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Gear / Technical Help => Microphones & Setup => Topic started by: BradleyJY15 on July 14, 2020, 09:52:33 PM

Title: Artist Microphones
Post by: BradleyJY15 on July 14, 2020, 09:52:33 PM
Does anyone ever chat in here much about what microphones our favorite artists use in studio or live?  Seems like a tough thing to know. They probably change frequently? And use a ton of mics. Same brand? Probably for some, not others.
Title: Re: Artist Microphones
Post by: EmRR on July 14, 2020, 10:18:40 PM
Does anyone ever chat in here much about what microphones our favorite artists use in studio or live?  Seems like a tough thing to know. They probably change frequently? And use a ton of mics. Same brand? Probably for some, not others.

For vocals in studio?   Many performers tend to settle on a preferred type, but I've also had same artists work on pretty different vocal mics session to session, sometimes song to song on the same record for textural/context reasons.  Sometimes you put up a couple of mics and record both for everything, and pick the winner based on the way it sits in the track.  Sometimes you blend them.  Sometimes you might use one for verses and one for choruses.  It can get complex.  Or not. 

Live, singers have a thing they like the sound of, and then there's the physical interaction they want to be consistent, so muscle memory drives the interaction.  You tend to stick with the same thing once you find it. 
Title: Re: Artist Microphones
Post by: jerryfreak on July 15, 2020, 03:18:11 AM
you can sometimes find features on them. this is my favorite female vocalist and i can see that she still uses the 4018 vocal mics to this day

https://www.dpamicrophones.com/news/dpa-microphones-bring-an-extra-dimension-to-aurora-s-haunting-voice#:~:text=The%20Norwegian%20singer%2Dsongwriter%20is,the%20instruments%20in%20her%20band.
Title: Re: Artist Microphones
Post by: jerryfreak on July 15, 2020, 03:20:33 AM
Chris Mitchell, FOH for Umphreys, has a great blog
https://flyingeyepro.wordpress.com/

this entry in particular is very mic-centric
https://flyingeyepro.wordpress.com/2015/06/10/how-to-disappear-completely-my-year-without-eq/
Title: Re: Artist Microphones
Post by: DSatz on July 15, 2020, 09:55:14 AM
EmRR said it well. When you say "artist" you usually mean a vocal soloist, I think; a lot depends on their level of experience and technical awareness, which varies. Producers and engineers tend to defer to the performer when the performer has definite opinions, unless the performer has an unusually cooperative personality (some do, but some REALLY don't).

Complicating the situation is that someone may arrange for "session photos" to be taken, showing a certain type or brand of microphone in use, when in fact the performer didn't/doesn't use that brand or type of microphone, at least not exclusively. Perhaps those microphones are being "lent" to the producer or performer, and coincidentally, no one will ask for them to be returned later. Photos of this kind go back to the 1960s at least, including cover photos for record albums, and they really make it hard to find out the actual situation. Sometimes you notice that the microphone is backwards or sideways from the way it's supposed to be used, or that the cable isn't plugged in but the singer is making a very expressive face as if they're in a state of rapture, like as if someone was doing something very nice to the part of them that was beneath the frame of the photo.

I would also say that ~80% of all quotes that supposedly come from performers about the greatness of a certain microphone (or other recording equipment) are phony quotes, approved by someone's agent as part of a business deal. For a person who isn't actually in the studio, it's practically impossible to find out what equipment was actually used. When I worked at RCA Studios there was a non-disclosure agreement in general effect, and only the higher-ups were supposed to make any pronouncements about methods and equipment used in recordings; the truth value of such pronouncements varied with whoever pronounced them. Even the little technical notes on the back of the LP or CD were often less than factual in my experience; record companies aren't necessarily very careful with credits, and what got listed often depended on politics rather than a penchant for accuracy and honesty.
Title: Re: Artist Microphones
Post by: EmRR on July 15, 2020, 11:34:09 AM
When I worked at RCA Studios there was a non-disclosure agreement in general effect, record companies aren't necessarily very careful with credits, and what got listed often depended on politics rather than a penchant for accuracy and honesty.

Yep ^.

