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Live Mic Dynamic Microphones
Old 22nd November 2016
  #1
Live Mic

Gang,
Can you help me understand the differences between some mics?

First, let me say that I have sung best on an SM58. Beta's seem to be scooped in such a way that it makes it hard for me to hear pitch. I had (10+ years ago) a CAD hand held condenser. It was great but wasn't road worthy.

That explained, I'm wondering if I would be well served with an upgrade. I am considering:

Tele M80
Sure SM7
EV RE20

I hope for a round sound, less proximity effect and buildup, as well as greater clarity and cut - without harshness.

Here is my voice in the studio, not a fantastic mix - some harshness but you probably can get the idea of my range and tone.


What do you think?
Old 23rd November 2016
  #2
Lives for gear
 

The RE20 is not feasible for handheld use, nor is it really designed to reject monitors especially well. Its primary use is as a broadcast mic. I can't comment to how it works on stage since I've never seen anyone try it.

The SM57 is believed to have the same capsule as an SM58, though there are many differences due to the lack of grill. Generally not considered a good idea for live vocals.

The Telefunken M80 has a very good reputation, I've never had the pleasure.

If you exercise mic control with an SM58 and haven't had regular feedback issues then you should probably stay with a cardioid response pattern. On the cheap there's the Electro-Voice Co9, currently on sale at MF/GC for $30, seemed reasonably tough to me, worked much like an SM58 just nicer. I find Sennheiser 835's lend an aggressive sound to male vocals, if that's something that interests you. Most folks whose vocal style depends on cardioid pattern don't give up their SM58's simply because they're so bulletproof.
Old 23rd November 2016
  #3
Lives for gear
The Shure KSM-8 is in the direction you seem to want to go. It's a Shure dynamic it's a handheld cardioid, and it has much less proximity effect than the usual suspects. It also has a flatter response that gives a little less "high nose" than the 58. It might be the real replacement/upgrade for the SM58. I agree with you that there is something not to like in the Beta. Yes, it has more feedback rejection, but there is something "off" about the Beta, at least to my ear.
Almost bought a KSM-8 but got distracted after researching it. I've heard them a lot on live broadcasts, but haven't used one. It's pricey for a dynamic, but you can't let green paper get between you and your next mic!
Old 23rd November 2016
  #4
Yes, I said handheld but being primarily a guitar player, it is always on a stand.

Sorry for the confusion
Old 23rd November 2016
  #5
Lives for gear
The RE20 and the SM7 might work soundwise for you, but they are dstractingly large, oddly shaped, and scream "look at me!" The audience shouldn't pay much attention to the mic, they should see the performer.
Also, realize that the KSM-8 is a new design introduced this year(or maybe last year) to address almost exactly your concerns. The SM7 and the RE20 were designed fifty years ago as radio mics, specifically not to be seen, and also with no idea that they might be used on a loud stage. They both predate the introduction of stage monitors, for example. They are very good mics in the same way that the SM58 is a good mic, but replacing one 1960s dynamic with another 1960s dynamic may not be much of a change, except to make you look quirky.
Old 23rd November 2016
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Roland's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heartfelt View Post
Gang,
Can you help me understand the differences between some mics?

First, let me say that I have sung best on an SM58. Beta's seem to be scooped in such a way that it makes it hard for me to hear pitch. I had (10+ years ago) a CAD hand held condenser. It was great but wasn't road worthy.

That explained, I'm wondering if I would be well served with an upgrade. I am considering:

Tele M80
Sure SM7
EV RE20

I hope for a round sound, less proximity effect and buildup, as well as greater clarity and cut - without harshness.

Here is my voice in the studio, not a fantastic mix - some harshness but you probably can get the idea of my range and tone.


What do you think?
Forget your list for the reason other have mentioned here, but I would recommend that you try (depending on your budget), the following and go with what works for you.

Beta 58
Sennheiser 835
Sennheiser 865
Shure KSM8
Telefunken M80
Beyer M88
AKG 535
Shure KSM9
Audix OM7 (I'm not a fan, but they do have a following)
Neumann KM105/104 (not suitable for you if you are playing with a band like your tape.)

In that list, there is something for pretty much any singer, but prices vary from about £100 to over £500, some are condensors. Check these out and then make you call.
Old 24th November 2016
  #7
Thanks everyone.

Roland,
After posting, I found some comparisons and have been looking at a lot of what you suggested. Thanks a bunch. I had not heard about the KSM8 though. I've been leaning towards the M80 in that it seems to have some life to it on the top end, is full in the low end, and avoids excessive proximity effect. I will check into the KSM8 as well.

I was thinking about the SM7B and RE20 originally as I have seen some live recordings where they use it and I know they can be used in many different applications - they could get me beyond an SM58's ability live, and add something to the studio arsenal as well. Was just a thought - perhaps not the right direction. Bushman made some good points.

Any other thoughts?

Last edited by Heartfelt; 24th November 2016 at 06:35 AM..
Old 24th November 2016
  #8
Lives for gear
The sm7 and re20 are studio dynamic microphones rather than live microphones. The sm7 has a reputation for being a gain hog which requires top quality preamps to work well.

