A few years ago I decided to upgrade the mics our band was using for vocals in my PA setup, and, due to comments I had read in a magazine whose reviews I trust, I bought three Audix OM-5 hypercardioid dynamic mics. My band at that time was an acoustic-style cover band, late ’60s through to early ’90s with a few of our own tunes thrown in, and the lineup was: Lead vocalist, shared lead and backing vocals, myself on backing vocals, and sometimes a soft drum kit or percussion section. Gigs in and around NYC, NY, varied in size from small rooms down in the Village in Manhattan up to 300-500 people at open-air gigs out on Long Island.
The difference in our vocal sound with the Audix OM-5’s was immediately noticed and favorably commented on, both by all the other band members and quite a few of our regular fans. All of the comments were positive, and even “non-expert” listeners said that we sounded clearer and cleaner. The backing vocalist, whose harmony work was sometimes overshadowed by the lead vocalist, was now able to balance his parts without having to push for notes and strain his voice all night.
My job balancing our onstage sound also became a lot easier, and I was able to give everyone all the level they wanted, and still keep comfortably clear of monitor feedback, something that I always had trouble with previously, particularly with the weaker-voiced backing singer. EQ’ing his voice to give it some weight was also a lot easier, and the presence and clarity of the OM-5s allowed everyone in the band to be clearly heard, even in the noisy bars we regularly played.
Our live sound was improved so much that I was “forced” to re-record and remix most of our live sampler CD that we gave to potential venues. It wasn’t that my previous vocal mics sounded terrible, it’s just that the OM-5s sounded SO much cleaner and clearer onstage and front-of-house, and also when we recorded ourselves at gigs. A more electric iteration of the band, with a couple of guest guitar players and a full drum kit only served to show how good the OM-5s were, with the backing vocalist still not having to strain to make himself heard over a much louder instrument line-up.
Based on many years of experience with my previous mic choices I would have no hesitation in recommending the OM-5 to anyone looking to improve their live vocal sound, or as a first choice for someone buying their first PA set-up. If you start with mics that sound as good as these you won’t need to plan on upgrades that will drastically change (improve) your sound later on, when you hit the big time!