Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 40

Thread: Microphone for mandolins

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Oxford, Alabama
    Posts
    363

    Default Microphone for mandolins

    I have been trying to do some research on microphones for instruments.
    It seems the key factor with microphones for live music is spl level before clipping, frequency response and polar pattern.

    What's a good mike for bluegrass that keeps the chops in check and lead breaks from sounding like a cap gun going off?

    Or a better question...which mikes are you partial to?
    Valley Road Bluegrass Band
    www.valleyroadbluegrass.com

  2. #2
    Hester Mandolins Gail Hester's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Poulsbo, WA (Seattle)
    Posts
    1,968

    Default Re: Microphone for mandolins

    A Shure SM81 is hard to beat for the mandolin.

    http://www.shure.com/ProAudio/Produc...M81-LC_content
    Gail Hester

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    victoria, canada
    Posts
    3,514

    Default Re: Microphone for mandolins

    I use a Shure Beta57, through a tube preamp. Works as well as a condenser with fewer feedback problems.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Boreen Point, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Microphone for mandolins

    I would agree with Gail the SM81 is very nice to use.
    I have also been using a Rode NT3 for quite a few years, maybe a bit more prone to feedback at higher volumes than the SM81 still very good in its own right. Also a bit cheaper.
    The NT3 can run with or without phantom power by using a battery.
    It all depends on your budget and your PA setup.

  5. #5
    Registered User Dr. Jazz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Microphone for mandolins

    Once I used a Neumann KM-184, I put everything a way. 451s AT-35s, 414s, 441s, 57s etc etc.
    I'll never go back. yes they're expensive, but if you buy one, you'll never have to experiment with a dozen other less expensive mics. In the long run it saves money. Just like buying a Mac.
    The Acoustic Guitar http://www.acousticguitar.net
    The Swing Geezers http://www.swinggeezers.com

  6. #6

    Default Re: Microphone for mandolins

    Dr. J, you use a Neumann on stage? We must play a different class of bars!

  7. #7
    Registered User MnRoss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Collegeville Mn.
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: Microphone for mandolins

    I'll 3rd the Shure Sm81. Have been using one for many many years on stage. Tough, great sound and worth every penny in my book. Also great for guitar and other string instruments. Just remember to use the mic and move in right on it for solos or fills and back off for chops. They do come with a foam wind screen that I use as not to damage my instruments..

  8. #8
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    2,765

    Default Re: Microphone for mandolins

    Oooh... an opportunity to rave about small diaphragm Neumann's. I'm game!

    The KM184 is a great live mic for acoustic instruments. Substitute an old SM57 for biker bar gigs; you can swing a '57 on the end of a cable and use it as a weapon if you need to. A KM184 isn't delicate. It's just another valuable asset like your mandolin that you want to keep on eye on, and make sure it gets home safe.

    The KM184 isn't completely flat response; it has a slight high frequency bump at around 9k that bother some people in the recording world, and frankly there are better small condenser mics in this class for recordings these days. But that's a subtle detail that never makes it through most PA rigs. That slight high frequency lift is actually a bonus if you're playing through a typical muddy house PA system.

    I bought a pair of KM184's 14 years ago, when they were less expensive (I think about $400 each at the time). I bought them as recording mics, and they've been gradually shifted out of that application as the mic collection grows, so I can use 'em as PA mics now. I've been experimenting with an ATM350 mini-condenser clipped onto the mandolin, but the KM184's are my default, fall-back solution for sound reinforcement.

    In this current economic down-turn, you might see more KM-184's flushed out on the used market. It's a fairly safe buy as a used mic, since the build quality is very good, and they're not usually abused like large diaphragm "vocal" condenser mics. I'm not selling mine. And I'm not afraid to use them live, either.

  9. #9
    Registered User steve V. johnson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Bloomington, Indiana
    Posts
    3,846

    Default Re: Microphone for mandolins

    I'll second FoldedPath.

    The KM-184 is really strong in my respose to 'if you could only have one mic...?'

    A good alternative, very similar and a bit less expensive is the Josephson C42. Go to

    http://www.josephson.com/

    and press the "Series 4" button on the left for info on the C42. I have NFI in these.

    A friend of mine recently got a pair of small-diaphragm condensors from an American company called Cascade microphones. I've only used them a couple of times but they're very nice and
    quite inexpensive. Cascade mostly makes ribbon microphones (probably my favorite microphone design), but the M39 is their small-diaphragm model.

    http://www.cascademicrophones.com/cascade_M39.html

    Again, I have NFI in these.

