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Mic For Live Singing - Part Deux

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Burt Blanker:

Okay, I was wondering if there was any actual consensus regarding superiority of live vocal mics.

I currently have a couple of SM58s and an EV ND767a, and both mics are fine for singing live. But a friend of mine swears by the beta 58, and when I asked on Reddit and other forums, there is no clear "winner" about upgrading. I have looked online at a lot of mics, including the Neumann KMS105, EV ND95, Audix OM7, several other Shure offerings, some Sennheisers like the e965, and on and on.

Unlike a lot of arenas, the answer seems to always be, "It's just a matter of personal taste."

This leaves me wondering should I even bother considering an "upgrade" from what I have? I understand that mics like the Neumann aren't great on loud stages, and that mics like the beta 58 have 4 db boosts, and a boost on the treble, etc.

I guess my actual question is this: Are there any mics that would sort of empirically or objectively be a step up from what I have? Or is this all really a matter of personal taste? Because auditioning mics in a music store is like the worst possible environment, and I am certainly not going to be "singing" in a music store through a bunch of mics, the way I might audition guitars on the floor of Sam Ash.

tl;dr - My takeaway from the research I have done and the other forums I have asked this in is that unlike TV sets or gaming consoles or graphics cards for PC, there is no clear or objective "upgrade" from the old woke-horse (my SM58) is industry standard for a reason, and that if I ask 100 different people, I will get 100 different answers as to live mic superiority.

Dave Garoutte:
So, the answer is 'It Depends'.  Every singer has a different vocal characteristic.  The only way to see if another mic is an improvement FOR YOU is to try it.  If there is a decent music store nearby, or maybe even a sound provider, you should be able to try different mics.  There are many professionals who prefer the good old SM58, because it works with their voice, or they just know how to use it.  There is no 'best' mic.
I've been thinking about putting together a mic test seminar for some of the local vocal coaches and their students, as I have quite a variety of vocal mics.

Patrick Tracy:
In addition to the singer's characteristics, there are other issues. How is the singer's mic technique? Can they stay in the right spot of a narrow pattern or are they inconsistent? What is the monitoring situation, wedges or IEM? If wedges, how loud and how are they placed? Does the singer leave the mic on a stand or hold it and walk around?

Matthias McCready:
I regularly use a variety of capsules and microphone types (B58, B87, KMS105, KSM8, KSM9, SM58, E835, E935, E945, V7).

My favorite mic is a KMS105, however there are certainly a lot of vocalists where it would be a poor choice.

My least favorite mic is a B58, however it is also a great starting place for some vocalists I work with, and I will choose that every time over "nicer" options.

I actually keep a spreadsheet with the different artists I work with, regarding which capsule I prefer; it truly does depend on the vocalist.

For some people an SM58 can sound incredible, for some it is not a great starting place, and for others it might sound "meh" but so would a nicer mic.

Scott Holtzman:

--- Quote from: Matthias McCready on October 20, 2023, 07:56:17 PM ---I regularly use a variety of capsules and microphone types (B58, B87, KMS105, KSM8, KSM9, SM58, E835, E935, E945, V7).

My favorite mic is a KMS105, however there are certainly a lot of vocalists where it would be a poor choice.

My least favorite mic is a B58, however it is also a great starting place for some vocalists I work with, and I will choose that every time over "nicer" options.

I actually keep a spreadsheet with the different artists I work with, regarding which capsule I prefer; it truly does depend on the vocalist.

For some people an SM58 can sound incredible, for some it is not a great starting place, and for others it might sound "meh" but so would a nicer mic.

--- End quote ---


If the singer is capable of singing into the microphone I have had very good luck with the SE Electronics V2,  I carry the mics and the capsules in our inventory.  Personally I never go out without a few of these and my every day QLX-D I carry as part of my standard pack has an SM-58 and a V2 head. 


A Beta 58 is a special request (and an upcharge).  I personally find the Beta to be excessively bright and needs way too much EQ to sound "right".  Oddly I have been told this is an old man issue.  I don't get that as our HF is supposed to roll off as we age.  I am 59.  I will agree that my hatred of the 58 Beta only grows. 


+1 SE Electronics



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