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Using a mic with NO Problems in loud situations

I like many of you have run the gamut of different amps an pickups and have never been happy with the tone they produced We also have tried just using a PA with mics and traditional monitor rigs with no luck.

After 400+ gigs here is what we do in Caravan Gypsy Swing Ensemble with no problems. We each run AKG C1000S mic into the vocal line of a Trace Elliot TA100 acoustic amp. This functions as a glorified stage monitor. We then take the pre-eq line out of the amp to the PA head. The TA100 is the perfect amp for that because it has a notch filter and a 5 band eq for the vocal line so you have a lot of control. It is an expensive rig but I just do not have feedback problems and PURE acoustic tone. I have been able to play in some pubs with thunderous crowd dins with no trouble.

Our other guitarist also did this for a while with a Fender Acoustisonic amp. It proved problematic due to the fact the fender had only 2 tone knobs for the vocal channel.

I would love to hear what luck anyone else has had with going straight acoustic.

I hope this helps!
Chris Ruppenthal
Caravan Gypsy Swing Ensemble
www.gypsyswing.com

Comments

  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,250
    I've been making a point to discuss this lately with people who gig/tour a lot. Sorry for the tome, but this is really on my mind lately - I'm guessing this feedback comes from ?? well - more than 30 players who are a mix of regional / national / international players as well as conversations with owners of two well known amplification manufacturing/design companies and probably half a dozen guys who do sound for live venues. I really hope that this big post doesn't kill the thread. If it does, I'll pull it and hope to get people posting on this topic.

    At any rate, what I've learned so far regarding mic/amp setups for GJ:

    That Trace preamp is a good one - well liked. Filters are key - good preamps or good preamp sections in the amp are key; without them you have no control over your sound and you're at the mercy of the room... well... you're always at the mercy of the room, but equalization and filtration and physical placement of mics/amps/players can help. The other preamps that seem to be well liked are the K&K pure and that little Baggs purple pre (name?)

    C1000s you asked about. Good stage mic; liked as it has onboard battery power encase you can't find a powered line, LED lets you and the sound guy both know if it's hot, presence boost & hypercariod options (though the adapters are small and easy to lose), fairly hard to overdrive, ubiquitous generic windsocks fit it, durable enough to hammer nails with. The crisp dry focused sound is darned good with a GJ guitar / archtop / mandolin etc. Not well liked for bowed strings / not enough booty for a bass and too harsh for a violin. Shure SM57 seems to be popular for durability and sound - SM58 - not a perfect mic, but some players use them because they're everywhere and so if they know how to get a 58 to sound good - they're basically safe because most venues have at least one or two of them. A a ton of other mics of various form factors from side address to pencil. Mics seem kind of like religion - people tend to find what they like and stick with it - not like picks / strings etc.. which people swap a lot when looking for changes in tone.

    Clipons are also popular with the mic-lovin crowd - and reportedly more feedback resistant - though people who really like mics tend not to fear feedback as much as they fear not sounding acoustic. Audio Technica makes two that seem to be used a bit - $100 / $250 range. A few others get mentions too - most reasonable (price-wise) one I've heard a touring artist like is the Radio Shack Optimus lavalier mic - he prefers it to his Audio Technica.

    Mics (clipon and external) are often used to supplement onboard vibration sensing pickups, particularly in very acoustically hostile environments where the crowd noise is really loud or the room is very prone to feedback.

    Something I've noticed is that there seems to be either an irrational fear of - or irrational preference for mics... two sides of the same coin perhaps - because the decision to use mics or use other forms of amplification tends to be driven by fear... What I mean by that is: People who use mics tend to do so because they fear the harshness of piezo. Peope who avoid mics do so because they fear feedback. What's odd is that Mic users don't fear feedback and Piezo users don't fear their tone. I think the moral to the story is that there is a lot to be gained by becoming knowledgeable about whatever form of amplification you use and how to use it in various environments so that you never get into a venue and wind up with feedback or tone problems because you have the knowledge and equipment to solve whatever problems the room / PA throws at you. Maybe the best approach is to become knowledgeable about both so you have a really big toolkit so you never find yourself in a venue you can't rock. In essence, this is why top acts hire soundmen, but how many of us can afford to do that? Players who tend to have a very strong preference for either piezo or mic will generally tell you a nightmare story about either the worst tone or worst feedback they ever had - and bottom line, they just feel uncomfortable with the other type of amplification - or to be more specific - they worry that it's going to put them in a situation that they can't control and that will affect the success of the gig. Magnetic pickups are a third element of this equation... they tend to be more popular with the piezo crowd. Some people like the tone - particularly if the other guitar they'll be playing with is an archtop and they want to be a good match - but mostly people just like them because they pretty much sound the same in any venue and are really feedback resistant.

