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Thread: Issue with Feedback

  1. #1
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    Default Issue with Feedback

    I realize this topic has likely been covered ad nauseum already, but I haven't been able to find the answers I'm looking for in the Forum archives. So here I am.
    I'm having a fair amount of difficulty producing enough volume on stage without getting feedback from PA systems and/or using my SWR Strawberry Blonde amp. I recently had a K&K twin installed in my MD315 as per the recommendation of the folks at Fiddlers Green here in Austin. They felt the K&K would be less sensitive to feedback than the Radius I'd been using- and it is- but it's still an issue.

    I play in a medium-volume band with drums and electric guitars. Everyone is fairly experienced and understands volume control so it's not like I have to "crank it to 11" to be heard. I've read threads suggesting a good preamp will help. I've tried to Para DI and wasn't too excited by it. Currently have my eye on the Fire Eye Red Eye.
    Here's my gear rundown:

    MD315 to Tuner to SWR Strawberry Blonde to PA.

    Not crazy about the SWR for Mandolin but I hate the idea of plugging directly into a PA system because I am a control freak and want to be able to adjust my tone/volume on stage. I suppose that comes from playing guitar and bass for so many years.
    Anyway, any suggestions or thoughts? Should I consider an emando and just use my Eastman for recording and living-room jams? Recommendations for a different on stage amp?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Issue with Feedback

    I've used a K&K in that configuration, only with a AER amp. I use the DI out to go to the board and the amp for my personal monitor. I've never had any feedback problems. I've used an AKG C411 like that too with no problems.. Are you running the SWR to the board (they have the DI out, don't they?) or using it alone? I've heard that the Red Eye is very good.
    I reread your post and thought of this. I now use a Headway preamp which has good tone shaping capabilities (parametric and more). It has a low-Z line to the board and a 1/4" line to a stage amp. You might like something like this for the tone control it gives you for the board.

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  4. #3
    its a very very long song Jim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Issue with Feedback

    where are you standing in relation to your amp? I'm sure you know the closer to the amp and/or if the amp is pointed at you & your instrument it will be much more prone to feedback. If you must have your amp in the signal chain maybe you could mike the amp and listen to it throught the monitors where you could lower its stage volume. In any case the stage volume is your enemy. If your amp is behind you and you are competing with electric guitars doing the same you are not going to be able to achieve the same volume levels and might need a solid body electric mandolin to hang with the volume level.
    Jim Richmond

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    Mandolin addicted...So? Pete Counter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Issue with Feedback

    Put the PARA DI back in the line and take out the SWR, You will volume control from the DI and with it going straight to the PA, it will give a pretty natural sound. Thats exactly the same setup Ive been using for a long time.

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    Default Re: Issue with Feedback

    Thanks for the suggestions! I'm pretty careful about amp placement and what direction the mandolin is facing. I'll try going sans the SWR at my next rehearsal. I'm not crazy about the tone, anyway.
    Still not crazy about having my signal thrown back to me via monitors...I suppose that is the nature of the instrument.
    I'll have to look into the Headway preamp.
    Thanks again!
    Last edited by Fingers; Jul-08-2013 at 5:09pm.

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    Default Re: Issue with Feedback


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    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Issue with Feedback

    There are only two practical ways to reduce/prevent feedback:

    1) Reduce the acoustic energy from the speakers reaching the transducer. Cutting stage volume, careful positioning of monitors and players and choice of pickup/instrument all have a role in this.

    2) Try to cut the most problematic frequencies. This is where a preamp with (preferably) parametric EQ can help. Note that a preamp that lacks a decent EQ section will not help. In fact, it will likely make it even worse by introducing more gain. The PARA DI and the Headway are both good in this department. Another option is to include an automatic 'feedback killer'. These use very tight notch filters, some fixed, some 'roving' to kill feedback as it starts. I have a few of these which I use as channel inserts on the desk in really tricky situations:

    http://www.sabine.com/newsite/solo2.html

    They can certainly get you more gain before feedback, and are pretty transparent. They do have limits, however.. and are not exactly cheap... the first line of attack should be to look at option 1, above, because that is where the root of the problem lies.
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  13. #8
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    Default Re: Issue with Feedback

    Thought I should update as it's been a while.
    I ended up buying a RedEye and an MXR EQ pedal to scoop out offending frequencies if I needed to. After playing a few gigs in some larger and medium sized venues with quality PA/sound engineers, I found no need for the EQ pedal and elected to go with the RedEye alone. Can't say enough about this pedal- really, really natural sounding.
    I do find myself playing in "rock" bands where volume is an issue so I'm looking into going the Emando route for those gigs. I've played the 4-string Emandos and haven't been able to embrace that philosophy but I suppose that's a thread of it's own sometime...
    Thanks, Ya'll!

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Issue with Feedback

    Yea,
    Loud stage environment, might be ringing the acoustic mandolin top.
    & pickup electronics close the loop ..

