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Mic for female opera singer?
Old 10th March 2003
  #1
Gear Head
 
beggehorn's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Mic for female opera singer?

Long time lurker, first time poster...

Does anyone have any experience and suggestions for recording an opera singer? The mics I've tried include a TLM 103 and a Rode Classic. Both of these mics are too bright and the TLM distorts (no pad). I'm thinking of renting a mic or two and would love any suggestions. I have limited experience with a M-149 but was thinking it might be an option. Unfortunately I don't have a large room to put space between the gal and the mic so this will be more of a pop vocal setup. Thanks!
Old 10th March 2003
  #2
Lives for gear
 
RKrizman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Re: Mic for female opera singer?

Quote:
Originally posted by beggehorn
Long time lurker, first time poster...

Does anyone have any experience and suggestions for recording an opera singer? The mics I've tried include a TLM 103 and a Rode Classic. Both of these mics are too bright and the TLM distorts (no pad). I'm thinking of renting a mic or two and would love any suggestions. I have limited experience with a M-149 but was thinking it might be an option. Unfortunately I don't have a large room to put space between the gal and the mic so this will be more of a pop vocal setup. Thanks!
A classical recordist friend of mine uses U-47's to record his soprano wife. One is an old long body with Frank Sinatra credits, the other is something cleaned up by Stephen Paul. Last weekend he borrowed my Lawson L47MP and now refuses to return it. Anyhow, the results he gets are always great.

-R
Old 11th March 2003
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
The DPA 4011 with a popshield is worth a try.

DW
Old 11th March 2003
  #4
SC
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
The DPA 3541 (and the older 4040) are VERY popular these days for this application. This is a 1", front address omni, which means it has tons of body even a few feet away. I have a pair, and love them for backing vox, among many other things.

Not cheap, but worth the bucks.

An SPA-modded 251 would also be a good bet, since that mic has good presence even at a foot away, but now you're talkin' HUGE dollars.

with people of a classical bent, there is always argument over a "studio" sound vs "reality." (never mind that there's no such thing as reality in a recording situation.) Since you've already stated that a pop-vocal sound is acceptable, you at least have more choices.
Old 11th March 2003
  #5
Lives for gear
 
gsharp's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Ditto on the DPA (formerly B&K) stuff. In the same vein, the Schoeps CMC6 is awesome.

While all wonderful mics, the usual choices (47's etc...) (in my experience) just don't seem to handle the spl's as well(which you'd want especially considering your space limitation) as the DPA and Schoeps stuff. Opera singers REALLY get some air moving so you'll need something that won't crap out on you.

Also, if you're renting in for the session, keep in mind the pre can make a huge difference as well. Something super clean and detailed like a Millenia, GML or Martech would work really nicely.

My $.02. Have fun.

-g
Old 12th March 2003
  #6
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by gsharp
Also, if you're renting in for the session, keep in mind the pre can make a huge difference as well. Something super clean and detailed like a Millenia, GML or Martech would work really nicely.
I agree...good point.
Old 12th March 2003
  #7
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The Beyer 834, though not exotic or expensive, usually sounds quite good on female singers.
Old 12th March 2003
  #8
Lives for gear
 
C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
U47 or U67 I've seen those used by EMI UK in a Opera Recording once.

I have done some nice classical voice recordings with a U67 and also with a Schoeps.
Old 13th March 2003
  #9
Gear Addict
 
Greg Heimbecker's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I regularly use a M-149 about 3' away, behind their music stand, through a 737 or DW Fearn. Works well for all but really bright voices. Occaisionally I use a pair of mk-21s for recitals which are quite lovely and not quite as bright as km-140s which is my standard vocal recital pr. The mk-21s are a gas on lots of different ensembles. In one of our halls here they yield wonderful results for orchestra lacking only a tiny bit of deepest bass weight.

Tony, I like the 834 as well, I think it's a much overlooked mic. I dig them for alto saxes in a big band setting and it's been my default top leslie mic for yrs (check String Cheese Incident's "Round the Wheel"). I trot em out for alto and soprano voices once in a while (like when I have a 18 voice vocal jazz group)
Old 2nd August 2003
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Magic Genie's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
L47/ Martech

I enjoy my L47 through my Martech pre.
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Old 2nd August 2003
  #11
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
How well would a ribbon microphone work for this application,
like a RCA77DX or AEA R84?

Chris
Old 4th August 2003
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Ted Nightshade's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
My sister sings opera, and did some recordings in a church. Large room is indispensable. Find one. Tried a bunch of mics and settled on a ribbon, don't know what make. She has an old-fashioned style voice, like a Callas or something, the ribbon was very appropriate and it sounds like a classic already... =).
Old 4th August 2003
  #13
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Talking

Well... at least one "expert" wasn't stumped by my question!

Thanks Ted.

Chris
Old 4th August 2003
  #14
Lives for gear
 
littledog's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The room is by far the most critical element in getting "that" sound. you say a good room is not an option, but can there really be not one decent acoustic space in yourarea you could rent?

Close mic'ed opera is going to be one hell of a challenge.
Old 4th August 2003
  #15
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
How were you micing the singer so that a TLM 103 distorts? Were you really close?

I'd suggest getting at least a couple feet back when recording singers like this (I usually put the mic about 3 feet out at mid-chest aiming towards the mouth). This is only when you need to spot, though... For singer and piano, I use a good room and a stereo pair only.

