Jump to content

Mics/Pres for specific Vox Types: Discuss


Recommended Posts

  • Members

Hey guys,

 

On my personal DAW, I'm using Ableton Live/Logic Studio with an Apogee Ensemble interface (transparent pres). For my vocals, I've been using the Ensemble's pres with a Rode NTK.

 

I'm totally digging the setup, and I am getting some great demos. I notice that the mic works exceptionally well when I crank the pres and use more of a 'bodied' and breathy vocal.

 

The mic seems to sound a little thin when the pres are set lower during my powerful/screamy & even on loud clean type vox. Are there particular mics/pres that are known for 'powerful' vocal work (whether it be loud and raspy, or loud and clean)?

 

The current pre/mic combo is still fine for the 'powerful' work, but would a coloured tube be more beneficial to loud/powerful/raspy vocals? The current setup sounds gorgeous on my less aggressive vocal takes...

 

I know in the end that this is more of an experimentation thing, but should I experiment with different mics, or should I try something like a UAD pre-amp, or a brick?

 

In my scenario, would it make more sense to try differeing pres with the current mic, or consider a completely different mic and pre?

 

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I'm perfectly happy with my vocal performances and the like... I'm just looking for suggestions on future work. I am sure guys like Phil O'Keefe, and Fletcher can probably name genres of music and what mics/pres/etc. they'd use for their clients...

 

Cheers,

PB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members


I'm totally digging the setup, and I am getting some great demos. I notice that the mic works exceptionally well when I crank the pres and use more of a 'bodied' and breathy vocal.


The mic seems to sound a little thin when the pres are set lower during my powerful/screamy & even on loud clean type vox. Are there particular mics/pres that are known for 'powerful' vocal work (whether it be loud and raspy, or loud and clean)?


The current pre/mic combo is still fine for the 'powerful' work, but would a coloured tube be more beneficial to loud/powerful/raspy vocals? The current setup sounds gorgeous on my less aggressive vocal takes...

 

Does your voice thin out as you go into powerful/screamy or loud & clean type vocals? I ask this because, quite frankly, most people's voices do. And so it's possible that the mic/mic preamp combo may be accurately picking up what you are doing. After all, it's not distorting, right? Are you singing directly into the mic when you do these kinds of vocals, or is it slightly off-axis? What kind of room are you singing these kinds of vocals in?

 

Personally, when I do these screamo-type vocals (I used to do a lot of hardcore), I'd listen to the voice. If there's a lot of "raspy" top-end stuff going on that might sound shrill, I'd choose a slightly darker combination of mic / mic preamp at first, although I'd probably set up several combinations and test each one, just to be sure.

 

I don't believe one has to necessarily a tube mic preamp. For example, the Neve Portico does not have a tube, but it does have a lot of girth. I'd choose a microphone that didn't have a lot of "fizz" on the top end (so possibly the NTK might not be the greatest choice for this kind of thing).

 

I'd also make sure that I put a dynamic mic out there, such as one of the Heils, just to see how that did. Sometimes, there's nothing like a large diaphragm dynamic for really loud screamo or hardcore vocals, and I frequently end up going for one of these. Has some "natural compression" (bear with me, you know what I mean!) when compared to condensers, and sometimes, that's just what's needed.

