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SM7b vs RE20 vs MD421
Old 18th September 2020
  #1
Here for the gear
 

SM7b vs RE20 vs MD421

Heyy, i'm looking for a warm/vintage sounding mic specifically for vocals. Let me know if I'm missing other options in the same price range.

Thanks
Old 18th September 2020
  #2
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Ragan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tablex View Post
Heyy, i'm looking for a warm/vintage sounding mic specifically for vocals. Let me know if I'm missing other options in the same price range.

Thanks
I like (and have/have had) all those dynamics but in my view, the 441 is the king. Desert island mic for me. It’s a little more money used than the ones you list are new but it’s my pick.
Old 18th September 2020
  #3
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tablex View Post
Heyy, i'm looking for a warm/vintage sounding mic specifically for vocals. Let me know if I'm missing other options in the same price range.

Thanks
If you are willing to buy used there are some good vintage Shure, AKG and EV models. Also, there are ribbons worth consideration.
Old 18th September 2020
  #4
SM7 would be my choice of the three. the most versatile. I also really like an EV RE16, probably better than these three choices. $340 for a new one, and you can find good clean used for about $200.
Old 18th September 2020
  #5
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Beyer M88TG plus Beyer M201TG, is a fine starter/"Vintage" toned set too IMHO.

What kind(s) of Pre(s), are you using?
Chris
Old 18th September 2020
  #6
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Drumsound's Avatar
M88 stomps those mics, IMHO. More versitle and more interesting sounding.
Old 18th September 2020
  #7
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andychamp's Avatar
SM7: meh, wouldn‘t have people thinking twice about it, if it weren‘t for the MJ association...
MD421: can be great on the right voice, horribly grating on the wrong one. Weird off-axis behaviour.
RE20: no-brainer, easy to work, consistent tone, especially with animated singers because no proximity effect. Highly recommended.
Old 18th September 2020
  #8
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I own and use all of them. Of the three you mentioned, the RE20 would get my vote for vocals. I like the SM7 too, but it has more of a midrange peak than the RE20 (reminiscent of the 57 and 58, but smoother). It can be just right in certain situations, but the RE20 has a wider frequency response and a more even tone.

The 421 is a great mic...but not generally for vocals. It has a spiky sound. That's doubly true if you're talking about the 421 mkII, which is currently manufactured (I have one of those as well as an older 421 U5). It could work with the right vocalist and the right song, but rarely. However, I've recently been finding that the jagged edge of the 421 mkII allows kick drum beater click to cut through the mix nicely when used as an inside mic, especially when coupled with a second mic outside to capture the boom. And the U5 is good for distorted guitar (I've never managed to coax a usable guitar sound out of the mkII).

As mentioned, consider the 441. I have the 541 (same mic without the bass rolloff) and it works for just about anything. I keep hearing great things about the M88 but I've never had the pleasure.
Old 18th September 2020
  #9
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This question really depends on the sound of the voice being recorded more than the sound of the mic. Any of these mics could be best in one situation and worst in another.

My overall preference is for the RE20 but that's because my voice is sibilant. I sound terrible on an SM7. 421 is ok for me but the RE20 emphasizes what I like about my voice and de-emphasizes what I don't. I also like to track vocals live with the band and the RE20 bleed can sound more pleasing than the 421.

All that said, with a different singer the answer is different. M88 can be amazing but it also has a high end boost that can be an issue on sibilant voices.

Start buying them all, plus the m88. They all work in a million other places besides just vocal and you'll find uses for all of them. Mine all come out every session.
Old 18th September 2020
  #10
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tedtan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slow Learner View Post
If you are willing to buy used there are some good vintage Shure, AKG and EV models. Also, there are ribbons worth consideration.
I have several dynamic mics (M88, M201, SM7, SM57, EV635A, Copperphone, etc.), but am always interested in interesting older mics. Can you elaborate on which used dynamic mics you'd be interested in?
Old 18th September 2020
  #11
Gear Addict
 
weave's Avatar
I have the ELectro-Voice RE10/11/16 and 18. Out of them all, I think I like the Electro-Voice RE18 the best out of the set on vocals in my space. No proximity effect due to the variable-d slot thing on the side and doesn’t pick up much room. Also excellent on guitar amps. Definitely a vintage vibe to it, too.

I also really want to try an beyerdynamic m201 td, but trying to calm down on the purchases for awhile.
Old 18th September 2020
  #12
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bowzin's Avatar
The 421 in particular is not great on vocals because it's not great off-axis, so any side-to-side movement by the singer starts sounding weird. Swishy/phasey. Backing off helps that problem, but it sounds bad backed off, so I dont like it for vocals at all. It was one of my first "nice" dynamic mics, but dont really use it much anymore. Occasionally on floor tom, inside bass drum, or guitar amps (where I like it better than an SM57).

