Shengyue BM-800 Condenser Microphone

Ever since I had my FT-950, I’ve been wanting a nice station mic setup. Well, late last year I switched from the FT-950 to my KX3/KXPA100 and it took me a couple of months to figure out that the range of microphones that could be used with the KX3 were somewhat limited. The KX3 just doesn’t like dynamic microphones. It needs a microphone with a load impedance of somewhere between 600-1500 ohms. A firmware update has been released to provide up to 20dB more mic gain, which allows some microphones (dynamic maybe?) to be used with the KX3 but I suspect that if you crank the mic gain up into the higher ranges of the settings it is less than optimal. So I’ve been keeping my eye out for a good, inexpensive condenser microphone.

I don’t know what motivated me, but I found myself browsing eBay for “condenser microphone”. I was somewhat stunned by the search results. There were lots of inexpensive ( less than $50) condenser microphones that *might* suit my needs so I started look through the styles and tech specs. I skipped over all the side speaking mics, I wasn’t interested in those. Then I found this gem: New-BM-800-Black-Condenser-Microphone-Mic-with-Shockmount

 

A quick search for the model number showed lots of other sellers and the microphone seemed targeted towards PC and Skype users. I knew that the KX3 worked with a lot of PC compatible microphones so this looked promising. The load Independence was > 1000 ohms. That was a good sign. The connecting cable ended in a 3.5mm stereo connector. Also Good. Frequency response seemed adequate, though I’m not an audiophile enough to know one way or another. It came with a shock mount, which I wasn’t going to assume was the highest quality but that was a plus. For $33.29 shipped, it was too good of a possibility to pass up. But I wanted to know more.

I found this YouTube video where someone unboxed the mic which gave me a good idea of what it came with. He even opened up the mic itself to show some of the internals, which showed that it used a AA battery so external power wasn’t needed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrYy64TgfVM

Some more searching led me to this discussion about “cheap condenser. It seems the microphones are possibly/likely rebranded leftovers from production runs for the ISK brand, which is pretty reputable in the audio world: http://forums.acoustica.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=14937. You can see some of the ISK models for same in the UK at this site: http://www.micsdirect.com/isk.htm. Also, here is the ISK main site: http://www.iskmic.com/.

So I took the plunge and bought one. It arrived last Friday. Now it’s picture time.

photo01The picture on the box is NOT what was in the box. I thought that was wierd but it matched with what was in the YouTube video.

photo02I actually took everything out and then put it back in for this picture, so everything is out of their wrappers and the battery is already installed.

1000x1000If you visited the ISK website, you won’t find this model there, but you’ll see lots of models that look too similar to be coincidence.

photo2The mic takes a singe AA battery for power.

photo1Another interior picture of the mic. The upper part doesn’t come apart easily so I didn’t try.

photo03A close up of the cable ends, which goes from XLR to 3.5mm stereo.

photo04A close up of the shock mount. It’s actually better than I thought it would be.
NOTE: The shock mount uses a 3/8″ mount, not a 5/8″ mount. You cannot use this with a Heil mic boom without an adapter.

So it *looks* good,  but how did it work? I contacted a friend who lives about 1.4 miles aware and we met on 28.360MHz for some testing. I performed before tests using the Elecraft MH-3 microphone and after tests with the BM-800. Of course, with the BM-800 mic I had to use the PTT button on the KX3, but my friend reported the audio with the BM-800 was better than that with the MH-3. He said the audio was excellent and the basses in my voice came through better.

Okay, so that’s one opinion, but it was enough to tell me that this microphone is good enough, and it looks like it will work well with the KX3. Deep, deep down I had always lusted after the Heil PR-781, but from everything I read it wouldn’t work (that well) with the KX3. Now I have something that looks similar (I know, I’m petty) and does work with the KX3. Now I just need a mic boom and I think I’m set.

Now I have something to connect to my homemade PTT foot switch adapter.

 

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