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Thread: Best Clip-on Mic

  1. #1
    Americanadian Andrew B. Carlson's Avatar
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    Default Best Clip-on Mic

    What are some nice clip-on mics that I can use on both my KM-1000 mandolin and my Martin acoustic? I'd like a condensor mic that easily clips on and off.
    2008 Kentucky KM-1000 "Tuck
    2014 Martin D-28 Authentic 1937
    1964 Gibson LG-0 "Ace"
    1900ish Joseph Bohmann BRW Parlour Guitar
    2004 Fender Robert Cray Stratocaster
    2010 Liu Xi Violin '1715 Strad model' "Anna"

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    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Clip-on Mic

    Best? Probably DPA. Nice? Quite a few - AT do some nice ones that are not too expensive, either. Sony and Beyer also have good models.

    There are a few potential drawbacks to clip-on mics. The main being you cannot move in or out on the mic to vary your dynamics. It is all fixed. A secondary issue can be handling noise... because they are fixed to the instrument body you can get LF stuff getting in to the signal. A well-designed mounting system + HP filter engaged on the desk can minimise this, however.

    My own preference is for a totally separate mic on a stand, because I like to be able to move in and out on it for breaks, etc, but really does depend on your style and what you are happy with. You can certainly get a nice sound from something like a properly installed DPA...

    http://www.dpamicrophones.com/en/pro...g&category=118
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Best Clip-on Mic

    Second vote for the DPA - probably the best but expensive. They come with a shock mount, so handling noise isn't that much of a problem, and my only criticism of them is that this looks rather fragile as does the thin - and possibly over long for some applications - mic lead.

    The clip attaches/detaches easily enough to the instrument but its not the sort of thing I'd be wanting to do between songs. You will need to position the mic carefully on your instrument not only to get the right sound but also so you don't knock it whilst you're playing. The DPA clip will probably work on both your instruments but be careful if you're trying to use it on an instrument with rounded edges - it won't fix securely to my National RM1.

  4. #4
    Registered User Hal Jeanes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Clip-on Mic

    Another vote for the DPA 4099. I love it. I do swap between F-5 and OM during gigs. But like Ray(T) says, the mike lead is thin and it takes some practice to make a smooth, timely transition from one instrument to another. I believe the mic itself is tough enough.
    Hal Jeanes

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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Clip-on Mic

    We use DPA 4099's for everything in the duo (and sometimes trio) I play with. The guitar player uses the guitar mount, clamped on the upper left bout. I use one on the mandolin and the other on either my OM or a Dobro, depending on which one I'm bringing to the gig. Another 4099 is reserved for fiddlers we sometimes work with.

    These are great mics that have a very clean sound, and the best mounting system I've ever seen for this type of mic. On the other hand, the different mounts make it difficult to swap a single mic between different instruments like mandolin and guitar. It wasn't clear in the OP if that was the intention, or the plan is to use separate mics. The clamps are a quick-release type, so you might be able to make it work while saving up for a second mic, but there will be some compromise in setting the length of the gooseneck and the aim point. Also, you'd have to use the guitar clamp, which has a longer shaft and might get in your way on the mandolin.

    Separate mics is really the way to go, if you can swing it. That also allows plugging into different channels on the PA system for separate EQ on each instrument. I usually like a little bit of high frequency roll-off on the mandolin mic, while leaving the highs alone on the guitar, plus a little cut at 100 Hz to reduce boom on the guitar. You might find a compromise EQ setting that works on different instruments, but it's not ideal.

    The cord on the DPA 4099 is very thin, and it terminates in a somewhat delicate "micro-dot" connector. I think it's designed that way to be inconspicuous for wireless use, but it does take some care if you're using a wired system. I usually drape the XLR adapter and attached XLR mic cable across the top of my instrument stand to protect the connector. Don't leave that XLR barrel adapter lying on the floor. And if you're prone to tripping on your cable, then seriously consider going wireless. Its a great mic on a wireless rig.


    If you're looking to spend less money, there are several options, but the one I'm most familiar with is the Audio-Technica ATM 350 (there is a less expensive Pro 35 version that works just as well). The gooseneck terminates in an alligator clip, which can be attached to a Toneguard or tailpiece on a mandolin. It's not as easy to use on a guitar. In fact, I'm not sure how you'd mount that one on guitar unless you had handy attachment point, like maybe a strap button on the neck or upper bout.

  6. #6
    Americanadian Andrew B. Carlson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Clip-on Mic

    I really like that ATM 350. I'm not quite sure it would work on the guitar though. Has anyone done this?
    2008 Kentucky KM-1000 "Tuck
    2014 Martin D-28 Authentic 1937
    1964 Gibson LG-0 "Ace"
    1900ish Joseph Bohmann BRW Parlour Guitar
    2004 Fender Robert Cray Stratocaster
    2010 Liu Xi Violin '1715 Strad model' "Anna"

  7. #7
    Registered User Mark Seale's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Clip-on Mic

    For those of you running the 4099 or other clip on condenser mic, do you run direct to the board or have you set up an electronics chain for effects, tuners, or boost/gain cut?

  8. #8
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Clip-on Mic

    I run my 4099 either straight to a mic input channel on the mixer, or through a Sennheiser wireless system to a line input on the mixer, which is basically the same thing. The mandolin channel on the mixer gets a little bit of delay and reverb from the mixer's built-in FX. I might roll off just a touch of high EQ, depending on the room and how recently I've changed my strings. Otherwise it's pretty much straight through the system to the speakers.

    Sometimes I'll tap into a channel insert on the mixer to run a stereo send/return signal to a tuner pedal, which mutes the signal while tuning. I could add other pedals to that type of setup, like a volume pedal. I've just never felt the need to do that, but it's one way to get pedal effects into your signal chain if you want them. Just tap into the mixer's channel insert, if you have access to it.

    If you want the traditional setup where your signal goes directly to a floor pedal for FX and boost, there is only one pedal I know that can do this for mics that need phantom power: the TC Electronics G-Natural. It has a very clean sound, good FX, and a programmable boost switch. Then you can send a balanced signal from there to the mixer. I used one for a while, but quit using it because it doesn't adapt easily to using several different instruments on a gig. Another option for a floor pedal rig is a mic like the K&K Silver bullet that has its own preamp, and outputs a pickup-like signal that's compatible with floor pedals.

  9. #9
    Registered User Mark Seale's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Clip-on Mic

    Thanks for the feedback foldedpath.

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