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I forget--Which mic spits out John Mayer's voice again?
Old 7th September 2008
  #1
Gear Head
 

I forget--Which mic spits out John Mayer's voice again?

I'm trying to find a microphone for my vocals that has a different quality than what I have....

MXL V67i (LDC mic)
Audix i5 (dynamic instrument mic)

These are going into an EMU 0404 USB interface through Mogami Gold cables.

The Explanation:
...That condenser of course has 2 separate capsules--"warm" and "bright"--effectively giving me 3 mic choices (and more with combos) for each application. I'm very happy with the quality and clarity of my V67i and between that, the Audix, and post-processing I can usually get what I need for my purposes....

...Except with my vocals. My voice is somewhat bassy but the songs I write really would sound better on someone with a higher (tenor?) voice. I want to find someone else to sing, but for now I just want to crank this junk out. I have a feeling that with a different vocal chain I can finish these songs without help....

As it is now, when I sing can actually bring out the tenor-ish areas of my voice with no problem, and this is in a variety of spaces. I understand that the internal sound that you hear is different from what others hear, but no matter what I do with these mics, that tenor-ish area of my voice is completely absent from the recording. It always sounds like Shaquille O'neal imitating Barry Manilow--only the bassy (baritone?) portions get through. Is that really all that's coming out?

I've tried singing in wierd positions and directions (think yoga), wildly exprimental EQ'ing , and even placing a 2nd mic around different parts of my head to try to pick up the same frequencies that I hear (which actually yielded some interesting usable results--but not what I was looking for in that range). Without that area of my voice getting through, when I yell at the mic, at any distance, the recordings sound like I'm just talking loudly at someone in the next room.

So I'm wondering if there are any recording engineers out there that have experience with a lot of mics and know just the type of problem I'm having. Maybe you hear this on occasion and reach for a certain mic or a certain type of mic. From what I understand the pre's and A/D conversion on my interface are pretty transparent for their cost. My only guess is that I need to try a mic with completely different qualities.

A smaller diaphragm?
Something in the Shure Sm series?
Something with a tube?
An old RCA broadcast mic?
A Sennh. 416 for cryin' out loud?

The MXL and Audix are fairly different so I'm worried that this is just the nature of the relationship between my voice and capsules. But I'm willing to try anything. Even if I can't afford to buy something, maybe I can rent it (I'm in L.A.) and at least I'll know what works.

Almost forgot--the closest I've come to getting there is bumping things up a pinch with the Vocal Transformer in Logic. The results are too weird to use, but maybe that helps you understand the problem.

Thanks,
B.

Hmmm...maybe if I try only mixing in a small percentage of Vocal Transformer....That'll probably sound like 2 different tracks, but it's worth a shot.
Old 7th September 2008
  #2
Gear Addict
 

in response to your heading:
U47>neve1073>la2a (i'm about 95% sure of that..)

in response to your question:
get some singing lessons
Old 7th September 2008
  #3
Gear Head
 

1. I was kidding about John Mayer.
2. Singing ability is a separate issue. I've found the correct parts of my voice--I need get the vocal chain to hear them.
Old 7th September 2008
  #4
In addition to renting/buying a higher end mic, also consider putting a different pre in front of the emu...the onboard ones are OK, but if you can put something nicer in the chain, it may bring out what you want to hear.
Old 8th September 2008
  #5
Lives for gear
 
matta's Avatar
 

I seem to recall it is being and M269c and U47, at least on the latest record. Though I may be wrong....

In response to the question of 'Which mic spits out John Mayer's voice again?', none of mine do? If I EVER heard any of my mics spit of utter a word I'd be VERY freaked out

Matt
Old 8th September 2008
  #6
Lives for gear
 
BOWIE's Avatar
He, at one point, used and SM7. Maybe the first album. I can't stand his voice (sounds like a veavy breathing pervert) but I do know that there was much talk of him using an SM7.
Old 8th September 2008
  #7
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

Live i always see him with a Neumann KMS 105
Old 19th September 2008
  #8
Gear Head
 

An example from a VO actor.

This might be the best example I can give:

John Matthew - Voice Over Talent

Play the "Promos" reel--or any of them really.
If you listen to samples of a voice-over artist, in each spot his voice has a completely different quality than the one before it. In some cases he sounds like a completely different person.

Is the difference just EQ? I doubt it.
And while I know he's an "artiste", and he can change his delivery--the changes in timbre can't just be his delivery.

My point is, the vocal chain has to have something to do with the changes...no?

Whatever I have now is giving me a "deeper" quality than I'm looking for. Great for some songs--unusable for others. And I need to diversify.

-B.
Old 19th September 2008
  #9
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bcgood's Avatar
 

On Room for Squares John used an SM7 in the control room.

On Continuum it was a vintage Neumann U47.
Old 19th September 2008
  #10
TQP
Gear Head
 

John Alagia produced Mayer's first record and talks about his typical vocal chain here:

Producer’s Desk John Alagia-john alagia on Producing for Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Liz Phair and more.

SM7 is mentioned...
Old 19th September 2008
  #11
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SoundUniverse's Avatar
 

I recall a recent EQ mag article also indicating he had an API 512c in the chain.
Old 19th September 2008
  #12
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wesarvin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Wings View Post
This might be the best example I can give:

John Matthew - Voice Over Talent

Play the "Promos" reel--or any of them really.
If you listen to samples of a voice-over artist, in each spot his voice has a completely different quality than the one before it. In some cases he sounds like a completely different person.

Is the difference just EQ? I doubt it.
And while I know he's an "artiste", and he can change his delivery--the changes in timbre can't just be his delivery.

My point is, the vocal chain has to have something to do with the changes...no?

Whatever I have now is giving me a "deeper" quality than I'm looking for. Great for some songs--unusable for others. And I need to diversify.

-B.

It's probably not even much eq differences. A great voice actor can change everything with what he's born with. LaFontaine is said to make the crappiest gear and engineers sound like gold.

Your singing would benefit most from simple lessons. Sometimes I work with singers and feel the mike is sucking the clarity out of their voice. Then I find it's really just cruddy diction and tone.

Mayer sounds like Mayer no matter what he sings through.
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