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Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

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Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby jasno84 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 4:26 pm

I produce dance music, and I'd like to buy a Mic to improove my home studio gear(well, let's say my untreated bedroom-studio). I'm thinking about doing some vocal dance tracks in the future.

I've read some articles about microphones, but it seems that everyone thinks different.
From what I understand, condenser mics should be better than dynamics for recording purpose(I'm not interested in live performance).

I'd like to buy something in the 100-300 euro range, that could be good for female and male vocalist, and that can, in case, allow for some acoustic instruments recording too. Some info about my needs:

- My Room is not treated
- Mic will work with Focusrite Saffire 6 preamp (or with Focusrite Forte preamp if I upgrade the sound-card)
- Great quality/price would be great, because I've never recorded voices until now, so a Neumann would be useless for me and my untreated room. Cheaper is better, but I want quality too.
- I know that some mics are better for different timbres, but I cant't know all the vocalists that will work with me at the moment, so I'd need something that could be ok for different timbres.


my questions are:

1) Better Condenser or Dynamic?
2) If condenser, better Cardioid or Hyper-cardioid in an untreated room?
3) Some equipment that worth to be bought with the mic (Pop filter, Mic reflection shield, Mic shock mount...) ?
4 Suggestion on some model?



Thanks everyone for the help!
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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby ProfoundTactics » Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:09 pm

In that price range, I would recommend the Audio-Technica AT2020. It's great for vocals and acoustic guitars. I'm actually using it through a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, and it sounds really nice.
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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby jasno84 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:56 pm

Thanks for the advice.

Reading trough the internet, I was thinking to these models:

- Audio Technica AT2020 (90€ mic only)
- Audio Technica AT2035 (175€ mic + shockmount)
- Audio Technica AT2050 (240€mic + shockmount)
- Rode NT1-A boundle (190€ with pop filter and shockmount)
- Rode NT2-A blundle (290€with pop filter and shockmount)
- AKG C214 (330€ mic only)
- Something from SE Electronics?
- Neumann TLM 102 (550€ mic only, I think it's really too much for my first mic!)


I'd like to spend a maximum 300€ (of course if I can spend less for a great product, it would be great), but it has to worth the difference compared to the cheap 90€ AT2020 Audio Technica for example.

My room is untreated and these are my first recordings. But at the same time I like buying quality things, so they can last through time and I will not feel the necessity to change them after some months/years, when my experience and needs will grow for sure
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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby Frog » Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:47 pm

I have just bought a se x1 and a focusrite 2i2. I haven't done much with it yet but first impressions are good. I paid just over £200 for the pair, the se x1 goes for about £100 new on eBay.
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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby Exalted Wombat » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:24 pm

Didn't you already own a very similar audio interface?
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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby 4TrackMadman » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:39 pm

AT2020 would be my first pic. Rode NT-1A probably second but on vocals things vary widely from voice to voice as I've found so it'll be nice if you can try some mics first before you make a final decision.
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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby jasno84 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:22 pm

Thanks,

if I go with Audio Technica, I think that probably the AT2035 is a better overall bargain, because it should be little better and include the AT shockmount (80€ value) that I still have to buy (from what I've read shockmounts are really useful).
So the price at the end (170€) would be almost the same as for the AT2020 + shockmount (160€).


Other solutions:

-SE Electronics SE 2200a mkII (very well-reviewed here on SOS): 320€ with shockmount and pop filter. The possibility of choosing different patterns (cardioid, omni...) would be useful in a home studio (non treated at the moment) environment?

- Rode NT1-A: 190€ with shockmount and pop filter(but I've read on some forums of people saying it sounds a little harsh)
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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby shufflebeat » Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:39 pm

jasno84 wrote:

- Rode NT1-A: 190€ with shockmount and pop filter(but I've read on some forums of people saying it sounds a little harsh)


Nothing that can't be easily tamed. It's a little character-less but that makes it a bit more versatile than something that has a very distinct sound.

