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Vocal microphone question

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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby The Korff » Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:11 pm

Agreed! The AKG D5 is my favourite budget alternative, and is IMO just a much better-sounding mic.
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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby AlecSp » Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:38 pm

And already, you can see that everyone (including me) has an opinion, without even knowing all the details of the application, and that you'll never get agreement.

We could all save our time and point you at the 150+ posts in this identical thread.
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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby gsc1ugs » Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:39 pm

I could put a twist on it, what is the best live vocal microphone cost no object?
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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:41 pm

TheChorltonWheelie wrote:I cannot fathom why people STILL recommend an SM58

It's probably for the same reason people claim PT is 'the industry standard', or you have to mix on NS10s.

It's just instantly recognisable and familiar, and does an acceptably competent job. For many, it's 'better the devil you know' -- and while there are undoubtedly better options today, no one ever lost a gig because they used SM58s.
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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby blinddrew » Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:29 pm

gsc1ugs wrote:I could put a twist on it, what is the best live vocal microphone cost no object?
All the same factors apply, except cost. Even more reason to try them out.
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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:29 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
TheChorltonWheelie wrote:I cannot fathom why people STILL recommend an SM58

It's probably for the same reason people claim PT is 'the industry standard', or you have to mix on NS10s.

It's just instantly recognisable and familiar, and does an acceptably competent job. For many, it's 'better the devil you know' -- and while there are undoubtedly better options today, no one ever lost a gig because they used SM58s.

I don't know many major producers/engineers that still use NS10s, even for reference purposes on their meter bridge. The vast majority of podcasts that I watch, from people like CLA, Pensado, Clearmountain etc., rarely mention the NS10 other than to say people don't use them any more.

"Better the devil you know" is another way of saying reluctance to move onwards and upwards, to the point I'd seriously question the credentials of a live engineer that believed that an SM58 was the only or even preferred option. Once again, I refer people to the fact that most microphones in this price bracket are as good, if not better at feedback rejection, they're equally as easy to ring, and almost all of them sit better in the mix than the dynamically flat SM58.

Working on large festival and indoor stages, thankfully those engineers that laud the SM58 are gradually disappearing, presumably to the 70s whence they came! :D
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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:35 pm

gsc1ugs wrote:I could put a twist on it, what is the best live vocal microphone cost no object?

Well, my choice would be the KMS105; fantastic prescence/air but almost impossible to make it feedback.

Given that microphones last almost indefinitely, and given how much other musicians spend on their kit, it's very, very bizarre that singers are entrenched in the view that they only need to spend £100-£150 on their revenue-earning work tool.

Would the same singer sound better on a KMS105 compared to a 58 or OM3; absolutely, and they're be easier to mix, require far less EQ, and still present a more natural and open sound. Are singers rushing to buy the KMS105? No............. :D
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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:43 pm

TheChorltonWheelie wrote:I don't know many major producers/engineers that still use NS10s...

Nor me -- but I fear you missed my point.

You asked why people still recommend the SM58. I'm suggesting that it's not that it (or PT or NS10s or whatever else...) is/are better than the alternatives, or even particularly good when compared against more modern offerings.

It's just that they have acquired a (entirely justified) reputation in the past and remain instantly familiar to everyone -- particularly those that have little current experience and so know no better.

Recommending the SM58 is not particularly inspired, and there are better, more modern options out there -- I agree with you completely on that -- but it's not exactly a terrible suggestion either since it will get the job done entirely adequately.

H
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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:47 pm

FWIW the OP is a Suggs/Madness tribute act working to backing tracks and has DXR15s for FOH, not sure what his monitor is though.

Gsc1ugs? what is the issue you are trying to address? Do you hand hold your mic and how animated are you on stage? I suspect you move/dance around a lot with will make it harder to use a super/hyper cardioid mic effectively, they are better at rejecting feedback but that's no good to you if you need it to be forgiving of too much movement around the mic.
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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby blinddrew » Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:47 pm

Responding to TheChorltonWheelie:
It's a funny one that isn't it? Seems to be quite common for singers to want to skimp on kit. You'll rarely get a 'serious' guitarist turning up with a single, cheapest-that-will-get-the-job-done guitar, no pedals and an underpowered own-brand amplifier. And pity the drummers and bass players who don't have the access to the economies of scale that a guitarist has...
But singers?
Still, it's not like most of the audience are primarily listening to the vocal melody and the lyrics... oh, wait,

P.S. I do have a bit of sympathy for singing guitarists who have two lots of kit to fund.
P.P.S. Looking at my own kit for a typical gig, and doing some rough calculations, my guitar set-up is about £3000 and my vocal set-up is about £1000 (including the PA, mixer etc), so clearly I'm guilty as charged. In my defence though, the guitar set up has built up over a much greater time period, and for most gigs I'm not actually providing anything in the vocal chain. :)
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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:49 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
TheChorltonWheelie wrote:I don't know many major producers/engineers that still use NS10s...

