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So what IS the "best" vocal mic?
Old 2nd May 2017
  #1
So what IS the "best" vocal mic?

This is not click bait, I promise. This is a question that I field every day.

"So of all the 50 mics, which one was the best?"

I have an opinion that I feel strongly about but I don't want to influence the input from others. What do you consider "the best" vocal mic, regardless of what you heard on these recordings?
Old 2nd May 2017
  #2
I thought the Soundelux sounded the best on male vocals and not surprisingly the 251 shined on female vocals once mixed with the music.

I do gotta say tho, the WA87 really blew me away. Probably the best option under 2k in that list.
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Old 4th May 2017
  #3
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antichef's Avatar
[strike]For the female voice I liked the Bock 251 best. I think I liked the Tele 47 best for the male voice, but I need to listen some more.[/strike]

edit - I posted in the wrong topic. I have no idea what the *best* mic is

Last edited by antichef; 4th May 2017 at 02:31 PM..
Old 4th May 2017
  #4
I don't think there is a best, but based on this particular female singer on these recordings at this particular static mic distance, I blindly chose the Telefunken U47 (I was not looking at files names in my DAW). Second place was the Mojave MA-300, and third *might* be the Aston Origin. At $300, it was quite surprising to me and had this 3D thing going on.
Old 4th May 2017
  #5
Lives for gear
The best of everything? of all time? I have not personally used all of the holy grail mic's. But here is my perception from what I read, hears clips of, and other posts on the forum.

U67
ELAM251
C37A
C800G
C12
U47
C800G


Each are the best for different voices. So no clear winner. All are in the 6K to 20K price range used. The C800G is the only one currently in production.

So if you ask that about currently produced mic's the C800G wins.

I have read many comments that the C37A is many a favorite mic

The M49 and M50 are also highly valued

Sony does not support mic's like Neumann does, Helping them hold value better.
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Old 4th May 2017
  #6
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foldback's Avatar
The winner is (imho)

I wanted a few days for my ears to get used to the vocal samples and I wanted to go through all the microphones to see how they compared to each other.

If I had to pick just one and I could have any one on the list then it would be the Bock 251. I've used this mic and loved the sound on every voice I've heard it on. I'd like to own one but $6k is too much for me right now.

To my ears the highs sounded sweeter and clearer on the Bock 251 without being strident or harsh at all.

On the male vocal it was clearly the Bock 251 I preferred, on the female vocal it was a little less clear but after listening to the samples over and over The Bock was still my pick on her voice too.

For me one of the highlights of this microphone comparison was how little difference there was between models below $2000, none of them sounded outstanding to me, just various versions of a little more or less pinched sounding.

I spent time listening with headphones, my Meyer HD-1 monitor speakers and I listened to every mic on my iPhone 6S+ with and without earbuds since that's where A LOT of listeners are coming from these days. Not surprising, as the quality of the playback medium diminished the differences between the microphones became much less noticeable.

I finally decided on the Bock 251 after all my listening.

Interestingly this was the mic that caught my attention most as I quickly auditioned samples the first time through. This mic sounds fat and has that clear C-12 top end that I love.

I've built quite a few of my own microphones and the 12-251 from microphone-parts.com has a character that is very similar to the Bock 251, full sounding low end, big proximity effect, crystal clear beautiful highs. After listening to all of these microphones in the comparison I'm more convinced than ever about the value of mic-parts microphone kits.

I was surprised at the difference I heard between the WA87 and the U-87ai, I clearly liked the U-87ai better in this test while it was one of my least favorite microphones I ever owned. The WA87 was ok but not a game changer, just another inexpensive microphone.

I think MicTek should have a better capsule option for the CV4, I've built a mic with that tube and a similar output transformer but I used the Theirsch Blue Line capsule, it really sounds much better than the stock MicTek capsule.

With all of that said, If I won the Lotto I'd be ordering a Bock 251 the following day.

Thanks to Lynn and everyone who put so much effort into creating this interesting comparison.

