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ArtistWorks Vocal School Lessons: Finding the Right Microphone

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I'd like to introduce you to some of my
This is Mike, Miguelito, Mariano,
Michelle, okay.
So we're going to do what's called [LAUGH]
a mic shoot out.
That's where you throw up a number of,
don't take that the wrong way.
That's where you put up, they say it throw
up a number of different microphones.
And you try out the same song on each one.
If you were in a recording studio, you
would record each one separately and
then listen back and
decide which one is capturing the sound of
your voice appropriate for
your vocal characteristics as well as the
song and the style that you're singing.
Sometimes a different mic on the same
when you're switching styles is exactly
what's necessary.
There are certain mics that, for
you, would be what we would call a
universal fit.
In other words, you could sing any number
of different styles on the same mic and
it would still capture your voice
Because microphones have their own
personality, it's so
important to match your vocal personality
aspects of personality in your voice with
the personality of the microphone.
If not, it will alter your voice and
cause you instinctively to make muscular
changes which can,
and will end up making your voice less
than what it really is.
I'm going to sing a song and
move on each microphone.
The first one, this one is a Shure SM58.
And, this is and has been for years and
years considered the industry standard.
The reason why is because it was one of
the early live,
what's called a handheld microphone even
though it's on a stand here, it's used on
stage rather than in the recording studio,
although, there have been certain singers
who have in fact used this for the style
and what-not, and how they're recording.
But otherwise it's known as a live,
handheld microphone, as all of these are.
There's different types of mics like a
so that's why these are referred to as
Now, each one has different
characteristics which gives it
a different personality.
This one is called the dynamic microphone,
and dynamic means that it has its own
power supply.
So when you put the cord on it, it will
send the signal of your voice through
the cord, to the mixing board, which then
sends it out through speakers
if you're singing you know, of course live
on stage it comes out,
the the PA, which means public address
system speakers.
Okay, I'm going to sing a well known song,
and it's Swing Low Sweet Chariot.
on this
It's called an EVPL80C.
That's just how they designated it.
This is a condenser mic, which means that
it does not have its own power and
it has to be plugged into a, either a
called phantom power, which then sends
power to the mixing board,
or most mixing boards have their own
phantom power.
So, it just plugs in and if you were using
it, you would need to basically tell
the mixing engineer, the live sound
engineer, that you were using a condenser.
I'm just gonna
sing a little
higher between
both of these so
you see how it
The higher aspects of my voice.
Now move
over here.
This microphone is an EV, which, by the
means electo voice, and it's an EVND 967.
This one is a dynamic microphone which
means that it has its
own power, it doesn't need what's called
Phantom would be remote power, so it'll
just send the signal direct to the board.
Now we'll move on.
This is a Rode mic, R-O-D-E.
It's an Australian made microphone and
it's an M2, the Rode M2.
This is a condenser mic, which needs
phantom power.
This one also has a, an off and on switch.
They're not that common any more.
So when you don't want the microphone to
pick up your voice you can just switch it
And then when you're ready to sing or
speak again,
you just put that little button on, and
you've got a live mic.
the next
This is an Audix microphone, they're also
pretty famous for
making microphones specific for drums,
and many of their microphones communicate
not only to the voice,
in other words you could use often, well
certain microphones of Audix for
your voice as well as the same microphone
for a drum.
This is the Audix VX5 and it is a
condenser microphone so
it needs phantom power.
The next microphone is the TC Helicon
They, they have another microphone
that's the same design minus one thing.
Let's see.
You can see here, I hope, a little blue
triangle [LAUGH], it's a button.
TC Helicon is one of the most amazing
as far as creating a lot of different
electronic gear for live stage singing.
They focus on singers and they have these
pedals that
give you different kinds of sound effects
that you can mix your voice through so
that you are able to take control of how
your voice is mixed,
liked putting reverb with it and
other aspects that blend your voice and
make it sound really good.
Anyway, they have a lot of choices.
This particular microphone hooks into any
one of those pedals.
It does require phantom power.
But the pedals themselves have phantom
power, and
with this button, you can turn them on and
So when you want to address your audience
not have your voice with lots of effects
on it, you just press the button.
It stops the effects and you can talk to
the audience and
sound natural, and then when you want to
put the effects back on,
you just press the button and immediately
they're turned on.
I'll continue with this shoot out of each
mic, with these last two.
This is a relatively new microphone
company called Lampifier.
This is the Lampifier one, one, one, 111.
This is also a condenser microphone, which
means that it needs phantom power.
What I'm going to do now is start from
the beginning and sing the exact same
thing moving form
microphone to microphone with no talking
in between, so
you can immediately hear the
characteristic differences.
I'm singing the same way but how does,
how do I sound from mike to mike?
Of course,
what you just heard was how these mics
work with my voice.
How they might work with yours would be an
entirely different story.
It used to be that you could go to a music
store and
they would allow you to actually test out
each microphone.
Due to health issues health board issues,
that is not so easy to find these days.
If you can't find a music store that will
allow you to shoot out,
that's what it's called with different
microphones and
hear the difference, then what I would
suggest is try to round
up some friends who have different sorts
of mics and try them out or
you could post a bulletin on a bulletin
board in a nearby rehearsal hall.
Just get smart, get, you know, get
creative, and find a way of testing
out a few different mics on your voice so
you can see how they work.
It's an amazing experience and when you
find the mic that works for you,
all of the sudden, it's like the doors to
heaven open.
I mean, it makes singing so much easier
and more enjoyable.
That's it.