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budget vocal microphones

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by mannyr, May 20, 2009.

  1. mannyr

    mannyr Active Member

    Hi guys, I'm trying to record pop/rock/acoustic vocals and am looking for a condensor mic for around 100$ or lower. Which would produce a nice clean pop sound?

    I was thinking about the AT2020, or maybe CAD Mic GXL2200 but also maybe the AKG Perception120?

    I'm using a Shure SM58 for digital recording and to me it sounds too boxy and not very clear with vocals, sort of like someones singing at a high school chorus concert but a dressed up version of that, and thats NOT what I'm going for.

    I need a studio quality pop/rock/acoustic vocals that are clear and crisp. Which condensor mic should I get?

    HERE ARE CLIPS: (analyze it for me please!)
    http://alexschmittofficial.com/Polaroid.mp3 - rock ballad
    http://alexschmittofficial.com/preview.mp3 - pop
  2. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    All condenser mics around $100 will produce a nice, clean pop sound. In fact, they will also also produce lots of static and hissing to go along with that pop sound. If you want a good condenser mic that won't be relegated to crappy room mic status or some other "non-normal" purpose, then be prepared to drop $500+.
  3. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    And yet you want to spend less than $100. Hmmmm. Nope. Not gonna happen. Get an SM58 and call it a day.

    A very good ebay price for a good condition C414 is about $550-700 just as a fer instance.
  4. mannyr

    mannyr Active Member

    So your saying that SM58 will be better for recording then a condenser mic? Obviously thats not true, for a one under 100 dollars, okay maybe true.. but I still doubt it! I get such a stuffy quality with the sm58, wont a condenser mic fix that??
  5. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    Saying you can't get a good sound with an SM58 for pop music is like saying you can't get a good sound with an American Str@t for pop music. Either something is wrong in your signal chain, or you need to work on your technique. Practice makes perfect. :D
  6. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Not getting a "clean, crisp" sound from an SM58 is, I think, the issue here. There's no excuse for that, even in a relatively hostile acoustical environment. That particular mic was BORN to be crisp and clean...It's the 7-Up of mics, for cryin' out loud!!!
    What are you using as playback monitors that indicate you're laying down muddy sound? What is the acoustical environment that you are tracking said vocals in?
    Don't give up on that 58, dude... :cool: Something else is goin'on here...
  7. mannyr

    mannyr Active Member

    If your sure that I can get a near studio-quality sound (near professional sound) with the SM58 if I just mix it superbly - then alright its probably my fault.

    Do professionals do that sometimes? Use SM58 for recording pop songs?
  8. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Do professionals do that sometimes? Use SM58 for recording pop songs?

    No, never. This is why no-one ever mentions it or recommends it on here.

    Seriously though, it or the SM57 is used for 90% of vocals, 90% of snare drums, 90% of toms and 90% of guitar amps in pro studios. Sometimes engineers will use different mics but if they're stuck, SM57 it is.
  9. mannyr

    mannyr Active Member

    wait wait, you WERE being sarcastic when you said that professionals never used the sm58 with pop right? because its mentioned incessantly on these forums. i mean im pretty sure u were sarcastic but it'd be nicer if you could just tell me straight up!
  10. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Ever heard of Steven Tyler? Most of his Aerosmith material was recorded on a 58...
    Anyway, you didn't answer my question about the other aspects (room and monitors). The mic is only part of that chain.
  11. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Totally sarcastic. My bad.

    The SM5(7/8) is to a studio what walls are to houses.
  12. mannyr

    mannyr Active Member

    Sorry moonbaby.

    I'm recording in a basement, thats basically got uncovered concrete walls and no carpeting, but i place the mic in a nook in the basement that is comparable to a vocal booth with the door open (only smaller).

    I'm using Garageband and Logic 8 and I've got a BLUE icicle preamp that goes to USB. It sounds okay, but just not up to par with what I know it could be. Clearer! Cuz you know, it sounds a little boxy.

    Although I did just remix it again and I think I made it a lot better. I'm going to post it up here soon so you guys can tell me if it could sound much better with a SM58 and if im mixing it wrong.
  13. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    A condenser, even a very good one, won't fix any problem you are having recording with an SM58. Once you are getting good, clear, clean, recordings with a 58, a good condenser can definitely add crispness and air to softer passages. The condenser will also bring out flaws in your vocal performance, which is why a 58 is sometimes used for aggressive vocal performances in studios that have $3000 condensers in the locker.

    If you have the patience to improve your recording while you wait until you can afford a better condenser you will be better off in the long run. Chris Murphy does a good job explaining the problems with cheap condensers in this video. Chris mentions one inexpensive condenser that he has had good luck with, and if you go through the archives you'll find similar recommendations. (I haven't really tried many, so I can't help you.) But, again, if you can stand it, wait until you can put out between $500-$800.

    Good luck, and keep working on making better recordings with the 58.
  14. mannyr

    mannyr Active Member

    Here's the clips, there both recorded with SM58:

  15. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    I'm going to go on a whim here and say that the icicle USB device isn't allowing you to get the most out of your 58. Some people may say otherwise, but I recommend saving your condenser money and picking up a nice interface. A good firewire interface with good preamps will brighten up the 58 and make your voice sound dynamic and not like you have a bag over your head. Also don't use GB when you have Logic 8.
  16. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I suspected that there was a "closet" lurking in this post...Get the mic out into a more open room. Try getting some blankets to drape around the mic as a makeshift "booth". You will find that the added "air" around the mic/singer will keep it from sounding so "boxy", and the blankets will keep the hard walls in the basement from reflecting the sound back at the mic...BTW, that's why the 58 is good in your situation, it has a tighter pattern to minimize feedback and off-axis coloration (the walls).
    Give that a try...
  17. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    Oh, you're a girl. I see your issue now. Are you EQing for a female? Female vocals need more air up there and less boom in the bottom. When you get loud I can hear some annoying buzzing. Maybe you are compressing or limiting too much? I can't say I've heard many nasally female singers. I really think it is an EQ issue.
  18. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Forget equipment for now. You can do much better with what you have. Your biggest problem is the acoustics of the room you are recording in. You are trying to compensate for that with eq and effects and overusing them in the process. Follow moonbaby's advice. Move out into the basement. Try without any blankets first. Just find the best spot in the basement. Usually not in the middle or close to a wall. Then try the blankets. I've never had much luck with them, but it is free to give them a try. If you are looking to use the basement as a long term recording environment you can think about bass traps. There are some inexensive DIY solutions. If you are not committed to using the basement try another room. Another floor. Another house.
  19. mannyr

    mannyr Active Member

    Thanks, no I'M not a female, but I'm the sound engineer FOR a female singer. And she's amazing. Anyway - I am probably compressing way too much, your right.. so I'll stop that and I'll either rerecord with more stable volume in her voice or I'll just lower the compression and set the background music less.

    I'd like to keep her EQ warm in a ballad like this so I pretty much want a neutral treble, but a slight peak in the section just before a high treble.. I mean once I increase the treble the buzzing gets worse.. but I can fix that with compression. But overall I think dialing up the treble will make the vocal less warm and more sharp.

    But for a pop song I'd totally take that advice.

    But I mean, cmon the mixing could of been way worse right? haha
  20. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    But I mean, cmon the mixing could of been way worse right? haha

    Agreed. Could be at my level :p

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