    What options do you run your C100s with - i.e., do you use the hypercariod or presence boost attachments?
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,831
    I've been using the Schertler with the David amp with no real feedback problems.

    While it does not sound as pure as a mic it does have a nice acoustic sound . Definitely more of an acoustic guitar tone than any piezo that I have heard.

    I think a lot of it comes down to personal preference as far as tone goes.
  • gitpickergitpicker Beijing/San Francisco✭✭✭✭ Favino, Favino
    Posts: 206
    If there's space for a mic stand I also use an AKG, the Perception 170. Sounds amazing with GJ guitars both through a PA and the Unico. Feedback can be a problem with the amp if it's too close but I haven't tried any filters or any of that.

    The Audio Technica at831b that Michael sells here is awesome too. I use it through the Unico or through a PA and it's awesome! Feedback hasn't been an issue. It seems fairly idiot proof which is perfect for me :)
    www.dougmartinguitar.com
    Live life and play music like it's your last day on earth. One day you'll be right- Russel Malone
  • Ken BloomKen Bloom Pilot Mountain, North CarolinaNew
    Posts: 164
    I've been using an old Audio Technica AT833R through a Crate 60 acoustic amp. It's been working quite well. I haven't run into a situation yet that I ran out of headroom. I keep the mike away from the sound hole and have it in the middle of the lower bout on the treble side.
    Ken Bloom
  • Caravan GSECaravan GSE Madison, WINew
    Posts: 60
    One obvious thing that I totally forgot to note is mic placement. If you get the mic out front it is BOOM city. The mic placement that works best is in the pocket on the lower half of the guitar behind the bridge and under the tailpiece. I learned that teqhnique from a veteran mandolin player. Don't worry it still picks up the low end. That also leads to a hot signal and cuts down on room noise.

    I have also been toying with the Audio Technica Pro 70 as a part of this rig. It's a clip on mic. The only problem is that during rhythm guitar playing I feel like I can sometimes hear it banging on the top even though the clip seems tight. I know that John Jorgenson and Kevin Nolan are using this mic but clipping it behind the bridge like where I described above. Now obviously they are more times than not playing to a quite listening audience. And for good reason. I am saying that this setup still works in a full room at a pub.

    As far as the point above about fighting the room goes, that is where the EQ on the PA head comes into play. The amps work great as acoustic stage monitors for close listening. You goose the signal and eq it for the room with the PA head.
    Chris Ruppenthal
    Caravan Gypsy Swing Ensemble
    www.gypsyswing.com
  • What I mean by that is: People who use mics tend to do so because they fear the harshness of piezo. Peope who avoid mics do so because they fear feedback. What's odd is that Mic users don't fear feedback and Piezo users don't fear their tone. I think the moral to the story is that there is a lot to be gained by becoming knowledgeable about whatever form of amplification you use and how to use it in various environments so that you never get into a venue and wind up with feedback or tone problems because you have the knowledge and equipment to solve whatever problems the room / PA throws at you. Maybe the best approach is to become knowledgeable about both so you have a really big toolkit so you never find yourself in a venue you can't rock.

    I agree Bob. For example, with the Schertler pickup in particular, feedback usually occurs when your guitars top is angled in relation to the amp speaker; 90 degrees being maximum feedback. If you want to sound like Jimmy Hendrix, just angle your guitar to the speaker.
    ---
    Jon Austen, Portland, OR
    playing since 1997
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