Dynamic mics for recording vocals

Discussion in 'Vocalists' started by Death addeR, Nov 9, 2003.

  1. Death addeR

    Death addeR Guest


    To make a long story short... I was recently on a forum where someone stated that they were having problems getting a good sound recording vocals with a shure sm57... a few replies offered different mic suggestions, but a few also suggested a better preamp...

    This struck me as quite odd, because about 3 or 4 years ago I frequented a few recording forums... the same question came up once every one or two weeks, but the reply would always be "dynamic mics (like the sm57 and sm58) are fine for live performance, but for recording you really need a condenser mic" ... I pointed this out on the other form, but I was told that actually dynamic mics are used as often or more than condensers to record vocals...

    This struck me as very odd... so, I humbly ask you guys to shed some light on the subject.. am I remembering wrong? Are large diaphragm condenser mics *not* needed for vocals? ... has something in the last 3 or 4 years changed to make this true, or were those people from the past wrong? :confused:

    Thanks in advance for any replies I get, they are much appreciated...
  2. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    LD condensers are preferred by most for Vocals but Dynamics are widely used. The key is what is best for the particular vocalist your working with. You certainly need a good preamp though. I've heaqrd good and bad vocal tracks done with dynamics. The good tracks where all done on preamps costing usually no less than $1000 and most twice that. The SM57s and 58s have been used on many gold and platinum albums. Paul Rogers used to use an SM57 standing right behind the engineer in the control room with the monitors blaring. When using non-traditional methods, the engineer just has to be able to recognize what's usable and what's not. Many popular Rap and Hip Hop artist are being recorded with the EV RE20. I've also talked to a few people who use the Sennheiser MD421 for RAP and Heavy Metal vox. Just get yourself a Sebatron, Great River, Avalon, Manley, Langevin ect... and experiment. Compressors are a part of the chain that makes a great deal of difference as well.
  3. ozraves

    ozraves Active Member

    oklahoma city
    Home Page:
    On these forums, dynamic mics generally get dissed for vocals because you got someone running dynamics through lower cost mic preamps. I've used a lot of mic pres and you got to get up to the FMR RNP before you get a reliable mic pre for dynamics. My favorite mic pre for dynamics is the A Designs MP-2. A better mic pre breathes life into dynamic mics. It's uncanny what difference a great mic pre can make with a dynamic.

    So, if you're using inexpensive mics pres, then a reasonably priced condenser such as the Audio-Technica AT3035 would probably be the best bang for the buck for vocals.

    If you are willing to upgrade to one or more quality mic preamps, then you'll find yourself getting some great sounds out of dynamics.

  4. Death addeR

    Death addeR Guest

    Thanks guys...

    Actually, I am in the market for a preamp, and I was just directed to Kurt Foster's mp3s in another thread... I could not believe how much difference an Amek / Neve system 9098 made over a Studio Projects VTB 1!! I was considering purchasing either the latter or the RNP... but I think now I might see what strings I can pull to get a higher level preamp (I might just stick with the RNP though)...

    either way, this is great information.. thanks!
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    77 Sunset Lane.
    The RNP is pretty much the same approach as the VTB1 or a Mackie Pre in terms of design philosophy. They just charge a lot more for it. It may be executed in a better way but I really can't say as I have never had a chance to see or listen to one. The RNP runs on a low voltage, DC, wall wart power supply and in my p.o.v. this is an issue. What I can say about the RNP is it absolutely is not of the same quality as say a Millennia, 9098, JLM TMP8, Sebatron VMP, API or Great River MP2NV / Neve clone type pre.

    You may be perfectly happy with the RNP and you may not, I can't say what you will be satisfied with. . What is for sure, is if you are very serious about recording, it will not be the last mic pre purchase you make. While it may be on the high end of the menu at Burger King, it's still fast food in terms of recording gear.

    I'm not flaming the RNP, I am sure it is useful to a lot of people but it is not a product I heartily recommend.
  6. brad dowd

    brad dowd Guest

    Kurt, have you tried the RNP yet, or are you still bashing a product you haven't tried?
  7. While it may be on the high end of the menu at Burger King, it's still fast food in terms of recording gear.

    I'm not flaming the RNP, I am sure it is useful to a lot of people but it is not a product I heartily recommend.
    Kurt, you may not be flaming it, but you are falme broiling it
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    77 Sunset Lane.
    Brad and reignman,
    I notice that you both have only 5 or 6 posts here. Seems you have been waiting for a response from me just to jump on it..

    I posted an opinion on the topic. The original question sited my mp3s I posted.. so I felt I should respond..

    Let's keep the thread on topic and not make it about my opinion. You don't like what I said, then disagree. But if you want to try to hijack the thread by attacking me and turn this into a flame war, your posts will not stand. Consider this a moderator warning. Opinions are fine. Facts are fine. personal attacks are not fine and will be responded to like this ...
  9. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    I'm not sure what you mean by that. I don't even think that the VTB1 and the Mackie have the same design philosophy, so I'm not sure where the RNP fits in.

