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Mic recommendations for both live AND recording ?

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  • Mic recommendations for both live AND recording ?

    I have a gig every other Friday playing at an ALF (assisted living facility). I want to add vocals on this gig. Googling around, the Shure Beta 87A gets a lot of praise. I'm thinking I'd like it to have some use in home recording also. More bang for my buck.

    I currently have 2 AKG 414 ULS's and a BLUE Baby bottle. I was hoping to add a live mike with a close proximity effect (correct term?). Hopefully my new mic can be useful for recording voice while also playing and recording (with other mics) piano.

    Opinions on this mic ? Other recommendations ? Thanks ?
    https://soundcloud.com/david-goethe/tracks

    Dave's ,YouTube channel

  • #2
    The Beta 87A is a fine mic and would be a very good choice for what you're after, given a suitable vocalist. In other words, the only way to know if one will work with your voice is to try one...
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    • #3
      I have a Shure SM58 that I have used for both - with very good results
      The Mandolin Picker

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      • #4
        I didn't understand if you wanted proximity effect or not.

        If you do not, the Sennheiser MD421 is a great dynamic mic. It has no noticeable proximity effect, can tolerate high spl values, has a fairly flat frequency response, in addition has a 5 position low reject filter, and is very rugged. My 421 is over 30 years old, it outlasted my partners SM58 and two AT mics, and so she bought a 421. Mine still sounds as good as a new one.

        I do one-nighters which are notoriously hard on gear. And some gigs are in places where we need to eat the mic, so having no proximity effect is a blessing. The SM58 can sound muddy if you get too close.

        Pro Audio Review mag did a dynamic mic shoot-out for mics under $500 and it got the best all around score, first in every category except micing a guitar amp, where it scored second. You can pick one up for around $300 and it will outlast 3 SM58s, so it's economical as well.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Notes_Norton View Post
          I didn't understand if you wanted proximity effect or not.

          Insights and incites by Notes
          I think I misused the term (proximity). From doing a bit of reading just now, I seem to have meant "directional". For home recording voice and piano at the same time, I'm thinking of rejection of sound other than my voice. I did just read that the Sennheiser 421 is "highly directional", so I will do some more reading about it.

          https://soundcloud.com/david-goethe/tracks

          Dave's ,YouTube channel

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          • #6
            Originally posted by davd_indigo View Post

            I think I misused the term (proximity). From doing a bit of reading just now, I seem to have meant "directional". For home recording voice and piano at the same time, I'm thinking of rejection of sound other than my voice. I did just read that the Sennheiser 421 is "highly directional", so I will do some more reading about it.
            Directional mics, at least those suitable for music recording, aren't that directional. The trick is to take advantage of directionality when placing the mics. The important thing to is to know the direction where the mic is less sensitive and point that null toward what you don't want to record. You'll never get isolation but you might reduce the level of the piano in your voice mics by 3 to 6 dB over using an omnidirectional mic. It will help somewhat when mixing but you'll always have more leakage than you hope.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MikeRivers View Post

              Directional mics, at least those suitable for music recording, aren't that directional. The trick is to take advantage of directionality when placing the mics. The important thing to is to know the direction where the mic is less sensitive and point that null toward what you don't want to record. You'll never get isolation but you might reduce the level of the piano in your voice mics by 3 to 6 dB over using an omnidirectional mic. It will help somewhat when mixing but you'll always have more leakage than you hope.
              I was thinking along the lines you mention. I was thinking of 2 mics on piano. It's digital and yes I know - everybody says why not just go direct in with the piano. But I want to make sure that my idea to mic it doesn't work before I do something else. So maybe 2 AKG 414's down around the speakers (it's a Yamaha F01) picking up the high and low ends - one mic on each. And a live oriented mic (I'm thinking they're designed to be more directional - correct ?) picking up voice with some bleed from piano but hopefully manageable. 3 separate tracks I'm thinking. I won't know till I try it.

