Would a person recording screamed vocals want a condenser microphone or a dynamic? This is a thoughtful query. Let’s start by looking at some audio engineering fundamentals from a textbook. Because condenser microphones are more sensitive and have a better high-frequency response than dynamic microphones, they are typically used in studio settings to record most vocals.
Many high-quality condensers (with varying price points) that are frequently used for this purpose include as follows:
- The Neumann U87 is widely used.
- An AKG 414
- The NTK Rode
Compared to dynamic microphones, condenser microphones offer the following key benefits:
Would a person recording screamed vocals want a condenser microphone or a dynamic? They typically need less preamp gain, which results in a superior signal-to-noise ratio (i.e. less unwanted noise), Some versions, like the AKG 414, allow users to select from various pickup patterns (such as cardioid, hyper-cardioid, the figure of eight, and one), which can be quite helpful in some circumstances.
In comparison to recording with dynamics, condensers’ sensitivity and capacity to pick up higher frequencies tend to produce vocal recordings that are more detailed and present in a mix without necessitating much in the way of a top-end EQ boost or the use of a harmonic exciter. You are unquestionably a sound engineer if you laughed at this pathetic attempt at a pun.
Condensers do have some disadvantages
In stark contrast to most dynamic microphones, which tend to be extremely durable, they are typically quite delicate. For example, Shure SM58s are renowned for being so durable that it has been documented that people have dropped them from 7-story buildings, and the microphones have continued to work flawlessly (albeit admittedly looking a little battered!). Condensers contain internal electronic preamps with “clipping points,” or thresholds of Sound Pressure Level (SPL), which, if exceeded, may result in unpleasant distortion of the recorded signal and possibly even damage to the mic itself. This makes condensers sensitive but also a double-edged sword. Because of this, dynamic microphones—which have no internal preamps and are thus less prone to distortion and damage from sources producing high SPLs—tend to be preferred for recording sources with high SPLs. Would a person recording screamed vocals want a condenser microphone or a dynamic?
SPLs from screaming vocals can be rather high. Consequently, following them using dynamics rather than condensers is always preferable, according to traditional thinking. Nevertheless, in reality, it takes a lot of work. It’s a common fallacy that loud rock singers shout, etc. It MUST be tracked through dynamics. Realistically, the Loudness required to create clipping at the internal mic preamp stage is unlikely to be reached by even the most fervent screaming vocal performance. If the gain is adjusted too high, it COULD result in clipping at the preamp stage, but this is completely avoided with a careful, conservative gain setting.
That said, recording screaming vocals with top-notch dynamic mics is quite typical. The most effective of these are:
- Shure’s SM7B
- The Electro-Voice RE20
Yet aside from worries about SPL, there are additional reasons why engineers and performers recording shrill vocals could decide to employ a dynamic mic. The mic in question’s tonal characteristics is the most important of these. For instance, the Shure SM7B is renowned for having a rather noticeable upper-mid frequency response. Because of the way it emphasises violence, this can be preferable for a screaming, hard rock or rap vocal. Would a person recording screamed vocals want a condenser microphone or a dynamic? The singer’s voice and the microphone’s tonal signature should always be compatible when selecting a mic for recording voices. Some voice varieties go well with particular microphones and vice versa. For instance, select a mic with a less noticeable high-end frequency response to somewhat calm a singer’s voice if it is particularly bright and sibilant.
Would a person recording screamed vocals want a condenser microphone or a dynamic? It’s essential to try out a few different mics before beginning to record “keeper” vocal takes to determine which ones work best for the singer’s voice and consider the entire context of the song. It might turn out that you’re better off using a condenser mic after all to pick up more brightness in the vocal and enable it to sit better in the mix before any processing with EQ, etc., if the song already has a lot of upper-mid frequency content, such as from distorted electric guitars. Getting the tonal balance of a mix just perfect at the source is ALWAYS preferable to planning it after recording.
You can use either dynamic or condenser mics to record screaming vocals. There is almost no probability that any form of vocal will typically produce SPLs high enough to interfere with condensers. A microphone should be chosen based on how well it enhances the singer’s voice and creates the desired tone for the production.
I hope that answers your question. As always, feel free to send me a message or leave a response in the comments if you have any more questions or would need more information about anything I’ve discussed in my response.
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