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Sennheiser 416 or Neumann U87 for VO+?
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#31
9th June 2008
Old 9th June 2008
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Love the people chiming in with which mic they like, who have never done real VO work.

Here in Hollywood, the studios use the 416 maybe 80% of the time for spots, and the U87 for the rest. U87 is very popular for ADR work, it seems. Whenever I go visit my fiend who runs the recording and mixing facility at Universal Studios, that what seems to be set up most of the time in the ADR.

I thought the TLM49 would catch on for these applications, actually. It's one of the few areas that I like that mic.

Don LaFontaine uses (or at least used to) his own Manley black Reference mic, for what that's worth, since he's the VO king.
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#32
10th June 2008
Old 10th June 2008
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Only people in LA think the 416 is a good VO mic..... Whats up with that?
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#33
10th June 2008
Old 10th June 2008
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I think you confuse "good" with the one that seems to work the way they want it to. LOL.

I don't remember what they like about it so much. I'll ask a friend and get back to you.
#34
10th June 2008
Old 10th June 2008
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It really depends on the voice. Yesterday, I tried the 416 on a hard-sell-type voice and wound up going back to the 87 - which surprised me. On another voice, which I thought wouldn't work well on the 416, it sounded better with. But as seansolo pointed out, it's up to experience as well - the guy who sounded better on the 416 was a much more experienced VO artist than the guy who didn't!

Personally, if you only can have one, I'd opt for the Neumann as it seems to work better (for me anyway) on a variety of voices (tone/experience). The 416 is great to have as a secondary microphone when the right occassion/voice pops up. But if you need something you can use outdoors or in the control room, then obviously the 416 becomes a better option....
#35
10th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
LOL.
LOL
#36
10th June 2008
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In NY studios, it's the 87 all the way. The 416 is used in maybe 1 out of 200 VO sessions. The reason is the 87 consistently flatters on more different kinds of voices - it rarely sucks the way a 416 can on the wrong voice.

The result is that the 87 is WAAYYYY overpriced. Neumann knows enough studios have to buy them as a cost of doing business that they can charge whatever they can get away with.

Which is why folks are experimenting with the 103 and TLM49, looking for a cheaper way into that sound.

Stay away from the new AKG 414s, they're painfully sharp, and from the RE-20, which is only for the broadcast booth and sounds dry and disembodied for VO work.

But if video is what you're really after, then the 416 wears that hat too.

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#37
10th June 2008
Old 10th June 2008
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Quote:
I think you confuse "good" with the one that seems to work the way they want it to. LOL.
It just seems everytime I hook up with an LA studio on a patch, its a 416. (Except for patches in hollywood, best sounding booth out there) The problem with a 416 is not only doesn it usually not match the voice, but if the VO does any acting or moving around, you get a terrible off axis sound. The VO really needs to sit right on that mic the whole time and not move.

Quote:
Which is why folks are experimenting with the 103 and TLM49, looking for a cheaper way into that sound.
I had a new 87ai and a TLM103 for a while, and more than not, I went to the 103. The new 87ai doesn't sound right to me, maybe I got a bad one, I don't know. But with so many other great mics out there in that price range (Korby, Bruaner) it seems like a non issue I guess.
#38
10th June 2008
Old 10th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soundguydave View Post
It just seems everytime I hook up with an LA studio on a patch, its a 416. (Except for patches in hollywood, best sounding booth out there)
The 416 is up for the many reasons mentioned already. But if you want a U87...just ask.

Let's do a session together so you can perform an edit on your post. No way Patches goes down as best sounding booth in LA on this forum without a fight. I'm at Margarita Mix in Santa Monica.

Nathan Dubin

BTW - Awesome and accurate stories. I've heard them as well from my older colleagues here at Margarita Mix who were witness to it all.
#39
10th June 2008
Old 10th June 2008
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Quote:
The 416 is up for the many reasons mentioned already. But if you want a U87...just ask.

