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  #16  
Old 02-05-2014, 04:54 PM
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[QUOTE=redstrat;3808334]. Condensors should stay in the studio. [QUOTE]

Wow - there are a lot of very famous players that would argue that point!
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  #17  
Old 02-05-2014, 05:45 PM
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Gonna just paste from an old post I did on using a mic. Hopefully there's something helpful in there. And hopefully I haven't posted this one too many times already in this section


It takes a lot of practice to use a mic. And it won’t always work. Some basics that work for me personally (your mileage may vary):

First, you probably need to recalibrate your thinking. If you have a background in electric guitar, and you’re used to standing in front of a raging tube amp, basking in all it’s glory... that ain’t gonna fly with an acoustic and a mic. You gotta find the right spot. Try (in a big room, maybe your basement or garage) putting the mic about parallel with the speaker, but facing the opposite direction. This way you kind of hear the amp, but not so much that the mic picks up what is coming out of it. In time you may find that you can move a little forward and hear the amp a little better, or you may find you need to move further back. Start with the speaker on the neck side of the guitar -less bass/body resonance problems.

Try running the amp or PA with the EQ flat. If you use pickups you likely use a lot of eq tweaks to approximate the sound of an acoustic guitar. With a mic, it’s usually the opposite. Almost all tweeks you make are to solve feedback problem. Actual tone shaping comes more from placement. Most problems come from bass frequencies, so it’s common that you may just roll back the lows (100Hz-ish) slightly -many mics have this as a feature on the mic it’s self, which I think is the best place to start. Most of the time I leave everything flat on the amp/board. Also, minimize reverb. It’ll likely cause problems, usually comes off as kind of phony anyway... Unless the room is crazy dead, it’ll likely be much more convincing with it off or set super low in the mix.

If you’re working with a pro sound person or crew always ask to turn monitors completely off. Get the room sound happening, and then maybe see if you can use them. I usually don’t. They almost always sound bad to me, and if it’s a listening audience you’ll hear yourself pretty good anyway. But I don’t sing, and thankfully most of my gigs people come to sit and listen, so your milage may vary.

I vastly prefer the Tony Rice method of pointing the mic (up, not parallel to the floor) towards the right hand. Sort of between the bridge and soundhole. If the mic is parallel to the floor you get too much of the bass strings, so it should usually tilt up slightly. And while I agree that in a single mic recording situation the 12th fret or neck joint is a way better place to point the mic overall, for live sound it just isn’t. There is not nearly enough volume coming from there, so you turn up the gain, mayhem ensues... Guitar volume is king here. Remember the whole problem with mic’ing a guitar is that it’s so quiet. You’ll never hear a sax player worry about using a mic.

Your guitar and your technique matter a lot. A smaller guitar works better, usually, because they often project better, and they’re not so boomy and hollow in the midrange. A nice responsive guitar with good volume is very important. It gives the mic so much more to work with, thus you’re using less gain at the amp/board. Also, if you have a fairly solid and somewhat authoritative attack (most classical players are taught this, steelstring players less so) you also solve a lot of problems. Some people have quiet guitars and then maybe they play very light-touch fingerstyle, maybe with no nails... so of course using a mic is a nightmare for them.

Last but not least there’s the mic. Unless you’re using a completely inappropriate mic for the job, like a say a unidirectional condenser, shotgun, etc, all the ideas above are vastly more important than the mic it’s self. That said, a good starting place would be a vocal dynamic. It’s just easier. A lot of times when I’m traveling I’ll just use a house SM58 and it works great. Sometimes I bring my own. I usually bring one dynamic and one condenser (an AKG 214) and see which works best. Condensers are more sensitive and thus more problematic. But in the right space, with a quiet audience, nothing comes remotely close. Here I was actually able to use a condenser with bass and drums http://youtu.be/uQjYDNHvB4g but notice there are no monitors, notice the position of the drums (facing me, not audience)... and what you can’t see is that the main speakers are a good ten feet from me. But I was parallel with them, the audience was quiet, and the band is not that loud, so I could hear myself just fine. Most of the time though it’s not that easy. Remember, there’s waaay more to it than just the mic it’s self. The difference between mics can be pretty hairsplitting. The difference between sitting three feet from a speaker vs three and a half feet can be huge.
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  #18  
Old 02-05-2014, 09:50 PM
StevenL StevenL is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acoustic Pain View Post

My points are unless you are a professional sound engineer with real skills many comments above are nothing more than "anecdotal" as such how should I say incorrect. I go on to suspect that some who say "oh this mic works this mic doesn't would get "dusted" by an expert. Just because something does not work for me does not mean it sucks. The long and the short is it might be my problem or your problem.

Oh once again what is the mainstay of live music and that would include recording? Yea SM57. I don't work for Sure and there are better mic's but if you can't do it with a SM57 maybe you should not comment?

Just some thoughts, I don't mean to a jerk.
Oh, my bad! I didn't realize I was in the same room with someone who knows someone who knows someone who saw Keith Richards micing his Gibson acoustic with the "industry-standard-for-acoustic mic'ing" SM57. Now I know that the pros reach for that 57 first. Probably for that peculiarly shrill, nasally mid-rangey snarl that everyone loves, especially those pros. Somebody should let Mr. Skye in on this industry staple. He could sound so much better using a couple of 57's rather than those off-brands he's using in his vids. What a waste. funny stuff.
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  #19  
Old 02-05-2014, 10:09 PM
Bobby1note Bobby1note is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by min7b5 View Post
Gonna just paste from an old post I did on using a mic. Hopefully there's something helpful in there. And hopefully I haven't posted this one too many times already in this section


It takes a lot of practice to use a mic. And it wonít always work. Some basics that work for me personally (your mileage may vary):

First, you probably need to recalibrate your thinking. If you have a background in electric guitar, and youíre used to standing in front of a raging tube amp, basking in all itís glory... that ainít gonna fly with an acoustic and a mic. You gotta find the right spot. Try (in a big room, maybe your basement or garage) putting the mic about parallel with the speaker, but facing the opposite direction. This way you kind of hear the amp, but not so much that the mic picks up what is coming out of it. In time you may find that you can move a little forward and hear the amp a little better, or you may find you need to move further back. Start with the speaker on the neck side of the guitar -less bass/body resonance problems.

