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condenser for screaming?

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by NCdan, Oct 31, 2008.

  1. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    Well, I record a lot of speed punk music (think old DRI, RKL, Suicidal Tendencies, etc...), and I've just about had it with my Audix OM5. I just can't get a natural sound out of it: it isn't bright enough; I have to EQ so much it just sounds unnatural by the time I get it to the point where the vocals are clean and cutting. I'm starting to get really skeptical of people who say that the old punk bands used dynamic mics., because they are way too dark-sounding when I use them. So, I'm wondering if anyone uses condenser microphones for screaming? Note that I'm not talking about "musical screaming" or heavy metal "grunting," but punk screaming; there should be some people on here old enough to remeber "Keep Laughing" or "Dealing With It." So has anyone here tried that sort of thing? Any tips on that (besides being really careful about my distance from the mic)? Thanks and God bless.
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Well, I don't think much of the ALLDIX line of microphones. No wonder you're having problems.

    At what distance do you want the moron from the microphone? Eating it? A few inches? A few feet? Cardioid? Omni? Hand cupping the head of the microphone? Handheld? On the stand? It hurts when I do this??

    Condenser microphones overload a whole lot easier than a dynamic. So you're as clueless as the screamer. Maybe you are the screamer? You might want to try a stool softener?

    Most dynamics can't be overloaded. Preamps can be. So if you're using toy preamps like Mackie, Beringer and the like, you can't pad it as it has no pad. It has a fixed 20 DB microphone preamp loaded into a post buffer amplifier. That's a toy. You need a professional precision microphone preamp that can be padded down 20 to 40 DB, without any additional gain. And you need a quality dynamic microphone like a Sennheiser MD421 or, Electro-voice RE 20 with the bass cut filter engaged.

    There you go. Now you can scream your ass off. With the knowledge that you have created something of a satisfactory nature that isn't worth listening to.

    Violence begets violence. So stop it.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    Yes, I know that dynamics can't be overloaded and that condensers can be quite easily. I don't own a cheap, crappy preamp, either. I also know how to use low cuts and high pass filters. The point I was getting at was that dynamics simply sound too dark and require too much EQing. Anyone familiar with the artists I mentioned know that their vocals are cutting and bright, yet not sounding like they were unnaturally EQ'd. This leads me to believe that they actually used condensers on the vocals and not dynamics. I was just wondering if anyone had any experience recording like this and if they could give me any tips?
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Really, I hate to tell you this, it's just operator error. Extreme EQ sounds like extreme EQ so you answered your own question. And you didn't answer my questions. It hurts when I do this? So don't do that. Every directional microphone has proximity effect, which will cause plenty of muddiness. So don't boost highs. Cut lows. Don't use any compression or limiting as that will take the brightness right away. Don't let them get any closer than 4 inches. No they can't eat it. Or hang on to it like they see the other morons on television do. No no.

    You assume they're using a condenser microphone. So use a condenser microphone if you want. But remember. Pad on. Bass Cut on. Voila'. This isn't rocket science. It's people trying to cough up their vocal cords. Maybe you might like to use some Aphex enhancement to beef up the harmonic distortion? This has plenty of extra high frequencies related to the fundamental. The fundamental of a chainsaw perhaps?

    What I'm really trying to say is, it takes a lot of money to make something sound that bad. Otherwise, with lower-cost equipment it just sounds awful. You want more than awful you want bad.

    I'm particularly bad when I'm good.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  5. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    Well, I'd basically have the vocalist back up until the screams definitely won't overload the mic.

    Yeah, point taken. That can be sorta tough. The vocalist would be putting in some aerobics with all the jumping back and forth from the mic this would cause, but I'll see if I can make this work.

