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Hey guys, I need a mic for my home studio as I'm starting recording covers - different genres (pop, rock, metal, country, jazz).

I've been researching and two mics are my Top 2 choices - MXL v67 and sE X1.

I already own SM57 and have an idea of using both SM57 and that new mic I buy for recording covers.

In that sense, I would buy complementary mic - they say sE X1 is more for rock/metal, higher pitch, screaming and v67 a more warmer mid-section pop player.

For what singing style/genre is SM57 good for? Which one of these two models would be a good combination with SM57?

How would you compare these two? From technical, sound and practical side.

Thanks very much in advance!

Comments

Profile picture for user Sean G

Sean G Sat, 07/30/2016 - 04:18

Sean G, post: 440252, member: 49362 wrote: The problem with cheaper microphones and cheaper condensers in particular is that you end up spending hours during the mix stage trying in vain to make it sound like something its not...more often than not relying on stacking plug-ins on top of each other one after another trying to improve quality or sound until you have a train of plug-ins chugging along using heaps of cpu and all the while adding increased plug-in latency to the mix...like a dog chasing its tail to the point of frustration where no matter what you do you just can't make it any better than how it is, unless we are talking about a bit of EQ for tone shaping purposes.

You may be able to improve the tone in this case but not the quality of the recorded material.

Sure there are "vocal" specific plug-ins that can change the sound to a degree, but these don't necessarily make it any better...they are just masking the problem to start with.

Whereas with a better quality microphone theres' no pursuit to improve the sound quality at the mix stage because it sounds better to start with, you don't have to use nowhere near as many plug-ins, if any at all, except for tone shaping or effect and a little compression to taste.

If you are starting out and are limited to buying one mic, buy something as suggested that is a good quality all-round microphone that can be used for a variety of uses, from vocal to mik'ing instruments and amp cabs, that suits your recording environment. Your tracks will thank you for it, your cpu will thank you for it and you will not do your head in for hours creating untold frustration all the while trying to improve things by throwing every plug-in at a mix that cannot be improved by any other means...other than by improving the start of your signal chain...the microphone.

Why make the job of mixing even harder and more challenging than it has to be?

There are already enough things to challenge you in a mix scenario without making it harder for yourself by starting the process using a low-end budget microphone to record your tracks...and by doing so you are already putting yourself so far behind the eight-ball before you even start to consider the mix stage that it becomes an impossible hole to mix your way out of by the time you have finished tracking and start mixing.

Low-end budget microphones just handicap your ability to create the best possible mix you can.

Devote all that time, effort and energy to improving other areas of the mix...just think how much more time you could devote to actually creating a better mix if you didn't have to spend all that time trying to improve the sound of a cheap mic thats never going to sound any better than how it does...and saving you the frustration at that.

A better quality microphone will improve all the tracks recorded with it going into your DAW...not just the vocal tracks. A better quality microphone will make the job of mixing easier...and much much more pleasurable as well.

But most of all, your mixes will sound better...isn't that the end result we all want to achieve?

A budget mic will always sound like a budget mic even with the best of mic pres...whereas a better quality mic will always sound better with average priced mic pres compared to its budget counterpart.

Nebo Sat, 07/30/2016 - 05:15

Sean G, post: 440258, member: 49362 wrote: The SM-57 is a better mic then both the other mics put together.

Full stop. Save your money or buy another SM-57;)

Here is proof

http://recording.org/threads/t47-vs-ksm44-vs-t12-vs-sm57-on-vocals.59568/

http://recording.org/threads/t47-vs-sm81-vs-ksm44-vs-t12-vs-sm57-acoustic-guitar.59546/

IMHO of course

I have no intention of using loads of effects and plugins, that's why I wanted condenser in the first place. They told me a condenser picks spacier and warmer sound (not all of them, but MXL v67 for example).

Are $100-$200 condensers really not better for recording than dynamics, e.g. SM57?

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Sean G Sat, 07/30/2016 - 05:48

Nebo, post: 440260, member: 49938 wrote: I have no intention of using loads of effects and plugins, that's why I wanted condenser in the first place. They told me a condenser picks spacier and warmer sound (not all of them, but MXL v67 for example).

Are $100-$200 condensers really not better for recording than dynamics, e.g. SM57?

If your room is untreated a dynamic such as the SM-57 would be the way to go.

A condenser will pick up everything, from the sound of the room to your neighbours changing their minds.

Marcos' @pcrecord vocal mic shootout gives you a perspective of how the SM-57 performs against 3 condenser mics, and these condensers could be described as above entry level in price (maybe Marco could elaborate more on that) and its easy to see how the SM-57 holds its own.

I would say that 99.99% of studios have a least one SM-57 microphone due to its versatility and durability. They are the workhorse of the industry without doubt...and I think that they could be used regardless of genre.

That tells you something.

Nebo, post: 440260, member: 49938 wrote: They told me a condenser picks spacier and warmer sound (not all of them, but MXL v67 for example).

If I may ask, who gave you that information?...it wasn't the guy on the other side of the counter trying to sell you that particular mic, was it? ;)

Generally a tube condenser will give you a warmer sound, but this is more to do with the tube in the mic. Not all condensers are tube condensers though.
This can also be achieved with a dynamic mic into a tube pre amp for instance.

They (condenser mics) will definitely pick up a lot more space in the sense of the room sound or room noise / reflection and be less forgiving than a dynamic like the SM-57, which will concentrate more on the sound that is coming directly into the end of the mic where the capsule faces, as opposed to a condenser mic, especially a large diaphragm capsule condenser at that, which will pick up more reflection from the room and outside sources.

