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What Mic would you advice for Vocals (for Band Rehearsal/Live use)?


Baloney Balderdash
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Me and my drummer in a newly started bass and drums sort of progressive psychedlic stoner/doom rock duo, at least so far, are thinking on giving it a shot at doing vocals, both of us, so what mic would you recommend for vocals for band rehearsal and live use?

 

Edited by Baloney Balderdash
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You will shortly be joined by 17 people advising you to buy Shure SM58s.

I would go a different route. If you are just "giving it a shot" and you haven't done this before, then spending £82 on a microphone is WAY over the top.

For less than half that price, I have found this to be very acceptable: https://www.red5audio.com/product/rvd30-dynamic-microphone/

Full Disclosure: I actually use a very expensive Shure SM57 Beta on stage, but that's because I do a fair bit of singing, have done for years, and that particular mic happens to suit my voice.

Doesn't stop me from taking a pair of RVD30s to each gig to act as spares and - if necessary - instrument mics.

 

Edited by Happy Jack
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You need to set a budget really. The Shure SM58 is the mic to beat, like it or not. They are reliable and sound OK though bettered by most modern mics, they date back to the 1960's. The big advantage they have is that they are 'easy' mics. relatively non directional so that poor mic technique doesn't end in disaster and it is hard to get a trully bad sound out of them. Something like the AKG D5 is cheaper and sounds better, £52 from Bax at the moment. The Behringer mentioned is cheap and quite serviceable, its 'a clone of the SM58.It is super cardioid though( more directional0 and sounds slightly sweeter in the top end, In a blind A/B test we prefered the sound. It suffers more from handling noise though and isn't as tough as the shure but at that price.....

If you want to spend a bit more the Shure Beta's give a more refined modern sound than the SM58. you'll also realise that certain mics suit your voice. I love the AKG when I'm mixing but it does my singing no favours.

For just rehearsal a couple of behringers will do all you want and you will use them as back up  over the years so upgrading when you've learned more isn't a bad route to go. If you go for SM58's beware, they are easily the most popular mic and consequently there are loads of knock offs, new and used.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree with a lot of the comments above, but would add a slightly different perspective which reflects the path I would take. It all depends on a couple of things; what can you reasonably afford and how serious are you about your future in music and performing. If you can afford it and you are serious about many years of playing and performing, then I would go for the best quality that you can afford. And I wouldn't bother with one mic for rehearsals and one for live, just get one good mic and use it every time you play. If you have a limited budget and are not sure that you will continue playing much in the future, all the above advice from previous posters is the route to take.

So, if you want a middle of the road mic, get a Shure SM58 (alternative would be a Sennheiser e835 or e845). The drummer could opt for an SM57 which has exactly the same capsule in it and works well for vocals, but if he doesn't continue as a singer, he has a great snare or tom mic.

If your budget extends to more than the £80 for the above, I'd recommend a Shure Beta 58a at about £130. I'd particularly recommend a Beta mic for the drummer because they have very high feedback rejection and a supercardiod pattern which will reduce noise bleed from the drums. Don't buy any of these second hand on eBay or similar because most are cheap fake Chinese mics, buy it new and look after it, they will last you a life time and if you keep the packaging and receipt, you will more than likely get two thirds of your money back if you sell to another musician you know.

If you do get the chance before you buy anything, try to borrow a couple of different mics from friends and try them. I run sound and stage at many large festivals and mainly use Beta 58 and Sennheiser e945 mics (about £170) for vocals. I prefer the Sennheisers on most voices and many musicians have said after their set that they had always used Beta 58 mics but loved the Sennheiser. Having said that, I've never had any musician get grumpy when they've seen that there are six Beta 58s on stage for them, they are excellent quality and always a pleasure to run the mixing desk with.

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Given the nature of your band, there's a couple of things to really consider - I presume that you are loud... and micing up a drummer is always a challenge due to the spill.

What I would recommend is making sure that your mic technique is absolutely bang on and your lips are centred on (and lips touching) the grille of the mic. This will greatly improve the signal to noise ratio and give you more gain before feedback. I would recommend an Audix OM mic - something like an OM3 for SM58 kinda money or something like a OM7 (this is where the sweet spot of the range is for me) or more if you want to splash a bit. Audix mics have great off axis rejection - but as a consequence, will punish you if you dont sing with your lips up to the grille.

As for the drummer, I would go the same - but also budget for an optogate... this will enable you to gate off the mic until the drummer approaches the mic to sing. If the gate is set to the right distance, the bleed from the kit will be minimal and you won't hear the gate open or close. Again, this relies on your drummer adhering to the "right on the mic" techique.

Personally I'm not a great fan of the SM58 or Beta - I'd always go towards the Sennheiser 935 or 945 instead. In this situation though, I would use Audix - because the ability to control the bleed and avoid unwanted feedback is more useful than a mic that, although I may prefer the sound of, give me or the engineer a nightmare when mixing. Forget about condenser mics - unless you are on big stages, their sensitivity is going to give you more problems than benefits - plus stoner/doom rock really doesn't point to condensers!

Echo above though - if you do go Shure, don't buy used - buy from a reputable dealer - because the amount of fakes now is just ridiculous. And yeah, if budget is a concern, the AKG D5 is defo the go to mic. You can't really get better for the price imho.

Edited by EBS_freak
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We use Sennheiser e845's, we also have an SM58, and a Behringer. They all seem to do much the same job but the SM58 is inclined to be trebbley (is that a word) and feedback a bit more. The Sennheisers are less prone to feedback and have better mids and lows. For the money, the Behringer is great.

My advice, buy used off of eBay, clean it carefully and thoroughly with an alcohol solution before using and then if you don't get on with it re-list it on eBay and buy something else. Be careful with very cheap ones on eBay purporting to be leading brands, they're almost always chinese fakes. 

Edited by ricksterphil
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  • 3 months later...

I have used the SM58 for years but wanted to try something new. I got a AKG D5 mic. It gets better upper midrange and higher treble. I have been recording with it at home - no gigs yet. I would like a mic that screws onto the stand like an old Shure  I had. 

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On 28/03/2021 at 16:00, pete.young said:

Behringer Ultravoice XM8500 are absolutely fine for this and very cheap. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Behringer-XM8500-Ultravoice-Cardioid-Microphone/dp/B0002KZAKS

 

That’s my choice, they suit my voice better than an SM58 as not quite as “middy”. Ideal, they sound good and are cheap as chips so not a disaster if they get damaged. 

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