    This does make me wonder why some people talk so highly about the Audix OM5, though. Sure, it's brighter than an SM58, but only because it seems to have less lows in the signal (at least to my ears). The more I record, the more disenchanted I become with dynamic mics. Except my e906, now that's a good one for guitar cabs 8) .
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Well, most of my superb rock-and-roll recording has been width the use of SM57/SM58's and good preamps such as API 312/3124m's & Neve 3115'swith the gains & pads properly engaged. Both on the microphones & preamps. With some minor equalization such as the high pass/low-cut. I've never had any problems with recording with SM57/58's. If I do? I try the other dynamics as I mentioned previously. I never put these jokers on any condenser microphone as you are generally assured they'll overload the microphone electronics and then the preamps. So don't go there. Just because in your mind, you think it's a condenser, because it doesn't sound as crummy as the results you are currently obtaining. Jumping around on microphones? That's fine if it's microphones technique. If it's just for the sake of jumping around? Take some masking tape and put it on the floor area in which they can jump around in. Any further off the mark and your results may be less than stellar. You only want them so far off of the microphone unless it's that roomy effect you want? So keep them within a foot or one third of a meter. If they go from a whisper to trying to expel their vocal cords, gain back even further because even at 16 bit, you have a 96 DB window which is nearly the limits of the microphone preamps anyhow. No microphone preamps has a 140 DB dynamic range. That's a digital specification that doesn't pertain to the analog electronics that must feed the analog to digital converters. Either way, you shouldn't see an overload and if you do? You're just not tweaking levels properly.

    Maybe the third time is the charm? As if this music could be charming?

    Not charming
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  7. Skinflint

    Skinflint Active Member

    Have you tried a Shure sm7b? apparently the mic for screamers, you can see it on metallicas some kind of monster dvd, its all they use. its also been used on the michael jackson thriller album and all red hot chilli peppers albums aswell as some three doors down songs. i just bought one cant wait to use it.

    Hi Remy.........do you considder Mackie Onyx 800r as a toy preamp? i am really happy with mine and dont considder them that bad? Way better than presonus and octopres which arent considdered toys.
  8. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    Yeah, dynamics work. But as I stated earlier, they just sound unnatural once you get done EQing them. The reason 57s and 58s sound so good on those albums is probably mostly due to the fact that they're using very, very, very expensive preamps and other bells and whistles in the signal chain. I do not have the money for that kind of gear; maybe someday I will upgrade to a really nice vocal preamp, but I think that will be a while. Even so, I don't think too many people will argue that dynamics sound comparably dark to condensers, especially when the vocalist is screaming into them. The albums I'm talking about have razor sharp vocals that cut through titanium, which is why I believe those artists originally used condensers (after all, it was the late 70's and early 80's, and these artists got signed on brand new labels which had no experience with screeching vocalists).
  9. BrianaW

    BrianaW Active Member


    Looks like all 58's to me. Although Mike Muir sounds to me like he's using a large diaphragm condenser... even on the first record. I've been playing in/listening to Punk bands all of my life and I think a lot of what you might be hearing (or not hearing) is the lack of analog coloration. At least that's what I think. Misfits had it, Circle Jerks, Descendents, all of those bands. That was before the digital age... like you said "old". Do you have any ANALOG EQ's available to you (even an old 4 track that you could run it through on the way in)? If not, try adding some highs with the Voxengo ESS-EQ. It's graphic, but it's free and extremely neutral. Or even PSP's Vintage Warmer. :)
  10. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    That does sort of make sense. I have a MXR 10 band EQ, but that has a 1/4" input andx output. So let's see... I'd need: XLR male to 1/4" male, and 1/4" male to XLR male adapters. I think I actually have one of those already... Would that change the audio quality of the signal at all? It would certainly be cheaper than buying and analog EQ.


    Well, I got a cheap condenser and preamp: AT2020 and Studio Projects VTB1. At first it sounded great. Then when I listened through my studio monitors it sounded like I had a super-esser turned on. There was a razor-sharp, buzzy edge that would not go away no matter how I de-essed, high passed, or EQ'd (even with all three going to the extreme). I discovered that using the tube option on the VTB1 made the sound too bright for any use, and the AT2020 was extremely bright to begin with. I actually ended up falling back on my Audix OM5, which I never really liked that much, but I can get it to sound good with a nuclear high pass -> digital compressor -> massive presence boost. My guess would be that a good (aka very expensive) condenser would work just fine, but I already spent too much on all my other studio gear, so that may be a few years down the road at this point.
  11. BrianaW

    BrianaW Active Member

    Hi again,
    Please try the dynamic again (a 57 preferably if you have one available) and check this EQ out. It's the most transparent digital one I've heard so far. Boosting the highs a little bit with this should not color the sound at all as long as the bands are in or close to the same ranges of what you are trying to correct, and if you use a 57, they do fall into that general area. It's free -


    I don't know about the MXR. I know the pedal, but I have not actually used it. I'd think that running it inline like that would add some noise but check it out anyway. Could be the pre as well, but with all of the dessing and filtering you said you did on the AT, it definitely should not sound shrill... not great, but not shrill. What's in the pre? A 12AX7? Maybe swap the tube for something darker?

