Best Mic for Mid Heavy Vocalist

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Unicorn Warrior
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Best Mic for Mid Heavy Vocalist

Post by Unicorn Warrior » Mon Jun 24, 2019 3:29 pm

Looking to grab my wife something decent for our home recording set-up. I would like to keep it under $700-800. Her vocal tone can be soft and Mid heavy for verse work but getting much more powerful as she builds and hits high notes. Still keeping a lot of mids.


I've been suggested to look at the sm7b but wondering what other options are out there in the budget.

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Re: Best Mic for Mid Heavy Vocalist

Post by Domm » Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:42 pm

Shure sm7b, just an around awesome mic! Particularly on vocals!

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Re: Best Mic for Mid Heavy Vocalist

Post by fuzzjunkie » Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:23 pm

For what you described, if it was for a male vocalist, the yes, the Shure SM7b would be a solid choice.

I have heard female vocalists that sounded fine through it, but it wouldn’t be my first choice. I haven’t worked with any female vocalists that match the description of your wife’s voice though.

Maybe the Mojave Audio MA-201fet @ $700? It’s transformerless. That should keep the mids clear without being shrill in the high end.

A friend always puts up an AKG-414-EB when auditioning mics for female vocalists. He has some really high end mics at his studio, but he picks that one a lot.

I liked the old Blue Cactus mic, but I don’t know what the used market is for that one. They were $1500 or so new.

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Re: Best Mic for Mid Heavy Vocalist

Post by øøøøøøø » Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:30 am

I'm not as big a fan of the SM7b on vocal as the rest of the internet seems to be. If I were going to choose a dynamic mic in your price range that would stand a good chance at being decent on vocal generally, the Sennheiser 441 would be my first guess.

But unfortunately, I don't have a sure-fire good answer for your exact question. It can be very hard to predict from a verbal description of someone's voice which mic might flatter them.

Don't get me wrong--there are trends you start to notice after awhile. At this point, I can hear someone's voice and reasonably often guess correctly whether "K47/K49 capsule family, K67/87 family, or CK12 family" would stand the best chance of working. But even a 70% success rate is rather optimistic, and that's after hearing someone's voice. Know what I mean?

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Re: Best Mic for Mid Heavy Vocalist

Post by fuzzjunkie » Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:17 am

øøøøøøø wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:30 am
I'm not as big a fan of the SM7b on vocal as the rest of the internet seems to be. If I were going to choose a dynamic mic in your price range that would stand a good chance at being decent on vocal generally, the Sennheiser 441 would be my first guess.

But unfortunately, I don't have a sure-fire good answer for your exact question. It can be very hard to predict from a verbal description of someone's voice which mic might flatter them.

Don't get me wrong--there are trends you start to notice after awhile. At this point, I can hear someone's voice and reasonably often guess correctly whether "K47/K49 capsule family, K67/87 family, or CK12 family" would stand the best chance of working. But even a 70% success rate is rather optimistic, and that's after hearing someone's voice. Know what I mean?


Just to reiterate what Brad is saying. Don’t just pick a suggestion and order it off Sweetwater or Musicians Friend and expect it to work. You have to audition the actual mic with the actual voice. The studio I mentioned usually has at least 3 ready to go that they expect to work, like one each of the capsules listed above, and go from there. Sometimes the answer is none of the above and they end up using a ribbon mic or something completely different.

The Cactus has a K47 style capsule. Knowing what your wife’s voice sounds on something like that can narrow the search parameters down a little.

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Re: Best Mic for Mid Heavy Vocalist

Post by Telliot » Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:24 am

I consider my voice to be mid-heavy, maybe even tending toward the low mids, and the SM7b sounded horrible to my ears. I’ve also tried the other Internet Favorite: the EV RE-20, which sounded very similar to the SM7b in terms of recording my voice. One thing I did like about the 7b was the room-killing characteristics of the mic, since I’m not recording in a professionally treated space, but I had to EQ the hell out of it to get anything remotely usable.

Recently I bought a cheap Carvin CTM100, which is identical to the Apex 460, that had been modified (according to details published by Fox Audio Research). The tube was replaced with a NOS Amperex 12AT7, the circuit bias was adjusted to match the new upgraded tube, and the capsule was replaced with a K47-type.

