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What mic would YOU pick for my voice? (2 audio clips)
Old 11th February 2009
  #1
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PlayRadioPlay's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Smile What mic would YOU pick for my voice? (2 audio clips)

Hello all!

I'm currently making some purchases to upgrade the front end of my home studio. Avedis MA5 and Shadow Hills Mono Gama mic pres, possibly an A/D converter, and a mic or two. I already have a pretty good sounding room and Adam A7 monitors (people always say to upgrade these two factors first).

The part I'm having the most trouble with is picking a new mic. I have no clue which direction to go in. Being a 19 year old musician that is on the road more than in the studio, I don't have a lot of experience with a multitude of high end condensers, so I'm asking for your help.


The following attachments are 2 different songs with my voice. I picked 2 completely different recordings that hopefully capture my voice in 2 different settings. I pretty much always sing soft like this.

  • The first song, "Texas", is a professionally mixed and mastered track that was recorded with Henson's vintage Telefunken 251. (Female vocalist at 0:21 is Ingrid Michaelson, engineered by Joe Wohlmuth, mixed by Dave Pensado, mastered by Howie Weinberg.)

  • The second song, "New School Shooter", is still a demo (I'm only posting the first 1:30). It's unfinished, unmixed, and unmastered. It was recorded with an SM7b through a Brent Averill 312a pre at my home studio. (I own the SM7b, but not the 312a). There's a Sound Toys Echoboy delay plugin on this one adding saturation in some parts. (Engineered by Joe Wohlmuth.)

I'm looking for something with very present mids, and something that will retain the airiness of my voice, but not over hype it. I normally like to roll some low end out of my voice, so a mic with a non-hyped low end would probably fit my needs (in my opinion). I like things that are very colored. For that reason, I was considering a tube mic. Do you think that's a good idea?


My current pres are: Avedis MA5, Shadow Hills Mono Gama, and Focusrite Liquid Channel.
My current mics are: AKG 414, Shure SM7b, and Blue Baby Bottle.
Budget: I'm willing to spend up to $3,000, but I'd like to keep it around $2,000, if possible. I guess it depends on if the particular $2,800 microphone sounds $1,000 better than the particular $1,800 microphone.

So, the final question: If you were an engineer hired to record my voice, what mic would you go with?

This has been a long post. Anyone that reads this whole thing AND listens to both files to help give an opinion has my utmost thanks and respect! Thanks very much!

(The files are 192kbps .mp3s. I figured you would prefer a quicker download than the full file. If this assumption was wrong, and you'd like full quality .wav versions of the files, let me know.)
Attached Files

NewSchoolShooter.mp3 (2.49 MB, 1774 views)

12 Texas.mp3 (1.43 MB, 1727 views)

Old 11th February 2009
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
Benlittlejohn's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
i really enjoy the sm7 on your voice...

i also really enjoy the female vocal sound on the Texas song...

listening to your stuff i think your voice benefits from a dynamic, it's weird because i live in Dallas and a lot of girls at my school listen to your music and here i am critiquing your choice of vocal mics... but never mind that.

something like a 441 or a m88 might be just the ticket and dynamics have a much nicer mic to price ratio than condensers, as I'm sure you know.

I also have never heard either of the preamps you have. Which makes me of little help but i figure any information is good information.

Old lo-fi mics also have a really cool place in your genre. The Copperphone (made by The Polyphonic Spree's bass player or drummer?) is a bad ass mic but it also has a somewhat high price tag for such a specialized mic.

In my small somewhat unhelpful opinion i say your money goes to a few cool high end dynamic mics.

hope any of that helps

ben
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Lives for gear
 
PlayRadioPlay's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benlittlejohn ➑️
i really enjoy the sm7 on your voice...

i also really enjoy the female vocal sound on the Texas song...

listening to your stuff i think your voice benefits from a dynamic, it's weird because i live in Dallas and a lot of girls at my school listen to your music and here i am critiquing your choice of vocal mics... but never mind that.

something like a 441 or a m88 might be just the ticket and dynamics have a much nicer mic to price ratio than condensers, as I'm sure you know.

I also have never heard either of the preamps you have. Which makes me of little help but i figure any information is good information.

Old lo-fi mics also have a really cool place in your genre. The Copperphone (made by The Polyphonic Spree's bass player or drummer?) is a bad ass mic but it also has a somewhat high price tag for such a specialized mic.

In my small somewhat unhelpful opinion i say your money goes to a few cool high end dynamic mics.

hope any of that helps

ben
Hey Ben,
Thanks for your thoughts.

On a quick unrelated note, is it hailing where you are right now?? My windows are getting pelted by hail. I'm just waiting to hear one of them break. :(

Anyway, I'll check out the 441 and m88. I'm probably looking to go with a condenser, because, while I record myself about 85% of the time, I want to invest in a good condenser that can be used with other more traditional voices as well.

