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Need help deciding on new mic - don't like SM7B
Old 7th January 2016
  #1
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Need help deciding on new mic - don't like SM7B

Hey guys, I recently purchased an SM7B after hearing all the hype about it on the forums here.

It's an amazing microphone for its price and what it can do for peoples voices, just not mine.

I've heard what this thing is capable of but its just not the mic for me, I wanted to love it more than anything but I found myself recording things over a million times because my voice didn't sound how I wanted it to, it was way to muffled and dark. I've tried switching on the bass roll off/ presence boost on. Using a HPF and boosting around 5-16khz but I can't find the sound I'm looking for so I decided I'm going to return it tomorrow as I only use it for vocals and only have one mic.

I need help deciding what mics will be a good option for me, I was looking at the AT-4040 or the Mk4 but if you have any other suggestions it would help a lot. If there's any info you need to help me make a decision let me know.
Old 7th January 2016
  #2
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Me_Likey's Avatar
 

What is your budget, and you should post a clip to get more accurate responses.
Old 7th January 2016
  #3
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Dan Popp's Avatar
Lasik, it will be hard to recommend a mic unless folks know what kind of sound you're going for. If you can think of a singer who sounds something like you do, with a great recorded sound, maybe that would help us understand your goal. You may even be able to find out what kind of mic/signal chain he uses.
Old 7th January 2016
  #4
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brianellefson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Me_Likey View Post
What is your budget, and you should post a clip to get more accurate responses.
^ this. Need to share more info so people can make better recommendations.
Old 7th January 2016
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Me_Likey View Post
What is your budget, and you should post a clip to get more accurate responses.
I honestly can't say which artists I sound like I couldn't think of any. Here's a link to my first song I recorded on my AT-2020 XLR.

http://youtu.be/_emNb8yW2Lc
Old 7th January 2016
  #6
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Also, my budget is around $430 Canadian. That's how much I bought the Sm7b for at Long-Mcquade. I'll be returning it and trading it for something of equal or lesser value.
Old 7th January 2016
  #7
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Me_Likey's Avatar
 

The AT doesn't sound that bad with your voice. What don't you like about it? Too vanilla?

If you want my shot-in-the-dark, I'd suggest trying a U47 flavored mic. It may give you more attitude, if that's what you feel is missing. Depending on the specific mic, it might dirty up the midrange and add a little character. A lot of people here like the AT 4047, but I don't personally own that mic.

If you want it a little more cutting sound you might try a U87 flavored mic, or even an AKG 414. These are both on the brighter side.
Old 7th January 2016
  #8
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It does sound like something is off a bit? It's not a mike that's an "end all" but I wouldn't describe it as particularly muffled or dark. What's your signal chain / preamp?
Old 7th January 2016
  #9
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It's weak I'm just running it into a Fast track C400 but even with the gain cranked where it starts to clip it still doesn't sound good. I recorded the same verse twice, once on the AT-2020 and then again on the Sm7b and the at-2020 sounded a lot better.
Old 7th January 2016
  #10
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i think that mic is supposed to be for radio stations....and you cant like pick it up and grab it...right? i'm getting new mic too and these are the ones im looking at same price range

Robot Check

Robot Check

http://www.amazon.ca/Shure-SM58-CN-C...71897&sr=1-320
Old 7th January 2016
  #11
RTR
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I just bought a Neumann Tlm 102 and am loving it so far on vox, guitar cab and acoustic guitar!
Old 7th January 2016
  #12
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They're in a lot of radio stations but the sm7b is an absolute beast for vocals and basically anything you throw at it.. Except my voice.. Lol. I've heard the results it's produced ( Micheal Jacksons thriller to name one.) and it sounds amazing.
Old 7th January 2016
  #13
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The SM7b works really well for (many) singers with aggressive and or passionate performance techniques. It does not exaggerate the high end so a singer can really get in there and go for it. The mic does need a good pre. Pairing it with an underpowered pre tends to make it sound lifeless. Something like a Cloudlifter can really help the SM7.

