Anyone use one of those cheap chinese condenser microphones?

  • 1
  • Question
  • Updated 2 years ago
  • Answered
I don't want to buy an expensive Shure mic. This is just to letmy kids to talk on the radio. I bought a kit from amazon with a "professional" looking mic, stand and pop filter. If it breaks in 6 months, so be it. I don't have one hand tied behind my back with talent on loan from God anyway...

That said... this is it:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MZCS8MY/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Curious to know if anyone used such a setup and how good (or awful) it sounded?

Ria
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2314 Posts
  • 956 Reply Likes

Posted 2 years ago

  • 1
Photo of John - K3MA

John - K3MA

  • 379 Posts
  • 127 Reply Likes
Ria, I have used the BM800 for the last year or so on my Flex 6500 and they sound good with some equalization.  I use the model that requires phantom power.
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1782 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
If you add an in-line phantom power unit you will be surprised how nice these work.
Something like this:
https://www.amazon.com/InnoGear-Condenser-Microphone-Recording-Equipment/dp/B00KAPGLQC/ref=pd_bxgy_2...
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2314 Posts
  • 954 Reply Likes
This one says it doesn't need phantom power. 

OK, upon further reading, that looks like it refers to PC applications. For radio use I'll need the phantom power unit. I'll order one. Thanks. 
(Edited)
Photo of Chris Tate  - N6WM

Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

  • 975 Posts
  • 272 Reply Likes
I think you may be cutting new ground here Ria. ;-).   But it is an interesting value it will be interesting how it sounds and its certainly a fancy set with the boom and all, that actually may be worth the cost in it self.

in the value headset department, John Miller K6MM spoke highly of this set,

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00081A2CW/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

that is even significantly cheaper than the CM-500.  I have ordered one of these to evaluate as a travel and loaner set.

~Chris
N6WM
Photo of Danny K5CG

Danny K5CG

  • 380 Posts
  • 61 Reply Likes
I use an SB-45 also. +1
Photo of Tony Hateley

Tony Hateley

  • 308 Posts
  • 25 Reply Likes
I have 3 of the bm-800 with a little mixer with phantom power,they work very well,get great reports on my 6500,and kenwood ts2000,and my yaesu ftdx3000,you cannt go wrong for the price.
Photo of KC2QMA_John

KC2QMA_John

  • 784 Posts
  • 332 Reply Likes
I have  heard some of these mic's and they sound quite good, more than good enough for ham radio. And for $40 bucks the accessories alone are worth that.
(Edited)
Photo of Milen KG2C

Milen KG2C

  • 58 Posts
  • 13 Reply Likes
I use the Koss SB-45 headset as my primary radio headset and mic and it works surprisingly well, compared to my Beyerdynamic DT770 and my $100 dynamic mic. I've stopped using them in favor of that headset and it gets unsolicited excellent audio reports all the time, and that's only with the very basic equalization of my Icom 7100, so you'll be able to make it sound great. They are often available even cheaper as open box units from the Amazon Warehouse deals program.


It gets a bit stuffy if I use it for a long period, like I do when I do the KC2RC 10m net for 2-4 hours, but it is comfortable and doesn't squeeze my head.

I had to add a mix 31 tiroid on the cable to avoid occasional RF, but I run 450ohm window line to a non-resonant antenna above the station, so I wouldn't blame the headset for this.
(Edited)
Photo of Mike - VE3CKO

Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

  • 543 Posts
  • 280 Reply Likes
I have the BM-800 (requires phantom power) and it's a great microphone for the price. It is NOT a PR-40 but for the price it is quite attractive looking (gold version). Unlike the PR-40 you will have to talk into it on the broadside facing the label. OK, now sound wise it is much more on the bassy side you will definitely need to EQ it and SmartSDR surely provides for that. It may have been my main microphone if I didn't have the PR-40 and Rhode NT-1, but sure looks pretty on my shelf as a spare :)
(Edited)
Photo of Ted  VE3TRQ

Ted VE3TRQ

  • 577 Posts
  • 205 Reply Likes
I've had one of these (BM-800) on my K3 for about a year. I'm told it sounds good. I provide it voltage on the mic input from the K3 and use the high gain setting. Apparently if you use phantom power, it sounds better and you don't need as much gain.
Photo of Michael Coslo

Michael Coslo

  • 947 Posts
  • 258 Reply Likes
Here's something interesting - a fellow took apart a Mic of a well known brand of Ham microphones, and found one of the little inexpensive condenser elements inside. Not surprising, because the little things work pretty well.
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2311 Posts
  • 950 Reply Likes
I've been watching comparison videos on YouTube. They are mind blowing. The audio is pretty much just only slightly different from the expensive mics and you can correct it with EQ to get it identical to them. 
Photo of Mike - VE3CKO

Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

  • 503 Posts
  • 242 Reply Likes
Yep, Ria like I said you can EQ it easily to make it sound pretty damm good. The real test is to move away up and down six inches or so and then left and right six inches each way from the BM-800 hotpot. It noticeably varies in sound quality as compared to the PR-40 which is much more consistent.  I'm one of those who tend to move away from the microphone when I get distracted, live headphones would help that but I also stuck a Dorrough Loudness Monitor right in front of me that helps too.
(Edited)
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3740 Posts
  • 1602 Reply Likes

Since most everything electronic these days in manufactured in China it should be no surprise that the major Ham Brand Mikes are just relabeled inexpensive Chinese mikes with a higher price tag. 