Nor me -- but I fear you missed my point.
H

I don't think I have, or rather I probably didn't make my point well enough.

Those "old school" views are disappearing, that's what I was trying to say, so the default choice of SM58/NS10 is also disappearing as those coming through have happened across far, far better alternatives.

Those, in my experience, that still hold a torch for the SM58 do so not because they can't work with other equipment, but perhaps through stubbornness or reluctance to move with the times. 10-20 years ago, people recommended the SM58 because there wasn't much competition, so it was an easy choice.
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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:53 pm

blinddrew wrote:Responding to TheChorltonWheelie:
It's a funny one that isn't it? Seems to be quite common for singers to want to skimp on kit...

But singers?
Still, it's not like most of the audience are primarily listening to the vocal melody and the lyrics... oh, wait,

What's very odd is that a mic that suits your voice can move you up several notches in terms of how the audience perceive you, and more importantly then how you perceive yourself, but still the vast majority of singers will skimp and present themselves with something of quite poor quality.

I know plenty of solo tribute acts, on £500+ per show upwards, that'll turn up with cheap wireless kit that has 4 possible frequencies, instead of investing in something that's top-notch that'll never give them problems as well as showcasing their voice. It's as though at "Tribute school" rule #1 is "Never, ever, ever, spend any more than £100 on your main working tool".

On the other scale, I'll gig with named acts that'll only use their own mics, and they're almost always top-notch pieces of kit specifically chosen for their voice.
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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby Moroccomoose » Wed Jul 17, 2019 4:21 pm

I don't think it is that odd. if you consider influencing artists.

Everyone knows Clapton plays a fender; Slash, a Les paul; Dave Stewart a white falcon; Carlos Santana PRS etc. The guitar looks 'cool', aesthetically pleasing, its part of the image. Who knows (or more importantly cares about) what mic Freddie Mercury, Robert Plant, Aretha Franklin or Ceelo Green used, even less so what PA/monitors.

The point is that the mic does not make up part of the 'image' of the performer, it is very much just a tool. If possible, they wouldn't have one at all, hence the lack of attention to the whys and wherefores of any particular mic over another.

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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Wed Jul 17, 2019 4:30 pm

Moroccomoose wrote:I don't think it is that odd. if you consider influencing artists.

Who knows (or more importantly cares about) what mic Freddie Mercury, Robert Plant, Aretha Franklin or Ceelo Green used, even less so what PA/monitors.

Freddie, Robert, Aretha all know what mics they used, they'd all have a very specific choice that they would normally always stick to.

Just because people don't know which mic their favourite artist uses, it doesn't equate that they shouldn't therefore care what mic they use, or whether in fact they're using a mic that suits their voice.

Moroccomoose wrote:The point is that the mic does not make up part of the 'image' of the performer

And that's not the attitude of most professionals, i.e. choosing something on image alone, or whether their favourite artist uses. A bedroom/home musician, possibly, but someone that's earning their living from their equipment would be basing their decisions on that.

I like Hank Marvin. I play a fiesta red Strat. Hank plays a fiesta red Strat. However, I don't play a fiesta Strat because Hank plays one, I play a Strat because it's very versatile.
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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby blinddrew » Wed Jul 17, 2019 4:34 pm

I think I'd agree to that as an audience member, but as a performer? Especially if your only instrument is your voice?
A, ahem, few years ago, when I was gigging a lot more (and with a lot more purpose) I went and tried out a few vocal mics that were a cut above an SM58 (I ended up with a Beta87). It's not so much about influencing artists (I have no idea what microphones Paul Simon or Tom McRae use :) ) but I recognised that there were better bits of kit out there than I was using.

But thinking back on that experience actually brings me full circle to answer TheChorltonWheelie's question about why one might buy an SM58, and my answer would be that if you're at the bottom of the bill, there's a good chance that anywhere you turn up to play, that will be what you're presented with. And good luck arguing with the sound man about swapping in your own mic.
So if you know you're most likely to be performing with one, may as well have one to practise with.
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