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Making final decision for vocal mic.. need input/opinions

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by Maverick87, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. Maverick87

    Maverick87 Active Member

    Ive done a lot of research and asked many questions, and I've narrowed the choices down a lot and would appreciate as much input as i can get.

    For mics I've seen a LOT of people mention the Shure SM58 and SM-7b. My other choice, that I've also seen a lot of positive response for, is the Audio Technica AT4040. I know one is dynamic and one is a condensor.

    RemyRAD and others have done a great job convincing me about the Shure SM58, I've read only ONE post that had negative feedback about it, stating that it's a stage microphone and rarely does the job well for 'in studio' functions. However I've also heard about the famous artists that have used this series and I guess im just trying to eliminate any negative voices in my head.

    I've only used a condensor mic, a Sterling Audio ST-51 to be exact. I'm not familiar with the difference between the sound of a dynamic mic, as I've never recorded with one, and the condensor sound. Im also very interested in the AT4040, and have read its awesome for the low price and highly recommended.

    My dilemma is, since Ive never used a dynamic mic, I'm a little afraid of buyers remorse(which i highly doubt will be the case) if i went with the SM58 because I need a mic to fit my specific sound and what im looking for. I record only vocals, no instruments, and its rap/hip hop music. The reason i mention the genre is from my understanding(which im very green to this stuff, rookie) its good to have a bright microphone that carries highs n mids well. I personally feel like the vocal tracks i record sound bassy/muffly, even though i use a high pass filter?(which ever cuts the low freq.) through my program.

    I cant afford a high level preamp at the time, using an M-Audio MobilePre, but if you guys know of a good external preamp in the range of $400 or so I'd love to hear suggestions. I'm looking to buy a Saffire 6 USB interface, but I've read that Saffire products arent compatible with an external preamp? I could be very mistaken with that statement so let me know if you're familiar with the products.

    So the bottom line is, rap music, need a bright mic that handles highs and mids well, room is roughly soundproofed. Setup is Sterlingaudio ST-51>M-Audio MobilePre>Computer, much more basic than I thought looking at it like this.. lol. Need the vocals to be as clear as possible and crisp.

    So which is better for the job, Shure SM58 or AT4040?? Or maybe any other suggestions that fit what im looking for better? Pros n cons of each would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
     
  2. Ridley

    Ridley Active Member

    I was also looking for answers to this as well. I ended up buying the Blue "Spark" microphone for around $200. This thing is extremely clear on both singing and rapping and I am loving the sound. I paired it with a M-Track USB interface and this thing is good to go.
     
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    In a previous post, I recommend how you should do your vocal overdubs. And for that, your ST 51 should be great. Whereas for your solo vocals, the SM58's. You are experiencing too much sameness. You need that slightly different sonic character for your solo vocals to contrast against your ST 51 on the choral parts. And/or even vice versa on the microphones i.e. ST 51 for solo vocals & SM58's for the choral parts. It's really got very little to do with your USB computer audio interface in that respect. And you know with everybody, they all have their opinions which are also equivalent to assholes. And since you don't want any holes in your sound get up off your ass and do it right.

    At least that's my opinion that I'm sitting upon
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  4. Maverick87

    Maverick87 Active Member

    That really gets me thinking, if I end up loving the sound of the SM58 over my st51, would I want the SM58 on just the one main centered vocal since its the loudest and most in your face? Or for the overdubs and adlibs since there's more and it would be more if the better sound?
     
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Why don't you post us some examples? This is getting a bit cryptic. I've used a Blue Ball on a friend's guitar amp because he bought one. It's what we would call an active dynamic microphone. That is to say, it's a passive dynamic microphone connected to an internal preamp circuit that is phantom powered. This has its advantages & disadvantages depending on the application. I found it nice on his guitar over a Sennheiser 609 passive dynamic microphone. Which is one of those de facto standards like a 57/58. Actually I'm not wild over those 609's and don't have any of my own. But I make recordings for people at their home studios in an effort to instruct them how to utilize their own stuff. That's why they bring me into record in their own home studios. And frequently, they'll ask me to bring my API 3124's and/or a Neve preamp because they've heard them and know it doesn't sound anything like what they already own. But then I also show them how to get similar performance out of their financially sound affordable choices and demonstrate how to attain that. You just have to know how to cheat the electronics as the manufacturer has cheated you with their electronics.