 

~~~~~~~

 

I don't have a huge mic preamp or microphone locker, so these following suggestions are what I would do with what I have, not necessarily saying that it'd be "the best" (not that there's any such thing anyway). When I encounter screamo/super loud/hardcore vocals, I usually set up the Neve Portico and Peavey VMP-2 tube mic preamps and the Lawson L251 (just because everything seems to sound damn good through this) and a Heil P40 or whatever the hell it's called (large diaphragm dynamic) and see if those worked, switching mic preamps to see what would happen. Usually one of those combinations is golden. If not, I've got a 421 and a modified AT4060, both of which would be appropriate choices for the task at hand as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Does your voice thin out as you go into powerful/screamy or loud & clean type vocals? I ask this because, quite frankly, most people's voices do. And so it's possible that the mic/mic preamp combo may be accurately picking up what you are doing. After all, it's not distorting, right? Are you singing directly into the mic when you do these kinds of vocals, or is it slightly off-axis? What kind of room are you singing these kinds of vocals in?


Personally, when I do these screamo-type vocals (I used to do a lot of hardcore), I'd listen to the voice. If there's a lot of "raspy" top-end stuff going on that might sound shrill, I'd choose a slightly darker combination of mic / mic preamp at first, although I'd probably set up several combinations and test each one, just to be sure.


I don't believe one has to necessarily a tube mic preamp. For example, the Neve Portico does not have a tube, but it does have a lot of girth. I'd choose a microphone that didn't have a lot of "fizz" on the top end (so possibly the NTK might not be the greatest choice for this kind of thing).


I'd also make sure that I put a dynamic mic out there, such as one of the Heils, just to see how that did. Sometimes, there's nothing like a large diaphragm dynamic for really loud screamo or hardcore vocals, and I frequently end up going for one of these. Has some "natural compression" (bear with me, you know what I mean!) when compared to condensers, and sometimes, that's just what's needed.


~~~~~~~


I don't have a huge mic preamp or microphone locker, so these following suggestions are what I would do with what I have, not necessarily saying that it'd be "the best" (not that there's any such thing anyway). When I encounter screamo/super loud/hardcore vocals, I usually set up the Neve Portico and Peavey VMP-2 tube mic preamps and the Lawson L251 (just because everything seems to sound damn good through this) and a Heil P40 or whatever the hell it's called (large diaphragm dynamic) and see if those worked, switching mic preamps to see what would happen. Usually one of those combinations is golden. If not, I've got a 421 and a modified AT4060, both of which would be appropriate choices for the task at hand as well.

 

Great post... and very informative. I appreciate the input!

 

And yes, the voice does thin out as it gets higher... and as I push it. It's definitely not distorting. At high volumes, I tend to sing off axis where the NTK is notorious for the 's' and 'p' sounds. I have a nice pop filter as well.

 

I was just wondering if there are any pres/mics combos specific to the loud volume vox. I'll definitely look into your suggestions, and I greatly appreciated the post!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fletcher is more likely to say that an NTK is a crappy toob Maocrophone sold at Banjo Mart and it's not possible to make good recordings with it.
:lol:

 

I would think he'd say it's not his favorite mic, and that YMMV, but I'd rather let him voice his own opinons rather than to put words in his mouth or guess. :)

 

I own an NTK. It's a nice mic IMO. Not a bad mic at all, but not my first choice for most singers. It has an "excited" quality to the top - not as harsh and brittle as some budget LDC's, but it can be too much for some singers. In my experience, it does like to be pushed; it can handle pretty high SPL's very easily. On baritones, it fares better than on tenors IMO. And I think it is at its best as a bass mic - especially on upright.

 

As Fletcher would say, YMMV. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was just wondering if there are any pres/mics combos specific to the loud volume vox. I'll definitely look into your suggestions, and I greatly appreciated the post!

 

Yeah, it was a good post, but no surprise - Ken's known for them. :)

 

Loud vocals have other attributes besides just being "loud", and depending on the variables, one mic might work great, while another might not.

 

For a loud, thin or reedy vocalist, or a thinner sounding screamer, try a SM7b or a RE20 into a Neve (or Neve inspired) preamp.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I have an NTK... it's a fine mic. Then again... my NTK has a "non-RODE" amplifier in it that was custom built for me by a friend [and uses NONE of the original parts and has an output transformer]. :facepalm:

 

As for "mic pre's for specific vocal types"... not really a consideration nearly as much as which mic to use for a specific vocal type. In my world the mic pre is decided by a myriad of factors... like which pre's have been used before it on a specific song [i try not to use the same pre twice if I can avoid it]... which mic is being employed, what we're [we as in the artist, producer, moi] are going for in terms of the sonic texture for the vocal... yada, yada, yada.

 

If you have an arsenal of good tool... and an understanding of the capabilities of those tools then you can make an educated guess / decision [if you take the time to do a 'shoot out'] and find what best suits your sense of aesthetic... any thing else is a fun game but it's nothing more than uneducated conjecture.

