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Experienced engineers: which mic would you grab for my baritone situation? Drowning in a mic swamp..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Experienced engineers: which mic would you grab for my baritone situation? Drowning in a mic swamp..

Hey all,

I've been an artist and producer using other vocalists until now, but I want to start singing myself. That's why I'm looking for a new vocal mic for my own voice, for around 1500 USD/EUR. I dove into a gazillion threads, YouTube video's and articles but I there are so many options, mods and (even more) opinions that I can't seem to figure it out by myself. I just can't see the forest through the trees (I don't know if thats even a saying in English but hey). I know the best would be to go somewhere and test different mics out, but the coronavirus has made that impossible for now. I would really just appreciate some thoughts of experienced engineers, about what mic they would grab from their mic locker first when I would come into their studios to record my vocal. I'm just going to put all my (possibly completely irrelevant) thoughts here and hope that there will be some saviors willing to chip in.

About me: I'm an artist who makes something that could be described as contemporary funk, nu-funk, discoish indie frenchy dance pop, whatever. A wannabe combination of Thundercat/Daft Punk/Kaytranada/Tom Misch. I'm pretty sure (based on some YouTube tests) that I'm a baritone - but I can get quite high. I have thought a lot about if there's a famous singer who has a comparable range, vocal sound and/or vocal style, and I guess it's in the area of David Bowie. David Gilmour's voice is comparable too. Of course I'm not nearly as good as their left small toe, but you know what I mean.

I produce and mix myself, and like everything in my production I want the vocal to have - for lack of better words - some kind of warmth, balance and presence. My music is heavily inspired on 70's and 80's funk and soul, also in sound, but I do make it sound modern (although I have to admit that occasionally I really like to put 80's style chorus effects on vocals). Therefore I don't seem to like mics that lack presence, and sound a bit 'dull' in my opinion. On the other side, I like when a mic sounds 'clear', but I get annoyed quickly if that tips into harsh/thin. I'd rather add something in the mixing stage than having to take out frequencies I don't want. My initial strategy was just to carefully listen to a lot of mic shootouts on Youtube and forums with wav-files. I came to the conclusion that out of the classic mics, 9 out of 10 times I found the vintage Neumann U67's to sound best. For me, it sounds quite full, warm but with a little saturation to give it some mid-high presence. So I started to look for affordable versions of that mic. I narrowed it down to:

- Warm Audio WA-67: not a lot of sound demo's, but seems to sound a bit less lively, less presence than vintage U67's, but I hope to get a little closer to it by swapping the tube for a NOS Telefunken EF86 Silver. I already got the tube from Ebay, before I even got a mic lol). I can get it for 700EUR new btw, so great price.
- Mojave MA 200/300: bit more expensive, but I like the sound. On this forum there seem to be lovers and haters, especially because of possible sibilance issues.
- Neumann TLM 67 (possibly with Max Kirchner mod to make it MK 67): way more expensive. But I do like the sound of the TLM 67, and I believe a lot of peeps on this forum, the mod will make it sound a lot better. But the Neumann TLM 67 is already 1600 EUR, and it feels a bit stupid to buy a mic for 1600 just to modify it almost completely.

Apart from the U67-type mics, I also seem to like AKG 414 EB (silver) mics. I don't think I like the new AKG 414 versions. The U87-type mics sound fine almost always, but it doesn't shine for me. The TLM103 is super clear and modern sounding, but too much in the direction of thin/obvious high boost.

What mic or what type mic would you get out of your mic locker when I walked in? With this way too long story? I like the U67 type mics on other sources I hear on Youtube, but would you think it would sound good on my type vocal? Or am I missing certain options completely, and would a U49 (Wa-47) or C-12, or whatever type microphone suit my voice way better? And while you're at it, what preamp would you grab? Any thoughts would help me a lot! Of course any help from artists who had to make the same choice is also very welcome.

If you're still reading until now: you're amazing.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
just wanted to add: I also seem to like the Lewitt LCT 640 TS a lot, but that's more of a 414 style mic right? Weird that I seem to drift towards U67 and 414 type mics.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
The 414 is descended from the C12, so maybe look into something in that lineage. I'm also a baritone with a pretty limited range, and the mic I'm starting to gravitate towards for myself is my Mic Parts 12-251, which uses the Fox 460 circuit developed as a mod for certain cheap import mics. It's not the same as a 251 or a C12, but it's similar. When I first built it I didn't find it very useful for vocals, but that changed when I put a proper CK12-type capsule in it (the Beesneez one). Now it's an excellent vocal mic. This kind of mic offers plenty of air in the top end, but without taking your head off with harshness.

