Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Learning to Sing - Testing Frank Sinatra's Microphone

It is  strange to say that I'm just now learning to sing after singing so much for so many years, but I've never been satisfied with my voice and I'd like to make it better, so I've tried various lessons. Tonight I had a breakthrough with an instructional DVD I purchased. I finally found a simple breath control exercise that made a big difference:

Keep the sternum up the chest open and don't let the ribs collapse at all as you sing.
That's it! I could hit notes easier, my tone was better, I wasn't running out of air, and there was more natural vibrato just  from doing that one simple thing.

I'll be posting more music a bit less strange news on the blog this year as I work on my goal of getting every song I've ever written finalized and recorded.  I have 50 or so.

Here is another reason I want to do the best I can with my voice lessons:

In a few days I get to test a special microphone in my home studio, that  modified Neumann U87 mic once owned by Pat Benatar, which Frank Sinatra sang on.   Things I'm finding on line say Frank mostly used a U47, and The Beatles used a U48 --same as the U47 but with different pick up patterns.

The U47 came out in 1949, the U87 in 1967, and the U87 Ai in 1986.

Sinatra recorded from March 18, 1939 to 1993 when he was 78 years old, so it seems likely that he would have recorded on a few U87 mics before leaving the world in 1998.

Will I sound any better with this $9,000 mic (and a top quality pre-amp and A/D converter) compared to my el-cheapo trusty $200 AT-3035?

I can't wait to find out. For other musicians and anyone curious, I plan to post sound samples from the microphone "shoot out" so you can be the judge. All of my songs in the box to your left were recorded using the AT-3035.


Mirlen101 said...

There are so many things that control recording output. A microphone is just one link in the chain .Hearing what you are singing when you are singing it is at least as important . But like any art form it is your own confidence and determination that matters most ! Not the equipment . Even a person with poor equipment and a terrible gravely voice can produce some of the best music . Look at all the great blues singers who had nothing ! Went on to become some of the best singers and musicians ever . One of the best guitarists of all time had only two working fingers on the fret hand the other hand was badly battered ! Heart and soul are the most important pieces of equipment in any art form !

Michael B. said...

When you say 50 songs, do you 50 that you've recorded already? Because I am pretty sure you have written ( or at least co-written) hundreds and hundreds of songs. Because you are a genius and stuff.

Xeno said...

About 50 I haven't forgotten ...