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Recording female voices on a "warm" mic???

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by JLiRD808, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. JLiRD808

    JLiRD808 Active Member

    What kind of results can I expect from this?

    I'm a budget studio owner who only owns one condenser mic, an AT3035. It runs thru a GT Brick preamp, an FMR RNC1773 condenser, and then thru my E-MU 0404 PCI card into Cubase SX3.

    The mics been great with folk singers, rappers, and low sultry vocalists. But lately I've been bringing in female singers and males with a higher ranges and louder voices. The results have not been very good and I'm not sure if its my skills as an engineer, the acoustics of my booth, or (it dawned on me last nite) my "warm" mic.

    I remember when I bought this mic that some mics were described as "sparkly" and "bright". Do I need to expand my mic closet to include one of these for my new clients? Would it help me with these new upper-range vocalists I'm recording? Any "bright" budget mic suggestions for under $200?

  2. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    The Brick feeding an RNC is a pretty "hot" signal in any situation. Using a sensitive condenser mic on the front end will compound this. Have you tried a dynamic on these singers? Maybe a 57/58 or SM7, an RE-20, or a 421 will do you better. You should have a decent mic selection if you're going to be recording different styles of artists, anyway. Not everyone or everything benefits from a condenser. Stir the pot up a bit, my man.
  3. TheBear

    TheBear Guest

    i love the sound of re-20's on vocals...but i dont think re-20's are under the 200 dollar mark nor a 421. but deffinately worth the extra money you have to put down for them.
  4. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I forgot that $200 point. But at that point, most of your condensers are going to be "bright" and that's not a good thing for loud singers or females, especially with the rig he's got. I recently have been using a Kel HM-2d that's pretty smooth on the top end, especially when compared to any other low-priced LCD. $150. But I still say that you should save your $$ and get a good dynamic. Especially for "loud" singers.
  5. JLiRD808

    JLiRD808 Active Member

    Yes after some research I came across some more advise for a quality dynamic like a SM58. I also heard about the Beta 58a.

    Isnt the SM57 designed for recording instruments? Would it make a good vocal mic? Theres one for sale used down the street at the local music shop too.

    Also, what do u mean that the Brick+RNC1773 is "hot"? I've been thinking of bypassing the RNC1773 anyhow since I do have lots of onboard native VST compressors. Is it negatively affecting my sound?

  6. JLiRD808

    JLiRD808 Active Member

    Thanks for the replies BTW...

    Also, yes, the singers that I'm having the most problems with are LOUD! Not just the females either.
  7. TheBear

    TheBear Guest

    im pretty sure sm57-58 are the same except for there caps.

    but deffinately save up for a sweet dynamic like we were saying , deffinately deffinately worth the wait.
  8. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Yes, and Yes providing you use a pop shield as you would with a condensor mic.
  9. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Shure offers the A2WS windscreen for the 57. It works fine for vocals. Stay clear of the Betas, they're too harsh and edgey-sounding. If the SM58 is good enough for Steven Tyler's big-lipped lungs in the studio, it's good enough for whoever YOU have in yours!
    As far as the term "hot" means:
    The output has a lot of gain, also referred to as "balls", "slam", and
    "crank". When you plug a condenser mic (these typically have more gain than a dynamic) into the Brick, that simply drives the Brick to a potentially higher output. There is no output level control on the Brick. Many folks use the output control on their RNC to regulate this. When you hit the RNC with that strong a signal from the Brick, it tends to drive the RNC into compression too easily, "squashing" the signal. I used to have a couple of Bricks and they drove my RNC to do this to great frustration. There is nothing subtle about this arrangement. And lowering the INPUT gain control on the Brick isn't always the solution, as it adversely affects the noise level. You may find that 58 will do much better for this because it isn't driving The Brick so hard. And an RE-20 has even less output gain to crank the Brick, I prefer that in that situation.
    Get to know your gain stages and structure, mi amigo. It will help you get the max outta your gear...
  10. JLiRD808

    JLiRD808 Active Member

    Thanks for everyones help!

    I found some 57 & 58s down at the local music shop and am gonna try them out side-by-side later today or this weekend.
  11. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    The 57 works fine for vocals. The windscreen of the 58 - the only physical difference - makes a difference in sound, but it is pretty minor. Most people like singing into the ball of the 58. I'm fine with the 57.

    Just as a point of information. The SM57 has been the official microphone of the President of the United States for decades. (Check the podium next time you see a speech.) It is said that every Secret service agent is trained in twelve ways to kill an assassin with an SM57. None of these methods ever damages the microphone. :wink:
  12. TheBear

    TheBear Guest

    i heard chuck norris' round house kick cant even damage an sm57...
  13. The funniest thing are advertisments for wind screens.

    The Doors never used them to record Morrison unless he was severely drunk, Bruce Botnik the engineer said he could hear the screens.
    The glue fumes from quickly made temporary windscreens, when drunk, made Jim happy.
    How does female and male differ? Janis Joplin sang across the line.
  14. JLiRD808

    JLiRD808 Active Member

    Well I ended up getting a vintage Shure Unidyne 545SD from the local music shop.


    Lets see how it sounds...
  15. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Ahh. The immortal Unidyne 545. The poor man's '57 from the 70's. At least it was for me. I had a buddy who visited the Shure factory in the 70s. They told him that the 545/565 models used the "factory second" cartridges made for the 57/58. I have no way to know this for sure (pun intended). But the 545's I had sounded great on snare, guitar amps, and vox, just like the SM's did. You just have to be careful that the on/off "reed" switch is either bypassed or locked into the "On" position. Over time, they can get a bit-OK, a LOT- flakey. Anyway, the Unidynes can sound great, I found that they weren't as consistent as the 57/58's tend to be. But when you get a good one, never let it go, man. I still miss some of mine.
  16. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    While this is absolutely true, I can assure you that it will damage whatever preamp the mic happens to be plugged into.

    Also true. However, they've also been trained on how to interigate using the mic and while it survives this too, some of the methods leave the mic in a condition which no sanitizer would get the mic back to usable again.


    All kidding aside - the SM57/SM58 is a vocal mic that every studio should have. It sounds like your on your way to get 1 or two.

    I've also found that the Audix OM2 and i5 are excellent for this purpose with a slightly (but noticably) different flavor than the Shures.


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