Build your dynamic microphone modularly: Pyle PDMIC78 with Shure accessories

The most costly components come from Shure, the least from Pyle.

Some people call the Pyle PDMIC78 a knockoff of the Shure SM57. That description is true regarding the physical shape and dimensions, but not the sound. For vocal recording, many people find the Pyle PDMIC78 to have a brighter, more desirable sound than the Shure SM57, which for decades has been the one used during presidential inaugurations in the United States. Previously, I reviewed the Shure palindromic 545 dynamic mic. Today, I am reviewing an even more interesting one, combined with two Shure accessories: the US$33 windscreen and the US$22 shockmount, which actually cost much more than the under US$20 Pyle PDMIC78 microphone, although they are essential. Ahead you’ll hear a test recording made with this under US$75 combination. I’ll also give you the details on a possible connection caveat which may affect you, depending whether you get an older or newer one and whether you use the PDMIC78 only with other of the same, or together with any other mics in the same location.

About the hardware

In my review of the Shure 545 microphone (AmazonB&H), I went into great detail about how I love the Shure A55M shockmount (AmazonB&H) and the enormous Shure A81WS windscreen (AmazonB&H), so here I’ll concentrate on the Pyle PDMIC78 dynamic microphone (AmazonB&H). It is simple, since it has no switches at all. Together with those Shure accessories, it sounds amazing for the price. Here are the pattern and frequency response according to Pyle:

Test recording

I made the following test recording using the Pyle PDMIC78 dynamic microphone (AmazonB&H), Shure A55M shockmount (AmazonB&H) and the enormous Shure A81WS windscreen (AmazonB&H) which (as demonstrated by Matt Rygelski in my review of the Shure 545 microphone) sonically transforms the microphone while making it immune from pops and making it look much more interesting. The Pyle PDMIC78 dynamic microphone is one of the few third-party microphones that fit the A81WS windscreen perfectly.

I recorded a mono 48 kHZ WAV file at 24 bit using the Zoom H5 recorder (AmazonB&H). I had to set its preamp to about 5.8 out of 10 to get our desired -12 dB raw recording. Then I normalized it to -16 LUFS with Auphonic, trimmed it with Fission and uploaded it to the server.

Potential connection caveats

Balanced?

Even though it has an XLR plug, according to many reports online, the PDMIC78 was previously shipped from the factory wired as unbalanced and required disassembling and rewiring to achieve a proper balanced connection. See my recent Balanced audio: benefits and varieties (illustrated above) for more information. However, it now appears that Pyle has recently corrected that and begun to ship the PDMIC78 with proper balanced wiring internally.

Does the PDMIC78 comply with EIA Standard RS-297? Does it even matter?

Before 1970, some balanced microphones came wired for XLR pin 2 hot, while others came with pin 3 hot. In 1970, the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA; until 1997 Electronic Industries Association) saved the day and set the RS-297 standard decreeing that XLR pin 2 be hot. Since then, most manufacturers have complied. Why does this matter? It matters to avoid potential phase cancellation, whereby spill (undesired sound that enters into more than one microphone in a multi-mic setup) can cause sounds to cancel themselves out and not be heard.

Several reports online indicate that (at least while Pyle was shipping the PDMIC78 wired internally as unbalanced), it was shipping with pin 3 hot, the opposite of RS-297. It is not yet clear whether when Pyle corrected the balanced signal, it also began to comply with RS-297. Of course, even if Pyle hasn’t yet corrected that, it can be fixed by disassembling the microphone and rewiring it. But you may be asking whether this even matters. It does not matter at all if there is a single microphone. It only matters if used together with other microphones that may be 180 degrees out of phase.

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Allan Tépper

Born in Connecticut, United States, Allan Tépper is a bilingual consultant, multi-title author, tech journalist, translator, and language activist who has been working with professional video since the eighties. Since 1994, Tépper has been consulting both end-users and manufacturers through his Florida company. Via TecnoTur, Tépper has been giving video tech seminars in several South Florida’s universities and training centers, and in a half dozen Latin American countries, in their native language. Tépper has been a frequent radio/TV guest on several South Florida, Guatemalan, and Venezuelan radio and TV stations. As a certified ATA (American Translators Association) translator, Tépper has translated and localized dozens of advertisements, catalogs, software, and technical manuals for the Spanish and Latin American markets. He has also written many contracted white papers for tech manufacturers. Over the past 18 years, Tépper’s articles have been published or quoted in more than a dozen magazines, newspapers, and electronic media in Latin America. Since 2008, Allan Tépper’s articles have been published frequently –in English– in ProVideo Coalition magazine, and since 2014, he is is the director of CapicúaFM.com. His website is AllanTépper.com.

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