    Also recently discussed here have been (as mentioned above) the AT 350, a clip-on condensor
    mic, Shure SM-57s, SM-58s and all manner of pickups. Some folks even like large-diaphragm
    condensor mics for their mandolins on stage, even tho they require some care with the stage
    monitors to avoid feedback.

    stv
    steve V. johnson

    Culchies
    http://cdbaby.com/Culchies
    The Lopers
    Ghosts Like Me
    http://cdbaby.com/Lopers1
    There Was A Time
    http://cdbaby.com/Lopers2

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Microphone for mandolins

    I've always liked using an AKG C 1000, they have a warmer midrange and a nice top end as well. It also has the advantage of operating off a 9V battery in case you don't have phantom power on your rig. Great for fiddle, too.

  11. #11
    Registered User Dan Johnson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Jericho, VT
    Posts
    245

    Default Re: Microphone for mandolins

    I've been using the AKG Perception Series 400 for a while but I think I'm going to start using a smaller CAD GXL 1200 for live performance... The less expensive mic (CAD) doesn't have half the tonal character of the large diaphragm but it does have a warmth that the larger mic can't deliver... If I were better at live sound this probably wouldn't be an issue... The CAD mics are really not a bad deal... I bought two of the GXLs for $50 from a buddy... Do they deliver the complexity of sound that the SM81 does? Hmm... I might have to go buy a new mic... I just saw a couple Beta SM58s for $90 each...

  12. #12
    Registered User Dr. Jazz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Microphone for mandolins

    Mr. Bunting.
    I even use them when I'm mixing festivals and shows. they make my job so much easier. I have a little pelican case with 5 DM-184s and 4 KM-105s which I call by Bluegrass case. I have another with a pair of 414s and a trio of 451s which I hardly use any more.
    The Acoustic Guitar http://www.acousticguitar.net
    The Swing Geezers http://www.swinggeezers.com

  13. #13

    Default Re: Microphone for mandolins

    Why, thank you Mr. Mcleod

  14. #14
    Horton River NWT Rob Gerety's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Vermont - Upper Valley
    Posts
    2,585

    Default Re: Microphone for mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by sliabhstv View Post
    Also recently discussed here have been (as mentioned above) the AT 350, a clip-on condensor
    mic,
    How do you attach this mic to an A style mando?
    Rob G.
    Vermont

  15. #15
    Cafe Linux Mommy danb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1996
    Location
    Norfolk, England
    Posts
    5,695

    Default Re: Microphone for mandolins

    The original KM-84s are the tried and true classic. KM-184s are close (i have a pair of these). Not my first choice for stage work though, they are fragile (can be ruined by being dropped) and expensive. Carefully looked after at a home studio or a very careful set-up at gigs, they are the gold standard.

    Ribbon mikes can sound very good for mandolins too.

    paging Bruce Harvie...
    The Mandolin Archive
    my CDs
    "The wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead"

  16. #16
    garded
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    now Los Osos, CA
    Posts
    1,762

    Default Re: Microphone for mandolins

    I've gone through several mic's over the years and my old fav was the Peavey 480. Very hot mic, and super cardiod, so tight pattern(not as tight as a 57) and could get plenty of volume before feedback. Also had really good proximity effect that can really fatten up the tone for breaks.

    I still have it in the mic case, but my new fav is the Oktava 012. Mine are the old Russian one's that were carried by GC before they discontinued them. They got down to $100 for two before they discontinued them. You have to be careful for they can have shoddy quality control, and I had one die on me, but the warranty was still good. Also have to watch out for the Chinese knockoffs.
    I have 4 now, and have bought hyper cardioid capsules to replace the cardiod, for live work. They have better side rejection(good for cutting out feedback) and seem to work good for mando, guitar, bass, and banjo. Some have said they can be noisy, but we've recorded with mine, and that doesn't seem a problem.

    I also bought an electronics upgrade kit that is sold on e**y for $25. It's supposed to make the mic into a stellar mic. But I'm one of those who live by the old credo, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". So, I'm waiting for one to die before I do surgery. So far(knock on wooden head) I've got 7yrs of road use out of them and no problem.
    NFI, and YMMV.

  17. #17
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    2,765

    Default Re: Microphone for mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Gerety View Post
    How do you attach this mic to an A style mando?
    The ATM350 (and Pro 35) come with a little gooseneck clip, and the K&K Silver Bullet has a similar setup. I have a ToneGard mounted on the back of my F-type mandolin, and when I use a mini-condenser like that, I just clip the gooseneck to the back of the ToneGard. The gooseneck curves over the side of the mandolin, and places the mic right at the bottom edge of the lower F-hole. Same thing should work on an A type if you have a ToneGard for it. See this earlier thread for a photo of Gail Hester's version of the ToneGard trick with the K&K mic.

