opinions on mic for vocals

Discussion in 'Vocalists' started by eddyrock1, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. eddyrock1

    eddyrock1 Guest

    hey folks, I am starting a mobile recording company and need to get a bunch of good (not great) mics quickly. So, the first purchases are for close mic'ed choral groups. Close meaning about 6-8 feet. I'll need three of the same type mics for these first applications. Eventually, I will need a variety of mics for symphonic all the way to contemporary project sessions.

    I am looking at Rode NT2-A and the AKG C3000B.

    What you guys and girls think about these?


    P.S. - forgot to mention that I am a seasoned audio expert and know what the specs and features are all about. I just have not used them but have heard them both sound fantastic on others work. I am leaning toward the Rodes.
  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Fredericksburg, VA
    Perhaps a little more information would help.

    As you put it, it sounds like you're talking about recording traditional choral music?? Such as church, school, amatuer, professional choir??

    For this and symphonic (as you state later) neither of the mics you refer to are going to cut it.

    I find choirs to be far more challenging to record than full orchestra and the choice of equipment, IMO, is even more crucial. My reasoning is, the human voice is so easy to hear minor changes in.

    For chorus, I can't imagine very many large diaphragm condensers that I would reach for...MAYBE TLM193 (maybe). I've heard some good choral stuff from Earthworks but I haven't used them enough to fully endorse them. I've been quite impressed from the little that I've heard.

    Schoeps work quite well, and of course, ribbons work quite well too.

    Give us a little more info (such as where you're located, what exactly you're hoping to record, and what gear you currently have) and we can definitely help out.

    Cheers and welcome to RO!

  3. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Cocoa, FL
    Home Page:
    I've had success with the AKG c460's w/ CK61 cardioid caps.
    They won't break the bank, and are useful on a variety of instruments, including choir.
  4. eddyrock1

    eddyrock1 Guest

    Thanks, Cucco, I am in the Raleigh-Durham area of NC and am bootstrapping a small business. So funds are spread from buying gear all the way to the typical startup expenses such as legal fees. For that reason, I am pinching pennies.

    I have previously used Shoeps with great success on The Houston Symphony. I have recorded vocals and instruments in studio using U47s , 87s and 89s. Haev used 414s senn 441s, SM81s, gosh, and just about every mid to high-end mic from prior decades.

    The mics I buy have to be versatile. So, I don't want to plunk down 2k for valve mics that have so much personality that they stay in the drawer 50% of the time.

    I do not have any good pres yet. These first gigs will be done on a 8 channel firewire interface such as the Presonus. Post will be done at mixing rooms in the vicinity, most likely.

    First, I need to get three mics and have about $1500 to spend on them. More fun down the road.
  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Fredericksburg, VA
    That helps quite a bit.

    There are actually folks on the board here that are close in vicinity to you that may be able to help by letting you try some of their mics and/or use their rooms to mix in.

    For 3 mics with extreme versatility for around $1500...that's going to be tricky but not impossible.

    One thought - AT 4050. This would allow you to do Decca tree, MS, AB, ORTF, XY and close mic'ing. They're nice, but there is definitely better to be had (for more money, of course.)

    The Shure KSM series are great too! Any of the mics in that series would work well - some are far more versatile than others (based on switchable patterns, etc.)

    For small-diaphragm condensers, I would consider Rode NT55, AT 4041, AT 4051, Charter Oak (don't recall the models).

    For ribbons, you might want to consider the Cascade FatHeads or the Beyer M130/M160 combos. Though the Presonus isn't the best choice for ribbons (although a surprisingly nice unit despite this.)

    Be sure to check in to the Acoustic Music forum - this might be the group you've been looking for all of your life and just didn't know it.

    Cheers and welcome!
  6. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Fredericksburg, VA
    I just saw Ben's post -
    I used the 460s for a long time and regret having sold them. They're great mics and do very well on orchestra, choir and others. If you can find a pair on Ebay- snatch them up.

    My only issue with them is that they picked up RF and EMI pretty easily, so placement in bad areas became an issue occassionally.

