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What Microphone Do You Use for Vocals?

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Hi,

Just wondering what mics people use for vocals. Here are my picks:

Studio: Rode NT1-A

Live: Shure SM58

For vocal percussion, the Behringer XM8500 is actually very good. It's enhances the lower frequencies, so you get more punch. Some say that it compares to the SM58 at a much more affordable price.

How about you? What do you all like to use?

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at the moment....

studio: Rode NT1000

studio/live: Audio Technica AE5400

live: Sennheiser e945, Audix OM7 (thinking of trying out the new EV PL80A)

dude i can bet you money that i could give you a list of various hand held dynamic mics that you would like more than the Shure SM58 for live vocals!

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yeah the OM7 is a pretty good mic but it is has a more specific use I.E. VERY loud environments. if your using a mic in more normal volume settings then there are better sounding mics. if your on a budget i would have a look at the ElectroVoice N/D767a or the Sennheiser e840 or with more money Sennheiser e945, Audio Technica AE6100. there are others too all of which sound better than the SM58 IMO.

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Hey I'm new to the forum and will give some of my thoughts on quality vocal mics for live use. This is all within a budget, there is always better out there but I will retain cost where I think most gigging performers are willing to spend. I work mostly as an audio engineer and many microphones only work best with certain vocals and monitor placement. (If not using IEMs, it's wise to look into the polar pattern of your mic and decide what will give you the best coverage and suit your needs to hear yourself to suppress feedback. Although coverage is still important if using IEMs). So I think the best advice is to go and test out what mic works for you and the timbre of your voice. Also take someone with you that knows your voice and have them listen too.

I'm going to keep this in the $100-$200 price range. On my voice I was typically using a Sennheiser e935 which I think is a great all around mic on most. I recently purchased an AKG D5 and I must say it is up there with the Sennheiser and more budget friendly at $100. I have never liked Shure SM58, I'm always pulling out lo mids centered around 250hz. I think it sounds muffled. Good for speech though. The Sennheiser e835, Audix OMs also are great mics. There are so many out there that you may find one that works great for you. Other reputable lines are Heil (check out the PR20 PR22 , EV (on many of the N/D series, i always think there is a little too much presence peak, much like the Beta 58), Audio Technica. Hope this can help someone out. I am still very impressed with the D5 and I suggest trying one out. Here's another forum where other engineers have commented on the D5: http://srforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/m/497918/15227/#msg_497918

thanks,

Sean

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This is one of my strong points... since we train on live facilities at TVS... I get a lot of the best handheld mics sent to me... my favs are:

EV 767a (best all round showing/value)

RODE M1(best in durability & anti-feedback. Best replacement for the SM58)

Telefunken M-80 (lush, great for ballads, women and light genre's)

HEIL PR-35 (Best mic on the market for sound, but feels big and clunky in your hand. A luxury, if you want to pay for it).

RODE M2 (for condenser)

(superb condenser mic, perhaps a bit "feedy", but what hand held condenser isnt?... RODE reliability and has nice on/off switch on it).

BLUE 200 (for condenser)

(a great design for a hand held condenser. I prefer this marginally over the RODE, because I think its more durable and when I played with it in my studio, it seemes less "feedy-backish").

.... Wating to get my hands on the DSV-11 made by Equation Audio... soon , and then i can report on another, underground... unknown gem. Ok, Im a mic geek, I collect these things!

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I've got a vintage Neumann U67 (July '65), Neumann U87 (Sept '86), Wagner U47w to name a few. Pretty slutty collection at my spot.:P

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Let's limit the scope here to live mic applications.

A lot of it depends on your voice type. A mic that sounds great with one person may sound not so good with another. So you will need to experiment on your own to see what sounds best with your voice.

That being said, when selecting a mic for myself there are a couple criteria I look for:

1. Ergonomics: It has to be weighted right and fit my hand comfortably without fatigue. A tired or fatigued hand halfway through the set is just inviting tension creep in the rest of the body and ultimately the voice.

