Vocal Mic in poor room

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

  1. binz

    binz SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    24
    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:
    29,666
    Likes Received:
    8,377
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, 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:
    64
    Likes Received:
    24
    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:
    29,666
    Likes Received:
    8,377
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Or the most comfortable depending on what you had for lunch.
     
    binz likes this.
  5. BearOnGuitar

    BearOnGuitar SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    23
    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:
    3,711
    Likes Received:
    734
    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"
     
    binz likes this.
  7. binz

    binz SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    24
    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:
    130
    Likes Received:
    23
    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:
    1,247
    Likes Received:
    858
    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:
    3,711
    Likes Received:
    734
    Joined:
    May 4, 2006
    Location:
    Auburn, Washington
    I meant "Boom Mic-Stand". Apple autocorrect kills me sometimes.
     
  11. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

    Messages:
    27,721
    Likes Received:
    3,084
    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:
    1,713
    Likes Received:
    366
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    Record vocals in your closet standing between your clothes.
     
  13. crankyrayhanky

    crankyrayhanky SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    905
    Likes Received:
    151
    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
     
  14. KingAenarion

    KingAenarion Resident Studio Nerd

    Messages:
    3,689
    Likes Received:
    206
    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.
     

Share This Page