Good music to all!
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Old 4th May 2017
  #7
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carloff's Avatar
Just for fun: very sad comparison for Bock 251 face to face vs vintage Siemens SM204(C12) with second type (older type of chamber) of original C12
https://www.dropbox.com/s/chndd86kex...20251.wav?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/scsjudh0r4...SM204.wav?dl=0
enjoy
Old 5th May 2017
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by carloff View Post
Just for fun: very sad comparison for Bock 251 face to face vs vintage Siemens SM204(C12) with second type (older type of chamber) of original C12
https://www.dropbox.com/s/chndd86kex...20251.wav?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/scsjudh0r4...SM204.wav?dl=0
enjoy
Bock sounds great but it's hard to tell with all the vibrato. Sometimes it sounds distorted.
Old 5th May 2017
  #9
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foldback's Avatar
For tests iike this to be helpful you must divorce yourself from the performance and concentrate on the audio.

I like Nick as a drummer but as a singer, well I'm still trying to adjust to these tracks.

I must work with performers that are less than what I like, every day.

After I adjusted to what was presented, then, and only then, could I react to what I was hearing.

I'm still impressed with the Lauten LA-220 for $250. I thought the Behringer $50 mic did a good job hanging with the ridiculous priced Telefunken models but the LA-220 did a good job hanging with all the microphones under test, pretty amazing.

Overall for my ears, the Lauten LA-220 was much more impressive than the WA-87. You could get two LA-220 for the price of one WA-87. I've listened to the tracks several times now, I still like the LA-220 better than the WA-87.

Good music to everyone!
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Old 5th May 2017
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by foldback View Post
For tests iike this to be helpful you must divorce yourself from the performance and concentrate on the audio.
Shootout city! It's impossible to a point.

That's what makes the clipalator so special

I don't understand why people go to such a huge amount of trouble testing gear with less than average performers. Surely there are thousands of great talents that would adore the exposure from pros....
Old 5th May 2017
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by carloff View Post
Just for fun: very sad comparison for Bock 251 face to face vs vintage Siemens SM204(C12) with second type (older type of chamber) of original C12
https://www.dropbox.com/s/chndd86kex...20251.wav?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/scsjudh0r4...SM204.wav?dl=0
enjoy
What is sad for the Bock exactly?
Old 5th May 2017
  #12
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carloff's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
What is sad for the Bock exactly?
Bock is supposed to be very alike to Siemens.(you can use Siemens as a pair with vintage Elam 251 ) But.No pleasant color, harsh highs compared to Siemens.Sadly I can say how much is Bock worse mic. I had Bock half of the year /I tried to like it very hard - with no result/ in studio- then gone away.

Last edited by carloff; 5th May 2017 at 09:17 AM..
Old 5th May 2017
  #13
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Fuston View Post
This is not click bait, I promise. This is a question that I field every day.

"So of all the 50 mics, which one was the best?"

I have an opinion that I feel strongly about but I don't want to influence the input from others. What do you consider "the best" vocal mic, regardless of what you heard on these recordings?
LOL

After 50 responses you'll no doubt have about 50 different answers.

I guess a better question is "which is the most appropriate mic on these sessions?" or would that be too boring a question
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Old 5th May 2017
  #14
Horch RMJ2
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Old 5th May 2017
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
Horch RMJ2
Do you own one?
Old 5th May 2017
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehightenor View Post
Have you got one of those
Only 3 & the Fet version.
Old 5th May 2017
  #17
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carloff's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
Only 3 & the Fet version.
How is the Fet ? I'm planning to purchase it.
Old 5th May 2017
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by carloff View Post
How is the Fet ? I'm planning to purchase it.
It's quite something.
Sounds like an octave above and below a Fet U47 which sounds middy and muddy next to the FMJ2. Very deep and crisp; great for vocals and obviously bass.
I'm gonna sell my last Fet U47 and get another FMJ2.
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Old 5th May 2017
  #19
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carloff's Avatar
I believe the mic is great but it is quite hard to reach Mr.Horch. He doesn't pick up phone and replying one time in month it seems.
Old 5th May 2017
  #20
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carloff's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
Jack is busy but I email him, pay him and get the mic within a few days. I just use the [email protected] address.
My friend Ivo (dealer)mailed him with my order a month ago still nothing....if you would drop a word (mail) you would be very kind..
cheers
Old 6th May 2017
  #21
Lives for gear
Tele 251 from this shootout if had to pick 1. My 2 favorite mics that I own for vocals are the Flea 12 and a custom made 251 using Tim Campbell capsule.
Old 6th May 2017
  #22
Gear Maniac
 