2. Voice Match: This is obvious but how does it sound with my voice? Is it boomy, thin, or relatively balanced sounding. A good rule of thumb is to use a slightly thinner more trebly sounding mic for bigger voices and bigger sounding mic for thinner voices. My voice is tenor range with quite a bit of natural ping so for everyday application my default mic is the EV 767a. This seems to work in most rooms however if I get a really boomy sounding room I will switch over to an Audix OM5 or Shure Beta 87a. For live applications you want to have 1 big sounding mic and one thinner sounding mic. By doing this you can actually have a lot of control over your sound in the room without having to mess with EQ which invites other issues. The best solution is always the simpliest.

3. Cut: You can't fully tell how your mic is going to work until you apply it to a real live application.. i.e. your band. Your vocals are the most important thing about your music so they should cut through over the rest of the mix. If we get technical the mic that sounds best with you and has the most cut probably has a few bumps across the frequency spectrum that compliment your voice. For example the EV 767a that works for me has a slow rise of about +15db from 500hz up to about 8khz and then another bump at about 12.5khz

4. Cost/Value: Don't set yourself up with a particular price point in what you want to spend on a mic. A $500 live vocal mic may have a certain exclusivity appeal but it won't necessarily make you sound like a god. My favorite mic costed me $130 yet I have a $400 mic in the closet that I used only a few times.

That being said here are the mic's I've used that have worked well for me by favorite to least favorite:

1. EV N/D767a

2. Audix OM5

3. Shure Beta87a

4. Audio Technica AE5400

5. Heil PR-35 (I think.. but jury is still out on this one)

6. Shure Beta58

Travis North

http://www.themodernvocalist.com/profile/TravisNorth

http://www.myspace.com/travisnorth

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My band uses really nice electric drums and in-ears, so we don't deal with stage volume.

For the value, i can't seem to beat the shure 87c. Does a good job at rejecting what little high frequency sounds do splash back at me off the back of walls.

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Let's limit the scope here to live mic applications.

A lot of it depends on your voice type. A mic that sounds great with one person may sound not so good with another. So you will need to experiment on your own to see what sounds best with your voice.

That being said, when selecting a mic for myself there are a couple criteria I look for:

1. Ergonomics: It has to be weighted right and fit my hand comfortably without fatigue. A tired or fatigued hand halfway through the set is just inviting tension creep in the rest of the body and ultimately the voice.

2. Voice Match: This is obvious but how does it sound with my voice? Is it boomy, thin, or relatively balanced sounding. A good rule of thumb is to use a slightly thinner more trebly sounding mic for bigger voices and bigger sounding mic for thinner voices. My voice is tenor range with quite a bit of natural ping so for everyday application my default mic is the EV 767a. This seems to work in most rooms however if I get a really boomy sounding room I will switch over to an Audix OM5 or Shure Beta 87a. For live applications you want to have 1 big sounding mic and one thinner sounding mic. By doing this you can actually have a lot of control over your sound in the room without having to mess with EQ which invites other issues. The best solution is always the simpliest.

3. Cut: You can't fully tell how your mic is going to work until you apply it to a real live application.. i.e. your band. Your vocals are the most important thing about your music so they should cut through over the rest of the mix. If we get technical the mic that sounds best with you and has the most cut probably has a few bumps across the frequency spectrum that compliment your voice. For example the EV 767a that works for me has a slow rise of about +15db from 500hz up to about 8khz and then another bump at about 12.5khz

4. Cost/Value: Don't set yourself up with a particular price point in what you want to spend on a mic. A $500 live vocal mic may have a certain exclusivity appeal but it won't necessarily make you sound like a god. My favorite mic costed me $130 yet I have a $400 mic in the closet that I used only a few times.

That being said here are the mic's I've used that have worked well for me by favorite to least favorite:

1. EV N/D767a

2. Audix OM5

3. Shure Beta87a

4. Audio Technica AE5400

5. Heil PR-35 (I think.. but jury is still out on this one)

6. Shure Beta58

Travis North

http://www.themodernvocalist.com/profile/TravisNorth

http://www.myspace.com/travisnorth

Good post Travis... I have to add to my post above...

Make no mistake, the new HEIL PR-35 is really great!! But you will pay the price for it... its not the best value in my opinion... that still goes out to the EV767a, but if you want the fancy pants, hand-held dynamic mic and you got the scratch to pay for it... its the HEIL PR-35...

If you want reliability, durability and anti-feedback characteristics... and a mic that will let you finally toss that 58 , the new RODE M1 is excellent live mic.

