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Switching to Condenser, Need Advice
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Switching to Condenser, Need Advice

Hey All,

My band has been really adamant about reducing stage volume lately, we've all switched over to Helixes, DI bass, and IEMs, and the resulting separation + clarity has been amazing, really loving life buuut...

I am no longer super enthused with a beta58a in this sitch for lead vocals, I feel like I'm missing some throat resonance in the response -- we are mixing up our stage plot so that drums are going sidestage and with not much else making stage noise I thought it might be a good time to look into a condenser to take care of the leads.

In the studio world I've always sang into a plethora of neumanns until a recent session where the engineer put a cardoid bock ela-m clone in front of me and I absolutely fell in love.

I know I'm never going to have that amazing of tone in front of me onstage but does anyone have any recs for something that can at least mimic that type of frequency response where it is maybe a bit wider band on an 8k push and it catches the throaty parts of the voice a bit more clearly? Been looking at the AKG 636, shure ksm9, and senneheiser e965 based on demo vids I've seen but I'd love to hear from people that have worked with them!
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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there is absolutely nothing which could indicate which mic you might like for your voice, not even whether it's gotta be a condenser or not.

most condensers are more sensitive than dynamics (and hence mostly require less gain; depends on mic output and mic pre impedance though) and allow/require a somewhat different mic technique - but that's pretty much all one can say; i wouldn't rely much on fr graphs either.

and you're sure it's the mic and not your monitoring path? mic pre, filters, dynamics, efx, mix levels, inears or wedges and if the latter: filters/processing, level, speaker design, positioning etc.

but hey, nothing stops you from using a 'studio mic' live! in fact, there are plenty of good reasons to go this way...
...and possibly an equal amount of reasons for certainly not going that way :-)
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Gear Addict
 

Compared to the beta58 the Senn e935 has lots of body and what (I think) you're referring to as "throat" sound. Handy pickup pattern and dynamic robustness.

Consider a pop shield if you get really close.

Re. Dyn vs Cndnsr:

My experience with condensers onstage is that their response is less predictable from stage to stage and the finer detail of articulation doesn't really carry across to the audience enough to justify associated issues.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shufflebeat View Post
Compared to the beta58 the Senn e935 has lots of body and what (I think) you're referring to as "throat" sound. Handy pickup pattern and dynamic robustness.

Consider a pop shield if you get really close.

Re. Dyn vs Cndnsr:

My experience with condensers onstage is that their response is less predictable from stage to stage and the finer detail of articulation doesn't really carry across to the audience enough to justify associated issues.
From what I've found, pop shields only work well a good distance away from the mic, like 4-5 inches. This doesn't make sense for a live setting where you want to be close to the mic to minimize bleed/feedback, etc.

to my ears, the KSM-105 has the clearest, throatiest(is that a term, HAHAHA) mid range out of the 10 live condenser mics I've used, but it can also get muddy when stage volume pics up.

So, beg, barrow, don't steal but rent a mic to see of you like it. Only way to tell is to demo it in real world conditions. Not just with you.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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You should try to test as many different microphones as possible for yourself first and then come back with specific questions if you still need help, a big part of the decision making process will be you liking a particular microphone or not. You should also keep in mind that you can get this level of detail with some dynamics too, you're not limited to condenser microphones.

The other thing to note is that condensers can, and are used on loud stages...
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DownTheLine View Post
From what I've found, pop shields only work well a good distance away from the mic, like 4-5 inches. This doesn't make sense for a live setting where you want to be close to the mic to minimize bleed/feedback, etc.
In this case the pop shield I'm suggesting is the "spongey condom" variety, not the studio version you refer to, that would be weird.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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edva's Avatar
Try a Miktek PM9.
It's not a condenser. (That's a good thing.)
IMHO. Good luck.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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KSM8. Has a very large sweet spot. The vocal will not change in level if the singer moves around a bunch. Easy to use. Shure's 50 year update to the SM58

If you really want a condenser, the KMS9 and Neumann 105 are both great.

