Inexpensive lofi mic for garage rock vocals

Get that song on tape! Errr... disk?
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Zork
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Inexpensive lofi mic for garage rock vocals

Post by Zork » Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:36 am

I'm looking for an inexpensive mic for vocals. We're aiming for that compressed, distorted and narrow lofi sound. I was about to buy the Superlux D112C, which is a pretty straight up green bullet copy for about 30€ used, but there's no spider available with a diameter big enough. There are 3d printed clips on ebay, but they are more expensive than the mic itself, so a no-no for me.
So, what Mic would you recommend? I'm looking to achieve this sound: https://open.spotify.com/track/0fPb0iDk ... tklx2nHEQw

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Re: Inexpensive lofi mic for garage rock vocals

Post by marqueemoon » Wed Apr 22, 2020 12:37 pm

Honestly what’s on that recording sounds like a better mic with some distortion/eq/dirty compression added to fuck it up. I was expecting a Coachwhips kinda thing.

If it were me I’d just start with a decent mid-forward dynamic mic like an SM57. I assume you’re recording digitally, so just experiment with amp sims/distortion, eq, and compression until you get what you’re after. You can always copy the track and blend with a cleaner sound to get the right mix of honk and intelligibility.

My personal favorite cheap-ish dynamic mic for recording is the EV 635A. Not “lo fi”, but not super detailed either, and it’s omnidirectional so you get more room sound and no proximity effect. I especially like it for micing guitar cabs.

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Re: Inexpensive lofi mic for garage rock vocals

Post by higgsblossom » Wed Apr 22, 2020 12:46 pm

Run an SM57 into your audio interface and use an amp sim. Better than using a cheap mic and meeting your exact expectations because amps have knobs...
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Re: Inexpensive lofi mic for garage rock vocals

Post by mbene085 » Wed Apr 22, 2020 12:56 pm

Thinking about it, I'd be inclined to go for a good old SM58 rather than a 57. Nobody needs to be told why 58s are great vocal mics, and you can use it as your vocal mic for whatever rehearsal space or live use you need, then use it to record too. With a boxy, distorted sound being the end goal, there is absolutely no reason a 58 wouldn't make a great mic for tracking vocals.

The 57 is basically the same cartridge in a form factor less ideal for vocals. Instead of using a 57 with a separate pop filter etc you can just use the tool designed for that job and grab the 58.

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Re: Inexpensive lofi mic for garage rock vocals

Post by Jan Deal » Thu Apr 23, 2020 4:05 am

What microphones have you got?

Personally, I'd go for processing the vocals in post. You are wanting the sound for recording, right? It's really limiting to have one microphone that just has that sound, at least if you have a "clean" sound up front, you can tailor it to what you want.
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Re: Inexpensive lofi mic for garage rock vocals

Post by marqueemoon » Thu Apr 23, 2020 7:39 am

mbene085 wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 12:56 pm
Thinking about it, I'd be inclined to go for a good old SM58 rather than a 57. Nobody needs to be told why 58s are great vocal mics, and you can use it as your vocal mic for whatever rehearsal space or live use you need, then use it to record too. With a boxy, distorted sound being the end goal, there is absolutely no reason a 58 wouldn't make a great mic for tracking vocals.

The 57 is basically the same cartridge in a form factor less ideal for vocals. Instead of using a 57 with a separate pop filter etc you can just use the tool designed for that job and grab the 58.
For this application either would work, but I wouldn’t rule out needing a pop filter with a 58 for this. Distortion will bring out a lot of stuff.

What I like about omni is you can be 90 degrees off axis and still be picked up across the full spectrum. If you do it this way not only do you not have proximity effect, but very little energy from the plosives is actually hitting the mic. Sometimes you still need a pop filter, but often you don’t.

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Re: Inexpensive lofi mic for garage rock vocals

Post by mbene085 » Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:47 am

marqueemoon wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 7:39 am
mbene085 wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 12:56 pm
Thinking about it, I'd be inclined to go for a good old SM58 rather than a 57. Nobody needs to be told why 58s are great vocal mics, and you can use it as your vocal mic for whatever rehearsal space or live use you need, then use it to record too. With a boxy, distorted sound being the end goal, there is absolutely no reason a 58 wouldn't make a great mic for tracking vocals.

The 57 is basically the same cartridge in a form factor less ideal for vocals. Instead of using a 57 with a separate pop filter etc you can just use the tool designed for that job and grab the 58.
For this application either would work, but I wouldn’t rule out needing a pop filter with a 58 for this. Distortion will bring out a lot of stuff.

