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Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

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Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby dickiefunk » Sat Jul 11, 2015 6:58 am

Hi,

I am wondering if there are any mics under £200 that would be a step up from what I use already. My current mics are :-

JZ HH1
EV n/d767a x2
Sennheiser E838 x2
AKG D5 x3

I've also owned/tried a lot of other mics - Sennheiser E945/E935, Shure beta58, Audix OM6, EV967, Beyer M69, Heil PR22, Audix OM3, SE Electronics H1, Rode M2, Shure SM58.

From all of these mics my favourites are the JZ HH1, Sennheiser E935/945, EV 767a and Shure beta 58. The AKG D5 and Sennehiser E838 are also pretty impressive considering their extremely low UK price at the moment!
I am probably going to add the Sennheiser E935/E945 and beta 58 to my collection (because of rider requests) but I'm curious about the Telefunken M80 and AKG D7. The Telefunken claims to be close to a condenser in sound and the AKG D7 is supposed to be a step up from the D7?

Ideally what I'd like is a mic that picks up even more detail and nuances of singers without and boomy muddiness whilst having improved handling noise and less prone to popping and feedback with smooth proximity changes.
Can anyone comment on the Telefunken M80 or AKG D7 compared to any of the mics I've mentioned? Also, would a condenser be a better option? I've been considering the Shure Beta 87a, Rode S1 and Audix VX5?

What would you recommend?
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Re: Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Jul 11, 2015 11:10 am

Can't help with any of those new options but I'm not particularly keen on the ND767 (too harsh but cuts through a rock band well) and the Beta58 (similar but less harsh sounding). I'm also curious to hear your verdict on the SE-H1 (which is my favourite vocal mic, at least of those which fall in my price range) I remember you saying you were getting one to try?
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Re: Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby dickiefunk » Sat Jul 11, 2015 1:43 pm

Hi Sam,

Yes I could imagine the EV 767a sounding a little harsh on certain voices (especially if they have poor mic technique). However on the various male vocalists I've tried it on it sounds great. The JZ HH1 also sounds excellent and has the best popping rejection out of any mic I've used. In some ways the JZ HH1's top end reminds me of a condenser but is a little lighter in the lower frequencies.

I had the SE H1 here for a while and didn't like it. I found both the JZ HH1 and the EV n/d 767a had greater clarity. I also found the output on the SE H1 to be the lowest out of any mic I tried. I ended up using noticeably more gain than an SM58. All the mics I currently own have a noticeably higher output and require less gain than an SM58 (particularly the EV 767a and Senn E838). This helps keep noise to a minimum.

The JZ HH1 and EV 767a are already pretty detailed sounding mics (possible the JZ HH1 more so) and the Sennheiser E838 is good for thin voices. The two vocalists I work with own a Sennehiser E935 and Shure beta 58. I tried a variety of mics on one of the vocalists and the Sennheiser E935 just suited her voice and style the most. I haven't tried the other singer on other mics yet but her voice already sounds great through a beta 58. I'd be keen to try the JZ HH1, n/d 767a and E935 or 945 on her voice. We recently did a live studio recording/video and used the E935, beta 58 and JZ HH1. I was quite surprised with how good the end result was!

Maybe I'm unnecessarily chasing mics!? I have found that different mics can vary a lot. I recently tried a Sennheiser E965 and Neumann KMS105 and the vocal sound was stunning! So much clarity, presence yet full sound. However, I found these would not be practical in many of the tight spaces we have to set up as they were much more sensitive to feedback.
Ideally I'd like something that can get close to the sound of these mics but without the sensitivity to feedback. Also, I'd like something that rejects popping at least as well as the JZ HH1 but with lower handling noise (main criticism with the HH1).

Perhaps I'm asking/expecting too much?
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Re: Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Jul 11, 2015 2:23 pm

My H1s (I have 5.....) don't have a particularly low output (though I agree it's a fair bit lower than the 767 for example but they are very high output). I like the H1s precisely because the don't have the hyped mid range of the 58 style mics (which is there to provide maximum intelligibility in a loud environment). I wouldn't us one on a loud male rock singer but for smoother vocal styles where you're not fighting just to get the vocal heard they sound great to me. I don't perceive a lack of clarity, just a lack of upper mid range push (if I want that I have a couple of Beta57s amongst others). I'm also not a fan of super/hyper-cardioids on most vocalists as they are very unforgiving of poor mic technique, the 57s are, the H1 aren't. The H1 is more prone to very high frequency feedback which sometimes needs controlling but that's mostly a natural consequence of the extended HF.