Simple cheap or free acoustic treatment of your recording space will make much more of a difference to your recordings, though. A thick duvet to hang from a curtain rail (or a boom mic stand set up like a T for the smaller individual) behind the singer would make for a much more impressive finished product.
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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby Frog » Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:41 pm

No the beheringer my dad bought me was line level only, I bought the focusrite specifically for use with the condenser mic.
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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby RegressiveRock » Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:55 pm

jasno84 wrote:I produce dance music, and I'd like to buy a Mic to improove my home studio gear(well, let's say my untreated bedroom-studio). I'm thinking about doing some vocal dance tracks in the future.

I've read some articles about microphones, but it seems that everyone thinks different.
From what I understand, condenser mics should be better than dynamics for recording purpose(I'm not interested in live performance).

I'd like to buy something in the 100-300 euro range, that could be good for female and male vocalist, and that can, in case, allow for some acoustic instruments recording too. Some info about my needs:

- My Room is not treated
- Mic will work with Focusrite Saffire 6 preamp (or with Focusrite Forte preamp if I upgrade the sound-card)
- Great quality/price would be great, because I've never recorded voices until now, so a Neumann would be useless for me and my untreated room. Cheaper is better, but I want quality too.
- I know that some mics are better for different timbres, but I cant't know all the vocalists that will work with me at the moment, so I'd need something that could be ok for different timbres.


my questions are:

1) Better Condenser or Dynamic?
2) If condenser, better Cardioid or Hyper-cardioid in an untreated room?
3) Some equipment that worth to be bought with the mic (Pop filter, Mic reflection shield, Mic shock mount...) ?
4 Suggestion on some model?



Thanks everyone for the help!

In an untreated bedroom, I'd go with something that will cope with a wide range of voices and styles without picking up much room sound. Something like a Shure SM7B would do that job pretty nicely.

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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby jasno84 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:04 pm

Thanks for the advices about the environment. I've read about the blanket to place behind the singer...I will do for sure

Any comment about the Rode NT2-A: with 300€ I would got everything: mic + shockmount + popfilter + stand + cable. Yes, it would be 100 bucks more than the AT2035, but from what I read on the net the Rode SHOULD be better thant the AT and probably be on the same level than the SE2200 a mkii.
And hopefully a better mic should last more, even when my needs and ears become more demanding.


Any advice about the Rode NT2-A? I'm little worried because nobody of you advided it to me.

The Shure SM7B Seems really great, reading through the net. Maybe the choice could be between the Rode NT2-A and the SM7B, even if the Shure is 100 bucks more. I may make an effort and go with him, but only if it really worth it over the Rode..
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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby shufflebeat » Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:19 pm

jasno84 wrote:
Any advice about the Rode NT2-A?


I love my nt2. I use it more than my nt1 but that might be my sound sources. High pass filter, variable polar patterns, pad - v useful.
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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby RegressiveRock » Sat Dec 29, 2012 4:12 am

jasno84 wrote:Thanks for the advices about the environment. I've read about the blanket to place behind the singer...I will do for sure

Any comment about the Rode NT2-A: with 300€ I would got everything: mic + shockmount + popfilter + stand + cable. Yes, it would be 100 bucks more than the AT2035, but from what I read on the net the Rode SHOULD be better thant the AT and probably be on the same level than the SE2200 a mkii.
And hopefully a better mic should last more, even when my needs and ears become more demanding.


Any advice about the Rode NT2-A? I'm little worried because nobody of you advided it to me.

The Shure SM7B Seems really great, reading through the net. Maybe the choice could be between the Rode NT2-A and the SM7B, even if the Shure is 100 bucks more. I may make an effort and go with him, but only if it really worth it over the Rode..


Hey Jasno,

I am probably not the best person to ask about mid-range condensers as I do not own any. I am a bit of a mike geek and tend to buy higher up the range. However, if you do settle on the NT2, I would spend some considerable time thinking about how to get the best out of your room and your source. This does not have to be massively expensive if you think carefully about how you set up your room. Things as simple a well-stocked, floor-to-ceiling book shelves can provide very effective damping. Placing the mike appropriately and directing the vocal artist to sing slightly over or to-the-side of the capsule can tame plosives without the need for a good-quality pop shield.

The reason I suggested the SM7B is it is fire and forget, having very effective built-in shielding and is more forgiving about the bedroom environment when used for close-miked vox.

Anyway, back to my insomnia!

