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Best Teen Girl Voice Recording - Microphones! Condenser Microphones
Old 18th May 2011
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Thread Starter
Best Teen Girl Voice Recording - Microphones!

Hi All, I'm new to gearslutz, so please be nice!

Here's a start to my long life with the crew here,.. question: I am recording my daughters friend as a new pop project and I've recorded her already with an AKG C 414 B XLS (see rapidshare file below)

This is a sample of the raw file.

However, she's only 11 and obviously her diaphragm is still small scale, to that of a "smaller" voice!

Question: can anyone recommend some decent tube microphones that are specifically brilliant at responding to the teen girl voice as a performance quality; that can widen this sound with balance? The AKG file above shows how thin the sound is at the moment as a raw take, but with a tube mic, such as the Apex 460 I mean the Avantone CV12 sorry this could warm it up somewhat, make the tracked vocal appear wider!?

Also looking at the Golden Age 73 pre as option to help with this preamp stage!

Any recommendations from anyone who's successfully tracked a teen girl voice and got a great sound out of a microphone under $1000 bucks, please let me know the set-ups, mics worth reviewing for a possible purchase!

Just to save from the Manley reference names drop, if the solutions could be only ones costing $1000 or under for a mic! (I've already had Neumann 149 thrown at me several times,.. if I had $3000 oh happy days!)

Many thanks, some great conversations going on here, hope this one can be helpful to other as well.

Thanks! Quartal
Old 18th May 2011
Lives for gear

Old 18th May 2011
Gear interested

Thread Starter
Have you used the SM7b with a teen girl voice? I was checking out the Taylor Swift PR on the AVANTONE CV-12...

Does anyone else have any experience with mic selection / excellent results for teen girl vocal recordings?

Thanks gogar
Old 18th May 2011
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frans's Avatar
Did you try a few moving coil mics? Or a ribbon? Thin voices love ribbons and don't go well with most condensers.
Old 18th May 2011
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asagaai's Avatar
Hey Quartal- this question is a bit like -what do I do to make a million bucks, or- what do I do to live to 100- or WHAT CAN I DO TO BE HAPPY. So many variables....

But yes- I have recorded a number of teen girls- some with thin hard voices- others with deeper wider soundscapes. Thing is- depending on the voice and what you are trying to achieve in terms of the final product (vintage soul or modern high end sheen) the mikes and pre will change.

Now- the Avantone CV12 is tube- but the tube does not make it thick. Rather, the mike is a very present sound with a boost/sheen at the mids and upper mids. It is good for a girl who does not have much oomph who sings softly, and you want a present bright modern sound. Hence Taylor Swift (small voice) used it for a modern BRIGHT mids/upper mids sound.

In terms of a pre amp- I strongly suggest you look at a sebatron VMP tube pre-this gives girth to vocals and a "width" or size. For a thin voice - I would also use a compressor like a buzz essence (optical) or a BAC500 (FET)- both do a nice thickening. A cheap alternative would be an ART VLA 2.

Another mike which is great would be the Beez Neez Jade (which has a U47 type vibe) but is just a tad more modern sounding. The Beez Neez Arabella is better ...but costs a lot more bucks and the Jade gets you within the Arabella soundscape separated by the width of a mosquito proboscis. The Jade would give a thicker vocal than the Avantone CV12, would be wider/deeper/more soulful- but not as bright and modern sounding.

Hope that gives you food for though.


Old 18th May 2011
Gear interested

Thread Starter
Thanks for the ribbon idea, I've just called a friend who has a SE Electronics RNR1, I'm going to give this a try on the recommendation of the ribbon tip and will let you know the results.. I'll post another .wav sample of the same line. It would be interesting just to A / B though she had a cold with the first experiment on the AKG C 414 B.. Not cool to assess a mic with a cold, I did scrub out all the comments about it sounding nausally as that'll have zero to do with the AKG. Although the AKG does flatten out around the mid's!

Ok.. just checking the other reply, it really is down to asking around who has had what success etc with the thin teen vocalist sound! Thanks again
Old 18th May 2011
Gear interested

Thread Starter
Looking for a modern high end sheen sound

Thanks for the advise on the Avantone, understanding that this would do it to sheen out the sound but not thicken...

