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Author Topic: shopping for a vocal mic  (Read 4665 times)

grantis

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shopping for a vocal mic
« on: January 27, 2011, 08:35:19 pm »

hey fellas,
i'm shopping for a vocal mic to use in a little writing room i have.  budget is around $1500 or less.  i don't know what's out there in terms of 'boutique-y' stuff, other than the soundelux stuff.  i like the u95s.  good presence, but are there other mics that i'm unaware of that have a bit of a smoother sound to them?

i'm specifically looking for something that can cover a lot of ground with most singers.  i've used 1 mic in my life that could do just that, but it was some custom built thing that i won't be able to get my hands on.

lemme hear whatcha got!
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Grant Craig
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Bubba#$%Kron

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Re: shopping for a vocal mic
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2011, 08:44:11 pm »

Get a used BLUE Kiwi off ebay.  Thats the greatest mic in that price range IMO. Its got an extended top end because its transformerless, but when plugged into a neve type pre its the perfect balance.

Cheers
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marcel

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Re: shopping for a vocal mic
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2011, 09:49:16 pm »

I'd go (used) U87, personally.  I know it's not the most exciting or sexy choice out there, but it does so many things well.
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grantis

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Re: shopping for a vocal mic
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2011, 12:04:43 am »

Bubba#$%Kron wrote on Thu, 27 January 2011 19:44

Get a used BLUE Kiwi off ebay.  Thats the greatest mic in that price range IMO. Its got an extended top end because its transformerless, but when plugged into a neve type pre its the perfect balance.

Cheers


I have another guy telling me this same thing...

Thanks for your input man!!
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Grant Craig
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grantis

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Re: shopping for a vocal mic
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2011, 12:08:12 am »

marcel wrote on Thu, 27 January 2011 20:49

I'd go (used) U87, personally.  I know it's not the most exciting or sexy choice out there, but it does so many things well.


The only U87 I've used sounded...'cold' to me.  Didn't seem to have a lot of life to it.  But I know old mics can be a crap shoot sometimes.  I'll see about trying another one.  

thanks!
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Grant Craig
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bleen

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Re: shopping for a vocal mic
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2011, 01:56:12 am »

The BeesNeez Arabella GT would be right in your price range. I have the Producer-series version of the Arabella (nearly double the $$), but the GT one would still bend your mind in lots of good ways, I'd be willing to wager.
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Tomas Danko

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Re: shopping for a vocal mic
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2011, 06:18:16 am »

Check out the Rode K2. It's very affordable, reliable and can sound great.
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Fletcher

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Re: shopping for a vocal mic
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2011, 08:57:05 am »

Because I do work for a microphone manufacturer I will NOT give you any specific recommendations - but will mention that every singer will couple well with a different mics and that no two applications are the same.

A singer's voice will change all the time - what they had for breakfast can change what mic will couple best with the singer - the key of the song can change what mic will couple best with the singer - the musical arrangement [key heavy?  guitar heavy?  heavy guitars or clean? etc., etc., etc.] will all change what mic will couple best with the singer.

Your best bet is to try a few.  Find what works with the singers you work with most often and others that compliment those singers in different settings.

There is no "one size fits all" recommendation available here - what is necessary is for you to gain experience with the tools and learn how to go through the process of picking the "right" tool for the job... or at least the "right" tool as it applies to the music at hand and your sense of aesthetic for the production.

Peace.
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CN Fletcher

mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid


"Recording engineers are an arrogant bunch.  
If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
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grantis

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Re: shopping for a vocal mic
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2011, 10:22:49 am »

Fletcher wrote on Fri, 28 January 2011 07:57

Because I do work for a microphone manufacturer I will NOT give you any specific recommendations - but will mention that every singer will couple well with a different mics and that no two applications are the same.

A singer's voice will change all the time - what they had for breakfast can change what mic will couple best with the singer - the key of the song can change what mic will couple best with the singer - the musical arrangement [key heavy?  guitar heavy?  heavy guitars or clean? etc., etc., etc.] will all change what mic will couple best with the singer.

Your best bet is to try a few.  Find what works with the singers you work with most often and others that compliment those singers in different settings.

There is no "one size fits all" recommendation available here - what is necessary is for you to gain experience with the tools and learn how to go through the process of picking the "right" tool for the job... or at least the "right" tool as it applies to the music at hand and your sense of aesthetic for the production.

Peace.


Sounds good in theory.

The problem with all of that is this....

I've used a mic that worked (well) for every singer who sang through it, across many genres.  I know it's possible.  The problem is getting one of those mics built for me....the guy just doesn't make them anymore.

Kiwi is intriguing...that'll be my first test.  I've also heard good things about the K2, but i never got it to work for me.  
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Grant Craig
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gwailoh

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Re: shopping for a vocal mic
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2011, 01:49:09 pm »

i've got two Kiwis.  I like them fine on sources that you want to brighten in a mix.  Hand percussion, tambourine, harmonica, stuff that jangles.  But, to my ear, too bright by miles to be a happy vocal all-rounder.  Singers with thin or nasal voices are likely to have the problems with their voices accentuated rather than complimented.

IMO the U87 suggestion is pretty reasonable.  Or a 414.  They sound fine on most everybody and they EQ nicely.

Daniel Farris

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Re: shopping for a vocal mic
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2011, 03:11:09 pm »

Milab DC96B
RTT MKL101

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marcel

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Re: shopping for a vocal mic
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2011, 03:21:03 pm »

grantis wrote on Thu, 27 January 2011 21:08

marcel wrote on Thu, 27 January 2011 20:49

I'd go (used) U87, personally.  I know it's not the most exciting or sexy choice out there, but it does so many things well.


The only U87 I've used sounded...'cold' to me.  Didn't seem to have a lot of life to it.  But I know old mics can be a crap shoot sometimes.  I'll see about trying another one.  

thanks!

I do prefer the original (U87i) to the newer version (U87Ai) WRT the 'sterility' factor.  

They seem to be available a little cheaper, too.  Both the ones we have were purchased for prices that would fit within your stated budget.  The Ais seem to run more around the $2k mark.
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KB_S1

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Re: shopping for a vocal mic
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2011, 07:56:02 am »

I have a Milab DC196 that was my first choice normally for vocals until a certain Lucas appeared at my door.

At that price a U87 is going to be heard find in good condition I would have thought. Maybe that is just the UK market. If you can then it is a good solid choice and clients will recognise the name.
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Fletcher

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Re: shopping for a vocal mic
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2011, 10:01:12 am »

grantis wrote on Fri, 28 January 2011 10:22

I've used a mic that worked (well) for every singer who sang through it, across many genres.  I know it's possible.  The problem is getting one of those mics built for me....the guy just doesn't make them anymore.


If he doesn't build them anymore he probably won't have a problem telling you what was inside... if you collect the parts there are any number of people that can assemble them and tune the final product to be what you would like it to be.

There are very few parts that have slipped into the total and complete domain of unobtainium... so while it might be a bit of a project, it is certainly doable.

Peace.
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CN Fletcher

mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid


"Recording engineers are an arrogant bunch.  
If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
Malcolm Chisholm

J.J. Blair

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Re: shopping for a vocal mic
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2011, 12:20:08 am »

Give me $1,500, and I'll let you record your vocals using any of my mics for a couple days.  Very Happy
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