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Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by lemonadeisgood, Nov 11, 2001.
In your experience, what is the best non-wireless microphone for vocal use?
In the studio? On stage? Money no object? The "best" vocal mics are probably some of those Neumann condenser mics that set you back a few $K. Undoubtedly the most widely used professional mic on stage is the Shure SM-58, about $90. I see a lot of Shure Beta-87's out there, too.
I own and operate a small sound company (as well as gigging/bassplayer/vocalist myself) and have used many different vocal mics in my 20+ years doing this.
For my own personal use: I've been digging the Neumann KMS105- Great presence, feedback rejection , blows away any other live vocal mic I have ever used. It isnt cheap (List is in the $700 range....but can be found for about $400)
I use Audix OM 5's for most other live vocal work.
They are very similar to the SM58.....but higher gain b4 feedback....and a better presence than the Shure standard. You can get these for about $120 new.....
The Shure SM58......one of the most widely used live vocal mics......even though I like the Audix OM 5 better......many clients request this mic....so I keep several on hand.
Shure SM-58 ... not overly expensive, but not "cheap"... gets the job done in any situation i've used it in. Never had anything to complain about it.
Shure SM beta 58 ... never used one, but have heard only but good things about it. I heard that it takes what the 58 does good, and well yeah, makes it better.
This is a hard question to answer, just like questions about what is the best bass/amp/whatever. It depends on the intended usage, budget, etc. All around, you can't go wrong with a 58. They're pretty much standard in the industry, they're predictable and indestructible. They're not the "best" vocal mics by a long shot, but everyone uses them. I actually prefer the SM58 to the Beta but that's my personal preference. Right now I'm really digging the Beta 57A (which is primarily an instrument mic). Considerably more gain before feedback than an SM or Beta 58 and a really smooth response. I also like the Beta 87, but I find that they don't work well in loud situations or situations where they receive a lot of abuse (punk shows etc). They really like to feed back at around 10kHz, and they tend to pick up a load of background noise. PJR, my experience with the Neumann is similar to the Beta 87. Great for lower SPLs, amazing fidelity, I find they like to feedback at about 10k if you need to get them loud in monitors. How have you found the reliability of the Audix's? Has it improved? I took 4 OM-7's on a tour a couple of years ago and had to replace them with 58s about 3 weeks in because they kept crapping out. I liked the way they sounded and the superior gain before feedback was a blessing, but I couldn't trust them.
I've had an EV ND/257 for several years now and it never fails to generate positive comments from others when used on the same stage as the SM-58. I can hear this difference on live tapes also...the clarity and overall "naturalness" (is that a word?) of the tone beats the Shures hands down every time....and I GUARANTEE that this isn't due to the quality of my voice
About the same price as the 58, too.
.....I've used OM5's , OM6's & OM7's.......
and haven't had any problems (yet)
I prefer the OM5's (&6's) over the 7's....due to the 7's very low gain structure (due in part to great feedback rejection properties....)
Overall...I feel the OM5 is a better mic for the $$ than the OM7.
I don't know if anybody uses these, but the Shure SM58 Beta works great for me...
Hmm... I should have mentioned "live" mic.
Well it seems like the SM58 is the most popular...
I picked up the Neumann KMS-105 a couple of weeks ago; I've done 2 gigs and 2 rehearsals with this thing and all I can say is WOW!! After almost 30 years of 57's, 58's and various knockoff versions of those mics, I've found the promised land - it sounds that good. It actually makes me sound better than I actually am! If you sing live, check out this microphone. It sounds so good it's scary.
I like the EV Cobalt series as far as budget mics go. I don't know if they are still in production, but they sound great. I use an EV Cobalt 5 as my main vocal mic. It's very similar to an SM58, but a little hotter. I got mine for around $40, and I prefer it to an SM58.
I use a Senheiser e806 and it fits my voice (which is a bit thin) more than the sm58 of my guitarist did.
I can't believe nobody's mentioned the Beta 87. Fantastic mic...
+1 for the Neumann KMS105
second runner up in a similar type of mic is the Shure Beta 87C
try these mics on stage for yourself...it's hard to beat the KMS105..once you try it, it'll be VERY hard to go back to a SM58
sm 57 or 58
BIG fan of the Beta58a for live work...
Well, I have used a Beta 58 for years now and love it. Guitarist needed a mic, and we could use spares... I do some karaoke work too... so we bought a 3-pack of Behringer XM8500's from Musician's Friend. $20 each. I would put it up against my Beta 58 anyday.
Give them a try, it's only $20. Unbelievable deal.
I know some won't agree with me, but I look at this subject the same as I do when someone asks what is the best bass. Just as different instruments have qualities that are better for some than others, so do microphones. I have been using mics for 30+yrs, (it almost hurts to admit that) but not until about five yrs ago did I find a mic I felt fit the timbre of my voice. (Audix OM6) I hear some people sing, or even talk for that matter through a plain old SM58, and their voice sounds like gold. Others never seem to find "THE" mic that does their voice the most justice. Sometimes a compromise might have to be reached between feedback rejection and gain. The best advice I would give, is try as many different mics as possible in a real life (live) situation. Once you think you have found "THE" mic, try to get a few of the exact mics to try. Believe it or not they do infact sound a bit different from each other. Maybe you will be the lucky one whos voice sounds best from a basic $100 microphone!
Most people I know/work with/talk to use SM58's because they're cheap and you can drive nails with them, not because they sound good. Personally, I hate them, but in my experience vocalists with bad mic technique (varying distance between mouth and mic for no reason, loud plosives, etc) and public speakers who like to tap mics and say,"is this on?" tend to do well with one. OTOH, Phil Collins could use any mic in the world he wanted, but he likes the sound of an SM58.
I much prefer an Audix OM-5. Lots of people use them simply because they sound good, and they're STILL built like a brick house. Not too much more $$ than a '58, either.