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What are some more micing options???

Discussion in 'Recording' started by werewolf, Feb 25, 2004.

  1. werewolf

    werewolf Guest

    I am still very much a newbie with recording, so I will try to explain this the best I know how.

    I have had this problem micing vocals. The mics I have used have been the Rode NTK, AT 4050, and sm 57. Although these mics sound really interesting , they just dont sound "natural" to me? The sound that I get from them have just got this "ELECTRIC" sound to it. Almost like it is amplified to sharply or harshly. The preamp im using is a RNP and a mackie. But I dont think it is the preamp. I was hoping to find an alternative to micing vocals, I have heard that ribbon mic have a very "mellow" sound to them, maybe that might be the natural sound I am looking for?? The best way I can describe it is, when you play an acoustic/electric guitar through a electric guitar amp, it just doesnt sound natural, just too hyped. But if you play it through a acoustic guitar amp. It sound just like the acoustic just louder. Thats exactly what I want out of a mic, I want it to sound just like the voice going through, but just louder without sounding so "ELECTRIC"

    Do you think a ribbon mic might help me get this sound im looking for, or am I just imagining this?? I used to think it was the soundcard, but I just plugged headphone right into the back of the preamp and monitored that way and what do ya know ,,, its not the soundcard...

    Has anyone else complained about this?? I have'nt heard any?? What do you think I should do?? :confused:
  2. werewolf

    werewolf Guest

    I forgot somthing,,, I have to say the closest I have gotton to a natural sound was with the AT 4050 set on the omni setting. But then with the sound of the room helping out it put my voice to far in the back/distant. I have noticed that the Cardiod pattern is the worst for altering the voice being miced.
  3. tmix

    tmix Guest

    What are you using for a analog to digital converter? If it is a cheaper sound card that may be the culprit as could be the sample rate or bit depth you are using.
    Although many mics have overly bright exaggerated upper end, I would think the NTK would give you a pretty "natural sound".
  4. maintiger

    maintiger Distinguished Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    Home Page:
    I don't think the mics are the problem- I agree with Tom on checking out the AD converters- also try your mics in other systems if you have access- Even recording to a cassette deck will show you if its indeed the mics or not- even better, if you have access to a friend studio take your mics overther and ckeck what kind of sound you get there- I don't think getting a ribbon will do it, check everything else out first
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    I think a lot of your problem stems from your choice of mic pres. Both the Mackie and the RNP are very thin and bright sounding. The Mackie runs out of headroom early which is a contributing factor to its splattery character.

    Neve type pres with transformers (helps clip a little of that edge off) would be very applicable. If you really want to warm it up, try a tube pre.

    Converters will not do a thing for you if you are sending them crap .. you need to get a good signal in the first place.

    Check out the Great River MP 2NV (Neve type) or a Sebatron vmp 2000e (tube). Also a great value the JLM TMP8 ... (a Focusrite / API op amp style pre w/ xfmrs) . These are the best values in pres on the market IMO.
  6. missilanious

    missilanious Guest

    actaully Kurt, wouldn't a better converter record more crap as opposed to a cheap converter that is less accurate, or better yet a more accurate piece of crap. I do agree, the culprit for most bad recording I hear are because of the pre's in the Mackie boards, I go to a school that uses a 32.8 in two of there studios so I hear plenty of recording done on that board in many different styles and instruments/mic combos, you never get anything but an average thin track coming out those pre's.
  7. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Distinguished Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    From what I read, this is all an example of the wrong voice, mic and pre amp combo. I don't know the NTK, but the 4050 and the 57 don't go well with the Mackie as a combo to start with and the RNP is not what I would expect to be a drastic difference that you looking for. Your voice is likely just not a good match for any of those mics to start with so a poorly matched mic, mic pre and voice leaves you doomed to have many aspects about the overall sound that you don't like. Indeed poor sounding converters will only makes things worse. Try using that 4050 with another pattern and see if that helps. It might even be as simple as giving some space between the mic and voice and/or using a windscreen to tame it down enough to make it useable. Make sure you try to use more than one location in the room or a whole different location as a bad room with standing waves, reflections and other anomilies can have a huge affect on the sound being picked up by the mic.

    You use the term natural, but there really is nothing natural about the sound of a voice through a mic. My first thought is to try a AT4060 tube mic that I would expect to be close to what your looking for. I'm also thinking that a ribbon might be to mellow or dark, but worth a try to give you a reference to work with. Something like the new AEA R84 or a Coles. I've never liked the Royer 121 for any vocals. The other thing and more likely to suit you is to try a vocal dynamic such a Shure SM7, EV RE-20, Sennheiser 421 or even a hand held dynamic vocal as used for live/PA use. These all should play well with the Mackie and RNP.

    Finding the right mic and mic pre combo can often take some real effort before you are satisfied and is a common problem. Kurt is right about using a colored preamp with I/O transformers to help tame a bright, edgy or thin mic. The SM57 and 4050 take on a whole new personality when matched with a mic pre such as a UA610, D.W. Fearn, Neve 1272 or 1073 and other heavy colored mic pre's.

    Mic pre outputs are not meant for headphones so don't judge what you hear from that. Use the headphone jack on the Mackie or through another mixer with the mic pre connected to that and or a standalone headphone amp. The whole idea of using headphones to start with is not the ideal way to properly judge your voice, a mic or a mic pre.

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