Comprehensive guide to the live microphone market.
My Singing Lessons comprehensive guide to the live microphone market.
With a vast array of live microphones available on the market, MI Pro serves up a variety of what’s currently out there for gigging musicians of all kinds…
Suitable for use across a variety of both studio and live applications, such as mic-ing acoustic guitars, percussion instruments, and choirs, the D1012C from LD Systems is a small diaphragm cardioid condenser microphone with a wide frequency range. It can also be used as an overhead microphone for drums and, due to the option of 9V battery power, it can double up as a mic for reporters.
The D1012C also features zinc, die-cast housing, low self-noise, a three-stage sensitivity pad, a battery status LED and a high-pass filter.
Taken on by JHS in June 2013, the Lewitt range features a variety of live mics for any musical situation. The MTP940 (RRP £499) large diaphragm live mic is built to deliver real studio performance onstage and boasts a 135dB dynamic.
The MTP840 (RRP £209) is an active mic with phantom power, while the MTP540 (RRP £94.99) and MTP240 (RRP £64.99) are engineered to offer an optimised vocal performance at an affordable price.
Also available in the Lewitt live mic range are the MTP440 (RRP £89.99) for mic-ing instruments and the MTP340 (RRP £140.). classic condenser vocal mic.
Meanwhile, Kinsman’s KM001 Dynamic Microphone (RRP £19.99), KM002 Unidirectional Dynamic Microphone (RRP £24.99) and KM003 Unidirectional Dynamic Microphone (RRP £39.99) are all designed to deliver clear vocal reproduction, whatever your budget. Kinsman mics all come with a five metre-long Jack to XLR cable, while the KM003 also comes in a practical hard shell case with another soft, padded carry bag inside, as well as a mic clip.
Elsewhere, the ’50s look’ stand-mounted JHS GM55 (RRP £135) is designed to combine a classic appearance with modern acoustic components to meet today’s performance standards. Solidly constructed in a robust chrome-plated die-cast casing, the GM55 incorporates a self-tensioning swivel base that allows tilting between 45 degrees forward and 80 degrees backward positions. Furthermore, the JHS GM55 can be utilised in both live sound and studio applications.
Peavey’s PVM 22 (RRP £105.00) is the firm’s premium microphone for vocals. The PVM 22 is a dynamic cardioid microphone that incorporates a neodymium magnet, which is designed to deliver increase sensitivity.
For those on a budget, the Peavey Pvi range of microphones features the Pvi 100, a dynamic cardioid microphone designed for multi-use application. It includes carrying pouch, mic clip, on/off switch and XLR cable (1/4” version also available).
Also available in the range is the Pvi II mic, which is engineered to produce a clean, natural tone with low handling noise through a cardioid unidirectional polar response. Available in XLR-to-XLR or XLR-to-1/4” models in black, white and gold. Both Pvi 100 and Pvi II have a RRP of £26.00.
beyerdynamic’s entire Touring Gear Series features the firm’s Sound Channelling Technology, which it has been developing and refining for decades. During this time, its experts have been creating special geometries designed to provide optimised sound channelling, influencing the sound and modelling the polar pattern by using precisely tuned delay lines and an attenuation pad. The TG series comprises four categories, with microphone solutions for every budget. There’s the TG 30 entry-level series; TG 50 standard Touring Gear series, built to deliver premium performance; TG 70 series, with advanced technical characteristics and higher quality materials for enhanced sound; and TG 90, the flagship Touring Gear range. The TG series includes (V) Vocal, (H) Headset, (L) Lavaliere, (D) Drum and (I) Instrument microphones.
Audio-Technica’s microphone line-up includes a wide array of models ideally suited to the rigours of stage use for vocals and backline. The ATM510 (RRP £99) cardioid dynamic is a rugged vocal mic with a newly designed internal shock mounting to reduce handling noise. Designed to be smooth and natural sounding, the ATM510 also offers off-axis rejection for minimum feedback on busy stages.
Elsewhere in Audio-Technica’s live-oriented Artist Elite series, the AE5400 (RRP £380) cardioid condenser features the same element as the AT4050 studio mic and its large-diaphragm capsule is engineered to assure an accurate response and handle high SPLs.
The hypercardioid AE6100 (RRP £196) is designed to deliver clean articulation, fast transients and high-output, assertive sound for powerful singers in particular. The mic’s polar pattern is tailored for optimum on-axis response and its back-cavity assembly ‘floats’ inside the handle shell, providing isolation from handling noise.
Ideally suited for mic-ing guitar cabinets and kick drums, the AE2500 (RRP £590) features cardioid condenser and dynamic capsules combined in one housing. Favoured by Metallica’s ‘Big’ Mick for guitar duties, the dual element approach aims to deliver both punch and well-balanced full tone.