Here's a cover of "Ideal" by Cardiacs where I used the 12-251 for the leads. Backgrounds are an RE20.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I am not aware of much good out there between $1000 and $2500.
Take a look here, for $1K this is about as good as it gets.
https://advancedaudio.ca/

A used U89 sometimes go for close to 1.5K
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
Gear Guru
 
IMHO start with a Beyer M88TG, and go from there.
Any clips available?
How treated is the recording area?

BTW I think the Serrano and Beesneez 87 versions, are right up there... With any of the specific mics you mentioned so far (within your budget)
UT 47FET is another.

If you were in the US, adding the Soundelux U195 on the shortlist, would be smart too. Not sure how much it'd be in Europe.
Chris
P.S. To attract more outside business, a U87ai might
be a wise purchase instead.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #6
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Telefunken

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whoopysnorp ➡️
The 414 is descended from the C12, so maybe look into something in that lineage. I'm also a baritone with a pretty limited range, and the mic I'm starting to gravitate towards for myself is my Mic Parts 12-251, which uses the Fox 460 circuit developed as a mod for certain cheap import mics. It's not the same as a 251 or a C12, but it's similar. When I first built it I didn't find it very useful for vocals, but that changed when I put a proper CK12-type capsule in it (the Beesneez one). Now it's an excellent vocal mic. This kind of mic offers plenty of air in the top end, but without taking your head off with harshness.
Thank you! Even though I don't want to go DYI, the C12 / 251 route looks interesting. After some listening to some audio samples, I think of the two the 251 is more appealing to me, it got that warmth/presence combination I like on U67 type mics, the C12 is a bit too bright.

This lead me to the Alchemy series of Telefunken, of which I like the TF51 (inspired by C12/251) but maybe even more so the TF39 or TF29, which fall within my budget. The TF39 being - once again - a U67 inspired mic. It has the same thing I love about vintage U67's. Any thoughts on the Telefunken TF39? I'm seriously interested in that. On Telefunken's website, they say applications for it are "Natural vocals, bluegrass, folk, and Americana styles". And that's really not me haha...
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #7
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum ➡️
I am not aware of much good out there between $1000 and $2500.
Take a look here, for $1K this is about as good as it gets.
https://advancedaudio.ca/

A used U89 sometimes go for close to 1.5K
Thanks a lot for this, I'm really digging what I'm reading and hearing about Advanced Audio. As I understand, that would be a better p/q than from Warm Audio right? I like their CM67, their CM414 and even their CM87! Looks like a great company.

I also checked out the U89, and was pleasantly surprised. Sounds way better than most U87's (especially the ai) I have heard. That might be a cool route too. Is there any difference between the vintage ones and the relatively new ones? There is a black one for sale near me for 1500 EUR. I'm a bit hesitant with 2nd hand mics, but maybe I shouldnt be.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #8
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 ➡️
IMHO start with a Beyer M88TG, and go from there.
Any clips available?
How treated is the recording area?

BTW I think the Serrano and Beesneez 87 versions, are right up there... With any of the specific mics you mentioned so far (within your budget)
UT 47FET is another.

If you were in the US, adding the Soundelux U195 on the shortlist, would be smart too. Not sure how much it'd be in Europe.
Chris
P.S. To attract more outside business, a U87ai might
be a wise purchase instead.
For now, the recording area is not treated well yet. But I'm planning to take that part very seriously when I get a nice mic. I don't have clips availably of my own vocal yet, I will make some and then share it in this thread!

Why would you grab a Beyer M88TG first? I don't really have dynamic mics in my head as good studio vocal mics. That said, that mic looks like a hidden gem, getting a lot of love here. And I must admit, the fact that Phil Collins uses it a lot, helps too haha. And for just EUR 279 here wow.. How would you describe the sonic differences between traditional Neumann (U67/87) type mics and mics like this? It must be very different right?

Serrano 87 looks cool too.. Do I understand correctly that you think a 87 type mic would suit my usage better than a 67 type?
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #9
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
stick to variable pattern ldc's...

(as they are the most versatile mics)

...and maybe add a tube preamp - in this price range, i can recommend oc-818 and tlm-107; tlm-67 or tlm-170r if you go higher.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #10
Gear Guru
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Berrie89 ➡️
For now, the recording area is not treated well yet. But I'm planning to take that part very seriously when I get a nice mic. I don't have clips availably of my own vocal yet, I will make some and then share it in this thread!