  7. eddyrock1

    eddyrock1 Guest

    Thanks Bent, I've used the 451s/460s for many applications with success. Since I have pretty much ruled out tube, I guess the first thing to get past is diaphragm dimensions. I have used large diaphragm mics on vocal solo and folk music combos and loved them. But I have much more experience with small diaphragm mics.

    Cucco, (jeremy?) thanks for your comments as well. I have been crawling some other forums here this afternoon and feel I can benefit from your insight and comments.

    Why do you think the large diphragm mics would be less appealing for a 10 person a capella situation? I suppose the small mics are more easily arrayed.

    I'll take a peek at the Shures. Usually don't think of Shures in this sort of situation.
  8. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Fredericksburg, VA
    I wouldn't normally associate Shures with this kind of work either, but the KSM series is really quite unique. It's about as neutral and friendly of a sound as you'll get from any mic below $1K.

    In general, the reason I feel LDCs are less appropriate for a capellas is due to accuracy and timbre. Generally (a broad generalization, but quite true in most cases), the smaller the diaphragm the more accurate and less colored the sound. LDCs do not have as good of an off-axis response and have less accurate lower frequencies.

    Also, the higher frequencies on some LDCs have a tendency to either roll off or get strident (depending upon back-plate design).

    Of course, the smaller the diaphragm, generally the noisier - partially due to brownian noise. However, many SDC mics overcome this with greater sensitivity which helps to out-weigh this negative.

    If you can try the KSM series, give it a whirl. I don't think you'll be disappointed.


  9. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Home Page:
    I'm currently doing the post processing on some choir recordings done in very confined conditions (no floor stands allowed). I used SDCs in a modified Decca tree with NT55s (omni capsules fitted) as the A-B pair through DAV pre-amps into an HD24XR. The NT55s performed very well, with controlled high end and a low-frequency realism I did not expect. They are maybe not in the Schoeps or DPA league overall, but they are around a tenth of the price.
  10. eddyrock1

    eddyrock1 Guest

    ok, so, a follow up, if I may...

    Regarding low cost versatile mics for first purchases at remote recording ...

    After digging a bit I'm curious how a NT5 pair differs from a 451B pair sonically. I've used the original 451s but have not used the newer ones. I do seem to recall noise issues and flimsy mechanicals with the old 451s. :lol:

    I'm still wrestling with the LDC question also. How would the AT4033 compare to the AKG C3000 B. I'm not a big fan of AT but keep seeing this mic on cabinet listings here.

    btw: I realize now that this thread would be more at home in the acoustic music forum and will try to post put these topics there in the future!

    don't want to beat this topic into the ground but do appreciate the comments......
  11. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Fredericksburg, VA
    In general, the NT5 is lower noise and a little less top heavy. The construction is top notch especially given its price.

    IMO, the AKG C3000B (or C1000 or C4000) are utter pieces of ..... The C2000 is acceptable, but is actually an SDC.

    The AT 4033 is a nice mic, but it's pretty colored...a little thick/aggressive in the mids/low mids. The 4040 is a little bit more transparent and actually less expensive.
  12. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Fredericksburg, VA
    One additional note -
    Any of the mics being tossed around here will all do the job and still get usable results. We're really just talking subtle, but noticable differences.
  13. tifftunes

    tifftunes Active Member

    Shure KSM44 is a fantastic mic! I haven't found anything I don't like about it yet!! Very versatile as well. Blew my C3000B away! I also like it better than my Neumann TLM193, which is not as versatile, and sounds a bit darker - not as open/honest as the 44, though still quite clear (describing sounds with words is a daunting task...).

    I used 4 well spaced Oktava MC 012s for a stage play, jazz band, and choir (same gig), and thought they worked well ( Presonus FirePod pres). I didn't have the KSM44s or TLM193s at that time, or I would have at least compared them...

    Try renting for a period f time and let your ears decide.
  14. eddyrock1

    eddyrock1 Guest

    Thanks everyone for tips and opinions. I ordered a match pair of NT55s yesterday. I believe its a good place to start and will take care of my immediate needs.

    At least, on paper, it looks like there are some KSM44s in my future as well. I'll be getting into that exercise in a few months.

    If any of you have a buddy or preferred supplier where I can rent one or two of these KSMs please let me know.


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