Vocal Mic in poor room

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by binz, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. binz

    binz SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    50
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2017
    Hi,
    the thread title could also be: affordable alternatives to the Shure SM7B.

    I am recording in my room which has poor acoustics (stone floor, shallow walls) and a noisy street next to it. As far as I understood, people love the Shure sm7B because it is quite versatile, doesnt necessarily need a mic wall / studio environment and you can record very close up (hence negleting more of the background noise). So far (about) right?

    Roughly 400€ is a bit out of my reach, I was hoping there would be an alternative that shows similar characteristics, especially the ability to record close up / in such a way to reduce background noise and doesnt necessarily be "as hi-fi" as the sm7b (which in my case is not needed anyway I guess).

    Just for comparison, I did all my past recordings with a Behringer XM8500 (the cheap SM58 replica), which was fine but my new room is way worse and way noisier. Hence I am looking for alternatives.

    Thanks!
    Binz

    PS: I am well aware that this is by all means the worst recording environment. But it is as it is. I am not looking for a "solution", rather something to get the best out of a shitty situation.
     
  2. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

    Messages:
    31,168
    Likes Received:
    11,383
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    Racine, WI
    Setup a vocal booth in your bathroom. It's pretty easy, you just need some towels and blankets, for the most part.

    Put a blanket, towel or rug down on the floor. Drape the same over the shower rod/shower door. Hang blankets from the other walls. Setup the mic with a pop screen and have at it.

    There are bunch of DIY mic booth tutorials online. Folks have been doing this forever. Works great as amp rooms too.
     
    binz likes this.
  3. binz

    binz SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    50
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2017
    That sounds like the most uncomfortable place to record vocals :D Besides this, with setting up everything from towels to recording gear, I would block the bathroom essentially for half a day at least, I don't think my flat mates would appreciate this. Also, I am usually doing these things in small sessions after work in the evening for example, making the whole setting up process impractical. This is probably a good idea for "final" or "real" recording sessions, but doesnt really solve the problem on a daily basis.

    Concerning the sm7b, is it really for the purpose I think it is (as described in the op)?
     
  4. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

    Messages:
    31,168
    Likes Received:
    11,383
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    Racine, WI
    Or the most comfortable depending on what you had for lunch.
     
    binz likes this.
  5. BearOnGuitar

    BearOnGuitar SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    34
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2014
    Location:
    Ireland
    Generally dynamics mics will pick up less ambient sound and noises compared to a condenser mic, so in this scenario you should use a dynamic mic for sure. The best you can do is to work the room and be clever about using your gear, whatever mic you end up using.

    First I suggest to position yourself so that when you point the microphone at yourself, to have the back of the mic, or the null in the polar pattern, aim at the direction where most of the noise is coming from, since this is where the microphone is least sensitive to sound and you'll be able to reject a good amount of noise this way already. If the most noise is coming from the window, I also suggest installing a tick and heavy curtain, or even a sound absorbing curtain, which will both help further.

    Next you have to keep in mind that the microphone is also going to be pointing more or less at the wall behind you, which will reflect the sound from you singing and some of it will come back directly into the mic, so I suggest to install at least some of those cheap foam panels on that wall, to prevent the recording from sounding too roomy and reflective, by breaking one large reflective surface into multiple smaller reflective surfaces by using a few foam pads here and there. If you only can afford to purchase some panels, the wall to your back is the most critical to treat because this is where the mic is pointing at directly.

    Basically hard surfaces will be more reflective while soft surfaces will be more absorptive and the microphone will be more sensible to sound where it points to, while it will reject most sounds where it's back is facing towards.

    What you don't want to do is to deaden the room completely by covering all walls with something soft or putting towels too close around the mic, which will both cause it to sound like ass, too closed in and the frequency response will shift and sound weird.

    If the floor is too reflective, get yourself one or two rags and place them on your floor to dampen the reflections further. To top if off, you could use a microphone reflection filter, which does help a bit, just don't move your mic too close into it or it will start to sound unnatural as well. Even with a low budget you should be able to do plenty with it to transform your room into something that you can work in and get usable results from.

    Hope this helps.
     
    binz likes this.
  6. TonyFlyingSquirrel

    TonyFlyingSquirrel Cherokee Warrior

    Messages:
    3,798
    Likes Received:
    810
    Joined:
    May 4, 2006
    Location:
    Auburn, Washington
    Get two Boom Miss & a couple of fleece blankets.
    Set up the boom stands like a "T", then drape a blanket over each of them.
    Configure each stand with its blanket about 6-12" above the vocalist's mouth, and in a "V" pattern, placing the condenser mic into the groove of the "V" facing outward so that the vocalist is facing inward, into the "V".
    You have just created an iso booth "reservation" style.
    No need to spend a load of $$$ on Reflection Filters & such. This will work just the same.
    If you want more apportion, take a third Boom Stand & set it up behind the vocalist horizontal to the "V" patter, i.e.;
    "_______"
    Vocalist
    "V"
     
    Descent and binz like this.
  7. binz

    binz SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    50
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2017
    touché :D

    Thanks man for the detailed elaboration! What about the Microphone itself though, will there be big differences from different models? (I have no clue about these kidney polar pattern things)

    Also thanks for the response. May I ask what a Boom Miss is? Google wasnt much of a help
     
  8. BearOnGuitar

    BearOnGuitar SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    34
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2014
    Location:
    Ireland
    Some models will have more rejection on the back and side than others, but it's not a drastic difference that will have your room sound a lot better in the recordings. You want to deal with the actual issue, with is the room itself.

