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daJungKI

help recording vocals, mic recommendations

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did a little searching before creating a new topic; found some mic threads, but they're all from last year. hope you guys don't mind this new one.

looking to record vocals, possibly with acoustic guitar. i've saved a fair bit of cash, so i want this to be an investment and not just a budget mic. also, have no idea what interface i should buy. need your help and expertise!

i have a high baritone voice, not quite tenor. looking to sing all styles of music, maybe rap, no screamo

thanks guys

some suggestions from previous threads:

-behringer c-1

-presonus audiobox usb

-samson c01u

-shure sm58

-digital reference drv100

-guitar hero mic

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You probably don't want a dynamic. Most people use Condensers for vocals unless they're screaming or really loud or something.

It's best to stay away from usb mics as well, at least for music production.

Other than that, it more or less comes down to personal preference. If you can, buy one, see if you like it and return it if you don't. Or see if there's somewhere you can rent from for a couple of days (assuming they have reasonable prices).

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What's your actual budget? The Shure KSM32 is a very versatile mic that will cost you about $300 used ($500 new). If you want dynamic, but you want a GOOD dynamic, look at the Shure SM7b. The mics you list down there are like $50, though you can definitely get sound of them.

Presonus makes very good interfaces, though I use a Focusrite Saffirepro14.

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guys, thank you so much for your input!

my actual budget is...well, unlimited in a sense. if i can't buy a good mic now, i'll save until i can, so i'm more interested in quality than pricing. of course, i don't want the super high-end stuff that the pros use, but something that'll last me a long time and sound great.

speaking of budgets though, can i skimp on interfaces at all? will i need an expensive interface to complement an expensive mic?

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If you have no idea which interface to buy or anything like that, I assume you really don't know a great deal about recording vocals. The most important thing you can do is make sure that you have a treated acoustic space to record your vocals in. You can buy the best $5000 mic you can find, and it'll sound awful if you don't record it properly in the proper environment. On the other hand, if you buy a cheap $200 mic and record it in a good environment, it'll sound fantastic.

Condenser mics are most often used for vocals, that means that they pick up almost anything audible that's in the room. The problem is that most people don't realize they are actually hearing, until they record their room with a condenser mic. Once you record a vocal in an untreated space, you'll hear computer fan noise, hf display hiss, and most importantly of all: reflections from the walls around you. So the resulting recording is noisy and sounds like it was recorded in a tin can, because your ear is very good at focusing on voices and things you want to hear, and your brain filters out the ambient noise. The mic has no brain, so you will hear all the reflections bouncing off the walls.

What you can do is:

1. build a dedicated vocal booth out a closet, which you can outfit with acoustic treatments, or buy/build an isolation booth to use in a corner of your room (with acoustic treatment behind it to kill reflections).

2. build a cone of acoustic treatment around your mic (secured on mic stand) placed in a part of the room that minimizes reflections and where the mic is pointed away from your computer.

Then, even with a cheaper mic, you will get great sounding recordings. Method 1 is ideal, method 2 is not but you'll still get good results.

My point is this: if you're serious about vocal recording (serious enough to where you want to save till you can afford the best mic possible) then you need to do a lot of research on the matter to learn what makes vocal recording work.

You can make your own acoustic treatments out of a specific kind of insulation (owens corning 703 is what all the nerds use) and wood you can get from home depot for cheap. You can also buy acoustic material from musicians friend and those types of places, but it's more expensive. Anyway, research this stuff so you can pinpoint what would really work best for your situation.

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SnappleMan, thanks for the input! so my first priority should actually be to set up a good recording environment. this...will be difficult, because my room is small and cramped. what does your setup look like?

also human brains are amazing

Edited by daJungKI

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I don't record vocals for my music, when I need to record a vocalist for a band I rent studio time and use their vocal booths. Even in a small cramped place you can do something to minimize the amount of noise pollution that'll end up in your recording. I'm not an expert on that though, so I'll do whatever research I can, since I need to know this stuff too.

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I don't record vocals for my music, when I need to record a vocalist for a band I rent studio time and use their vocal booths. Even in a small cramped place you can do something to minimize the amount of noise pollution that'll end up in your recording. I'm not an expert on that though, so I'll do whatever research I can, since I need to know this stuff too.

Actually, it's wise to think about the size of the room you're in, too, and the effect on the early reflections, decay time, etc. You can't really adjust that. Pick a room that's a decent size. Preferably not a coat closet. :P More like... a medium-sized room, like a typical person's room.

