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Unusual individual mics for jazz voc 4tet with minimal bleed Condenser Microphones
Old 9th March 2018
  #1
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Nico@SunnySide's Avatar
 

Unusual individual mics for jazz voc 4tet with minimal bleed

Hi,

A nice challenge ahead, ideas and suggestions welcome :

A live-in-studio jazz vocal quartet recording, part of a crossover jazz album.

Said quartet would perform best in same room, with minimal if no acoustic separation planned, with the main sound being picked up either in ORTF pair 1-2 meters away in medium sized woody room, pair of mics will be either Schoeps/KM184 (love ‘em, don’t even think about it)/CM3 or a blumlein Coles 4038 pair.

Difficult part : composer/bandleader wants that live blend, stereo pair recording to bring a realistic natural quartet balance on the record + the possibility of sending each individual voice to separate fx, from reverb/delay to unusual multi-fx chains, with minimal if no bleed at all.....

My first idea was to add supercardioid dynamics ultraclose to each singers’ mouths, and spread them in the room in a square, at equal distance as to benefit from supercardioids pickup pattern with good rejection.

After some thinking, the louder parts might somehow bleed a bit into the other singers’ mics with aforementioned mic types (models available : SM7s, e845s)

The texture of what is sent to fx is not paramount, fx won’t be prominent or in front, thus thought about less usual music recording microphones :

- lavalier (cardioid) mics on each of the singers, might bring more rejection than the bigger handheld, being attached close to the throat, on upper border of shirts

- has anybody here used contact mics yet on vocals? attached to the skin of upper chest? What makes and models?

- throat microphones : have enormous ambient rejection, will probably be lofi due to pretty drastic limited frequency range, not a real drawback though

There won’t be a lot of time to experiment, so I might pick up pairs of lavs, contact mics and throat mics to try out in the following weeks

Any other ideas in the meantime, or experience with aforementioned mics in vocal recordings?

Thanks

Nico
Old 9th March 2018
  #2
Put them in a straight line... Ribbons on each of em. Isolation from left to right will be extreme.
Old 9th March 2018
  #3
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tourtelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajcdrum View Post
Put them in a straight line... Ribbons on each of em. Isolation from left to right will be extreme.
Figure of 8 ribbons I presume? Any Figure of 8s will do this.

Hmm, just thinking. Are ALL ribbons figure of eights by nature? Trying to think of an example that's not. Are Coles figures of 8s? I'm confusing even myself at this point.

D.
Old 9th March 2018
  #4
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Yes, ribbons would be a great choice for cancelling out the sides. The AEA N8 could work very well, it's active (so lower noise), and has a very lovely tone.

Lav mics are generally not very pleasant sounding—too close to represent the voice in a natural way. Even for speech they must be EQ'd to sound natural.

All ribbon's have figure-8 polar pattern by nature but some manufacturers mechanically alter them into hypercardioids, cardioids , supercardioids. Think Beyer M160.

Perhaps Schoeps MK41 could be a good choice as well.
Old 9th March 2018
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brhoward View Post
Yes, ribbons would be a great choice for cancelling out the sides. The AEA N8 could work very well, it's active (so lower noise), and has a very lovely tone.

Lav mics are generally not very pleasant sounding—too close to represent the voice in a natural way. Even for speech they must be EQ'd to sound natural.

All ribbon's have figure-8 polar pattern by nature but some manufacturers mechanically alter them into hypercardioids, cardioids , supercardioids. Think Beyer M160.

Perhaps Schoeps MK41 could be a good choice as well.
all of this (except lavaliers can sound quite well, but they would pick up way too much bleed).

have been using schoeps m/s for mains and mk41 in similar situations; you could use expanders on sends to efx for additional separation
Old 9th March 2018
  #6
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Nico@SunnySide's Avatar
 

Thanks for your replies.

Yes, I thought about ribbons as extras, but am afraid the rear might pick up room reflections or other singers. Unless I put tall gobos with the absorbing side in front of them, might work.

The Beyer M160 might be a good idea, didn’t think of that one.

So lavaliers might be worse regarding bleed? From the limited experience I have with them (only mixed lavalier tracks), it seemed they had pretty great rejection.

Schoeps MK41 sounds interesting, did not try those yet

Yes the texture is not necessarily natural with lavaliers but that is not a big concern

Still interested in opinions about contact mics for vocals, has anybody tried that yet? as well as throat/neck microphones.

Best

Nico
Old 9th March 2018
  #7
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You could give them each a headset mic a la Britney Spears.

Would be close enough to their mouth to reject most other sounds, and head turns, movement, etc would still keep them on mic.

-Mike
Old 10th March 2018
  #8
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Nico@SunnySide's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by celticrogues View Post
You could give them each a headset mic a la Britney Spears.

Would be close enough to their mouth to reject most other sounds, and head turns, movement, etc would still keep them on mic.

-Mike
Hey Mike, thanks, any headset makes/models to look for?
Old 10th March 2018
  #9
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What Mike said...

