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Thread: Using a single microphone to play live

  1. #26
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    Don't worry too much about needing more volume in a larger room. In a larger room you can generally get the mic further from the speaker and a larger room will take more volume before feedback. Also feedback destroyer will help, although I use a graphic EQ in larger areas

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  3. #27
    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Egerton View Post
    We have played a couple of gigs now with a MXL 990 single mic and a Bose Compact L1, no mixer or anything just a phantom power box. It works great and is super fast to set up and tear down.

    It works better when the banjo player doesn't forget the height extension pieces on the Bose.

    Our only issue with it so far has been that once you get to a certain volume, around halfway up on the Bose, you start getting feedback. The patterns are so wide on both the Bose and the mic so that makes it tough. We are setting the mic back at about a 45-60 degree angle behind the Bose which helps. Halfway up on the volume has been enough for the smaller gigs we are doing so far, but a bigger space or louder crowd would require something different.
    2.5 years later I am here searching for answers again and figured I'd just reply to myself with an update.
    We have had some success with the Bose/MXL990 setup, but we are finding it really limiting in some situations.
    The other night in a coffee shop with a loud group of minglers, we played a show with a guy on guitar/vocals that we do music for a local play with. He had the guitar plugged in and a separate vocal mic going into a Fishman tower. He was able to get significantly more volume than us as we got feedback on the Bose at less than halfway up.

    I was beating the hell outta the mandolin and nearly swallowing the mic to try to be heard.
    That experiences leaves me questioning the one mic/one speaker setup we have.

    We prefer not to go to all individual mics for vocal and instrument (8 total) but at this point I am leaning that way to get the volume without feedback. What else can we do?
    (I never could find a DBX Gorack from the previous recommendations unfortunately...)
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  4. #28

    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    I can only go single mic in certain environments. I find it much more comfortable to plug in my instrument. In just the right room I can single mic, or if it is really quiet, but we mostly play barrooms, so under those conditions when I have tried to single mic I have to fight to get to the mic and play hard enough to get heard. It ends up impacting my ability to achieve the best performance possible. We are a 5 piece BG band, so it just isn't the most practical. I do play with another fella and it is usually either a duo, trio, or quartet and in that case we sit around a single mic and that works pretty well, but with the 5 piece BG band we are standing and I can just focus much more on my playing when my mandolin is plugged in. Saturday we had an Ear Trumpet and an additional AKGD5 for vocals and everyone was plugged and we were able to comfortably blend our harmonies and everyone was able to access the vocal mics comfortably.

  5. #29
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Snyder View Post
    Yes, trim all the wire on all the peg heads VERY short. Learning to work the mic is a contact activity.
    It's called choreography.
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  6. #30
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    I've found that single mic works sometimes and sometimes it doesn't. It's my preference but there are times you can't get the speakers out far enough away from the mic.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  7. #31
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    We (my band) use two mics(central condensers, high and low) for all situations, with the exception of shows that force us to use the house sound guy. We get tons of volume before feedback. We use in ear monitors, and solid wood QSC speakers (less bleed to back and side), and make sure the mics can't "see the sound source". We do use advanced mixer with spectral analysis, so we can easily see the trouble bands on a 32 band digi eq, and have same visualization on each channels parametric eq.
    It is an intense and expensive setup, but we get a great natural sound in all sized venues. Only troubles arise in very loud clubs, then we switch to all dynamics. We do have pickups and di's on all instruments, but use quality gear and the lower mic is used for step in boost, so there's the single mic dance going on. We use our vocal condenser set kinda low so we need to get closer than normal for quality gain.
    Hope this helps some find the balance of volume, looks, and sound quality of natural string pickin.
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  8. #32
    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    A big part of our problem is using the single mic with the Bose I believe. It puts out such a wide sound we really struggle to get it in a good place, especially in a smaller indoor gig. It works better outside, but still cannot get it much above halfway up the volume.
    I think we are going to have to decide to either ditch the mic or the Bose.
    Drew
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  9. #33
    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    We've played around with it. Hard. Singers must learn to stand back a little which ours are not comfortable with. Having a side mic for breaks or when needed helps a lot also.

