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Thread: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

  1. #1

    Default Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    Hey All - as a relatively new mandolin player, wanted to get your opinions on the best live microphone to use for my Loar F-style. Know there are other threads out there on live mics but from what Iíve read itís very specific to the environment you play in.

    For context, I practice with a drummer and two electric guitars primarily in a smaller room so Iím hoping to find a mic that will ideally not pick up all the extra noise (not doing live gigs). I currently plug directly into a Fishman Loudbox Performer amp with an AT35 clip-on mic but it gives me random high pitched/screeching feedback and I tend to hit it with my right hand. Was hoping to find a stand up mic that would work if you all have recommendations, but perhaps its better to just have a twin internal installed instead. Thanks in advance for your time!

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    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    The old reliable standard for instrument mic'ing on stage is the Sure SM57. Just about every sound tech has a few of them, and if you don't have one it's a good mic to have in your kit, along with a reliable cable and a good mic stand.

    There are equivalent dynamic stand instrument mics available from Audix, Audio Technica, Sennheiser and many others. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages. But the SM57 or a close equivalent is great to have.

    I'm not big on mounted mics or pickups on mandolins or other small instruments, but there are lots of good folks here who can fill you in on some of those to choose from.

    On the other hand, if you need some suggestions for mounted mic or pickup equipment on a double bass, I could help you there .

    BTW, the reason other threads about this kind of thing are talking about venues too is that venues all sound different with different sound equipment. The dimensions and audience capacities of each venue makes a huge difference in sound. It really is part of the discussion.
    Last edited by dhergert; Sep-18-2022 at 8:09pm.
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  4. #3

    Default Re: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    If you are playing with electric guitars and a drummer, you'll need a pickup to get enough volume. It doesn't matter what mic you try; you won't get enough gain before feedback. You may need an electric mandolin.
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  6. #4

    Default Re: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post
    The old reliable standard for instrument mic'ing on stage is the Sure SM57. Just about every sound tech has a few of them, and if you don't have one it's a good mic to have in your kit, along with a reliable cable and a good mic stand.

    There are equivalent dynamic stand instrument mics available from Audix, Audio Technica, Sennheiser and many others. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages. But the SM57 or a close equivalent is great to have.

    I'm not big on mounted mics or pickups on mandolins or other small instruments, but there are lots of good folks here who can fill you in on some of those to choose from.

    On the other hand, if you need some suggestions for mounted mic or pickup equipment on a double bass, I could help you there .

    BTW, the reason other threads about this kind of thing are talking about venues too is that venues all sound different with different sound equipment. The dimensions and audience capacities of each venue makes a huge difference in sound. It really is part of the discussion.
    Thank you for your response and helpful suggestions. Agree on the venue discussion - thatís why I wanted to provide background as we donít play live gigs, but practice each week in a small room with full drum set and two fairly loud electric guitars (this is the primary location I would be using the mic in - wanting to cut through the full band but not pick up a ton of their instruments/feedback if possible)

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  8. #5

    Default Re: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Grieser View Post
    If you are playing with electric guitars and a drummer, you'll need a pickup to get enough volume. It doesn't matter what mic you try; you won't get enough gain before feedback. You may need an electric mandolin.
    Thank you - would installing a K&K twin internal pickup be the best option? I have a cheaper electric mandolin with piezo pickup but doesnít sound / play as well as my acoustic only Loar

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    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by bmfsfan615 View Post
    Thank you - would installing a K&K twin internal pickup be the best option? I have a cheaper electric mandolin with piezo pickup but doesn’t sound / play as well as my acoustic only Loar
    That's the reason to use mics. Piezo setups (of which the K&K twin is a nice example) almost always sound at least a little electronic when you get into high volume situations (which is why they can cut through other electric instruments), but they are pretty good about not causing feedback. And mics tend to reproduce tone best, but they just about always produce feedback when you get into high volume situations. So if you're looking at high volume, you probably have to choose piezos and electronic tone over mics and feedback. In which case, it's possible that an electric mandolin (meaning a fully electric mandolin, with a magnetic pickup system) is a better choice.

    So @Don Grieser has it right about pickups, feedback and an electric mandolin; at high volumes you may not be able to get the kind of tone you really want.

