Posts Tagged ‘vocals’

Picking The Right Vocal Mic

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Hello all, in today’s blog I’ll be discussing the results of my vocal microphone test. Last time I had a little issue with the final sound clip I posted, it was a little skippy in some places. I figured out this was due to the bass track so I fixed it and you can grab the new file it’s in the same spot as the old one (I replaced it)

The Vocal Mic Test

If you recall, last time I spoke about doing microphone testing and placement with the drums trying to get a good sound out of that. Today I’ll be doing the same thing with vocals. The following is a list of microphones I compared to use as a vocal mic:

  • Shure Beta 52A (My kick drum mic)
  • Audix OM2
  • Shure SM57
  • Rode NT5

Why These Mics?

Something I forgot to explain when I originally posted this is why I chose these mics as my selection, since none of them area really the right type of microphone for the job. The reason I’m using these mics and conducting this test is to determine the best vocal mic out of the mics I already own.

The results of the test are quite dissatisfying and inconclusive, so unlike last time I’ll be short about it.

I discovered that all of my microphones have the same problem in common: they sound too “flat” I believe this is due to the environment where I recorded. I recorded using all of these mics in my room, and the acoustics in my room just aren’t too great for singing. Also, with the dynamic microphones (The Beta52, OM2, and SM57) I had to position myself rather close to the microphones to get a loud enough volume that you could even hear it.

Before Downloading

Before downloading my sound samples here, remember none of these are finished products. So if you want to grab one for listening you might want to wait for my next entry when I will start to experiment using some plugins, and equalizers for vocals and drums.

Beta52

The Beta52 had some deeper tones which was nice, and it was rather clear. But I was getting lots of popping and crackling. I’m not sure if it was just the input volume causing this, or if maybe I needed a pop filter, but the actual sound coming out of the Beta52 wasn’t really all too bad. Listen to the Beta52 Sound Sample.

Positioning

I kept the Beta52 on a desk mic boom stand, and I kept a very close distance while singing. My lips touched the mic a bit.

Audix OM2

The Audix OM2 seemed really nice to be when I was singing, but then when I got to compare it to the other mics I realized this mic was very muddy sounding. Like the Beta52, I got lots of crackling and popping. Listen to the OM2 Sound Sample.

Positioning

Since I left the mic clip for the OM2 in the basement accidentally, I was holding this mic with my hand. Sang close into the mic, lips touching (oooooooooooooooooooooooooh~ <3)

SM57

The Shure SM57 wasn’t too bad. It was pretty clear and I didn’t get any crackling and popping when singing into it. Listen to the SM57 Sound Sample.

Positioning

Like the OM2, I left the mic clip attached to another stand in my basement. I held this mic in my hand and sang close to it, lips did not touch the mic.

Rode NT5

The Rode NT5 definitely felt the nicest while I was singing. It felt more natural to me. The mic wasn’t right up in my face like the others because it didn’t have to be. The sound that came out of this mic is very clear but had a very edgy treble type of sound to it. I’m thinking I could’ve gotten more out of this mic by positioning it even further away and maybe used a second one on the other end of my room. Listen to the NT5 Sound Sample.

Positioning

I used the same desk mic stand as the Beta52 and angled the arm upward, while pointing the mic down. The mic was slightly above eye level, boom arm pointing above my head (mic pointing down at an angle).

Today’s Conclusion

My conclusion from today is that no matter which one of these microphones I pick to use for my final copy, it will need some effects on it to “put back” the missing acoustics where my room failed me. Probably some kind of reverb. Now that I’ve got all the recording done that I want to keep, the next step is to (optionally) jazz it up a bit with extra plugins and effects. I’ll talk about this more next time.