We found that when we took apart a Heil Pro 7 at Visalia a couple of years ago... Don't know if they improved quality or changed since then.

Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2314 Posts
  • 956 Reply Likes
So by Saturday I should have a full setup. Between the state fair and my other duties here I'll make some time to do a video with it connected to the 6700. I got the BM800, boom kit, shock mount, pop filter, XLR cable and phantom power. 6700 has an XLR jack so it should work really nice. 
Photo of Milen KG2C

Milen KG2C

  • 58 Posts
  • 13 Reply Likes
I'm looking forward to watching it.
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2314 Posts
  • 956 Reply Likes


Got it yesterday. XLR cables and phantom power arrive Saturday
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2314 Posts
  • 956 Reply Likes
I got the phantom power installed. It works great! Everyone gives me good audio reports. Video to follow soon. 
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2314 Posts
  • 956 Reply Likes
Sometimes I need a mic rather than a headset.
Photo of Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

  • 206 Posts
  • 33 Reply Likes
Doesn't the flex have a setting to include phantom power?
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1782 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
I wish....
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1782 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
@Ria I end up moving my head too much, and that makes the headset more efficient
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2314 Posts
  • 956 Reply Likes
There is no 48V phantom power from the Flex. There is only a small DC current from the front mic jack which is not really sufficient. 

Yes, the headset will be efficient for most use but I like having options.
Photo of Mike - ZL1MRC

Mike - ZL1MRC

  • 62 Posts
  • 15 Reply Likes
Can't wait to see the video. Well done :)
Photo of Chris DL5NAM

Chris DL5NAM

  • 680 Posts
  • 154 Reply Likes
>> This is just to letmy kids to talk on the radio <<

So don't touch it again and wait until they are ready !
Photo of Peter Bentley

Peter Bentley

  • 78 Posts
  • 25 Reply Likes
Hello Ria,

Have ordered one in the UK to work with 6700 and Optimod 9300.

Current mic is Rode NTK or sometimes Rode NT1.

I hope the result is not embarrassing ...!!!

G4BIM
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1782 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
For the range of voice that you can transmit in 2.4 KHz in SSB ALL microphones are overkill.
A properlly equalized chinese cheap mic with the necessary gain for your voice and the Flex PROC algorithm can work better than a professional mic.

The RODE mics are very good and for broadcasting, even some music recording, they will be outstanding.
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3857 Posts
  • 933 Reply Likes
Ria, a few of us are on 7.192.000 most mornings at 11:00am we should be there this morning as well, Sunday,, come join us,,we want to hear your mic.
anyone eles can join us as well of coarse.  If the freq is busy we are close buy.
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2314 Posts
  • 955 Reply Likes
Bill, missed this, but I am usually on 40 at night with Dave in England (G0EVY) and company.
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2314 Posts
  • 956 Reply Likes
https://soundcloud.com/rjairam/mictest

Mic test audio. Working on howto video. 
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3887 Posts
  • 947 Reply Likes
Very nice Ria, this is why I use an Yamaha cm500 headset, it does on pick up room sounds. That would be a problem with the Bm800 but I like how crisp the Bm800 sounds.
Photo of AA5JD John

AA5JD John

  • 13 Posts
  • 4 Reply Likes
Thanks Ria! Hearing the sound comparisons was excellent. I ordered a BM800 as a backup microphone.
Photo of Andrew Russell

Andrew Russell

  • 277 Posts
  • 44 Reply Likes
Thank you Ria,
Which Behringer mic was it?
I liked that one.
Andrew VK5CV
Photo of Kevin - KS0CW

Kevin - KS0CW

  • 90 Posts
  • 11 Reply Likes
Ria, it's not a bad mic... only draw back is its ability to pick up background noises from joining rooms, other than that the 6000 allows one to dial it in for decent audio.
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2311 Posts
  • 951 Reply Likes
I agree. It is omnidirectional and pretty "hot" which makes it good for booth use but in the shack it picks up everything
Photo of Ted  VE3TRQ

Ted VE3TRQ

  • 445 Posts
  • 153 Reply Likes
The BM-800 has a cardioid pick-up pattern, in the direction of the "BM-800" logo. So really, its more or less unidirectional. Of course if the noise you don't want picked up is over your shoulder, it won't be in the mic's null, but behind the mic it should be pretty insensitive.

Ted VE3TRQ
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3816 Posts
  • 920 Reply Likes
Ria,,what model was the Behianger mic?
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2311 Posts
  • 951 Reply Likes
Xm8500
Photo of Ken - NM9P

Ken - NM9P

  • 4239 Posts
  • 1351 Reply Likes
Thanks, Ria.