Reg
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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby ef37a » Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:56 am

Hi Jasno.
I doubt there is a single mic that can cover all your needs adequately.

For vocals I would suggest the Sontronics STC-2. It is fairly neutral for an LDC side address mic and having HP filter* and 10dB pad means you can get in quite close. For acoustic instruments I would go for a SDC and if you want a name? AKG Perception 170.

The problem I see with a dynamic is that you have said you will be recording a variety of voices? You are sure therefore to get a weak sister and getting enough, noise free level could be a PITA!

But room. You will need to do SOMETHING with it!

*Why do so few AIs have them? In fact I don't know of any!

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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:09 am

You are sure therefore to get a weak sister


Eh? You been at the Christmas sherry, Dave?
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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:12 am

Don't forget the dear old Shure SM58. Still absolutely brilliant value for money. For ages it was all I had and I used it on everything including fingerstyle acoustic guitar etc.
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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby SafeandSound Mastering » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:22 am

The reality is reeling off a load of mic names will give you prices and nothing else. A pro matches a mic with a voice, always. However, unless you are very confident in this area (and minted) then you you need a "catch all" mic, they don't really exist but something fairly neutral and unhyped would be the best bet. Spend 2/3 of budget on the mic and 1/3 on some absorptive treatment for a corner of the room.

Avoid overly bassy, present and bright mics, the NT1A is actually not bad in this respect. I do not find it a harsh mic but the 100Hz bump makes it a tad wooly sounding sometimes. The SE2200 is a tad toppy, potentially harsh IMO, but can flatter the right voice. Peoples experiences will depend on their preamp choices so you will hear different opinions for the same mic.

Choosing the right mic means listening to it. It is not always easy though as many stores do not have such a facility or are willing to load out mics.

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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby ef37a » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:29 pm

Huge Longjohns wrote:
You are sure therefore to get a weak sister


Eh? You been at the Christmas sherry, Dave?

Hah! Doc has had me teetotal since 2007! I am drawing on my PA experience. You get all setup and a decent level before ring and then along comes miss Mouse to squeak the minutes and you struggle!

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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby ef37a » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:34 pm

Huge Longjohns wrote:Don't forget the dear old Shure SM58. Still absolutely brilliant value for money. For ages it was all I had and I used it on everything including fingerstyle acoustic guitar etc.

Indeed. My son prefers the 57 from capacitors for acoustic git. But again weak sister! We just about coped with a Behringer Xenyx 802 but then I got an A&H ZED 10. Much better.

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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby The Red Bladder » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:01 pm

My first choice for vocal in the studio is an SM58 (£80). Then I reach for a M149 (£2600).
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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby RegressiveRock » Sat Dec 29, 2012 2:25 pm

Huge Longjohns wrote:
You are sure therefore to get a weak sister


Eh? You been at the Christmas sherry, Dave?

Aha! Don't you just love autocorrect!

Dave's point is however a fair one.

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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:52 pm

Interesting comments about the SM58. I have around ten different stage vocal mics and the SM58 is my (and my two bat earred fellow engineers) least favourite on most voices following a series of live A/B tests. If this is true, then an argument could be made to purchase a 'nice' sounding stage mic and make do with it! Worthy options to try would be the Sennheiser e840, e845 and the Electrovoice RE510.

The cheaper LDCs I've tried haven't done it for me, especially in the top end, but I'd heartily recommend the SM7, which works well on a number of voices. The fairly new Sennheiser MK4 is impressive, a silkier top end rather than hard like so many of its cheap cousins, but perhaps better suited to female vocals where some air is required.

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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby jasno84 » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:59 pm

Thanks for all the advices,

at the end, listening to youtube videos, reviews, and different point of vies, I think I will choose or the expensive Neumann TLM-102, or the more affordable Sennheiser Mk4. I've heard good things about these two mics, so I will probably go with one of those two at the end.

It seems these are 2 good mics for vocals, and pretty good all around mic
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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:57 pm

The time is ripe, I think, for a mic comparison on the same lines as the recent preamp feature, which pretty thoroughly debunked the idea that any competent preamp sounded different to any other.

