Miscellaneous Rumbles

Favorite vocal mic?

1

I’ve had an EV nd767a vocal mic for a few years and love this microphone. I find Shure sm58’s rather lifeless. I’ve been looking for a new microphone, my trusty EV has been a work horse but I suspect there will come a day when it gives up.

EV discontinued this model a few years back and that bums me out. ....So I pulled the plug on a new mic today(EV RE520). I went for a condenser mic, for some added fidelity. Curious if people have a favorite vocal mic for stage use?

2

It does seem to me that the Shure SM58 is the industry standard work horse.

3

It does seem to me that the Shure SM58 is the industry standard work horse.

– Jim Krause

It does, yet I don’t get along with them.

4

SM 57's and 58's were the standard live vocal mic, mainly because nobody wanted to pay good money for a mic that gets the abuse those SMs take.

When a certain venue pulled out his Sennheiser mic, he always made sure we weren't sharing the stage with anyone who would disrespect the equipment, and the difference coming from the monitors was astounding.

Outside of live performance and price restrictions, there are plenty of mics that capture a much more broad spectrum of sonic bandwidth, so it's not an easy task to name just one mic that can do the job for the sound you want.

The studio I recorded my last record in used a Neumann U87, and why not? For guitars he used a couple different models, but both around the same scope sonically. AKG C14 and a Sennheiser MD 421.

5

Thing is, I like my voice and I want the subtle nuances of my vocals to come through. With the generic choice, it gets lost. I always bring my own mic to shows, and I don’t let too many folks use it. Im excited to give the new mic a try.

6

I was using SM57's and 58's for years, running sound for two different touring graffiti bands. 57s went in front of the backline, powered the drums (when needed) and and the 58s were the primary vocal mics (One keyboard player actually took the screen off "his" and had it chrome plated, so it would stand out in the lights!).

Don't do that any more, but I kept one of each model, and they're still in their cases in the box in the trunk in closet of the music room. I use Yamahas these days, finding their response to the more acoustic sound of the Celtic folk-rock we have been playing is much more natural to the ears. Crisp, clean and directional enough that bleed from the next guy over isn't an issue.

But even those are 15 years old, now, although two of them are on stands in the same music room and not in the box in the trunk in the closet.

7

Its interesting how we fuss over our guitar tone, yet I don’t think I’ve ever seen a discussion here on vocals? I understand it’s a guitar site, but it’s obvious most don’t care to the same extent about their vocals.

8

I do care about my vocals, at least to an extent. That extent is a lot - because I don't particularly like my voice (nor does anyone else), and I want to give it all the help it can get.

And, accordingly, the extent to which I care runs out at the point where I realize the mic and sonic treatment I've given it have done all they can do to put lipstick on the pig - and beyond that point there's nothing to do but grunt and squeal knowing it's reproduced with more fidelity than it deserves.

I hate 58s. Hatem hatem hatem. Whatever presence rise they have doesn't work for me at all. If those two are my choice, I much prefer a 57 on my voice.

I have a fair number of decent vocal mics for the studio, but it's been years since I had to get serious about vocal tracks that would be keepers. And in any case, I've often found that different mics worked better in different songs.

Large-diaphragm condensers and my lone ribbon mic have been my choice for the past 10-15 years - but again, I only have confidence that they sounded better than my other choices of the moment, not that they're universally ideal for me.

And for one song, years ago, the mic that worked best - after trying everything in the closet - was a cheapcheap white Peavey mic. I think their first mic, from the 70s. It had a certain slightly overdriven ballsy desperation that suited a song called "Atom and Eve," about embracing mutant evolution in the wake of nuclear armageddon.

I do know about having an all-time favorite vocal mic, though: one you carry to all gigs and insist on. Mine is the old Audio Technica AT813 (https://reverb.com/item/193...). I've had three of them over the years - and I think all three still work. It's hard to define what's good about it for me, other than it must manage to find and slightly accentuate whatever engaging frequency ranges my voice has, while understating the others.

It's hard to say it makes me sound good, but at least it makes me sound as good as I can. To my ears, anyway.