I don't have (and do slightly envy) your extensive mic locker Richard but am considering a couple of extra, different mics, maybe a Senn 845/945 and/or a HeilSound PR20 (did you try one of those?

BTW, I did a side by side with a Beta 57 and Beta 58, on the boss's big rig (EAW850/Crown iTech) the 58 sounded better on vocals but on my more modest setup I definitely preferred the 57 (apparently the only real difference is a slightly shifted presence peak)!
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Re: Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sat Jul 11, 2015 3:02 pm

Isn't time you saved up and bought a KMS105?

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Re: Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby dickiefunk » Sat Jul 11, 2015 5:50 pm

I haven't tried the PR20 but have tried the PR22. Apparently these are virtually the same mics but the PR22 has a better shock mount system for the capsule to reduce handling noise. We did a shootout with the PR22 alongside the EV 767a, Sennheiser E935 and E945. We all found the Heil still had high handling noise. Not only that, the Heil was extremely boomy and sensitive to popping. The top end and mid range was very nice though.

Whilst I love the KSM 105 it probably wouldn't be suitable for some of the loud tight spaces we have to fit in.
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Re: Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sat Jul 11, 2015 9:28 pm

dickiefunk wrote:Whilst I love the KSM 105 it probably wouldn't be suitable for some of the loud tight spaces we have to fit in.


Sorry missed that bit, although I'd have to say I've found the KMS105 to be not that different to some dynamic mics with careful placement of speakers/monitors.

If the stages you are working are loud and tight, then I'm wondering if you really are working in an environment where the nuances of a good condenser will be of significant benefit.

Without question the mic I've found that is most feedback resistant is the OM7, and it sounds pretty good too. Only drawback is that the singer has to eat it.

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Re: Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby dickiefunk » Sat Jul 11, 2015 11:25 pm

There will also be several ocassions where the whole band are using IEMS and other gigs will be small acoustic acts so the nuances would be appreciated then.

To be honest the Neumann KMS105 is almost double what I want to spend as I would ideally like a few mics of the caliber. I'm going to try and find a Telefunken M80 and AKG D7 to borrow along with the E945 and E935. I may be able to source the KSM105, E965 and Audix VX5. If I'm able to get these mics to try I'll report back after some a/b-ing.
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Re: Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:58 am

dickiefunk wrote:To be honest the Neumann KMS105 is almost double what I want to spend as I would ideally like a few mics of the caliber.

It's head and shoulders above all of the other mics you have in your collection, so just buy right and buy once. You seem to waste an awful lot of time trying to buy the moon on a stick, there's a reason why 767's and 58's are cheap, and that's because they're cheap mics.

I have 4 vocal mics now, all mid/top-end, much easier to use/setup than titting around with £100 767's etc.
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Re: Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sun Jul 12, 2015 12:31 pm

TheChorltonWheelie wrote:... there's a reason why 767's and 58's are cheap, and that's because they're cheap mics.

Condemn the 58 if you will, but you need a better argument than that. Logic could just as well tell us that the 58 proved to have "got it right" many years ago, therefore it sold in huge numbers and the price could be kept down.

Now, THIS is a CHEAP mic. It also illustrates this useful rule-of-thumb, anything advertised as Professional, isn't. With those two strikes against it, I'm dubious whether it's worth investigating further. But cheap isn't necessarily ultra-nasty. One of THESE has got me out of trouble quite a few times.
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Re: Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Sun Jul 12, 2015 5:19 pm

Exalted Wombat wrote:Condemn the 58 if you will, but you need a better argument than that.

Poor mid-range and almost no top-end, compared to similarly-priced: that's the only reason anyone needs not to bother with an SM58. The tired old "feedback rejection" benefit it just that, tired and old.
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Re: Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby James Perrett » Sun Jul 12, 2015 8:00 pm

dickiefunk wrote:
To be honest the Neumann KMS105 is almost double what I want to spend as I would ideally like a few mics of the caliber.

You don't have to buy them all at once...