If you need to close mic, I've had decent luck with TLM 103s (a bit bright for my taste), good luck with KM 140s and 84/86's, great luck with Microtech Gefell M930s and great luck with Schoeps CMC6-MK4.

--Ben
Old 5th August 2003
  #16
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Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
My suggestion is to record in a different room. Right off the bat, in describing the situation where you are recording in a small room, you are goofing yourself up and no different mic will help you.

If the TLM is distorting, something is terribly wrong. Turn down your gain and move away. even the loudest singer cannot blow it out.

If your are recording in a small room, you will always have the "small room sound" and it cannot be a serious recording.

No different mic will help you.
Old 5th August 2003
  #17
Gear Addict
 
CrazyBeast's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I had good luck using a Lomo 19a19 into a Great River MP2H for a situation like this. Nice warmth and immediacy, but not too colored. The singer was a opera singer, but the tune was more of a jazz number though...

She still likes the sound that we got on those songs compared to some things she's done since -- and my room is pretty small!!
Old 5th August 2003
  #18
Gear Addict
 
dynamo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Is true, like said, that the room will affect the quality of the recording but since that is your situation...
Avoid sensitive microphones ala M 149. Besides the tone, that may suit or not, it'll pick up everything around. I would say the ribbon suggestion is really a good one but i would avoid vintage stuff..77, 44 cause you may have some distorsion issue even at a good distance..you are dealing with a lot of SPL.
Don't know about the AEA but i totally would suggest the Coles 4038 or the Beyer 130. Besides a more natural tone you'll have a greater isolation from the room....expecially if you put a small foam screen ( like a pop filter ) on the rear of these mikes at a certain distance...so that they are not bi directional anymore...That, plus the null on the sides will really help you to get less "room " in the recording...well..hopefully. In top of that ribbons since the low sensitivity will help to tame/control peaks where a condenser could easily distort. You still have to work on the right distance...
One thing that i've tried a while ago with a young soprano that was doing a mixed repertoire, some Broadway too, was to set up a pair of 130's on a stereo bar about 7 inches apart..sort of ORTF..but with mikes straight to her.
She was singing right in the center of the mikes. For the classic stuff she would have to move a little back for the "pop" stuff she would have been a little closer. Since she never was right on the mikes i did not need any pop
filter, always had the voice on focus, no problems with peaks since she was not directly stressing the ribbons. This has been done in her living room with a window facing a very busy street.
The only condenser i happen to use quite often for soloists is the DPA 4012, actualy 2 in xy, and i really like it. Preamps...i don't know what you have but my favorite for this application is Millennia. Good luck.
Old 7th August 2003
  #19
Gear Addict
 
Tousana's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I do a fair amount of opera things. I like to use a M249 or a U67 w/ a Hardy or
a Neve pre followed by an LA2A. Also do yourself a favor by getting to a bigger room, because opera singers like to get some feedback from the room that they sing in. the mic is usually 3 to 4 feet away and slightly above the singers head. This is because they have ultra powerful level, enough to trigger a comp even at that distance form the mic. Hope this helps.
Old 30th August 2003
  #20
Gear Head
 
Stephen Paul's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Any of our mods will handle the SPL and dynamic range. Provided it's a large capsule.
Old 16th October 2012
  #21
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
I have the same issue. My wife is a coloratura soprano ( kinda like a screech trumpet player as far as sound and velocity go). I'm a total noob (so any help would be greatly appreciated). I tried some of the techniques stated in previous threads above. However, she said I didn't get the sound right. First I put a apex 205 ( mike joly mod) 3 feet away from her. the I set up a Oktava Mk319 6 feet from the ground for a nice room mic. I ran these through a focusrite octo pre mkII dynamic. I used some compression on her but very little. She was unhappy with the sound said it was really stale and dry. So then I set up two apex 205 ( mike joly mod) in an X formation 4 feet away and 6 feet from the floor. i ran them through the same mic pre. She absolutely loved the sound ( weird huh). However, the sound isn't all that clean. So my question to you all is. what can i do or use to get the same effect but with a cleaner sound?
Old 16th October 2012
  #22
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Best mic so far I have found is the TLM170. But I now have two Rens Heijnis converted TLM49's that on preliminary listening so far, will eclipse even the TLM170.
Old 16th October 2012
  #23
Lives for gear
 
king2070lplaya's Avatar
A nice pair of ribbons will work too, like AEA r84/88.
Old 16th October 2012
  #24
Gear Addict
 
Marlan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
This thread is so old, Stephen Paul came back from the grave to give advice.
Old 18th October 2012
  #25
Gear Head
 
NickRundall's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I'm getting great results with my Shinybox 46MXL's and AEA Ribbon Pre for this sort of thing. A completely smooth and natural sound. Makes capacitor mics sound all electronic in comparison. But a bigger room and a stereo room pair is essential. The dynamic range of an opera singer just sounds wrong close mic'd and automated though so you have to find a bigger space. Also i've found the naturalness of the ribbon mic has a knock on effect on the reverb choice if you have to use it. Pretty much all the digital verbs I've tried just don't suit it. They stand out as being fake spaces in this context. I had much better results with impulse responses of a real space.

But it is just so much easier to find a good space and just record with it! They will sing to the room sound also.
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