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How do you find a singers frequency range?

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by H0bgawblin, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. H0bgawblin

    H0bgawblin Guest

    So how do you find a singers frequency range and purchase/match a mic to their voice. For example I'm a lyric tenor, I have a lot of upper partials. Also, I have a lot of reverberation because of my classical training. What do I look for in a mic and is there a way to try before I buy?

    Additionally, I am only going to record my voice, everything else I had plans to record direct. Is there any way to record my voice with decent control of room sound even if my room isn't sound proofed (I live in an apartment).
  2. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Distinguished Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Frequency range or pitch range? Pitch range refers to the fundamental, frequency range refers to the fundamental and all subsequent overtones.

    If there is an easy way to choose the 'right' mic then I am not aware of it. Every mic has its own frequency curve and will highlight certain frequencies more than others, this gives every mic its own 'personality'. You are a tenor so you want a mic that brings out the bass and subdues the highs right? Wrong, that would double the strong frequencies and kill the 'air' of the recording. Knowing this, now you want a mic that softens the fundamental frequencies and brings out the harmonics right?. Again wrong because it will make your vocals sound like you are singing through your nose. There is no easy method, that's like asking an artist what color is his favorite. Each mic is as unique as a person's voice and must be treated with the same level of respect and consideration. Try some out see which ones you like the best.

    On a meager budget you could do well with an AT2035 and FireWire interface (which will provide Phantom Power). Considering you have no soundproofing (and possibly the size of your living/recording space) you may be in the market for a dynamic mic like the Shure SM58 because it's better at rejecting off-axis sound than a sensitive condenser mic. Either way you will want to invest in a FireWire interface. I don't see it get much mention here, but I've heard a Sterling ST55 in person and was quite impressed at the sound for the money.
  3. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Moderator Resource Member

    Dec 18, 2008
    Western Pennsylvania, USA
    This is a fun and handy Interactive Freq. Chart, but I don't think you can match a voice to a mic based on specs. They're all made to pick up well below and well above the range of virtually any vocalist. I think with a strong, classically trained voice, you'll only get so far without dealing with the room acoustics to some extent.

    Can you find a honest to goodness music store in your area that would let you demo them in-store?
    Returning vocals mics can be a problem sometimes due to hygiene concerns.

    How much are you looking to spend?
    How big is the apartment?

    Some of the guys who specialize in classical recording might have some suggestions of their favorite mics if you can give them a little more information.

    Good luck.
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Distinguished Moderator Resource Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    When it comes to deciding on a microphone, I would play down your knowledge about partials and also ignore the frequency range in the microphone specification. The easy thing to say is to go for a microphone that gives you an interpretation of your voice that you are wanting to promote.

    Unfortunately, it's not a simple as that, as what the microphone hears is not only your voice directly but also what is reflected off the walls, floor, ceiling and any bits of furniture in the space in which you record. Through suitable room treatment you can minimise the reflections or make them into something that does not detract from the character of the direct vocal sound, but the important point is that it is not just the direct voice that you hear, and so the microphone has to deal in a sympathetic way to the secondary sounds as well. Thus it could be that in an acoustically dead studio you might find that a Neumann U87 sounds "best", but in your living room, a Shure SM58 gives a better interpretation of your voice in that space.

    So, there is no "right" microphone for your voice that works wherever you record and always sits correctly in a mix with the other tracks. You can choose a microphone that gives a reasonable all-round result, or you can limit the spaces in which you record and what it has to sit with in a mix and go for one that promotes your voice in a way you like under those conditions.

    Not easy, and not something you can do (at the pro level) without some trials. Find a supplier who is prepared to go with you on the journey.
  5. DrGonz

    DrGonz Active Member

    Jun 24, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Just to chime in real quickly... I think it is always wise to research as much as you can about singers that influence your singing style. Then search out the mics that they like to use and why. Tell us some singers that have similar sounds as your looking for and that could help your research pondering.

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