I recently was given the new BLUE 200... I have the 100 and its ... lame. But the condenser 200 model with the copper top... is a really good hand held, condenser mic.

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My first post! :D I am a female rock singer with a relatively high range, with that in mind...

Studio

I used a vintage Neumann U87 - crystal clear and beautiful.

Live

I've been debating for awhile which mic to buy for my personal use (so I don't have to use the SM58 that every club in Kansas City supplies) and finally settled on the great-sounding, rock vocal specific Beyerdynamic Opus 89. It's killer!

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I bet not too many people know what a great mic Peavey manufactures. I have two. My main lead vocal mic is extremely light weight and supercomfortable, it is the Peavey ProCOMM PCX U12

http://www.dcmusicstore.com/Peavey-Handheld-Wireless-System-Pro-Comm-PCX-U-12

As a back up wired unit, I use The Peavey PVM 22 http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/Peavey-PVM-22-Diamond-Series-Microphone?sku=271360

its a very high quality microphone. Both microphones offer superior clarity and range. Lots of great mic's to chooses from from so many companies. Never hesitate to try a Peavey out.

Byron

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I've been singing for roughly 20+ yrs.not to give away my age,since I am singing with guys half my age younger at the moment,,,ha.Everyone always has their favorites when it comes to mics.But I have always stuck with shure mics through thick and thin,they are pretty durable and always have a good sound.Even when accidentally spilled stuff on them,.let them dry out the next day,and back in business.I am using a Beta87a wireless-SLX series right now,and have a beta 58a wireless as a backup,.but have never used it much.Only if I am not stocked up on batteries at the time,.will grab,the back up,,,,,which rarely happens.The condenser mics seem to have a big sound,which is Important for singing over top marshal half stacks of your guitar player pounding it in your ears,......;)

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Good to see all the love for the EV series... I love my 767... it's a beauty... for studio I use an AT4033.. it's ok... looking to eventually snag a blue or a 414. My chain isn't worthy of a Neumann U87.. not even that inexpensive one they released years ago.. lmao.. Had a Rhode NT1.. hated it... gave it to a guitarist... :)

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This year was my "mic year" changing a lot of things in my stock of microphones (and coming back to live music after a pause period)

For many years I've been with a

Shure Beta Green 2.0 (the first neodymium line bout 20 years ago)

then.. with a Shure SM58

Last summer I took my first condenser for studio and live

A Rode NT2a and a Rode M2 (1 $ offer in bundle with the first one) a little bit feedy, but good sounding.

Last Christmas... the chinese investment...:cool:

the 3 microphones that changed my perception on value for money... from Superlux

- 238 PRO MK II : a wonderful handeld large diaphgram (39 €)

- S 125 (live condenserd with a great sensibility, feedback resistant, and extremely linear, for any use...) (49 €)

- PRO 248 Beta (a clone.. better than the original, as sound.... of Shure Beta 58), you can put it inside the speakers, without feedback... :D, probably the one I use more... giving my sm 58 to other people for karaoke gigs...

Last arrived.. as bundle gift with Voicelive 2 an AKG D5... not yet well analysed like the others...

now.. stop.... :rolleyes:

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I envy anyone with a Neumann U87.

the 2 condensers I use are:

My cheapo MXL 990...sounds surprisingly good

and a Sure KSM9...my hot rod :)

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All I have is the little desk mic you can buy at Office Depot.

But I have 4 track analog recording machine and that has an okay mic though it sounds crackly. Considering that it and the recording machine are about 20 years old.

I feel naked.

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Rawg 71,

I, too would like to own a Neumann or a Rode condenser, but the budget doesn't permit such a purchase as of yet.

I think I'd rather use the word "inexpensive" rather than "cheapo" regarding the MXL condensers.

I have a MXL 9090 with the dual capsule that I purchased for under $100.00 and suits my voice very well. SWEET !!!

Good luck locating one these days, however.

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Adolph,

You are right about the MXL being a really good sounding mic for the price. I bought the MXL kit that came with the 990 and the 991 for like $69.00. Maybe cheapo is a harsh word...lol...but today I will throw out political correctness and consider it an endearment. Its neat when you find a mic that works with you and a small tag to boot.

The sure KSM9 I have though....that thing is insane clarity.....I think it picks up my thoughts :P

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