Try running the amp or PA with the EQ flat. If you use pickups you likely use a lot of eq tweaks to approximate the sound of an acoustic guitar. With a mic, itís usually the opposite. Almost all tweeks you make are to solve feedback problem. Actual tone shaping comes more from placement. Most problems come from bass frequencies, so itís common that you may just roll back the lows (100Hz-ish) slightly -many mics have this as a feature on the mic itís self, which I think is the best place to start. Most of the time I leave everything flat on the amp/board. Also, minimize reverb. Itíll likely cause problems, usually comes off as kind of phony anyway... Unless the room is crazy dead, itíll likely be much more convincing with it off or set super low in the mix.

If youíre working with a pro sound person or crew always ask to turn monitors completely off. Get the room sound happening, and then maybe see if you can use them. I usually donít. They almost always sound bad to me, and if itís a listening audience youíll hear yourself pretty good anyway. But I donít sing, and thankfully most of my gigs people come to sit and listen, so your milage may vary.

I vastly prefer the Tony Rice method of pointing the mic (up, not parallel to the floor) towards the right hand. Sort of between the bridge and soundhole. If the mic is parallel to the floor you get too much of the bass strings, so it should usually tilt up slightly. And while I agree that in a single mic recording situation the 12th fret or neck joint is a way better place to point the mic overall, for live sound it just isnít. There is not nearly enough volume coming from there, so you turn up the gain, mayhem ensues... Guitar volume is king here. Remember the whole problem with micíing a guitar is that itís so quiet. Youíll never hear a sax player worry about using a mic.

Your guitar and your technique matter a lot. A smaller guitar works better, usually, because they often project better, and theyíre not so boomy and hollow in the midrange. A nice responsive guitar with good volume is very important. It gives the mic so much more to work with, thus youíre using less gain at the amp/board. Also, if you have a fairly solid and somewhat authoritative attack (most classical players are taught this, steelstring players less so) you also solve a lot of problems. Some people have quiet guitars and then maybe they play very light-touch fingerstyle, maybe with no nails... so of course using a mic is a nightmare for them.

Last but not least thereís the mic. Unless youíre using a completely inappropriate mic for the job, like a say a unidirectional condenser, shotgun, etc, all the ideas above are vastly more important than the mic itís self. That said, a good starting place would be a vocal dynamic. Itís just easier. A lot of times when Iím traveling Iíll just use a house SM58 and it works great. Sometimes I bring my own. I usually bring one dynamic and one condenser (an AKG 214) and see which works best. Condensers are more sensitive and thus more problematic. But in the right space, with a quiet audience, nothing comes remotely close. Here I was actually able to use a condenser with bass and drums http://youtu.be/uQjYDNHvB4g but notice there are no monitors, notice the position of the drums (facing me, not audience)... and what you canít see is that the main speakers are a good ten feet from me. But I was parallel with them, the audience was quiet, and the band is not that loud, so I could hear myself just fine. Most of the time though itís not that easy. Remember, thereís waaay more to it than just the mic itís self. The difference between mics can be pretty hairsplitting. The difference between sitting three feet from a speaker vs three and a half feet can be huge.
Well said Eric. I couldn't agree more,,, on every single point.
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  #20  
Old 02-05-2014, 10:48 PM
Bobby1note Bobby1note is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redstrat View Post
Feedback is your enemy with condenser mics, generally although they do sound better. Condensors should stay in the studio. The 57 has always been the standard, not necessarily the cheapest or the best, but bullet proof in the reliability department. IMHO, the Blue Encore series rocks the 57 in price/performance and you should look there first.
Excess gain is the real culprit,,, it doesn't matter whether it's a condenser, or a dynamic mic. With more sensitive mics, you reduce gain, plain and simple. You also have to familiarize yourself with the polar-pattern of your mic, as well as the nulls, in order to monitor yourself properly.

Excess gain can occur a variety of ways, especially if the gain-structure of the console is set just below the feedback threshold. It's important to give yourself ample leeway, at each point along the consoles' gain-structure path, to allow for transients, and reflected sound. Basically, you need enough gain at all points, to comfortably avoid self-noise from the mic-pre's, channel faders, and main outputs. Setting gain just below "peak", is simply asking for trouble in a "Live" sound set-up. Pre-show sound-checks help, but you need to give yourself some room for "volume creep" as the gig progresses.

Reflected frequencies can often cause feedback, and a phenomenon affectionately called "cowboy hat" feedback, is well known among soundmen. It can be a simple reflection off your cheek,,, a hand,,,or your forehead, if they get too close to the mic-capsule.

Here's an example;

We were a bunch of guys having a jam. The guys wanted it loud, so we were really riding the limits,,,, far more than the room required, or even tolerate. Nonetheless, we were generally feedback free. Every trick in the book was used to reduce feedback, including DEEP EQ cuts on each channel. Every now and then, we'd hear a very brief (fraction of a second) intermittent squeal. It was very hard to detect the source, so I just watched the guys for a while, from the console. Turns out, the bass-player was turning his head to look at the drummer, and as he did so, he would lean forward slightly, with his cheek inches away from the mic-capsule,,,, and there it was. Once the problem was identified and the situation corrected, the feedback stopped.
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