And I don't recall if I've ever known what your role was at RCA, what studios or remote rooms you tended to work, etc. 
Title: Re: Artist Microphones
Post by: heathen on July 15, 2020, 08:34:22 PM
A couple things...

Before a Krallice show I overheard Colin Marston asking the sound guy for a Shure SM57 as his vocal mic.  The sound guy was a bit surprised..."a 57?"  Yep, he wanted the SM57.

I'm also reminded of the attached image which is supposedly part of Kurt Cobain's session notes.
Title: Re: Artist Microphones
Post by: datbrad on July 19, 2020, 10:54:56 AM
Stevie Nicks seemed to use a Sennheiser 441 exclusively when performing live, at least with Fleetwood Mac, and Phil Collins has famously used a Beyer M88 for his vocals. Alex Degrassi brings his own AKG 461 to every show to mic his guitar. The Grateful Dead used custom built mics with B&K capsules for the wall of sound noise cancelling mics, Sennheiser 421s in the late '70s-early '80s, then switched to MiLabs and I think used them for the rest of their touring career. 
Title: Re: Artist Microphones
Post by: goodcooker on July 19, 2020, 11:10:54 AM

Before a Krallice show I overheard Colin Marston asking the sound guy for a Shure SM57 as his vocal mic.  The sound guy was a bit surprised..."a 57?"  Yep, he wanted the SM57.

The 57 and 58 are the exact same mic with the exception of the headbasket on the 58 and the shape of the body that makes it easier to hold. I knew a jazz singer in St Louis that used the 57 for her vocals exclusively.
Title: Re: Artist Microphones
Post by: morst on July 19, 2020, 01:34:47 PM
The 57 and 58 are the exact same mic with the exception of the headbasket on the 58 and the shape of the body that makes it easier to hold. I knew a jazz singer in St Louis that used the 57 for her vocals exclusively.
It happens that the SM57 has a built-in pop screen which, although made of metal mesh, is electrically isolated from the body of the microphone by foam and the plastic shell.
I heard that John Lennon had his own SM57, which he preferred.
My theory is that guitarists who prefer the SM57 may do so because they know they can put their lips on it while touching their strings, and no matter how poorly the studio or stage is wired, they can not be zapped.
How many times would YOU like to have 120v AC going through your lips, before you compromise on sound quality for safety?
Title: Re: Artist Microphones
Post by: DSatz on July 31, 2020, 03:52:03 PM
Before settling on an explanation for anyone's preference for the 57 over the 58 as a vocal mike, I would first like to know how many of those people were aware that it's the same microphone element inside. And among those who've "heard" that it's so, that doesn't necessarily mean that they believe it. People seem to have this huge in-between realm of statements that they "try on for size", as if we/they could evaluate complex technical matters by feel or intuition. I'm certainly not immune to it, but these days, the psychology of belief is a even more of a life-and-death matter than usual.

I also think that a lot of people make their choices on a visual/symbolic basis as much as for sonic or safety reasons, and the 57 looks like a 57 (and like nothing else), while a 58 looks much more generic. Viewed as a prop, one knows what to do with it, just as one knows what to do with a 55 on a stand--you grab it and lean the stand over, of course!

--I just added a gem to my bullshit visuals collection with the discovery of the movie from which this scene is taken: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOPQswhWPi4 -- Krupa's "conducting" is wildly out of sync with the music, and the one thing a conductor never does is conduct the small, local syncopations in the music; it's totally distracting to the musicians; they don't need ANYTHING that he's supposedly giving them. And while the camera is focused on him just before the 3:00 mark, the sound track has him prominently playing the cymbal/hi-hat, while in the visual, his sticks are nowhere near it; also note the "pianist" (the one sitting near the sax section) who doesn't even know how to pretend to play a piano.
Title: Re: Artist Microphones
Post by: morst on August 01, 2020, 02:04:58 PM
--I just added a gem to my bullshit visuals collection with the discovery of the movie from which this scene is taken: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOPQswhWPi4 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOPQswhWPi4) -- Krupa's "conducting" is wildly out of sync with the music, and the one thing a conductor never does is conduct the small, local syncopations in the music; it's totally distracting to the musicians; they don't need ANYTHING that he's supposedly giving them.
HAHAHAH!!! That's not conducting, that's just "acting!"