It’s my first tube mic, but having switchable patterns, an ultra-quiet noise floor, and some nice warmth (once the tube is warmed up) has been a welcome change. It also handles sibilance really well. I’m sure it’s not the best mic ever, but I much prefer it over the Shure and EV models I’ve owned in the past.
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Re: Best Mic for Mid Heavy Vocalist

Post by chrisrnps » Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:25 am

“Female vocals” often work better with large-diaphragm condensers rather than the “big dynamic” options like SM7b or RE20.

Kind of a lesser-known “sleeper,” but the ADK Zeus is well worth checking out, and has several switchable voicing options - Front End Audio and other places have them on sale for $500 or less at the moment.

I also like the Lewitt mics for lesser-known, bang-for-the-buck LDC options - their “looks sort of like a C414” mics sound way better than a 414 to me, way lower noise, and way cheaper.
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Re: Best Mic for Mid Heavy Vocalist

Post by Maggieo » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:52 am

Have you tried an SM57 or SM58? The proximity effect can be manipulated pretty easily by the singer to get what she wants.

Bono, who is pretty midrange-y uses an SM57 for all of U2's records, FWIW. And hey, they're cheap.

Oh, and James Murphy uses a Senheiser M409 for his live vocals and an E902 might fit the bill, too.

Just some ideas.
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Re: Best Mic for Mid Heavy Vocalist

Post by Domm » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:33 pm

The sm7 is the mic for me vocally. For years in the studio I just went with engineers choice usually some $10000 classic Neumann etc. always made my vocals sound shit to me. Then I discovered the sm7 while doing a recording in a kinda lofi studio and was awe struck at how it removed bad artifacts from my voice! But like anything in music what works for some doesn't for others! I was in a big time studio with a producer/engineer that I love almost all the records he's done but When vocal time came around I told him my mic choice and to keep the nice mics in the locker.

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Re: Best Mic for Mid Heavy Vocalist

Post by Unicorn Warrior » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:19 pm

Maggieo wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:52 am
Have you tried an SM57 or SM58? The proximity effect can be manipulated pretty easily by the singer to get what she wants.

Bono, who is pretty midrange-y uses an SM57 for all of U2's records, FWIW. And hey, they're cheap.

Oh, and James Murphy uses a Senheiser M409 for his live vocals and an E902 might fit the bill, too.

Just some ideas.
I have an sm58 and it’s not too bad. Just exploring options

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Re: Best Mic for Mid Heavy Vocalist

Post by marqueemoon » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:53 pm

Experiment with different patterns and techniques. You may be able to improve the situation with a mic you both already have.

For my own voice I like omni. It just brings out less unflattering stuff and “working the mic” is easier/more effective.

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Re: Best Mic for Mid Heavy Vocalist

Post by jorri » Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:23 pm

For someone with an odd (countertenor?) voice condensers don't work much for me. I might use a small diaphrgm one on bcking vocals. People often overlook SDCs but they can be consistently advantageous to LDCs sometimes.
Actually use an MD421, RE20, or a ribbon mic (have an SE X1r at the moment) which work well. Don't like SM57 style, its like i've got high mids and prescence, but need to be a bit more low-mid focused, in other words FAT but not smooth- not high mids.. There are also condensers i haven't tried with uite different voicings, like Oktavas for example that don't thin things out..worth exploring a few, the budget is a lot higher than anything ive tried.

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Re: Best Mic for Mid Heavy Vocalist

Post by Unicorn Warrior » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:53 am

Thanks for all recommendations guys. I have landed on the Sennheiser 441 for the time. I’ll report back to let you know how it worked out.

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Re: Best Mic for Mid Heavy Vocalist

Post by øøøøøøø » Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:09 pm

There’s a high probability you’ll be very happy!

One thing that may be obvious to you (but which a lot of people miss at first): it is an end-address mic! :)

For some reason it seems 8 out of 10 people, upon first seeing one (or a 421 for that matter), try to sing into the flat side and wonder why it sounds a little weird

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Re: Best Mic for Mid Heavy Vocalist

Post by Unicorn Warrior » Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:16 pm

øøøøøøø wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:09 pm
There’s a high probability you’ll be very happy!

One thing that may be obvious to you (but which a lot of people miss at first): it is an end-address mic! :)

For some reason it seems 8 out of 10 people, upon first seeing one (or a 421 for that matter), try to sing into the flat side and wonder why it sounds a little weird

No, that’s good info. So sing at the top of the mic, correct?

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