Let's do a session together so you can perform an edit on your post. No way Patches goes down as best sounding booth in LA on this forum without a fight. I'm at Margarita Mix in Santa Monica.

Nathan Dubin
I've used margarita mix, as well as LA studios and many other of the post houses in the greater LA area. While the big studios have great sounding rooms, you just never know what you're going to get. Its just how the studio works, if this engineer is open, he gets the session, next time, its someone else. Patches was built from the ground up to only do VO records/ISDN patches, so all the money that typically gets sunk into the control room, got put into the booth. So not only does the booth sound great, but its always extremely consistent.
#40
10th June 2008
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Here at MM Santa Monica I work with two other guys, Jimmy Hite and Jeff Levy. Amongst other things, we have over 50 years combined experience recording VO...only 8 of which are mine. The signal chain is identical in all 3 rooms as well as the physical design, by Studio Bauton, which I assure you was not "skimped" on in any way. And I recently went through our 7 416's matching the top few.

I think that's a far cry from "you never know what you are going to get."
#41
10th June 2008
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Sorry to hijack the post like that.
#42
10th June 2008
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Quote:
Don LaFontaine uses (or at least used to) his own Manley black Reference mic, for what that's worth, since he's the VO king.
I've recorded Don 100 or more times in the 90s, all we had was a 416, and he worked it
as well as anyone. (without complaints).

The Manley was not his choice, the people who set up his home studio recommended it.
Its being pushed through a Tube Tech pre. (MWAudio)

This was the case of a person (Don) with money saying I don't care what it costs, just set me up and make it work.
#43
10th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
U87 is very popular for ADR work, it seems. Whenever I go visit my fiend who runs the recording and mixing facility at Universal Studios, that what seems to be set up most of the time in the ADR.
Don't think our friend's engineers are using an 87 for ADR...wouldn't be a good match at all...and when I was there, the ADR booth had Senn's in it and 87's are used for VO's and Animation voices.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TVPostSound View Post
I've recorded Don 100 or more times in the 90s, all we had was a 416, and he worked it
as well as anyone. (without complaints).

The Manley was not his choice, the people who set up his home studio recommended it.
Its being pushed through a Tube Tech pre. (MWAudio)

This was the case of a person (Don) with money saying I don't care what it costs, just set me up and make it work.
I thought it was the Manley Gold. See how much you learn on the inner-nets?

I am sure TVPS knows.......

But whatEV. Get what works for YOU in YOUR market.

...Besides JJ is recording wussy "singers" and their soul yodeling anyway. (he knows I'm kidding)
#44
10th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seansolo View Post
The 416 is touted to be the best outdoor go-to shotgun. When in a VO booth, I've found that its the Talent that has to know mic technique to get the sound on a 416. I've read tons of articles on how the old guys would know how to control their dynamics and get real close to a 416 to work it right. No mic will just 'do it'.
Oh hell yes! Most of the people I've recorded with a 416, or use one on their own do not know how to use proper technique to get a good sound out of this mic when used for VO. A lot of unnecessary hate towards this mic has come from the fact that people just didn't know how to use them properly in the given situation.

And even if you do, this mic isn't for everyone. I won't use one unless I have to, because it just doesn't work as nicely for my voice as others do (sibilance issues compared to other mics). It's not that I sound bad on it, but that I like how I sound with other mics better for the same application.
#45
8th May 2010
Old 8th May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVPostSound View Post
Now there are a variety of production mics used, but the 416 still remains a VO mic to match that older VO sound. (Ernie Anderson, Chuck Reilley, Don LaFontaine etc)



Class over.
Don used a Manley tube mic.

Although Ben Patrick Johnson uses the 416.

IMHO the 416 is a fine mic in a situation when you don't want ANY room to be recognized (as said above).

I even know some very good vo guys that uses it on the roads and recording spots from the bck seat of their car...