    I like to cheat on electronics & not my partner.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  6. Paul999

    Paul999 Active Member

    I agree that the different signal chains Remy recommends is smart. The cheapest mic pre that gets you into the high end territory that I like is the focusrite ISA. They can be found for the $400 ish you were talking about.
     
  7. Maverick87

    Maverick87 Active Member

    Thanks for the suggestion with the ISA. Are you talking about the Focusrite ISA one? Or a different model? Ive read all positive reviews about the ISA One. I plan on using it a lot with the SM58 so Im excited to hear the result, though the preamp will probably have to wait until tax time. Will it also work well with my sterling st-51 condenser? Or do they not go well together?


    Im not too familiar with how the different transformers setup in preamps will affect the sound of these mics yet and which is more appropriate for my sound, but the ISA One definitely seems like the best candidate so far for me.
     
  8. Paul999

    Paul999 Active Member

    Any mic will work with the focusrite. What I have found is that when you get into "good mic pre" territory your microphone response is way better. Plain and simple your mic's just sound better. All of them. Now when you get into really good pre's like API, A designs, shadowhills, daking etc. if you squint you hear a difference and maybe prefer one over the next. The Focusrite ISA is the cheapest pre that I know of that gets you into the "good pre" game. The simple way of looking at mic pre's is that you need a good one but the difference's are something engineers talk about for extreme detail. I would be fine with all API, A-designs, or even my console mic pre's and could go on making records. I do have fun with some different flavors but it is subtle stuff.IMO

    Some people call this pre boring. It is a little scooped in the middle which can be great on a lot of sources. It has a unique high end that is pretty smooth. I often used this on vocals and acoustic instruments.
     
  9. Maverick87

    Maverick87 Active Member

    I only record vocals, for now anyways... I can also play guitar and bass, and a little bit of drums so theres no reason why I cant look into making beats with live instruments later. But one thing at a time, and for now, and especially with rap music, vocals is the game I'm focusing on right now.

    No doubt having the Focusrite will only, and probably drastically, change the sound for the better, so it definitely seems worth the money. My setup right now is simply Sterling ST-51>MobilePre>Computer USB, so it doesnt get any more boring than that to me.. haha. I'm sure compared to the $1500-$2500 and up preamps it probably does seem a little boring, but I'm confident I'll be more than satisfied with the doors it will open for my sound quality.
     
  10. Paul999

    Paul999 Active Member

    You know there are times when I've choosen it over the most expensive pre's. I've been liking my Stock D&R console pre's quite a bit lately. When I got the board people said the pre's were clean and okay but everyone that has a D&R board just uses outboard pre's. This didn't bother me at all because I had enough outboard pre's. It took two years for me to even try the stock pre's out. I was shocked when I did. They are very useable. and a whole D&R channel strip with eq, routing etc. is about 300 euro. Not exactly high dollars. I've been choosing it for vocals and electric guitars lately. I've don't think I've used anything but API on guitars for 3 years. It takes a lot to knock API off its pedestal. API is still up there but it is good to know I could survive without them if I needed to. (Not that I'll ever be without API).

    My point is that us engineers tend to make far more big of a deal out of the differences in pre amps then there actually is. I'm not saying that I am not dumb enough to spend 3k on a pre that I need to squint to hear its tone compared to a $1000 pre because I am that dumb.LOL I can guarantee that it is not nearly as big of a difference as changing from a neck pickup to a bridge pickup on a guitar. My wife can hear that.

    Another quick pre amp story. It had been a few years since my ears had even listened to a stock interface pre and I started to believe I was over stating the importance of a good pre on various forums. I use an apogee ensemble and it is supposed to have pretty good clean pre's built in but I've never tried them. So I plugged in a snare channel to it. I thought I must have a bad cable or a broken mic or something. There was no low end and the highs were all fizzy. Yuck! I thought the pre might be broken so I moved to the next one in the ensemble. It sounded the same. I changed to one of my API's and Ahhhhhhh everything was right in the universe.

    Bottom line you'll love the focusrite and though it isn't my favorite pre it is very useable and the kind of thing you can keep for life knowing you didn't waste your money.

    Cheers
    I'll stop blabbering now.LOL

    Paul
     

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