Live I think your better off with a Dynamic unless the stages are very large.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shufflebeat View Post
In this case the pop shield I'm suggesting is the "spongey condom" variety, not the studio version you refer to, that would be weird.
OK, those are called windscreens. Also germ screens, HAHAHA.

https://blog.audio-technica.com/audi...-a-pop-filter/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCtzkaL2t_Y

A windscreen will protect mics used outdoors from low frequency noise caused by wind, like the foam ones and makeshift panty hose they used on the Beatles rooftop concert.

A pop filter will do nothing for wind noise however a windscreen will help with plosives.

It's important to remove wind noise before the signal gets to the mixer. Mics with built in HPF are great for this.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DownTheLine View Post
OK, those are called windscreens. Also germ screens, HAHAHA.
They are also called pop screens or pop filters and they will reduce wind noise when used outdoors or reduce pops and sibilance if/when necessary. A pop (or 'plosive') is a sudden burst of air from the singers mouth which can happen when making "P" sounds.

Quote:
A windscreen will protect mics used outdoors from low frequency noise caused by wind, like the foam ones and makeshift panty hose they used on the Beatles rooftop concert.
They will reduce wind noise in general, not just the low frequency content and as stated above, they will also reduce pops and sibilance from the singers mouth as well.

Quote:
A pop filter will do nothing for wind noise however a windscreen will help with plosives.
A hoop type, pop filter, pop shield or pop screen is used in a studio to reduce or eliminate popping sounds and sibilance caused by the air on the microphone during speech and singing. Its not used to protect against wind noise because it's not used outdoors. They're also not used on hand-held microphones because they would look and feel very silly and awkward.

If you do not have a problem with plosives or sibilance you shouldn't need a screen regardless of the type of mic you're using, you can have pop sounds when using dynamics too.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DownTheLine View Post
OK, those are called windscreens. Also germ screens, HAHAHA.
In the UK, at least for the last 35 years of my adulthood I've never heard anyone refer to either the spongey condom or the studio "stocking in a hoop" as anything other than a pop shield. Other names exist, of course, and I recognise all the one you mention, but nobody uses them, with the possible exception of BBC trained (proper) sound engineers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
If you do not have a problem with plosives or sibilance you shouldn't need a screen regardless of the type of mic you're using, you can have pop sounds when using dynamics too.
For my own music I swapped to the e935 almost a year ago (during the price drop of course, cheapskate) and found that, while it was apparently fine in FOH there was a definite issue with IEMs. I confirmed.this with the vocalist in a band I do the sound for, he has the same mic and different IEMs. I chose to use a pop shield, he said it didn't bother him.

I've never had an issue with any other dynamic, except unexpectedly, the OM-7, also only in IEMs.

Everyone happy.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shufflebeat View Post
In the UK, at least for the last 35 years of my adulthood I've never heard anyone refer to either the spongey condom or the studio "stocking in a hoop" as anything other than a pop shield. Other names exist, of course, and I recognise all the one you mention, but nobody uses them, with the possible exception of BBC trained (proper) sound engineers.
Even the BBC guys call them pop shields because it's what they do...the foam "condom" is also used as a wind shield on stage, something the pantyhose hoop thing can't do under any circumstance.

Quote:
For my own music I swapped to the e935 almost a year ago (during the price drop of course, cheapskate) and found that, while it was apparently fine in FOH there was a definite issue with IEMs. I confirmed.this with the vocalist in a band I do the sound for, he has the same mic and different IEMs. I chose to use a pop shield, he said it didn't bother him.

