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Best Live Male Vocal Mic?

mkharvey11

What's the best rock male vocal mic for live sound applications?
DETAILS:
I own a small studio and have a decent collection of studio mics, but I have limited experience with live sound. I have recently started my own band where I am the lead vocalist for the first time. We practice and record in the studio with everything miked and getting an awesome wireless in-ear monitor mix from my portable rig which I intend on taking with us live:
This is a rack case with an O1V, MOTU 896 going to an iBook and 3 Shure PSM200 wireless in-ear monitor transmitters. The band is a trio: Me on vocal and guitar, a drummer/backup vocal, and a bass/backup vocal. (my main studio rig is a G4, O1V96, and a 2408) I set up a preset in the O1V for us, so every mic has its dynamics and EQ set, there's a perfect reverb and slapback delay. So far, everything sounds great, but when we record live, the vocals are a little weak.
When I record overdubbed studio vocals I generally use a Neumann TLM103 with a Focusrite ISA430 channelstrip/AtoD. That sounds super realistic, my rap and RNB clients love it, but for my sound, I wouldn't mind something dirtier. It beats the hell out of what I'm getting in our live recordings though.
When recording live with my band I'm using a SM57 with the foam windscreen attached, because that's all I have with a tight pattern. It even picks up too much of the drums! I don't want to fool with outboard preamps and compressors, as I like the simplicity of my live rig and want to keep it that way. However, I think a better vocal mic might help our live sound. Our sound is modern rock, sort of emo. My voice sound is somewhere between Green Day and Billy Idol and the backup vocals are not too far from that.
I've looked at Audix OM6 or OM7, AKG, Neumann, Shure Beta58, but in the store it's impossible to really try them out. I need to know what they sound like when I'm belting it out next to the drummer hearing my monitor mix with reverb and delay with the bass thumping and my guitar screaming behind me. Is the pickup pattern tight enough to reject SOME drums? Is the high end crisp but not harsh? Is the bottom full, but not boomy? Does it sound best up close or should I back off a few inches? How well does it handle plosives? Is there a compression/EQ setting that will help it? That's the stuff I need to know. I want the BEST MIC and I'm asking anybody with a lot of experience in this department to share their knowledge. Thanks,
If I haven't given enough information already, here are all the mics currently in the live rig:
Snare and toms: (4) SM57's
Kick: AKG D112
Cymbols: (2) Oktava MC 012's spaced pair
Guitar: SM57
Bass: Direct
Drummer vocal: Audix HT-2 headset condenser
Bassist vocal: SM57 with foam windscreen
Main vocal: SM57 with foam windscreen
The drummer's headset mic is great because it lets him rock out and still be miked, but it sometimes picks up too much of his kit. (it is a condenser.) So anybody with other suggestions for that, pipe in!
Thanks.
December 9, 2003 @07:30am
xstatic

If you are already getting too much drums with a 57, then you really need to look into a plexi shield for your drummer. As far as the best sounding mic goes, a Neumann KMS 105. Or else a Shure 58 or 87:)
December 9, 2003 @07:59am
Hynek

For hypercard. I have KMS 105, for card. C535. Both are cool.
December 9, 2003 @10:30am
Nijs

if you consider live sound the sm58 is a nice standard..
But i'm kinda wondering about your in ear monitoring,. as to what you're saying, it feels as if you're asking a lot.
(which is not a problem since you're the engineer.. )
standard live monitor set ups mean that, the overall stage level should be as low as possible. it's nice to have reverb and delay in the monitors but ask yourself "is it essential.. as it tends to blur the mix"
the main aspect of a gig is what the audience hears..
still that won't solve your drumbleed.. as stated the plexi is a good manner.. But you can ask the drummer not to play to the fullest..
if you've got the money for it, and you're not disgusted of digital drums, you might go that way.
Another possible aspect which might cause the drumbleed is your singing volume.., if it's too low that means turning up the gain, which means picking up more overal sounds..
(Don't take it in a bad way if I say this, as i'm just trying to figure out the problem.., and i'm not stating that is the problem)
good luck with the band !!
greetz
December 9, 2003 @03:41pm
djui5

If I may put in my two cents worth...I would highly recommend the Beta 58 for live vocal recording, that mic sounds overall really well balanced for live applications. I also would recommend finding a good compressor if your going to be recording vocals live a lot. I know you said you didn't want to add that in the chain, but it wouldn't be that hard and would really be worth it. You're vocals would be much more apparent in the mix.
I'm not really a live sound guru, but I thought I'd give my advice, and hopefully it helps you in the right direction!
December 9, 2003 @06:12pm
xstatic

