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need a multi-pattern mic for vocals Condenser Microphones
Old 24th December 2010
  #1
Lives for gear
need a multi-pattern mic for vocals

I record several singer-songwriters who want to record while singing and playing acoustic guitar – they get their best performance that way. I get good isolation for these tracks using two fig8 mics, with the vocal mic null toward the guitar and the guitar mic null toward the voice. At the moment I only have two fig8 mics for this: a CAD M179 (gtr) and Studio Projects B3 (vox).

The M179 sounds reasonably good on guitar, but the B3 sounds thin on the vocal , especially off-axis a little like I have to do to null the guitar. Sounds ok when I run it thru a Solo 610. But my B3 also has a switch problem that makes it rumble unpredictably, and I have to fiddle with it for awhile each time I use it. I think it is about to die on me.

So I want to upgrade to a great multi-pattern mic, or a pair of good ones, to replace what I have been using for this fig8 isolation method. I almost pulled the trigger on a pair of new C414 xls mics, but could not quite do it because when I hear the mics on vocals they sound scooped to me. I like powerful low-mids on male vocals.

I like the AT4050 okay, but it lacks girth too – also I record mostly quiet sources so I am concerned about its 17 db self-noise, and would rather have something under 12 db. I have also heard the KSM44, and it sounds a little thin and hard to me. Self-noise on the KSM44 and C414 are great, but maybe I should look at other multi-pattern mics. I prefer the sound of transformers over the transformer-less mic, but it is just a preference, not a requirement. I record in a nice-sounding, high-ceiling room, so to hear the room I prefer to use fig8 LDCs rather than dynamic mics. I’m not adverse to tube mics, if the self-noise is low, but I would prefer a warm FET mic.

Can someone recommend other good multi-pattern mics (at least cardioid, omni, and fig8) for my situation? Budget is under $2K a pair or under $1200 for one.

I have decent selection of cardioid mics, so this new mic just has to be good on vocals in fig8 mode. Have decent preamps, too if that makes a difference:

LDC:
AT4047, AT3035, MK319 (modded), NT-1a

SDC:
CEMC6 (pr), SM81 (pr)

DYN:
SM7b, SM58, SM57

PRE:
Sytek 4Aii, UA Solo 610, Grace m101
Old 24th December 2010
  #2
Gear Addict
 
erosconpollo's Avatar
The Oktava MK220 is a real sleeper among multipattern mikes at less than $400 new. If you like your 319 on voice, you should like the 220.
Old 24th December 2010
  #3
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Hammer Mark's Avatar
The three mics you mentioned (414, 44, 4050) are all good pieces. Maybe it's an issue with the source or the room or something else in the chain that makes them sound "thin"?
Old 24th December 2010
  #4
Gear Addict
 
dasindevin's Avatar
 

se electronics!

Se Electronics has a pretty good bang for the buck
I have a pair of their Z5600AII's and absolutely love them. Mainly used them as a Vocal mics (worked pretty darn well with a lot of the singers i have worked with - normally shot out against a TLM103, 414, U87, KSM44, and few other large diaphragm condensers and it always was a front runner), pretty baller room mic, and enjoyable on acoustic instruments.
It also has an absurd amount of polar patterns, which is cool if anything
i recently have been loving them in M-S on acoustic guitars
Though it's a tube mic, isn't too colored, but adds a nice beef to most sources

I think retail is around 850 a mic...
They also seem to have so other cool offerings like the Gemini and titan (or what ever it is called now).

Last edited by dasindevin; 24th December 2010 at 10:51 PM.. Reason: More info
Old 24th December 2010
  #5
Gear Addict
If you can try before you buy that would be best.
The Rode NT2000 might be good for you. Pattern and bass rolloff are continuously variable. Has a nice weight to it.
I just used one a mere 2 hours ago.
I have more expensive mics but every so often this one fits the bill.

Dan
Old 25th December 2010
  #6
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by erosconpollo View Post
The Oktava MK220 is a real sleeper among multipattern mikes at less than $400 new. If you like your 319 on voice, you should like the 220.
Wow, thanks, I was unaware of that mic.. and I do love the MK319 on vocals.
Old 25th December 2010
  #7
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammer Mark View Post
The three mics you mentioned (414, 44, 4050) are all good pieces. Maybe it's an issue with the source or the room or something else in the chain that makes them sound "thin"?
Yes, for sure. They are all in the "neutral" camp to my ears, and I am looking for something a little bolder. I have heard them all sound good at times, especially the 4050. Still thinking about getting those 414s - it is just a lot of $ to me. I might pick up a used 4050 and see if that works for me - could always sell it at little loss if not.

How is the off-axis response on those 3, say about 15-30 degrees off axis?
Old 25th December 2010
  #8
Lives for gear
I have been looking at the MK220 (rec. by erosconpollo) and the Z5600AII (rec. by dasindevin). Thanks for those ideas - they seem to fit with what I am looking for. I am avoiding the Rode mics for this application due to their general brightness, but thanks shobud for the NT2000 idea - I did read up on it and its freq specs show a bit less presence peak than several of the other Rodes.

