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R/E/P => R/E/P Archives => Fletcher => Topic started by: grantis on January 27, 2011, 08:35:19 pm

Title: shopping for a vocal mic
Post by: grantis 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!
Title: Re: shopping for a vocal mic
Post by: Bubba#$%Kron 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
Title: Re: shopping for a vocal mic
Post by: marcel 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.
Title: Re: shopping for a vocal mic
Post by: grantis 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!!
Title: Re: shopping for a vocal mic
Post by: grantis 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!
Title: Re: shopping for a vocal mic
Post by: bleen 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.
Title: Re: shopping for a vocal mic
Post by: Tomas Danko on January 28, 2011, 06:18:16 am
Check out the Rode K2. It's very affordable, reliable and can sound great.
Title: Re: shopping for a vocal mic
Post by: Fletcher 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.
Title: Re: shopping for a vocal mic
Post by: grantis 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.  
Title: Re: shopping for a vocal mic
Post by: gwailoh 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.
Title: Re: shopping for a vocal mic
Post by: Daniel Farris on January 28, 2011, 03:11:09 pm
Milab DC96B
RTT MKL101

DF
Title: Re: shopping for a vocal mic
Post by: marcel 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.
Title: Re: shopping for a vocal mic
Post by: KB_S1 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.
Title: Re: shopping for a vocal mic
Post by: Fletcher 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.
Title: Re: shopping for a vocal mic
Post by: J.J. Blair 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
Title: Re: shopping for a vocal mic
Post by: Barry Hufker on January 30, 2011, 12:56:31 am
One the regular vintage mic sites has a U87 (original version) for $2200.

But I can certainly "second" the Milab DC 196.  It's a very fine mic for many things.

Barry
Title: Re: shopping for a vocal mic
Post by: Wireline on January 30, 2011, 08:38:09 am
Grant, if you ask around in Nashvegas, you might discover an awful lot of folks use an SM7 for an awful lot of things vocally.  Although not a Nashville guy here, I use them for quite a wide variety of vocal chores, and rarely do they let me down.

Not always "the best" (whatever that means" but very seldom the least desirable on any voice.  Dern sight cheaper than your budget, too, which will allow you some other options as well.

Jes opinion.
Title: Re: shopping for a vocal mic
Post by: Fletcher on January 30, 2011, 09:21:09 am
Barry Hufker wrote on Sun, 30 January 2011 00:56

But I can certainly "second" the Milab DC 196.  It's a very fine mic for many things.


Yeah - I know I said I wouldn't talk about specific models of mics when I joined this thread but the Milab stuff is soooo good and soooo overlooked by far too many in our industry that I thought I'd chime in to say that they do indeed build EXCELLENT sounding mics!!!

I've used Milabs for years - they've been like a "secret weapon" for me... but maybe its time that the secret got out a little more than it has in the past.

Those microphones are more than certainly worth a look, listen and trial in your studio... if not for vocals, then a ton of other potential uses!!!

Peace.
Title: Re: shopping for a vocal mic
Post by: grantis on January 30, 2011, 11:11:11 am
Wireline wrote on Sun, 30 January 2011 07:38

Grant, if you ask around in Nashvegas, you might discover an awful lot of folks use an SM7 for an awful lot of things vocally.  Although not a Nashville guy here, I use them for quite a wide variety of vocal chores, and rarely do they let me down.

Not always "the best" (whatever that means" but very seldom the least desirable on any voice.  Dern sight cheaper than your budget, too, which will allow you some other options as well.

Jes opinion.


Thanks!  

I owned an SM-7 for a while, and at some point would like to get another one.  They're good mics, and are 'serviceable' on many things, just not what i'm looking for in this case.

I found a Milab on craigslist...hoping the guy will let me try before i buy.  Fingers crossed!