A compressor can be a good thing on vocals, but you have to be cautious. If your drummer is really that loud, there is a good chance that the drums will trigger your compression in between vocal passages and even briefly inbetween words which can result in a pumping of both the drums and your vocals. I have had plenty of singers whose vocal mics picked up as much and occasonally even more of other instruments then their own vocals. Those shows can be a real pain to mix, but its a fcat of life so oh well:)
December 10, 2003 @05:51am
Hynek

Originally posted by AVDork3000
... and unlike a 57, its not intended for instrument use to, so you wont pick up the drums with it

I like your humor :)
December 11, 2003 @04:41am
xstatic

57's do just fine on vocals. In fact years ago they were the standard vocal mic, and some people do still prefer them. I personally don't mind them a bit, I just really hate the thought of a singer carrying one around because they aren't as resistant to drops, and the cage on 57's move so if a singer actually touches the mic with his mouth you can hear the mechanical noise in the capsule. Haven't said that I would definately prefer a 58. I even prefer sm58's to beta 58's. I refuse to use the Audix om series mics, don't really like the AKG or Audio Technica handhelds too much, and I find the sennheisers to be OK. I can use any mic to varying degrees of satisfaction, but I know standard 58's so well that it is always easier for me to use those. I actually like using the beta 57a's as well. However, the question was what the best best rock male vocal mic for live sound applications was. In my opinion, hands down, the Neumann kms105. You just have to be careful how you use it and who you use it on because it acts so much like a studio mic. So long as your system is tight enough to deal with that kind of quality, I find it to easily be the best vocal mic.
December 11, 2003 @06:58am
djui5

Originally posted by AVDork3000
and unlike a 57, its not intended for instrument use to, so you wont pick up the drums with it, Only vocals and they'll sound pretty good. IM a 13 year old AV genious. So dont question my experience. K?

what can you say to this?
December 11, 2003 @07:08am
Hynek

I shocks me I must say this but, hand on heart, I wouldn't say I prefer KMS 105 to C535. Truth is I tend to use 105 whenever I can. I hate to say that but among the reasons I could find such factors like I paid a lot more for it than I did for the 535, I like people from the business to notice there's a Neumann on stage when I'm in charge...
If I restricted my choice purely on the sound, I think it would be 50:50. Even on my own voice I like 535 for some songs and 105 for other songs (slightly in favor of 105 in this case).
When it comes to announcer's microphone I always go with the 535 because it makes the speaker easier to understand compared to 105. (other way to express the difference is that 105 sounds fuller though... your own ear must be the final judge)
December 11, 2003 @01:15pm
FJL3rd

"and unlike a 57, its not intended for instrument use to, so you wont pick up the drums with it, Only vocals and they'll sound pretty good. IM a 13 year old AV genious. So dont question my experience. K? "
what can you say to this?
-- Love it. We were all 13 year old AV geniuses at one time, no?
December 13, 2003 @12:49pm
xstatic

I guess its just not till our mid 20's that we realize we never geniuses after all
December 13, 2003 @06:06pm
Vim

well here's an obvious, if your mic is picking up too much drums - move the drum off axis to your mic so that i doesn't pick it up. or just move your mic a little out of the way; i'd try changin positioning abit 1st b4 buying yet another mic that does exactly what your 57 does. Live shows are a real headache if you're not too careful. if stage space is limited then just have one kick drum mic and an XY overhead pair for the drums and gate your vocal mic - especially if you're half way between greenday and Billy Idol - both know for their upfront vocal sound. I'm sure that the 01V has gates as part of the dynamic processing on each input channel.
hope this helps.
December 15, 2003 @04:12am
djui5

you guy's really gate vocals in sound reinforcement? that's crazy
December 15, 2003 @07:24am
jas

sm 57'S & sm 58"S are good reliable live vocal mics. Something to consider...if the singer is good at staying directly on the mic, a '57 will do the trick. If the singer moves off axis, likes prancing around, etc., use a '58.
We were all 13 at one time in our life...hell, in the mid to late 60's, I was 16 for about three years. I hung out with musicians who were much older than I was...they still joke about how I was 16 for ever.
These forums are great for advice and input...hands-on experience and trial and error is priceless. Go for it. I blew up my first board...I soon learned that OUTS GO TO INS!
Lots Of Luck!
jas
December 22, 2003 @11:36pm