It's actually really crazy that you mentioned the Copperphone. I actually just ordered one of those TODAY. What a coincidence. I love that lo-fi sound, and it seems like such a great deal. I'll be throwing that mic on just about everything as a secondary or room mic. Couldn't hurt to try.

Also, don't tell any of those girls from your school that I posted a clip from a new song. This album is still a ways off from being released.

Thanks!
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
Benlittlejohn's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
It is not hailing over here (I live like 10 minutes from downtown). I believe the storms coming our way in a hour or two (hopefully not). I wish you the best of luck in no damage to your dwelling.

On the condenser route I do know a few folks who enjoy the first line of Groove Tubes mics very much but i have no first hand experience other than listening to good results ( with the left over cash you could buy an API pre...).

How do you like the 414 on your voice?
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
Benlittlejohn's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
And we did get owned over here by the storm. Tornado sirens were going off and the power went on and off like 3 times and there was some hail. I'm really glad i wasn't using any of my gear.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
PlayRadioPlay's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benlittlejohn ➑️
And we did get owned over here by the storm. Tornado sirens were going off and the power went on and off like 3 times and there was some hail. I'm really glad i wasn't using any of my gear.
Damn weather. I was in the middle of working on a song when I started to hear thunder and had to power everything down. I have a pretty beefy APC battery backup/surge protector, but it's not worth taking the chance.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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dannycurtean@yah's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
You might want to check out a Telefunken 251 for the sound your going for. We dont know your budget but if school girls like your stuff, then you should really buy yourself a high end mic. Also a Peluso 2247 SE might work in enriching the low end and adding some butter so its not so thin. And even though you didnt ask about preamps, you might even want to get yourself a Telefunken V72 preamp. You might just love the combo of the 251 and the V72. I think it would really work for your voice.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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PlayRadioPlay's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] ➑️
You might want to check out a Telefunken 251 for the sound your going for. We dont know your budget but if school girls like your stuff, then you should really buy yourself a high end mic. Also a Peluso 2247 SE might work in enriching the low end and adding some butter so its not so thin. And even though you didnt ask about preamps, you might even want to get yourself a Telefunken V72 preamp. You might just love the combo of the 251 and the V72. I think it would really work for your voice.
Thanks for the ideas. Unfortunately, a 251 is out of my price range. But I'll check out the Peluso.

Do you have any experience with Telefunken's cheaper stuff? Like the M16 MKII or the AK47?
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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john caldwell's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks for such a well organized post.

I'm with Ben on the sm7 and your voice. Were I charged with selecting a LDC for you, from the mics I own I'd reach for my Gefell UM92s, more than I would for my Neumann M149, Elux 251, or Beyer 740. This is a guess, and I'm often not correct on my first attempt.

In honesty, I prefer the sound of the Shooter track to Texas, but both are very nice, and there are more variables than the mic selection of course.

You and Ingrid work well together as voices. I hope you can do more with Ingrid.

John Caldwell
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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PlayRadioPlay's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by john caldwell ➑️
Thanks for such a well organized post.

I'm with Ben on the sm7 and your voice. Were I charged with selecting a LDC for you, from the mics I own I'd reach for my Gefell UM92s, more than I would for my Neumann M149, Elux 251, or Beyer 740. This is a guess, and I'm often not correct on my first attempt.

In honesty, I prefer the sound of the Shooter track to Texas, but both are very nice, and there are more variables than the mic selection of course.

You and Ingrid work well together as voices. I hope you can do more with Ingrid.

John Caldwell
Hey John! Thanks for the thoughts. The engineer I've been working with really likes the SM7 on me as well. I don't really hear it to be fantastic on my voice, I guess, but he has substantially better ears than I do, so I trust his judgment.

I agree with you on the sound between the two tracks. I actually think that Texas suffered from overproduction. It's a simple throwback track and it was sort of just thrown in with the rest of my mostly-pop record rather than being treated as one on its own, I guess. It's too compressed, too loud, too bright, etc (in my opinion).

I love Ingrid's voice, too! I'm hoping to work with her again on my upcoming record.

Thanks again for the thoughts and kind words.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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john caldwell's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
What are you wanting that's not evident in the sm7 take shown here? Your vocal delivery is as much about texture, warmth and gentleness as it is about the notes being sung, in my view. It's lovely indeed, and I don't doubt that young women are drawn to your approach, as Ben mentions above. I suspect these traits are part of a deliberate repertoire on your part, and that is in no way a criticism. My guess is that Richard Thompson is pretty aware that people expect his guitar to sound a certain way, for example. What I don't care for about the 251 track you've posted, is that the air and texture superimposed upon the notes are extreme to a point of near distraction, and I find it less flattering. Perhaps if you had over the years developed your technique working mics with tons of extended HF detail rather than sm58's and such (just a statistical guess), your delivery might now be a little less textured on top. Ingrid's accompaniment, on the other hand, suffers from none of that contrived "aire", possibly as a result of post-processing more than mic choice per se. So in all, the total package around your voice shown in the Shooter track is very complete, to my ears. But more important than all these technicals is, of course, the fact that you sing beautifully and expressively.

John-
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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PlayRadioPlay's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by john caldwell ➑️
What are you wanting that's not evident in the sm7 take shown here? Your vocal delivery is as much about texture, warmth and gentleness as it is about the notes being sung, in my view. It's lovely indeed, and I don't doubt that young women are drawn to your approach, as Ben mentions above. I suspect these traits are part of a deliberate repertoire on your part, and that is in no way a criticism. My guess is that Richard Thompson is pretty aware that people expect his guitar to sound a certain way, for example. What I don't care for about the 251 track you've posted, is that the air and texture superimposed upon the notes are extreme to a point of near distraction, and I find it less flattering. Perhaps if you had over the years developed your technique working mics with tons of extended HF detail rather than sm58's and such (just a statistical guess), your delivery might now be a little less textured on top. Ingrid's accompaniment, on the other hand, suffers from none of that contrived "aire", possibly as a result of post-processing more than mic choice per se. So in all, the total package around your voice shown in the Shooter track is very complete, to my ears. But more important than all these technicals is, of course, the fact that you sing beautifully and expressively.

John-
I agree that the hyped high end of the 251 probably isn't good for my voice that already has so much high end breathiness.

I'm not completely sure what I'm looking for. Something that works well for me that's another option to the SM7. I'd like something with a slight boost in the high mids, maybe.

What do you think about a ribbon mic on my voice? I'm going to be demoing a Cascade Gomez soon. I attached a pdf that shows its frequency response.



It has a slightly boosted low end, and a gradual 5 db dip between 5.5-7.5k. When I receive it, I'll record some vocals with it and post it here.

Also, thanks again for the kind words.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf gomez_mic_report (1).pdf (322.7 KB, 171 views)
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #13
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dannycurtean@yah's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlayRadioPlay ➑️
I agree that the hyped high end of the 251 probably isn't good for my voice that already has so much high end breathiness.

I'm not completely sure what I'm looking for. Something that works well for me that's another option to the SM7. I'd like something with a slight boost in the high mids, maybe.

What do you think about a ribbon mic on my voice? I'm going to be demoing a Cascade Gomez soon. I attached a pdf that shows its frequency response.



It has a slightly boosted low end, and a gradual 5 db dip between 5.5-7.5k. When I receive it, I'll record some vocals with it and post it here.

Also, thanks again for the kind words.
The reason I said 251 is because you seem to be boosting about 12 db at 12k and you wouldn't need to do that with a 251. Im not betting 100% on that mic but since you like the high end so bright you probably wont like ribbons. Sometimes in life man we need to make decisions against our will and sometimes they work out for the better. Im not saying stop your quest for another mic, but consider the SM7 to be a mic that gets you there in the end. No mic will be perfect up front without any eq or compression so considering that, I dont understand why people are so picky about one certain mic when you can make the majority sound great after the needed processing anyways. Im not saying all mics are the same, but if you cant get a 251 or a C12 to sound good on 80% of the sources with processing, then its not the mic....Thats just my 2 cents.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #14
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john caldwell's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I can't imagine a ribbon being right given your target sound and the lower SPL of your performance. You'll wind up with huge amounts of additive HF eq and noise floor.
Old 18th March 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
I'm not an engineer, but i will say that i thought the telefunken was definitely the ticket for me, very rich. The second song seemed too airy and thin in comparison. They used to have a "mic cabinet" cd years ago, and i just loved that telefunkin sound the best, it is just the sweetest and clearest to my ears.
Old 28th April 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
This is my first post...EVER...but I'm always lurking.

I thought I could provide some additional info for playradioplay:

Chain for "Texas"---from memory: 251E-Vintech x81 (probably rolled off at 80hz)-GML 8200-Neve 33609c-PT

usually very little EQ w/ that mic (don't have a recall sheet in front of me)...it was tracked in a Whisper Room.

Chain for "Shooter"---looking right at it: SM7-API 312 (racked by BAE, but originals)-GML 8200-Neve 33609c-PT

LF: about [email protected] shelf
LMF: [email protected]
MF: [email protected]
HMF:[email protected]
HF: [email protected] shelf

no rolloff on mic/no windscreen on mic...tracked in a smallish bedroom.

That's just the tracking part...Of course there are many other variables...John is very correct.

Most of the vox on the album were actually tracked w/ a U67 (with the 1st setup) and one was even a Royer 121/Grace 201/GML/33609c (I loved that, but not for the whole record...little dark, but smooth and helped his sibilance).

What can I say??? I like to experiment At the end of the day, IMHO, the SM7 works well in this case...enough detail to capture a nice performance...

of course that doesn't mean I'm throwing a 251 in the trash anytime soon ...or ever

Thanks everyone,

Joe W

PS- Loved that 251 on Ingrid-great voice.
I'd get a FET 47 or an M49---start saving
Old 28th April 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Both are great vocal sounds but the SM7 wins for me.

Just checked out your tracks, I like the music!
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