... and I was thinking specifically about four DPA 4066 double-ear headsets, with some distance between the singers (3ft/1m or so). The mics would be worn with the element on the cheek, as close to the mouth as possible, while eliminating breath/wind noise (i.e., not right at the corner of the mouth... 1/4" back is enough in most instances). 4066 is omni (sounds even more "natural" than the cardioid 4088, IME... and the 4088 is much more susceptible to breath pops due to the cardioid venting) and has a very "neutral" sound. The proximity likely would keep the neighboring singer's bleed to a minimum (informed conjecture... if my math is correct, with 0dB attenuation starting at 1/4" from the source... a secondary source 1" out would be at -6dB to the primary; 4" would be -12dB; 16" would be -18dB, and 3'/1M would be something like -36dB), and, since you'll be in-studio, you could arrange absorptive gobos between singers if more attenuation was necessary. Of course, the only way to truly isolate the singers' tracks from each other is to truly isolate them, whether via separate tracking, or by locking them up in separate iso booths... but there goes your beautiful "natural" stereo image of the four of them.

I've not ever done this exact scenario... but I own and regularly use both 4066 and 4088 headsets, and find them most natural sounding compared to lavalieres (I own Shure WL93, WL184, WL185, and Sennheiser ME2 and MKE-2) and single-ear solutions (Countryman E6 and its ilk).

One main precaution... be very careful, in this instance, of contact noise... beard/stubble, movement against skin, breathing noises. Whatever these little DPA elements "hear" or "feel" will be reproduced with stunning fidelity.


Let us know where you end up...

HB

Last edited by hbphotoav; 10th March 2018 at 09:07 PM..
Old 10th March 2018
  #10
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The DPA headsets sound fantastic, however if you really are only using them for FX sends, they may be overkill.

The Shure WH20QTR is a decent, inexpensive, cardioid headset mic that should work just fine for sending individual vocals to FX.

-Mike
Old 10th March 2018
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by celticrogues View Post
The DPA headsets sound fantastic, however if you really are only using them for FX sends, they may be overkill.

The Shure WH20QTR is a decent, inexpensive, cardioid headset mic that should work just fine for sending individual vocals to FX.

-Mike
... although renting four for the day might not be too bad. No question they'd sound better. In that scenario (FX only, fidelity not paramount) I'd also look at the 4066 clones offered at bodymics.com ...

H
Old 10th March 2018
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hbphotoav View Post
What Mike said...

... and I was thinking specifically about four DPA 4066 double-ear headsets, with some distance between the singers (3ft/1m or so). The mics would be worn with the element on the cheek, as close to the mouth as possible, while eliminating breath/wind noise (i.e., not right at the corner of the mouth... 1/4" back is enough in most instances). 4066 is omni (sounds even more "natural" than the cardioid 4088, IME... and the 4088 is much more susceptible to breath pops due to the cardioid venting) and has a very "neutral" sound. The proximity likely would keep the neighboring singer's bleed to a minimum (informed conjecture... if my math is correct, with 0dB attenuation starting at 1/4" from the source... a secondary source 1" out would be at -6dB to the primary; 4" would be -12dB; 16" would be -18dB, and 3'/1M would be something like -36dB), and, since you'll be in-studio, you could arrange absorptive gobos between singers if more attenuation was necessary. Of course, the only way to truly isolate the singers' tracks from each other is to truly isolate them, whether via separate tracking, or by locking them up in separate iso booths... but there goes your beautiful "natural" stereo image of the four of them.

I've not ever done this exact scenario... but I own and regularly use both 4066 and 4088 headsets, and find them most natural sounding compared to lavalieres (I own Shure WL93, WL184, WL185, and Sennheiser ME2 and MKE-2) and single-ear solutions (Countryman E6 and its ilk).

One main precaution... be very careful, in this instance, of contact noise... beard/stubble, movement against skin, breathing noises. Whatever these little DPA elements "hear" or "feel" will be reproduced with stunning fidelity.


Let us know where you end up...

HB
Hi Harry, thanks for your thoughts on the subject and info, nice. Will make sure no beards show up here or other potential interferences with headsets. Having had quite some feedback on lavaliers now, can be pretty much ruled out for this (although might try one beforehand to get a first hand idea of how (even bad) it sounds, never hurts)

From what I checked, the budget would be quite high for isolated audio to fx send with the 4088. No doubt DPA’s will sound mighty fine though, good to know if I need a decent headset.

There seems to be very little feedback on the web or through colleagues of contact mics for vocals, or neck/throat mics. These throat mics seem to be used a lot by law enforcement/sec/mil.

Couldn’t find any figure on frequency range, directivity or sensitivity.

As both the contacts and the throat mics can be had for a pretty low price, looks like I will order a few to test.

My first idea with contact mics for vocals was this : as the vocal sound also radiates from the chest, that a contact mic might pick some sound...the question here would be to what extent?