    So does the Grace 101, and you can't deny that's a really nice pre (more expensive than the RNP though). Certainly not a Mackie or a VTB1.

    Maybe, but I don't think he's looking to spend that kind of cash. Can you think of a good, clean two-channel mic pre in the $450 range that comes near an RNP in performance? There doesn't seem to be a lot of competition until you get into much higher price echelons.

    If you're very serious about recording, no mic pre will be the last mic pre you ever purchase. They're all different. That's we we need lots of them!
  10. clintrubber

    clintrubber Guest

    from Steve:
    Interesting ! Does this apply in general or specifically for vocals & dynamics ?


  11. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Sorry Kurt, I saw this after I posted my response. I'm new here, but I hope you don't think I'm trying to jump on you. I was discussing this with the guy that asked the question on that other thread before you posted your response, so I was just following up. No personal attack was intended.

    To address a point that was made in the other thread though, I really think that someone getting their first good pre would be better off getting something that doesn't have as much of a sonic signature. If you're using it for everything, you don't necessarily want to be stuck with "warmth" and "color" on every track. There are plenty of other ways to get warmth and color from a neutral pre (choice of source, mic selection, compression, etc.). There is no way to get "neutral" from a colored pre though.
  12. Death addeR

    Death addeR Guest

    I am very interested to see what the RNP can do actually... sometimes people love the quasi-cheaper things because that's what they can afford (bang for buck... or as Kurt said, "high end ... fast food"), and sometimes good things don't have to be expensive... hard to say, but I thank all of you for your comments...

    Basically, I am not expert, but I am not satisfied with my current sound either... I know I don't have enough money to be truly satisfied, but...

    On one hand, there is the "weakest link" philosophy... where whatever is the "weakest link" is what needs to be fixed... so a reasonably priced mic, preamp, cables, etc. will not show their fullest potential through a SB Live! soundcard...

    On the other hand, spending over $400 for 4 high end monster cables might be better spent towards a mic preamp, and buying (or making) $20-$30 cables... even if the cables are the weaker link (well, not a good example, but you know what I mean)...

    At any rate, concerning me, I don't have a lot of money to throw around (a thousand or a little more).. but I'm assuming a mic preamp upgrade would show more results than other upgrades? And at that, a more trasparent preamp would get more jobs done than a colored one?

    Sorry to cause so much trouble, I just like to learn and see others opinions...
  13. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    77 Sunset Lane.
    Originally posted by Kurt Foster:
    The RNP is pretty much the same approach as the VTB1 or a Mackie Pre in terms of design philosophy ....

    I mean they are inexpensive, non discreet, large scale integrated surface mount designs powered by pretty much inadequate power supplies. Difficult at best to service. Cheap to build and intentionally aimed at a segment of the market that doesn’t know any better. You don’t get it, do you?

    Originally posted by Kurt Foster:

    The RNP runs on a low voltage, DC, wall wart power supply and in my p.o.v. this is an issue.

    Well, I have not heard the Grace 101 either .. but I have my doubts about it too.. once again, the power supply is an issue to me and people I know and respect, have heard it and don’t seem to care much for it either. The Grace 201, uses an internal toridal power supply but sells for $650 more than two 101's. ($1850) This is because high quality internal power supplies ar far more expensive to build.

    No I can’t. But that doesn’t mean I am going to recommend something just because it is inexpensive. Good stuff costs what is costs.. I have no control over that. At a price per channel breakdown, the JLM TMP 8 and the Sebatrons are very competitive but there is an initial cost for the good power supply. Once that is paid for, adding channels is the easy part. Sebatron could sell the vmp 2000 for 500 bucks and probably make a lot more profit if he used a wall wart power supply, but he doesn’t do that, does he? There’s a reason for that.

    I have 16 channels of great class A pres.. I don’t think I will be purchasing any more. No need to. What I have works fine and if someone wants some other sound, I will rent or they can bring something in.

    [ November 10, 2003, 10:01 PM: Message edited by: Kurt Foster ]
  14. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Hey, Kurt, chill man. We're talking mike pres here, not the War in Iraq. Well, the other thread that linked to this one was talking mike pres anyway. I guess we're talking dynamic mikes here. Now I'm confused. :)
  15. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    77 Sunset Lane.
    Death addR,
    You mentioned you really liked the 9098 sample. I was simply saying that the RNP is not the same thing as the 9098. The system 9098 (which was what you listened to) sells for over $2000 for a single channel, while the RNP is less than $250 per. You really can't expect the same kind of performance from the RNP, even though the marketing hype would lead you to believe you could. You have to remember, especially in the lower end equipment, the manufacturers use all kinds of hyperboly in their marketing campaigns. Catch phrases like "transparent", "punchy" "warm" and "sheen" regularly are used but really mean nothing.

