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Thread: Using a single microphone to play live

  1. #1
    Registered User JKA's Avatar
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    Default Using a single microphone to play live

    Do any members have any working experience (in an acoustic band line up) of using a single mic when playing live? I'd be grateful for any tips, techniques or things to watch out for.
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    Registered User Mike Snyder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    Yes, trim all the wire on all the peg heads VERY short. Learning to work the mic is a contact activity.
    Mike Snyder

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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    I have used a single mic for years, I play gospelmusic,most of the time in churches. I think a single mic would work anywhere that people are listening to the music, probably not as well in a bar. I think to be successful with single mic you cannot use monitors you really don't need them if you're all together around one mic but that takes some getting used to, mostly it's a mental thing.Mike is right you have to learn the dance and that is something you must figure out for your particular band, how many members, who needs to be closer to mic vocally and with instrument etc. Whoever sets up the sound needs to get good at ringing out a system with the EQ's. You will need a good graphic EQ and I use slight compression just to cover minor mistakes in working the mic, other than that have fun, people are hearing you more like they were sitting in your living room listening live instead of listenint to records and I think most people like that.

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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    Exit from the mic to the sides; prepare to exit before your break is over. Make room for the person to exit. Move into the mic from the back. Banjo doesn't need to be that close. Guitar needs to stay anchored closer to the mic. Don't eat onions and garlic before performing.
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    Don't plan on having stage monitors. I've used one for years. Setting up one mic is a heck of as lot easier than 5 or 10. The dance is a big part of it. A friend of mine has a rug he carries around with a circle on it that shows where you need to be to be heard.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User JKA's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    Thanks for the replies folks...very useful. Looks like our next practice is going to be learning the dance!
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    Practice the moves. A lot.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

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    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    The attached photo was a job where we only used the single mic and it was fine. Most of the time we also use an internal mic in the guitar, a clip on mic (AT Pro 35) on the mandolin, and a pickup on the bass. I like the single mic setup with and without the supplements.
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    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    My dad is in several bands. He says he prefers a single mic, but it takes a group effort to make it work.
    "There ain't too many folks, who can play too many notes... on the mandolin"

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    " single microphone " http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/se...archid=7578009

    to cut the harmony singing head banging , friends have 2 LD Cardioid pattern Mics side by side

    ... on 1 stand..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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    Registered User pit lenz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    to cut the harmony singing head banging , friends have 2 LD Cardioid pattern Mics side by side

    ... on 1 stand..
    like this?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-iIEX5yeeo

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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    I started using a single mic last year and it took some practice getting all of the instruments placed where they would be heard equally, we use a condenser mic so there isn`t a need to do too much dancing around, they pick up just about everything if you stand in a semi circle, we do mic the bass extra but really don`t need to because it will pick him us also...The last gig we played the people couldn`t believe how well we sounded with just one mic...

    The one draw back I expected to happen is that you don`t have the availability to tweak each instruments mic to get their best sound so it is so important to have good sounding instruments....Make a test run and try and figure out where each picker should stand to get an equal sound from each instrument.....Mike has a good idea with marks on the carpet so each one know where he is to stand...

    Good luck with it, it`s a lot of fun...

    Willie

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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    Set up your whole sound system and practice WITH IT! Learn the intricacies before subjecting listeners to rehearsal. Unless it's a little bar gig where it's more "paid practice" then, bets are off. If you're being paid for performance, be professional. The time spent learning will repay you time and again.
    New equipment or even new set up needs to be understood by all the band! One guy changes something and throws a wrench in the mix for everyone. I'm not talking about strings or instrument set up but different instrument kind of thing. My banjo player has become a "builder" too and will just whip out a new concoction with a bigger "dynamic footprint" (read, noisier than a chicken coop being stomped by Godzilla) play it for half a set and then change back! Talk about sound man frustration!?
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    Many discussion on this... various pros and cons... to add something new, this is a little piece of gear I stumbled across more or less my accident that I have found really, really useful in situations where a "live single mic" is being used. This device has recently been discontinued... but you may find one at "blow out" prices (like I did) or on Ebay. This is intended as a vocal processor - but don't let that put you off. Although it has loads of stuff on there you don't need - it has several things that can prove invaluable.

    First, it has a very nice quality DBX preamp built in that supplies a full +48v.

    Then... a very transparent and extremely effective anti-feedback notch filter function that is fully automatic. There are 12 floating filters. This locks onto feedback very quickly and removes it - while affecting the sound far less than a graphic EQ would. The notches are very tight indeed. Set and forget. It works, and works well.

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    Second big plus. How about your own virtual soundcheck? Record around 70 seconds of your performance. Hit replay... the whole band can wander out front and hear exactly you sound from the audience position. This keeps playing in a loop until you stop it, so you can tweak things from the desk while hearing the results.... absolutely great. Many digital mixers have this, but the upfront cost is a lot more than this. For a single mic , this does exactly the same thing. On the cheap.

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    Third nice feature. You can program your mic with an A/B option... here, Option A has no reverb, Option B adds reverb (adjustable) but other FX parameters can be assigned. One click operation.

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    Finally, it has a full digital channel strip.. offering a range of EQ and compression choices. Lots of choices. Again, similar to what you find on a full digital console (though not quite as sophisticated). All the basic EQ and compression is there, though.

