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I've Been Practicing Using The Mic


(@rparker)
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sorry if anyone got an earlier version of this thread from 5 minutes ago. I hit submit for no reason at all, and well before being done. anyhow....

At the end of all this, there is a question. I promise.

My sr's home gig got put on hold due to a bad reaction to my meds. I go in on the 28th to learn of and start the newest regimen and hope to be able to get more consistently able to do things again. In the mean time, when up to it, I've been practicing singing into the mic. It's a new skill as I've mentioned before.

Just for reference for what I'm using, the mic I have is a Shure 87A Beta (Supercardioid type). http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/Shure-Beta-87A-Supercardioid-Condenser-Mic?sku=270168 that I got locally and a music store that was deciding to move some inventory. They were out of the ever popular Shure 58 and offered this one to me for the same proce. I could not refuse, even if it wasn't the right mic for the job. Still not sure, although when I got it and asked about it here, many said it would be more than good enough.

So, to the question(s). Now that I've gotten more comfortable, I still have not fully decided on a technique aspect yet. That being the distance from mouth to mic. I've seen the pros go anywhere from choke to a few inches away. I like the results I here when I record from about 1-1/2 inches - 2 inches away. I feel too boomy when I'm almost touching it. (facial hair touching wind-sock) and anything closer seems to be too much (or maybe the volume needs to go way, way down). My voice is very deep and seems to be getting deeper. I'm starting to get razzed about it. I've been recording and deleting the mic'ing of my PA via a USB mic, so I get to hear the results afterwards. Almost like recording a room, except only one amp going on. :)

I should put a couple things on Hear Here, as I've brought up recently. I've been on such a one track mind with the mic thing that when I do it, my guitar levels are rarely where I want them. I'll start paying more attention to both going forward.

so, queastion-time. I know it's been mentioned by many before, here and there and on seperate occasions - but I don't think all in one place. How close do you get to the mic? How much of it is technical preference and how much of it is technical requirement?

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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(@moonrider)
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so, queastion-time. I know it's been mentioned by many before, here and there and on seperate occasions - but I don't think all in one place. How close do you get to the mic? How much of it is technical preference and how much of it is technical requirement?

A couple of suggestions:

1) Lose the windsock unless you're actually outside on a windy day. Yes it blocks wind noise, sibilance, and plosives, but it also blocks high frequencies. Even the deepest voice has high frequency harmonics and overtones that need to be heard to sound natural.

2) To avoid the effects of sibilance and plosives, the mic should be pointed at your mouth, but your mouth should NOT be pointed at the mic. Think acute angle, with one leg the path from mic to mouth, and the other the path from mouth to the back of the room. Keep your head up.

3) Know your tools.

  • The 87a has a marked proximity effect. This means you can use distance as an effect in itself. Want your vocals warm and intimate like a whisper in a lover's ear. Sing soft, snuggle up to that mic and get the Barry White thang rockin'. Want to cut through and turn heads? Back off a couple of inches and sing it loud and proud. There's no one distance that's right. You need to practice and experiment to learn how to use distance to give you the sound you want.
  • Also, the channel EQ's are there to shape the sound on that channel's source. There's no such thing as "wrong" for those. Put 'em where you need 'em.
  • Playing guitar and never playing for others is like studying medicine and never working in a clinic.

    Moondawgs on Reverbnation


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    (@rparker)
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    I never thought to take the windsock off. I've been angling when singing the popping type sounds so that I don't get them, so I guess not much of a need for it. Anyhow, I just tried it and I like it. I also used what I learned from eliminating the pops into what you said about the acute angle and didvarious bits of testing. Seems to work out very well. Much less muffled sound, when I accidently do get too close and too direct.

    Thanks for the tips! 8) 8)

    It really is a different beast than my USB mic, even when the USB mic is set to cardioid. I can manage the stadard mic a lot easier. Then again, I've not tried the indirect method on the usb. Something to try some day.

    Roy
    "I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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    (@moonrider)
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    I never thought to take the windsock off. I've been angling when singing the popping type sounds so that I don't get them, so I guess not much of a need for it. Anyhow, I just tried it and I like it. I also used what I learned from eliminating the pops into what you said about the acute angle and didvarious bits of testing. Seems to work out very well. Much less muffled sound, when I accidently do get too close and too direct.

    Thanks for the tips! 8) 8)

    Couple of videos to watch keeping these tips in mind. Pay attention to how they "work" the mic.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjD4eWEUgMM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjD4eWEUgMM &

    And finally, one from someone I regard as probably THE best male vocalist of the twentieth century.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRQtldkHT3E

    Playing guitar and never playing for others is like studying medicine and never working in a clinic.

    Moondawgs on Reverbnation


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     cnev
    (@cnev)
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    Well I'm no singer so this is just my experience but I've found it depends on what you want to sound like as Moonrider said. Sometimes I'm pretty much up against the mic and sometimes if I'm really screaming I'll back off several inches.

