Best Mic For Metal Vocals – Things to Consider:
When it comes to microphones and recording vocals, there are a lot of different factors that go into the process of getting a great sound both live and in the studio. Pre-amps, plug-ins, EQ’s, compressors, vocal register, Female metal singers and male metal singers, voice type, room sound, size and design as well as many more factors can really change the way a microphone sounds. There is no specific guide that will work 100% of the time in every situation which is why there are so many contrasting opinions and guides. This is important to be aware of when choosing a microphone and you need to know that what worked for someone else may not work as well for you. That being said we have provided a general guide to help you select the best mic for metal vocals depending on your budget and situation.
It is also important to have an understanding on some basic microphone techniques to ensure you get the best out of what ever microphone you decide to go for. Also if you are new to metal, it could be worth learning about some of the types of metal singing styles and if you are not getting vocal lessons, you should consider looking at those options to help improve your voice.
This guide is not for pro studio engineers, it is made for people who are in metal bands, or are metal singers who want to record their music. If you are a pro engineer, shouldn’t you know all of this from studying recording?…
- For more tips on recording vocals read this article.
What will the microphone be used for?
As stated in the above paragraph, it is important to know what the microphone will be mostly used for. In this case we are focusing on metal vocals in the general sense – metal singing, screaming, growling and other vocal techniques found in the metal genre. This alone covers a lot of ground and depending on your budget and specific needs, you can either go for a more all-round microphone or be more specific. Have a think about how much you are able to spend on a microphone.
- or $1,000 +
Also try to decide if you want to get one really good mic or multiple mics that you can test and experiment with. You may even want to save for a decent pre-amp or recording interface and software if you do not have those. Don’t forget the importance of being properly trained to scream, a lack of training can dramatically reduce your vocal stamina. Check out this review of one of the best metal screaming training DVD’s around – The Zen of Screaming
Now to the microphones…
If you are new to microphones and recording, you may have already noticed some terms that you don’t quite understand. There will be links out to sites that explain those terms but leave a message in the comments if you need help with something you are not sure on. Keep checking back for more as this page will be updated providing more reviews to help you find the best mic for metal vocals.
The Samson CS1 is an excellent mic for beginners not wanting to invest too much in a microphone and for those wanting great quality on a tight budget. This is a dynamic vocal/instrument mic with interchangeable capsules. The image above shows the two mic capsules which you easily screw on and off to swap between the two. The CS1 mic capsule (rounded) is designed for vocals, the CS2 capsule is designed for recording instruments.
This is a really great find, the microphone appears to be designed to compete with the Sure SM57 and SM58 only it costs less than the price of one of those. The vocal mic sounds great with no real need for a pop filter as it handles pops and plosives pretty well due to its rounded grille. The pickup pattern helps reject bleed and feedback allowing it to be used for live performances and band practice with minimal unwanted noise.
The CS1 has a frequency response of 60Hz-18kHz as well as handling high sound pressure levels pretty well. This makes it a good mic choice for a metal singer or screamer, plus you can change the capsule and use the CS2 for recording guitar or bass.
For the price, this is the mic you want if you are on a budget, it comes in a sturdy case and you get both the CS1 and the CS2 capsules plus a mic clip all included.
If you have been in the metal vocal scene for quite some time, you may have picked up a few things here and there about good and bad microphone technique. One technique that strikes up a lot of debate is the need to cup the microphone capsule in your hands while screaming into it. To some (mainly beginner metal screamers), this is thought of as being a good technique to get a better sound, however technically it is not due to the standard design of most microphones.
The Heil PR35 aims to solve this problem, it is probably the best mic for metal vocals if you are too used to “cupping” the mic. This could be your answer to a better sound. The PR35 has been designed with metal singers in mind and it allows you to cup the microphone without distorting the sound produced. The ports used to give the mic its directional properties are a lot further back than a traditional handheld mic. Also its center of gravity is further back than most mics so it feels more comfortable to grip using proper technique.
Aside from the vocal technique this is a solid microphone for metal. It has a 1.5 inch hum-bucking voice coil which is shock mounted, making it stable and durable for those out of control gigs. It also has great noise and interference rejection allowing it to only pick up what you want it to – your vocals.
The Heil PR35 is an excellent vocal mic but it can also be used for instruments and sounds great on guitar cabinets too. Included you get three colored trim rings (to help identify it if you have multiple mics), a mic clip and pop filter all in a leatherette carry case.
The price is pretty good for a great quality mic and would be perfect for someone wanting to get a great sound out of their voice while still being able to apply it to other instrument recordings. If you are wanting something higher quality than the Samson, this is worth saving for.
Sure is a very well known brand for making microphones. The Sure SM57 and SM58 are two very common microphones in all types of music. The reason is that they simply work and sound great. These mics are very similar, the SM57 which has a much smaller and flat grille was designed for instruments. It is flat to allow it to be placed right up to an amplifier and is specially designed to resonate better for instruments.
It has a cardioid polar pattern rejecting noise from the rear very well. This makes it perfect for recording guitar amp/cabs and snare drums, which is what it is typically used for. However you can point it at almost anything that makes a sound and you will get a good recording. Although the SM57 has been made as an instrument mic, there have been many occasions where it has been used as a vocal mic for example Lamb of God have been seen using an SM57 for live vocals as well as many metal singers.
The Sure SM58 is specifically designed for vocals, it has a rounded grille which also acts as a pop filter to cut out some of those nasty plosives. both microphones are somewhat the same design with different grilles, unlike the Samson CS1 and CS2 they are not interchangeable as they have been make to work especially for each grille. This is a great mic for metal screaming and clean vocals, it has been on hundreds of records in a range of genres so if you do decide to purchase it you will know it is a great mic.
If you can afford it and you are serious about starting to record, it would really be worth saving up and purchasing both the SM57 and the SM58. This will give you a great step towards getting some excellent sounding tracks.