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Author Topic: Condenser mics for live group vocals  (Read 8020 times)

jesseweiss

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Condenser mics for live group vocals
« on: July 26, 2015, 03:48:50 pm »

So I run Shure wireless lavs for my school musical and all is well.  We have 16 mics setup to run through the LS9-16 system and it works fine considering they are kids.  EQ isn't always the best, but kids are kids and aren't very consistent.

In some shows, we have a group of "featured singers" and we frequently don't have enough lavs for all of them so they just project.  Given that these kids are usually some of the best singers (yes my daughter was one last year) they do a decent job, but I would love to give them some reinforcement.

I was thinking of getting some condenser mics to use that we can place strategically on the stage (somehow) to pick up these kids singing. We could hang mounts from the sets if need be, or use a stand if it can be discrete.  I've had sound engineers (of which I'm really not) use them successfully for group backups in other situations with my band in the same theater with great results, micing like 15 kids on each side of my band for backups and having it sound amazing.

I'm looking for recommendations on reasonably priced condensers, say in the $300 range or less that we could use for this purpose.

Thanks.
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Condenser mics for live group vocals
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2015, 03:59:09 pm »

Such mic usage will not show any appreciable difference using dynamics or condensers.  There is no magic to one or the other, really, and pattern (including nulls) is probably the salient factor.

The over-arching principle is " loudest sound at the mic wins" and both condensers and dynamics share that stricture.

I work with kids programs in various capacities and the participation and technical awareness of the director is a make it/break it factor.  The best of them set up 3 or 4 cardioid mics across the front of the stage and have the soloists come right up and work them close enough to be useful.

Again, as with the "compressor as magic box" idea, there are no magic mics that will elevate the voice of too distant a singer over ambient level...and with presence comparable to the wirelessly miked actors.
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Keith Broughton

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Re: Condenser mics for live group vocals
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2015, 04:12:54 pm »

Such mic usage will not show any appreciable difference using dynamics or condensers.  There is no magic to one or the other, really, and pattern (including nulls) is probably the salient factor.

The over-arching principle is " loudest sound at the mic wins" and both condensers and dynamics share that stricture.

I work with kids programs in various capacities and the participation and technical awareness of the director is a make it/break it factor.  The best of them set up 3 or 4 cardioid mics across the front of the stage and have the soloists come right up and work them close enough to be useful.

Again, as with the "compressor as magic box" idea, there are no magic mics that will elevate the voice of too distant a singer over ambient level...and with presence comparable to the wirelessly miked actors.
Good points!
I am always interested to understand where people get the idea that a condenser mic is somehow "better".
Had a singer on a festival recently want to know if I was providing a "powered" mic.
She was refering to a condenser, of no particular type, and I suggested she use the mic we provided.
Even though it wasn't a "powered" mic, she liked it just fine  :)
3 rules....application, application, application
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Scott Bolt

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Re: Condenser mics for live group vocals
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2015, 04:23:32 pm »

In general, I have found that a decent condenser mic with the same polar pattern as an equivalently decent dynamic mic will pick up more details from a distance.  I think this can be simplified to "a decent condenser mic will pick up more details than a decent dynamic mic". 

This appears to be especially true at lower SPL.... and thus the reason that most choir microphones are usually condensers.

From here (just as an example):  https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CEQQFjABahUKEwjGuPqYz_nGAhUMNT4KHfm_C0g&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.shure.eu%2Fproducts%2Fmicrophones%2Fchoir-orchestra&ei=vUC1VYbmKozq-AH5_67ABA&usg=AFQjCNEHpok-Ncn5fl1DwvC50yTHtP_wUg&bvm=bv.98717601,d.dmo

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jesseweiss

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Re: Condenser mics for live group vocals
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2015, 04:30:48 pm »

Such mic usage will not show any appreciable difference using dynamics or condensers.  There is no magic to one or the other, really, and pattern (including nulls) is probably the salient factor.

The over-arching principle is " loudest sound at the mic wins" and both condensers and dynamics share that stricture.

I work with kids programs in various capacities and the participation and technical awareness of the director is a make it/break it factor.  The best of them set up 3 or 4 cardioid mics across the front of the stage and have the soloists come right up and work them close enough to be useful.

Again, as with the "compressor as magic box" idea, there are no magic mics that will elevate the voice of too distant a singer over ambient level...and with presence comparable to the wirelessly miked actors.