    You can also use a standard lavalier tie-clip mount, clipped onto the F-hole itself. That's a little more stealthy-looking, but it couples the mic more directly to the top of the mandolin where you might hear some handling noise (depending on the mic design and placement). With the gooseneck clipped to the ToneGard, the mic doesn't touch the mandolin so handling noise is minimized.

  18. #18
    Registered User Trey Young's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Carrollton, GA 30117
    Posts
    423

    Default Re: Microphone for mandolins

    Not to totally highjack this thread, but, what exactly is the difference between ribbon and condenser mics? In terms of tone, volume, and feed back resistance. I am currently using an Audix i5, and am fairly satisfied with tone, but would like to be able to get more volume before feedback and any improvement in tone is always a plus. I have next to zero knowledge about mics, I bought the i5 at the recommendation of the local music store owner. I saw the Cascade mics above in the thread that sell for around $150 for a pair, any other options in this price range? Thanks,

    Elkhorn A-5, #3

  19. #19
    Registered User steve V. johnson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Bloomington, Indiana
    Posts
    3,846

    Default Re: Microphone for mandolins

    I mentioned the Cascades and so far they're wonderful, and I don't really know of any others that are handmade in the US and sound this good at this price.

    "Volume before feedback", while often named by marketers as an attribute of a microphone is usually the product of a lot of different and dynamic processes going on in the stage environment while one is playing.

    I'd say that if you like the way the Audix i5 sounds on your instrument, instead of replacing it try working with other onstage factors, like where you stand (and move around) relative to the monitors onstage, and tweaking the monitor mix, for example, with your bandmates and sound tech(s) to increase your volume before feedback.

    Here are some references for microphone basics.

    http://www.allchurchsound.com/ACS/edart/micbasics.html

    http://mixguides.com/microphones/bas...ic_microphone/


    This one's good but doesn't include ribbon mics:

    http://arts.ucsc.edu/ems/music/tech_.../teces_20.html

    I think of mics as divided into two types:
    1) Some are designed to reproduce sound as absolutely faithfully and with as much detail as possible;

    2) Some are designed to reproduce sound with a certain character, with accuracy but also with
    some added flavor particular to that microphone.

    The more I think about it there seems to be a third category, and those are mics designed to be
    inexpensive, loud and to emphasize certain frequencies that are prominent in contemporary popular music. But I shouldn't get started on that...

    Ribbon mics used to be the only kind there was in professional use (the old carbon mics fell from favor), but then were replaced by dynamics and condensor mics after WWII. They're now experiencing a grand revival, and that Cascade company makes something like six (or more?)
    different models, and other companies have made great strides in modernizing the ribbon mic
    technologies, making them much more powerful, durable, accurate and versatile.

    Still, tho they've become much more popular (both the vintage ones and the modern ones) they're still an 'acquired taste', and for the most part, they are still considered to have a bit more value for imparting character to sound reproduction than for accuracy.

    I hope that helps.

    In order to avoid enticing me into further topic hijax, if you want to carry on with this stuff, let's start a new thread on it, ok?

    Now, back to our previously scheduled programming: Microphone for Mandolins.

    Thanks,

    stv
    steve V. johnson

    Culchies
    http://cdbaby.com/Culchies
    The Lopers
    Ghosts Like Me
    http://cdbaby.com/Lopers1
    There Was A Time
    http://cdbaby.com/Lopers2

  20. #20
    garded
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    now Los Osos, CA
    Posts
    1,762

    Default Re: Microphone for mandolins

    While I agree with Steve about ribbon's, I don't think the cheap ones, or the old expensive ones, would be road worthy as they can be very delicate. About the only semi road worthy ribbon I can think of is my Beyer M260. Several things keep me from using it on the road though, one being it's not cheap(way less than a Neumann though!) and my board and most boards being globally phantom powered. The recording Gods(Bruce and Steve) say this is not true, phantom power, wired correctly will not blow 'em, but I'd hate to find out mine was the exception Yes, I'm a superstitious chicken.

    Also, most of the older ribbons, like my 260 don't have nearly the output of my Oktava's. So you need a pretty good preamp, with a lot of gain to get on "top" of 'em. You also have to watch what the pickup pattern of said ribbon is. My 260 is hypercardioid, good for live. Some are cardioid, can be ok, if you aren't dealing with drums and electric instruments and floor monitors. Figure 8, and Omni, great for studio, no bueno for most live work, even outside, IMHO.

  21. #21
    Registered User steve V. johnson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Bloomington, Indiana
    Posts
    3,846

    Default Re: Microphone for mandolins

    I hoped not to take this thread this way, and I don't mean to be contentious but here I must go ...

    Some audio devices have great mystique and myths that go along with them. Like "tubes" and
    "analog tape," ribbon mics are included in this.

