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Thread: Best Bluegrass Band Single Microphone?

  1. #1
    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Best Bluegrass Band Single Microphone?

    Long story short . . . several years ago a local bluegrass band came to the radio station where I work, and we recorded several tracks for them. Before we stared recording, the band leader handed me a microphone and said; 'use this microphone, it will pick up the whole band with no problem'. Much to my shock it picked up every nuance of every instrument and vocal, and sounded amazing.

    Any ideas on what microphone this may have been?
    I recently finished a new homemade 4-song EP of original solo acoustic songs; (sorry, no mandolin content this time). If you are interested in a FREE copy, feel free to send me your address via Private Message, and I will be glad to send you one. Trust me, it will be worth the price!


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    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Bluegrass Band Single Microphone?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeZito View Post
    Long story short . . . several years ago a local bluegrass band came to the radio station where I work, and we recorded several tracks for them. Before we stared recording, the band leader handed me a microphone and said; 'use this microphone, it will pick up the whole band with no problem'. Much to my shock it picked up every nuance of every instrument and vocal, and sounded amazing.

    Any ideas on what microphone this may have been?
    A physical description would help, but I can recommend the Shure KSM44A, which is a full omni-directional large-diaphragm condenser mic. I have the single-diaphragm version, the KSM 32, and it is very generous in its pattern with no tone change off-axis. A friend that owns a studio has the 44A and loves it. Dual diaphragms means choice of pattern, from cardioid to dual-cardioid to omni.
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    Default Re: Best Bluegrass Band Single Microphone?

    Was it weird looking? Could it have been an Ear Trumpet?
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    Default Re: Best Bluegrass Band Single Microphone?

    Three points:

    1) There is no such thing as a 'best' microphone. There are a lot of good ones, some superb ones, and which is 'best' is very much open to personal taste, your technical requirements, and intended use. That brings me to to:

    2) There is huge difference to what sounds best (or is even useable) in an acoustically treated studio vs. what might sound best (or indeed, work at all) in an untreated room and certainly, in a live situation. Totally, utterly different situations.

    3) The mic was probably a multi-pattern LD condenser. There is a wide choice of these available. Many of them are excellent. In general (as with mandolins) the more you pay, the better the specifications and performance. Multi-pattern LD condensers range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars each. You can get very nice ones from around the $500 upwards mark..
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    Default Re: Best Bluegrass Band Single Microphone?

    Ear Trumpet labs seem to work as well as anything and they look cooler.
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    Default Re: Best Bluegrass Band Single Microphone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Leyda View Post
    Ear Trumpet labs seem to work as well as anything and they look cooler.
    I honestly don't understand why, but they seem pretty bulletproof. We use a ETL Myrtle and a digital mixer with feedback suppression, and the mic always sounds great. Airy, transparent. We used a 4033 previously, and had to really be careful with the EQ to keep it from sounding boxy. Plus, we do get a lot of positive feedback from audiences who are intrigued by the look.
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    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Bluegrass Band Single Microphone?

    I saw Punch Brothers a couple of years back, and their microphone did exactly as you described. They remain the best sounding band I've ever seen live - in a hall in Sydney of about 1000 (?) capactiy. Every instrument was clear. I can't find the details now, but I remember researching it when I saw them, and the mic was worth 26000 second hand. This is possibly out of your budget, but it might be the one the studio engineer pointed you too.
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    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Bluegrass Band Single Microphone?

    Second vote for the KSM44 Shure
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  11. #9
    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Bluegrass Band Single Microphone?

    THANKS to all for your input - I now have a good starting point for further research.

    At the time that we recorded this bluegrass band, I owned a small recording studio and had no real need for a single mic to record small groups . . . but, now that conditions have changed, and good single microphone might be very useful. Only time will tell.
    I recently finished a new homemade 4-song EP of original solo acoustic songs; (sorry, no mandolin content this time). If you are interested in a FREE copy, feel free to send me your address via Private Message, and I will be glad to send you one. Trust me, it will be worth the price!


    Mike Zito YouTube Channel:
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  12. #10

    Default Re: Best Bluegrass Band Single Microphone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Leyda View Post
    Ear Trumpet labs seem to work as well as anything and they look cooler.
    I do not get the love for ear trumpet. They certainly look cool, and if you have not heard MUCH better then you would think it is great. But I have a real world experience that makes me a doubter:

    A band of some reputation had used AKG 414 and a pair of Neuman KM84 in a high low set up for years. I saw them maybe 4 times with this setup. indoor clubs of 300-500 seats. They always sounded FANTASTIC. Then they switched to ear trumpet. It was a NOTICEABLY worse sound. I was disappointing enough that I considered emailing the band to let them know. I never got around to it. Last time I saw them, they had ditched the Ear Trumpet mics. This suggests that they agreed with my assessment. I have long been a believer in the AKG 414, and still am after this experience.

    Even if you do not have 414 money, I would think that for the money that ear trumpet costs (600?) you can get a large diaphragm mic that sounds better

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