I have to insist the quality itself of the audio sent to the fx is not vital, as it won’t be crystal clear fx, not in the forefront, and most often with rhythm section, sometimes horns on top.

In fact the very possibly lofi nature of the individual mics sound might even be beneficial.
But I won’t reject cleaner sounding options gotten here.

It will be a balance between texture and bleed rejection, or plainly how good it will sound for the purpose at hand.

Best

Nico
Old 10th March 2018
  #13
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Nico@SunnySide's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by celticrogues View Post
The DPA headsets sound fantastic, however if you really are only using them for FX sends, they may be overkill.

The Shure WH20QTR is a decent, inexpensive, cardioid headset mic that should work just fine for sending individual vocals to FX.

-Mike

Thanks Mike, indeed looks more sensible to buy

Although Harry’s idea of renting makes sense
Old 10th March 2018
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
From what I checked, the budget would be quite high for isolated audio to fx send with the 4088. No doubt DPA’s will sound mighty fine though, good to know if I need a decent headset.

... There seems to be very little feedback on the web or through colleagues of contact mics for vocals, or neck/throat mics. These throat mics seem to be used a lot by law enforcement/sec/mil...


...It will be a balance between texture and bleed rejection, or plainly how good it will sound for the purpose at hand.

Best

Nico
One other thing... One of the reasons the DPA (and the like) are so expensive is for the preamp-in-a-XLRM-connector (like the DAD6001 and DAD4099, about $115.00 each). Rental (with the MicroDot XLR adapter) should be on the order of $35-$50/day, each.

When I use cheap headsets (plays, mainly, and youth events at the churches I work) they are inevitably put through transmitter packs. I'm fairly certain there would need to be an adapter bought or built to get the BodyMic offerings ($55 for the omni) powered through a P48 line and an adapter. I need to research that before recommending that "cheap" route again, if transmitters are not involved.

That said, the mics actually sound pretty good. I currently run two through Sennheiser EW100 systems at the morning service I usually mix on Sunday. A touch of EQ and no complaints over the past year.

And I know nothing of "throat mics"...

HB

Last edited by hbphotoav; 10th March 2018 at 11:55 PM.. Reason: ... additional info...
Old 11th March 2018
  #15
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Nico@SunnySide's Avatar
 

Thanks Harry and Mike for the Bodymics suggestion. Having a look at them right now
Old 11th March 2018
  #16
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First things first: I assume this is not an acappella project and a band of some sort will be accompanying the quartet. Will the total ensemble be recorded live or will a pre-recorded tracks be used to cue the quartet. !. If an all live one shot recording is in play rent 4 SM7Bs and have the singers eat them. 2. If cued tracks are to be used, have the lead singer wear the head phones and for the other three it should be just another day at the office: in this event I would rent the best tube 47ish reproductions (Flea47next, etc etc) and put them in card pattern with the singers in a circle facing each other. As a gospel singer I have done this and it is a lot of fun and we have produced some very good recordings.
Hugh
Old 11th March 2018
  #17
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Nico@SunnySide's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
First things first: I assume this is not an acappella project and a band of some sort will be accompanying the quartet. Will the total ensemble be recorded live or will a pre-recorded tracks be used to cue the quartet. !. If an all live one shot recording is in play rent 4 SM7Bs and have the singers eat them. 2. If cued tracks are to be used, have the lead singer wear the head phones and for the other three it should be just another day at the office: in this event I would rent the best tube 47ish reproductions (Flea47next, etc etc) and put them in card pattern with the singers in a circle facing each other. As a gospel singer I have done this and it is a lot of fun and we have produced some very good recordings.
Hugh
Thanks Hugh for your ideas, will be as follows : drums overdubs on demotracks, later bass/double bass, later Fender Rhodes. Then the vocal quartet,which won’t be lead - lead will be bassclarinet/fluegelhorn and horns that are being recorded at home of the composer - will add their parts, with cued tracks.

Yes, I thought about SM7’s initially, but as you say, it will pretty much only work great if the singers mouths are glued to the mic, which might impact the performance if they have to remain static around the mic.

Hence the ideas for glue on/clip on/ smaller mics that still offer some comfort of movement with a constant on axis pickup

Best

Nico
Old 13th March 2018
  #18
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i'd rather go with all handheld mics than with headworn mini-mics: unless singers don't move at all (which is hardly the case), the position of headworn mics still varies. not all fit heads well and they are suspect to changing their sound from dull to nasal or the plosives are getting very loud; also, there is constant hassle with singers wearing glasses, earrings, beards etc. - there are so many more options to choose from when using handheld mics (or any other mics on stands).

i try avoiding headworn mics whenever i can! (and if i'm forced into using them, i prefer sanken mostly over dpa.

different take on the same topic...


p.s. re-reading all posts, i'm wondering whether you really want/need that much separation between individual mics - it's a quartett so you're not doing punch-ins individually i assume?!

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 13th March 2018 at 01:08 PM.. Reason: p.s. added
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