On guitar amps or hand drums, when an SM57 sounds good, 99% of the time for me a 421 will sound similar but better. So I kind of keep it just for that "trick" and as a good utility dynamic to have around.

A 441 is very different. Despite being super-cardioid it works BETTER for vocals than the cardioid 421, because it is vastly better in off-axis response. Personally I haven't had an "Aha!" moment with the 441 on vocals like some people have had. Some people and bands even use it as a live vocal mic, which is cool. But it's definitely better than a 421 on just about everything, and takes eq well. It has a smoothing effect that is rare for dynamic mics. It's a strong go-to for me on guitar amps, snare, hi hat, or anywhere an elegant dynamic is needed.
Old 18th September 2020
  #13
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Ragan's Avatar
 

"Elegant dynamic" is about the perfect description of a 441. And yeah, very smooth. I love it for my brash voice and pretty much always throw it up along with the MK67. Sometimes the 441 is just the ticket.
Old 18th September 2020
  #14
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bowzin's Avatar
I like the SM7B, and for me it's one to always shoot-out.

Ive found singers with lower or broad-frequency voices usually sound great, just an aesthetic decision whether to use an SM7B or a condenser or something. It's also good for talking styles like rap, or rock shouting, or any talk-singing style with a full register rather than pretty sing song'y notes.

Personal bias, but the uneven frequency response of the SM7B starts to annoy me sometimes on singers with higher-pitched voices, or honky or upper-midrange-focused type voices... or even if the song itself is really sing'y in the upper registers. It might work, but if it sounds unnatural, or if I start wanting to boost or cut too much with eq, it's better to just switch mics than fight it.

The strengths of the SM7B is it is overall warm, and intimate, and very familiar. But it also has a "cut" aspect to it, like in the 4kHz-6kHz range, that can be useful. Kind of like a live mic or SM57/SM58, so if a song or band has a certain "live" type feel, aesthetically an SM7B can reinforce that vibe. Like a punk rock 3-piece bar band might unconsciously feel more authentic with an SM7B in the studio than some beautiful tube condenser mic.

Just my personal observations.
Old 18th September 2020
  #15
Gear Addict
 
plainofjars's Avatar
 

You're going to have to try them yourself on your own voice. Speaking at least for the first two options—both get used a lot, so neither is objectively better. It just depends on the person in front of them. On my own voice, neither happens to be particularly great, and an SM57 or 635a sounds better than both. No one in the thread can answer your question. Buy them and return the one or ones that don't make your ears perk up.
Old 18th September 2020
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

Aretha Franklin used an MD421 for live performance quite a bit. I like it on rock vocals with singers that can actually sing loud. It has a great filter on the mic, too.

The RE20 is more hi-fi and silky sounding. Warm sounding

The sm7 is more neutral.

It does matter what mic preamps you have.
Old 18th September 2020
  #17
RE20 would be my choice out of those three
Old 18th September 2020
  #18
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And Rush Limbaugh's too!
Chris
Old 19th September 2020
  #19
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PdotDdot's Avatar
The RE20 (or PL20) is a great mic and can be used on vocals, acoustic instruments and bass drums....actually it seems to work well on anything you throw at it and it is not very expensive.
Old 19th September 2020
  #20
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
And Rush Limbaugh's too!
Chris
That gold plated RE20 makes me almost as sick as the BS that comes out of his fat face.
Old 19th September 2020
  #21
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vernier's Avatar
I'd put vintage 421 on guitar cab or toms in a heartbeat . .if I had one.
Old 19th September 2020
  #22
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andychamp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by vernier View Post
I'd put vintage 421 on guitar cab or toms in a heartbeat . .if I had one.
Pacemaker implants are routine surgery nowadays.
Ba-dumm - tsh!
(sorry, couldn‘t resist...)
Old 19th September 2020
  #23
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
Beyer M88TG plus Beyer M201TG, is a fine starter/"Vintage" toned set too IMHO.

What kind(s) of Pre(s), are you using?
Chris
im using an ART tube pre
Old 19th September 2020
  #24
Lives for gear
 

And the Interface is?
(probably cleaner than the ART)
Chris
Old 19th September 2020
  #25
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RE 20 for vocals defo....
It is also fantastic for Kick drum out!
Old 19th September 2020
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
That gold plated RE20 makes me almost as sick as the BS that comes out of his fat face.
Don’t listen to his show then.
Old 19th September 2020
  #27
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioloud View Post
RE 20 for vocals defo....
It is also fantastic for Kick drum out!
And on a bass cabinet
Old 19th September 2020
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whatever View Post
And on a bass cabinet
and trombone
Old 19th September 2020
  #29
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andychamp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pencilextremist View Post
and trombone
...and snaredrum...
Old 19th September 2020
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by andychamp View Post
...and snaredrum...
and guitar amps
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