Based on your requirements for, less proximity effect + greater clarity and cut I suggest that you should look at some hand held condenser microphones. These microphones are a little more sensitive to feedback however so not great if your in front of a loud band.

I like Audix microphones. You should consider an Audix VX-5 which is a good quality hand held condenser microphone. It has less proximity effect than a dynamic microphone and cuts through well while still being smooth. There are Shure and Sennheiser hand held condenser microphones to consider as well.

Another dynamic microphone to consider is the Audix OM series. The OM7 is not for you even though everyone always recommends them. The OM7 is a LOW gain microphone designed specifically for HIGH end consoles. OM2's, 3's and 5's are worth considering. I find they have a very smooth, realistic response.

Anthony
Old 24th November 2016
  #9
Lives for gear
 

The RE20 can be an outstanding live vocal stage mic for a guitar player however the limiting factor is back line deployment. In the event you are dealing with hot amps behind your stage placement I recommend Audio Technica's AE4100. It is a hand held dynamic with a much more even sonic capture than the ubiquitous SM58. The idea that an RE20 would be a visual problem for live performance is not IMO relevant. I worked three of them live in Bluegrass during the 80s with great success and for the record, for videos, an SM58 that has to be stuck in the singers teeth to work well is much more distracting. The RE20 is the best mic for transparent sonic capture for anything remotely close to it's price range. It is now and has been for more than 40 years an outstanding value and there are many sonic reasons you will find them in most every professional broadcast application every where in this country.
Hugh
Old 24th November 2016
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AC2SPL View Post
The RE20 is not feasible for handheld use, nor is it really designed to reject monitors especially well. Its primary use is as a broadcast mic. I can't comment to how it works on stage since I've never seen anyone try it.

The SM57 is believed to have the same capsule as an SM58, though there are many differences due to the lack of grill. Generally not considered a good idea for live vocals.
The RE20 has many applications on stage, though I haven't seen one used on vocals, probably mainly for its ungainly form factor. It lives happily with monitors, and is outstanding on brass and saxes . . . IMO even better than the 421. I have a video of Kool & the Gang performing in Germany in the early '80s, and the stage is just littered with RE20s (and of course the brass sounds fantastic). I use one as my first choice on the kick, but if I had a second one I'd certainly find frequent application for it.

I have seen a '57 used for live vocals (Tom Petty comes to mind), though admittedly rarely . . . and I'd say it's worth a try as everybody always seems to have at least one.

My go-to for a "smoother, more natural" alternative to the SM58 is the Sennheiser e935 . . . though I really think it trades off some "cut" to get there, and so I've been happier with it on backing vocals . . . and still, they remain my least-used vocal mics. I also have some '58s with the TAB-Funkenwerk transformer installed, and while it's not a dramatic difference, it keeps all of the '58's qualities intact while smoothing it out a bit.

For the "greater clarity and cut" I'm usually reaching for a Beta '58 . . . and I'll admit I like it better most seem to on this forum. I do have a good pile of them (maybe 10?) in both Beta 58 and 58A incarnations, in varying age and level of abuse. They're definitely not all the same, and I do keep track of which are the brightest or warmest of the bunch and swap accordingly. SM58s also vary across the years, so keep this in mind if you feel like you're pretty close with your existing setup.

I do think it's important to always evaluate your choice of mic in context with how it makes your voice sit in the mix, and not just pleasing on a solo'd track. This is sometimes a difficult mental game as a lead vocalist, where you may need to separate the evaluation process from the aural cues you use to achieve your tone, expression, and energy in performing.
Old 24th November 2016
  #11
Lives for gear
+1 to this

[QUOTE=Roland;12272877]Forget your list for the reason other have mentioned here, but I would recommend that you try (depending on your budget), the following and go with what works for you.

Beta 58
Sennheiser 835
Sennheiser 865
Shure KSM8
Telefunken M80
Beyer M88
AKG 535
Shure KSM9
Audix OM7
Neumann KM105/104
Old 25th November 2016
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Sennheiser md 441 - unbeatable
Old 27th November 2016
  #13
Lives for gear
KSM 8 if you have feedback issues and want to control with proximity
KSM 9 changes feedback to directional rather than proximity
KMS 105 for the Neumann flavor of KSM 9
MD431 is also right for some.
B87A can also be good. very directional
Old 28th November 2016
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Aisle 6's Avatar
Roland's suggestions are very good, although I may tweak that list a little. Instead of the Sennheiser 8xx models maybe try the Sennheiser 9xx models.

Sennheiser 935
Sennheiser 945

Also, I would try the Telefunken M81. I had a singer who required a little more controlled low end as his voice was super smooth although upper mid focussed. I found the M81 a little better than the M80 on him as the M81 is flatter and takes EQ a little better.

Anyway, just a variant on a couple of Roland's suggestions.
Old 28th November 2016
  #15
Gear Nut
The DPA d:facto (especially with linear capsule) is arguably the best condenser option by far if you want to go that route. The KSM9 is kinda harsh, the KMS105 has a lot of proximity effect tbh.

The M80 (more niche, present) & KSM8 (very natural) sound like very smooth choices. Some of the Audix stuff might be good, I believe they're designed to reduce proximity build up
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