Why would you grab a Beyer M88TG first? I don't really have dynamic mics in my head as good studio vocal mics. That said, that mic looks like a hidden gem, getting a lot of love here. And I must admit, the fact that Phil Collins uses it a lot, helps too haha. And for just EUR 279 here wow.. How would you describe the sonic differences between traditional Neumann (U67/87) type mics and mics like this? It must be very different right?

Serrano 87 looks cool too.. Do I understand correctly that you think a 87 type mic would suit my usage better than a 67 type?
Usual first step, is to acoustically treat your recording area first. Then you can better judge anything in your entire signal chain better.

On many voices, a M88 will sound like an expensive Neumann. Plus it won't pick up as much bad room tone...
Chris
P.S. Carlos @ Serrano is currently willing to adjust the tone of his mic either Dark/Neutral/Bright voicing.
(I know I would need Dark! )
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #11
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
stick to variable pattern ldc's...

(as they are the most versatile mics)

...and maybe add a tube preamp - in this price range, i can recommend oc-818 and tlm-107; tlm-67 or tlm-170r if you go higher.
Okay another couple of hours of reviews and tests further, but these all sound like great options. I'm especially impressed by the oc-818, didn't know that one and it sounds very nice.

But what you're saying is: you don't need to have a tube mic for that nice warm tube sound, you can also get a more neutral mic and add the warmth with a tube preamp, right?

I like the idea of the TLM 67 too, also because I have the possibility to mod. TLM 67 is 1665 EUR and oc-818 1000 EUR, so quite a difference.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #12
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 ➡️
Usual first step, is to acoustically treat your recording area first. Then you can better judge anything in your entire signal chain better.

On many voices, a M88 will sound like an expensive Neumann. Plus it won't pick up as much bad room tone...
Chris
P.S. Carlos @ Serrano is currently willing to adjust the tone of his mic either Dark/Neutral/Bright voicing.
(I know I would need Dark! )
Yeah you're probably very right... I am going to treat my space really well in the near future. The M88 is so cheap I could go for the oc-818 AND the M88 too

Cheers
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
Lives for gear
 
tymish's Avatar
 
Though I haven't used one myself yet, every sample I've heard of the OC-818 has made me think i should get one.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #14
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Berrie89 ➡️
Okay another couple of hours of reviews and tests further, but these all sound like great options. I'm especially impressed by the oc-818, didn't know that one and it sounds very nice.
cool.

Quote:
But what you're saying is: you don't need to have a tube mic for that nice warm tube sound, you can also get a more neutral mic and add the warmth with a tube preamp, right?
exactly! - using a tube preamp imo is way more versatile: you can choose to drive the tube hard even with a rather soft output from the mic...

Quote:
I like the idea of the TLM 67 too, also because I have the possibility to mod. TLM 67 is 1665 EUR and oc-818 1000 EUR, so quite a difference.
i have a sweet spot for my u67 (and i've used tlm-67's with tube preamps to mimick the sound of the u67 - hint: no one could tell the mics apart...) but then, the oc-818 (which uses a vastly different type of capsule) offers an amazing (and unparalleled) amount of options when used with the polar designer... - no recommendation, sorry.

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 3 weeks ago at 09:50 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
Gear Guru
 
If you're a very bright singer like me, keep in mind the Austrian Audio's are a bit bright too, to begin with.
Plus my voice is bright too.
Chris
P.S. Not sure how much more in Europe,
a Heiserman Type 19 is, but that's
another quality multi-pattern.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Sigma's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
u 47 fet like lou rawles used
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
Gear Guru
 
With you, or your Dad recording!
Doesn't get better than that guys...
(Huge Philly Soul fan here-although Classic Rock fan too! )
Chris
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #18
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigma ➡️
u 47 fet like lou rawles used
Thanks for tuning in!! Could you explain why you think so in my situation? Would love to know some more about that.

I mean Lou Rawls' vocal recording sound is absolutely stunning. So that wouldn't be too bad of a starting point haha. Based on your credits, you sure know what you're talking about when it comes to (Philly) soul music. Wawaweewa.

I checked out some demo's of the U47 FET, and it has that mid-high presence that I would dial in with an EQ immediately with any other mic. So that's pretty cool. But it's an expensive mic. Are there good clones, i.e. the Universal one?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Sigma's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
to be honest im not that familiar with 47 emulations

sorry

lou had a smooth voice ..great guy RIP
Old 2 weeks ago
  #20
Gear Guru
 
As you know also, Lou had tremendous Resonance too.