              But I just need to figure out all the suitable candidate mics.
              Last edited by davd_indigo; 08-30-2016, 04:05 PM.
              https://soundcloud.com/david-goethe/tracks

              Dave's ,YouTube channel

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              • #8
                Originally posted by davd_indigo View Post

                I was thinking along the lines you mention. I was thinking of 2 mics on piano. It's digital and yes I know - everybody says why not just go direct in with the piano.
                Oh. I thought you were talking about a real piano. Let me add my vote to the "why not just go direct?" suggestion.

                But I want to make sure that my idea to mic it doesn't work before I do something else. So maybe 2 AKG 414's down around the speakers (it's a Yamaha F01) picking up the high and low ends - one mic on each. And a live oriented mic (I'm thinking they're designed to be more directional - correct ?) picking up voice with some bleed from piano but hopefully manageable. 3 separate tracks I'm thinking. I won't know till I try it.
                There might be something about a miked speaker that appeals to you or conveys the sense of the song. But most people want a piano to sound more like a piano than a syntheizer with its small built-in speakers miked. But like you say, you won't know until you try it.

                The C-414 in bi-directinal mode has quite a good null. You might try positioning them so that your voice aims toward the null, and look at where the back (not pointed at the piano speakers) side is aiming. It will be picking up a reflection of your voice (as well as the piano speakers, which will proably be at about the same level). So try to position yourself in the room so that that reflection will have a fairly long path so it will be pretty feeble by the time it gets back to the mics.



                --
                "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
                Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by MikeRivers View Post

                  Oh. I thought you were talking about a real piano. Let me add my vote to the "why not just go direct?" suggestion.



                  There might be something about a miked speaker that appeals to you or conveys the sense of the song. But most people want a piano to sound more like a piano than a syntheizer with its small built-in speakers miked. But like you say, you won't know until you try it.

                  The C-414 in bi-directinal mode has quite a good null. You might try positioning them so that your voice aims toward the null, and look at where the back (not pointed at the piano speakers) side is aiming. It will be picking up a reflection of your voice (as well as the piano speakers, which will proably be at about the same level). So try to position yourself in the room so that that reflection will have a fairly long path so it will be pretty feeble by the time it gets back to the mics.


                  I will print what you say and try to learn what it means. I'm about to start a class called Fundamentals of Sound. I can maybe pick the teacher's brain. To my ears my digital piano sounds like an acoustic piano. What the limitations of micing are I don't really understand. But maybe I can learn.
                  https://soundcloud.com/david-goethe/tracks

                  Dave's ,YouTube channel

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                  • #10
                    I don't know if this gives any real insight to the sound of this particular Yamaha PD. I searched and found it. If you search on "stunningly realistic sound" you'll get down to the section on the Modus F01. It compared favorably to an acoustic piano in the showroom, to my ears. Of course maybe it's just marketing.

                    stunningly realistic sound
                    http://download.yamaha.com/api/asset...asset_id=45742
                    https://soundcloud.com/david-goethe/tracks

                    Dave's ,YouTube channel

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                    • #11
                      Dave old Buddy...Have you tried recording it direct yet? Perhaps the room you play in has some acoustic properties that lend themselves to what you hear.If you've a good set of monitors, record something direct while listening to the sound through the keyboards speakers.
                      Then listen to it through monitors. If it's sub-par to the sound of the speakers, try adding a little bit of reverb...Or, if your keyboard has a Line In jack, go from your recording device/computer into the keyboard and listen back that way. If the sound is pleasing to you, then you have something you can mike up and hear your tracks without the sound of the physical keys in the recording.

                      If you've already tried/considered these options...'Scue me.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by davd_indigo View Post
                        If you search on "stunningly realistic sound" you'll get down to the section on the Modus F01. It compared favorably to an acoustic piano in the showroom, to my ears. Of course maybe it's just marketing.
                        Exactly. Does it sound stunningly realistic to you?