    You do have to watch out for moving back and forth from the mic though because the volume will drop off and it gets annoying for a listener to hear the vocals fade in and out.

    "It's all about stickin it to the man!"
    It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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    (@trguitar)
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    I vary my distance depending on the sound I want. Yes, very loud vocals require backing off. The diaphram on my mic sounds like crap if you distort it. I have discovered I have a powerful voice, even if it isn't a pretty one.

    "Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
    grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
    -- The Webb Wilder Credo --


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    (@rparker)
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    'Moon, I learned much from those Clips. Joplin really worked it. Angles, distances, etc. The whole nine yards. On a side note, it makes you wonder how some people do the head set thing where the mic goes where you go. I guess if you're dancing is a major part of the show - like Madonna - that it would be a fair trade off.

    Was it me, or were both Janis clips the same?

    Anyhow, on to Tom Jones. His angled approach was much more distinct and easy to decipher. He sang straight out, but his mic was to the right of his face (from our perspective, left from his) and of course not straight perpendicular. Aimed at the mouth, just like you said.

    cnev & TR, I just ran through one of the songs me and my jamming partner do. "Brown Eyed Girl". It's an easy song and well in my range, but my straight in approach and quite possibly the windsock left it sounding muffled on previous attempts. Paying attention to my angle and distance, it came out as good as it ever has. I think what I'm going for is the smart volumed television affect. The only parts that are louder are ones that I want to be loud. Then it just like you guys say, better back off if louder means letting 'er rip. :)
    The diaphram on my mic sounds like crap if you distort it.
    I'm not sure what this means.

    Do you guys ever use effects, like reverb or anything? I know dogbite does. He wrapped mine inside some reverb once and it wasn't half bad.

    Roy
    "I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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     cnev
    (@cnev)
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    On the mics we always have a touch of reverb or delay. I fool around alittle bit but unless you've got a great natural voice a little effects will only help.

    The PA I have has a bunch of different settings for effects most of them have more than one effect on it and some are not for vocals at all so we've never used them.

    I'm not sure what we have it set at these days though.

    You just want a little to add some depth, etc. to the vocals.

    "It's all about stickin it to the man!"
    It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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    (@moonrider)
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    Do you guys ever use effects, like reverb or anything? I know dogbite does. He wrapped mine inside some reverb once and it wasn't half bad.

    At band practice, no. I like my vocals dry so I can concentrate on things like correct pitch, and volume control. In a show I'll usually have a touch of compression on my vocals and just enough reverb that you notice it ONLY when it gets taken away. Sometimes our sound guy will add some slapback echo in there for the rockabilly stuff.

    Dogbite's talking about the fact that you can overload a mic and it'll distort just like an amp will. try screaming into a cheap mic you don't like and listen to what comes out.

    Playing guitar and never playing for others is like studying medicine and never working in a clinic.

    Moondawgs on Reverbnation


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    (@trguitar)
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    The diaphram on my mic sounds like crap if you distort it.
    I'm not sure what this means.

    Do you guys ever use effects, like reverb or anything? I know dogbite does. He wrapped mine inside some reverb once and it wasn't half bad.
    I mean singing so loud and close to the mic that the diaphram distorts just like a speaker that is cranked too loud. That awful farting sound. The sound you get if you sing loud while "eating" the mic. I use a little reverb and chorus on my vocals. Can't hurt.

    "Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
    grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
    -- The Webb Wilder Credo --


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    (@rparker)
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    I played around with vocals again some morning. My Behringer keyboard/drum/PA amp thing has a bunch of built in effect settings, and you can turn them on or off and up or down by channel. I found a reverb type effect that basically added some depth to my voice. Not tone, but widened it a bit. Maybe those are bad choices of words. Perhaps the name of it will help. It's called "Early Reflection 4", and it's description is simply "Long". It is hardly long though. When you're done, it's done. I did have the effects level going in to the channel very low - 40% - and the channel's effects level set to 20%. You do notice a pleasing difference when you A/B test. That's where I'll leave it for now.

    TR & moonrider, now I understand the breaking up thing. Just like one of those child toy sing-a-longs where little jr screams his best off key yelp into a sing-a-long mic and you count your blessings on day three as he get's bored of it and it works it's way down to the bottom of the toy box.

    Mysteriously enough, battery stashes around the world are nill when kids come to their parents with that toy in hand requesting more juice for the toy. I've rambled again.

    TR, I do remember that "eating" the microphone thing you posted of an area band. That was some awful stuff. I'm sure there's a proper way to eat the mic, but that wasn't it.

    Roy
    "I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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     cnev
    (@cnev)
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    It's like every thing else in music depends on what effect you are trying to get across. The music that my wife's band used to play was "hardcore" (Pantera-ish/kind of early Korn)but it involves mostly screaming and kind of eating the mic to get that heavy sound. I know it's not most peoples thing but for the genre that's what they do.

    "It's all about stickin it to the man!"
    It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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