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Monthly Archives: July 2012

The “Nancy” Sound

July 7th, 2012 by Andrew

Nancy Sinatra

Capturing Nancy’s captivating timbre requires great care. Her passion for creating timeless music entails diligent attention to sonic details. With regard to the painstaking but fascinating process which ensures that her distinctive vocals are faithfully reproduced on her recordings, Nancy identifies the key elements:

“The Nancy sound is a struggle to achieve. It involves the right mic, the right analog equipment […], the right sort of reverb (that’s really difficult) and the right vocals, of course.”


Nancy Sinatra

It is fitting that Nancy, a trailblazing artist, prefers to record her vocals using the Neumann M-49, a groundbreaking microphone. Manufactured between 1951 and 1974, the M-49 was the first remote-switchable condenser microphone. Neumann’s company history describes the innovation:

“[…] one microphone diaphragm was fixed in the opposite direction to the centre electrode while the other one received a capsule bias which could be varied via a potentiometer.

 “This made it possible to switch the characteristic smoothly from omnidirectional, via cardioid, to figure of eight.”

Nancy shares this insight into her own history with the Neumann M-49:

“This M-49 was a big investment I made when the owner of Sonora Recordings was selling it. It’s the mic I have used for decades for my records and I’m so glad to have it to call my own. I still think it’s the best microphone ever made – for my voice anyway.” 

“When I use a different mic I don’t sound like me. Of course I have no idea why it’s great but I do know the wiring or workings inside are very intricate.”

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