IMHO UT 47FET is a solid choice, as a quality vocal mic.
Chris
P.S. Required listening for the OP.
Joe Simon's "Drowning In A Sea Of Love".
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
hearttimes's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
P.S. Required listening for the OP.
Joe Simon's "Drowning In A Sea Of Love".
"Drowning In The Sea Of Love" is a Masterpiece.

Also, "Deep Purple" by Jimmy Ricks and The Ravens. Now there's a baritone voice.
Old 1 week ago
  #22
Gear Guru
Do research, make up a small list and rent them. Or, do the SamAshGuitarCenterFullCompassSweetwater two step, buy and then sell.
Old 1 week ago
  #23
Gear Guru
 
Or go to something like Vintage King.
More of those possibilities will start happening.
Plus you can leave a credit card on hold.
Chris
Old 1 week ago
  #24
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Yeah I should try them out. Hope that's possible here soon with covid... What are your general thoughts on the Town­send Labs Sphere L22? It seems to be the best multi-emulation mic right? Probably doesn't have the high quality capsule of the Austrian Audio OC818 or the real tube warmth of the (preamped) TLM 67, but that thing looks really cool. For somebody like me who can't choose and can just afford one good mic it's pretty good, I reckon.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
David Rick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Berrie89 ➡️
What are your general thoughts on the Town­send Labs Sphere L22? It seems to be the best multi-emulation mic right? Probably doesn't have the high quality capsule of the Austrian Audio OC818 or the real tube warmth of the (preamped) TLM 67, but that thing looks really cool. For somebody like me who can't choose and can just afford one good mic it's pretty good, I reckon.
I can't find it now, but there was a shootout up on YouTube comparing several mics of '251 type. It was blind, with the reveal at the end. I ranked the Sphere dead last.
Old 1 week ago
  #26
Gear Head
I'm happy with Townsend L22. The hurdle recording my own voice is that I can't hear as objectively when sitting on the singer's bench with throat, resonances and emotions all engaged. That you can adjust the voicing after the fact is worth a trillion. It's a decent-sounding mic so there's nothing to worry about but the performance. And it meets your budget.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #27
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rick ➡️
I can't find it now, but there was a shootout up on YouTube comparing several mics of '251 type. It was blind, with the reveal at the end. I ranked the Sphere dead last.
I think you mean these comparisons?

Female:

Male:

If so, I have to disagree on the Townsend sounding worst. I'm not a professional engineer or mic specialist at all but that said: I listened to these a few times blind on good monitors and my HD600's, and to my ears the score is like this:

1st: Telefunken - balanced, warmth, presence. It handles mid and high mid with amazing smoothness. What a mic.
2st: Townsend - also balanced, little more top end (more forward sounding) and definitely less smooth, but in the same ball park as the Telefunken
3rd: Bock - Sounds nicely forward, but the top is a bit too hyped in comparison with the Telefunken. Can make the sibilants a little harsh. Also midrange a bit sharper or something. Could be a good thing in a mix though I guess.
4rd: Slate - this is the only one that is clearly less and not in the same ballpark. Sounds honky, annoying midrange, and muffled. It really sounds more '2D' than the others.

Even though I really don't want to like an emulation mic (lol), I am pretty impressed by the Townsend. And then to think that their 251 it's only one of many mics it's emulating. I mean I started this quest by thinking I should buy the Warm Audio WA-67, and the U67 Townsend blows the WA-67 away completely and sounds a lot closer to a vintage U67 (check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghPFhgji2TQ).

I downloaded their plugin and test vocal takes, and it's very easy to get a great sound out of it. As an artist/producer/mixer/recording engineer in one, it's pretty amazing how close I can get to the real thing. I'm sure in a mix it's indistinguishable 99 out of 100 times. Still I'm going to try out the mics in real life when I can, but right now the Townsend is in the lead...
Old 1 week ago
  #28
Gear Guru
 
Try the Bock 251 directly and in "real life" sometime.
Absolutely gorgeous sounding vocal mic.
Chris
Old 1 week ago
  #29
Gear Guru
 
Upon reflection Berrie, IMHO it'd be perfectly reasonable to start with something like...
A Neumann TLM 107.
Or Heiserman Type 19.

Then what's ever being recorded, sounds "like" what's in front of the microphone.

You could then experiment with Plugins after, etc.

Then take your time to add another microphone(s) later.
Chris
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