To the OP: I listened to your clip and your performance was very laid back. If that's your style then you may indeed benefit from a mic that will accentuate more of the detail in your voice. If on the other hand you have more aggressive material where you want to really dig in and get spitty and angsty the SM7b through a better pre might well suit your purpose.

p.s. Be sure to take the pop filter off unless you're a big lip smacker.
Old 7th January 2016
  #14
Had the same experience several years ago and kept the EV RE20 which was a brighter sounding mic at the time. I also like a used Neumann 102 in this price range. Folks here have had a lot of luck with the 3U Audio mics, I've only tried the Mark IV but the Mark I seems to be popular. If you don't like it, you can send it back which I would recommend for any new purchase, the ability to return. Search and read that big thread, it has lots of examples of how those mics sound.
Old 7th January 2016
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasik604 View Post
They're in a lot of radio stations but the sm7b is an absolute beast for vocals and basically anything you throw at it.. Except my voice.. Lol. I've heard the results it's produced ( Micheal Jacksons thriller to name one.) and it sounds amazing.
I would recommend you spend another $100 and grab a Cloudlifter or a Fethead to pair with the SM7. You may find that you've been "under-powering" it. You may also find that you still don't like it. I'd at least give it a shot though.
Old 7th January 2016
  #16
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uncle duncan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasik604 View Post
I honestly can't say which artists I sound like I couldn't think of any. Here's a link to my first song I recorded on my AT-2020 XLR.

http://youtu.be/_emNb8yW2Lc
Your link won't come up here, but if you sounded decent on the AT2020 with no problem with the high end, the sm7b was the exact wrong direction to go in. Look at the frequency response graph for both mics and you'll see the 2020 has a peak at 8k while the sm7b has a dip at 8k. That means the sm7b is going to sound dull in comparison to the 2020.

There is a little bit of science involved in assessing mics. Frequency response graphs won't tell you exactly what a mic will sound like, but they will tell you more than buying a mic based on comments like "the sm7b sounds awesome on my voice."

You might want to look for a mic with a similar response curve to the 2020, but with more bass and more high end. If Ss are not a problem, a 414 might sound just great on you. If Ss are a problem, you might be better served with a mic that has a little dip at 6k. The TLM102 is such a mic, but there are many others. That 6k dip is a fairly standard response curve for mid-priced LDCs. Another consideration is midrange. If your voice needs midrange to sound good, a 414 might hide too much midrange. That's why you need to audition mics. There's no way of knowing how it will sound until you record it in your mix with your instrumentation.

You can find data on mics at recording hacks dot com. If they don't include a frequency response curve (sometimes disguised by a tiny "chart" button in the "technical info" field) you may be able to find them on the manufacturer's websites.
Old 7th January 2016
  #17
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monkeyxx's Avatar
I sold my SM7B also. It's great for loud aggressive bright stuff but if your voice is more laid back it's not really the perfect choice.

Your price range is pretty tight, but I might look out for a used Shure LDC or maybe a higher end Audio-Technica. There are some newer mics on the scene that I haven't tried like the 3U and some of the ISK stuff you might research those two brands too. These mics are manufactured overseas and offer a higher value for the low price point. Possibly Avantone and Miktek mics could be in your reach as well if you stretch a bit. I do think moving to a condenser mic would be a good move.
Old 8th January 2016
  #18
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What do you guys think about the At-4040?
Old 8th January 2016
  #19
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

I saw your post and did a search for my favorite budget condenser microphone, actually one of my favorite at any price. I found a pair at a Guitar Center in California. They want $1000 for the pair, actually a great price. Maybe they'll sell one for $500. If not buy both and sell one of them, you will love it.