Work out a strategy and stick to it. My first setup took about 8 years to build up, but I had a pretty good idea of where I wanted to end up when I started, so everything I bought had a place in the final setup - even the cheap mics.
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Re: Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby loftthebrit » Mon Jul 13, 2015 4:59 pm

Audix VX5, very well behaved stage condenser. Reminiscent of a 535 but with great off-axis rejection.
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Re: Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Tue Jul 14, 2015 10:18 am

TheChorltonWheelie wrote:
Exalted Wombat wrote:Condemn the 58 if you will, but you need a better argument than that.

Poor mid-range and almost no top-end, compared to similarly-priced: that's the only reason anyone needs not to bother with an SM58. The tired old "feedback rejection" benefit it just that, tired and old.

Fine. I wasn't just nit-picking. Criticise the item, not just its price. "You get what you pay for" might have been a useful adage when tech-audio gear was struggling towards adequacy. But now so many functions are perfectly well performed by utility-level equipment, we need a better reason to reject an item than "it's cheap".
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Re: Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby dickiefunk » Thu Jul 16, 2015 7:36 am

TheChorltonWheelie wrote:
dickiefunk wrote:To be honest the Neumann KMS105 is almost double what I want to spend as I would ideally like a few mics of the caliber.

It's head and shoulders above all of the other mics you have in your collection, so just buy right and buy once. You seem to waste an awful lot of time trying to buy the moon on a stick, there's a reason why 767's and 58's are cheap, and that's because they're cheap mics.

I have 4 vocal mics now, all mid/top-end, much easier to use/setup than titting around with £100 767's etc.

What mics do you use at the moment? I've actually been pretty impressed with the EV 767a on quite a few vocalists but find its proximity can be a problem with some singers (mainly those who don't know how to work a mic).

I've just made an unexpected purchase and bought an Audio Technica ATM710 condenser. One came up secondhand at a price I couldn't resist. I'm going to do a shootout with it against the Sennheiser E945, E935, E838, JZ HH1, Shure Beta 58, EV 767a and AKG D5 at the weekend. I may also borrow an Audix VX5.

I think I'll not bother with the Telefunken M80 as On reflection I'm not sure I can justify spending £200+ on mics as whilst I really like my pa ipit is not an l'acoustics, d&b audioteknik or meyer rig. If I'm going to spend that kind of money on mics I'd like to have a rig where I can really appreciate their quality.
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Re: Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby dickiefunk » Sat Jul 18, 2015 1:17 pm

Just finished a soundcheck a/b'ing Sennheiser E945, E935, E838, JZ HH1, Shure Beta 58, EV N/D 767a, AKG D5 and Audio Technica ATM 710. I tried them through my Yamaha DXR15/EV ELX118p system run through an Allen & Heath QU-PAC. I had all EQ set flat.
I tested these mics on a male tenor vocal and female mezzo soprano.
On the male vocalist I tried the JZ HH1 first and the result was ok. Perhaps the mic sounded a little thin. Also, if he moved literally two inches back the sound was extremely thin. Next up the Sennheiser E838 and this mic had a lot more body to the sound but decent clarity to the high frequencies. This mic sounded better off a couple of inches off the mic but sounded a little muddy closer. the EV 767a sounded a little brighter than the other two with a little less muddiness in the mids compared to the E838. Next we tried the Audio Technica ATM710 and we all instantly thought wow. This mic had a really open sound with the clearest mid range and balanced low frequencies. This mic also sounded more consistent when the singer moved off than the other mics. After that we tried the Shure Beta 58 and AKG D5 and we were all pretty unimpressed after hearing the ATM710. In fact, we preferred the EV 767a, JZ HH1 and Sennheiser E838 to these. Later some dropped off the E945 and E935. Both of which we really liked. The E935 sounded similar to the E838 but with a clearer mid range. The E945 also sounded really good but was more sensitive to the singer moving off mic.
Next we tried the mics on the female vocalist. She normally uses the Shure Beta 58 and normally sounds great so we started with this mic first. It's worth noting that this vocalist has a much better mic technique than the male vocalist. Mic sounded very good. Next came the EV and we all preferred this to the Shure. More presence and depth and clearer mid range. The JZ HH1 also sounded great on her voice with a nice top end sheen and clear mid range. Next was the Sennheiser E838 and E935. We found the results with these mics consistent to what we found with the male vocalist. They sounded similar but the E935 had a clearer midrange. Next came the E945 and this reminded us of something between the EV and JZ. Very clear mid range and sparkle to the high frequencies. However we felt this mic had the edge over the others. Finally we tried the ATM710 and it had the same impact on us as it did with the male vocalist. Wow! Great clarity presence and balance of tone.
Our conclusion from today is the Audio Technica ATM710 was our unanimous favourite. The EV 767a, JZ HH1 and Sennheiser E945 and E935 were our favourite dynamics (not necessarily in that order). I was also very impressed with the Sennheiser E838 and as this mic was by far the cheapest. The E838 is going for £45 new at the moment which has to be one of the biggest live mic bargains!
From our experience with using a better quality condenser live I am now very curious to hear the Audix VX5. Also, one of my friends has the Sennheiser E965 which he loves and would be interesting to hear how it compares to the ATM710.
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Re: Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby dickiefunk » Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:44 pm

