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jochicago
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121 posts since 25 Feb, 2018

Postby jochicago; Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:28 pm Mic choice: SM86, your thoughts

www.shure.com/americas/products/microph ... microphone

What's up with this mic? I don't see a lot of people talking about it our using it. The few reviews I've seen speak highly of it.

It is a vocal cardioid condenser meant as an upgrade to a sm58. The audio is much more detailed with better highs. It clearly looks like they meant it for live performances, but Shure themselves say they also recommended it for studio work.

I like the idea of a condenser mic designed to enhance vocal performances. I'm setting up my recording rig and currently working with a Behringer Xm8500 (sm58 copycat) while deciding on a condenser, and of the ones I've seen online I haven't been drawn to any (maybe the Blue Bluebird).

So, any thoughts on the sm86? Am I crazy to think this $179 mic is good enough for studio vocals? I think that as a newbie it could be useful to get a condenser designed for the stage, as it will reject room noise better (meaning my recordings will come out cleaner even with limited gear and know-how).

All thoughts welcome.
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BertKoor
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10555 posts since 8 Mar, 2005, from Utrecht, Holland

Postby BertKoor; Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:07 am Re: Mic choice: SM86, your thoughts

It's a condenser allright, but not a large diaphragm condenser. You'll get some more highs than with a SM58, but both have a cardioid pattern.

BTW, did you know that the SM58 originally was designed for studio work? That's what SM stands for: Studio Microphone.
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jochicago
KVRist
 
121 posts since 25 Feb, 2018

Postby jochicago; Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:53 am Re: Mic choice: SM86, your thoughts

Here's some video. I'm pretty sure Jason Mraz (and all bg vocals) are on a SM86:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKJZQ7dbu14
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUCkkpYcn_g

The question is does he sound good enough to use on a studio version?

Odd thing I noticed: looks like he has a hard time finding male performers for his band ;D
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BertKoor
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10555 posts since 8 Mar, 2005, from Utrecht, Holland

Postby BertKoor; Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:46 am Re: Mic choice: SM86, your thoughts

What do you think, how does it sound? Mweh, acceptable, or actually pretty decent? How do you think your Behringer clone compares to the original?

FWIW, lots of artists swear by the humble SM58 or Beta 58A:
It [the SM58] was used by Michael Jackson when recording the lead vocals for the song "Billie Jean."


Bottom line: it's not the mike that makes it a brilliant recording. If you have doubts about it, you really should try out some models for yourself which one best suits your voice and recording style. Find a shop with no-questions-asked return policy, and give yourself a week to try it out. They all have positive and negative aspects...
We are the KVR collective. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. Image
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jochicago
KVRist
 
121 posts since 25 Feb, 2018

Postby jochicago; Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:57 am Re: Mic choice: SM86, your thoughts

Thank you for your opinion. The mic is not just for me. I'd like to be able to record vocals from a couple of people in my circle. So I'm looking for a condenser that 'just works' for most voice types, and in a home studio setting meaning that hopefully the mic is a bit forgiving of a less-than-ideal setup. I'm looking at Shure stuff because those mics are known to be best suited for a wide range of voices (and the stage mics play nice in most scenarios). Obviously the next step up would be an SM7b.

With the SM86, I do like the tonal characteristics and the quality of detail, and I like that it is a rugged mic. I'm not sure if an SM7b will sound much better.

I see a lot of people gravitate towards the SM7b. I guess what I'm asking is if that's truly warranted or just a cultural thing. For instance, I play guitar, and people gravitate towards Fender for the brand, when it is not a particularly better instrument than a higher-end Squier.

Sometimes people just want to keep it simple and go for what's obvious, so your average mic closet is going to have some typical SM58, 57 and an SM7b, probably glossing over the SM86 and 87s altogether. I'm wondering if that's just a cultural thing 'cause the mics are better known, of if there truly is a wide gap in quality between the SM86 and the SM7b and that's why you'd want to keep a utility SM58 but record most vocals with an SM7b and look at nothing else below the $400 mark. And from there basically the next level up is going straight for a U87 :D

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