    From Harmony Central -

    "Still, the sound blows the competition out of the water at its price range and replacing the tube with Electo-Harmonix or JJ ECC83-S model (highly recommened for tube recording applications) will only increase the pre's already amazing sound. "

    "For the money, the sound is good. But the highs are not as detailed as with a preamp like the SPL Goldmike or Really Nice Preamp. You could say, the "high frequencies are castrated" with the VTB1. This works very well with the Studio Projects mics, which have a very hyped high frequency response, but can lead to "dullness" with neutral mics."

    Link -


    IDK, try that ESSEQ if you want to boost w/o noticeable coloration... I swear by that thing. Don't give up! :)
  12. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    Actually, The Audix OM5 is a dynamic mic that is actually brighter than your standard Shure fare. It works, but it obviously lacks the realism of a condenser. The VTB1 actually lets you choose to run solid state, tube, or any combination of the two. I did a lot of tests, and the tube was unbearably screechy and bright, and of course it made a lot of extra noise. Well, what can one expect from a preamp just over $100? :shock: :roll: With the OM5 I went halfway between the ss and tube mode. It works, but still not fantastic.
  13. Skinflint

    Skinflint Active Member

    Dude........why did you ask a question if you already knew the answer? just try the sm 57 or sm7b, geez......... we are all pointing you in that direction but yet you dont want to try it, and keep trying other things getting nowhere anyway. if you cant get majority vocal to sound right with a 57 some compression and eq then YOU dont know what your doing. sorry if this sounds harsh but its the truth.

    You need a mic with alot of dynamic range, (dynamic) hint hint........
    a condensor is not always cut out to handle high sound presure levels. if you really cant live without the "sound of a condesor" or if you think a condensor just looks more appealing, run a sm 57 and a mic emulator plug in like the antares.
  14. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    First of all, I'm not a pro and I was wanting to TRY a condenser mic for screaming (I hadn't tried it before). So, after I used a cheap condenser through a cheap preamp, I decided that I would need a much better condenser to get the results I wanted (and a much better preamp). The spl's weren't a problem, and there was certainly enough dynamic range with the condenser. If you read the post more carefully, you'd see that the problem was in the mic (and preamp to an extent). I didn't say I wasn't satisfied with the results I got with the OM5, but I'm not thrilled. Is it a crime to want to use something besides a dynamic for screaming? I've learned my lesson now and I don't plan on spending $1,000+ on a condenser and then again for a preamp anytime in the near future (I already went oer my studio budget for the next 5 years or so :lol: ), so OM5 it is.
  15. Music_Junky

    Music_Junky Active Member

    Well been there done that.

    I record a lot of punk stuff and I thought I needed an condenser to get the vocal sound I was after. I had a few shure sm 57's and 8's and really believed in my head that they wouldn't give me the sound I was after, so they didn't.

    I bought 2 condensers and at first I was happy with the results but only when I eq-ed the hell out of them. Then one night we were recording this song and the vocalist had not finished his lyrics and melody I just gave him an sm 57 to practice. What a shocker it sounded better than all the finished songs we had done and i didn't even use any eq! Just some low cut.

    Now I use sm57 for almost all my vocal recordings and I'm always happy with the results.
  16. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    Well, darn. Maybe the Audix OM5 just isn't a very good mic? :cry: I have never actually recorded with a 57; I've recorded with 58's, and the results were always sort of dark, but the recordings were when I was just learning, so that probably was most of the problem, haha.

    So, give me advice, people: should I put my Audix OM5 up on egay and get a 57? Maybe something besides a 57? As you might guess, I don't have a ton of mic experience. :D Thanks and God bless.


    Well, I decided to order a new dynamic, so I'm selling the Audix OM5. So, check the Used Studio Gear forum. :D

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