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Recommend me a mic


Aldena

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I just purchased my first PA, and now I need to purchase a few mics, also the first I will ever buy. I need some advice. I want two for vocals and two for instruments (g****r).

 

I guess I could buy the legendary Shure SM57's and 58's, but I was told they were old school, and there's better stuff for the same money, around $100.

 

Sennheiser has several models around $40 to $70 that fit better into the budget, but I know nothing about them(or any other, as usual).

 

What about Nady and Behringer? They have some real budget models (the StarPower for $6.99!) for around $20 to $30.

 

When I hear great sounding vocals, I never know if it's the mic or PA (or both, probably). So, what does everybody else use?

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I don't know which mic design Behringer ripped off ; } ...But the Nadys a guitarist I worked with bought were horrible, and he ended up spending more to rectify that mistake.

 

Any brand name that has specialized in microphones for the past decades has about the same quality and utility in this price range (and above for that matter). AKG, Audio Technica, Peavey, Shure, Electrovoice, Beyer, Sennhieser - they all have some pretty incredible models both under their own names and OEM'd with companies like Carvin.

 

Personally, in most of those cases I'd go just above $100 just to get into the better technology.

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I don't know about "old school" but it hard to beat those two mics. They perform well and take a beating.

 

Good vocals is start with a good singer. You can't depend on the mic to do all the work. You need to sing in a full voice with good breath and project. A good mic helps, as does a good PA with someone who knows how to EQ the vocals. A touch of reverb doesn't hurt, either.

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I don't know about "old school" but it hard to beat those two mics. They perform well and take a beating.
More a function of brandnamism than any technical specs or enhanced sturdiness; most of the manufacturers have had mics in the same range that are as strong and may even perform better either for jack-of-all-trades, or a specific application.

 

Good vocals is start with a good singer. You can't depend on the mic to do all the work. You need to sing in a full voice with good breath and project. A good mic helps, as does a good PA with someone who knows how to EQ the vocals. A touch of reverb doesn't hurt, either.
Good advice, that : }
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Could be the brand name, but I have used SM-57 and SM-58 mikes for many, many years. They never break and in a pinch you can use them to hammer in nails.

 

The more expensive AKG mikes we bought one year did not last very long.

 

Now I'm using an SM-58 Beta, which sounds even better than the SM-58 and should last me the rest of my life.

 

I work with various horn players who bring expensive condenser mikes, they need phantom power or the need a preamp or a battery, they are constantly fussing with the mikes, they have to carry them around in padded boxes. Then they plug them into the same basic level PA which I am using....so what did they gain, actually?

 

GB, if you can recommend a specific brand of mike that is equal to an SM-58 in sound and durability and costs less then $100, I'd love to hear about it.

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I have one SM-58 and two Beta 58's. They're great mics. I've had the SM-58 for almost ten years and it has taken numerous beatings, but it still sounds the same. The Beta 58's sound slightly better and seem just as road worthy. I've had no problems with them, and I haven't treated them with kid gloves. The only other vocal mic I have owned is a Peavey Diamond series 880. It might have sounded better than the SM58, but it was broken after a year and a half. It didn't sound as good as the Beta 58.

 

There's also more to the Shure mics than their reliability. I've always prefered to use my own mic (opposed to the venue's mic) for hygiene reasons, and during the Peavey mic's brief tenure I encountered a few soundmen who wouldn't let me. All these soundmen used SM58's and SM57's, and they all had their boards optimized to get good vocal sounds with the Shure mics. Plus, they had encountered plenty of singers that wanted to use their own budget mics then blame the sound guy when the vocals sound like crap. I think we can all sympathize with that. Anyway, I've never encountered any soundmen who have a problem with me using my own SM58 or Beta 58.

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Originally posted by jeremy c:

I work with various horn players who bring expensive condenser mikes, they need phantom power or the need a preamp or a battery, they are constantly fussing with the mikes, they have to carry them around in padded boxes. Then they plug them into the same basic level PA which I am using....so what did they gain, actually?

My life has been much better since I started to think this way. No one at the clubs knows or cares if it's an Avalon or Eden or whatever else. Not that I don't care what I sound like, but you know what I mean, right?
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There's also more to the Shure mics than their reliability. I've always prefered to use my own mic (opposed to the venue's mic) for hygiene reasons, and during the Peavey mic's brief tenure I encountered a few soundmen who wouldn't let me. All these soundmen used SM58's and SM57's, and they all had their boards optimized to get good vocal sounds with the Shure mics.
They'd like to believe that, anyway ; } ...If they actually are good they can deal with some better mics mixed in there, especialy if they don't have such exaggerated presence peaks and have better output gain.

 

 

Plus, they had encountered plenty of singers that wanted to use their own budget mics then blame the sound guy when the vocals sound like crap.
Yeah, you do find that until vocalists get a better mic with just the right response pattern / type of presence peak to compliment their vocal tendencies. Which reminds me of some great Audix mics I've heard... But then they blame Soundfolk for bad EQ in the mix ; }

 

I think we can all sympathize with that. Anyway, I've never encountered any soundmen who have a problem with me using my own SM58 or Beta 58.
Which, name withstanding, are somewhat different in gain and freq response, yet don't seem to be too different in feedback potential. That's where a lot of soundmen appreciate if all background vocalists have matched mics. It sometimes goes a long way in preventing feedback while still getting loud monitors.
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What about Carvin? I see a lot of Carvin PA's out there, and people speak highly of the brand. I never bothered to look or ask what mics they are using.

 

What is it with phantom power? Does that make a mic any better? Or is it like active vs passive pu's, your own personal preference?

