View Full Version : Mics

Feb-08-2004, 6:28pm
Hey All,

Here's the situation. I have a Crate Taxi amp. Two inputs (3 if you count the effects loop) one with volume an gain and 3 tone ranges the other with volume an one tone range. I have a daughter who plays fiddle a son on guitar (jus learnin) a wife who plays guitar some an I play some harp and been larnin mando - kinda. Both kids sing in a choir. For fun I been thinkin about a group (family) jam.

We saw Open Road a few weeks ago and it was all acoustic. The guitar an fiddle an bass generally within 3 to 4ft of the one and onlyu mic the banjo player walkin around by hisself - understandable of course :> bein a banjo player an not understandin deodorant an all :> . On vocals the person(s) singing within oh say 2 ft of the mic.

Now I realize that I can't afford a mic (or the rest of the system) that good - but is there a mic or combination of two mics that can begin to approximate what we saw an heard - just for family fun an maybe skits an such - we do have friends who on holidays do some of this kinda stuff.

Most all of the mic stuff I've read here is sorta like one instrument mic one vocal mic mixed to produce what one person can do. Picture Jodi Mitchell one mike next to her guitar soundhole one mic being sung into - clouds (the song) the result. I'm after the bluegrass acoustic performance - on the cheap. We do have enough physical mobility to move around - like Open Road - the question is can we do it like I would like to. Not the same quality as professional of course but...

I seek your advice. What mic or combo of mics might work? Maybe I'm dreamin in technisound. If so let me know. I've virtually no knowledge of this kinda stuff.

As always TIA for any responses.

Take Care! -Ed-

Feb-08-2004, 8:45pm
I'm just getting into this stuff myself so I'm no expert. #But I've identified a few things that may be useful. #Your essentially talking about turning the Taxi (I've got one of those too) into a small, self-contained PA system. # That ability to hear the entire group, Open Road, through one or two mics means they are probably using condenser mics which have greater range and sensitivity (probably not the correct technical terms) than dynamic mics such as a Shure SM58. #Condenser mics require phantom power from the PA, which the Taxi does not provide, so make sure you get one that has an internal battery power source (usually 9v, AA, or AAA). #A relatively inexpensive condenser mic (which has battery power) that is recommended by professional acoustic musician Orrin Starr is the Audio-Technica MB4000 which is available from 8th Street Music (http://www.8thstreet.com/product.asp?ProductCode=6790&Category=Microphones)for $100 for a pair, including cables. #Since the Taxi does not have XLR inputs, you'll also need a low-Z to high-Z converter (http://www.8thstreet.com/product.asp?ProductCode=9222&Category=Recording_Accessories) for each mic to convert to the appropriate signal level and change to a 1/4in jack. #Luckily these are only about $13. #Because of the limited EQ and volume controls on the Taxi, you might want to get a small mixer to run the mics through before they go into the Taxi so that you've got more control over the sound mix (although a mixer may not be absolutely necessary). #Finally, I'd highly recommend logging on and getting a copy of Shure's PDF pamplet on "Microphone Techniques for Live Sound Reinforcement" (http://www.8thstreet.com/product.asp?ProductCode=9222&Category=Recording_Accessories). #This thing is chock full of useful information about microphone types and usage in live sound situations. #Hope that helps.


Feb-09-2004, 11:40am
We use an AT 4033 as a single mic and it works well to pick up the entire group. The 4033 is the old model but the 4044?? is about the same and runs about $300, not including a phantom power preamp which is another $100 or so. Doyle Lawson, Del McCoury, 1946 and other used to use this setup. Now they are using two of them about 6-8 feet apart and separating vocals, bass, etc from fiddle, mando, banjo to some extent.

What I noticed with McCoury was that Del used the main mic with Mike Bubb's bass just behind it and Rob's banjo even further back almost between the two. Fiddle and Mando hung out by the second mic and took breaks but took breaks around main mic when if they were also singing harmony.

Great for quick setups and replaced for us about 8 SM58/SM57.

Feb-10-2004, 9:01pm
Hey All,

First Mark, Scot Thank you both for the replies!

Mark the sources you directed me toward helped alot.

Right now I'm thinking of buying two mics an Audio-Technica 4000 and an AKG C1000S and plugging them into the Taxi amp. Those of us capable of singing will sing into the MB 4000 while the C1000s will be used more instrumentally although the MB 4000 will pick up the fiddle and harp sounds while the c1000s will pick up the mando an guitar - meaning the MB 4000 will be higher on a mike stand than the c1000s. Or does it really matter? Both are cardiod pattern mics. Both do not require phantom power which is desirable since I don't have it. I think this will be fun and not outrageously expensive since I already have the amp. (We use it as a PA system for scouts and quasi karoke or playing CDs while camping or in the backyard barbequing).

Any holes in what I'm thinking?

Again Mark Scot - Thank You!