    One option if everyone in the band wants acoustic mandolin tone, is for everyone to play acoustic instruments and go mic'ed instead of electric -- and put the drummer on brushes only. Because as long as other band instruments are electric and loud, the mandolin will essentially have to be electric and loud too, in order to be heard.

    There are some pickups that provide both a piezo and a mic. I don't know how well they work for high volume situations, but maybe someone here who uses such a pickup can speak up. They probably require some sort of signal blending dual channel pre-amp in order to work properly.

    And one other pickup option: Krivo makes a Humbucking (magnetic) add-on pickup for acoustic fretted stringed instruments (Django Books carries them, NFI). I don't know if or what kind of pre-amp would be required, or if this pickup would work on a carved top mandolin. But it's out there.
    Last edited by dhergert; Sep-18-2022 at 10:36pm.
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    Default Re: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    Ok…. SM 57 are really the workhorse for the sound reinforcement industry. IMO to have a complete kit you need a mic, a transducer internally mounted, a quality pre amp, a small acoustic amp, a mic stand and a few assorted cables. Mic are great in some rooms but not all. A transducer may be used to generate an acceptable tone and impedance when matched to a preamp. A small acoustic amp can be used stand alone in a small room or as a moniter and line out to the board. Yes all these together can ba a big bite out of your wallet. Start with a transducer and preamp. Add the other oieces as you may. Good luck. R/
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    Default Re: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    So just wondering, if you are just practicing and no one is listening why does everyone need to be so loud. Maybe instead of you being louder everyone else needs to turn it down (playing loud does noe equate to playing better), your ears will thank you later in life (and likely everyone who is outside of that small room walls).

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    Default Re: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Mead View Post
    So just wondering, if you are just practicing and no one is listening why does everyone need to be so loud. Maybe instead of you being louder everyone else needs to turn it down (playing loud does noe equate to playing better), your ears will thank you later in life (and likely everyone who is outside of that small room walls).
    Couldnít agree more but havenít had success convincing the others in the group to take this approach

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    Default Re: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by bmfsfan615 View Post
    Couldnít agree more but havenít had success convincing the others in the group to take this approach
    It's a tough situation then. If it were me...

    My specialty is church music and I've been invited to help with primarily electronic Praise groups pretty often... I have to politely say "Sorry, no, it just wouldn't work, because acoustic mandolins just won't work with primarily electronic ensembles."

    I've already got compromised hearing and I want to preserve as much of my remaining hearing as I can for as long as I can. Plus, I already know I prefer more sensitive purely acoustic ensembles, only mic'ed as necessary. So for me it'd be an easy decision to gently excuse myself from this kind of environment.

    I also play banjo, which can be very loud and can generally keep up with loud electronic bands. And my double bass is fully setup with both onboard piezos and a mic, so there's no problem there either. But the things that I love an acoustic mandolin for just don't apply to primarily electronic bands.

    I will say, it's probably smart for electronic bands to practice with electronics tuned on, because there are a lot of technical things that need to be tested and worked out before getting on stage. But especially in a small confined practice venue, keeping volume at a reasonable level, and wearing good hearing protection becomes a top priority.
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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by bmfsfan615 View Post
    Hey All - as a relatively new mandolin player, wanted to get your opinions on the best live microphone to use for my Loar F-style. Know there are other threads out there on live mics but from what I’ve read it’s very specific to the environment you play in.

    For context, I practice with a drummer and two electric guitars primarily in a smaller room so I’m hoping to find a mic that will ideally not pick up all the extra noise (not doing live gigs). I currently plug directly into a Fishman Loudbox Performer amp with an AT35 clip-on mic but it gives me random high pitched/screeching feedback and I tend to hit it with my right hand. Was hoping to find a stand up mic that would work if you all have recommendations, but perhaps its better to just have a twin internal installed instead. Thanks in advance for your time!
    You're bringing a knife to a gunfight. You'll never get there with any mic playing with a drum kit and two (even one) electric guitars. Even a piezo SBT will not likely cut it.

    You see them big hats fronting a bro country band wearing an acoustic guitar? You ever actually hear that acoustic guitar?

    Unless your mando is strictly ornamental, your going to need to go solid body electric to work with these guys. Check out emando.com.