I've never had an issue with any other dynamic, except unexpectedly, the OM-7, also only in IEMs.
So the problem is not unique to condensers, have you had this problem with other condensers, could this be because both these microphones have a similar sound?
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
So the problem is not unique to condensers, have you had this problem with other condensers, could this be because both these microphones have a similar sound?
That would be my conclusion. I've used an EV re410 (I think I'm right about the model # but not in a position to check) and an Audix VX5 but chose not to use them regularly for reasons not relevant to this thread. The "fuller" nature of their bottom end is similar to the e935, which I find less detailed but much more musically useful in a live situation. The greater low frequency energy is what caused the problem in the IEM but to EQ it out in the IEM signal lost some of the usefulness of the sound. The pop shield solved the problem without compromising either the IEM or FOH sound.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shufflebeat View Post
That would be my conclusion. I've used an EV re410 (I think I'm right about the model # but not in a position to check) and an Audix VX5 but chose not to use them regularly for reasons not relevant to this thread. The "fuller" nature of their bottom end is similar to the e935, which I find less detailed but much more musically useful in a live situation. The greater low frequency energy is what caused the problem in the IEM but to EQ it out in the IEM signal lost some of the usefulness of the sound. The pop shield solved the problem without compromising either the IEM or FOH sound.
I've run into problems to using condensers with IEM's, more so it has been with musician during soundcheck when the venue is empty, or when I need to turn down FOH for some reason while they are warming up.

5 open condensers on vocals are gonna pick up the room sound/environment a lot until the place fills with people, until then I would hear "my IEMs don't sound right".
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DownTheLine View Post
I've run into problems to using condensers with IEM's, more so it has been with musician during soundcheck when the venue is empty, or when I need to turn down FOH for some reason while they are warming up.

5 open condensers on vocals are gonna pick up the room sound/environment a lot until the place fills with people, until then I would hear "my IEMs don't sound right".
Is this a condenser mic problem or is this something else? All my vocals (3), guitar mics (2), horn mics (2), plus 5 condensers on drums and I don’t have these problems. Could it be the specific microphones you’re using?
Old 6 days ago
  #16
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imo this reflects the typical difference between dynamic and condenser mics - some folks find it easier to work with dynamic mics, others prefer the accuracy of condenser mics and some people use a mix of both or switch between the two.

i can imagine that if someone is switching from dynamic to condenser mics experiences a significant difference at first and may not necessarily like the condensers detailed 'picture' much; chances are though that sooner or later one learns to like their sound...
Old 6 days ago
  #17
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
Is this a condenser mic problem or is this something else? All my vocals (3), guitar mics (2), horn mics (2), plus 5 condensers on drums and I don’t have these problems. Could it be the specific microphones you’re using?

This was a particular church gathering where the room was super live and kind of harsh sounding.

When the room was half-full and FOH up at level the in ears sounded OK.

When the room empty or FOH was low (at the once a month event the band would practice while dinner was served in the same room, with divider screens between eating area and stage) the in ear sound would change drastically.

They were all using Behringer p-16 IEM set ups. I swear for all the good the IEM do they can cause just as much trouble for a small sound team.

Funny thing is, when other churches came in to use the building and brought all beta-58's things sounded so much warmer than with the condensers!

With the church building empty every condenser that we used picked up ALL the room noise and they picked up HVAC, subwoofer rattles from the stage, projector fan hum. What a nightmare it was dealing with all that noise.



I wonder if it's easier to work with pro musicians or if the issues just shift.
Old 6 days ago
  #18
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Next time try to keep your mic gain lower and push up the faders more instead and see if this changes things.
Old 6 days ago
  #19
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
Next time try to keep your mic gain lower and push up the faders more instead and see if this changes things.
Would you please explain this?
Old 6 days ago
  #20
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GreenNeedle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gfa916 View Post
Would you please explain this?
Yes please, explain this logic.
Old 6 days ago
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenNeedle View Post
Yes please, explain this logic.
I'm not sure if this is what SAMC is getting at but the way I've had it shown to me this.

Even though channel faders have a "0" level that is say, 15db below max, it isn't "really" unity, that is same in level in as out. there is even much debate on what unity means!

SAMC is also right that part of this issue was pushing the gains too high on the mixer. This had to be done because in this case the IEM, Behringer 16 channel input module, IEM's, was being driven off a half-plugged in insert jack for makeshift direct outs.

This meant that to get the extra level needed for IEMs to work each channel gain was 6db hotter than it needed to be for FOH. So, back to the issue, Pushing cheaper mixing board MIC pres to hard will often create a bad, harsh, brittle, etc sound. Combine this bad sound and harsh Mic Pre issue with condensers that have A LOT more high end information and now you have a big mess.

