Vocal microphone recommendations (affordable + good quality)

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Carlo Medina, Aug 8, 2005.

  1. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    I have finally put my money where my mouth is. I just dropped about $300 to have pickups installed in my acoustic guitar (Lakewood M32) and am about to drop about $600-$700 on an 2 channel acoustic guitar amp (right now I'm deciding between the Genz-Benz Shenandoah Stereo 60, Ultrasound AG50-DS3 & Fishman Loudbox Performer). These amps all have 2 inputs and will accept microphones.

    However, mics are something I am completely ignorant about. Can any of the aspiring (or professional!) singers in our membership recommend a good, affordable microphone? I'd like to not break the bank as I'm going to be down a grand already for all this other stuff. I'm hoping to spend ~$100 (or less!).

    Ooh, and any good mic stand recommendations would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Paul Padilla

    Paul Padilla Supporting Actor

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    The most consistent work horse that you'll find...even on many big stages is the Shure SM58. The SM57 is essentially the same mic without the metal screen...better for instrument applications, but you'll see plenty of people using these as vocal mics too. You should easily be able to find it for less than $100. Now, this is a balanced mic so if your amp doesn't have an XLR input for one of the channels, then you'll have to get a line adapter. (Alters the signal to adapt it to a regular 1/4" input...not just a physical adapter). That shouldn't run you more than another $20.

    As for stands...there isn't a big difference from one to the other for basic applications IMO. I'd go ahead and at least get a boom stand to give you plenty of flexibility whether you're standing or sitting.
     
  3. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

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  4. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Hmm I had heard about the Senn E835 but you're using a different model.

    Regarding the pop filter, it seems like the Shure comes with one built in to the SM58. The Senns require an external one, I'm take it?
     
  5. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Screenwriter

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  6. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    I take it you are planning on performing? The SM58 is a workhorse, and for professional live applications it is pretty much a standard. Built like a tank and easily handle all sorts of abuse.

    I like K&M stands, the cheap generic ones tend to fall apart or let go at the worst times. If you are playing and singing, you'll want a boom model, I'd go for a mid sized boom.
     
  7. Richard Travale

    Richard Travale Producer

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    Another vote for the SM58. There's a reason why every bar/venue in the country has them as part of their house system.
     
  8. Jeff Loughridge

    Jeff Loughridge Stunt Coordinator

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  9. Seth_L

    Seth_L Screenwriter

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    I guess it depends what your goals are. If you're talking about live performance the SM58 is what you're looking for. If you're looking to record a vocal condensor is probably a better bet.
     
  10. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

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    Haven't really checked. At the least I always use one to keep spit off the mic.
     
  11. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    Others have suggested the SM58 already. I picked up one on eBay for about $75.00. The oral history project Story Corps recommended it for anyone who wants to do their own interviews, acknowledging it's not your typical interview mic but it's "nearly indestructible" and does well with a variety of voices. I interviewed my Dad and he was very pleased with how his voice sounded in playback. Most times you hear the opposite.
     
  12. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    The pop filter is to lessen plosives ("P"sounds), but also serves to keep spit off the mic. You can make your own from a pair of nylons.

    For a starter, the 58 will serve you well for both performance and recording, ad will be less prone to squealing in live situations than a condensor. If you get serious later it never hurts to own one. If you are doing recording only, a condensor may be better, but you should try out a few to find one that suits your voice. Also remember that the closer you are to the mic, the more proximity effect (low end response), this can be both good and bad depending on the situation.
     
  13. Jan H

    Jan H Cinematographer

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    Another vote for the Shure SM58. In your price range, you can also find CAD condenser mics which are offer good performance for not a lot of dough.
     
  14. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    The SM58 is the standard for live microphones (I spent 12 years doing live concert sound including tours with Platinum selling artists and you'll see 58s on every stage I've ever worked).

    But, since everyone else has mentioned it, I'll also throw in the Shure Beta-87. The Beta 87 is kind of the 'new standard' mic, used by some more discerning vocalists.

    The Beta series is the 'deluxe' versions of their performance mics, and there is a beta-58, although not too many people use them (since the original 58 sounds similar and is easier to deal with). Anway- in the beta series, the Beta-87 is an EXCELLENT microphone, better upper response than the 58. They now have a 87A and 87C, with slightly different pickup pattern, but the A is the one to go with.

    They're twice as expensive and require pahntom power, but i think they sound better.

    -V
     
  15. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

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    I'll also vote for the Shure 58, especially if you're only gonna be using it plugged into the vocal channel of your acoustic amp. Most likely, a condenser mic would be pretty much irrelevant in those circumstances because they would need phantom power, which your amp probably does not provide, and because their added detail would be lost being amplified in such a manner...

    As for a pop filter: this is a definite must, IMO. The 58's capsule claims to have a built-in windscreen, but it's pretty much useless for that and for eliminating plosives. You can find some basic pop filters for around $20 or, like another poster mentioned, construct your own...

    As for stands, a boom stand is probably also a must. It'll be easier to keep the guitar from hitting the stand during performances. I'm quite partial to the rather inexpensive Stageline stands. The booms have a better tightening system which all but eliminates "boom creep" and they seem very solidly built. I've used quite a few different brands of booms for overhead micing of my drums, and consequently I'm pretty picky about them. The Stagelines are some of the very few I've tried where the boom actually stays where you put it...
     
  16. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Well sounds like the SM58. My local guitar shop had the PG58 (I think) but looking at Shure's site it seems to be different. I guess I'll just internet order the SM58 if they don't have it.

    Vince, thanks for the 87A recommendation but that might be a bit above my pocketbook (quick froogling puts it at about $250).
     
  17. Paul Padilla

    Paul Padilla Supporting Actor

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    The pop filter (I.e. nylon stretched between a frame vs. a simple foam slip on screen...aka mic condom) is certainly desirable for recording but they're impractical for live performances, if for no other reason than it will cover up one's face. Good mic technique can minimize quite a bit of the popping.
     

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