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Microphones for Live Performance Vocals

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by bgavin, Jun 16, 2002.

  1. I'm looking for input on which mikes to get or avoid for live performance vocal work.

    1) Almost all voice, occasional acoustic guitar
    2) High rejection of drums and amp noise
    3) Durable
    4) Low impedance

    Please explain phantom power and why both +48v is offered along with Rane offering +15v phantom power. And, do I need phantom power?

    Please explain any other features that are desireable for live performances.
  2. This isn't necessarily a recording question, but i'll let it slide for now.

    As far as the question goes, Shure SM58 is just the vocal mic to go with. It's under $100 and it sounds great and used by pro musicians all over as well.
  3. CaracasBass


    Jun 16, 2001
    Madrid, Spain
    Shure SM58
    ......like the P-Bass of microphones......

  4. Yep, I'll vote for the Shure SM-58, I've had mine about 2 years now, it's robust, reliable and works really well with my voice. OK, I only do backing vocals so it's not over used. On the other hand our singer got an Electro Voice (can't remember the model) about 5 months before I got mine. It worked better for her voice than the SM-58, unfortunately, it's just about falling to pieces - it does get more use than mine, but even so, she isn't hard on it!
  5. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    The SM58 and it's brother the SM57 are excellent mics. The 58 is almost indestructable. The 57 will also do snares, guitar cabinets and I've used one for percussion and acoustic guitar at home.

    The phantom power thing is for condenser mics that work by electrical charge across plastic. Here's a link to a word doc summary of an answer to a microphone question by Chris F (AKA Fitzgerald) from a very nice guy called Harvey Gerst WARNING its huge so dont print it unless you have a laser printer or similar.

  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Mic-o-Rama <--- click on link.

    SM-58's are fine, and are a standard used industry-wide. But for just another $30, you can get Shure Beta 58A's at GC (you have to threaten them with a curse). These have a much better response in the high mids and highs that really add definition over the SM-58. For about $220, you can get a Beta 87C (the cardioid version of the supercardioid Beta 87A), which are an excellent condenser mic that blows away either of the 58's. The Beta 87's require phantom power, but most boards provide this.

    Most mics that require phantom power can operate at voltages between about 18 and 52 volts. Performance drops off with lower voltages. The typical voltage supplied by boards like Mackie is 48 volts, which is about optimal. Condenser mics (like the Beta 87 and the Neumann KMS 105) are somewhat more fragile than dynamic mics (like the SM-58 and Beta 58A), and are more sensitive to moisture. But the improved sound is worth both the price and the extra care required, IMO.

    I go through a bunch of mics in the thread linked above, and I just acquired a new Rode NT3 tonight ($130 at riksmusic.com). It's a supercardioid condenser, very nice looking. I've done a quick vocal test on it, and it might change the ratings I gave in the thread. Perhaps on par with the Beta 87C. The Rode has a three-quarter-inch diaphragm, compared to the Beta 87's half-inch one. The bigger the better, as I've been told by some people, mostly of the female persuasion.

    All that said, if you have wads and wads of cash, you can get some Neumann KMS 105's (see review). These rule. Studio-quality sound on stage. They street at about $495, but you can find them closer to $400 used, or even in the $300 range if you're lucky. These things SERIOUSLY rule. Amen.


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