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Thread: male operatic vocal ,what should I buy ?

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    Exclamation male operatic vocal ,what should I buy ?

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    Hello ,
    I found this website in a search and I think that it is one of the best in the field of home recording
    I'm a male singer with operatic voice interested in singing arias and classics (and some of the soft rock famous songs),
    I've been searching for a microphone that doesn't equalize my voice ,just captures it as it is ,
    but I'm on a budget of 100$ ,unfortunately in my city there are not many shops for musical instruments ,they sell products of : shure ,electrovoice,behringer,ahuja,and a chinese company called soundking ...
    I have been surfing the internet looking for reviews and what I found that might be good for me :
    dynamics :
    shure sm58 ,sm57
    electrovoice nd767a
    condencers :
    behringer c1

    as I read everybody was saying that LDC are the best for vocals because of their detailed sound but another people were saying that a dynamic mic from a brand name company (sm58) is better than a cheap condenser

    and I've read that if the accosutics of the room aren't well studied then a condenser would capture the reflected sound from its walls and produce an unlikable effect (opera areas should be sung without any effects ..just the voice ) and my room is a normal room (isn't a studio recording room)

    I hope that someone is able to give me advice of what I should buy ,
    thanks

  2. #2
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    You can always purchase off the websites, that are very common, of what they sell that can be shipped anywhere.
    For with in your budget ...take a look at the MXL V67g, for a LDC with a lot of bang for the buck.



    ♫♪♫ I have a fever and the cure is cowbell ♫♪♫ .......... *LIVE FREE OR DIE* .......... ♫ I'm all ears ♫

    ☼ Mucho Loco Henry Areebah! ☼

    Any mic you buy will be perfectly suited to your needs, until you use it long enough to learn that it's not.

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    Well, If You are on budget, I would suggest Rode NT1-A. It is bit more, then 100 USD, but it works very well to me. Cost efficiency is really impressive. I wouldn't go for dynamics. They work good for vocals sometimes, but they have specific coloration, which is not desirable in Your case, as I understand. In fact, I really like quality ribbons for classical vocals, but they cost pretty penny. Cheap ones wouldn't work good. So my suggestion is to pick up something from Rode - they are very cost efficient.

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    First- this is just my opinion- A good cheap dynamic can be a great thing- when plugged into a wicked preamp. Given your budget- that's right out. I don't know what you are plugging this mic into, but I'm betting it isn't a Martch, John Hardy, etc. (preamps that cost thousands). In general, I recommend condensers for beginners with cheap preamps, because the weaker output of (most) dynamics requires you to turn up the gain quite a bit, which tends to produce noise.

    Also, the detail you want to hear in Bel Canto is often better reproduced by a condenser, especially in the upper register (more important if you are a tenor than a baritone). Like many people here, I could recommend lots of better mics if you had more money, but I'll stick to $100 new. Note that most folks on this board, I expect, would be looking at used mics if they were on your budget. The cool thing about the cheaper handheld stage dynamics, such as the SM57, is that they are widely manufactured, distributed, and reverse engineered. I could have bought an AKG D5 for $20 at a yard sale last week, in perfect condition. Why would I pay $100 for it? Brand new, for $20, a Behringer XM8500 is a perfectly good dynamic in the range of the ones you listed. I like the older discontinued AKG D320a,b, and c models, Sennheiser e835/845, and AKG D770. A lot of those mics can be had on ebay for $35 or so. Used SM57's go for about $50, and are usually beat up (everybody uses them in bands).

    My last observation is that your request for a mic that is "honest" (when we like it, we call it "transparent") is brave, and may represent your perceived learning needs, but will run contrary to many recording folks, who are more likely to be interested in making you sound good than revealing every flaw in your technique in glowing detail. Small diaphragm mics are not often used for vocals, but many fine singers have used them successfully, so don't rule them out. You want the truth? Hell, buy a Behringer ECM8000 measurement mic, which you can find for $50 or less. A few hours listening to that will send you screaming back here for a mic that will sound *good*. Not that the little Behringer isn't a bad mic, it just wouldn't be my choice as a main vocal mic. As a matter of fact, you could send a private message to MSHilarious, a mod on this board, who builds and sells mics that do what the ECM8000 does, except better and in some cases, cheaper.

