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Seeking Advice: Having trouble finding a mic for my voice


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  • Seeking Advice: Having trouble finding a mic for my voice

    The timbre of my voice is comparable to Joey Ramone. I'm reading the Shure SM7b is what Michael Jackson, Chris Cornell and a slew of other people used on their albums, but realize that's not my voice profile.
    What microphones should I be looking at for the reality of my voice?
    I've tried MXL 990/991, Apex 460 (Telefunken M16 Chinese clone), Audio Technica Midnight Blues, and a skinny Blue mic and haven't found a mic that seems to work. It seems like these lack the frequencies I need. I always end up using a SM58, because it half-way works, but am wishing there was something a little better out there for me.
    Are there any mics that let different frequencies pass or "different flavors" of mics?
    I have an assortment of EQs and compressors in my DAW and my buddies have some higher end plugins. Just looking for a microphone that I can plug in, sing into and give me the best frequencies for my voice.
    Also, maybe something I can plug into my Apogee and not have to externally boost the signal for.

    I'll be buying used. Looking to find something prosumer and not uber-expensive.
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  • #2

    Want something a little different? Try the Blue Baby Bottle. They're not too expensive (about $399 new), and while it's a condenser, it's not overly bright. There's a presence peak, but it's a bit lower than you might normally expect - about 5-6kHz IIRC. The top rolls off over 10 or 12 kHz or so, and it's pretty smooth. I could see it working on a Joey Ramone type voice.

    The SM7b can be a good vocal mic, but you'll need a good preamp with a healthy amount of gain on tap to go with it.

    Can different mics accentuate certain qualities or frequencies in a vocal or instrument? Absolutely! Which mic is "right" for your voice? Without hearing it in person, it's really hard to give you any kind of useful answer to that, but you'll most likely know it when you hear it.. What you may want to consider is going to a local studio and booking a few hours of time and trying out whatever mics you can on your voice. Make sure they record it all so you can take it home for later comparisons. Use a voice recorder, or the memo function on your phone to take notes about what you think of each mic you try. You'll learn a lot about microphones, as well as your own voice that way. Make sure you go to a studio with a decent mic locker so you can try out as many as possible. You can also go to all the local stores and try whatever microphones they have. Like I said, when something clicks, you'll probably know it right away, but no one mic is right for everyone, or in every situation.

    Don't feel bad about using the SM58. If it's what works best for you, there's nothing wrong with that. They've been used on tons of major label albums. I've recorded vocals for records with a SM58, even though there were 251's and U87's sitting in the closet a few feet away that I could have used instead. The '58 sounded right for the task at hand, so that's what we used.


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    - George Carlin

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    • Phil O'Keefe
      Phil O'Keefe commented
      Editing a comment

      Also, which "Apogee" are you using? I ask because you'll need a mic preamp with any / all of these mics... but you may already have one on your Apogee.

    • rlm297
      rlm297 commented
      Editing a comment

      Thanks a ton, Phil! I'll check out that Blue and see if any stores have demo/rental mics.

  • #3
    One thing that it seems to me that you are overlooking in your search is a GOOD QUALITY mic preamp. I'm not talking about the preamps built into your audio interface. I'm talking about top quality external preamps. These have just as much to do with how a mic sounds with a certain voice as the mic does itself. I would recommend finding a mic that you think would fit your style (Ramones style, to me, screams SM7b but I could be wrong) and pair it with a handful of external preamps and see how your voice sounds with it. Phil had a great idea of trying mics out at a local studio but you can also do this with preamps as well. In my experience, it's been well worth the extra money to have an awesome external preamp. It not only can add color and dimension to your recordings, it beefs up the signal and just adds that extra "oomph" that interface pres just can't do. My 2 cents and your mileage my vary.


    • witesol
      witesol commented
      Editing a comment

      of course the other issue in this type request is whether or not you might be looking for something that cannot be found in any mic, whether or not you have expectations from any piece or combo of gear that magically turns your voice into what you hope for.. that's a harder realization


      I keep searching for a mic that has the frequencies of Paul Rodgers myself