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    It is pretty easy to use. Only downside it is powered by a dreaded "wall wart" - and the 1950's jukebox styling may not appeal.... apart from that, it does work seriously well in a "single mic" situation. The AFS processing alone is worth having.

    There are two versions, or were. The Digitech Vocalist Harmony (as shown) and the Digitech Vocalist FX (similar, but without the harmony processing). Both will work fine for this application, however.

    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/VLFX/reviews

    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/VLHM

    I paid a lot less than that.... worth shopping around if you want to try one.
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    Registered User pit lenz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    Almeria, how would you compare the feedback notch filters to those of dbx's Gorack?

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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    Very similar. They use exactly the same algorithm and DSP - except there are 12 single channel 'notches' on these vocal processors and 2 X 10 'notches' available on the GoRack. They are both very effective. Of course, on these vocal processors, you also have +48v on the mic preamp, which is useful if connecting a mic directly. The GoRack is more suitable for connecting as an insert before your speakers (main + monitor or main + main), these vocal processors are more useful as a 'channel strip' with AFS.
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    Registered User pit lenz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    Good to know.
    l've been using the GoRack (after having read your report here) with a single mic situation for a little while now.
    Audic SCx25a > small mixer (+48 and pre) > GoRack > pub's sound system for our monthly jam. Everybody is really happy with that situation!
    But maybe the vocalist is even a slicker solution...

  28. #18
    Gummy Bears and Scotch BrianWilliam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    I just picked up a gorack and will be using it for the first time on Saturday. Any advice for the uninitiated? Thanks!

  29. #19
    Registered User pit lenz's Avatar
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    Exclamation Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    Install and soundcheck before the audience is in, because you have to put up volume and let the system feedback, so GoRack can find the offending frequencies and dip them. Do that by CAREFULLY raising the volume until the first ringing tone appears. Give it a moment to recognize and delete it. Then go further up with yout dial or fader, the next one (different frequency) will appear. Proceed until you're loud enough with your mike.

    I like to use a low cut in the mixer and a little compression in GoRack, maybe around 40 on the digits scale, be aware that this pulls up the volume below your compression threshold, so I'd dial the feedback with the comp already on.

    Most important tip: After you rang out the system, take care not to unplug the wallwart or loose power, because GoRack will then forget the already found frequencies and reset to default. Happened to me once, and going through the ringing process again is no fun for the audience... :-(
    Any other questions, feel free to ask or pm me. Glad to help.
    Pit
    Last edited by pit lenz; Aug-16-2016 at 10:29am. Reason: Spelling

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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    What he just said

    Worth noting you should carefully check the settings. These are very clear, but the defaults may not be what you need. For example, for most purposes you will need it in "Stereo" (dual channel mode). That way, you can use it either between two main speakers (L+R) or between an Aux Send (Monitor) and a main (or pair of daisy-chained mains) or even between a powered speaker on one channel and a mic level on the other. It is very versatile in that respect. Lots of ways to hook it up. It is actually an impressive little device - sounds very good indeed. No complaints at all there, and it is super portable. Using the compressor will reduce the feedback threshold somewhat, so you need to be careful with that. If the prices in Europe drop to the levels they have in the US, I'll probably buy another one.... well worth having.
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    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    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.
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  33. #22
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    You would likely find a good auto-feedback suppressor makes a real difference. These things are very good today, using highly precise notches and they react much faster than any human on a desk can, too. I know some die-hards swear against them (or at mere mention of them), but I think a lot of that is based on the early examples which did not perform anything like as transparently and accurately as current models. Given they have been moving the DBX Goracks for $29 in the US recently, I'd grab one fast....I set a female vocalist up with one recently. She had been having terrible problems with feedback in the typical venues we have here... tiled floors, hard walls, no soft furnishings.... it was turning her gigs into a real nightmare. One of these simply fixed it for her. She was blown away by the difference it made.
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
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  35. #23
    Gummy Bears and Scotch BrianWilliam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    I've had a similar experience with the Bose setup - condensers need some distance from those speakers. Hopefully the gorack will give me more flexibility. Thanks!

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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    I use a condenser mic with a mixer and then feed it to the Bose L-I through the pre amp out puts, using the mixer EQ to cut down on feed back...Cannot adjust the output on the mixer too high but can really jack it up on the Bose out put ....I love the system and everything it offers... It is heavy, I don`t have the Bose compact, I use the full sized one...My mixer has little lights that show what frequency is feeding back so that makes it easy to ring it out and correct the feedback....I have never tried feeding the mic directly into the Bose but some do it...

    Willie

  37. #25
    Registered User JKA's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a single microphone to play live

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie Poole View Post
    I use a condenser mic with a mixer and then feed it to the Bose L-I through the pre amp out puts, using the mixer EQ to cut down on feed back...Cannot adjust the output on the mixer too high but can really jack it up on the Bose out put ....I love the system and everything it offers... It is heavy, I don`t have the Bose compact, I use the full sized one...My mixer has little lights that show what frequency is feeding back so that makes it easy to ring it out and correct the feedback....I have never tried feeding the mic directly into the Bose but some do it...

    Willie
    Willie

    Can you send me your email again as the one you sent wasn't complete and mine to you is bouncing back or contact me on askewkeith5@gmail.com
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