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Phantom power won't do anything with a dynamic microphone like an SM-58 or '57. They are passive dynamic mics and don't require phantom power.

 

Condenser mics use an electrostatic process which requires an electric charge to be sent to the mic for it to work. This charge can come from either a battery or by phantom power being sent through the XLR cable from the board.

 

Condenser mics can potentially be built much smaller than dynamic mics and they can be more sensitive to a wider dynamic range (will pick up quieter or distant sounds with more detail than a typical dynamic mic).

 

It doesn't make them "better" or "worse," though. Condenser mics are usually more fragile and expensive, and they sometimes don't perform well in extremely high-SPL situations.

 

It's helpful to think of it like the difference between active or passive pickups, but it's not really an accurate analogy because mics are used for a wider range of purposes than bass pickups.

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Any mic will color the sound, especially at the price range we're dealing with here, it's all about what you think sounds good. Sing through a really 'transparent' mic and you may not like it -- until you saw the price tag, maybe. I heard that the album "Thriller", sung by the skinny 'black' kid with the voice like fingernails on a chalkboard, was recorded with a $50 SM57 to fatten up the sound. (Quincy who?)
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Well my 2 cents...get the 58's..There's nothing better for the money..If you want to spend a little more for a vocal mic get a Sennheiser 441..Stevie Nicks used them and they sound good! The Sennheiser 421's also make good drum and guitar mics..
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I have never had a SM58 or SM57 fail me.

 

Shure makes quality gear.

 

Also, there's something to be said about image; no matter where you go, if you pull out a SM58, you'll be viewed as professional in a live setting.

 

Life is a show, you might as well put one on.

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I'm a big fan of the Beyer M-88 for vocals. It has been my personal vocal mic for 25 years or so. Neumann makes the 150, used by Tom Petty and Springsteen and Dylan, among others. Then they make the 105. Audix makes some nice mics that are cheap.

 

The Shure 57 is a popular mic, and Petty used one for years before he got the Neumann 150. The 58 sounds like crap to me, but they sure are cheap and sturdy. PA companies provided them because they were indestructable, and thus they became the popular mic that they are today. Other mics broke under the abuse of players who didn't care about them because they were rentals. But people who care about -sound- usually find another solution. Stevie Nicks was mentioned, and it is worth considering that people like CSN&Y, Phil Collins, Elton John, David Bowie and many, many others have been using better sounding options for 20 years or more.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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I used SM58's for years until, on a recommendation of my buddy Steve (who was the drummer for the Asbury Jukes), I bought a Shure Beta-57. Mostly touted as an instrument mic, it's the cleanest vocal mic I've ever heard. I mix for myself and two other singers in an acapella/acoustic group, and the beta57 comes thru so much cleaner and more resonant.

 

I'd put this mic up against any other for either instrument micing or vocal applications. It's a killer. A couple of bucks more than $100, but you can search for it. I bought mine at a small electronics store for $79. I want more of them.

 

My $.02

 

-Tim from Jersey

Play. Just play.
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The one thing I really miss about Marrs Music is the mic sampling wall. It was kind of like the car stereo walls at BestBuy... pick a unit, push a button, put on some cans and talk to yourself for a few seconds. It gave a truckload of insight to microphone layman.
- Matt W.
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I usually bring a Shure SM58 wherever I go. I've dropped them, had people bang into them, replaced windscreens, even had one fall into a water puddle and had to dry that out with a hair dryer. I believe they can also stand up against kryptonite!

 

Had an opportunity at one gig to A-B it against the Beta version, and the Beta is on my "must buy" list as soon as I catch a sale.

 

Also carry around some cheapo copies (I don't like lending out my Shures to strangers) and Samson (Sam Ash Music) makes a decent copy. IIRC, I tried a Carvin vocal mic a few years back and liked it a lot.

 

Second choices are Sennheiser and AKG, they're more sensitive than Shures but they don't stand up to wind and vibrations onstage like Shures do. Now if we're talking recording applications, I've been pointed to both as a great place to start with putting together a home recording setup.

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I've used several Carvin mics over the years that werw great. I also had a Peavey NeoDynium mic that I had for several years that was great; but lost it at a gig! GRRRR!! Shure Beta's are great, no doubt. On one gig I did with a singer-songwriter, her mic (a Shure) was feeding back way too much. They tried several mics to no avail; all too hot for some reason. I pulled out my $40 Audio Technica mic; it was perfect for this situation for some reason. Go figure.

Buy something "nice", trusty, and reputable; then get a semi-decent cheapy just in case.

"Am I enough of a freak to be worth paying to see?"- Separated Out (Marillion)

NEW band Old band

 

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PS: thought I'd offer some thoughts on accessories:

 

XLR cables (which I'm convinved makes a difference in the efficiency of a mike), I have ProCo (good price, good product), Spectraflex (works in studios but might break after 5 years of abuse) and some homemade ones in my car, but Monster (talked to a rep at the AES convention 9 days ago) has a cable with a lifetime warranty which (forgive me for mentioning them) "GC" honors. (the rep assured me that if they don't I can call Monster and get it handled.)

 

case: once you start carrying around more than 2-3 mics you're gonna need more than a pair of tube socks and a vinyl zipper bag. I got the SKB version but there are others that are just as good for the job.

 

Since someone mentioned Peavey here, I thought I'd mention that their ball windscreen replacement fits the Shure SM-58 (and a few other models) and is an affordable alternative. Worth keeping a couple at home.

 

BTW, learn the right way to wrap mike cables; it'll double their shelf life.

 

Finally, a little spritz with a disinfectant wouldn't hurt now and then. When was the last time you looked at the inside of your mic? And do other people use your mics as well? :eek:

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