The sad part was that the board, a presonus SL has db-25 balanced direct outs! I tried for half a year to get them to invest $200 to fix this issue but they wouldn't listen.

Back to the other part. Since a channel fader is just an attenuator, running the faders "hot" should not color the sound/add any new distortion compared to running the channel Gains up higher than optimum/clean.

at least that's my theory.
Old 6 days ago
  #22
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GreenNeedle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DownTheLine View Post
I'm not sure if this is what SAMC is getting at but the way I've had it shown to me this.

Even though channel faders have a "0" level that is say, 15db below max, it isn't "really" unity, that is same in level in as out. there is even much debate on what unity means!

SAMC is also right that part of this issue was pushing the gains too high on the mixer. This had to be done because in this case the IEM, Behringer 16 channel input module, IEM's, was being driven off a half-plugged in insert jack for makeshift direct outs.

This meant that to get the extra level needed for IEMs to work each channel gain was 6db hotter than it needed to be for FOH. So, back to the issue, Pushing cheaper mixing board MIC pres to hard will often create a bad, harsh, brittle, etc sound. Combine this bad sound and harsh Mic Pre issue with condensers that have A LOT more high end information and now you have a big mess.

The sad part was that the board, a presonus SL has db-25 balanced direct outs! I tried for half a year to get them to invest $200 to fix this issue but they wouldn't listen.

Back to the other part. Since a channel fader is just an attenuator, running the faders "hot" should not color the sound/add any new distortion compared to running the channel Gains up higher than optimum/clean.

at least that's my theory.
I’m still not seeing the logic in Sam’s suggestion.
Old 6 days ago
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gfa916 View Post
Would you please explain this?
Less mic gain and more volume to compensate. Condensers are generally more sensitive and clearer than dynamic mics and therefore they “hear more”. Techs who are not used to working with condensers tend to gain-up the mics too much and then coming lain about the sound.

Mic gain and channel volume are not the same thing and they do not sound the same.
Old 6 days ago
  #24
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GreenNeedle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
Less mic gain and more volume to compensate. Condensers are generally more sensitive and clearer than dynamic mics and therefore they “hear more”. Techs who are not used to working with condensers tend to gain-up the mics too much and then coming lain about the sound.

Mic gain and channel volume are not the same thing and they do not sound the same.
Explain how and why they are different and how it changes the situation.
Old 6 days ago
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenNeedle View Post
I’m still not seeing the logic in Sam’s suggestion.
You could go try it for yourself you know.
Old 6 days ago
  #26
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GreenNeedle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
You could go try it for yourself you know.
At this point I don’t think you understand how a channel strip works Sam.
Old 6 days ago
  #27
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Not even you believe that....
Old 5 days ago
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
Less mic gain and more volume to compensate. Condensers are generally more sensitive and clearer than dynamic mics and therefore they “hear more”. Techs who are not used to working with condensers tend to gain-up the mics too much and then coming lain about the sound.

Mic gain and channel volume are not the same thing and they do not sound the same.
I don't know enough to have an opinion or theory, and can't readily test it out. I'm just trying to learn here. Assuming nothing is being pushed to excess, what's the difference between using more mic gain and less amplifier, vs. the reverse? At the same SPL, what difference would one expect to hear? Thank you.
Old 5 days ago
  #29
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GreenNeedle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
Not even you believe that....
Questions are yet be answered.
Old 5 days ago
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gfa916 View Post
I don't know enough to have an opinion or theory, and can't readily test it out. I'm just trying to learn here. Assuming nothing is being pushed to excess, what's the difference between using more mic gain and less amplifier, vs. the reverse? At the same SPL, what difference would one expect to hear? Thank you.
There is a lot of info about this on the net and not understanding the concepts of gain and volume is one of the main reasons people get gain staging wrong. The principle is the same for a console and a guitar amp. I’m literally at a festival in the Sardinian countryside at the moment and my connection is as slow as molasses, but here’s a start, lots more to dig into on the net.

https://www.musicianonamission.com/gain-vs-volume/

http://blog.sonicbids.com/the-critic...ain-and-volume
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