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Hey Recording community! I'm new here, but I have no doubt that you can help me out.

If someone searches for best mic for opera singers, this forum is among the top results. However, the results are from 2004.

Besides that, everything has changed in 19 years since then, the previous thread doesn't answer to what has happened in the singing world since, especially, the global pandemic and the move towards digital entertainment. 

So,... I'm an opera singer and have found that I need a microphone less than $1000... Really it should be less than $500, that can capture what I do for personal and professional needs, but not necessarily for professional distribution.  So this isn't recording for an album, for example, but the quality has to be very high for getting the audition or getting the gig. 

This community probably better understands the problems I'm facing:

- the acoustics of the space are necessarily important.  

- one cannot really create a top quality performance with that budget. 

- there are a bajillion other factors that can make a performance glow or, frankly, suck.

- personally, I find that I can sound like a god AS LONG AS the mic doesn't pick up the "noises" of singing... Breaths, lip smacking, and that high pitched, mucousy sound that isn't at all audible in a theater but can make a classical singer sound like a 2 pack-a-day emphasimac on recordings. 

The thing is... Us classical singers are going thru the same problems other types of singing performers are going thru, where we are expected to submit high quality performances just to even GET a live audition.  That's on top of our desire and training to sound best, and the existential importance of never uploading a subpar performance. 

So here we are: can this community help ours find an ideal mic? As far as other gear goes, personally, I would plug it into a zoom H6 or a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. I have a church that will let me record for a beautiful acoustic environment. But the mic and the technique are failing me. 

I have figured out that a mic should be a couple of feet away and ideally should be combined with a stereo mic farther away for mixing together the right sound. 

Beyond that, I'm struggling. 

So to be clear, I'm asking for help achieving professional results at a personal finance level. I know it's impossible, but we are in desperate need of some tech support. 

Thanks in advance for helping me and others in our community sound great in recordings.  The page has turned, and the chapter where we are ALL expected to create digital media has arrived, even though we exist in an acoustic artform.

Thanks for reading, thanks more for helping! 



kmetal Sat, 01/14/2023 - 13:51

If the environment isn't ideal, and you want a mic that minimizes it's impact on the recording, the Sennheiser md441 is tough to beat. It's a very high quality dynamic mic.

A Shure sm7 or Electro Voice RE20 are lower cost and will pick up more of the environment but are excellent mics as well.

For a condenser mic the AKG 414 is a classic all around mic. The Shure ksm series is a solid choice, so is the nuemann tlm 102, an excellent mic.

Id use those as a benchmark for comparison.

paulears Sun, 01/15/2023 - 04:27

I'm going to disagree chaps! If you are recording a classically trained operatic singer in a real acoustic space, then there are lots of ways to do it. I'll share this private link - it's an edit decision video, so not tweaked and complete - the audio is the AKG 414 on the left. The ribbon on the right was too dark sounding. This distance is so that the acoustics of the space will be heard. A dynamic up close works, of course, but then you need to put suitable reverb on it and it always sounds a bit wrong - less real.

The thing you didn't mention is what are you singing to? Piano, tracks, an orchestra? In the example here, the pianist was in america - so the singer has under her hair an in ear monitor so she can hear the piano, and I synced it up in the studio. If its a real piano it gets more complicated of course.

There are loads of perfectly good mics that can do this - you don't usually pick a budget - you buy a mic and when you outgrow it, your next one is dearer, over and over again. The portable recorders are fine - this clip was an H4. The audio is the 414, no reverb, no EQ at this point.


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