Groove Tubes MD1a
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Old 8th January 2016
  #20
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

I've owned the AT4047 (and many other AT's). The 4047 is ok, but kind of thin. Haven't had the 4040, but the 4050 is very scooped. Liked it for guitar cabs.
Old 8th January 2016
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
but the 4050 is very scooped
it's as flat as a board. srs, it's one of the more unforgiving, uncolored mikes I own

but... as such i've been using it more lately (thank you gs... lol)
Old 8th January 2016
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasik604 View Post
It's weak I'm just running it into a Fast track C400 but even with the gain cranked where it starts to clip it still doesn't sound good. I recorded the same verse twice, once on the AT-2020 and then again on the Sm7b and the at-2020 sounded a lot better.
quick search didn't pull up what i was looking for but i suspect an impedance issue. people throw cloud-lifters on these, i didn't have mine around long enough to bother. do you have a good room to record with a better mike or do you need suggestions for a limited environment?
Old 8th January 2016
  #23
I think the 2020 sounds good. Maybe try a preamp that'll give you some dark color and saturation. idk exactly what's clipping - the mic specs say it can handle 144dB with 1% THD. The 4047 gives you a pad but rapping laid back like that I can't imagine you're distorting the mic. Basically I think that mic is good, maybe add a preamp or do some processing like multiband saturation to fatten up your signal.
Old 8th January 2016
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasik604 View Post
They're in a lot of radio stations but the sm7b is an absolute beast for vocals and basically anything you throw at it.. Except my voice.. Lol. I've heard the results it's produced ( Micheal Jacksons thriller to name one.) and it sounds amazing.
John Lennon recorded all his vocals with a Shure SM57
How to Choose the Right Microphone | Shure UK Blog - Legendary PerformanceShure’s SM7 was introduced in 1976 and is available today as the SM7B. The mic began life as a broadcast microphone and was essentially a development on the earlier SM5 model. For the development of the SM7, Shure engineers were given the SM57 cartridge elements (Unidyne III) and asked, without restrictions on size or cost to essentially make it better. For this reason, the SM7b is sometimes referred to as the SM57 on steroids. You can read the full history surrounding the SM7 by clicking here.
Old 8th January 2016
  #25
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Hi! I'm kinda having the same problem. I brought the SM7 a couple of days ago and the vocals sound kinda muffled some what? its hard to explain, even hours trying to EQ the vocals it still has that muffled presents. I'm using a Tascam US-122 interface and I'm thinking that its maybe the interface which is impacting the quality and power that this mic has since its quite a cheapy interface. I was thinking about upgrading to the Focusrite Scarlett 18i8? I'm thinking a better quality interface will bring out the SM7's potential cause so far recording with my current interface is a head ache and I know that its not a problem with the mic.
Old 8th January 2016
  #26
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MarkF48's Avatar
I bought a FetHead for my SM7b. The preamp doesn't need to work as hard and the higher impedance of the FetHead seems to have given the mic more clarity on the top end. Also works well on my RE-20 which doesn't need as much gain as the SM7b, but also seems to benefit from terminating to a higher impedance.
If you're planning on keeping the SM7b, either a FetHead or Cloudlifter would be a good purchase.
Shure should consider a phantom powered version of the SM7b with a preamp built in to the mic
Old 8th January 2016
  #27
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasik604 View Post
They're in a lot of radio stations but the sm7b is an absolute beast for vocals and basically anything you throw at it.. Except my voice.. Lol. I've heard the results it's produced ( Micheal Jacksons thriller to name one.) and it sounds amazing.
There are also a lot of RE-20's ect...what does that mean? NPR uses the U87..
Old 8th January 2016
  #28
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DougS's Avatar
 

Used Avantone cv12
Old 8th January 2016
  #29
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monkeyxx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Mulcahy View Post
it's as flat as a board. srs, it's one of the more unforgiving, uncolored mikes I own

but... as such i've been using it more lately (thank you gs... lol)
Not true. Check out the frequency response graphs here: Audio-Technica AT4050 | RecordingHacks.com
Old 8th January 2016
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeWest155 View Post
Hi! I'm kinda having the same problem. I brought the SM7 a couple of days ago and the vocals sound kinda muffled some what? its hard to explain, even hours trying to EQ the vocals it still has that muffled presents. I'm using a Tascam US-122 interface and I'm thinking that its maybe the interface which is impacting the quality and power that this mic has since its quite a cheapy interface. I was thinking about upgrading to the Focusrite Scarlett 18i8? I'm thinking a better quality interface will bring out the SM7's potential cause so far recording with my current interface is a head ache and I know that its not a problem with the mic.
you prolly need to just get right up to the mic, like right against it
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