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Thread: Frank's microphones

  1. #41
    Chuck Granata's Avatar
    Chuck Granata is offline Platinum Member
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    Frenchy is correct: the best thing to do is get yourself into a decent studio with a nice complement of microphones (newer and vintage), and have the engineer record your voice with a range of mikes to determine which suits your voice best. It's a technique that many engineers and producers - including Phil Ramone - still use when they begin working with a vocalist.

    Using the proximity effect to accentuate the bass is a great technique for rap music, but just doesn't cut it on standard or jazz-style vocals. The voice needs some air around it; the quality of vocal reproduction is a combination of so many things, and one of them is room tone or the sound of the voice within the studio it's in.

    Even the specific characteristics of Sinatra's voice from the Columbia or Capitol era would be impossible to reproduce exactly today, because the amplification and recording chain played a huge role in the tonal quality of his voice on record. The tube preamps and amps, analog recorders, and the specific microphones all affected how his voice translated to disc and tape. Phil Ramone recently told me that once he found a microphone that worked for Paul Simon, Billy Joel, or any other artist he worked with consistently, that mic went out of circulaton - he only used it for that artist. He was loathe to send it out for repair or cleaning, because it would inevitably come back with a different coloration. The fine mist emitted by a vocalist coats the microphone capsule, and once that's removed, it changes the sound.

    I'm heartened by the fact that younger vocalists are seeking to record "old skool," and that they're actively seeking out vintage equipment and techniques. It's so easy to rely on digital effects and enhancements today, and that's really the opposite of how the records of Frank's era were made...

    Good luck!
    BONX!

  2. #42
    JamesDeFrances's Avatar
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    Chuck, your most recent post about microphones (the one above this) makes a lot of sense. It seems that "one of a kind" wasn't so far fetched when dealing with analog equipment of years gone by. All too often someone with a good voice is mic'd wrong, and with a little research it could apparently all be avoided.
    James DeFrances

  3. #43
    Jeffrey Simmons's Avatar
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    Fascinating stuff!

    I remember watching Frank very closely at concerts and his microphone technique - sometimes he would put that microphone at arm's length from his mouth and other times right up close - he was a master at work always!
    JEFFREY

  4. #44
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    Microphones Frank used

    Does anyone know which kind of microphones Frank used in his career? I mean in the Columbia sessions, in the Capitol sessions, in the Reprise sessions and in his live performance? Thanks a lot
    How did all these people get in my room?

  5. #45
    mlutthans's Avatar
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    Mics frank used on stage

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesDeFrances View Post
    I put a picture together in Photoshop from pictures I have of Frank performing and I just cut out the microphones, there are 14 mikes altogether. These are pretty much the main ones he used between the late 60's and the '90s. If anybody wants to see who can name the most, go for it!!! Because I sure can't
    James, in your photo (re-inserted here), the mics appear to be:

    1. I can't tell!
    2. Shure SM58
    3. Shure SM54
    4. Shure SM58
    5. Shure SM58, I think, but it appears to have a gold tone. Could be the lighting; could be a custom finish. Also, the popscreen looks a little extra metal-ish to me, not quite the usual SM58 version. Maybe an older Shure Unidyne model, like the 585?
    6. I can't tell
    7. Electro-Voice RE16
    8. Shure wireless SM86 or Beta 87, hard to tell which
    9. Shure SM58
    10. Same as #8 above, but corded version, not wireless. If that's a blue stripe around the popscreen, it's a "beta" model.
    11. Sennheiser MD431
    12. Is that a windscreen on the mic? My guess is SM58, but hard to tell.
    13.A little unclear. Looks a little like an E-V RE50, but the RE50 is an omnidirectional mic, which probably puts it out of the running. I'm guessing it's a blurry shot of an RE10 or RE15.
    14. This looks to me like the shaft is cylindrical, not tapered, so I don't think it's an SM58. Maybe an AKG D-24?

    Most of these should be accompanied by the tagline "or similar." If you look through, say, a Shure or Audio-Technica mic catalog, you will see that they may offer several mics that look virtually identical. Also, how many manufacturers have made SM58 look-alikes? Lots of them. It's definitely the "classic" onstage mic of the last 40 years, and even Shure has made several mics that could easily be mistaken for an SM58.

    --Matt


  6. #46
    Alfred's Avatar
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    Frank also used a AKG C-535
    Could be Picture 14
    Here you can find a better picture and a few word about in german (AKG is frim Vinna - today they belong to Harmann Kardon).
    It says, Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand used it, and Julia Iglesias still does

    http://www.musik-service.de/Mikrofon...5356608de.aspx
    Best regards from Vienna/Austria - and don't forget: It's Franks world ...

  7. #47
    Alfred's Avatar
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    from the mid 80's Frank mostly used AKG-Microphones.

