What Microphone Did Beck Use On Saturday Night Live?
When Beck sang "Wave" on SNL (Mar 1st, 2014), he did something unusual. He sang into a large diaphragm condenser (LDC) microphone for a live performance.
These mics are typically used only for recording - usually vocals. Singers usually use dynamic microphones for performing live, as Beck did on his first song, "Blue Moon," a Heil Sound PR 35.
But on "Wave," Beck sang into a large diaphragm condenser tube microphone called the Telefunken U47/U48, which is a fabulous microphone, used in the studio by some of the greatest acts of all time such as The Beatles and Frank Sinatra, just to name a few.
The main reason that large diaphragm condenser mics are normally only used in the studio is that they are incredibly sensitive, not only in how they pick up sound, but also in how stage-rugged they are not.
That last point is significant because this microphone is quite a bit more expensive than typical live dynamic mics like the Heil. You do sometimes see them used in the movies or music videos because they look cool. But for actual live performance, it is most definitely NOT normal to see this.
To find out more about this famous and awesome microphone - or to purchase one of your own - CLICK HERE
Was the mix weird on Beck's performance or was it just me? The vocals seemed really hollow and thin, as was the entire mix. Now, it might be due to the fact that I missed the NBC airing on Saturday and had to catch it on Hulu Plus. It seemed like the entire show had AWFUL sound. Is that just a normal thing for HULU? I usually never use that service. The sound, especially in the Beck performance, just really caught my ear and made me wonder what was the problem. It honestly almost sounded like Beck's mic was turned off and the ambient noise was being picked up by a cheap condenser.
Mixes on SNL are often a bit off. I don't think the monitoring situation there is ideal. But this time it sounded OK to me. Maybe it was Hulu?
The vocals on the album, and especially "Wave", have a pretty healthy dose of reverb, and on "Wave" have a thinness to them as well. I thought Beck's mix was one of the better SNL mixes this year. Overall I don't typically care for their mixes at all. A few have been downright terrible.
Also, Ken, I am pretty sure that the mic used in Beck's first performance (and the standard house vocal mic for SNL performances) is a Neumann KSM 104/105, not the Heil.
Thanks Warren. You may be right about the first performance mic. But I know I saw a Heil label in the set-up. I just couldn't go back to it on my DVR. I'll try to find a video on-line.