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Old 03-10-2011, 11:41 PM
dantuts dantuts is offline
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Default Condenser Mic for Live acoustic gig

hi people

just want to know if anyone here use condenser mics aside from pickups during gigs? can you suggest any ?

i've tried playing thru a Samson C2 stick condenser plugged into Marshall acoustic amp , also used my acoustics undersaddle pickup. it worked well although there's an occasional feedbacks and the mic seems to picks up ambient and background noise..

i was in awe when i watched a Dixie Chicks live DVD. and saw all the stringed instruments where mic'ed with LD and stick condensers. it was clean and "natural" .. been trying to replicate that kinda of setup

any tips and tricks will be very much appreciated.

thanks :-)
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Last edited by dantuts; 03-10-2011 at 11:42 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old 03-11-2011, 06:42 AM
m-thirty-great m-thirty-great is offline
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I have used a condeser mic for my acoustic and resonator guitars ever since I began gigging. I do not use pickups. I use a Shure PG81. It is not the most sensitive condenser mic, but it sounds really good live and resists feedback well. There are lots of condenser mics out there to choose from. I would say that the important things are to get a mic that will meet your specific needs/application, learn how to set up your equipment in such a way as to acheive maximum gain before feedback in various situations, and learn how to use your EQ effectively. Perhaps you know much of this already? If so, I apologize. Hope this helps.
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:33 AM
Acoustic Dano Acoustic Dano is offline
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+1 on the PG81!
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:53 AM
Bob1131 Bob1131 is offline
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Choosing the "best" mic depends on how and where it will be used, but there are some general considerations that can help you narrow your search. Condenser mics are generally higher output than dynamic mics, so feedback can be a problem depending on the room and the polar (pick-up) pattern of the mic. For live use in multiple locations, you will probably be best advised to look at mics with a narrow pickup (polar) pattern because they offer the most off-axis rejection and thus have the lowest feedback potential.

Potential feedback increases as the polar pattern widens, so feedback rejection from greatest to lowest is as follows: shot gun > super cardioid > hyper cardioid > cardioid > figure 8 > omni. A shot-gun pattern is very narrow and an omni is very wide. A shot-gun mic is usually too narrow for consistent results (any movement of your body will impact the volume as you move in and out of the pickup zone), so super cardioid and hyper cardioid patterns seem to offer the best combination of feedback resistance and practical use.

The next consideration is tone. Just as all guitars don't sound the same, mics will impart some amount of sound coloring...some will impart more than others. So, it is important to test mics with your voice and guitar to find the ones that most accurately capture your sound, or at least will flatter or improve your sound. Yes, some will actually make you sound worse!!! Of course, as posted by m-thirty-great, EQ'ing can compensate for some of the mic's characteristics, but if you can get the best for your sound to start with you will be way ahead!!

Another consideration will be reliability. Some condenser mics are extremely sensitive and fragile, not all, but some can be. Typically, dynamic mics are more rugged than condensers, so it is no surprise that they are used more in field and live applications than their condenser counterparts. However, many condenser mics are built well and have proven to be robust enough for the rigors of live performance application. Do your research!!!

I hope this helps...I'm sure someone will offer a differing opinion, but the above should at least give you some direction.
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Old 03-11-2011, 11:05 AM
Acoustic Dano Acoustic Dano is offline
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Let's not forget throwing phantom power into the mix.
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Old 03-11-2011, 11:14 AM
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There was just a pretty big thread on this:

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=206837

I think lots of mics can work, but it depends on your situation, sound system, etc. Here's Eric Skye using an AKG mic, along with a K&K in a performance last weekend. This sounded great in person.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZC5uHqjY9QM

I often use a DPA 4099, clips to my guitar, and it also works very well, but I also generally use a pickup along with it. You can blend to taste, and as feedback issues and so on allow.

When you start listening to things like the Dixie Chicks on a DVD, keep in mind how much major money and sound engineering talent went into getting that sound. You with a combo amp in a small club or coffee house are not really dealing with the same set of tools.
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Old 03-11-2011, 11:17 AM
corbetta corbetta is offline
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I've been using a LineAudio CM3 mounted on the guitar via a H-Clamp, and I love it. It even worked fine in a "gig-from-hell" situation—hotel hallway buffet with 200+ chatty people, I could hear them through my amp, but I was able to provide background music without feedback).

On a dedicated stage and solo it's just stellar. It runs fine off the 18v of my Headway, which also offers me a 5 band eq and notch filter. I'm adding a DTAR equinox to the mix soon to help with further feedback control, but I think it might be overkill.

I've never been happier with my acoustic tone. If you play solo, to me, it's the way to go. Might add back a contact pickup (Ehrlund?) for future gig-from-hell situations, but as I said the mic got me through it fine this time.
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Old 03-12-2011, 03:41 AM
dantuts dantuts is offline
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sorry for the late reply....im reading them now. will comment after :-)
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Old 03-12-2011, 04:58 AM
pieterh pieterh is offline
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Questions re mikes - or at least the answers - should always take into consideration budget! We use a pair of Samson C2s sometimes as drum overhead mikes but as we have a decent selection of different mikes for stage use they tend to get forgotten now!

I agree with Doug Young re the DPA 4099. We're big fans of their mikes generally though when we get one it's not our money paying but the theatre budget! We have a matched pair for the Grand Piano but I bought additional clips for acoustic guitar, violin and Sax.

What can I say - my new benchmark for a great mike is it sounding great with a flat eq (apart from maybe highpass/low cut). I actually find the 4099 fairly feedback resistant too, though no microphone is going to be 100% feedback free - this is where stage discipline and experience comes into play. It could be that the placement of the amp needs looking at - if the amp is used to amplify the guitar out to the audience then maybe it could sit to one side of you facingoutwards.

If the guitar is getting feedback from the PA then either the player's position or front of house speaker placement needs to be reconsidered - or even just needs to be turned down! A decent eq on the FOH sound could help too though at the risk of the overall sound balance for the audience...

If the feedback is monitors then the 4099 is a great solution because it follows the guitar - if you get feedback via the monitors then back off from the speakers or get the level turned down. If you have a competent engineer (and the gear allows it) try to isolate the offending frequencies and then notch them out.

My other favourite mikes for acoustic guitar are the AKG C535 and the AKG C414, the latter being large diaphragm. They're not that cheap either though really worth the cost - the C535 has a slide switch allowing for no cut, low cut, general signal pad, and pad with low cut. The 414s have a similar cut switch plus selectable polar pattern and work great for eg Bluegrass gigs and so on, but less practical for loud rock gigs (though they too make great overhead mikes).
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pieterh View Post
.....
My other favourite mikes for acoustic guitar are the AKG C535 and the AKG C414, the latter being large diaphragm. They're not that cheap either though really worth the cost - ....
I know Doug posted a vid of me playing Porkpie from last Saturday, which was the first tune I played, and has quite a bit more K&K (a pickup I really like a lot) in the mix. This one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwoT3XxsM1M is just about the last thing I played, and you can hear that our sound person starting using a lot more of the mic as the night went own. That was the AKG 214 that I brought to the gig. The 214 is very closely based on the 414, but with no bells and whistles at all, just one pattern, etc. Doug was using the DPA 4099 at one point that night. That was first I'd see and heard the DPA in person, and I was very very impressed.
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:13 AM
LiveMusic LiveMusic is offline
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I sure wish I could find a mic solution instead of using internal pickups. Since I use several guitars at a gig, especially. It would be SO much easier to just grab a guitar and play. I have a DPA 4099 but you do have to clamp it on to the guitar, so, that takes time. A condenser mic would be far easier. They used to do it like this in the old days, seems somebody would've invented some new stuff to do it this way. More natural sound, for sure. Although, I just bought a Gibson Jackson Brown Model A guitar and it has the Trance Amulet system in it and JB sounds great. I look forward to trying it next week when I get my guitar. But, that does not solve the problem of using multiple guitars.
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by LiveMusic View Post
I sure wish I could find a mic solution instead of using internal pickups. Since I use several guitars at a gig, especially. It would be SO much easier to just grab a guitar and play. I have a DPA 4099 but you do have to clamp it on to the guitar, so, that takes time. A condenser mic would be far easier. They used to do it like this in the old days, seems somebody would've invented some new stuff to do it this way.
I'm not real sure what you're hoping for. You can certainly put a mic on a stand in front of you, that's what Eric's videos show, and it works great in the right situations. There are also internal mics that act more like a pickup, ergonomically, like the Miniflex 2Mic or any number of other internal guitar mics.

You have something else in mind?
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:58 AM
alohachris alohachris is offline
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Default Wow! That Was Great Eric! - Some MIC thoughts for Dantuts

Aloha,

Thanks Doug & Eric for sharing those clips of excellent acoustic guitar performances using mic/pickup combo's. Great interpretations, Eric! Wish I coulda been there.

Dantuts:

RE: Live Mic's. I always feel you need some guitar mic in a LIVE mix to make it sound acoustic. Before pickups came along in the late 70's, acoustic musicians HAD to use mic's for gigs. Sure it was tough in some rooms, but it also taught us how to work a mic live & to quickly assess how to use a mic in a problem room. I'd rather use a mic alone anytime - if the venue will allow you to pull it off (most don't).

Now, with all the choices available today of multi-source pickup systems & great EQ & pre's/mixers/DI's, you can use different sources for different frequencies, & blend, pan & sum them. Using a combo instead of just a mic alone works better for many players, me among them, for getting heard in & being able to control many rooms. I mean, let's face it, the people at Eric & Doug's concert type gig are there for the music & are more respectful. In a world of cellphones, most of us play in terrible rooms, & too often for less than respectful audiences.

For example, using the parametric EQ on an SPS-1 preamp, I use the pickup for a bit of lower mid presence & the round bass (farther back in the mix) while using the mic for upper mid's & more natural trebles. Then I blend & sum them for the room, But the only way to achieve that in a variety of rooms is to use GREAT EQ (don't scrimp here - especially if you're into live mic's).