What I like about omni is you can be 90 degrees off axis and still be picked up across the full spectrum. If you do it this way not only do you not have proximity effect, but very little energy from the plosives is actually hitting the mic. Sometimes you still need a pop filter, but often you don’t.
Yeah, of course, an extra pop filter may be needed for plosives, but depending on technique, a lot of 58's get by fine in live settings with only their headbasket. Obviously, you just give it a test run and see what happens.

Speaking of omni, have you heard about the mod where you pull out the 58's capsule and tape off the vents to make it omni? I've never had the guts to try it myself, but apparently it works.

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Re: Inexpensive lofi mic for garage rock vocals

Post by parry » Thu Apr 23, 2020 11:46 am

It's definitely on the extreme end of the narrow/lo-fi spectrum (more so than your example) - so feel free to ignore - but if you're DIY-inclined, you could always pick up a cheap, old '70s rotary dial phone at a Thrift shop and a 1/4" jack. Wire the earpiece to the jack and voila! Instant lo-fi mic.

I rehoused one of my telephone mics in an old gooseneck IKEA lamp head and it worked out great: https://www.instagram.com/p/BF_h1-IP4Fq/
It definitely gets a trashy, lo-fi, distorted garage-rock sound. No preamps, pedals or plugins required.
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Re: Inexpensive lofi mic for garage rock vocals

Post by marqueemoon » Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:02 pm

parry wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 11:46 am
It's definitely on the extreme end of the narrow/lo-fi spectrum (more so than your example) - so feel free to ignore - but if you're DIY-inclined, you could always pick up a cheap, old '70s rotary dial phone at a Thrift shop and a 1/4" jack. Wire the earpiece to the jack and voila! Instant lo-fi mic.

I rehoused one of my telephone mics in an old gooseneck IKEA lamp head and it worked out great: https://www.instagram.com/p/BF_h1-IP4Fq/
It definitely gets a trashy, lo-fi, distorted garage-rock sound. No preamps, pedals or plugins required.
Yeah. There are plenty of crystal mics out there.

Lots of different ways to do it. If you're recording yourself/a bandmate/friend it's all pretty low stakes. Don't like the result? Sing it again with something else.

Vocals are 95% the performance anyway.

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Re: Inexpensive lofi mic for garage rock vocals

Post by fuzzjunkie » Thu Apr 23, 2020 6:02 pm

Those cheap dictation microphones that came with 2 and 4 track reel to reel tape recorders.

Good enough for Sparklehorse. Good enough for me.

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Re: Inexpensive lofi mic for garage rock vocals

Post by Zork » Sun Apr 26, 2020 4:31 am

Well, thank you guys for the many helpful thoughts. Atm I'm mangling the vocals through Ableton on recordings but I'd prefer to just have that sound rather than fixing it later. Also for coming live situations.
The telephone mic is a great idea. I actually built something like this before when I was about 17. I just hotglued the mic in a beverage can and it sounded great. I think that's actually the way to go. I even have an old telephone in my practice space... :blush:

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Re: Inexpensive lofi mic for garage rock vocals

Post by FrankRay » Sun Apr 26, 2020 5:42 am

I find that the built in mic on a mac is pretty good; really distant sounding. Also, one of those kid's mic with keyboards. They're really rubbish, in a good way.

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Re: Inexpensive lofi mic for garage rock vocals

Post by lunaticjaguar » Sun Apr 26, 2020 5:45 am

fuzzjunkie wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 6:02 pm
Those cheap dictation microphones that came with 2 and 4 track reel to reel tape recorders.

Good enough for Sparklehorse. Good enough for me.
I have an old Sony one of these that I swear by. Its trash and i will never give it up.

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Re: Inexpensive lofi mic for garage rock vocals

Post by budda12ax7 » Sun Apr 26, 2020 12:27 pm

SM 57 or 58. Hands down a great buy, and you can one used. Make sure for used you clean that fucker out and put it in quarantine for 4 or 5 days. Do the vocal lofi in post production....in fact I bet you can find a preset of lofi vocals.

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Re: Inexpensive lofi mic for garage rock vocals

Post by fuzzjunkie » Sun Apr 26, 2020 3:53 pm

With an SM-57/58 you can stick it in a cardboard tube or punch a whole in the bottom of a snack can. I got a pretty trash/garage vocal from an SM-57 inside an Irish Oatmeal tin. A Quaker Oats tin would work fine too.

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