Checking out the sebatron VMP now,.. also I've not heard of the buzz essence but will take a look.

Beez Neez Jade - not heard of this microphone, but that is good news, as I'm here posting about mics which I'm not aware of!

Great,. thanks people.. I really appreciate this.

By the way, has anyone been influenced by my vocal sample in suggesting these mics?
We are on par that the voice is small / thin?
Old 18th May 2011
Lives for gear

I was sort of 'half-kidding' about SM7b, but if you have one, try it, and have her get really up in it, almost touching the windscreen.

+1, a nice smooth ribbon mic would probably be great,


I think pretty much any LDC tube mic is going to disappoint you, especially if the singer is not very experienced.
Old 18th May 2011
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toneguru's Avatar
Soundelux U95.

If you can find one used it may not be too much over a grand.This mic is far superior in sound and construction to just about any mic I have heard under $2k. Sounds better than a C12VR costing twice as much. Smoother than an M149 too (I have had both).

Superb mic for young girls. Great balanced tone, smooth timbre, warm with air and good high end yet not brittle.

I have one that has been in good stead for about fifteen years or so. It currently resides with my good friends at Studio Rev in Culver City, CA.

note: Try the mic out first (as with most mics) and make sure it is magic, I once heard one that was not right.
Old 18th May 2011
Gear Addict
telejustin's Avatar

I think your recording sounds great. 414's are sometimes hard on certain voices but I think it works nicely for her. What your track needs is some compression and eq. That's a totally solid sound you have there! Just make a great track and lots of compression, 8k and de-essing and you'll be well on your way! Sure an M149 would be great and get you closer out of the gate, but what you have is cool.

One thing to try is switch the polar patterns. Omni will get you more of a lift in the high frequencies and no proximity effect. Same with wide cardioid but less so. Obviously you have to make sure you have a really dead space but that can be really cool. Try every polar pattern just to see. It looks like fig-8 will give you a mid range bump. Check out the frequency response curves for each pattern:

Writer/producer Toby Gad has done a lot of work with teen girls. He did a killer track with Miley Cyrus on the original Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus disc (One In A Million--love that song). Search his name on You Tube for videos of his sessions. Anyway, not sure about now, but for a long time he used a Neumann M147 on every voice (that mic is trashed around here a fair amount) and stuff sounds great. Sure it's a tube mic but you could get more color by using a different preamp.

Anyway, I think what you have is great! Once she has a hit song you can go buy a 251 or M149 or whatever you like. heh
Old 18th May 2011
Gear Addict
telejustin's Avatar

Oh, also try parallel processing where you duplicate the vocal and one track is severely high passed with a nice HF boost and lots of compression. Blend in to taste. Also try doubling or tripling everything, edit so the tracks are perfectly tight to the lead track, and get a sheen that way.
Old 19th May 2011
Gear interested

Thread Starter
this is really helpful! thank you! still waiting on the ribbon mic..
can anyone pin point what mic Hilary Duff has tracked Sweet 16 (the lead vocal) thru?
I'm listening to it now produced by Denny Weston and Charlie Midnight...
(see link below)

Does anyone know anyone that's heard from a reliable source which mic Denny and Charlie used on Hilary for this track?

Have a studio booking in place to try out a few mics:
Groove Tubes 1b Tube
AT 4030 condenser
Sontronics Sigma ribbon
Helios Valve
Rode NT2

No idea what the results will be, will definitely send these results in of how they compare.

Thanks for the Soundelux U95 bigup toneguru, I don't know where I can find a studio try out of one of those! I do want to try one out though!

Telejustin I might have to pick your brains on the vocals again, I've never performed parallel comp before on lead vox but will give it a go!
Old 20th May 2011
Lives for gear

I have a behind the scenes Hillary Duff DVD called "All Access" from when that album came out. I believe it only shows footage from working with a couple of the producers, but in all the shots she's singing through either the Blue Bottle mic, or the Blue Blueberry. The Blueberry is much less expensive, but might be a good choice for these kinds of voices.

You might also check out the new Neumann TLM 102. I got to hear one recently and was blown away by how good it sounded for that price. And it's on the bright/presence side which may suit what you're doing.
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