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I need a female vocal mic?

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by sseverett, Apr 16, 2005.

  1. sseverett

    sseverett Guest

    I’m looking for a vocal mic for a metso-soprano singing folk music. I have a Rode NT2 and some AKG 1000s but none of them are giving me the sound I’m looking for. I’m looking for warm and liquid! What do you think of the Electro Voice RE20? Any other suggestions?
  2. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Rode NTZ is great as are some of the Blue microphones. AKG C1000, C2000, C3000 all work great as do the 4050's from Audio Technica.

    Best to try before you buy if you can since microphones are all different in character and you may have to try a dozen or so microphones before you find one that works for this vocalist.
  3. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Yes, the 4050 - you'd have a hard time going wrong with this one. Or the 4040 for that matter. Of course, the FET versions - 4033/4047 are also rather warm and smooth sounding as well. I personally would shy away from the AKGs - their 1000,2000,3000,4000 and Solid Tube all leave a bit to be desired IMO. The 414 is definitely not smooth and warm. I consider it to be clinical and accurate.

    The Blues are also excellent choices for budget mics. The Baby Bottle is a great mic especially for the money. Of course, there's the ubiquitous SP C1 and the new favorite around here (which I've yet to hear, so I can't advise) KEL mics.

    Some of the GT tube mics are also nice sounding devices. Their solid state mics however would lack that "warmth" still and have a bit of a peak in the higher frequencies.

    Good luck.
  4. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    The problem you may be having is that you are trying to use a condenser mic. A ribbon or even better, a stereo ribbon (SF24) will do the trick on taming a female voice into a purr.

    Checkout and listen to the Wailing Jenny's demo on the Royer Website, this may answer all your questions in a few seconds.

  5. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member


    I'd check out the above link as well.

    The AT4060 would be pretty good too -smooth yet articulate. Don't get too close without carefully monitoring the bottom end!

  6. jobu2u

    jobu2u Guest

    You will all probably bash on me but... :oops:

    I have had some excellent results using a cheap @ss MXL V69 (mogami) on female vocalists. Actually, I will seldom even need to use any eq on the track. This mic has me totally blown away for female vox.

    flaming begins now... :(
  7. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    WHAT THE...:twisted: MXL?

    You're not the first person I've come across to express that opinion, so I think anyone who wants to flame you should probably listen to one first :cool:


    PS I own a Behringer B2 Pro :oops: Oh the shame!
  8. sseverett

    sseverett Guest

    Thanks guys for all the input. My decision now will be more informed but because of all the recommendations it will not be an easy one. Some of the mics I’ve never heard of and others are very tempting but Dave and John’s link to the Royer page convinced me that I need a ribbon. The AT 4050 for my wife’s voice is a real temptation because the way Cucco spoke of how well the 4040 works on violin. This mic could serve 2 purposes. I’ve never heard the Blue mics but they sure are tempting.
    No, I’ve made my decision, the Royer SF-24 is the mic I need. Now I check for a price and find they are $3600. How about a ribbon for around $1000? Any recommendation?
    From the little reading I’ve just done it sounds like most ribbon don’t like phantom power which worries me. It would be very easy for me to accidentally send phantom power to one of them. Maybe I should stick to a condenser mic. You know thing would be a lot easier if money grew on trees!
  9. recordista

    recordista Active Member

    If budget is a concern, you might want to audition a Lollipop capsule on a C451/452 or a C480 body.

    How much abuse will it get? AEA R84 comes to mind...

    The only real concern is a defective phantom supply or a miswired cable and even that may be less of a problem than what you have read.
  10. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    While I agree most of the time I was recently surprised by a powerhouse mezzo that sounded better with TLM193s than my SF12. And this is a voice that can shred metal at fifty feet!

  11. sloop

    sloop Active Member

    I'll toss another mic into the works. It's not a large diaphram, but it works great for many female vocalists. Sennheiser 865.
  12. sseverett

    sseverett Guest

    Sennheiser 865? MXL V69? AEA R84? TLM193?
    Now, let me make sure I understand this correctly. I could use a very expensive mic or a cheap one. I could use a middle priced mic. I could use a condenser or ribbon or maybe something else. I see tubes, FET, solid state, and no powered mics are all recommended. Could it be that the mic doesn’t matter? Could it be that my miking technic just suck and I’ll never get a good recording? Is it possible that a Royer SF-24 would sound like a AKG 1000s in my hands? Maybe it's not my miking technic and maybe it's my room! Could it be everything I record will sound like a sure 57 until I change my room? No, No, No! It has to be my preamp. Great preamp, great recording. That’s the next puzzle piece I need.
    I belong to a small Irish band and I do all of our recording. I do it in my home. I record no one else except our band. I’ve been recording our group for about 6 years and have come to some conclusion. I have not set the standard, (you pro’s have), but I must try to match that standard if I’m to have something I am proud of and sign my name to. Acoustic instruments are much different than electronic ones. A $200 mic might work on an electric guitar or keyboard but forget about it on an acoustical instrument. It is way too noisy. Set it close to keep the noise down and it become brittle and bright. Same for preamps. No, if you want to meet the standard recording acoustic instruments you must have good equipment. Have you listened to the orchestra recording on the Royer page? That wasn’t recorded with a Rode II through a ART preamp into a Mackie mixer and on to the computer. Those recordings are works of art. I have all kinds’ of stuff that I’ve bought to cheaply solve a problem only to find out it was just cheap. The rest of the world must already know this because no one will give me anything for the stuff. Go to E-bay and try to get a good deal on a Hardy M-1 or a Neumann mic. Well, you might as well buy new. You don’t save enough to take the chance.
    The recommendations for ribbon mics from Royer and AEA make a lot of sense. I am having the troubles, which these people say I will have, with condenser mics. I will save up my money until I can afford one of them.
    Thanks a lot guys; all of you!
  13. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    I think you are having a combination of information overload and paralysis by analysis!

