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ldc vox mic w/ tight cardiod pattern
Old 13th November 2009
Gear Maniac
lovespirals's Avatar

ldc vox mic w/ tight cardiod pattern

i'm hoping someone could suggest an ldc mic with a tighter than normal cardioid pattern. ideally, i'm looking for a more c12 or 251 flavored mic to compliment my main vocal mic (for recording female vox); a neumann tlm49. the tlm49 has a very tight cardioid pattern, which has worked great in my less than perfect room (the acoustics are pretty good actually, but noises from the outside like birds in the springtime and boom cars can sometimes creep in). on the other hand, i've used others with wider cardioid responses that picked up too much extraneous sounds. so i'm trying to avoid spending a lot of money on what's otherwise a great mic, but won't work out well for my application needs.

one of the few that i've seen advertised that directly claims to be tight is the lauten horizon, which i've never heard before. i'm opened minded to tube or solid state, expensive or not expensive; whatever you think is a great vocal mic that's got a tight response, i'm interested in hearing about it.

Old 14th November 2009
Lives for gear
jmikeperkins's Avatar
You have several choices here. One would be to get a condenser mic with a hyper cardoid pattern option. There are many of those, the Neumann M149 and TLM 170 come to mind. The AKG 414 has a hyper cardoid pattern as well.

Your other option in avoiding background noise leaking into your vocal mic would be to get an EV RE-20 which is a condenser like dymanic mic. That mic does an excellent job of rejecting background noise on a vocal track. I will often use the RE-20 for vocals when someone wants to play the piano at the same time and keep as much of the piano out of the vocal mic as possible. Just not being a condenser helps the RE-20 reject outside traffic noises etc. that would be picked up by a condenser mic. The Shure Sm7b and the Sennheiser 441 will also work at this but I prefer the sound of the RE-20 for vocals over those mics.

J. Mike Perkins
Old 14th November 2009
Lives for gear
Martin Kantola's Avatar

Don't think you can get both a great sound and very focused pickup unfortunately. You probably know what a shot-gun microphone sounds like, there will always be a compromise. From what you are saying, a dynamic might not give you enough 'air'. If the acoustics are not perfect, the smoothness of the polar pattern becomes more important than the width, in other words if the microphone sounds ugly off axis it will not help.

Also, to me it seems like the voice of a singer is not a point source, so a wider, detailed pick-up is usually better. Having said that, using a rectangular capsule in one of my new mikes, and it rejects sounds from above and below a bit like a ribbon does, so it helps with low ceilings and such.

Sounds like it would be worth a little work on soundproofing and then just go for the best mic for her voice. It'll be worth it. Good luck on your quest!

Old 14th November 2009
Gear Nut

The problem with most lds condensers is that they have a pretty deep "grab". Some don't feel like grabbing so deep. For instance, I have friends in Mnhattan who had to stop trying U-87's. You can hear mice screwing in the walls through that thing, regardless of pattern! A couple ended up using TLM-103's, which have a sort of wideish cardioid pattern, but don't seem to grab so deeply. The 414buls doesn't grab as deep either, and it's got the benefit of a filter which is great for getting rid of rumble(2nd setting is 120hz(?), not bad for keeping the car rumbles out of the mic. A good basket helps as well. Decouple it. Hang a rug and put the mic just in front of it. I remember Matt, the singer from The The, using an ELAM 251 inside this upright coffin thing. It was open in the back, but really tight. The box was lined with foam and velvet, if I recall correctly. He would stuff himself in and sing into his mic, which was situated in the back of the coffin. This was at a downtown studio where external noise was an issue, especially the way he liked to compress himself. It worked like a charm.

Most ribbons are figure 8 by their nature, which isn't good in your situation. Also, most ribbons won't tolerate a close source, especially something as breathy and pop-ey as a vocal, meaning extraneous noise can compete better. They don't have fantastic high end extension or hype. They also don't have too much grab. If you use a hypercardioid ribbon such as a beyer M-160, you'll get great rejection. The ribbon in that thing is pretty forgiving, though you'll definitely want to use a pop filter. Just eq in the high end afterwards.

My 2 cents...
Old 14th November 2009
Lives for gear
Martin Kantola's Avatar

Good info Peter! Didn't suggest ribbons as such, but fig-8 is indeed the narrowest polar pattern we can get. If you build something that eats up the rear pickup, like that coffin thing, it might be worth considering. Maybe build a totally dead corner in your studio. Another benefit would be that traffic rumble is minimized on a fig-8, since low frequencies are effectively canceled out by the two lobes of opposite polarity.

Old 15th November 2009
Gear Maniac
lovespirals's Avatar

great ideas everyone. thanks!

i was considering the EV RE-20. a classic vocal mic indeed. however, usually people say what a great mic it is for male vox. does it work out as well with female vox too?

414b-uls: could be worth checking out since it doesn't grab as deep, and has a hypercardioid mode. but wasn't that particular model discontinued?
Old 15th November 2009
Lives for gear

This isn't the first time I've seen the U-87 criticized for its rear rejection, but I can tell you beyond the shadow of a doubt that my 1972 model has the absolute best rear rejection of any condenser mic I've used. I even use it on guitar player/singers, angled up at the mouth. Amazing isolation. Short of that, the SM-7B is very nice in a noisy situation, though the RE-20 is probably brighter. The Heil PR-40 is the closest to a condenser I've heard in a dynamic. It may actually be too bright for some females. Ribbons (or any figure 8), when the null point is properly aimed, can give fantastic isolation—but will be about as far as you can get from the C12/251 sound you mentioned.
Old 15th November 2009
Lives for gear
VO Guy's Avatar

The 414 B ULS is discontinued, however they are all over e-bay for reasonable prices in the $500-$700 range.

The more I use this mic the better I like it and appreciate it.
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