    So, you might consider a solid body electric. 8 string perhaps ..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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    Default Re: Issue with Feedback

    I have had the same challenges at times and ended up using a FishmAn loudbox 100 with the k&k direct into the amp with no pre. I tried it with the para di and I sounded worse. Then after reading amps manual I discovered the input channel was looking for the impedance that the pickup was out putting directly check the Blonds manual and see what impedance it was looking for. . I can put a eq in the effects loop if needed. The other trick I just used was to put up a nice small diaphragm condenser for solos that gives me a richer acoustic sound and the ability to work dynamics better than an amp alone. The mic does not have to loud enough for the mandolin alone just enough to make the solos stand out more. You could use any mic that is a decent acoustic mic for that. More gear but a very nice result. I read that the red eye uses a special transformer not from the audio world that the maker stumbled upon, I sure would like to try one sometime. Thanks for the report.
    John

    2012 Collins MT-2 Birds Eye Maple
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    1930 National Resonator with new custom neck and "Doug Unger" inlay and back painted by Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong
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    Default Re: Issue with Feedback

    Also regrading the emando the Godin works really well.
    John

    2012 Collins MT-2 Birds Eye Maple
    1924 Gibson F-4
    2010 Custom National Resonator (one of a kind)
    1930 National Resonator with new custom neck and "Doug Unger" inlay and back painted by Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong
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  17. #12
    In The Van Ben Milne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Issue with Feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Fingers View Post
    Thought I should update as it's been a while.
    I ended up buying a RedEye and an MXR EQ pedal to scoop out offending frequencies if I needed to. After playing a few gigs in some larger and medium sized venues with quality PA/sound engineers, I found no need for the EQ pedal and elected to go with the RedEye alone. Can't say enough about this pedal- really, really natural sounding.
    I do find myself playing in "rock" bands where volume is an issue so I'm looking into going the Emando route for those gigs. I've played the 4-string Emandos and haven't been able to embrace that philosophy but I suppose that's a thread of it's own sometime...
    Thanks, Ya'll!
    Red eye is a good choice, as is playing gigs that have competent sound techs.

    For louder bands, I actually think the fishman bridge pickup (M200, M300) is a better option than the K&K Twin. The K&K I would recommend for a quiet folk act as they will translate more naturally, but when you need to gain up, the body is often too live.
    Because they are a bridge pickup, the Fishman will have less body resonance interaction with the sound reinforcement system, allowing more gain before feedback. I came to this conclusion having worked with a Celt-punk band whose mandolin player had both the K&K and fishman installed which meant we could use the same mando to A-B each pickup.

    With your strawberry blonde amp, I really don't think any external pres or EQs should be required since that amp has those features on board including the balanced out to feed to the PA.
    For best results you could probably try having it to your left side rather than behind you. This will not only get the sound direct to your ears rather than spilling past you and also move the phase interactaction with the instrument body around 90 so instead of resonating into the body and coupling that your pickup is mounted in it spills past the body along the plane of the ribs.

    If you don't mind looking like you're playing a mini guitar and you want another mandolin, the Godin A8 Mandolin would indeed be a good option.
    Hereby & forthwith, any instrument with an odd number of strings shall be considered broken. With regard to mix levels, usually the best approach is treating the mandolin the same as a cowbell.

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  19. #13
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    Default Re: Issue with Feedback

    Good points, the only caveat I might say is that my experience with the Fishman bridge pickup was unsatisfactory. I tried it with the Fishman Aura as it was advertised to work with. I was unhappy with the evenness of frequency response from string to string. Perhaps it was a bad one? With the right eq it might work well. I get pretty high gain levels with the K&K twin without feedback. But I am not playing with drums at all. The Godin works well however the dynamic range is very different than an acoustic mandolin, not as linear perhaps? I also use the National at times and with a mic I can always be heard and the dynamic range of that instrument is huge. Not traditional for bluegrass but I always get complements on the tone and cut through. The challenge of mandolin playing with other instruments usually comes down to dynamic range, and the real solution is to play with others who know how to work dynamics so you are heard drums or not. Harder to find than hens teeth sometimes though. Dynamics is usually what separates great bands from run of the mill average groups. Pounders I call them and avoid playing with anyone like that.
    John

    2012 Collins MT-2 Birds Eye Maple
    1924 Gibson F-4
    2010 Custom National Resonator (one of a kind)
    1930 National Resonator with new custom neck and "Doug Unger" inlay and back painted by Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong
    2005 Godin A-8
    2013 Kentucky KM-1050 "stage and club mandolin"

  20. #14
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    Default Re: Issue with Feedback

    Good points, the only caveat I might say is that my experience with the Fishman bridge pickup was unsatisfactory. I tried it with the Fishman Aura as it was advertised to work with. I was unhappy with the evenness of frequency response from string to string. Perhaps it was a bad one? With the right eq it might work well. I get pretty high gain levels with the K&K twin without feedback. But I am not playing with drums at all. The Godin works well however the dynamic range is very different than an acoustic mandolin, not as linear perhaps? I also use the National at times and with a mic I can always be heard and the dynamic range of that instrument is huge. Not traditional for bluegrass but I always get complements on the tone and cut through. The challenge of mandolin playing with other instruments usually comes down to dynamic range, and the real solution is to play with others who know how to work dynamics so you are heard drums or not. Harder to find than hens teeth sometimes though. Dynamics is usually what separates great bands from run of the mill average groups. Pounders I call them and avoid playing with anyone like that.
    John

    2012 Collins MT-2 Birds Eye Maple
    1924 Gibson F-4
    2010 Custom National Resonator (one of a kind)
    1930 National Resonator with new custom neck and "Doug Unger" inlay and back painted by Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong
    2005 Godin A-8
    2013 Kentucky KM-1050 "stage and club mandolin"

  21. #15
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    Default Re: Issue with Feedback

    For feedback-proof performance with a wide tonal palette and broad dynamic range I have one word: Ovation.
    Dedicated Ovation player
    Avid Bose user

  22. #16
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Issue with Feedback

    my 1 word , earplugs. [protect your hearing]


    There are some made for musicians as well ..
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    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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