If by best you mean versatile, durable, and cost efficient then my vote goes to the SM58/57.
Old 6th May 2017
  #23
Lives for gear
 

Tele 251E, there is a reason the originals are so expensive. I have done many shootouts with reissues and originals, the 251E comes out on top 90% of the time with most singers and the reissues are quite close to the real deal.
Old 6th May 2017
  #24
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So Lynn - what's your fave ?
Old 6th May 2017
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by bforest4 View Post
Tele 251E, there is a reason the originals are so expensive. I have done many shootouts with reissues and originals, the 251E comes out on top 90% of the time with most singers and the reissues are quite close to the real deal.
One man's trash is another's treasure. I don't take a lot of stock in these shootouts and only use them as a guide, but after listening here in a blind test, I prefer less expensive models to that one. Some MUCH less expensive. I also have a friend that owned it for a while, ended up hating it, and sold it without losing any money. So there's that. He likes the Ref C much better.

Last edited by Aural Endeavors; 6th May 2017 at 05:17 PM..
Old 6th May 2017
  #26
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Lance Lawson's Avatar
 

There is no one best vocal mic. But there is a best kind of vocal mic. Simply put the LDC format has proven itself for well over half a century as the premire kind of mic to record vocals with. So it comes down to the LDC of your choice.
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Old 7th May 2017
  #27
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Will The Weirdo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by carloff View Post
My friend Ivo (dealer)mailed him with my order a month ago still nothing....if you would drop a word (mail) you would be very kind..
cheers
I bought Ivo's Rm2J earlier this year and I'm not sure if it's the best vocal mic, but it's in my personal top 3...... and I've used a **** ton of great mic's all over the US. I feel very blessed Ivo sold me his RM2J, it's one mic I will be keeping for a very long time.
Old 7th May 2017
  #28
Lives for gear
 

For me, after a dozen listens and culling iterations; Tele 251 on F, Redd On M.

I run Flea 12, Flea 49, Neumann U89 and, for handhelds, Neumann KMS 105.

My mics are carefully scrutinized on 2-3 hour vocal session at least twice a month and, the ones I keep have survived against quite a few mics I sold.

The Redd and and Tele 251 are now on my acquisition list and a few others I was considering are off including the Neumann FET 47. I reserved a Redd when they were first announced but ran into an issue and canceled. I read all of the messages posted once the Redds started shipping but still wasn't comfortable despite high praise. Hearing and comparing is quite another thing and the Redd was easily my favorite on male vocals.

Most of my vocal recordings are female, and maybe I am just used to hearing the beauty of the Flea 12 and 49 after listening and mixing hundreds of my tracks on these mics which I think are absolutely lovely and in the 251 range, but the Tele 251 is my choice on female vox. The 49 might seem an offbeat comparison to the 251 but to my ears it is actually closer to the Tele 251 lows and highs than the 12.

Well done and thank you Sweetwater!
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Old 7th May 2017
  #29
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Lawson View Post
There is no one best vocal mic. But there is a best kind of vocal mic. Simply put the LDC format has proven itself for well over half a century as the premire kind of mic to record vocals with. So it comes down to the LDC of your choice.
Unless you're Phil Collins who recorded the vocals on 90% of his 200 million album sales (Genesis and solo) with a £230 Beyer M88 dynamic mic.

Just saying
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Old 7th May 2017
  #30
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musicl's Avatar
 

That's strange, no U87 mention!
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