderate level for protected the sauna from pounding.

And apart from a few tips about avoiding feedback and the advisability of not dropping it or immersing it in water that's all I have. Probably best if I don't go anywhere near a sauna with it then.

There's a sort of volume/on-off switch thing with a usb connector at one end. When connected to my new pc,  pressing the buttons causes a little dialogue box to open up and give the volume level or if it's been muted. Connecting it to my old pac, it can be switched on, but it doesn't display anything. XP is probably too far back for it to work properly.

Still no output though, no matter what permutation of pathways I try.

Ah well. Bored with it now and want to do something more interesting. I'm doing some interesting stuff. I can now multi-track in a limited way. I can play and record at the same time. I can even play several wave files at once, and record onto another at the same time, but  there's no "play all" command, so synchronising drums, guitar, etc would be almost impossible to do perfectly. But I can record one thing, play it back, and play or sing over what's being played, and record the mix onto another wave file. Rinse and repeat until you reach the desired level of complexity.

driving lessons in North Wirral? learn to drive in Hoylake? driving instructor in Birkenhead?


Jim Bliss said...

Hey Paul.

Doing a search on that 'sauna' paragraph brought me to the instructions for the Takstar SM-7B.

There's a possibility that might be a Chinese clone of the Shure SM-7B. In which case, you might have better luck with their instructions...


I don't know for certain (for Shure?) if the two are related, but it's maybe worth taking a gander and seeing if those instructions shed any light.

Jim Bliss said...

(just realised that User Guide is mostly taken up with mounting instructions... but you may find some troubleshooting tips for the Shure model online that are helpful for you?)