This is not a situation where the kids "come up to the mic" as they are singers in a musical and really function as backup singers to the lead.  I'm not worried about the presence being same as the mic'd actors, but it would help for some reinforcement.  I'm also not looking for a magic solution, just options.

The only mics we have now are SM58's, whose cariod pattern doesn't pick up much more than the center most kid and only if they are close enough to the mic.  I imagine that there are other mics with different pickup patterns, etc... that would work more effectively to pickup a group singing together through maybe 2 mics.
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Re: Condenser mics for live group vocals
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2015, 04:33:12 pm »

In general, I have found that a decent condenser mic with the same polar pattern as an equivalently decent dynamic mic will pick up more details from a distance.  I think this can be simplified to "a decent condenser mic will pick up more details than a decent dynamic mic". 

This appears to be especially true at lower SPL.... and thus the reason that most choir microphones are usually condensers.

From here (just as an example):  https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CEQQFjABahUKEwjGuPqYz_nGAhUMNT4KHfm_C0g&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.shure.eu%2Fproducts%2Fmicrophones%2Fchoir-orchestra&ei=vUC1VYbmKozq-AH5_67ABA&usg=AFQjCNEHpok-Ncn5fl1DwvC50yTHtP_wUg&bvm=bv.98717601,d.dmo

No, any significant (read  practical) difference between mics is just that...a difference between the mics, not the method of changing sound waves into electronic impulses.

You are largely incorrect and posting something which reinforces urban myths is not helpful to the OP or any casual reader.

Yes, mics exhibit different patterns and frequency response.  Is the difference attributable to dynamic vs condenser?

NO.

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jesseweiss

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Re: Condenser mics for live group vocals
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2015, 04:36:10 pm »

No, any significant (read  practical) difference between mics is just that...a difference between the mics, not the method of changing sound waves into electronic impulses.

You are largely incorrect and posting something which reinforces urban myths is not helpful to the OP or any casual reader.

Yes, mics exhibit different patterns and frequency response.  Is the difference attributable to dynamic vs condenser?

NO.

So going back to my last post, are there specific mics you could recommend for this application that would have good pickup pattern and frequency response to be effective?

Or should we just try it with the SM58's we already have?
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Re: Condenser mics for live group vocals
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2015, 04:38:14 pm »

This is not a situation where the kids "come up to the mic" as they are singers in a musical and really function as backup singers to the lead.  I'm not worried about the presence being same as the mic'd actors, but it would help for some reinforcement.  I'm also not looking for a magic solution, just options.

The only mics we have now are SM58's, whose cariod pattern doesn't pick up much more than the center most kid and only if they are close enough to the mic.  I imagine that there are other mics with different pickup patterns, etc... that would work more effectively to pickup a group singing together through maybe 2 mics.

Again, loudest sound at the mic wins.  If you have three or four kids singing on one mic, a 58 will work IF they are all closely grouped around the mics pattern...cheek to cheek.  They have to re-create as much as possible a "single" sound source. 

If you want "wider" , get a stereo bar and put two 58' on the stand angled about 60 degrees apart.

It takes practice and a good director.

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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Condenser mics for live group vocals
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2015, 04:57:54 pm »

In general, I have found that a decent condenser mic with the same polar pattern as an equivalently decent dynamic mic will pick up more details from a distance.  I think this can be simplified to "a decent condenser mic will pick up more details than a decent dynamic mic". 

This appears to be especially true at lower SPL.... and thus the reason that most choir microphones are usually condensers.

From here (just as an example):  https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CEQQFjABahUKEwjGuPqYz_nGAhUMNT4KHfm_C0g&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.shure.eu%2Fproducts%2Fmicrophones%2Fchoir-orchestra&ei=vUC1VYbmKozq-AH5_67ABA&usg=AFQjCNEHpok-Ncn5fl1DwvC50yTHtP_wUg&bvm=bv.98717601,d.dmo

The difference in clarity of off axis and distant sources is attributable to the phase response of the microphone.  Inexpensive mics don't sound like the more pricy models; the design details, materials used and build execution create those differences - not dynamic vs condenser.
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Re: Condenser mics for live group vocals
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2015, 05:02:20 pm »

The difference in clarity of off axis and distant sources is attributable to the phase response of the microphone.  Inexpensive mics don't sound like the more pricy models; the design details, materials used and build execution create those differences - not dynamic vs condenser.

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Re: Condenser mics for live group vocals
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2015, 05:02:20 pm »


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