                        --
                        "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
                        Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MikeRivers View Post

                          Exactly. Does it sound stunningly realistic to you?
                          Well, they're not my go to terms that I'd use, but yeah I do. About 10 months I went to the local Yamaha showroom. I thought I'd be buying a Yamaha CLP585 - their top Clavinova model. The sales guy spent about an hour showing me all the options. Even those orchestra arranger models I'd never buy. I'm just a plain piano player. Anyway, he showed me the Modus F01 sitting right next to the door. I loved the sound, but it was something like a 2008 model, or something like that. He also showed me the Modus H01 - their current high end in that series. Then he left me alone to play to my heart's content. The CLP585 sounded like a comment I read about many digital pianos sounding "thin". I played my F01, then went and played an acoustic. It sounded good when compared to it.

                          I told the guy I wanted to do some research. I went home and googled reviews. The Modus F01 had at least 1 review - maybe 2, I can't remember, confirming what I thought. That the F01 sounds better than the current H01. Style over function ? I don't know. But I loved the sound. Now it does have a clicking sound from the physical movement of the keys. I'm focused more on the piano sound. Maybe turning up the piano's volume would cover the key noise.

                          I recorded this little blues improv last week. I named it Crusher Blues after the grace note or an accacciatura. I think it sounds like an acoustic piano myself.
                          https://youtu.be/1jCBOm44fM4
                          Last edited by davd_indigo; 09-01-2016, 08:01 PM.
                          https://soundcloud.com/david-goethe/tracks

                          Dave's ,YouTube channel

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                          • #14
                            I've used a 414 ULS for many years, as well as a couple Beta 87As. I like the 87s a lot. I also have an AKG D330BT that may be one of the most versatile mics I've ever owned and best on-a-whim purchases I've ever made. Great for vocals. But honestly, at the risk of giving the pat answer, there's almost nothing I can't do armed with a couple SM57s and SM58s, live and in the studio. But I wouldn't be the first person to be able to do everything with those old standbys and do it well. More like the millionth person to manage everything with those two mics.

                            That being said, for piano I prefer a pair of old Radio Shack PZM's (boundary mics) that I hacked up and modded to use 9-volt batteries. That's a lot of work though, and while well worth the time and trouble, you can't just go buy them off the shelf anymore. I've had those since the 1980's. I got them on the cheap on sale at my local Shack and made them into something better than they were. Now days I have the funds to go buy whatever I need, but that's not nearly as much fun as guerilla recording IMO.

                            If you don't have any boundary mics just grab a couple AKG PZM6 D's and yer done! You'll find a use for them that no other mic can manage quite as well. I've used my Realistic PZM's for about everything, from vocals, to micing amps, to micing a Steinway & Sons full grand with absolutely stunning results. The AKG PZM6 D is probably closest in performance to my Realistic PZM's, but there are many others to choose from.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Beck View Post
                              That being said, for piano I prefer a pair of old Radio Shack PZM's (boundary mics) that I hacked up and modded to use 9-volt batteries. That's a lot of work though, and while well worth the time and trouble, you can't just go buy them off the shelf anymore.
                              The Radio Shack PZM was a lot of fun. The original version was actually made by Crown and has an output transformer. A simple modification is to chop off the 1/4" phone plug, strip back the cable, and you'll find two conductors plus shield. The cable can be wired to an XLR plug and you have a mic with a transformer balanced output. There are a couple of kind of messy phantom power modifications floating around, but the easiest way to increase the headroom (which translates to taking a higher SPL before clipping) is to replace the single AA battery with two type A544 6v "photo" batteries in series. Surprisingly, those batteries are still available from several sources, for about 5 bucks each. Real camera stores stock them, and of course they can be ordered through Amazon.

                              The piano in question is a digital piano, one of those in a pretty case, that are designed to go in a living room rather than a concert hall or recording studio. I think the speakers are in the panels along side the pedals. A PZM might work, but miking it is just like miking a speaker, or better, miking a room.


                              --
                              "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
                              Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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