All live vocal microphones are not the same. All singers do not sound the same. Pairing the right singer with the right microphone gives you a better sound from the start. This article focuses on the vocal microphone frequency response aspect and how it affects the sound. I’ve included the frequency response charts from a few live vocal microphones.
A live microphone can have natural warmth. It can have a bright sound. Much of this has to do with the natural frequency response of the microphone.
So what’s a microphone frequency chart / response?
A microphone frequency chart shows how the microphone reacts to the different frequencies of the person’s voice. You will usually see two distinct regions in the chart.
The first is the bass roll-off on the left side of the chart. This helps compensate for the proximity effect.
The second is the presence peak which is closer to the right side. This is a boost in the frequency response between 1250 and 8000 Hz. Boosting these frequencies causes the voice to stand out. It can make the voice clearer/cleaner.
So what is the best frequency response?
If only buying the right microphone were as easy as picking out the qualities you like. But then each singer has their own vocal frequency characteristics and that will result in a different sound depending on the microphone they use. And if that wasn’t enough, what sounds good in one sanctuary might not sound good in another because of room dynamics. WHAT’S A PERSON TO DO?!?
Test, test, and test.
It’s necessary to test a microphone before you decide it’s the right one. Testing a microphone should consist of testing with the singer that would be using that microphone. They should try it by singing with the band (and alone) to songs they usually perform. And test it in the same room as it’s usually used. The easiest way to do all of this is test the microphone during the band’s practice session.
How can I test a microphone before buying?
This is where it helps to have a good rapport with a local audio business. A good rapport will get you the microphone to test before purchasing. Otherwise, you might have to leave your credit card information or do an outright purchase and return for refund if it doesn’t work out.
Here are a few different frequency charts.
Sennheiser e 865
Sennheiser e 845
BlueMic Encore 200
The Next Step
Check out the Vocal Microphone Guide.