If these recordings were made without TX EQ or PROC, then I must say that I am impressed with the Radiosport right out of the box.  Clear, articulate, punchy...just what you would want for DX or Contest audio.  Add some of the FRS "Magic" from PROC and EQ and it is a big hit.  It was also very much more quiet than the other two - the noise cancellation advantage was apparent.  The particular Radiosport M207 element you used (300-8000 Hz response) wouldn't have the low end for a good rag-chew profile for MY voice, but it would make a killer DX/Contest mic.  I would love to hear the M208-Wide response element, too.

The Behringer sounded more like a cheap SM58 knock-off - a bit muddy, bassy, with a few peaks in unwanted places, and what sounded like a lot of proximity bass effect which would vary with distance to the mic.  (This is the primary reason I don't use a SM-58 or their ilk, because I don't like the profile changing whenever I move a couple inches to grab something on my desk, etc.)  It may be able to be corrected with the TX EQ, etc, but it seemed that there may have been a lack of response in the articulation frequencies that I like to hear.  The old saying is "you can't boost with EQ what isn't there in the first place."

The Chineese BM-800 had a better profile out of the box.  It seemed to be more full ranged, more articulate, with better highs.  You could tell it was an electret/condenser mic.  But it picked up a LOT of background noise...more, it seemed, than the Behringer.  But it is a Mic I could work with a lot better than the Behringer.

Out of the box - the best mic is the Radiosport.  
The BM-800 was impressive for the price.
The Behringer sounded like a $20 Microphone.

But the proof for me would be how good could I make any of them sound after working the "magic" on them...

A little work with the DEXP may reduce the ambient noise pickup issues.

My 2 cents, for what it is worth.

Ken - NM9P

BTW...While cleaning in the Basement this past week to rid soem mild mold problems, I found my two additional Electrovoice EV-664 "Silver Hammer" mics and their unique connectors that I salvaged from a church PA cabinet about 12 years ago when the Trustees were preparing to throw them away.  The connectors are almost worth more than the mics themselves.  Now I have three sets that I may be putting on the market.  They are pretty, but I don't need them!  I even have the boxes!  I used one with my Flex-1500 for a few months before I got the Heil PR-22UT that I currently use.  I ought to do a comparison between the EV-664 and the PR22UT, and perhaps a homemade electret mic I have been contemplating....
Photo of Phil - WG5D

Phil - WG5D

  • 39 Posts
  • 3 Reply Likes
I got a cheap one on Amazon - one of those Chinese BM series, it integrated well, but considering that it is supposed to be uni-directional, it picks up every noise in the house - way too sensitive for my liking. 
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2314 Posts
  • 956 Reply Likes
Turn down the gain to a comfortable level. 
Photo of Phil - WG5D

Phil - WG5D

  • 39 Posts
  • 3 Reply Likes
Ria - thanks for the tip - I have done that already. I even have a 32 channel equalizer inline with it to try to filter out ambient noise in the room - I have a lot of equipment in the shack including a Dell server and some Cisco gear that generate a lot of racket. If I reduce the gain to the point that the mic does not pick up noise, I don't get good transmit and compression levels unless I have my pie-hole right on the mic. My Heil headset works great - but I don't like wearing that all the time. I may spring for a PR40 and see what happens :)
Photo of Ken - NM9P

Ken - NM9P

  • 4239 Posts
  • 1351 Reply Likes
Broadcast studio mikes are designed to be used at fairly close range, unless you have a sound-quieted room, which few hamshacks are....

Two to three inches spacing, and using the DEXP, can help tame the background noise somewhat.
Photo of Mike - VE3CKO

Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

  • 543 Posts
  • 279 Reply Likes
That's what I was saying. You have be right on top of the BM-800, if you move a few inches up or down, left or right off the sweet spot the sound goes to hell. If you can stay on top of the sweet spot and don't move it can sound decent, but then it's the physical obstruction of the microphone, the boom has to be adjusted just right so I can view SmartSDR.
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1782 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
This is exactly why, for me, the headset is the right tool for the job. It is almost impossible for me to stay in fron of the mic without moving. I have the boom mic just because.... another toy in the radioshack, but handsdown, the headset is the way to go.
I am not the most experience operator but using a confortable headset and a PTT pedal are the 2 things I have to have.
Photo of KC2QMA_John

KC2QMA_John

  • 784 Posts
  • 332 Reply Likes

In this comparison I have to agree that the Radio Sport is the winner. The headset was the most articulate without sounding harsh and would be the one that gets through the band noise the best.

Plus you get the added benefit of hands free operation and built in earphones for better copy. Also interchangeable mic elements means you can decide on the right mic for you mode of operation.
Photo of Ken - NM9P

Ken - NM9P

  • 4239 Posts
  • 1351 Reply Likes
I don't own a set of Radiosport...yet...
But I tried them on at the Flex Booth at Dayton in 2016.
It took me all of 15 seconds to determine that they were the most comfortable headphones I have EVER put on my head.
I just couldn't afford the $300 then...or now...yet...

This year at Xenia I had planned to buy a set, but ended up putting a deposit down on a trade-up for a Flex-6600.

But they ARE on my list!

Ken - NM9P