Boost EQ or Use a Different Vocal Mic: June 2017 Subscriber Question of the Month

Shure Notes® email newsletter subscribers submit their burning audio questions every month. This month, we explore solutions for great vocals that don’t quite cut through the mix.

Fred from Maiden Rock, WI, asked:

I work with a great female vocalist whose voice just doesn’t quite cut through the mix. I use an SM58® with her. Should I experiment with EQ, or would a different mic make more sense?

Justin from Shure Product Support answered:

You certainly could try to EQ the vocal channel for some more “cut” before experimenting with different mics. Maybe start by boosting it at 3 KHz or somewhere in that region.

If you’re interested in experimenting with different microphone options, the dynamic supercardioid BETA 58A® has a brighter sound than the SM58, which might help your situation. Additionally, I often hear that condenser mics, particularly the SM86 and BETA®87C, are great for female vocalists, so those might be worth a try.

We have a helpful tool on our website called the Mic Listening Lab that allows you to hear the same vocal sample recorded with various mics. This tool is especially useful if you are unable to compare in person the mics you’re considering. Visit the Lab to hear how a female vocalist sounds on each of those three microphones.

On a related note, Sound on Sound published the chart below in October 2012. It correlates subjective audio quality descriptions with frequency ranges.

Chart That Explains Subjective Descriptions of Audio

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Allison Wolcott

Allison Wolcott

Allison Wolcott started singing at Shure and now sings wherever they'll let her. She wishes she were Brandi Carlile, Neko Case, and Johnny Cash all rolled up in a voice box. Her favorite mic is the BETA®87A. Interviews with product developers and general Shure news are her beat.

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