Studiomaster’s KM Series (RRP from £19) dynamic microphones are built to cope with rough handling, while also delivering optimum sound performance. The dynamic mics have a cardioid response, meaning they pick up your voice loud and clear but are less sensitive to other, unwanted sounds. This is especially true from the rear of the microphone, which is handy when using stage monitors. The KM series of microphones are supplied in a soft zipper bag and come with a five-metre professional XLR to XLR balanced cable and stand clip.
Samson’s CS Series (Capsule Select) microphone is designed to offer the capabilities of two pro-level dynamic microphones in one package. Both interchangeable neodymium capsules deliver a super-cardioid pickup pattern and are further designed to support completely different mic-ing applications, while the base’s threaded twist-off construction is engineered to render it both quick and easy to change capsules and mic-ing techniques. The CS1 vocal microphone is optimised for live performance applications, with a pickup pattern that provides enhanced feedback rejection. Furthermore, with a 60Hz–18kHz frequency response and high SPL handling means the CS1 is built to capture the most dynamic of voices with ease.
Specifically tuned for drums, guitar cabinets and brass, the CS2 instrument microphone is ideal for mic-ing instruments. A wide frequency response on the low end (50Hz–18kHz), it also features a tighter polar pattern for greater isolation from the sound source and offers maximum SPL handling.
The new MD-007CRH (RRP £67.40) from Stagg is a 50s/60s style dynamic microphone designed for live performance, public address, broadcasting and recording. It has a built-in 5/8″ thread for use with all microphone stands, on/off switch and XLR connection, and the head has a 45° forward to 80° backward tilt.
Also available is the MD-1500BKH dynamic microphone (RRP £30.10); an entry-level mic for vocalists and musicians that is suitable for both live performance and recording use.
For drummers, the DMS-5700H (RRP £194) is built for recording and professional live use. The seven mics supplies include a kick drum mic, four tom/snare mics, and two overheads for cymbals and ambient pickup, complete with two break-resistant swivel adaptors w/universal 3/8″ and 5/8″ threads.
The M1 from RØDE is a satin-black, weighty-feeling dynamic microphone which the firm promises is capable of withstanding severe abuse. In the case of the M1, RØDE goes one further than its standard Ten Year Warranty and offers a Lifetime warranty, provided you register your mic on their site within a month on receipt.
Sonically, the mic is designed to deliver a smooth, warm sounding dynamic with a subtle yet distinct presence at the top end. Furthermore, the firm says it could be described as being a little ‘studio’-sounding and can therefore serve as an ideal alternative to your ‘industry standard’ dynamic mic. Its response is also suited to a number of other sources, meaning it could be put to use on bass and drums.
Meanwhile, RØDE offers the ability to preview its full range of mics through a web app online. You can preview the M1 (and others) on a variety of sources at www.rodemic.com/soundboothstudio.
The Sennheiser portfolio includes a wide variety of evolution wireless G3 systems for instruments and vocals, the mic capsules of the latter coming from their famed wired counterparts. Sennheiser’s SKM 2000 handheld microphone is described by the firm as the ‘bridge’ between evolution wireless systems and the company’s RF wireless equipment. Used in conjunction with 935 and 945 capsules, they are used by many artists, including Rita Ora and Dizzee Rascal.
Elsewhere, numerous large touring productions, TV shows, broadcasts, and globally active bands have utilised Sennheiser’s 5000 Series systems, SKM 5200-II handheld transmitters, SK 5212-II bodypack transmitters and EM 3732-II dual-channel receivers. Among the artists that use the SKM 5200-II plus MD 5235 capsule as their combination of choice are Gary Barlow and Paloma Faith.
The AKG D5 (RRP £99) professional dynamic vocal microphone for lead and backing vocals is built to deliver a powerful sound even on the noisiest stage, while its frequency-independent supercardioid polar pattern ensures maximum gain before feedback. The D5’s dual shock mount eliminates any kind of handling noise and includes an integrated pop filter for trouble-free live use.
Also from AKG is the D7 (RRP £149) reference dynamic vocal microphone, which is engineered to create the subtle and open sound of a condenser capsule with the powerful resonance of a dynamic microphone. The patented dual-layer Varimotion diaphragm can vibrate unhindered, resulting in a crisp and clean sound. Elsewhere, the laminated material dampens high resonance peaks in the frequency response, which, in combination with the supercardioid polar pattern, enables the D7’s high gain before feedback.
Meanwhile, the new C1000 S Mk IV (RRP £179) multipurpose small-diaphragm condenser microphone is suitable for recording and live-sound applications, as well as for video productions. Its gold sputtered capsule housing makes the microphone rugged against humidity.
If no phantom power is available, the C1000 S can be powered by two standard AA batteries for up to 120 hours. It also features a bass-cut switch and a switchable -10 dB pad. The polar pattern can quickly be switched from cardioid to hyper-cardioid. Three different frequency settings add more clarity to speech and instrument sounds.
Live mics are also available from: