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Lets talk Microphones

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lloyd64 24 Aug 00 - 11:09 PM
Lox 24 Aug 00 - 11:11 PM
dusterjim 24 Aug 00 - 11:30 PM
lloyd64 25 Aug 00 - 12:00 AM
dusterjim 25 Aug 00 - 12:49 AM
DougR 25 Aug 00 - 12:59 AM
Seamus Kennedy 25 Aug 00 - 01:27 AM
Whistle Stop 25 Aug 00 - 08:20 AM
bigchuck 25 Aug 00 - 09:02 AM
Midchuck 25 Aug 00 - 09:33 AM
John in Brisbane 25 Aug 00 - 09:42 AM
Jim Krause 25 Aug 00 - 03:30 PM
Naemanson 25 Aug 00 - 03:50 PM
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Subject: Lets talk Microphones
From: lloyd64
Date: 24 Aug 00 - 11:09 PM

Lets talk Microphones

Last week end I saw the Osborne Brothers in concert. They had a single Microphone for the entire band. The mixing was performed by the band moving in toward the microphone then backing away. I could not believe my eyes, no instrument pickups and no vocal mikes, only one 180 or 360 Mike in the middle of the group, and the sound was great. Does anyone know the name of such a mike?

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Subject: RE: Lets talk Microphones
From: Lox
Date: 24 Aug 00 - 11:11 PM

Sounds expensive!

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Subject: RE: Lets talk Microphones
From: dusterjim
Date: 24 Aug 00 - 11:30 PM

audio technica (spelling?) makes a model 4050 that I really like (but can't afford at this time). It runs about $600-$700. The group that I'm with has a stereo condenser mic made by Sony that picks up the whole band that we got for about $300. Works good

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Subject: RE: Lets talk Microphones
From: lloyd64
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 12:00 AM

I'm working with a new Bluegrass band as a Business Manager. When I cost out a sound system with five pickup mikes and five vocal mikes a 180 mike may not be out of line. The down side is the mixing on the stage, that may be a problem. Mixing on the boards may make more sense.

I'm not sure which would be the best option.


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Subject: RE: Lets talk Microphones
From: dusterjim
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 12:49 AM

If your doing any recording, it's best to go through a board and several mics that way you have more options for editing (and a whole lot easier too). But if it is just for a preformance a single mic can be good.

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Subject: RE: Lets talk Microphones
From: DougR
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 12:59 AM

Lloyd62: I don't know if you are aware of it or not, but several weeks ago there was a very detailed discussion on a thread devoted to microphones. I'm sure you could find it in the database.


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Subject: RE: Lets talk Microphones
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 01:27 AM

Lloyd, that's the way the old bluegrass bands did it. I saw the Country Gentlemen and Ralph Stanley (with Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley) back in the early 70's, and they all did it round one mic. The choreography alone was worth the price of admission, with each player stepping forward when it was time for his solo, stepping back when it was done and then the whole band taking a step forward again for the vocals. Then the process was repeated for the next instrumental break. Now, each musician has his own mic(s). The music's great, but they're no fun to watch. The possibility of the banjo-player having his eye put out by the retreating mandolin-player doesn't exist any more. All the best

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Subject: RE: Lets talk Microphones
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 08:20 AM

I have the Audio Technica 4050 that someone else mentioned. It's a good microphone, and offers the choise of cardioid, omni, and figure-eight pickup patterns. I use it mainly for recording.

To do the "one mic" routine, you need an omnidirectional pickup pattern. Generally a condenser mic will be best, on a shockmount so you don't pick up the rumble of all those moving feet as people move in and out of the microphone's range. You should be aware that the sound man has essentially NO control in this setup, and that the mic is likely to pick up some ambient noise that nobody will be able to do anything about. I suspect that in a lot of venues it would be impractical.

A lot (most) of the old bluegrass bands used this approach until the venues began to get bigger and we all got more technically sophisticated back in the late 60's. Steve Earle and the Del McCoury band have gone back to this setup recently in some of their shows; my guess is that the "retro" aspect is part of the appeal. I understand they found the choreography to be quite a challenge initially -- six guys holding instruments with long necks, constantly jockeying for position and trying to avoid bumping into each other. Don't know how the sonic blend works out; all of us have higher expectations regarding sound than we used to a few decades ago. I'll bet it's fun to watch, though.

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Subject: RE: Lets talk Microphones
From: bigchuck
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 09:02 AM

We (Woodchucks' Revenge) have been experimenting with a similar set-up. We've been using an AKG C3000 (Large Diaphragm condenser)at face height and an AKG C1000 at guitar height, standing in a semicircle aroud them. In the right setting they provide an excellent, warm, and very transparent sound. Some cautions: You can't use much monitoring or run very high sound levels; you need phantom power; they need to be eq'd differently. We've been using them in indoor small venue settings and I am very pleased with the results so far. YMMV, of course, and they are not cheap, although these two mikes are not unaffordable.

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Subject: RE: Lets talk Microphones
From: Midchuck
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 09:33 AM

...but wearing eye protection is advisable if there's a fiddler in the group; especially if the fiddler is the shortest person.


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Subject: RE: Lets talk Microphones
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 09:42 AM

This is a great subject for any group with a good selection of vocalists and mostly string instruments. If you can get your balance right without any PA then there's no reason why a two mic setup can't work on stage. To start with you don't need super expensive mics, just any of the standard pro mics discussed in the other threads. They should be cardioid in pattern and without getting into too much theory each mic should be angled at least 90 degrees away from each other to avoid muddying phase cancellation effects. (point the vocal mic up 45 degress from horizontal and the instrument mic pointing towards the floor at about 45 degrees. That way you'll minimse the pickup of signal from both mics simultaneously. You may need to elevate the non vocal mic above where you'd normally place it to achieve this.)

Apart from looking good you'll avoid having your performance stuffed by a soundman unfamiliar with your arrangements, but best of all it forces everyone in the group to really listen and concentrate on stage. In my experience it makes for a much tighter cohesive sound - and it's lots of fun. I've always wanted to own one of those period looking mics from the 30's that big bands used to have, just to enhance the visual effect.

Agree with BigChuck's sentiments, but would also add that with this arrangement you can minimise the need for foldback or maybe even eliminate it completely if the venue isn't too noisy.

Regards, John

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Subject: RE: Lets talk Microphones
From: Jim Krause
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 03:30 PM

I haven't seen the Osborns in years. The Euphoria Stringbnad uses a Rode NT1. The trick is to eliminate the stage monitors altogether. Once you get used to playing with one microphone, and used to working the mic, you could get really spoiled. I like it very much.

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Subject: RE: Lets talk Microphones
From: Naemanson
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 03:50 PM

Back in January we had a bluegrass band at the Side Door Coffeehouse. They used one of these mikes which they situated in the center of the front edge of the stage. I have to say I didn't like it. The sound was mushy and the singers' voices got lost in the mish mash of sound. It may have been the mike or it may have been that they didn't know how to use it but either way I was not impressed.

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