The key to using a mic live is control & placement. You achieve it through great EQ, creative speaker/monitor placement & awareness of the needs of a given venue. Armed with that equipment & experience, you can make many mic's work almost anywhere.

After decades of using many mic/pickup combo's & mic's alone, I now use a K&K mini pickup/AKG internal hypercardioid mic combo in my three gigging guitars. I also add a JW-modded AKG 460 cardioid condenser external mic live sometimes at quieter gigs (a great mic, succeeded by the 480). Very natural acoustic sound.

Other guitar mics I've used live & recommend are:

External mic's

AKG 535 (vocals or guitar)
AKG 414 L/D (haven't tried the 214 yet) - if it's quiet
AKG 451 S/D
Mojave MA200 L/D condenser -if it's quiet
Shure SM-81 S/D - built like a tank
Neumann KM-140 S/D - great live mic! Better & less edgy than the 184, IMO.
EV N/D 967 Dynamic - great sounding feedback buster
DPA 4099 Clip On (tried it @ friend's gig - loved it!)
AT Pro 35 Clip On

Many brands of S/D condenser & dynamic mic's work well live. You should go have a listen at some stores. Hypercardioids work best in feedback control.

Internal mic's

Audix Micro D or F90
Shure 98
Crown GLM200
Sony ECM-55
AKG - 500 series, many choices (516 is best)
AT - 831R
Countryman Isomax E6
GHS Pro Acoustic or A137
DPA 4061 - great mic!
K&K Trinity or Silver Bullet

Internal mic's won't provide the full performance of an external. But they are very useful if you like to move around at your gigs & not be tethered to a fixed position & also for reducing potential for feedback being inside the box. I prefer hypercardioids for internal apps at gigs & add the external when it's quiet (like at a solo house concert or small upscale restaurant).

I'd recommend that, if you are committed to using mic's live, you bring at least one condenser & one dynamic with you every time. You need to be prepared for when a condenser cannot be applied to a room. (I bring 5 to every gig, including vocal mic options).

Using a two-speaker PA is also more helpful than a single source amp for controlling live mic's, IMO. The same is true of using smaller-bodied guitars - as Eric & I do - instead of more bassy, feedback-prone dreadnaughts & jumbo's. They're better for recording too, IMO.

In the end, YOUR EARS make the choice. But it will be the choices you make for your entire live signal chain that will determine your ability to maximize & control your mics' performance in live applications.

alohachris

Last edited by alohachris; 03-12-2011 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 03-13-2011, 06:41 AM
LiveMusic LiveMusic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
I'm not real sure what you're hoping for. You can certainly put a mic on a stand in front of you, that's what Eric's videos show, and it works great in the right situations. There are also internal mics that act more like a pickup, ergonomically, like the Miniflex 2Mic or any number of other internal guitar mics.

You have something else in mind?
Well, I have the Gibson Jackson Browne model coming with the Trance Amulet system... hopefully that will be a great guitar. But... what I am saying is that I use several guitars at a gig, they are tuned differently. I don't like to use just one guitar and several tunings. My ear is real picky and it takes me some tweaking to get a guitar in perfect tune and I don't like to play a guitar not in tune. Coming up with entertaining banter while you tune is tough. Thus, I would love to just mic a guitar with a condenser. But, that is fraught with feedback problems. Or is it? Have they come up with any better solutions since decades back, when that was pretty much the only option... condenser mics.

And my DPA 4099, I'm still trying to figure that one out... nice sound, but getting enough volume without feedback is an issue. And I could move it from guitar to guitar if it IS a solution. BUT... that would not be as fast as using a condenser mic and just grabbing another guitar and start playing after a quick check for the guitar being in tune.

Also... I am not a sound expert by any stretch. Live sound is problematic for me, there are so many variables... heck, I'm just a singer-songwriter, wish I had a guitar tech / soundman to follow me around, haha.
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Last edited by LiveMusic; 03-13-2011 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 03-13-2011, 11:39 AM
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Thus, I would love to just mic a guitar with a condenser. But, that is fraught with feedback problems. Or is it? Have they come up with any better solutions since decades back, when that was pretty much the only option... condenser mics..
Well, it is certainly possible to use a mic in many venues with a good sound system, as long as you keep stage volume at a level that won't cause feedback. I don't think there have been many changes in mics over the last decades. The trance is also a pretty old solution. There have been lots of new ideas in pickups and amplification over the years. The Miniflex 2Mic might be more feedback-resistant than the 4099. There are many good sounding pickups - including but not limited to new systems like the Anthem. K&K's are popular for a reason, and there are many more. Clip on mics like the 4099, Meridian, and others are a relatively new idea. There are processors like the Aura and Momma Bear that work for some people. There are line-array based systems like the Bose that behave differently than normal PAs, and there are in-ear monitors. If feedback's the concern, play with speaker placement, EQ, and so on. One really old solution remains pretty effective, turn down :-) at least the stage volume. Your ears will thank you!
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