BUT

I think the u87 is the best sounding microphone in the field of vo's for one reason:
YOU CAN DO EVERYTHING WITH IT.
U87 gets an eq colloring better then any "pre-defined" mic.
it lets YOU decide how it will sound... a thing that is hard to do with other mics.
#46
8th May 2010
Old 8th May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yraziel View Post
Don used a Manley tube mic.

Although Ben Patrick Johnson uses the 416.

IMHO the 416 is a fine mic in a situation when you don't want ANY room to be recognized (as said above).

I even know some very good vo guys that uses it on the roads and recording spots from the bck seat of their car...

BUT

I think the u87 is the best sounding microphone in the field of vo's for one reason:
YOU CAN DO EVERYTHING WITH IT.
U87 gets an eq colloring better then any "pre-defined" mic.
it lets YOU decide how it will sound... a thing that is hard to do with other mics.
I don't understand why people think the 416 removes the sound of the room. To me it exacerbates it--you hear all the boominess of a not-well treated booth. In production dialog recording, the 416 is considered a great mic for exteriors only--it is generally avoided on interiors because it has VERY inconsistent off-axis response, often making a boomy room sound worse than it will on a "true" hypercard like a Schoeps MK41. When I have observed the 416 in use for VO it was chosen not for suppression of the room sound, but because of the oddly compressed, very in your face sound it gives when it is played close (a use which it was not designed for). I always half-suspected that VO talent liked how they sounded on it because it made their VO pop out of mixes. I did an entire doco series with a guy who insisted on using a 416, eventually I developed a "de-416" plug in patch to use on his voice to keep it from taking over the whole mix.

Philip Perkins
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#47
8th May 2010
Old 8th May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
I don't understand why people think the 416 removes the sound of the room.
Philip Perkins
IMO it sounds NARROW and it does'nt get the whole room tone.
On the other side, it doesn't make the vo guy's voice sound SMALL.
IT DOES cuts through the mix. maybe a little bit too much...

can you get me a copy of this de-416 ?
#48
8th May 2010
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A good companion to the 416 is an even better de-esser.

(I hate the sibilance of the 416)

I second the comment about the directivity. Shotguns in general have little to no directivity in the lows (unlike presure gradient mics). I´m always surprised how many people grab extreme shotguns thinking they get rid of the awfull roomyness in bathrooms for examle. In fact shotguns make it even worse: Extremely high directivity in the highs but an omni-charateristic from the low mids downwards leads to an even worse sound balance in bad enviroments. Result is a sibilant voice with a boomy reverberant bottom.
#49
8th May 2010
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The 416 is a great mic for certain specific types of VO work. I think it is best for those deep, gravelly voiced male trailer VO guys whose delivery is very low level and extremely controlled and evenly modulated. When they get right up on the mic, like a couple of inches, the hyper-cardioid pattern gives a lot of proximity effect and the hyped high end gives lots of clarity.

The 416 might not be a great choice for female or higher male voices, documentaries or VO performed by actors who are not used to giving very evenly modulated performances. They are often better off with large diaphragm cardioids that are placed further away.
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#50
9th May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
I always half-suspected that VO talent liked how they sounded on it because it made their VO pop out of mixes.
Philip Perkins
That's almost correct.

Every studio in Hollywood had one available to do ADR.
The big boys in VO really didnt care what mic they used, the engineers would make it work. They eventually learned how to work the 416.

Then Ernie Anderson decided he wanted to have his own, and carried it around town to his gigs.
#51
10th May 2010
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I have to admit a U87 would always be my initial choice for a voice over but how about this possible compromise...

Why don't you get a 416 *and* a cheaper U87 clone like at AT4055? You'll find you end up having to intervene with a bit more EQ etc when you're using a 4055 than you would with a U87 but it's still a great mic and very versatile for voice work.

If your budget would stretch that far you could *almost* have the best of both worlds?

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#52
10th May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVPostSound View Post
That's almost correct.