I have also been reading about the Lauten Audio Clarion FC-357, which looks very good to me. Anyone using this mic in fig8 for vocals?
Old 25th December 2010
  #9
Lives for gear
ha...i was gonna mention the Rode Classic II seeing as the stuff in america is usually like half the price of the stuff in australia...but thats gotta be the first time i've ever seen something more expensive in america than australia...(they're like $1900 here...) that being said, make sure you try out the rode K2, not saying buy it, but at least try it out and see if its anything like what you're looking for...the nt2000 is also pretty good.
Old 25th December 2010
  #10
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Ron Vogel's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gehauser View Post
Yes, for sure. They are all in the "neutral" camp to my ears, and I am looking for something a little bolder. I have heard them all sound good at times, especially the 4050. Still thinking about getting those 414s - it is just a lot of $ to me. I might pick up a used 4050 and see if that works for me - could always sell it at little loss if not.

How is the off-axis response on those 3, say about 15-30 degrees off axis?
I had a 4050, and my intial impression was that it sounded small and dark. I was wrong.

I was going though a slough of mic's trying to find an all-purpose condenser, and had the 4050 about 3-4 months. After selling it (bought used, and made $100 selling it)...I tried several other mics in the same price point...including the SM7B.

Anyway, going back to the recordings I did with the 4050 convinced me I made a big mistake by selling it, so I bought another. Mic placement is KEY here with this mic. I keep finding new ways to use the thing. Off-axis is great for breathy/boomy chest vocals. I run the thing on fig 8 and sing into the back of it, omni is great for room stuff...it's really an amazing mic once you learn the ins/outs of it. It plays VERY nice with tube pre's.

Anyone that doesn't like the 4050 has a.) never used one or b.) never given it a real long-term test.

It's one tool that you will always use down the road, I can't reccomend it enough

Edit: (and this is a pretty low end home recording) Mic chain is mic into a Mackie onyx pre into DAW
4050 on all vox:
http://www.ourstage.com/tracks/FMVNR...now-theres-sun
SM7b/MXL V67g on vox/acoustic guitar:
http://www.ourstage.com/tracks/YERDHSSEMIAA-human
4050 on vox/acoustic/electric:
http://www.ourstage.com/tracks/MIGHD...musical-chairs
Old 25th December 2010
  #11
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aj633's Avatar
An SM7B for vox may work. It's a dynamic, so it would only pick up directly in front of it. Other mics worth looking at in your price range used would be Pearlman TM-1, Lawson L47, Soundelux U95S.
Old 25th December 2010
  #12
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The Beesneez microphones are multi-pattern and their sound has character. You might want to check them out.
Old 25th December 2010
  #13
Lives for gear
 
kidvybes's Avatar
 

...great value here on a "pre-modded" multi-pattern tube mic...these upgraded mics offer much better components than the typical off-the-shelf store brand products...check it out:

Stellar CM-6 EF86/EF806 Tube Condensor Microphone - eBay (item 130461480943 end time Jan-01-11 12:33:12 PST)

...I also have a Rode Classic I, an sE Z5600A, Mojave MA-200 and an Advanced Audio CM-47 (all tube mics that cost 2-3 times the cost of this mic) but IMHO, the Stellar CM-6 sounds as good or better for a much lower cost...also check out these threads for more info:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/new-p...icrophone.html

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/low-e...end-watch.html

...I posted a quick sound sample here (check out the low-mid presence):

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/6140483-post111.html
Old 25th December 2010
  #14
Gear Nut
 
Rondel's Avatar
 

I have a pair of 4050's and would never use those for vocals. Al the time I use my TLM103 or Sontronics Sigma ribbon (!) if I want colour (and can mask the ribbon's self noise in the track )...
The tlm's cardio patern is ok cause the bottom of the mike is aimed at the guitar and gives enough separation to the vocal.
If I use the ribbon (fig8), I put the mic horizontal in order to have a not colored separation.

For the guitar the 4050 works fine in fig8 mode, better than a second tlm103. But I think you better spend the extra 100$ for the 414, it's a classic and sounds a bit more focused. I don't have quality sdc mics (only rode NT5/M3) and don't believe you can get a big picture with them for solo guitar/vocal recordings.

Room vocals are great, and because they are set up a few feet apart, they doesn't have to be a matched pair! You can even use your AT4047, AT3035 as a left-right room mic. Cause I assume you don't mix your guitar, vocal, and reverb mono. And the room isn't symmetrical ether....

I have a pair of tlm103's and use them a lot with a Avalon 737 on vocals and GT brick or SPL on guitar. If you want a vocal mic, go for it! If you have more budget than these, go for a bigger Neumann (u87, or the colored one tlm49).
Old 6th March 2011
  #15
Lives for gear
Thanks guys, for the insights and suggestions.

I went ahead and got the MK220 for now. It sounds a lot like my MK319 before mod.
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