    Now let's get real- both of the mic types above, I think you should eventually invest in, but here are my best compromises:

    They'll think I'm crazy, but if you are a real basso profundo, forget the $100 budget and find a used AKG D112. Designed for recording double bass, it's a shockingly good vocal mic in the land of lower frequencies. Yeah, it's a dynamic, and it works.

    I'll assume you're not a castrato and that you are male. If you are in any range from baritione to tenor (most normal men), although the MXL V67 Moresound recommended above is likely to sound *good*, I would look at Studio Projects B-1, as a compromise between telling some or all of the truth. That sort of "just the facts, Ma'am sound progresses up to more expensive mic models, such as B.L.U.E. Bluebird, AKG C214, AKG C414, and Brauner Valvet, in order of wallet pain.

    Note that if you choose a condenser, you have to plug it into something that sends it "phantom power", which these days, most, but not all, recording devices can do. Dynamics don't need phantom power. I think after you buy an entry-level condenser, you should shell out another $20 and buy the XM8500 I listed above. Mics are not point and shoot devices that "capture" sound. They are instruments that the vocalist plays. Bel Canto singers have problems with this concept, because their discipline is all about projection, breath support, and resonance, to fill a Renaissance hall with sound. The great ones adapt, and accept that their relationship with the microphone must be based on collaboration, rather than adverserial. Ignoring the microphone *won't work*, so deal with it, become one with it, *use* it, because it is a tool. That is what I have learned recording Bel Canto, as well as Renaissance and early music, madrigals, and some classical/orchestral music. Good Luck-Richie

    P.S. It would be very helpful to tell us what range your voice is in, and what you intend to plug this mic into.
    Last edited by Richard Monroe; 06-07-2010 at 20:45.

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    The 1st sticky at the top of the microphone forum page will help you on your search for the microphone that will best suit you as well.
    It is Called * Mics for under $100. - that just might work for you*



    ♫♪♫ I have a fever and the cure is cowbell ♫♪♫ .......... *LIVE FREE OR DIE* .......... ♫ I'm all ears ♫

    ☼ Mucho Loco Henry Areebah! ☼

    Any mic you buy will be perfectly suited to your needs, until you use it long enough to learn that it's not.

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    first of all ,thank you all for your help ,
    I'm a tenor with maximum range of A2-C5 ,so I have lot of highs ,
    the plan is connecting the microphone to a "Behringer XENYX 502" mixer it doesn't cost a lot and it has phantom power ,then from the mixer to my PC's line input .
    and because I want to record my voice "as it is" then dynamics wont work for me because I think I need a microphone with a flat response -which I think the ECM8000 must has ( behringer website says about it : "Ultra-linear condenser microphone" ) ,honestly I didn't know about that mic before (thanks for Richard Monroe ,it took you a long time writing that reply ) and its price is within my budget ,so it has everything that I wish for except one thing ...its omnidirectional pattern ,usually unidirectional mucs are used for single vocal and I think I might have noise problems -external noise- but I'm thinking seriously about it ..
    the problem is the singers who are into opera don't use microphone .. they just sing and fill the room as said above ,I had the same problem till I was supposed to perform with the aid of a dynamic mic ( it was at church when they needed me ) I took my time and learned how to deal with it ( when to bring it close to my mouth and when to let it far and how to use the "proximity effect" and so ..) and the performance was pretty good ,the only problem which I had -nobody but me- was that I felt like the sound isn't my voice ,so I think that when it comes to recording I wanted it real ,
    quick question ... in professional studios what is the situation ? I mean are they use mics that sound "good" or "real" ?

