Author Topic: Dynamic mic technique for vocals.  (Read 268 times)

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Offline batwoman

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Dynamic mic technique for vocals.
« on: November 05, 2019, 05:40:53 am »
I want to learn how to use a dynamic mic for public performance.

I have a borrowed Shure SM58. I've done some Google searches, nothing very helpful as yet, so I'm hoping there's someone here who can give me some pointers. I've only used a condenser mic for recording.

I know I have to put my mouth close to it, someone told me I should almost eat it. Do I sing into the top of the mic? How close should I be?

My problem is that with some of my songs I need to look at the fret and I notice that when I turn my head I lose the sound.

Don't really have a clue.  ::)

Offline Balamuthiah

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Re: Dynamic mic technique for vocals.
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2019, 09:33:46 am »
I don’t know much myself and would like to know from experts but having had some recent experiences of using dynamic mics myself, yes, you have be close enough to eat it. I’d say not more than 3-4 cm away from it. It is quite difficult when you have to look at your fret but you have to practice a lot at home before the gig to not see the fret as much as possible. If you still have to, just glance at the guitar at an angle to initiate a difficult change and then move to the rest of the chords or notes without relying much on vision. You may have seen a lot of legendary musicians do this.

Check these videos for example:
https://youtu.be/i8rVI7AMKiY Around 50 seconds into the song. He looks at his guitar but not for long.
https://youtu.be/QWrW0j6uOIU Around 23 seconds in, he literally eats the mic
https://youtu.be/H090V0O8HCg Around 40 seconds in. He does it several times after that.

Everybody needs to look at the fretboard. But the good thing about guitars is that most chords in a chord sequence are located very close if you can play around the fretboard. You’ll need to practice a lot though. I used to be only be able to not see open chords. Now I’m able to do odd shapes as well with little to no peeking depending on the difficulty.

As for the mic, I had a bad experience during my recent gig at family day when I went in and out on my vocals to “crazy little thing called love”. Purely because I wasn’t consistently close to the mic. But with hey Jude, I got a better, more consistent vocals. Hope I helped in someway.

P.S: David has been doing a great job too. I see that he’s developed a good technique as well. So I’m convinced that it comes with practice and experience. Had to take a quick look at his recent open mic video for reference. 😊 good luck Maggie! Keep practicing! 😊


Offline DavidP

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Re: Dynamic mic technique for vocals.
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2019, 02:15:32 pm »
You're too kind, Bala.

Maggie, I can't consider myself an expert, but my research and experience suggests that eating the mic is not advisable.

What is working fine for me is a distance of about 10-20 cm.  If one is consistent then the sound engineer should be able to adjust the input gain plus output levels to blend the vocal with other sources. If you find yourself unable to hear your instrument or voice can always ask for the level to be lifted.  There are no monitors involved in my Open Mic experience so I just hear myself over the PA but not so loud as to be disturbing :)

I think being consistent (small variations as you sing softer or louder once you get used to it)  in your distance and singing into the mic is more important.  So I have most issues when I look away or get carried away in my movement when getting into the song. 

If you need to be able to see the finger board for a quick glance then maybe consider mic placement and how you stand carefully.  Nobody says you have to stand square in front of the audience and that the mic should be directly in front of you. I think your could turn your head or body so as to be able to be singing into the mic and able to take a peak at the finger board by looking down rather than moving your head ... hope that makes sense.

Oh and the folks at the Open Mic have told me repeatedly that usually the most challenging thing for new performers is getting used to using a mic while playing and singing.

And hopefully some folk with more experience and knowledge than me also chip in ... following my advice may not be the best way to go  :o


Offline Balamuthiah

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Re: Dynamic mic technique for vocals.
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2019, 02:50:40 pm »
Good point about the levels too David. I’ve heard the best approach is to have some distance and have the gains higher. That way you could sing softer and be heard. But I guess there are different ways for different people. I got myself a dynamic mic to practice at home to find out what’s best for me. I think a mirror would help as well.

Offline batwoman

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Re: Dynamic mic technique for vocals.
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2019, 06:01:38 am »
Thanks Bala and David. Good idea with the mirror Bala. I might video myself too. It's still new and strange. I've got the volume turned right up so I can hear the things I need to change eg bumping my face on it, breathing too close to it. Feel so clumsy, but I know that like all skills, I can learn and improve.


Offline Balamuthiah

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Re: Dynamic mic technique for vocals.
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2019, 06:14:03 am »
Yes you can and will definitely learn and improve Maggie. Recording yourself is a good way to do this as well. Perhaps if you shared your video, others might be able to suggest improvements too. Glad that I could help 😊

Offline Peakoverload

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Re: Dynamic mic technique for vocals.
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2019, 10:39:17 am »
You certainly don't 'need' to eat the mic but you might want to at times for creative effect. Basically if you get very close to a mic you get a Proximity Effect which basically increases the base frequencies. So the proximity effect can lend itself well to male voices but less desirable when recording the guitar, especially the E string because it makes it sound 'boomy'.

Whilst it's true that a dynamic mic will be less sensitive than a condenser mic it doesn't mean you have to be super close to it, it just means that a dynamic mic will pick up less fainter sounds. As long as you aren't whispering and as long as the mic gain is high enough a dynamic mic is more than sensitive enough to pick up your voice.

Typically a distance of around 15cm is the average but essentially this topic is about mic technique. A good vocalist will know to back the mic away on high notes or when being particularly loud but will come in closer when they being more 'intimate' or want to accentuate the bass frequencies or simply be louder in the mix.

As for where you sing into on the mic. That very much depends on the mic pattern and the mic itself. On the SM58, just aim for the top as the diaphragm points straight up.

Offline batwoman

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Re: Dynamic mic technique for vocals.
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2019, 04:00:35 am »
As for where you sing into on the mic. That very much depends on the mic pattern and the mic itself. On the SM58, just aim for the top as the diaphragm points straight up.

Thanks for all the info you've shared Peakoverload, I really appreciate it. You've helped a lot.

 

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