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Vocal stage mic - good for live recordings

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by zemlin, Oct 6, 2005.

  1. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    A fair amount of my work is recording live concerts - usually acoustic music - not rockish things. I have a few SM58s - sometimes they do the job, sometimes they leave a lot to be desired.

    I'd like to get a couple of stage mics that will deliver the goods with a variety of voices (since I never know what I'm doing next). Sometimes it's just FOH - sometimes I'm multitracking everything that comes into the board for a future mixdown.

    I'm thinking of maybe the Shure Beta 87, maybe the Rode S1. I'd say $250 ea is about my upper limit - less, of course, would be preferred.

    Any hot tips?
  2. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    Take a looksie at Beyerdynamic stuff. They have several good mics for this. M69 or M88; I don't know about that Opus stuff.
    AKG has some nice looking live vox mics, but I haven't used them. Might be easier to find and check out.
  3. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Audio Technica AT61 HE. Usually on sale somewherefor $100 or so...Retail is $200+.

    I use em in the studio as well as live. They're a hyper-cardioid, so I use em for guide vocals and such. A LOT of times on the demo kinda stuff they just sound so good we'll keep that track.

    One of the very few REAL bang-fer-da-buck-deals.
  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Yo Karl!

    My absolute favorite handheld vocal mics are:
    Audix OM2 (cheap!!! but DAMN good)
    Audix OM6 (VERY NICE, a tad pricier)
    Senn 835 (see descr. of OM2)

    I haven't used a mic that I liked better than these 3 for any type of live vocals that I work with.

  5. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    The Senn e865 is looking pretty good. Feedback is a problem in one of the venues I work - I like the hypercardioid pattern. Also, the pattern is very consistant through the frequency range - should be pretty uncolored on off axis bleed. Finally, the price isn't bad. I've found it for less than $200.

    The e835 certainly has a nice price, but the polar plot worries me - feedback and colored off axis bleed, in particular.

    The e935 also looks like a reasonable option, but from what I found on other sources, my comfort level is higher with the e865.

    I looked at a number of dynamics such as the Audix offerings, but again, the polar plots aren't real attractive on those - I'm thinking of someone singing and playing guitar - colored bleed is often a problem on those recordings. Hypercardioid and consistant off axis response should help a lot in those instances.

    The beyer stuff is a bit pricey and Neumann just ain't gonna happen at this point in the game. :cry:

    Thanks for the tips folks.
  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Karl...I still play live a LOT...I have access to most of these mics...I LOVE the Senn's...The OM series Audix(I live about 20 minutes from the factory) are great mics...( I really love the 5) Theres two Beta 58's close at hand... The AT61HE is simply what you're looking for. This is NOT the budget AT hand-held stuff... This is the same line as the really good dynamics like the ATM25 kick drum mic and others.
  7. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    I hear ya' sure wish they had a polar plot at more than one frequency. I will consider the AT. If $$ was not an issue, you'd take the AT over the e865 (not a big price difference anyway)?
  8. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    AT's "Artist Series" brochure has a polar plot with curves at 200, 1K, 5K, and 8K - looks pretty good compared to the other dynamics I checked out. One thing that caught my attention - Senn has a 10 year warranty on the e865 - it looks like the ATM61HE has a 1 year warranty. Not an issue if the mic never fails, but ...
  9. wsiler

    wsiler Active Member

    At $99, the Sennheiser E835 kicks the tar out of the SM58 (IMO). If you ever used and loved an SM58, you will love these more. I have not tried their higher priced ($199) E945 but I would bet it is a solid performer based upon the 835.

  10. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    There are a lot of fans of the e835. I don't think it's quite what I'm looking for now, but I'm giving serious consideration to replacing most or all of my SM58s with e835s in the fairly near future.

    Based on Cucco's post above, the Audix OM-2 might be a contender for that task as well.
  11. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    I have a pair on order. Thanks.
  12. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    Just to follow up - I've had these mics for a while - tried them for a few live gigs. They usually come down before the sound check is over.

    They're going back or headed for eBAY. I'll get a Senn e865. I've used one of those since I picked up the ATs - THAT's the mic I'm looking for.
  13. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Does 300 clams break your budget?

    (Dead Link Removed)

    We have 4 of these in our live kit. Absolutely love them.

    Great in the studio too.
  14. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I do a lot of live sound these days. Vocal mics can be exasperating to say the least. For a lot of female singers, I like the Shure Beta 87, unless they're real screamers. The Sennheisers sound pretty good, but I've had issues with the reliability of the XLR connectors on them. Constant plugging-in/out seems to wear down the inside of the body's barrel and this makes the physical connection loose, intermittent. Plus, they are not as tough as the Shures when it comes to being dropped.
    I really like the Audix OM-6, and if the backline is outrageouly loud, the OM-7. They both hold up very well and provide the kind of tight pattern control that you need for a live gig. IMHO, they sound better than the Beta 58, which to my ears is a bit too harsh. They hold up very well, too.
  15. uburoibob

    uburoibob Guest

    I agree with those recommending the Sennheiser e-series mics. I have an 835 and an 865. Depending on your price range, and your preference regarding dynamic vs condenser (the 865 is a condenser mic), I would not hesitate to recommend either. For that matter, their new 900 series mics KICK BUTT. If you are comparing the 800 series to Shure's SM series the 900 series is comparable to the Beta series. But in my humble opinion, outperform across the board. Sennheiser is on it's game right now, and we all benefit.
  16. Gilliland

    Gilliland Guest

    I recorded a show last week where the local sound guy had supplied some cheap Sennheiser mics for vocals (no, I don't know the model). About 5 minutes into the sound check, the first vocalist yelled "get this crappy mic out of here, can't somebody get me an SM58!". I didn't have an SM58, but I had an AT61HE. I put that up for him, he sang into it for five seconds and said "this one's fine".

    Later during the sound check, I suggested to the sound guy that we perform the same swap for the second vocalist. The vocalist was concerned that we'd have to redo the sound check, but the same thing happened - he sang into it for about five seconds, and said "OK, we're done".

    So there's a couple of recommendations for the AT61. Incidentally, the recording turned out great. I'm working on the mix this week.

    BTW, I've had my AT61s for about 15 years. I've dragged them around to shows all over town, and they've never given me a moment of trouble.

    Of course, there are other good stage vocal mics available - I've got Beta87s, AKG535s, a KMS105, Senn MD431, and more. So the ATs are my generic mics, not my best mics.

    One mic that I don't own, but that would be an excellent choice if you can afford it, is the AT AE5400. They sell for about $350. The also excellent MD431 that I mentioned above is in that same price range.

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