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Handheld Vocal Mics Dynamic Microphones
Old 17th August 2008
  #1
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Talking Handheld Vocal Mics

I'm thinking of upgrading my handheld vocal mics for live gigs... Obviously many singers have a mic of choice and that is something that from a recording standpoint needs to be accepted and dealt with. However, many don't necessarily have those preferences.

I currently own a couple C535 EB and I also have used Beyer M88s which have worked well. However, recently I've been on other gigs where I've used KSM9, Audio Technica Artist Elite 5400, Neumann KMS 105, Audix and others.

I've been impressed with all of them for certain reasons and none of them for other reasons. Trying to figure out what would be a good all-purpose set of mics for me to purchase 4 of them or so. The thing is that it has to work with Artist riders and recordings.

What have you remotesters found is popular out there these days? I'm kind of leaning towards the Audio Technicas, but I'm not sure how they'll be accepted by the rest of the world...

--Ben
Old 17th August 2008
  #2
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

Smile

The Neumann KMS 104 and 105 are popular as top line mics.

Sennheiser have just bought out a condenser switchable pattern (cardioid / super-cardioid) stage vocal mic. (e965) that may be worth a listen.

Last edited by John Willett; 28th August 2008 at 09:47 AM.. Reason: Spelling
Old 17th August 2008
  #3
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swafford's Avatar
 

Check out the new Heil Pr22 and 35.
Old 18th August 2008
  #4
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Chris Wilson's Avatar
For live vocals, I've had pretty good luck with the Sure Beta 86. The Neumann KMS 104 is WAY too sensitive to be practical on a live stage and has an almost debilitating 200hZ spike.
Old 18th August 2008
  #5
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Ben, it sounds like you're looking for some high end condensors. The ones you have listed are all great but may not always be the right mic for the job. Putting a 105 on a small and loud stage could be a problem. I would rather have a really good set of dynamic vocal mics and add a couple of high end condensors. I was an avid user of the Sennheiser Evolution series until I tried the Audix OM line and now use OM5's and OM7's almost exclusively. I have a pair of VX5's that sound great, but only in the right environment.

As far as artist riders go, the rock bands are going to want 58's. If you can talk them into using something different (Audix OM's, Sennheiser e900's, etc.) then you will probably convert the artist and/or engineer. Other genres will probably be thrilled to see a KMS105, and the KSM9 is gaining much popularity and respect (I still haven't tried it personally).
Old 18th August 2008
  #6
Lives for gear
 

I work with a pretty wide range of stuff... What I get has to work across a wide range of genres. I have always figured that the generic stuff is already at the venue. If a band spec's SM58's, there is no need for me to own those. They come with the venue/PA. What I need are quality dynamics and/or quality condensers.

The jazz clients and the singer/songwriters will probably jump at the opportunity for a good condenser- at least for the lead vocals. I've used M88's and Beta 87s for loud groups and the tight patterns on both help enormously with the whole feedback issue with monitors. I'd love a bunch of Beyer M500 mics, but the cable runs in most live situations negate that as an acceptable possibility. I've liked the Audix mics when I've used them in the past, but it has been awhile since I've used them and I don't know what else is out there.

I've heard of Heil, but I don't have any experience with them. I'll have to see if I can find one to demo on one of these gigs...

Just trying to decide where the best place to spend my money is...

--Ben
Old 18th August 2008
  #7
Lives for gear
 

You're right about the 58's, and I certainly wasn't recommending you buy any. I think you might be better off with a set of good sounding dynamics then adding two or three high end condensors to the mix. I also want to try the Heil mics, so let me know if you are able to demo one.
Old 18th August 2008
  #8
Gear Addict
 

Even if it's just for comparative purposes, you may find it useful to try the Schoeps handheld - I think the model is CMH 64 (the earlier model - CMH 54 - is about the same). That's a wonderful mic.

These were never widely used because they were so much more expensive than everything else. I'd heard a story that K.D. Lang had tried one several years ago and her sound people said it was the best they'd ever tried, but they didn't go with it because it looked too different.

I think the new ones are in the high teens, but I'd seen one on the Odyssey Pro Sound page a while back for about $700 (I think).
Old 18th August 2008
  #9
Moderator
 
Blast9's Avatar
Can anyone chime in about the EV N/D??? mics - I've read great reports about those
Old 18th August 2008
  #10
Gear Guru
Spoilt for choice

There are quite a few mics competing for the top spot now that DVD's of live shows are becoming perhaps the new CD. Here's an earlier thread.
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/remot...tv-series.html

Ben, I have been and am on a similar search. I have tried plenty. I would not diss the 58 in any way. On at least 50% of singers in real world situations it is the best choice. I think that is mostly to do with it's friendly off axis response. The 535 has long been a favourite of mine. It seems best with female or 'fine' voices. I have the Neumann also, which rarely gets used, although perhaps with a trained classical or jazz singer...
I have heard an excellent Audio Technica, very similar to the C535, Beta87 etc. Didn't get the number. An Irish singer called Luka Bloom had it.
The one I would most like to try now is the Shure KSM9.

