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double mic'ing rock vocals

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by drumist69, May 27, 2007.

  1. drumist69

    drumist69 Active Member

    Hi all! I've got some vocals to record tomorrow for my band, and I think I'm going to try setting up two mics, and send them each to their own track. Probably put up an MD421 and either an AT2020 or MXL 2001. These will each run into a Mackie VLZ for pre's, then an ART Pro VLA compressor. The mics would be set up as close as possible to each other, with a pop-filter in front of both. The singer would kind of aim right in the middle between them.

    The first point of doing this is to illustrate to myself the differences between the mics on the same source and performance, same signal chain. As a potential side benefit, I was hoping I might be able to mix the two tracks into the song mix and achieve a nice vocal sound. I might also put up an omni for a room mic if I can get a decent sound from it.

    Does anyone have any experience doing this? Any stories about good or bad results which I might run into? Thanks! Andy
  2. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    The rule with microphones and phasing is 1 to 3. One foot away three feet apart if you don't want to get phase problems. As per Lou Burroughs from Electrovoice (et al). Good idea to try different microphones all at the same time but you CANNOT mix them together if you don't want to get phasing problems.
  3. drumist69

    drumist69 Active Member

    I was thinking about that, but mainly want to do this to get an A/B comparison. Also, we have two different singers in the band, and they have quite different voices. I thought doing it this way would give me a good way to pick which mic works best for each guy, and also maybe to be able to use the condenser mic on quieter sections and the dynamic on louder parts, maybe to differentiate between verse and chorus.

    The 3-1 rule, in this use, would mean that I would want the singer say one foot away from the dynamic mic, and set the condenser three feet apart, so we have a right angle triangle deal. Singer is one foot from dynamic mic, take a 90 degree turn (to the left, lets say), and place condenser mic three feet away on the same plane? This would defeat the "mic shoot-out" aspect of this, but might yield interesting results. Thanks Thomas...gonna pull out a book and read up on the 3-1 rule some. Andy
  4. rockstardave

    rockstardave Active Member

    if you'll just be recording them (or something similar) in order to A/B then you'll be ok.

    however, you're just testing each mic in THAT application...

    what i mean is that unless your singer ALWAYS sings in a manner that he "would kind of aim right in the middle between them", you dont really know the true characteristic of the mic.

    in other words, in order to find out which mic sounds best for each singer under normal conditions (singing directly into the mic), have the singer sing normally (directly into the mic).

    it's like test driving a new car without going on the highway... it'll do 30mph just fine, but you never tested it to it's full capacity.

    just a minor think about. as long as you're not playing both microphones back simultaneously, you wont have any phase problems. 8)
  5. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I do this all the time. Its especially effective with a singer who might be a bit 'nasal' in their vocal tone. The lower mic will pick up more chest tone while the upper mic will have more of the head tone.

    I use two condensers for this and they are an inch or so apart and are on the same pattern setting. One is oriented above the other, the capsules together. You HAVE to maintain the proper angle for this to work properly or there will ne a phase problem. A solid testing will determine this. If the patterns for each mic are very similar then this is a done deal.
  6. drumist69

    drumist69 Active Member

    So maybe instead of trying this as a mic shootout, put up two similar condensers? I'll play around with this idea today. Our guitar player definitely has a little nasal tone going on. I told him I'm gonna bust his chops until he puts some chest into his parts! He's very self-concious of his singing, and I think he holds back due to that. Our bass player on the other hand...the MD421 is the deal for him...he can blast! Andy
  7. Andy,

    The best vocal tone I've been able to pull from my voice with my setup (both of which are pretty bottom-rung) is by using 2 mics in tandem, the AT 2020 with a Kel HM-1, with the lion's share of the sound coming from the Kel. I know you're digging on the 421 lately so you might get usable results by substituting it in for the Kel in the scenario below:

    1.) I place the Kel mic (front-address large-diaphragm condenser) as I would if I were using just one mic for vocals, if not slightly lower, and sing right into it (4-5" away with a pop filter).

    2.) I place the 2020 perpendicular atop the Kel (forming a "T" with the two mics) so the diaphragms align perfectly. Be prepared to spend way too much time listening to results, but you'll definitely hear it when you get them aligned. Hover this mic about 1/4" over the Kel--basically, just so they're not touching.

    Sometimes it works best, surprisingly, to rotate the Kel toward the floor 5-10 degrees and the 2020 toward the ceiling 5-10 degrees. This scenario relies heavily on the dimensions of the microphones used, obviously, but seeing as how we share a 2020 and prefer a beefier mic for the principle sound, it might be worth a try. It's also worth noting that since only one of the microphones is in the "sweet spot" it might affect this test for true A/B results, but perhaps it could give you enough of an idea as to which mic you prefer.
  8. drumist69

    drumist69 Active Member

    We've been doing the vocals today, using the 421 and an MXL 2001. All the bass players leads are done, just need the guitarist to do his lead parts, and then some harmonies, which I'll probably go down to the AT2020 for. So far, the double mic'ing seems to work nicely. We've fired up the grill, and I sent the boys on a beer run before we finish up. Should have something to post in the next couple days! Happy Memorial Day, people...and remember today why we're grilling and drinking beer and making music...Andy
  9. drumist69

    drumist69 Active Member

    I've got a mix of "We Breath" up on our soundclick site with the double mic'd vocals. The link is already on another post in Audio Projects, so I don't know if its ok to post one here. Hmmm. But the double mic thing worked out fine. Andy

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