I just did the internet NO-NO of "reading the comments" and it's just a love fest for Gene, and people ripping on Buddy Rich.
The ONLY post that even comes close to addressing the glaring inconsistencies you've pointed out is this dilute soup:

Quote
Velociamator 5 years ago
Well of course this was synched, but very well done.


 :facepalm:
Title: Re: Artist Microphones
Post by: jerryfreak on August 21, 2020, 05:17:36 AM
you can sometimes find features on them. this is my favorite female vocalist and i can see that she still uses the 4018 vocal mics to this day

https://www.dpamicrophones.com/news/dpa-microphones-bring-an-extra-dimension-to-aurora-s-haunting-voice#:~:text=The%20Norwegian%20singer%2Dsongwriter%20is,the%20instruments%20in%20her%20band.

theres some talk about 'walking the walk'. this is a solid year later with same mic

https://youtu.be/XXVwFvkNTEg?t=2003
Title: Re: Artist Microphones
Post by: 108Ω on September 15, 2020, 12:35:19 AM
A couple things...

Before a Krallice show I overheard Colin Marston asking the sound guy for a Shure SM57 as his vocal mic.  The sound guy was a bit surprised..."a 57?"  Yep, he wanted the SM57.

I'm also reminded of the attached image which is supposedly part of Kurt Cobain's session notes.

Nothing bass-boosts on proximity like an SM57, a few others have the characteristic but many old rockers know how to "work" a 57
That speaks to morst's post on mic-eating

No one said Shure Super 55, baaaaaaby.    :laugh:
See the Elvis classic below, I guess Rockabilly is at a nadir.

I saw SCI running SM-7Bs for stage vocals.
It really sounded great as a stage mic, I expected bleed.

Super55
(http://media.liveauctiongroup.net/i/4698/6749047_1m.jpg)
Title: Re: Artist Microphones
Post by: anodyne33 on September 15, 2020, 05:22:06 PM
In the case of studio mics I'll say that the most common vocal mics in the spot I worked at were a TLM103, sometimes U89.

In other applications KM84i were stellar on piano and other acoustic instruments. Drums normally had the KM84i or Beyer ribbons as overhead, 57s or 421s on toms, snare was almost always a 57 top and SM81 bottom and kick was the U89 a few feet out and a Beta 91 inside, occasionally a Beta 92 outside or at the batter head.

Guitar cabs got every fucking thing in the closet thrown at them and we'd let them fight it out in the control room. There were sessions where I'd move a mic on a cab 3 or 4 times (straight on center, straight on side of the cone, off axis center, off axis cone, on the grille, 2' from the grille...).

Next we can get into preamps and how hot the tape got hit. :)
Title: Re: Artist Microphones
Post by: anodyne33 on September 15, 2020, 05:24:47 PM
When I was mixing at a club vox were almost exclusively a 58 or beta 58 unless someone brought their own. 57s aplenty, random clip on tom mics, D112 on kick. Super simple almost exclusively dynamic with the exception of a random condenser for an overhead.
Title: Re: Artist Microphones
Post by: goodcooker on September 16, 2020, 12:21:45 PM
When I was mixing at a club vox were almost exclusively a 58 or beta 58 unless someone brought their own. 57s aplenty, random clip on tom mics, D112 on kick. Super simple almost exclusively dynamic with the exception of a random condenser for an overhead.

I took a page out of Jeff Austin's 2010 playbook and used a AKG D112 as a mandolin solo mic. I used my twin spot pickup into a LR Baggs DI as my main sound then had the bass drum mic mounted low so I could lean into it and solo. No matter how loud it got onstage that thing never had any feedback problems even when left cranked all the time.

Condenser mics onstage in a lot of situations are overrated - classical, chamber and choir music being obvious exceptions.

I used a lot of different mics as drum kit overheads and I think my favorite was the JW modded AKG 460/CK63 combo in a split AB pointed straight down to the edge of the crash/snare on one side and the edge of the ride/rack tom/floor tom on the other.