INTRODUCTING: The Electro-Voice N/D767a Dynamic Mic
A vocal microphone is a very personal item. It's the key element you have for showcasing your work and talent. It can also be the difference between an outstanding performance or blowing your voice out halfway through the set. Admittedly a competent sound engineer can do a fair amount to remedy vocal issues in a live environment but the best way to to ensure a great sound is actually in your control at the head of the signal chain - YOUR mic. When I first heard about the EV N/D767a I'll admit that a vocal microphone costing $100 and marketing itself as a "premium" mic triggered my skepticism considering some of the notable competition including the industry standard Shure Beta58a and Audix OM5 (both dynamic mics) are nearly $60 more. Did I mention the EV came out nearly 10 years ago? So how good could this mic really be?
Electro-Voice N/D767a Dynam ic Mic: Design And Useability
In the box the Electro-Voice 767a comes with the usual compliment of padded zipper bag, clip and spec sheet. Nothing out of the ordinary here. It comes dressed for the party all-businesslike in the standard EV black with gold bumper strip around the windscreen - not exactly sexy but fit and finish is excellent. EV uses a rubber sleeve on the body of the mic that they like to call WarmGrip that not only feels better and grippier compared to more standard painted metal bodies but likely contributes to reduced handling noise. And yes for those of you with perpetually cold hands it does in fact feel warmer than a metal body. One thing that EV has done with this microphone that I appreciate is how nicely balanced it feels in-hand with the fatter than most grip on the body. Some mics have a tendency to feel a bit top-heavy at the windscreen which over the course of a set or rehearsal can start to feel fatiguing.
Electro-Voice N/D767a Dynamic Mic: Specifications
The EV N/D767a is classified as a supercardioid dynamic which in lamens terms means it should be excellent at rejecting input anywhere but directly in front of the mic as well as being able to be subjected to very high gain levels before feedback-something of critical importance in a live situation. While specs don't tell the entire story it's notable to point out the 767 touts a close-up frequency range of 35hz-22,000hz which, on paper, looks rather impressive compared to some of the other offerings out there. I should note however that its hard to say whether that additional frequency response is actually usable considering a pretty steep roll-off after a +12-13db bump around 12khz. I suspect some of this to be what amounts to clever marketing in the specs department. Finally unscrewing the top half of the windscreen reveals what is a HUGE diaphragm and likely what helps give the EV its big meat and potatoes sound.
Electro-Voice N/D767a Dynamic Mic: Sound Characteristics
I would consider my voice to fall into the tenor category with a significant amount of ring [read: overtones] but not really much to spare in the low end category. The biggest issue I run across with other vocal mics is lack of low-end cut. At best this results in a thin sound that ends up getting lost in the mix and at worst it borders on shrill. By the time I've managed to get the gain to an acceptable level to hear myself we're already deep into the feed back zone. This is where the EV really shines.
Using what they refer to as VOB i.e. Vocal Optimized Bass which is likely a combination of the aforementioned big diaphragm plus some clever electronics the EV provides an excellent amount of low end grunt. I find this to be especially useful in more sensitive passages where I'm using lower parts of my range while singing right up on the windscreen. This is typically where in a live situation my vocals would dissapear for lack of gain before feedback with other vocal mics. For those of us who like to use the proximity effect to get the most out of a scream here or there in our work the EV accomodates this nicely as well. I found the 767 to be excellent at rejecting feedback when half-covering the windscreen during a screaming passage. Occasionally I have found the 767 to borderline on bein g a bit boomy in the mids depending on the PA and vocal effects but this can usually be corrected via EQ.
Another excellent trait of this mic is clarity. I went through a phase of about a year where I was sick of dealing with cables so I had put away my 767 and was instead using my wireless Shure Beta87A condenser. As luck would have it at a recent rehearsal my battery ran down and I didn't have a replacement so I pulled out the EV. We ran through a song with the EV and immediately afterwards my bandmates commented on how much better they could hear every word I was singing. As we finished out the set I was reminded to just how sensitive this mic is at capturing the little vocal nuances that tend to otherwise get lost in the mix. I was actually able to adjust the gain on the PA down slightly and still have the vocals sit comfortably in the live mix.
The Electro-Voice N/D767 is an all-around good if not excellent live performer. It's smooth character, excellent dynamics and and high gain before feedback make it a winner in my book and at $100 you would be hard-pressed to find a better value. Generally speaking this mic would be a great fit for most female performers as well as baritone and tenor range male singers. For very husky sounding female and bass male voices I highly recommend trying before you buy due to its tendency to slightly exaggerate the lower range.
What's your take on the EV N/D767a? Feel free to send any comments and or suggestions to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Review by Travis North