    In the earlier Captol-Time Frank used the legendary Neumann U47 condenser Micro.
    Best regards from Vienna/Austria - and don't forget: It's Franks world ...

  8. #48
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    Live recording mics

    Quote Originally Posted by Alfred View Post
    from the mid 80's Frank mostly used AKG-Microphones.

    In the earlier Captol-Time Frank used the legendary Neumann U47 condenser Micro.
    In the studio, that may be true. Discussion here is on in-concert use (I think), and based on the photos, Shure wins the day in most cases, with some definite exceptions.

    Matt

  9. #49
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    You guys got it! Finally somebody decodes the microphone puzzle!

    I am going to purchase some of those microphones to use during my performances...I mean if they were good enough for Frank then..they must be excellent. I have a wired SM58 and a wireless beta 58...great microphones, but they have a very plain look. I also have an EV RE16 and a few different Sennheiser models...and recently I purchased the Sony microphone that Bob Barker used on The Price is Right and Gene Rayburn on The Match Game...I haven't tried singing into it yet!
    James DeFrances

  10. #50
    ToddGordon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesDeFrances View Post
    I am going to purchase some of those microphones to use during my performances...
    Another one to consider, James, is the Neumann KMS-105 although I suspect it came into production after FS had stopped performing. It's the mic that seems to be favored by Harry Connick Jr, Bryan Adams, Madeleine Peyroux and Norah Jones (who uses the similar KMS-104).

    Michael Bublé, I believe, opts for the Shure Beta 87C.

    My preference is definitely the KMS-105. But good luck with your search for the one that suits you best!

    * NJ

  11. #51
    MMM's Avatar
    MMM
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    Make sure it sounds good with your voice, and how you typically hold/use it.

  12. #52
    Nick in Toronto's Avatar
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    Potential buyers should recall the difficulty that Nancy had during the early days of Nancy for Frank.
    NICK
    Old School Teacher

  13. #53
    mlutthans's Avatar
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    I say this with no wisp of humor intended:

    If you are a male and if you work close to the mic, you will never hear a better sounding live vocal mic than the long-out-of-manufacture Electro-Voice 655c. I own three of them, including one that is new in the box (and not for sale). What makes this mic special? You know that exaggerated, overly-bassy "Hey, I'm on FM radio" sound that so many mics produce? That's because they are directional mics and suffer from "proximity effect:" the closer you work to the mic, the more boomy and exaggerated the low frequencies become. The 655c is omnidirectional and thereby has no proximity effect. It has flat bass response down to 45Hz or lower, and (unlike directional mics) the response is not artificial or exaggerated, but very pure. It was later replaced by the Electro-Voice RE-55, also an excellent dynamic omni mic, but there's something very special about the 655c, which was manufactured from, IIRC, about 1956 to 1967 or so. If you are more of a "distant worker," this is not a great choice for live PA work, as the propensity to feedback increases with distance, but for typical hand-held or close mic-stand work, they are like audio butter. You will not be disappointed.

    More info here: http://www.coutant.org/655c/index.html

    There are many photos of Frank using one of these, including these two:




  14. #54
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    Over the past year I have acquired a few SM54 microphones...one is in brand new condition. Here is a photo of me using the 54.

    James DeFrances

  15. #55
    JamesDeFrances's Avatar
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    still haven't figured out which microphone this is...does anyone know the make and model?

    James DeFrances

  16. #56
    Bret's Avatar
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    nice pic of you singing James!

  17. #57
    irene soggia's Avatar
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    Microphone as new "instrument" music!

    I do not understand the technical things about singing.
    But I see and hear recordings of Frank from many, many, many years.

    Frank used the microphone as a tool to not only enhance the expressiveness of her voice, from sublime singer, but also to give more emotion to the "word" that he was singing. So he approached the microphone to his mouth when he wanted to be more intimate and convey emotion directly to "you".
    When Away the microphone his mouth when the words were addressed to " all every body in the room " .This image is emblematic of what I want to express.


  18. #58
    JamesDeFrances's Avatar
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    bump
    James DeFrances

  19. #59
    irene soggia's Avatar
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    Thanks, James !! ...all the way...

  20. #60
    JimTavegia's Avatar
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    You might want to try a new Sennheiser 835 and 845 as I find them slightly smoother than the '58. The 835 is $99 most places and has the same neodymium magnet found in the Beta series for less. It also seems to have a freq curve closer to the '57. Keep in mind that I'm sure Frank used some of the best mic preamps of the day and were probably tube based, giving a nice, full, warm sound with just about any mic. I'll bet there was a quality dresser and compressor in the chain as well. About 1.2 to 1 of compression is nice on a vocal. In my practice studio I use a Rode NT-1a which is very quiet and with some eq can sound how ever you want. I also use a pair of these to record my University ensemble recordings in ORTF.
    Jim Tavegia

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