    A ribbon would likely work well, and SF12 prices on Ebay are quite low now with the SF24 attracting folks. However, I must say that wtih any normal (non-active) ribbon you cannot skimp on the micpre. You need to have AT LEAST 55dB of lownoise gain. The input impedance needs to be at least 10 times the value of the nominal mic impedance or you won't have all the LF the mic is capable of.

    If you don't have $2000-3000 to spend I suggest looking for a Shure SM80-- the omni version of the 81, and the darkest, warmest FET mic I ever had. Not easy to find but you would not have many of the headaches you are slogging through. If you'd like I could ask the guy I sold mine to if he'd like to part with them.

  14. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    good lord, sseveret, no offense, but you're a wreck! :cry:

    Seriously, you're way too tough on yourself. It's NOT about exotic mics or preamps, no matter what you may read here or elsewhere, and it's probably got even less to do with YOUR skill. There's 100's, if not 1000's of reasons why you're not getting the sound you want. Yet.

    First of all, take a deep breath, relax, open your mind (and your ears).

    Then remember that it's the talent and the material in front of the microphone first; then the room, and (finally) the gear itself. I've heard some amazing A/B comparisons over the years....only instead of the difference being the gear, the difference was the performer (or the instrument) and the room.

    Just this past weekend I recorded a live band with three singers; all of them singing into the same mics (SM58's), in the same general stage area, into the same mic cables, snake & preamps, to Firewire to HD, all at 24/96. Two of them were so-so in terms of sound. They could have been anyone singing; totally nondescript, totally pedestrian sound quality. Their leader/drummer, however, had the finest "whiskey voice" rasp and delivery I've heard north of the Mason-Dixon line. The guy just SMOKED the tunes that he sang. No one else in the mix came close. (I could've put a Radio Shack Kareoke mic on this guy and still gotten an interesting sound.) Sure, a $2k mic and equally expensive pre would put him over the top and into orbit, but that's not the point, and not always necessary for a good "sound." I'll be happy to send you a clip of this guy when the mix is complete.

    You may need to expand your circle of friends, musicians and venues; I assue you that the more you record and experiment, the more you'll learn and enjoy yourself.

    "And stop all this I'm not worthy this, and I'm not worthy that..."
  15. sseverett

    sseverett Guest

    Thanks for the replies guys!
    It’s not that I see myself incapable it is more a feeling of frustration. You would think that anyone who records would want to record well. The more I read the wider the path grows to good recordings. My experience is that there are many ways to make a less that good recording and a few ways to make a great recording. Maybe my mistake was not to ask the question correctly. Instead of asking a general question I should have stated my exact use for a female vocal mic. Maybe that would have narrowed down the recommendations.
    JoeH, I would love to hear your recording. Please send it to me when you have it mixed. I think you are exactly right in what you say that a great recording starts with great musicians. Although we are not great, I think we perform well and I did a decent job or recording the music. If anyone wants to hear a track I have it in mp3 and wave and all you would have to do is tell me how to get it to you. I wish to get better and that is why I am here. This is not school; when I make a mistake I don’t get a red X; I write another check. I think I could do some really good recording with about $10,000 worth of equipment. The problem is I will spend $25,000 to get the right $10,000 worth of equipment. I’m sure if I could study under some of you guys for a few months I would know exactly what I need. Because I don’t have that experience I must learn as I go. If I’m to spend $1500 on a Royer R-122 if must be the right mic.
    Rich, is the SM80 a ribbon mic? If it is I would be interested.
    Stick with me guys. I get through this and be alright
  16. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    The SM80 was made by Shure as the omni version of the very popular SM81 condenser. It is very flat in response, resembling a Schoeps MK2. Amazing value but it was NOT popular, and later Shure only offered the omni capsule which is no longer made. Takes 12-48vDC phantom.

    Obviously not a ribbon, but given your budget and application I think it is a better choice-- you don't need a great micpre, and you don't have the proximity effect of a ribbon. Put a ribbon too close to a singer and it is not hard to "fry" the ribbon with wind.

  17. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Rich, I really loved those SM80's. (I installed a lot of them over the years in various locations, but unwisely didn't keep a pair for myself when they were available....)

    I've got a pair of SM81's (The cardioids), but I'd still like to get my hands on a pair of SM80's, at least the capsules. Maybe I should keep trolling Ebay.......
  18. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    or call Phil McClelland-- he bought mine.

  19. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    You say you're in an Irish band. Do you live in Ireland? If you're anywhere near Dublin I would be more than happy to give you any assitance I could. I don't have the level of skill and experience of others here, but I think I can solve most problems. It's not really THAT difficult to break through that barrier. It's just a case of a lot of small things lining up. Then the fun starts!

  20. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Good idea Rich, but I doubt Phil will want to sell his; most of the stuff he's got at Curtis is there forever. (Well, I have two of his old Beta video decks he doesn't want anymore...hehehe)

    We used to used the SM80's a long time ago above the main performance space in what is now Field auditorium (he's had a pair of Schoeps for quite some a few years now.) I think the SM80's are part of his live rig, when they do remotes.

    Might be worth a call, though...... :cool:

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