I'm hoping to try out the Audix VX5 along with the Sennheiser E865 on Thursday to compare with my other mics on the same vocalists. Will report back with my experiences with those.
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Re: Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby shufflebeat » Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:12 pm

Exalted Wombat wrote:
TheChorltonWheelie wrote:
Exalted Wombat wrote:Condemn the 58 if you will, but you need a better argument than that.

Poor mid-range and almost no top-end, compared to similarly-priced: that's the only reason anyone needs not to bother with an SM58. The tired old "feedback rejection" benefit it just that, tired and old.

Fine. I wasn't just nit-picking. Criticise the item, not just its price. "You get what you pay for" might have been a useful adage when tech-audio gear was struggling towards adequacy. But now so many functions are perfectly well performed by utility-level equipment, we need a better reason to reject an item than "it's cheap".

There are of course times when a lovely silky soft but crisp full range detailed voice is brilliant but there are other times when one might want to restrict the vocal top end or maybe have a vocalist where fine detail is not a priority.

I have a motley collection of mics I've picked up over the years and they're all perfect now and again, including the '58s.
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Re: Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby AlecSp » Tue Jul 28, 2015 1:17 pm

Honestly, I'm just happy to settle on my workhorse selection of mics, selected not least on their utility as well as their performance.

Vocals, I've got a bunch of SM58s that I use either as a fallback or when the talent bizarrely claims to prefer them. That said, they do a perfectly good job.

By preference I use my collection of e935s, which are generally just better/easier to work with.

Between these two, my bases have always been covered. And, for live work, familiar mics that you can set the gain/EQ/monitor levels to standard starting positions without thinking about is a real time saver.

Much like for guitar cabs it's e906s all round. They sound great, and have much less impact on small stage space than almost anything else. Plus you can generally avoid needing mic stands.

All that makes me very happy, and after the initial spend, I'm content. That said, on reflection, the replacement value of my mic bag would be around £2k.
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Re: Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby dickiefunk » Tue Jul 28, 2015 2:24 pm

Yes the E935 is a very versatile mic. I will probably end up sticking with the ATM710 (or another condenser mic) as my main lead vocal mic on stages that are not noisy. For noisier stages I'll end up using the Sennheiser E945/E838 or the EV767a and possibly the JZ HH1.
In terms of dynamic mics I feel I'm sorted there. After my experience with the ATM710 I would like to try a few more similarly priced condensers as some situations would benefit from the extra level of clarity and detail aswell as the better off axis response. I cover a range of different gigs from solo vocal + guitar coffee house gigs to small festivals.
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Re: Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby dickiefunk » Sun Aug 23, 2015 8:05 pm