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    Default Re: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    I guess I would start looking for other folks to play with if they are unwilling to "play in the sandbox" appropriately as it does not sound like an enjoyable situation.

  19. #13

    Default Re: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    Thanks all!

  20. #14

    Default Re: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    National RM1 with hotplate. It won't sound quite like an acoustic mandolin, but it's definitely a mandolin. I agree with Don G. that you'll never be happy trying to compete with electric guitar and drums with an acoustic mandolin - although Sam Bush manages to do it somehow (I believe he uses an amplifier right near his ears and a pickup)

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    Registered User Steve Lavelle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    If Audio Sprocket's ever finds a new chip supply for their Tonedexter product that might be a solution using a piezo pickup. Maybe someone who purchased one before the supply dried up can comment?
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    Default Re: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    I love my Tonedexter. I bought it for mandolin but mainly use it with an electronic violin these days (I purchased a profile made specifically for Yamaha YEV104.). Amazing what it can do to a piezo tone if properly set up. One day I decided the violin tone would probably be fine with just the acoustic amp’s built-in effects. Wow, I went scuttling back to my Tonedexter like a starving dog after a bone!
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    Default Re: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Katz View Post
    National RM1 with hotplate. It won't sound quite like an acoustic mandolin, but it's definitely a mandolin. I agree with Don G. that you'll never be happy trying to compete with electric guitar and drums with an acoustic mandolin - although Sam Bush manages to do it somehow (I believe he uses an amplifier right near his ears and a pickup)
    In ear monitor?

    I would also vote for an RM1 with hotplate. I own one and WOW, is it every loud! Some people would consider it obnoxious, but then so are some electric guitars in the hands of amateurs. And drums.

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    Registered User Murphy Slaw's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    I've been using SM57's for years.

    If it's not loud enough, everybody else is simply too loud.
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    Default Re: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    The "Race up Loud Mountain" is a tough nut to crack. It comes with related attitude that also refuses to jibe with a mandolin. As mentioned in many-a-thread, the mandolin is not just a tiny upside-down guitar. It's played totally different and as a result, the other instruments in the group have to play as if they are hearing that a mandolin is there. When you play next to a mandolin, you shouldn't play like you're in the Ramones. Yet, here we are. In addition to the volume, there's also the issue that competing with a loud band is going to make you want to dig in and that's not where you find the tone it sounds like you're looking for.

    The only piece of advice I have that hasn't been mentioned is this. The tone you want is the result of more gentle playing. When playing with loud electrics, one natural reflex is to turn slightly down so you can really mash and bash. In addition to not being able to out-bash, the worse tone also fails to cut through electrics. Turn up as loud as you can without feedback and play more gently. That will get you good tone that cuts and allow your chopping to be more dynamic. When faced with a dual-guitar assault I can't fit with, I usually just fall back to chopping. Nobody's gonna hear more of me than that. If I am relegated to chopping an entire song, best bet I spend the whole song wondering if I am in the right band.
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    Default Re: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    Like condenser mics? Rode has 2 models with a 9v battery in them, to run whether Phantom power is present or not.
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    Default Re: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    Like condenser mics? Rode has 2 models with a 9v battery in them, to run whether Phantom power is present or not.
    I have the Rode M3, which is a small condenser mic with a 9v inside. Very versatile microphone for a whole bunch of applications.
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    Default Re: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    Why do you want music so loud that you canít work s mike close enough to be heard, especially in a practice situation??

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    Default Re: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    i recomend the akg c1000 dont cost alot ...reliable ..tough ..good sound

  31. #24
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    Default Re: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    I used a ATM350 on a show in a small club. The Punch Brothers used them for a while. I couldn't get loud enough to compete with drums. If you use an amp or monitor, forget about using a mic. You'll never get it loud enough. IMO If you need to play with a band, I'd recommend installing a K&K mandolin twin pickup. It may not sound as good as a mic, but at least you can hear it. I've created custom impulse responses for my mandolin so the K&K sounds pretty close to a mic now.
    I've played some really big stages with the K&K + IR loader and it's worked great.
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    Default Re: Live Mic for Mandolin Recommendations

    Iím a big fan of the Schertler Dyn-M. Itís a kind of mic which attaches to the top with putty. I have used it in some pretty loud gigs. They are pricey, but sound good.

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