9

I mainly record, and I LOVE microphones. I have favorites for recording for sure, but I hear ya! Live mics have always been a bugger. Everywhere I've played used 57s or 58s. I always brought my own mic too. That ticked off almost every sound person, but I get picky too. I like the EV 635a. Since it's an omni, it has no proximity effect, and I tend to eat the mic live. It's not the greatest sounding mic in the world, but you can eat it, move your head to look at your guitar neck for a tough chord, and it doesn't change tone much. If a good sound guy will dare more his settings, and eq a different mic, the EV is great! Sinatra and Elvis even used them live!

10

Before the pandemic my normal gig schedule was 5 gigs a week, at least three hours a day, solo. With me singing so much, I have really learned what my voice, can, and cannot do. And the one thing I know for sure is that the best mic for me is the Shure Beta 87A. I carry two with me just in case one goes down. In the spring, and even more so in the summer months, I do a lot of festivals. And no matter what the soundmen "insist" I use, I refuse, and make them use my mic. I've been doing this schedule for the last 20 years, and I've never used a mic that works so well with my voice. And typically the soundmen find this mic easy to EQ. I could easily record an entire live CD with this mic, and be happy with the results. And that's coming from someone who owns a bunch of high end recording mics (Neumann, Lawson, Blue, Violet, AKG, etc), Unlike a lot of mics others like, I like a very tight pattern, as in many of my shows, I play loud, and the tight pattern keeps things under control. I also use the proximity effect of this mic to richness to the lower end of my voice. Making me sing through an SM58 would be torture for me.

If you look at this pic of me opening for some National act you can see I even have one on my guitar...

In my recording studio, my favorite vocal mic is a LAWSON L251 into a Manley Voxbox, followed closely by the Rode Classic II into a Langevin DVC preamp. These combos always work for me and seem tailor made to my type of voice.

11

I like an SM57 on a straight mic stand, it looks spartan and old school and when I’m playing live what it looks like is part of what it sounds like.

12

For live vocals I use a Shure Beta57 -- much prefer it to a 58. I even prefer a normal 57 to a 58. But I'm not by a long chalk the main vocalist in our band -- last time I looked he was using some type of Sennheiser.

Best dynamic mic I ever owned/used was a Sennheiser MD441-U -- fantastic mic. But for around £730 (current UK price) so it should be.

For recording vocals I use a Rode large diameter condenser.

Back in the day those double sided Reslo condensers were as good as it went -- almost standard issue for the house PA in most venues. However one ballroom we regularly played had got hold of some old mics (possibly from the BBC) -- huge things that would cover half the singer's face. They had a chromed lightning bolt across the side facing the vocalist -- "touch me, mate, and you're grilled meat". These mics actually sounded very good -- maybe they were Coles ribbons, I'm not sure.

13

I'm gonna duck after saying this.... isn't a Sm57 the same as a 58 apart from the grill? I reckon the idea with these is that they sound wrong until you eq them a fair bit. Hm. Prefer it to sound right straight away. Being lazy, unschooled and whatever, I rely on things like the Mic Mecanic and Voice live to add the spice n sparkle. Recently bought a Se Ribbon mic, seems OK but I need to use it more to see if it'll work for me

14

I'm gonna duck after saying this.... isn't a Sm57 the same as a 58 apart from the grill? I reckon the idea with these is that they sound wrong until you eq them a fair bit. Hm. Prefer it to sound right straight away. Being lazy, unschooled and whatever, I rely on things like the Mic Mecanic and Voice live to add the spice n sparkle. Recently bought a Se Ribbon mic, seems OK but I need to use it more to see if it'll work for me

– Vince_Ray

You're right, an SM57 is only different by their grill. But the grille changes the characteristics.

Here's what Shure says...

*The 57 and 58 microphones are actually based on the same cartridge design. The main difference is in the grille. The SM58 was designed for vocal applications, and therefore uses a ball grille with built in pop filter to eliminate plosives.

The SM57 is designed as an instrument microphone, where a smaller grille size is more practical and plosives are less of a concern. Subsequently, the SM57 does not use a ball grille with pop filtering and instead features an integral resonator/grille assembly, where the grille is actually part of the cartridge.

