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Wanted: Opinions on High-End Live Vocal Mic for Female Condenser Microphones
Old 15th March 2010
Here for the gear

Wanted: Opinions on High-End Live Vocal Mic for Female

I won't bore you with trying to describe her voice. Check out an unmastered cut of a new track at:

SXSW: Sahara Smith

Some older recordings at:

Sahara Smith on MySpace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Videos

Note that the artist has a SOFT voice.

High-End Artist working with High-End Producer (T-Bone Burnett), plans on touring soon and would like to have a personal High-End Mic for stage performances. Think mostly Medium to Large venues.


Price is a factor, but a small one. I am looking for High-End gear, and expect to pay for it.

Thanks in advance for helping me to find the right gear!

Old 16th March 2010
Lives for gear
dubrichie's Avatar
Neumann KMS-105.

if it's good enough for Annie Lennox...
Old 16th March 2010
Lives for gear

You should really be asking your front of house mix engineer. It's he/she who is going to have to deal with the mic.

From my experience, the Neumann suffers from a little bit more handling noise than most mics. If you have a soft singer then more gain will need to be applied which will amplify that issue.

imho... a Beta 58 or 87 will more than do the job.
Old 16th March 2010
member no 666
Fletcher's Avatar
Originally Posted by musikwerks View Post
You should really be asking your front of house mix engineer.

Maybe try out a few at tour rehearsals and have the artist, along with the FOH / Monitor engineer figure out which tool will best suit the artist.

You'll also probably want to look at wireless unless you have a feeling that she will be a perennial club act [medium to large venues pretty much dictate "wireless" at this point though there are additional options that can / will fit on a variety of transmitters].

Best of luck with the search!!

Old 16th March 2010
Gear Addict
GotGear?'s Avatar
MD-441 or MD-431 dynamics.
Old 16th March 2010
Lives for gear
Bubbakron's Avatar

I did not like the neumann kms-105- I sold mine. For a female, it can really boost the mids and highs. I use a Blue Dragonfly Deluxe- it does not feedback and sounds amazing. Blue/telefunken has these new high end dynamic stage mics that look very cool, I have not tried them. You really need to hear her on them, that is the only way. You will know immediatley which is the best cause they are all so different.

She has a forward voice, a good dynamic might allow her plenty of gain and a chance to get loud with herself. A condenser might be too much. IMO
Old 16th March 2010
Gear Nut

I agree with the Neumann suggestion, but have a look at the Shure KSM-109 too. Less prone to picking up stage bleed in my experience.
Old 16th March 2010
Gear Maniac

Like said before: I'm afraid it is depending on her voice.
Good options are:
- Neumann KMS105, can be a little sharp or sibilant.
- Neumann KMS 150, round and clear, more subtle on the esses, but it's doesn't work in loud stage environments so well.
- AKG C535, a mic I sometimes use if the Neumann 105 is too sharp or sibilant.

Good luck!
Old 16th March 2010
Lives for gear

I'd recommend you line up a session with the artist where she can test a bunch of mics through a good live monitor wedge AND in headphones, possibly in a rehearsal room, maybe a retail environment.

You're looking for 2 categories of handheld mics :

1. Handheld condensers :
In which the Neumann KSM 105, Shure Beta 87, Rode S1, and a few different models by Sennheiser and Audio Technica are all worth consideration. If the artist has sibilance issues then these are probably not the best choice.

2. Handheld dynamic hypercardiods
In which various models by Audix (OM5 comes highly recommended) and some of the Sennheiser E900 series of mics are all good choices. I understand Audio Technica and other companies have various models that high profile artists have used.

A hypercardiod pattern is what is most desirable here, as it will provide the most gain before feedback. She will however need to like the sound of it.

You should make a shortlist based on the favourite, second, etc.

If you have found either a FOH or monitor engineer who you are bringing on board to work with the artist on a regular basis, they should have a say on the final choice of mic as well. Otherwise check your final choices with a reputable live sound engineer before buying.

Based on that, you should make a successful and informed choice. thumbsup

BTW, I still tour and do a lot of live work.

Regards RA
Old 16th March 2010
Gear Maniac

You might enjoy the Schoeps CMH 64 - it is the handheld version of the CMC6/MK4, designed for live applications. I have one (albeit with an omni capsule designed for live applications) and I found it more to my liking than all of the other previously-listed microphones. It's expensive though - perhaps disproportionately so, but worth a try.
Old 16th March 2010
Lives for gear

another vote for the Neumann KMS-105.
Old 16th March 2010
member no 666
Fletcher's Avatar
Originally Posted by sean.svs View Post
Think mostly Medium to Large venues.
Perhaps this should be clarified.

I think of "medium" as 3-5000 "soft seats"... and "large" as basketball arenas to football stadiums.

Anyway you spell it, those venues pretty much dictate wireless. Maybe the "soft seats" don't, but arenas and stadiums definitely do.

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