 

Peace.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

and find what best suits your sense of aesthetic... any thing else is a fun game but it's nothing more than uneducated conjecture.


Peace.

 

Hey Fletcher,

 

Just out of curiosity, from time to time I browse your webpage and look at your stuff. I'm a keyboarder, so the extra 2-3Gs I have sitting around is going to be tossed on a nice instrument... and not on really expensive outboard gear. I'm trying to keep compact/small/multi-purpose components for my DAW.

 

I have come across the Groove Tubes 'Brick' a number of times. I noticed that you guys promote it for guitars and instruments, but how about for vocals?

 

Does anyone in here use it as a Vox preamp?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I own a Brick, and I think it's fantastic. It's my "go to" for bass DI duties, coupled with a FMR RNLA.

 

I don't use it as often as a vocal preamp. It works fine as such IMO, but you need to be aware of some of the limitations of the unit. It has no metering on it, so you're going to have to (GASP!) use your ears to set it and to know if you're overloading anything. There's no HPF, and no pad on it either. Gain maxes out at about 55 dB, so it's not an ideal choice for use with most ribbon mikes. It does have phantom power though, so it will work fine with condenser mikes that require that. My SP modded 414 sounds pretty sweet through it - at least on my voice. Thick, chewy, and yet detailed.

 

IMO, it's the lowest priced "true" tube mic preamp, and by far the best sounding budget tube mic pre on the planet - and unlike some low budget "toob" products, this is the real deal - large transformers, real tubes (three, IIRC) and high plate voltages - none of that starved plate trickery.

 

Even if you only use it as a DI, at $400 (or thereabouts), IMO, it's a no brainer.

 

The first two preamps I recommend to people on a budget are the Brick and the FMR RNP. Both are real overachievers and great bargains IMO.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I'm generally not a huge fan of transformerless mikes in general... give me the iron, and no one gets hurt.
;):D

 

Just as an aside, what is it you generally prefer about transformer mics? I've never really made that much of a distinction between the two - as long as the mic sounds good, I'm happy. Lately my favorite vocal mic in my (very limited) cabinet has been the Microtech-Gefell MT71-S, which is transformerless unless I'm very mistaken, and it sounds freaking fantastic. I usually run it through a Great River MP-500NV preamp or a Brick, or for my voice I like it through an API 512c to get a little more edge on the sound...and all of those preamps are transformer-coupled, I believe. So I wonder if the reason I don't make much distinction as to whether or not the mic has a transformer is because I tend to use preamps with transformers. :poke: If that makes any sense.

 

I know plenty about electronics, but not so much about their application to music. :) So I tend to ask weird questions as part of the learning process.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members


Yeah, it was a good post, but no surprise - Ken's known for them.
:)

 

I am? Wow, cool! :D

 

Thanks!

 

Loud vocals have other attributes besides just being "loud", and depending on the variables, one mic might work great, while another might not.


For a loud, thin or reedy vocalist, or a thinner sounding screamer, try a SM7b or a RE20 into a Neve (or Neve inspired) preamp.

 

The above would likely work extremely well, and that's kind of what I was getting at with the Heil/Neve Portico combination. Nice and smooth. Might be able to try a ribbon. You get the idea.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

...

 

Oh, me too.

 

If I have a CD with fifteen songs, I'll record vocals with the mic preamp on the left side of my Neve Portico. Then I'll have another song with the NP's right mic preamp.

 

Then, I'll switch to the Peavey VMP-2. Just to switch it up, I'll use the right mic preamp on the VMP-2, then for another song, the left side.

 

Of course, I have two FMR RNPs (one purchased from Mercenary, the other I found after it had fallen off a truck)...four mic preamp for four more songs...

 

 

 

 

:D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Is there really a noticeable difference between channel 1 and channel two in your Porticos and RNP's? That sounds like a quality issue if so. There shouldn't be.

 

I'm pretty sure that was a joke. We don't all have the luxury of using a different preamp on every channel. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...