Best Regards, DD
SoundSound - Homepage
Old 19th August 2008
  #11
Gear Addict
 

Heil PR-35.
Get's louder in monitors than any condenser.
Sounds better than any dynamic (that I have tried).
I can elaborate if you would like. I have been using them for over a year.
Old 19th August 2008
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcircle View Post
If a band spec's SM58's, there is no need for me to own those. They come with the venue/PA.
58s that come from big hire companies or performers can be very beat up, you should get your own even if its for nothing more than a factory standard to compare the others to. i dont think its worth having a bunch of them but having one will never go astray.
Old 19th August 2008
  #13
Gear Maniac
 

I'm using the Heil PR-22 and it's great. The PR-35 is a big handful, but what I've heard...it's incomparable.
Old 19th August 2008
  #14
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synthoid's Avatar
 

The KSM9 is among the mics that the OP says he was both impressed and unimpressed with. I'm crazy about that mic. The fact that it can be put into a hypercardioid pattern helps out when it's on a very loud stage. That, and its smoother sound gives it an edge over the KMS104/105 IMO. It's tough as nails, too.

-synthoid
Old 20th August 2008
  #15
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Jim vanBergen's Avatar
 

Ben-

when I get back home, I'll loan you a Telefunken M80. Well worth hearing and trying before you make a final decision.

JvB
Old 20th August 2008
  #16
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Don S's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blast9 View Post
Can anyone chime in about the EV N/D??? mics - I've read great reports about those
I worked with a N/D767 last month for speech/ light singing. Very surprising results. One of the best dynamics I've heard. I think it might be a hyper cardioid. Street price is 100USD
Old 20th August 2008
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim vanBergen View Post
Ben-

when I get back home, I'll loan you a Telefunken M80. Well worth hearing and trying before you make a final decision.

JvB
What is it like? Is it like the 57 mods that Oliver Archut does or something completely different?

Although I don't own any, I've been very impressed at what I've seen come out of Telefunken USA. Before you mentioned this, I wasn't aware that they had a new dynamic mic.

Hmmm.... things just got interesting heh

--Ben
Old 27th August 2008
  #18
Lives for gear
 

So I picked up a Telefunken M80. Gonna try it out tomorrow on a gig for the lead vocalist. Judging from what I heard on the Telefunken site and Jim's ringing endorsement, I decided it was worth getting one unheard. Hey- it is a smaller investment than the Sennheiser 8040's that I purchased unheard as well.

Anyways, the mic showed up on my doorstep today. I'm blown away at the build quality. I've never felt a mic that feels this solid. Even makes the typical Shure stuff feel flimsy. Hope it sounds as good as it looks. Because of the recording situation, I probably won't be able to post samples unfortunately, but I'll certainly post my feelings.

--Ben
Old 27th August 2008
  #19
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Jamz's Avatar
I'd be interested in comments regarding the M80 for recording purposes on snare and guitar cabs. Are you M80 owners using them in the studio as well?
Old 29th August 2008
  #20
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I would like to suggest a microphone that few (if any) here heard, it is the: MBHO 219 which comes in two flavors; cardioid and hyper-cardioid. This is a dynamic mic that performs and sound like a condenser, there is no hi frequency bump, almost zero proximity effect, and it's scary how efficient and clear the mic sounds.

I own 4 of these mics and every time a singer I'm working with tries it they end up using it on stage.

The mic is made in Germany by MBHO who makes the capsule for almost every high-end mic on the market, the downside however, is I don't think or know if this mic is available in the US, but you guys owe it to yourselves to at least hear this mic.
Old 29th August 2008
  #21
Gear Guru
MBHO

Sam, thanks for that. I have some MBHO 603/K200 condensers. For some reason I never noticed that dynamic. MBHO are not great at advertising, or maybe they want to stay small. I am intrigued and will definitely give that mic a try. My current mics are extremely good. I sometimes chose them over KM84's on acoustic guitar, piano, overheads etc.

Best, DD
Old 29th August 2008
  #22
Lives for gear
 

The show came and went... Despite the band's sound guy saying he was ok with trying the mic, he ended up only being comfortable with an SM58...

Oh well. Next time it will go to good use.

--Ben
Old 29th August 2008
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDan View Post
My current mics are extremely good. I sometimes chose them over KM84's on acoustic guitar, piano, overheads etc.
I consider MBHO microphones one of the biggest secrets in audio, I have a bunch of their mics (more than 20) which I use both in the studio and live. I've got a set that I use for drums that always drummers smile.

When you test the 219 you must... and I mean must test the 440 also, which I consider to be the most versatile microphone in the word bar none.
Old 30th August 2008
  #24
Moderator
 
Blast9's Avatar
How much are the MBHO dynamics?
Old 31st August 2008
  #25
Gear Head
 
angelo's Avatar
 

I agree with Samc, the MB440 is a great mic! To my ears it is in same league as the KM84 and KM184.
I used to own a set for years, but one broke down several years ago. The one left, I use it mainly on hihat and recently I used it with success as a second microphone for saxophone and main microphone for flute.
I'm afraid it will get little use in the future as I bought 3 KM140's. heh
Old 8th September 2008
  #26
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
Ben,

I took your post verbatim.
I plan to only listed the mics I have seen on the many riders we have received over the years.
Some of the mics listed are also mics I would consider using on my productions.