I had another outing with the ATM710 today along with a Shure Beta 87a to compare. This time it was with a soft rock band where the drummer used hotrods. There were three wedge monitors on stage and the lead female vocalist played keys.
To start with I tried a couple of my goto dynamics JZ HH1 and Sennheiser E945. Both mics sounded really good with the E945 being my favourite.
First up from the condensers was the Beta 87a and the difference was big. The sound was more open, clearer and sounded very smooth. The output of the 87a was similar to my higher output dynamics. We were very happy with the sound of this mic and was a step up over any dynamic I've tried on this vocalist (about 7). Next we swapped the 87a with the Audio Technica ATM70 and the first thing that immediately hit us was how loud this mic is. It required roughly 15dB or more less gain to match the output of the other mics (all of which have noticeably higher output to an SM58). This mic also sounded fantastic and everyone again instantly preferred it to the dynamics.
Both these condensers sounded lovely with the ATM710 having a slightly more pronounced high end. The Beta 87a sounded slightly warmer. It was very hard to pick a favourite tonally as both mics sounded fantastic. I didn't compare the handling noise or pickup pattern of these mics but neither had any issues with bleed from the drums (however these were quieter than on your typical pub rock gig) and neither had any vague issues with feedback.
From my recent experiences with these two condensers I'm keen to experiment with these in more varying situations and try a couple other condensers. I will be borrowing an Audix VX5 and Sennheiser E865 soon and may try to get hold of the similarly priced Rode S1. I'm also going to borrow a Neumann KMS105 and Sennheiser E965 to hear how the higher end live vocal condensers compare.
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Re: Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby niallharp » Sun Aug 23, 2015 9:57 pm

I recently tried out a shure 57, 58, AKG d5, Beyerdynamic MTG88, and Neumann Km105 on a male singer with a very wide range. The quality increased in that order. There was a very big quality jump between the d5 and the Bayer, and not so much from the Beyer to the Neumann. You could pick up a second hand Mtg88 for you budget. Seriously, try one. They're ace...
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Re: Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby dickiefunk » Sun Aug 30, 2015 2:23 pm

I tried the ATM710 and Shure Beta 87a on a noisier stage this weekend and found they performed brilliantly.The band was drums, bass, keys and female vox and the drummer whilst not being the loudest I've heard was certainly playing much louder than the drummer last week.. The band were all using wedge monitors and were noticeably louder than than before.
I was expecting bleed and feedback to be an issue but was very surprised to find it wasn't! Feedback and bleed wasn't an issue at all though it was helped that the vocalist wasn't directly in front of the drums.
The female vocalist had a much edgier rocky voice than the last vocalist I tried these mic's on. Both mics again sounded excellent without EQ and I liked them both for different reasons. The Beta87a was very smooth and the ATM710 was a little brighter. The only negative I found was the high frequencies on both mics sounded edgy (slightly more with the ATM710) when the vocalist was belting it but on the quieter bits both sounded lovely. I don't think this was particularly the mics at fault as I found this with any of the dynamics I tried her on aswell as this was a characteristic of her voice. By the time I added a little reverb the sound was much smoother and sounded very impressive.
I ended up using the ATM710 again as I found the vocals sounded clearer over the band with this mic.

Looking forward to trying out some more condensers soon.
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Re: Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby dickiefunk » Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:11 pm

I picked up and Audio Technica AE5400 a while back I've been trying it out on a few vocalists and haven't been that pleased with it so far. I find the mic needs a lot more EQ than my other mics. I'm not saying that it's a bad mic by any means but for the vocalists I'm working with through the specific pa's at the various venues I'm happier with the results I'm getting with my other mics.
I've just picked up a Telefunken M80 and one of the new EV ND86's.. I'm also borrowing an EV n/d967 and a Shure Beta 58 to try out at three events over the weekend with a variety of vocalists.
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Re: Next step up for vocal mics - Telefunken M80, AKG D7, Senn E935/E945 or condenser?

Postby shufflebeat » Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:22 am

Wow, this is an old thread, but now that I've been reminded:

Bob Bickerton wrote:Without question the mic I've found that is most feedback resistant is the OM7, and it sounds pretty good too. Only drawback is that the singer has to eat it.

Bob

I love my om7. Not on every voice obviously but that could be said about any mic. The narrow range of use, eating the mic as Bob rightly put it, does not restrict in any way the possibilities of a clever singer to move in and out for effect but it condenses the useable distance to a couple of centimetres rather than inches.

I can coax a variety of tonal profiles out of an om7 as you can EQ for effect in a way that the propensity for feedback of other mics would not allow.

I've not yet met a singer (who knows what they're doing) that hasn't either welcomed seeing it or checked out the model number for future reference.
shufflebeat
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I don't know much but I'm happy to share my ignorance with anyone who can use it.

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