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Vocal Mic Shoot-out (Neumann,Blue,Rode,Audio-Technica,ADK,Shure)

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by audiokid, Oct 6, 2016.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    If this was accurate and my media playback system is of any worth, the sm57 sounded the best of all of them. The AT was my least favourite and the others all sounded close enough. She sounded tried towards the end of these, and there is a slight annoying compression on this. I'm sure the gain setting for the Pro Tools converters could have been set better but overall, I thought it told us something. That an SM57 is a great vocal mic.
  3. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    I agree...its the swiss army knife of mics. (y)
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    i think the whole exercise is an evil plot to make us listen to a song about jebuz 9 times. girlfriend can't carry a tune in a bucket and the drums sound like popcorn. horrid.

    the 87 and the shure sounded best to me. the rest of them sounded like ass (just for you Sean).
    Sean G likes this.
  5. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    Yep...I got into it for all of 31 seconds before I bailed...

    I'll take the word of my learned collegues above

  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    plus all the processing and 'verb makes the whole thing moot imo. part of how a mic sounds is the dynamic range. the addition of compression completely changes the character of the mics out of the gate. impossible to make a real comparison. they all sound almost the same with the exception of the 87 and the 57.

    pardon my ignorance but what the f&*# is "clip gaining"?
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Brutal yet honest comment on the talent. In all due respect, I appreciate the commenting but hardly think it was worth criticizing this girl or drums because its obvious. If she or the drums where the focus of "fixing it in the mix", I would be using drum replacement tools and autotune lol, not ranting over how bad she was but (long live recording.org problem based mixing forums) how we could improve the situation. I could do magic on both her and the drums lol. Which is yet another interesting "mix" problem based discussion.

    IMHO, for this particular study I would say you've put too much emphasis on the performance or styles of an artist making it hard to think past what the OP is about. I think this is a classic example of how we spend a pile of money on gear, even thinking old school tape or U87 for that matter makes the song lol. I simply heard way past the talent, Avid converters and the compression etc. I think this video showed how a cheap SM57 will get the job done (plain and simple). ;) The 57 cut right through and sounded really good on my playback system. Wow.

    I cannot help but think, if I was doing an A/B in a studio together, I wouldn't even be discussing the talent of this particular exercise. I would expect others to be focused on how a cheap mic like a SM57/58 in unquestionably good enough to get the job done, especially if the mic is passing through a good preamp, which was why I posted this and felt it was useful for the community at large.:cool:
    Even my cheaper RODE mics sound very good through top preamps. I do not hear the over the top harshness others claim or have in their mix when I put them through top pre's and converters.
    I'm not saying all mics sound stellar through a top micpre... , but I don't get all unglued over the negative aspects of mics though a good vocal chain . Mic-pres matter most of all as do good converters and gain staging. Go cheap on the converters and micpres and you are sure to be investing in expensive mics that will sound like ASS lol.:D not to bypass, most likely hating a lot more about digital audio in general. Thus blaming the wrong things to why vocals sound so bad.

    Well, isn't this what most youtube video's are about. Who cares about a plot. The video is posted on RO for discussion on the cheap to expensive mics and maybe some objective thinking about what preamp we use.
    Summery: Maybe a U87 isn't the most important part of the equation for those looking to improve their vocal chain . Those looking for a vocal chain on a budget, a good mic-pre/ converter and logical gain staging may be more important that many realize. Just saying.
  8. Chris Perra

    Chris Perra Active Member

    They all sounded different.. 57 sounded great.. The AT's sounded a bit harsh.. Cool shootout.. Just goes to show you that a U87 isn't going to make you sound any better than a 57 if you struggle with a song.
    audiokid likes this.
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    i don't get why people are always so surprised when a SM 57 or 58 sound as good as many other mics. they were designed in the first place as a studio mic, hence the designation SM ......
    audiokid likes this.
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Awesome, back on track.

    I did an experiment a few years back and posted it but it was before we had audio uploads here. Damn shame. Anyway... The jest of it was how awesome the SM58 sounded through a high end preamp, then the same 58 through a converter preamp combo. It was night and day.
    The SM58 was then compared to a RODE M1. Both sound really good. I now have 7 RODE M1's in the locker. These classic 58's are idea for recording in bad rooms including live work. This thing cut through in a very positive way. Wow . It was inspired by Remy.
  11. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Awesome response. (y)
  12. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    I think the reason the SM-57 stands up to more expensive mics comes down to the Unidyne III capsule design.

    Nearly 60 years of continuous production and the fact it is found in the two most popular mics on the planet in the '57 & '58 is testament to the capsules designer, Ernie Seeler.

    The SM-57 design came from a time when things where made with quality in mind and built to last...not like todays' standards where obseletion is a key factor in design.

    It has a frequency response that accurately replicates what goes into it.
  13. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    i got it. did a search.
  14. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I think we're all experienced enough at our craft by now - or should be - to be able to listen past what may ( or may not be) be a dicey performance; able to hear and discern sonic fidelity without criticizing the music or the performances.
    I don't see much point - or value added to the topic at hand - in criticizing the performance of a song in a video that is intended to show comparisons between mics and preamps.

    Probably none of us would agree on the mixing style used, be it to our liking or not. Some might loathe it, others might find it fairly pleasant. Some like digital verb, others don't and prefer signal to be bone-dry.
    Some like compression, and others don't. For me, in my own world of music recording and mixing, these are tools that are commonly used, so I don't have a problem listening to these various examples with those things applied.

    Ask 5 different engineers what they think, and you're likely to get 15 different answers... ;)

    Anyway... IMO.
    audiokid likes this.
  15. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Spot on.

    I could do a comparison with a screaming baby lol. Humbly speaking, I rarely get confused or put off over the source.

    In fact, this is another reason why I join comparisons together in one timeline with no more than 2 secs of each example, volumes matched, no gaps between each take and in a syncopated rhythm.
    From my experience, the human mind looses the ability to be objective fast so its important for me to reduce distracting setbacks, thus focusing on sonic details. Its easy to A/B/C/D most anything then.

    I found this singer to be better than the average singer as well. With some coaching and a nice mix, I think she would do a lot better as well. I really do not understand the negativity or insults.
    I certainly wouldn't kick her out of my studio. I'd be happy to work with her. :D
  16. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    To evaluate mics correctly, I'm alot more disturb by the reverb and compressor than the performance.. MAN My mic shootout performance was horrible !!! But it was a simple chain : mic - preamp converter

    I Wonder if we like the sm57 compared to condensers so much because the dynamic response is different. After all they are not the same technology
  17. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Good point.
    The cleaner mids is what I like the best about the 57. The condensers all sounded compressed and less forward. Could be how her voice fit the mic freq pattern well with it.
    pcrecord likes this.
  18. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I've told the story here in the past, of having a female singer on a session once, started out with a Neumann U89, no go, moved to a 414EB, nope, finally out of curiosity I put her on a '57. Bingo. Instant tone for her on that song.

  19. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    IMO the '57 is more forgiving...the better the condenser the more imperfections are highlighted with vocals.
    pcrecord likes this.

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