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    First, you don't have a clue what your voice sounds like. No one does. You listen to your voice through a bag of water and meat that you call your head. Only someone else can tell you if the recording sounds like you. It takes years of vocal recording with a variety of mics to learn what your voice really sounds like. Note that I pointed out that the ECM8000 may drive you to drink with it's accuracy. You want accurate? Sing nude on stage. Clothes just hide the real you. Transparency is overated. Engineers that are good will always try to make a singer sound good, without creating a sound which is overly effected. BTW- some dynamics are rather flat. That feature has nothing to do with the electrical principle by which the mic operates. Most handheld mics, which are generally used for vocals have a high midrange boost called "presence" which makes words more intelligible when mixed with other sounds, whether music or ambient noise. You want a pretty good flat vocal mic? I'm a huge fan of the AKG C2000B, which has a nearly ruler flat frequency curve. About $280-$300 new, you can find them for $150 or less om ebay. In your stated price range, I'd just buy a Studio Projects B-1. It's a perfectly good all purpose, entry level condenser mic.-Richie

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    Just wanted to add a couple comments.

    I'm a classically-trained bass-baritone (C2-F4). While the goal may be for a clean, "acoustic" recording, all sorts of different factors come into play when recording in a home or studio setting. What you assume to be a "pure" recording of pros, even when recorded in a theatre, is actually full of natural reverb and ambient colorations. When recording in a studio, these effects are usually carefully added back in. If you record everything flat and dry, you very likely may end up with something of poor esthetic quality, and very harsh.

    Also, I think it may benefit you to think a bit more about your purchase. On one hand, you say you want a good, flat response from a mic, with little presence/coloration. Yet, your experience at your church encouraged you to really "work" the mic to produce vocal effects...which is somewhat contrary to Bel Canto. I think it would benefit you to consider all this first before spending your money...especially if you're on a limited budget. The two vocal styles you mentioned require different mics.

    BTW, during a lesson I commented to my coach that the vocalization I was producing sounded all wrong. His response was, "That's our curse," meaning, we as singers can't hear exactly what we sound like. I was, in fact, singing correctly...but hearing those sounds through the bones in the head alter it to our own ears.

    Hope this helps.

    -Bruce

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Monroe View Post
    … You want accurate? Sing nude on stage. Clothes just hide the real you. Transparency is overated.-Richie
    LOL. Been there, done that. A few times in fact. UTube Search Calixto Bieito Parsifal Finale. That's my ass waving in the wind after Nur eine Waffe Taugt'. :-)

    Good to read your thoughts. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by romelclub View Post
    I've been searching for a microphone that doesn't equalize my voice, just captures it as it is
    No such thing. All mics cheap and expensive have their own sonic color as do preamps and speakers. The "capture it as it is" is also a slippery concept. As is from 6 inches? 6 feet? 20 feet? In a cathedral? At a bandshell? In your living room? In the middle of an open field?

    The way a mic "hears" is different than the way you hear with your ears.

    and I've read that if the accosutics of the room aren't well studied then a condenser would capture the reflected sound from its walls and produce an unlikable effect (opera areas should be sung without any effects ..just the voice ) and my room is a normal room (isn't a studio recording room)
    The recording environment is definitely a consideration as is the technique of using the mic and other gear. You're going to have to go through the same process as everyone else and experiment. Try it and see what happens. It's pretty well assured you won't make an optimal recording on your first try. I recommend trying shorter excerpts at first instead of doing an entire aria only to find that the results aren't that great. Also be aware that there are effects that you can apply in software that you might not be aware of. You can actually simulate being in a large hall with modeled reverb for example. Your goal is to record your voice with as little distortion as possible with as little noise as possible - give yourself a good clean basic recording to work with.

    There are any number of mics that will work. Try the recommendations you get here and see what you think. Try others. And it's not just the mic - you also have to learn to use the whole chain - the mic, the pre, the software assuming you're recording digitally. And you need a decent monitoring system.

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