Vocal Mics

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by foxtrot, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. foxtrot

    foxtrot Senior Member

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    Accidentally posted this to The Cellar instead of in here, like I meant to, so I'm reposting it here!

    I've been getting more and more into singing and would like to pic up a nice (kinda mid range price) vocal mic. Right now, my mic collection includes a SM57, SM58, and Cascade Fathead II.

    I know it can be really hard to suggest mics for vocals, especially over the internet, but I thought I'd see if you all might have some good suggestions for what to look into. I'm a tenor (to the extent those classifications mean much outside of classical music). My voice might be a bit similar to Jeff Buckley (so I've been told), though my falsetto isn't as clear and strong as his is yet (really started working on strengthening that recently, as I'm still basically still a newer singer). Not that I'm anywhere near as good of a singer as he is or anything like that. My timbre and tone are just similar and his stuff is in a pretty decent range for me. Otherwise, a lot of Chris Cornell stuff lines up pretty great with my range, though my voice seems a little bit lighter or brighter than his.


    I've been sort of looking at the AT4047, though that is a bit pricey ($699). Seems like it's pretty versatile though, beyond vocals.

    Otherwise, I'm not really sure what might be worth considering. Neumann mics or anything in that ballpark will be way more than I'd want to spend right now. :D
     
  2. Gary

    Gary Senior Member

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    I strongly suggest the best ribbon mic you can afford. I found a deal on one and it changed my world when it comes to recording music. My recordings sound like you're right there in the room listening to it live and natural. If cardioid moving coil & moving magnet mics = MP3 and condenser mics = CD quality, ribbon mics = vinyl records. I have ONE ribbon mic and I use it for both vocals and instruments. It is a Samson VR88 Velocity Ribbon Microphone.

    All the greats used ribbon mics. Even many live radio announcers today use ribbon mics. Prices range from under $100 to many thousands. But, I will never go back to using condenser mics for my personal recordings.

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  3. KP11520

    KP11520 Senior Member

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    If you're low on cash but still want decent, you can buy a used Rode NT2 for $150 to $200. But make sure it comes with the shock mount. VERY decent at that price. Plus, if you want Michael Joly can upgrade/mod it nicely for a little more than $300.

    Don't overlook the Shure KSM32 LDC Mic. It does just about everything very well, especially at that price.

    Since you're channeling Jeff Buckley, here's a cover where the multi instrumentalist (Giulio Carmassi) uses it all over the place and has his singer (Chiara Canzian) use it too. It captured her nicely! See his other videos too. Just remember, your preamps are very much a part of the equation as well. But the KSM32 is a contender for sure.

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwC0NkecVzI[/ame]
     
  4. foxtrot

    foxtrot Senior Member

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    My Fathead II is a ribbon mic, though it doesn't seem the best for vocals (my voice at least). Kind of dark. I get sort of paranoid with it too (i.e. protecting the ribbon element, though with proper distance and a pop filter I probably shouldn't really be too worried).

    Do you have any suggestions on good ones for vocals?
     
  5. foxtrot

    foxtrot Senior Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions, I'll definitely look into those options!

    On preamps, right now I just run through my Focusrite Saffire 24.
     
  6. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    All ribbons are "kind of dark".

    The Rode NT2 as mentioned is a good mic.

    From Gary:
    That's not really a good analogy in my opinion.

    I will say one of my favorite male vocal mics is the Shure SM7.
     
  7. DarrellV

    DarrellV Almost 1 Year old this month! Premium Member

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    Is that Carol Kaye?



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  8. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    Darn tootin' right!

    Carol Kaye and the Wrecking Crew. :)
     
  9. John Scrip

    John Scrip Senior Member

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    Shure SM7b. Probably my most used vocal mic of all time. I even keep one in here for the occasional VO task or if someone needs to add a last-minute part.

    I should mention this is a mastering place if that means anything. Generally, very little use for things like "microphones" or "vocalists" and such. :naughty:

    But seriously though -- There aren't too many voices that don't sound good through the 7b. If you're hooked on the idea of a condenser, I'm sort of a fan of the NT1a (mostly because it has a sort of SM7b-ish quality). The NT2 isn't a dog either though...
     
  10. northernguitarguy

    northernguitarguy SWeAT hOg

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    My Dutch/Scottish background compels me to ask what the 'best bang for the buck' vocal mic is?
     
  11. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    The Shure SM7B is the one I'd buy if I could only buy one vocal mic and had a budget of $400.
     
  12. dmoss74

    dmoss74 Senior Member

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    if your budget is $400.00, look used mint. i found an akg c414 for less than that price, and it didn't take much searching. if you're looking strictly brand new, the shure (sm7b) would be a good choice. as would a few others. the original rode nt-1 (i think) was considered a great mic. very low noise floor, but only a cardioid pattern.

    i briefly owned an at 4040, and it was serviceable, but it wasn't what i was after. there are many options in ld condenser mics these days. pick a dollar figure, then search around.

    start saving up for a good mic pre as well. :)
     
  13. frozenotter

    frozenotter Down with the Sickness

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  14. LPSGME

    LPSGME Senior Member

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    The only problem with getting the best 'bang' for the buck is that you may eventually be wanting the just the best. So, in the end, you likely won't regret over extending your self.

    Also asked about was a pre-amp. I just created a shootout of some of my tunes, left mixed ITB, processed through a variety of solid state and tube preamps to acquire a better understanding their differences. So keep in mind that a quality preamp can not only provide a nicer vocal recording, but it can also be used to add more quality to the end mix.
     
  15. LPSGME

    LPSGME Senior Member

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    The AKG 414 would be nice step up; although there have been so many incarnations. I often use a [bought used, mint] 414 eb p48 run through a preamp I built and modded from scratch, based on an Altec preamp design.

    I believe tune #3 [in the page linked below] employs this 414/Altec combo; compared to #13 which employs a Neumann M249/Telefunken preamp combo.

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/all-kinds-of-beki/id1098052061
     
  16. John Scrip

    John Scrip Senior Member

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    I know I sometimes sound like an "old guy" about the 7b, but I don't just feel it's the best bang for the buck -- We used it all the time while 87's and 414's, MD1a's and (bunches of other mics) were in the room.

    Is it always the best vocal mic? No mic is the best [anything] mic. But would it give you a great sounding and reasonably 'mix-friendly' track right off the bat? Most of the time, absolutely.
     
  17. northernguitarguy

    northernguitarguy SWeAT hOg

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    Gentlemen, thank you for the replies. The two reasons I ask for inexpensive suggestions, is that one, my family are parasites! They feel they deserve to be fed, clothed, sheltered, etc. They bleed me dry! (in other words, money's tight). My second reason is maybe based on the fact that we play the odd sketchy place and I just feel like a mic would be easy to pocket. I'm using a SM58 (of course!). I just wanted to see if I'm missing something in the same price range as a 58. Really, I'm fine with it, but who knows? We might record one day. :)
     
  18. KP11520

    KP11520 Senior Member

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    Hey NGG,

    For live, the Sennheiser e835 is very stiff competition for the SM58. I prefer it for me anyway. The SM58 sounds a little more compressed, IMO.
     
  19. GeeJay

    GeeJay Senior Member

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    I'm not an expert, but I picked up a used AKG C 535EB condenser mic a while back and find it to be very good. They've been discontinued now, but you might pick up a bargain online.
     
  20. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    Interesting. I used a 535 a grand total of once. I hated it so much I vowed I'd never use it again even to hammer nails in wood.

    But then I see a LOT of very positive online reviews of this mic so I have to think to myself....maybe there was something wrong with the 535 I heard! :hmm:
     

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