Certainly, different basic designs have their characteristics. But similar designs at different price points? I wonder... :-)
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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby Bob Bickerton » Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:05 am

Exalted Wombat wrote:The time is ripe, I think, for a mic comparison on the same lines as the recent preamp feature, which pretty thoroughly debunked the idea that any competent preamp sounded different to any other.

Certainly, different basic designs have their characteristics. But similar designs at different price points? I wonder... :-)

It was done awhile back, four or so vocalists singing into a variety of mics, and the differences were quite noticeable and in some instances the cheaper mics won out on certain voices.

Unlike the preamp tests, the mic tests proved that there were considerable differences between mics (which anyone with a mic collection will confirm). In fact a positive outcome from the preamp tests is that it gives mic selection and positioning greater emphasis. I believe we can largely 'let go' of preamp and converter quality these days and focus on the source.

Then there's the room .........

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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby RegressiveRock » Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:49 am

Bob Bickerton wrote:
Exalted Wombat wrote:The time is ripe, I think, for a mic comparison on the same lines as the recent preamp feature, which pretty thoroughly debunked the idea that any competent preamp sounded different to any other.

Certainly, different basic designs have their characteristics. But similar designs at different price points? I wonder... :-)

It was done awhile back, four or so vocalists singing into a variety of mics, and the differences were quite noticeable and in some instances the cheaper mics won out on certain voices.

Unlike the preamp tests, the mic tests proved that there were considerable differences between mics (which anyone with a mic collection will confirm). In fact a positive outcome from the preamp tests is that it gives mic selection and positioning greater emphasis. I believe we can largely 'let go' of preamp and converter quality these days and focus on the source.

Then there's the room .........

Bob


Very much with Bob on the differences in transducers

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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby ef37a » Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:52 am

All very good points Bob and Reg. But have we not forgotten a principle here? Fidelity?

There will always be subjective likes and dislikes surrounding microphones but if we had some information as to which gave the most accurate capture of a wideband sound (might I suggest, pink noise, percussion, alarm clock, old fasioned BELL type!)this would surely be at least a starting point?

Naturally the reproducing monitors would have to be as beyond reproach as state of art allows* but at least they and the pre amps would be a common factor.

*I am sure Hugh would have some ideas here!

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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby ConcertinaChap » Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:01 am

The Red Bladder wrote:My first choice for vocal in the studio is an SM58 (£80). Then I reach for a M149 (£2600).


Everybody's heard about the SM58. Likewise everyone has heard of Neumann. It's surprising how far that gets you with the people you're recording. Since they know Neumann mics cost an arm and a leg they think, "Ah hah!, this guy's serious". You can get a long way on that.

(In the same way a rack full of kit with lots of lights impresses the natives no end whether you use it or not).

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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby Bob Bickerton » Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:56 am

ef37a wrote:All very good points Bob and Reg. But have we not forgotten a principle here? Fidelity?

There will always be subjective likes and dislikes surrounding microphones but if we had some information as to which gave the most accurate capture of a wideband sound (might I suggest, pink noise, percussion, alarm clock, old fasioned BELL type!)this would surely be at least a starting point?

Naturally the reproducing monitors would have to be as beyond reproach as state of art allows* but at least they and the pre amps would be a common factor.

*I am sure Hugh would have some ideas here!

Dave. Art for art's sake. Science (little bit) FGS!


All very well but it's not an ideal world, and any situation, even straight acoustic - no technology, has limitless variables.

Let's disregard technology for a moment, take a pianist playing a Beethoven Sonata. What piano would you prefer them to use, what acoustic, dry? Wet? Cathedral? Bedroom? Where would you like to listen, close, 10 metres back, sitting on the player's shoulder? Do you want the lid down, half stick, full stick? So many variables and we haven't even thought about plugging in anything or how good the musician or performance will be.

So what is fidelity in this acoustic scenario? I believe it is not definitive. It is a question of interpretation, taste if you will, as is any process of recording.

Not being critical Dave, but this is a philosophy I work with and enjoy massaging! Sorry to rant.

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Re: Good Mic for Vocal: Advices for my first purchase

Postby ef37a » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:00 pm

Well I'm sorry too Bob because you rant has gone sideways, down a backalley and come up it own usb port!

You clearly did not understand my point.

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