    Perhaps the RNP is just what you want. Please let us all know if this turns out to be the case. It seems as if it is the direction you want to go in..
  16. Death addeR

    Death addeR Guest

    Yeah, they both just seemed to turn into "what's the best preamp" threads, which is a secondary intention of the other thread, but not a real intention of this one... I just thought it was kind of silly to post one thing on the other, just to post a different version of the same message here a few minutes later...

    sorry about the confusion, and my part in any of it...

    Oh, and while I'm typing... I'm looking at that Sebatron with an interested eye now... I want to get at least a single channel compressor, since software compressors are cutting it in some cases (vocals especially)... so I dunno if I should look elsewhere than the RNC if I don't go with the RNP...

    I don't want to rule out the RNP by any means, but I dunno... maybe I can find somewhere or someone in town with it, or some clips somewhere...

    at any rate, I'm confused too... let's call a truce and and have ice cream?

    [edit] Kurt, you do make a good point, and I'll try to post some clips if I do go with a RNP... but I don't know what will or won't work for me... also, I don't know if I'll get the results I want with my KSM32 through any preamp... I didn't mean to upset anyone personally if I have, but I do want to say that I'd be the first to tell anyone there is a lot I don't know in this field.. this is why I ask...

    and to reply to the below message... THANKS![edit]
  17. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    77 Sunset Lane.
    Death addR,
    Sebatron is coming out with a new product, the "Thorax"... which is a mic pre / di / eq and comprssor in one box.. I am not sure what it is selling for but you can go thje the Sebatron forum and ask him.. let him know I sent you over..
  18. Alanfc

    Alanfc Guest

    Hello Death addeR

    For my vocals I have been experimenting with all the mics in my large collection (one other mic, the MXL V67 condenser- not a Ferrari as far as mics go), and found my SM-57 dynamic to sound great for my voice. Thicker sounding and and syrupy sweet (?!), and great for my voice, it totally helps me. I'm pretty thrilled to have stumbled across this.

    My condenser is too thin and too "real" for my voice. Not sure if its the nature of the dynamic mic compared to nature of a condenser mic. Or is it uniquely the SM57.. don't know.

    Other suggestions I've gotten as far as upgrading, since I liked the SM-57 so much were:

    Electro Voice RE-20
    Shure SM-7
    Beyer M88

    The Beyer seemed to have the most adoring fans.
    Good Luck
  19. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    77 Sunset Lane.
    Cool! I personally don't like uncolored pres.. and you can't get color from a neutral pre either..

    Actually both the JLM TMP 8 and the Sebatron vmp's are capable of providing relativly un colored sound at lower drive levels with the color and attitude increasing as the pres are driven harder. I like this a lot.

    But I will also comment that using pres with color and attitude across all tracks can be a very good thing. Many records are made with nothing but Neve or API pres and they both are known as having distintive sonic signatures. I think uncolored neutral pres like the ones found in Neotek and Mackie consoles are ugly sounding, especially for pop, rock, country or R&B recordings. If I wanted to do a classical or orchestral recording, I might want a bunch of neutral pres.

    (Dead Link Removed)
  20. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Pacific NW
    My go to mic back at the old 'Pro' studio was the SM7...if you didnt sound good on this thing then someone else should sing the track.

    Condensers are like a huge bowl of goldfish...they're all just a little different,some more different than others, but its hard to pick out a 'best'...

    As far as the 'Pre-Amp Controversy' goes,theres a lot of them too......too many.....If you're recording to DAW then you probably need a couple.If you're doing 16 tracks at once and recording to DAW you definately need several with a couple of different aspects such as warmth,accuracy,speed of response,etc etc.This is so you can use them for DIFFERENT PURPOSES.Isnt that a novel idea.SO.....those preamps that have a clean overall sound,wall-wart or not will have their place in the overall scheme of a recording.Those that have other sound aspects will have their place in the overall recording.Anything that is touted in literature as THE BEST...isnt.And I have found it really difficult to get a good sound out of an advertisement,a suggestion online, or a review.It usually takes a LISTEN for me to like or dislike something, but thats just me.I could care less about the electronic architecture of something if it has the ability to be used in some situation I personally have use for it in, and deliver a suitable performance.One of my band partners is quite the electronic genius kinda guy...and I've seen and heard things hes built that shouldnt even lite up the pilot light but sound like God was soldering in the components.

    As for recording with a console,If you can make it work cleanly and with enough gain to have usable tracks, then by all means dont worry too much about a bunch of 'other' preamps.One or two will do for 'feature' instruments and vocals.I use a Soundcraft Ghost,and while its not a Mighty MCI,or an API,or a NEVE,or a Trident, it is very usable.One real good reason its usable for me is lots of practice. And at the end of the day its still working..And at about $135.00 a channel for decent pres its a bargain.And thats with a real good EQ and a really nice routing matrix.

    And AS I'm Really on a RANT today, those of you who are asking a lot of questions about preamps had better be sure your skills with mic placements are good enough to realize the potentials available with higher end gear.Trying to Buy a better sound is a very expensive way to be dissappointed IMNSHO.

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