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Actually, it's wise to think about the size of the room you're in, too, and the effect on the early reflections, decay time, etc. You can't really adjust that. Pick a room that's a decent size. Preferably not a coat closet. :P More like... a medium-sized room, like a typical person's room.

Every professional vocal room I've ever used has been the size of a closet. And from my own experience, I find that a big room only adds tons of reverb that you don't want in your recording.

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If you're going to go with blankets, http://www.vocalboothtogo.com/ has really good sound absorption blankets for a very fair price. Get a few of these and make a small booth out of them.

You can get ceiling hooks from home depot and hang them from the ceiling (that way you can take them down when you're not using them or don't want them taking over your room) for better results as well.

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thanks for the advice, Darangen! i think i'm gonna try that. i'll update you guys once i get everything set up and you can hear how terrible my voice is

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I have a vocal room built into a close in my studio. I've got some padding in there and such but the room also has an irregular shape since it's underneath a set of stairs. It's worked out rather well for me so far.

As far as mics go, there are a number of good condenser mics that won't break the bank. The two below are the ones that I use the most...

Kel-HM1 - This is a medium sized condenser that works great on mail vocals. Unfortunately Kel no longer makes it. I bought it some years ago when it was the first microphone they ever produced. They do make this microphone, though, which I've heard good things about.

Studio Projects B1 - This was the first condenser mic that I ever purchased. It's a good all around large condenser mic and It's served me well for about ten years.

If I were to get another microphone at this point, I'd probably get something from Blue like the Blue Bird or the Baby Bottle. Rode makes some great mics too and the NT1-A is pretty nice.

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hey guys, just traded in a ton of textbooks and i'm looking at around $500 in amazon credit. what mic would you suggest within that price range? i want to have enough left over for an interface as well.

the Shure SM7B and Audio-Technica AT4040 look pretty impressive, but what do i know

I own the 4040. Never used it on vocals but it does a pretty good job with acoustic instruments. It's not as harsh in the highs as some of the cheaper mics I've used.

SM7b is a classic broadcast mic and frequently used for rap and screaming vocals. It does a great job of ignoring room ambient noise. That said, dynamic mics tend to require a fairly nice micpre to get the most out of them.

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SM7b is a classic broadcast mic and frequently used for rap and screaming vocals. It does a great job of ignoring room ambient noise. That said, dynamic mics tend to require a fairly nice micpre to get the most out of them.

Literally just bought one today. I'll let you know how it does in my opinion. I actually plan on using it for vocal percussion and vocals, though the KSM32 I have works well for the vocal part. I'll be running it through a Focusrite Saffirepro14 preamp so it's not crap but not high end either.

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thanks so much for the input guys! sweet setup there, theshaggyfreak. XPRTNovice, would love to hear how the SM7B performs!

any other recommendations for cheap, good mics available on amazon?

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Quick redneck way to set up a partial vocal booth: Go to home depot and buy two very cheap doors. Then buy enough cheap carpet to cover them. Use hinges to connect the two doors to each other and put the carpet on the inside. Voila. I plan on doing this when we replace some of the interior doors in my house and just keeping a few of the old ones. With some clever engineering, you could make it collapsing/storable with 3-4 panels.

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hey dudes,

sorry for the thread necro; had some financial issues and wasn't able to save up enough for a mic. sweetwater is having a black friday sale right now, and one of their offerings is the blue bluebird for $100 off (from $300). i've heard good things about the mic. think i should grab one?

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if you're just going for USB, I use audio-technica AT2020 USB mic and it's a good all-rounder. I previously used a Blue mic, and for their price, they're surprisingly good.

but that's if you wanna go for something good that's a bit cheaper. when I got this mic, it was like either $150 or $200... I forget

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hi everyone,

hard to believe almost an entire year has passed since the last post. i won't make excuses--despite expressing interest in recording, i've done very little to actually move forward in that process. this year, to put it mildly, has probably been the worst in my life, and i find myself turning to music for creativity, reflection, and relief. i now have much more time to dedicate to pursuing music, and i plan on finally taking the plunge

i apologize for again necro-ing the thread; i just want to hear one more round of opinions in case recommendations have changed, holiday sales are taken into consideration, etc. also, i am including a very poor recording of my vocals should it help select a mic. i apologize in advance for the unrefined, unrehearsed mess :ocrgreen:

huge thanks to all who have already contributed, and i look forward to getting (bad) stuff out there soon!

edit: also, recommendations for interfaces would also be helpful, since apparently i'll need one of those too!

bad recording is bad

Edited by daJungKI

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