  10. #34
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    I play in a couple of different BG groups, but the set-up is very similar for both. The guitar is plugged in, the bass has it's own amp, and I use a clip-on condenser on the mando. In one group the banjo has a pickup, in the other he gets a dynamic mic (he doesn't sing, so he can stay in one place). We use a single Ear Trumpet Myrtle for vocals, and the fiddle just steps into that for solos. All of this is run through a Ui12 digital mixer to two Yamaha DBR10 powered speakers.

    We've tinkered around with this set-up a lot, and we can make it work in most situations. I'm not crazy about monitors, but everyone else wants them, and we can make two work at a reasonable volume with the single vocal condenser. The Ui12 has built in feedback suppression, which in large part is the secret to making this work. I've also learned to run less gain on the channels to leave plenty of headroom. The speakers have enough power (700w each) to get good volume without pushing the gain. We don't play a lot of bars per se, but we do play at a lot of breweries, wineries, farmer's markets and private events, indoors and out, in a variety of settings. I probably only use about 5% of the various things that the Ui can do. It's a very versatile piece of equipment.
    Mitch Russell

  11. #35
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    Singers must learn to stand back a little which ours are not comfortable with.
    This is one of the stumbling blocks of single mic-ing. Some folks are afraid of it, other try to swallow it like it's an SM57. Some have strong voices, some weaker. Some are tall, others vertically challenged. There's definitely a learning curve.
    Mitch Russell

  12. #36
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    I've used one as a solo performer or as part of a duo. For one thing, it does make switching between guitar and mandolin much simpler, and sounds great, but as everyone else says, it takes practice, and in a noisy bar it can be... challenging.
    If I call my guitar my "axe," does that mean my mandolin is my hatchet?

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  13. #37
    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    Follow-up to post #32.

    I pulled the trigger on a Behringer Xair XR16 mixer. We are now able to get significantly more gain from the mic (have used it with both the MXL 990 and a Blue Bluebird). The RTA and EQ lets us get a lot more volume without feedback than we ever could before. Pretty happy with it!
    Drew
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  14. #38
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    As I think I have highlighted previously, room acoustics are going to have a massive impact on what is or is not viable in this context. In a hard, reflective space or one with a lot of background noise any single (especially a sensitive, LD condenser mic) is up against it. This is merely one of the laws of acoustics in effect, and all you can do is try to mitigate it. You can't make it go away.

    Regarding the Go-Rack.. these really were (past tense, sadly) a very nice little box. I still have mine and use them regularly. The anti-feedback system in these was as good as you find in many $500+ 19" rack units. Fast to lock on, accurate and very transparent. Maybe they were too good, hence DBX killed them off! I would always include a auto ranging AF device in 'tricky' situations as they'll kill off any incipient feedback much faster than you can manually and the notches these days are really tight. You can sometimes pick up used ones on Ebay: the Peavey Feedback Ferret's and Sabines do a good job too. They are not a first line of defense (that's down to good placement, gain staging and EQ) but as a final resort if things go wrong, they can save your audience some pain..
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  15. #39
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    You can't make the "laws of acoustics" go away but you can learn to accomplish what you want in spite of the laws. You work within the law as in anything else. Use a good equalizer and learn to ring a room out. In about 10 years of using one mic ( and only one mic) I can't recall but once that I couldn't make it work. Yes some places were harder than others but as a friend of mine says " if it was easy anyone could do it" also most of the time I used a figure 8 ribbon mic which may have made it eaisier or may be harder just depends but I had to argue with sound men more than once that told me impossible to use figure 8 mic in PA. Yes I used it even outside where you needed a lot of volume. Setting up a PA and working one ( one mic or many mics) is a skill that must be developed. Those that want to plug in and go will never sound consistently good however many mics you use.

  16. #40
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    I take it, it's never this well choreographed: https://youtu.be/9d2aBkiwXwg
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