Every studio in Hollywood had one available to do ADR.
The big boys in VO really didnt care what mic they used, the engineers would make it work. They eventually learned how to work the 416.

Then Ernie Anderson decided he wanted to have his own, and carried it around town to his gigs.
I think they also like how it sounds on its own--they often aren't hearing the track in the context of a full mix, and how it often doesn't play well with the other elements (I think).

I will say that I don't think that U87 is always a great choice for VO either, especially for non-pro voices.

Philip Perkins
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10th May 2010
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I assume you are talking Voice Over / Narration work and NOT ADR. If it's ADR, that's a whole different ball game where you want to match production sound.

With Voice Over

Great VO talent will sound pretty darn good on any decent microphone, but if you are looking for something that really captures the best aspects of your voice, just try a number of microphones till you find one that you (and your clients) like.

When VO talent comes to my facility, which is very rare now that most working VO artists have ISDN, I use either a Geffel M930, a Neumann U87 or a Sennheiser MKH60. Most often it's the Geffel. I find it a bit quieter than the U-87 with very similar characteristics and more forgiving for a VO artist who moves around than the MKH60.
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#54
15th May 2010
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For ADR, I prefer the Sennheiser 8050 over the 416, because the 416 can
exaggerate the s's way too much on some voices. For voice over I like using the Royer sf24 in mono, for a velvet sound, or the Royer sf1a for a bigger than life vintage sound.
#55
19th May 2010
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Don LaFontaine uses (or at least used to) his own Manley black Reference mic, for what that's worth, since he's the VO king.
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#56
19th May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eoats View Post
Don LaFontaine uses (or at least used to) his own Manley black Reference mic, for what that's worth, since he's the VO king.

Only the last few years of his life, when he had a studio built in his house.
The Manley was recommended to him, as he basically stated, "I dont care what it cost".

In the 80s, and 90s, I recorded Don hundreds ( I lost count) of times, on a 416.
He had no preference, he knew how to work it.
So did all the other voices, like Al Chalk, Ernie Anderson, James Earl Jones, Robert Ridgely.............OOPS, Im dating myself.
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19th May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan View Post
The 416 is a great mic for certain specific types of VO work. I think it is best for those deep, gravelly voiced male trailer VO guys whose delivery is very low level and extremely controlled and evenly modulated. When they get right up on the mic, like a couple of inches, the hyper-cardioid pattern gives a lot of proximity effect and the hyped high end gives lots of clarity.

The 416 might not be a great choice for female or higher male voices, documentaries or VO performed by actors who are not used to giving very evenly modulated performances. They are often better off with large diaphragm cardioids that are placed further away.
Yes! thumbsup This is exactly how/when I use it.

-
#58
19th May 2010
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We used to use 416s predominantly for every voice that came through the door. Our booths weren't complementing the sound of 87s.
Now that we got wicked sounding booths I am popping back the old 87 on there. It's a sound that I have missed.
In saying that, for guys that do the hard sell, 416 still holds its ground.
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#59
19th May 2010
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I applaud your choice of the Great River. That is one of my favorites. As for the microphone... you've gotten a great deal of good advice from the posters above. The best advice being that only you can choose what mic is best for you. You simply have to try them. Because your booth/room plays a big part in your overall sound you should try them (preferably) in your own space.

Check out the link below for more info.


Choosing a Voice Over Microphone

Good luck.

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#60
22nd May 2010
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It is important to consider that there is never a perfect solution that will work for all situations. You can't just blindly rely on one mic or one "anything" that will work every time. You have to analyze the nature of the voice and delivery and the context in which the recording will be used. Then you make an informed decision as to what combination of tools will accomplish the intended goal. Sometimes you need to emphasize certain natural characteristics of the talent and sometimes you need to de-emphasize things in order to fit the context. The same talent may need a different mic or placement depending on the nature of the project. This is where technical knowledge and experience meets artistic intent.
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