Each grille design places the diaphragm of each microphone in a different acoustical environment. The distance from the top of the grille to the diaphragm is shorter on the SM57 compared to that of the SM58, which allows for a more pronounced proximity effect through closer mic positioning. Additionally, the different resonator/grille assembly design of the SM57 produces a slightly higher output above 5 kHz.*

15

SM58s have never been great for me either, but I’m a baritone. The Beta58 has a better frequency response for me. Live I use the Super 55s, which is a Beta58 capsule in a metal 55 style housing with a Mic Mechanic to help me sound like I wish I did naturally.

16

My workhorse Shure PE86L has been pushed aside by the Blue enCore 100 mics. Only $100 (or less) and pick up all the range I need. Built tough. Come with black and chrome guards.

17

My workhorse Shure PE86L has been pushed aside by the Blue enCore 100 mics. Only $100 (or less) and pick up all the range I need. Built tough. Come with black and chrome guards.

– NJBob

I have a couple Blue encore 100 mics and I do like them.

18

And live performance mic needs are so different from studio recording needs due to all the tricks you can lay on your voice. I could record vocals on a cheap Blue Snowball and my man could make it sound pretty darn good.

19

In the group I joined in 1964, the singer held a cheap one directional mic on a swan neck and the rhythm guitarist and me (lead) would stand beside him and share his mic. doing the bop shu bops and yea yea yea's the stuff we played was popular and we gigged 6 or 7 nights a week. The rhythm guitarist developed really bad breath so we saved up and bought 2 very expensive beyer mics and stands...now a 3 mic band spread across the stage .bad breath problem solved!!!!

it also improved our vocals as we found to our surprise that we were able to harmonise lead and backing really well .

I still have my Beyer mic and have always used it on every performance up to the present day. Turns out it was a good investment.

20

Forever I used a PG57 Shure because it was gifted to me and I'm cheap. I finally bought some 58's for the band. I had considered a Sennheiser at one point because I had used one at a shared gig once and was very impressed. It's strange because my voice carries so well acoustically. I swear you could hear me whisper in a crowded room from across the room but when I get behind a Mic I have to nearly scream. If I knew which Sennheiser that was, I'd get one.

21

The rhythm guitarist developed really bad breath so we saved up and bought 2 very expensive beyer mics and stands.

some of these anecdotes absolutely slay me.

22

it nearly did the singer and me when we had to share the mic with rhythm player.. especially if he had been eating tripe that day.

23

I've got a soft spot for EV mikes and speakers. My Dad worked there in the '40s after the war, and we lived less than 15 miles from their factory in Buchannan MI. I used a 664 for years and can't say a bad thing about the industry standard, the RE20.
Nothing wrong with Shure mikes, either. the SM57 and 58 mikes are tried and tested and used by many. The newer SM87 is even better. The SM7 is their answer to the RE20. For recording, I love ribbon mikes, either RCA or Altec classics, or newer and import versions. I use Crown PZMs and PCCs for their special abilities in large area miking.

24

I have a couple Blue encore 100 mics and I do like them.

– Hipbone

I LOVE Blue mics! I have a pair of Sparks, an Ember, Baby Bottle, Bluebird, Kickball and Woodpecker! I use them all. The Woodpecker and Baby Bottle are great vocal mics! I'd like to get the Ecore series too.

25

I’ve had an EV nd767a vocal mic for a few years and love this microphone. I find Shure sm58’s rather lifeless. I’ve been looking for a new microphone, my trusty EV has been a work horse but I suspect there will come a day when it gives up.

EV discontinued this model a few years back and that bums me out. ....So I pulled the plug on a new mic today(EV RE520). I went for a condenser mic, for some added fidelity. Curious if people have a favorite vocal mic for stage use?

– Hipbone

I'm curious why you think your favorite EV mic will give up? I admit I'm only familiar with Shure SM58s for live work but mine has been through thousands of gigs with thousands of drunk audience members and the thought never entered my mind about it giving up.


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