    I think the earlier poster meant a boom stand. You could also experiment with setting up a tent inside your room and recording inside that, but that's not much of a permanent solution really.
     
  9. DudeManBrother

    DudeManBrother Hey...how did everybody get in my room?

    Messages:
    1,605
    Likes Received:
    1,294
    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Seattle
    Check out the Rode NT1 series mics as an alternative to the SM7B. I got an NT1A used for $100 and it’s great. I also have had success just using an SM57 in untreated rooms.
     
  10. TonyFlyingSquirrel

    TonyFlyingSquirrel Cherokee Warrior

    Messages:
    3,798
    Likes Received:
    810
    Joined:
    May 4, 2006
    Location:
    Auburn, Washington
    I meant "Boom Mic-Stand". Apple autocorrect kills me sometimes.
     
  11. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

    Messages:
    28,366
    Likes Received:
    3,810
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Location:
    Somerville, MA
    WILDLY different mics, though. The NT-1 is a medium/large diaphram side-address condenser, while the SM7 is a fairly directional front-address dynamic. They're both similar in that they're microphones you can physically use to record vocals, and they're both cardioid pattern, but that's about it.
     
    DudeManBrother likes this.
  12. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2,136
    Likes Received:
    739
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    Record vocals in your closet standing between your clothes.
     
  13. crankyrayhanky

    crankyrayhanky SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    958
    Likes Received:
    190
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2009
    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    You need the sm7

    Until then, roll with a 57 or 58

    Condensers in untreated rooms are generally awful
     
    will_shred and binz like this.
  14. KingAenarion

    KingAenarion Resident Studio Nerd

    Messages:
    3,696
    Likes Received:
    215
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    Sydney Australia
    If you want something a little more neutral than an SM7 or 57/58 look at the Sennheiser 900 series. The 945 is hyper cardiod, and as long as your aren't pointing straight on to a wall, they sound quite decent in a recording space.
     
  15. binz

    binz SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    50
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2017
    So I'm going with the SM 7 or at least will try it out. I just have one concern with the powering, because I read it needs a good pre amp for good results. Right now I am using my POD HD 500X as an interface / mic pre amp but soon want to switch to a standalone interface like the Focusrite Scarlett or Steinberg UR22 MK2. Since they are both USB powered I was wondering whether that is "enough" for the mic? I have no reference / experience what so ever and would be thankfull for a reply!

    I will have to see what is feasible with the other suggestions like going under a blanket / into the closet. I'm recording alone and practicality is also a huge factor. I dont see myself recording comfortably nor singing accurately standing in a closet to be honest :D
     
  16. Sumsar

    Sumsar SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,363
    Likes Received:
    228
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2014
    Location:
    Copenhagen, DK
    Honestly it just sounds like you are looking for permission to go buy more gear. If you want more gear, just go buy it, no need to ask permission from us :D

    From what I have heard various sm57 and sm58 replicas should be fine and your past recordings sound fine, throwing money at your current problem does not necessarily solve your issue. Atleast it seems you should then spend the money on acoustic panels (not the foam stuff, it sucks) to enhance your room, which will also make mixing in that room easier. Yes acoustic stuff is not as exciting to throw money at as microphones and interfaces, but it seems it is what you need.
     
  17. binz

    binz SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    50
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2017
    Yeah one sometimes tend to ask permission rather for advice, you're right. Here it's more asking confirmation om what I researched.

    But generally I might have mixed several things in this thread.
    - Acoustics is a new problem because I moved and the new room is acoustically poor.
    - hoping to dim partly the room problem and generally upgrade the home studio was the mic question. I see a lot of people making good recordings just sitting casually in their chair at home
    - the interface is not to improve anything soundwise but to not have blue screen of death crashes between my pod and reaper, which cost me a great deal of time, nerves and recordings
     
  18. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

    Messages:
    28,366
    Likes Received:
    3,810
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Location:
    Somerville, MA
    This won't really work, and if they're making good recordings casually sitting in a chair at home, you're probably either looking at someone in a treated room, someone in a room where they've carefully positioned themselves to get as good a room sound as possible, or someone who's just obscenely lucky. :lol:
     
    Sumsar likes this.
  19. Sumsar

    Sumsar SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,363
    Likes Received:
    228
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2014
    Location:
    Copenhagen, DK
    ^ +1 to what Drew said - good rooms exist, but based on what you stated yours is not one of them, so don't expect any amount of expensive mics and preamps to fix that issue.

    Though there is nothing wrong with upgrading your gear, based on your past recordings it seems your skills are at a level that can easily justify having better gear for what you do, and if an actual interface fixes blue screen of doomy death issues then getting one seems to be a nobrainer. Just be aware that the interface or a new microphone will not magically fix the room issues. It will just be more expensive sounding reverb and street noise, it will probably add some warmth to it (joke).

    On the acoustic side of things the ideas with getting some extra stands to hold of some heavy blankets around your mic position should be a fairly easy fix (mentioned higher up in the thread).
     
    binz likes this.
  20. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

    Messages:
    28,366
    Likes Received:
    3,810
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Location:
    Somerville, MA
    What exactly is the problem? Ambient noise from the street? Boxy sounding room reflections? Both? Neither? Something like this will help with a bad sounding room, but ambient noise is extremely difficult to deal with - you could try putting heavy curtains or blankets over the windows, but short of that either recordinig when it's quiet outside, or finding a different room or a closet in your apartment to record vocals in might be your better bet.
     
    binz likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.