So, I have found following models the most popular.

This list is in alphabetical order rather than most popular.

AKG5900
AT4054
BETA58
BETA58A
BETA87
BETA87A
BETA87C
DPA4088
E835
KMS104
KMS105
KSM9
M88

OPUS900
SM58
SM87

The above list were requested as either hard wired microphones or mic heads for RF HHs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcircle View Post
I'm thinking of upgrading my handheld vocal mics for live gigs... Obviously many singers have a mic of choice and that is something that from a recording standpoint needs to be accepted and dealt with. However, many don't necessarily have those preferences.

I currently own a couple C535 EB and I also have used Beyer M88s which have worked well. However, recently I've been on other gigs where I've used KSM9, Audio Technica Artist Elite 5400, Neumann KMS 105, Audix and others.

I've been impressed with all of them for certain reasons and none of them for other reasons. Trying to figure out what would be a good all-purpose set of mics for me to purchase 4 of them or so. The thing is that it has to work with Artist riders and recordings.

What have you remotesters found is popular out there these days? I'm kind of leaning towards the Audio Technicas, but I'm not sure how they'll be accepted by the rest of the world...

--Ben
Old 13th September 2008
  #27
Lives for gear
 

So I finally got to use the M80.... I'm on a show this week (this year's version of this show: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/remot...oor-opera.html) and I have a lecturn for our voice over/narrator. The position of this lecturn is a bit to the side, but pretty much under one of the main speaker stacks. To make the whole gain before feedback thing easier, I decided to use the M80 for my spoken word stuff...

In short, this is my review: "HOLY $H!T" This is an absolutely amazing microphone. You get the clarity and top end of good handheld condensers- Beta 87s, KMS105, KSM9, etc... There is an immediacy to the sound, however, that most condensers just don't have. There is a size and heft to the sound that the best dynamics have along with a good rejection of feedback.

Thinking seriously about getting at least one or two more.

--Ben
Old 13th September 2008
  #28
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Jim vanBergen's Avatar
 

Cool, Ben, thanks for the update. Glad you like the mic!

After using them the first time at Lincoln Center, now you know why my initial purchase was for five. I love the sound too- great combination microphone, and I'm still amazed this "sleeper" wired mic has not exploded like I expected the product to. Since it's a dynamic, it doesn't have the sensitivity problems most condenser vocal mics have, and it's a bargain compared to a Beyer M88 or any of the condenser brethren.

Let me know what you use it on next! Mine have been working regularly on NBC's Today show concert series, this week I will begin using them on a regular Sirius broadcast as well.

Cheers!

Jim van Bergen

Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcircle View Post
So I finally got to use the M80.... I'm on a show this week (this year's version of this show: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/remot...oor-opera.html) and I have a lecturn for our voice over/narrator. The position of this lecturn is a bit to the side, but pretty much under one of the main speaker stacks. To make the whole gain before feedback thing easier, I decided to use the M80 for my spoken word stuff...

In short, this is my review: "HOLY $H!T" This is an absolutely amazing microphone. You get the clarity and top end of good handheld condensers- Beta 87s, KMS105, KSM9, etc... There is an immediacy to the sound, however, that most condensers just don't have. There is a size and heft to the sound that the best dynamics have along with a good rejection of feedback.

Thinking seriously about getting at least one or two more.

--Ben
Old 22nd September 2008
  #29
Lives for gear
 

Really digging the M80 here. Used it this weekend on a female vocalist singng American songs with a jazz trio. The singer travels with a Neumann KMS105 and we shot the two microphones out. The unanimous concensus from the folks in the hall listening was to use the Telefunken.

What I heard between the two:

The Neumann had a very clean and controlled sound. However, when the singer held the mic down near her chest, the sound had a tendency to get rather thin- something that I had to compensate with pretty substantially with EQ. Still, it was a very nice sound.

The Telefunken, by contrast had much more "body" to the sound. There wasn't as much of a need to sing right on axis to take advantage of proximity effect. My only complaint was that the Telefunken seemed a bit heavy in the 3KHz range- something that was easily notched out in the mix. That meant that it could get a rather spitty sound and sibilance could be an issue with some singers.

The Telefunken was clear, but in a very different way. The Neumann probably had a bit more tranparency and clinical nature, and the Telefunken was clear but more of a musical presentation of the voice.

Sigh... The only thing that stinks is that I'll have to buy more of them for work with larger groups of singers. I also think that this mic would also be pretty impressive on drums, guitar amps, and saxes in more pop-type settings.

--Ben
Old 23rd September 2008
  #30
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
Very interesting, I have to check those M80s out.
The price point is awesome.

Recently, my go to mic for sax (when they have to move the mic around for solos and such) is a KMS105.
I never have to worry about handling noise.

I'd love to try the M80 on sax-a-ma-phone.
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