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How do you try out mics for home studio?

tobinharris

Member
Messages
56
Hi folks

I keep hearing it's a good idea to pick a mic that works with your voice. As a hobbyist with "below average" vocal talent I'm not sure if that will make a difference :) Old example below showing my vocal style.

I'm getting ok results from the SM58 but would be keen to try a few more.

Do you just order them online and send them back if you're not getting the result you want?

Because I don't have great acoustic treatment, I'm thinking of trialing mostly dynamic mics like the SM7B. Sound like a good idea?

Do you know any music shops in Leeds, UK that let you audition mics?

Cheers

 

electricity17

Member
Messages
867
You could find a place that rents audio gear and mics, or you could find a bigger pro audio retailer and visit their showroom. In LA, there's a Vintage King store where I was able to check out a variety of mics. I was looking at large diaphragm condensers, and I ended up with a Gefell M930 that was recommended by the salesman. It's an excellent mic that wasn't on my radar, so I'm very glad that I got to try it out.
 

eigentone

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,339
Take a track to a recording studio with a good mic locker and play around for the day. Get recordings which you can take home. Use different mics and allow the engineer to weigh in.

Repeat at another studio if needed.

In the US at least, returning mics isn't easy.
 
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tribedescribe

Member
Messages
698
Whats your budget?

Best way is to try out a few to get and idea of what type works best for your voice. Many of us just make a educated guess based on online listening and reading countless reviews. I bought and sold a few ldc through trial and error for my wife who sings soft/sultry and ended up with a Neumann tlm49. Although the tlm49 can sound harsh on louder singers.

I would try out a sm7b vs. u87 type vs. u47 type to start with. Some voices need boost in the presence while others can sound harsh with the same mic. Some voices need a big bass boost why others need none. This is what to listen for. Once you know what sounds best you could explore budget version of that mic. The pearlman tm-1 is a excellent 47ish tube mic to try out. Miktek also makes some great solid state and tube ldc. As far as treatment goes, make or buy a portable vocal trap. I made one out of insulation panels and they work wonders and are not that expensive.
 
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tobinharris

Member
Messages
56
Thanks guys.

@electricity17 / @eigentone - It looks like one of our local shops might let me audition mics, and there are a few studios I could contact too. One is opposite my office which is handy! So, good shout.

@tribedescribe - Thanks for suggesting a starting point with those mics. Think mine needs a presence boost. Probably right that a condenser shouldn't be ruled out, especially if a vocal trap and minor treatment could tame the room a bit.

Will try out some mics!
 

eigentone

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,339
Thanks guys.

@electricity17 / @eigentone - It looks like one of our local shops might let me audition mics, and there are a few studios I could contact too. One is opposite my office which is handy! So, good shout.

@tribedescribe - Thanks for suggesting a starting point with those mics. Think mine needs a presence boost. Probably right that a condenser shouldn't be ruled out, especially if a vocal trap and minor treatment could tame the room a bit.

Will try out some mics!
At a shop I worked at in college, we had a room where you could walk in, put cans on, and try out one of probably 50+ mics that were set up.

That was pretty nice to narrow things down quickly but hearing something in context to a track is preferable.
 

electricity17

Member
Messages
867
Eigentone makes a good point that it's often difficult to return mics FYI.

Regarding room treatment, you can do a lot with a couple furniture pads/moving blankets if you're tracking vocals. They won't do much to control bass (whether it's mixing or tracking), but they'll knock out a lot of the issues you'll get in a small room with a singer. You'll want to hang them off of boom stands or something a few feet back from the mic. They'll do less if you just hang them on the walls.

Good luck!
 

eigentone

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,339
Hi folks

I keep hearing it's a good idea to pick a mic that works with your voice. As a hobbyist with "below average" vocal talent I'm not sure if that will make a difference :) Old example below showing my vocal style.

I'm getting ok results from the SM58 but would be keen to try a few more.

Do you just order them online and send them back if you're not getting the result you want?

Because I don't have great acoustic treatment, I'm thinking of trialing mostly dynamic mics like the SM7B. Sound like a good idea?

Do you know any music shops in Leeds, UK that let you audition mics?

Cheers

Should have remarked on this earlier… a Large Diaphragm Condenser mic is what I have used when recording most male voices.

Examples of some you probably recognize:
- AKG C414 and C12
- Audio Technica 4050
- Neumann U87

More examples, descriptions, reviews:
http://www.sweetwater.com/c105--Large-diaphragm_Condenser_Microphones

Yeah, SM7B (a dynamic) is used by some big names in the studio, but condensers are more common for lead vocals.
 

tobinharris

Member
Messages
56
My sister bought me an NTK years ago which I'd forgotten about. I remember just having a hard time taming it. I think I'll dig it out and see how that goes, with some blankets hung behind the mic.

Because I like to play acoustic whilst performing, vocals were impossible to isolate with the condenser. I could probably plug an electric into the audio interface, and that might be slightly more manageable.

So, I'll start with that, then get myself to a local shop that has mic auditioning in the new year, and try a few more.

I wonder what Neil Young is using here, the overall mix is lovely in my opinion. His massive skill levels must help, but it's clear and feels well mixed.

 

Che_Guitarra

Member
Messages
4,165
I live in a very isolated neck of the woods (Perth, Australia) - we certainly don't have swathes of high end microphones to pick and choose from in our music stores... let alone to rent for trial.

I don't think finding a good pairing is the black art many will suggest. There's tons of killer mics out there, in almost every price bracket. I simply went on a Google and Youtube bender referencing anyone of similar vocal type, technique, genre, etc. Historic, modern, etc. Net result of my research saw me settle on a Shure SM7B and a TM-1 (having a mental block who makes that one right now). Couldn't be happier. Between the pair I can nail every nuance I seek from my vocals, and they make me sound better than I could ever have hoped.
 

tobinharris

Member
Messages
56
Have been to one shop and they've said they don't really allow people to test the vocal mics due to hygene issues. So, next idea is finding a studio with a decent mic locker.
 

soundchaser59

Thank You Great Spirit!
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
12,992
buy used, you won't lose as much money on resale. I hate returning new stuff just so I can test drive it.
 

GtrGeorge!

Member
Messages
2,036
I live in a very isolated neck of the woods (Perth, Australia) - we certainly don't have swathes of high end microphones to pick and choose from in our music stores... let alone to rent for trial.

I don't think finding a good pairing is the black art many will suggest. There's tons of killer mics out there, in almost every price bracket. I simply went on a Google and Youtube bender referencing anyone of similar vocal type, technique, genre, etc. Historic, modern, etc. Net result of my research saw me settle on a Shure SM7B and a TM-1 (having a mental block who makes that one right now). Couldn't be happier. Between the pair I can nail every nuance I seek from my vocals, and they make me sound better than I could ever have hoped.
Che: in your own backyard is Rode. They make some great mics!!!!!!!! And they are priced reasonably. Check them out! I love mine!
 






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