Take Care! -Ed-

Feb-10-2004, 9:24pm
Your mic placement ideas sound good. Just make sure you get those Low-Z to High-Z converters. Good luck.


Feb-10-2004, 11:12pm
In compromise, I watched a quasimoto hunkering over, of friends single mic setup. so as to compromise the needed heights for instrument. chest level, and singing at a more erect posture, nearer to the face.
something to keep in mind.

Feb-11-2004, 9:12am
Please advise us as to when where, exactly, you are camping with an amp, mic, karioke, cd player so that we can avoid this sort of train wreck. This is the reason I/we only backpack or canoe anymore; don't have to listen to other people's noise.

Feb-11-2004, 8:45pm
Hey Grouch,

Let me know your vacation schedule an where your going an we'll see what we can do.

Seriously though we rarely take the amp camping and only if with others in a group like minded. I can appreciate what your sayin. City folk like you probably are don't get much contact with ol Ma nature and usually value what you can get - as do I. That's why I'm an ecology oriented research scientist. Have been for over 20 years. I see lots of lonesome country an that's how I like it. Second I now live in Alberta - it isn't hard for me to have an entire lake to myself or to hunt for days on end rarely seein city folk. That's part of why I moved from the US to Canada - low population density. It gets even lonlier the farther north I go. So good luck to ya stayin away from the noise of everyone else gettin back to nature. There are parts of the US where I still like to hike an camp cause not very many others know about em an I don't tell cause I'm gonna show them to my kids before they're gone.

Take Care an keep your canoe right side up! -Ed-

Feb-11-2004, 10:01pm
Hey Easy,
Sounds mighty fine in your world. Me, I've been a geologist for over 23 years; you want to talk about treks into remote places? I was pretty much joshing you about the amp in the woods thing but I have had the unfortunate experience of hearing unsolicited/unwanted music in the back country, like an obnoxious radio in Jasper Park Alberta for example (when we had packed all day to get away from such a thing). So, enjoy the lake man, I hope no uninvited banjo players show up to entertain you karioke style, unless of course that is your desire.

Feb-11-2004, 11:30pm

Geology cool. Jasper is a great place an I apologise for the (words fail me) with the radio. I like the mountains of Alberta but actually find that I often like prairie or parkland settings with fewer people - northeast Alberta into Saskatchewan (lake country) better. When it comes to mountains I tend to like Montana especially the Beartooths, Eastern Oregon (the high desert too) (little Switzerland is in eastern Oregon you know and correctly nicknamed), the Cascades (volcanic peaks like Shasta are way cool) and the Klamath Mountains (northern CA and Southern OR). The Sierra Nevada in CA and the North Cascades (in WA) are often too crowded as are the Rockies in Colorado although beautiful. I need to get into the mountains of southern Alberta north of Glacier more and also want to explore some of British Columbia. I usually don't take my mando into the woods although I'm rarely without my harmonica. There are very few banjo players in Canada I can assure you.

Take Care! -Ed-

Feb-12-2004, 1:32am
Oops, I almost forgot that personality plays a big part also!

Feb-12-2004, 8:13am
You are correct, didn't mean to pull credentials into the thread (which we're way off of, my fault). But I did want to add that some of the most arrogant jerks I've ever met work in music stores. Why this is I have no idea. But I have a perspective from both sides because I worked in a music store for 3 years when I was a wee undergrad many years ago. I couldn't believe how some of my co-workers treated customers, and how these sales people thought they were so much better than the average player. And of course in the subsequent years since I have witnessed this as a customer. My point is that your fellow music store sales people like to throw around the "been there done that" crap way more than most of the professional types I've witnessed here. Have fun with your drum circle!

Oh, hey EasyEd; enjoyed your post, especially what you said about the prairie land. Some of my favorite remote treks have involved journeys into the plains of the Dakotas and Saskatchewan. Enjoy the solitude!

Feb-12-2004, 8:35am
Actually, I take time with every individual that comes in to our store regardless of skill level and I surely don't think I have ever been accused of being a jerk from any of my customers. Quite the opposite being that I have quite a stack of thank you cards from my past customers! I work in a locally owned music store, not some big chain store and I will promise you that if I was ever rude to any of my customers I would not have a job for very long! Haven't been to a drum circle in a few years but can't wait to jam with bongos again! Did jam with a nice conga player a few months back!!! I really wasn't trying to put you down because I love geology myself.

Feb-12-2004, 10:11am
I wasn't implicating you in the pompous jerk music store sales guy rave, I'm sure you do very well. I'm talking about the average sales guy, who thinks he's way too gifted to be selling guitars and who thinks mandolins are toys. Sorry I got the thread off track; happy drumming and mandolin-ing Jeremy!

Feb-12-2004, 12:26pm
Sorry mandogrouch, I think I just took everything above and after my first post wrong! I happy geologiiiiing!