    Ribbon mics have two vulnerabilities. Like all mics they shouldn't be dropped (never mind the 'hammer a nail with an SM-57' ads and lore), and the ribbon needs to be protected from stretching. An example of this is to -not- blow into the microphone (a good practice for condensor mics, too) and if the mic is stored in a box, to cover it with a cloth cover or bag so that the increased air pressure from the closure of the box doesn't stretch the ribbon. Often
    engineers who use ribbon mics on drum kits have to position the mics carefully so that a drum's
    side vent or the air coming off a kick drum head doesn't stretch the ribbon.

    The stuff about phantom power damage to ribbons has been addressed elsewhere. "Chicken" is ok with any valued piece of audio gear, and phantom power, in and of itself does not damage ribbon mics.

    Tony's next point is why there is that third category that I mentioned. Everyone likes loud today, and the classic ribbon mics have less output than folks today are used to. Contemporary ribbon mics have output gain at least comparable to most dynamic mics and recently ribbon mics have been developed that carry their own preamplifiers and/or use phantom power and so they have output gains just like condensor mics.

    Tony's last point is, IMO, the most important. The classic design of ribbon mics yields a functional polar pickup pattern called "figure of 8", which means that it hears essentially equally
    on two sides of the mic, with the mic at the crossing in the center of a figure of 8.

    For folks using ribbon mics for decades this was the norm and they found ways to work with that.
    Today's sophisticated new ribbon mics (notably those from the Royer company) include many that have fig of 8 patterns and are in use by studio and live sound professionals the world over. As Tony suggests, the use of fig 8 patterns requires thought, care and planning and so may not be a good idea for most folks.

    So for folks who don't want to delve into the arts of audio, just to get the damn PA working, ribbon mics are probably "no bueno". I like better the idea that folks can learn the facts of common technnologies without the myths and then make up their own minds about what they should pursue in greater depth, or not.

    I have Beyerdynamic M260s and I like them a lot. I carry Beyerdynamic M500s (ribbons) for vocals and instruments with my PA instead of Shure SM-57s and '58's. I also have RCA ribbons from before WWII and from the '50's. The later ones, model BK-5b's are made like tanks and were built for use on film sets. I don't normally carry 'em, but I wouldn't hesitate to use them
    for PA work except that they're big and dark army green and they scare players cause they don't look like 58s or Oktavas, etc. All my RCAs have variable patterns (several, switchable) that include figure 8 and cardioid.

    Finally, I really, really LOVE the sound of a fine mandolin thru a fine ribbon mic.
    When recording acoustic ensembles in the studio I often start with ribbon mics on fiddle, banjo and mandolin. I also enjoy the sound of a bad mandolin thru a ribbon mic, the ribbon mics often flatter poor instruments.

    stv
    steve V. johnson

    Culchies
    http://cdbaby.com/Culchies
    The Lopers
    Ghosts Like Me
    http://cdbaby.com/Lopers1
    There Was A Time
    http://cdbaby.com/Lopers2

  22. #22
    Registered User Trey Young's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Carrollton, GA 30117
    Posts
    423

    Default Re: Microphone for mandolins

    thanks for the replies to my "sub-post", I think a set of those Cascades may be in my future.

    Elkhorn A-5, #3

  23. #23
    Mondo Mando Mario D'Orrico's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Cosenza - Italy
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Microphone for mandolins

    Hi everybody, is there anybody that can help me about a choose of a mic for live performance? I'm looking for a Rode NT5 or Audix ADX51. But I don't know to choose. If there is anybody that know these or others models I'm so glad to read your suggestion...thanks

  24. #24
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    export, pa.
    Posts
    70

    Default Re: Microphone for mandolins

    I have a bag full of microphones, mostly AKG's. I use the AKG's for vocals. I have a couple of nice condencers for instruments , 1 AKG, and 1 Shure, but the one I prefer is a cheap MXL 991. It's great for the small venues I play, and works great for mandolin and guitar. When we play festivals I always use what ever the sound company uses, it's usually more mic than I can afford. All of the advice in the world is not as good as trying out the equipment and learning how it works for you.
    dick wade

  25. #25
    Registered User Dara Korra'ti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Cascadia
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Microphone for mandolins

    To revive this thread, does anybody have any experience with the M-Audio Nova? I want a studio condenser mic but am on a very, very tight budget. Searching turns up a lot of reviews that are pretty good, but I don't know enough to know who is a shill and who isn't, so.

    (Examples: http://emusician.com/hardware/emusic_budget_mics_big/ and http://remixmag.com/recording_hardwa..._nova_solaris/ and so on. But are these legitimate reviewers? I dunno!)

    Thanks ^_^

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •