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Operatic Tenor - Vocal Mic Condenser Microphones
Old 20th August 2009
Here for the gear

Operatic Tenor - Vocal Mic

Have recently been working with an operatic tenor on a live recording project - tenor and piano - in a fairly bright and reverberant auditorium acoustic.

I am coming to the conclusion that I probably picked the wrong microphone to use, but having said that - as an engineer I have no qualms about admitting that it's an ongoing learning experience!

Anyway, used schoeps on the piano and for ambience, and used a Neumann TLM103 for the vocal spot positioned on axis with the mouth at a distance of 4-5 feet.

The general sound of the recording is good, but the voice spot seems a little harsh. I have concluded at this point, it is probably the presence bulge in the TLM103 frequency response and that the TLM103 is probably best used as a close vocal spot rather than a distant spot.

As I generally don't want to be recording this type of material with close spots on the vocal, I am going to pose the question - what would give a nice warm sound as a vocal spot when used at a distance of 5-6 feet away from the soloist? U87 is probably out of budget range, but I am wondering about schoeps MK4 or MK21.

Some low-pass EQ on the vocal spot does help with the harshness, but I would rather get the right mic out there for the job and I am not 100% convinced the TLM103 is right for this particular application when used in the way I am using it.

I am intending to experiment further with the 103, maybe mounting it slightly off-axis, but it would still need to be at a distance from the artist.

Anyway, would be very keen if anyone has any thoughts/input regarding this.

For interest, pre's are MICSTASY, DAW is Sequoia.


Attached Files

JG-rec-080809_mix_120809_NA_02.mp3 (4.16 MB, 3555 views)

Old 20th August 2009
Lives for gear

A TLM 103 is a pretty bright mic and probably not the best of choices for classical voices. That being said, your recorded sound is pretty good.

My favorite mic for classical voices these days is the Sennheiser MKH8040. Gets a sense of presence, yet gets it from a distance. Schoeps is another favorite, but I like putting it through a tube pre (In my case Vac Rac or perhaps something like an A Designs MP-2A).

You also may want to consider placing a pair of mics out in the room- some sort of quality ORTF pair to capture more of the "ensemble" sound of the performance. Time align your spots to the main pair so they disappear into the mix and you'll have a good classical sound.

Old 21st August 2009
Here for the gear

hi Ben...

I think we bumped into each other at the MAGIX/Sequoia stand at the AES in San Fran last year - hope you are well and thanks for the comments...

What Scheops capsules have you used in this sort of scenario?

Old 21st August 2009
Lives for gear
I have found an AKG 414 works well in that environment. Pretty flat with no hype on the top.
Old 21st August 2009
Lives for gear
andyspiller's Avatar

Beyer MC 740 at 8 inches
Old 22nd August 2009
Lives for gear

Eegad... a 414 flat? Those are about the last words I'd ever expect to hear about that mic. And 8 inches is WAY too close for classical operatic style singing. It may work for a jazz or pop album, but not in the classical world. You'll hear all sorts of sounds that were never meant to be heard by the audience.

Now, to the OP question about the capsules- it really depends on the use. For main pairs, I go for a "wide ortf" of MK21 capsules- probably about 14 inches and 100 degrees. For spot mic duties, I usually reach for either an MK4 or MK41 capsule depending on the performing situation and how close/far the mic is from the performer.

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