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Why I love the Shure KSM9

When I started working for Iron & Wine a few years ago I needed to get a microphone to help me with such a quiet singer.  I would always see the Neumann KMS105 when fancy singers were on TV so I decided to get one and try it out.  I worked wonders for the sound of his voice, but we had to stop using it because of the bleed.  The spill from our drummer 15 feet behind him would be so loud it would distort his in-ear monitors and if he moved his head from the mic it devolved into a really terrible sounding drum mic.  I started using the Neumann only when we were doing solo theater shows.  One nice thing about that was I never had to add any reverb to his voice or any ambient mics for the recordings because that mic would pick up so much of the theater we were in already.

The next year we picked up a KSM9 for the Swell Season, and I really loved the sound of it.  So much more of a studio vocal tone than a “live” sound.  Glenn sings very loud so the issue of bleed never came up.  When Pavement asked me to do monitors for them, I jumped at the chance to try the KSM9 now that I could be on the other side of the snake.  This microphone made my job so easy all year, I couldn’t believe it.  If you use the KSM9 with any “modern”* wedge you will have an easy time getting loud and clear vocals.  Our Belgian tech described the KSM9 as “a microphone for a woman”, but I think you could only say that after a lifetime of only hearing dynamic vocal mics. Though it is the only vocal mic where I’ve had feedback at 12k!

If you need a new mic for your singer, give this a try and I’d be surprised if you didn’t love it after your first sound check.

* The D&B M2’s needed almost no EQing and were very, very loud.  (Not “proprietary wedges”, the phrase on any tech rider that gives me chills.  Most of the time they work out, but 1 out of 10 times the “proprietary wedges” are so weird and unwieldy you could get fired no matter what mic you use.)

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