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Single mic for group reinforcement?

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I'm assuming some sort of LD condenser....these are all acoustic instruments...


Polar pattern?


Should monitors even be considered?


Perhaps a second mic for string bass?


We're looking at four instruments plus vocals....guitar, mando, dobro, bass.....


Suggestions for PA and monitor speakers would be most helpful too.

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I would suggest individual mics for each instrument... (we are talking live sound reinforcement, right?) I would recommend a monitor for the vocal. Mix a little instruments into the vocal monitor... for an acoustic band, this should be plenty. For mics... I'd use a '57 on everything but the bass. Put up a Sennheiser 421 on a short stand, aimed at the bridge, if u have one. You will need to know your way around the console to pull this one off...
Yes, there's bass in the caR-R-R-R-R
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Dave, for your music, and the quality players you play with you can certainly go with a LD and do the dance. Polar should do fine but you might also give it a shot with an omni pattern. You won't have to dance quite as much.

As to the bass, stand up or acoustic? I'm assuming stand up. You may not need an additional mic, depending on where the bass is set up but it's certainly worth experimenting with, as to a second mic.


I've done some single polar pattern LD mic recordings with the guys, Dakota Night. Still tons to learn but with just the one mic things came out ok. The bass is electric though.


Depending on the venue you can likely get along without monitors with the single LD.


If you go with multiple mics, placement is going to be very important, as is the sound guy to ensure the levels are correct. You may need monitors there more than with a single mic.


PA systems will depend on the venue size and your preference.

Where and a couple of others will slam Carvin but I've had great success with my Carvin system running one vocal mic and one guitar mic, or one pickup, direct to the board, sometimes blended with the mic. I've had that system outdoors with well over 500 people spread out in a large area and had very good coverage and sound with a measly 200 watts into two 8 ohm loudspeakers.


You'll get varying remarks and opinions about powered mixers versus component systems. Personally I'd go with either a powered mixer system or a mixer into powered loudspeakers and preferably the first.

This is all subject to venue size and possible other needs. You may need to go with compression, 31 band eq and other outboard gear but for most smaller venues that stuff is not needed.


[edit] Oh, I've also been knocking this Carvin system around in the back of a pickup truck for about 10 years with nary a glitch. The only thing that really shows is cat scratch fever that was applied to the loudspeakers by my cat's claws the first week I had them, the loudspeakers. I'd had the cats for some time before that. ;)

It's my opinion that the folks blasting Carvin quality are either gear name snobs or have not used Carvin products in the last twenty years or so, or both. [/edit]


Our Joint


"When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it." The Duke...

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Originally posted by Is there bass in the caR-R-R-R-R?:

I would suggest individual mics for each instrument...

I've done this way for years...run sound for touring acts too; and we're looking for something different. I've been MOST impressed with several "bluegrass" acts that use a single mic for everything except the string bass...it usually has a dedicated mic. So I'm trying to figure out the best mics to use, and then the simplest, most effective single point source pa speaker...and monitor if it will work.


DAK, thanks for your input. I can appreciate your appreciation of the Carvin stuff. I borrowed a pair of Carvin three way speakers from my older brother for a while....my ears like my JBL speaker better, although it doesn't have quite the bass response, the midband was much cleaner and more defined. I'm thinking about the EAW three way speaker...but that thing is REALLY pricey....


So in order of importance, it's mics first, then we'll be looking at speaker cabs. We've all got mixers and pretty good quality speakers...but we want something "extra hifi" in the speaker system....

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It takes a very very well intuitive band to make one mic work. If you go that route, there are no monitors. You work the mic by referencing the main speakers. Don't expect to get very loud, it's some slight reinforcement only.


While for bluegrass it is definitely my preferred method if the group can manage it, you might consider trying it in conjunction with some spot mics until you get the hang of it. Typically an AT 4050 or 4033A is used, which are cardiods. I've used 414's with good success also, as well as a Rode NTK, which worked very very well.


Don't use monitors, even with the multiple mic situation if you are ever thinking of going with one mic. It'll be hell to wean off it. Learn to play dynamically so you can all hear eachother and blend well. Not everything needs to be amplified in this louder than loud world we live in to be heard. Louder ? better.

Hope this is helpful.


NP Recording Studios

Analog approach to digital recording.

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We use one mic for our live act, although it's not a bluegrass act. We mic up Leslie, keys bass, vibraphone, drums, vocal, and acoustic guitar all through the one mic and it sounds glorious and is quite crankable, although we are not after LOUD- we're after beautiful. With these instruments, we don't do the dance bluegrass style, we stay put and mix ourselves to the mic by dynamic interplay among the band. Some of the instruments are as much as 5 feet from the mic! The reason it works is because these are all concert instruments that really project (voice too) and we make a serious amount of acoustic sound.


After auditioning many, many mics we went with the Schoeps mk41/cmc6 which is a small diameter hypercardioid mic.


There is a good thread on LDC's vs. SDC's for live one-mic music, with a focus on bluegrass, on Klaus Heyne's Mic Forum at www.prosoundweb.com. Basically nobody can figure out why LDC's are so common in this application as SDC's are a much better bet with their superior off-axis response. The better the off-axis response is, the better people sound from the side of the mic. Until you get clear behind it, something like the mk41 gives you a perfectly even frequency response all the way around the mic. LDC's tend to roll off the highs as you move around to the side of the mic.


It can be a complete revelation to hear how good live sound can be without the phase issues that putting up 2 or more mics introduces.


We have done a lot of taped rehearsals with our one-mic setup. You really need to practice with it and work together and make sure you know how to work it. That it requires the musicians to work together as a team and balance their instruments in the air, is one of the best things about this technique.


Don't go trying it without the necessary homework and give it a bad name!



"There is nothing I regret so much as my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?" -Henry David Thoreau

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