Have you ever wondered what top selling artists use on stage to help their vocals sound great? Chris Kennedy continues to discover the mics of the stars.
The Beta 58 is Shure’s update to their ever popular SM58 microphone. It is a supercardioid dynamic vocal microphone that is engineered for live performance and has a tailored frequency response to help accentuate vocals. The mic was first introduced in 1989 and still remains popular – especially among male singers.
The now discontinued Neumann KMS 140 is a cardioid condenser vocalist microphone. It was designed to offer studio-quality vocals in a stage setting and is particularly well suited to more intimate acoustic music and jazz where you may want a rich and full sounding vocal.
The KMS 104 is Neumann’s replacement to the KMS 140 and is a popular choice among many top singers who want a full-range high quality vocal sound. With a street price of around $700/£400 it is not the cheapest option, however if you want a no-compromise vocal sound it is definitely worth trying out.
Sennheiser’s SKM 5200 is a wireless microphone system that is compatible with a range of different heads both from Sennheiser as well as other manufacturers, so that you can pick the perfect sounding partner for your voice. The MD 5235 head used by Katy Perry is based upon the capsule found in their e965 handheld microphone (which would be a good alternative choice if you wanted to get the same sound quality without the added expense of a wireless system).
The Sennheiser 935 is a professional dynamic cardioid vocal microphone offering a smooth, natural sound. If you want to customize yours with rhinestones too you might want to look at MicFX’s Microphone Sleeves that come in a range of colors and are designed to simply slip over your existing stage mic.
Although it was first released in 1966, Shure’s SM58 remains a popular choice today amongst top singers. It is particularly popular among male rock singers and, at only $99, it is the cheapest mic in this list. It is also available in various wireless formats for use on stages of all sizes.
If you want to dance while you sing, a headset microphone will often be the best option. The Crown 311 (now sold as AKG CM311) is a headset microphone that can work with a wireless body-pack to give you freedom of movement on stage. It has a very tight pickup pattern which makes it exceptionally resistant to feedback and spill and can handle high SPL levels, making it an ideal choice for loud stages.
One advantage of many wireless microphone systems is their ability to use different manufacturer’s capsules in order to get the sound you want. In this example a Heil head was paired with a Shure wireless system (as Heil do not make their own wireless systems). The RC35 capsule is taken from their high-end PR35 dynamic microphone, which has also been used by singers such as Joan Baez, Joe Walsh and Stevie Wonder.
You can about about what live microphones other singers use in our previous article Famous Live Mics
About The Author:
Chris Kennedy is the principle product reviewer for VoiceCouncil Magazine. He is also a singer-songwriter and composer, performing and writing in a range of styles from rock to jazz. Chris has released several albums as a solo artist and with his group The New Inventions. You can find more about him on his website: http://www.chriskennedymusic.co.uk