Again if the room is acoustically treated this would help overcome that, but if its not correctly treated or not treated at all I would lean towards a dynamic, and a good one like the SM-57 due to its versatility in use with tasks such as mik'ing amps or speaker cabs, as well as use as a vocal mic.

If you already have one, another advantage is that they can be used as a stereo pair as well, such as drum overheads, etc.

IMHO.

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Sean G Sat, 07/30/2016 - 06:01

Don't get me wrong, I own condensers as well as dynamics, and I'm only trying to give you some honest advice.

If you track in the same room as your computer for instance, a condenser mic will pick up the noise of the fan of your computer, which is a pain as once its there its almost impossible to remove from the track, sounding like there is an increase in the noise floor (which in fact, there is...)

I literally have to remove my watch from my wrist when tracking vocals up close to the condenser mic I have because you will faintly here the tick, tick, tick, tick, tick of my watch on the track if I don't. You won't get that with an SM-57.

Nebo Sun, 07/31/2016 - 06:42

Sean, thank you very much for your replies!

Basically, I don't have acoustically treated room. I would record vocals in one of these two.

ROOM 1:


Mic would face completely closed curtains and computer would be on the same spot, behind the mic. Across the curtains there is a mirror, but I can cover it or curtains would do enough for embracing the sound enough? Side doors can be closed for the sake of preventing echoes from the room next to it.

ROOM 2:


Mic would face curtains and the couch. Across the curtains there is a wall and a door that would be closed. Side doors would be closed for the sake of preventing echoes and computer fan from the ROOM 1.

I have a pop filter and didn't plan buying reflection filter, but for condenser I definitely would. What room would you pick from these two? Do you have some other suggestions for easy sound isolation?

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Sean G Sun, 07/31/2016 - 15:40

Both rooms have a lot of hard reflective surfaces, especially from the glass windows and doors and hard flooring which will give you room reflection.

Having said that, I would try to track in the room that has the couch as this will at least break up some of those reflections to a degree...but it looks the smaller of the two and space may be a consideration.

Maybe you could drape some blankets over a few mic stands if you have some (or anything else you have handy) around where you plan to have your microphone. This can also help isolate reflections a little more.

Here is a simple DIY vocal booth setup that can help minimise room reflection in a tight space.

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pcrecord Tue, 08/02/2016 - 12:25

Sean G, post: 440261, member: 49362 wrote: Marcos' @pcrecord vocal mic shootout gives you a perspective of how the SM-57 performs against 3 condenser mics, and these condensers could be described as above entry level in price (maybe Marco could elaborate more on that) and its easy to see how the SM-57 holds its own.

The 3 condensers used in my videos were 2 DIY from microphone-parts.com which are sold (parts only) for 369$ and a Shure KSM44 is Worth 999$
I agree with Sean, condenser will grab more and reject less. If you can reduce flutter echo and roomy reverb in your room you can get good results with a condenser. If such modifications to your room is impossible, get a SM57 or 58 or a Beta version (which is say to sound more conderserish)

Other things to consider, low budget condersers are often hyped on the high frequencies and may sound very harsh on certain voices... Be sure to try them before you buy ;)

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Lofty Whitaker Wed, 08/24/2016 - 15:20

Try before you buy, rent some decent condenser mics and make sure you like them better than your dynamic in your room before you commit. No mic will sound better or worse for a particular genre if there are a ton of early reflections on the vocal track. Don't rule out a stage condenser like a VX5 or a C535.

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DonnyThompson Tue, 08/30/2016 - 00:32

You didn't mention which mic pre/i-o you are using...

The quality of the mic pre you use is gonna play a major factor into this whole scenario as well. Don't discount its importance.

Dynamics ( and Ribbons) are lower-output mics than condensers are; so using a preamp with sufficient gain is going to make a big difference, as you won't have to crank it up to the max in order to get anywhere near the optimal gain settings for the mic(s) you use. In many cheaper-budget preamps/i-o's, the more you crank the input gain, the more electronics noise you are likely to get along with the signal. Many of these manufacturers of budget-level preamps need to keep the costs down somehow, in order to sell them for $50 -$100, and in order to do this, they cut lots of corners with the quality of the internal components. Usually, the end result is low-gain and noisy output, as well as less than stellar-sounding conversion.

All that being said, there is nothing wrong with a Shure SM57/58 for vocal recording, as long as you are using a decent preamp. Many, many hit records have been tracked over the years using dynamic mics - like 57's, 58's RE20's, etc. for vocals.
There's no "rule" that says you have to use a condenser mic... and actually, I agree with Sean...

Sean G, post: 440258, member: 49362 wrote: The SM-57 is a better mic then both the other mics put together.

All things being relatively equal, using a good preamp, I'd choose a good dynamic mic any day over a cheap, budget level condenser mic.

IMO

d.

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Sean G Tue, 08/30/2016 - 01:42

Just to add...even the older Shure 545's are another alternative...the pre 1981 Unidyne models that are made in the USA are just as good, some say even better than the SM-57's.

They are definitely a little brighter up top with a bump around 5k when compared with the SM-57.

The models from the 1960's had an amphenol 4 pin connector but the later models from the 1970's onwards such as the second generation 545 SB had an XLR connector.

Something to consider, as there are those who believe (myself included) that these have a cleaner sound than the current of-the-shelf made in Mexico SM-57 and good clean examples can still be found.

IMHO.