Vocal Recording: Using multiple mics in each take?

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by SYNTHME, Dec 30, 2005.


    SYNTHME Active Member

    Dec 30, 2005
    still wandering...
    Hey everyone, first time poster, love the site! Have a quick (hopefully :shock: ) question regarding vocal recording technique.

    I was reading up on one of my favorite vocalists who uses a mic technique I am not really familiar with. The vocalist concurrently uses a Neumann U87 and an Earthworks QTC series mic, laying down two tracks (one from each mic) each take. The mixing process then involves using the U87 as the main vocal source (with compression), mixing in the QTC mic when needed (no compression on the QTC), and using the QTC almost exclusively to trigger all reverb and plates.

    IMO, it sounds great... but what gives? Is this a common technique to record each take using several diverse mics and then delegate mixing responsibilities to each mic, or mix using two diverse sources?

    I ask because I’m just starting to get into mics (99% vocals), own a NTK, K2, C1, (can’t afford the U87 yet) and would like to add some other mics to experiment with the multiple source recording technique. Any suggestions on which mics I should look at for recording vocals that would diversify my pathetically :cry: skimpy selection?

    Thanks a million…
  2. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    yes this sort of thing is done and can get complicated

    some people argue that just as with guitar cab recording ... one mic doesn't cut it

    they may use an extra mic up and high ... not quite a room mic but lets call it that for now.
    The rise and fall of the voice can hit the mic differently when it's a couple of feet away rather than right on the end of the nose .... and it's not all about the proximity effect.

    people do use the room mic for verb send and delay send and the close mic for applying the compressor

    THEN there is the technique you described
    different take - different mic - then apply different effects

    IT's ALL fair game and it comes down to you and your skill and knowledge of your mics and the vocalist .... then knowing the desired end result.

    keep listening
    keep practicing
    keep trying new things

    welcome to RO
  3. Pre Amp

    Pre Amp Guest

    Yes, and is the best way to do vocals , if I may say so.
    I find doing my bridge vocal lines with one mic, and using a different mic on the chorus lines. Also IMHO doubling your chorus lines helps make a great mix, and use different mic's when doubling.
    A Shure SM57, and a SM58 will get you great results, and not cost much at all. (less than a hundred each)
    Also, I would recommend using "any" of the Audix mic's. They work AWESOME along side of the Shure mic's. And sound WAY different. Again, price is not too much here, but still a fantasic mic. (just under $200)
    The AT 4030, or AT 4060 is a favorite as well. (costing a little more than the others I mentioned)
    FYI---I have about 20 mic's, and have 10 more on my "to get list".
    Try KEL audio as well, HM-1 (out of stock until late January) , or the HM-4 (in stock)
    Here's a link...
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    It is a technique that gets used a lot though not a lot of print on it. You have to be very conscious of phase when doing this and ABSOLUTELY be recording through something you can change the phase on.

    In my group, the main singer is tall and thin.He has a very nice sounding voice until its focused on a single mic in a vocal booth situation. Then theres more head-tone than chest and to remedy this I'll use two mics.One set a bit lower than his chin for the chest tone and one up that hes actually 'working' for the vocal. These mics will have distinct tonalities to match their intended use.

    I just got a KEL HM-1 from Santa and it is going to cover this ground quite nicely as well as be an excellent voice-over mic due to its proximity effect.

    Another good choice for this secong mic is the Studio Projects B3. Its a little dark but clearer than the B1, and it has patterns. You dont experience the phase problems as much when you have an omni mic in the booth with your cardioid.

    SYNTHME Active Member

    Dec 30, 2005
    still wandering...
    Thanks so much for everyone’s responses. This will definitely change the way I approach recording vocals. I am really excited to get back to my studio to try it out.

    Thanks also for the tip to watch out for the phase. I had not even though of this, but great idea to use an omni mic along side a cardioid mic. Looks like this might be the way to go since I would like to capture a much greater range/response/feel of the vocalist rather than slapping two cardioid mics right next to each other.

    Kev, yes, almost like a room mic, but not really! Something to capture what happens beyond a few inches of the vocalist’s mouth, capturing more of the natural ambient sound.

    I think I might take a look in to the Earthworks QTC40 mic to use along side a nice warm cardioid when I record vocals. Next on the list will be a 414. Then a U87 (okay, I'm just dreaming). :D

    Happy New Year!
  6. GoshenSound

    GoshenSound Guest

    No matter what mic I used on male rock vocals, I always have and SM7 in the mix as well, just in case. Happy New Year
  7. Sidhu

    Sidhu Active Member

    Mar 22, 2004
    New Delhi, India
    once, a long time back, I recorded a friend, for funs sake, with a similar technique. Got the idea off the top of my head. I used a 414 as his main vocal mic, and bout a foot and a half or so further placed a 58. I think i mixed both signals equally. I remember getting this real nice 3d sounding vox. Pity I dont have the recording around, and strange that i havnt tried it again. Dont have a 414 at my dispoal, but the NT1a and a beta58a. that time i was too naive to bother bout phase and stuff.

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