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further to my choir question earlier

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by took-the-red-pill, Apr 22, 2006.

  1. took-the-red-pill

    took-the-red-pill Active Member

    Jan 10, 2005
    Near Clagary
    Home Page:
    Hello all,

    I had asked some choir questions here a few months ago regarding recording a kids choir and micing techniques.

    (Dead Link Removed)

    There was some discussion as to how to best do it, especially regarding mic choices, and I just wanted to let others know what happened, to keep the learning going.

    They recorded the band first, on their own(there are some issues, but I couldn't be there, so maybe I deserve them...)

    We did some recording of the kids today, and I decided to set up and compare 58's to the AT 4033's they have, so I set up a pair of each. Both were set up about 15 feet apart, about 12 feet away from the front row, and about 10 feet high.

    The end result was that on the SM58 tracks, I had to have the gain jacked so high that there was hum and hiss and all kinds of crap in the signal, whereas the 4033's have a lot more output, so I was able to keep them turned way down and still get a good signal. Crisp and clean, no caffiene.

    So when the dust settled, I threw out all the 58 tracks and will keep the others. It all came down to signal to noise ratio. FYI, he 58's seemed to do the trick other than that.

    I find that with my OM2's I'm having to jack the volume so high I have a high noise floor, yet with my condensers?(KEL's) there is tons of gain. It's getting to the point where I won't pull out the dynamics unless it's a loud signal, like drums or electric.

    I used to think it was just the inner workings of my old tube pre, but today's findings through their board would seem to indicate that there is a HUGE difference in signal output between dynamics, and condensers.

    I suppose there's no way to bring that level up on the dynamics without just introducing extra hiss, eh?

  2. twon

    twon Guest

    put dynamics closer?
  3. Nirvalica

    Nirvalica Guest

    well, dynamics are less sensitive and are more for micing loud sources. condensers are sensitive. i know what you mean. when i try to mic my acoustic with a 57, i have to raise the gain so much that i get lots of noise in the background.
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    I hate to bring this up kids but I use SM57/58s all of the time and I have Miked choirs with them without suffering from too much hiss or other crap as you have described here, in fact, I have found them superior to many condenser microphones in that application. I think it also comes down to a good microphone preamplifier but whether tube or transistor, should not be as degraded as you've experienced? They suffer from less extraneous crap than any condenser microphone because they're not as sensitive or as broadband. The bandwidth limited signal of the dynamic in and by itself cuts down on low and high-frequency noise from air conditioners, subways, traffic and such in the background at churches and other venues.

    Dynamically better
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  5. fred83

    fred83 Guest


    Ive just finished mixing a kids choir project. For tracking, i used a pair of oktava mc012 for room miking, and 2 blue baby bottle for close miking (one a the left, the other at the right of the choir). I planned to rent headphones (30 kids to mic'... ...) for monitoring the backing tracks, but given the time i had to track the choir, and the $$ available :lol: i decided to set up a pair of my jbl eon15P. 8)

    Actually, that was pretty simple to deal with it, as the baby bottles have a very good off axis response/attenuation.

    I didn't even think a sec about dynamic mics. I use them for miking guitar amps, drums, sometimes vocals, but not choirs...
    IMHO, they don't have enough sensibility, enough high for kids choir (im talking about recording without audience!)

    [keith] i totally understand your problem. But as nirvalica said, dynamic and condenser mics does not have the same sensibility. 12 feet is way too far for dynamic mics. even with good mic pre's, you would have issues...

  6. JoeH

    JoeH Distinguished Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    I'm sorry to disagree with you here Remy, but I'm going to go on record here and strongly caution anyone reading this thread to avoid SM57's and 58's for any kind of serious choir or group vocal recording.

    Yes, it will work, but IMHO there are so many things wrong with using that kind of mic for that kind of work... And I'll freely admit that back in the 70s when I was just starting out doing live recording and PA work, I had no other choice but find was to use my limited arsenal of 57s, 58's and a couple of oddball AT and EV mics wherever I could. Sure, they worked. They were Ok. Not great, just OK.

    Of course there's the proximity effect, and the built-in windscreen inside the ball of the 58 (not to mention what the ball itself does to the sound), then the whole thing with limited transient response due to the nature of a dynamic (magnet and coil) mic vs. a condenser (Charged/polarized diaphragm).

    The whole reason 57's and 58's sound so great is when they're used upclose for instruments, solo voices, etc. (And of course we all know why they get "warm" - a result of the proximity effect/bass boost.) But after moving them out beyond 2 or 3 feet, they just sound bad: Thin, watery, and never enough level, not to mention poor transient response.

    Yes, you can use them in a pinch, perhaps with a gun to your head, but they sound like junk compared to a good condenser. (Just watch any local choir singing the national anthem at a televised baseball game. You'll almost ALWAYS see them run out a bunch of 58's on four or five stands and attempt to get some kind of sound out of them. It's just awful, and it's mainly due to using the wrong kind of mic in the wrong sitaution.)

    Yes, the 57's and 58's will work (and they WILL work even better with good preamps, yep) but these are not, and never were meant to be the kind of mic you should be using on a choir or group of singers. Even a pair of lowly AT3035's ($289 each) will blow them off the stage. Heck, get a pair of SM81's if you want to stick with Shure.

    But please........don't even consider these mics for that kind of work, fun or otherwise.
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    But Joe, I only recommend things that have worked well for me in the past and that has included miking choruses with SM57s, of course into really nice preamplifier's which never made a noise I hated. We are talking loud rock-and-roll gospel choirs here and not a quiet liturgical piece where I too believe that the extra noise added from cranking more gain the microphone preamplifier could then become a factor? And yes, I also frequently Mike choirs with SM 81s. We all love those hotter outputs from condenser microphones.

    Getting hot...... Signals..... over long thin microphones
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  8. Boswell

    Boswell Distinguished Moderator Resource Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    The Shure dynamics are designed for close-up work, either vocals (58s) or instruments (57s). They are also good at handling high SPLs. You can stick a 57 in front of a backline cabinet that has 1KW going through it - you get enough output from the mic to light a torch bulb but you also get a good sound.

    Dynamic mics do not have any self-noise other than the Johnson thermal noise of the equivalent resistor. If you are getting excessive hum and hiss from a dynamic, it's your snake or pre-amp or mixer input that's adding it. Capacitor mics, whether electret or applied voltage type, always need a valve (tube) or a FET to buffer the signal to the output. That component has a noise floor and is usually the limiting factor in the sensitivity in acoustic terms. It does mean, however, that capacitor mics often have a higher output than dynamics and so the preamp or mixer can be used at a lower gain, thus introducing less noise of its own.

    In summary, dynamics can work acceptably well with low SPLs such as encountered with choral music, but you have to use cabling and pre-amps that can deal with the low output levels without compromising the signal-to-noise ratio. Some EQ may also be needed to flatten the low end response.

    In practice, it means that capacitor mics are usually used in choral recordings.
  9. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    Boswell, that's exactly what I tried to say but you really put it much more eloquently and thoroughly. Good dynamic microphones with good preamplifier's equal quality sound. But those oh so sexy high output capacitor microphones get me maxed out to capacity!

    Too much capacity for eating in my case..... I figured dynamic microphones makes it sound like I've been exercising?
    Ms. Remy Ann David

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