Who uses a mic on stage?

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Hello all,

I've been pondering this one as I recently reviewed an Audio Technica mic for Guitar.com. How many of you are happy with your plugged in pickup sound? Is a mic on your guitar something you've looked into? I'd be intrigued to find out. 

You can read the review here if you'd like https://guitar.com/review/accessories/audio-technica-atm350gl/ 

How many of you demand that level of detail on stage? Do you use a clip on mic or a stage mic on a stand? Let me know!

all the best

Michael
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  • LewyLewy Frets: 1019
    edited October 8
    Hello all,

    I've been pondering this one as I recently reviewed an Audio Technica mic for Guitar.com. How many of you are happy with your plugged in pickup sound? Is a mic on your guitar something you've looked into? I'd be intrigued to find out. 

    You can read the review here if you'd like https://guitar.com/review/accessories/audio-technica-atm350gl/ 

    How many of you demand that level of detail on stage? Do you use a clip on mic or a stage mic on a stand? Let me know!

    all the best

    Michael

    I don't recall a time when I've ever been in a position to demand anything on stage!  

    On the couple of occasions a year when I play on a stage that has a sound engineer and a listening audience, I'll opt for a mic. Ideally my Ear Trumpet Myrtle covering both vocals and guitar, bluegrass single-mic style. 

    All other times, I plug in (always using the K&K pure mini and Pure XLR preamp). When I used to play Nationals with fingerpicks I used mics a lot more often because the overall loudness of the source is enough to make it practical in more settings. 

    I've tried clip on mics (K&K Meridian and DPA 4099G) and found that whilst they can sound great, the manufacturers' claims about feedback rejection are seriously overstated and they don't offer more in this regard than a mic on a stand. You can move around with them, obviously, but actually I think that the fixed position of the mic in relation to the instrument makes for a more two dimensional sound compared to a performer moving their instrument even slightly or unintentionally in relation to a fixed mic on a stand.

    As for whether I'm happy with my plugged in sound or not - I'm happy enough with it for it to not throw me off playing-wise. The Pure Mini doesn't sound like "my guitar but louder" but it feels right. I'm not sure what's going on physically to make that happen but it seems to respond the same way my guitar does acoustically and that's good enough from me. Any other types I've tried - mag soundhole, piezo UST (*spits*) have all felt like it was harder to play.
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  • jackorionjackorion Frets: 25
    I've done a couple of gigs playing into a single LDC for vocals and guitar but they were in situations with a quiet sit down 'folk club' style audience. I'd be more than happy to play more gigs like that but the reality is they are few and far between.

    Currently my plugged in setup is a K&K Pure Mini combined with an internal DPA 4061 which is then blended by a Felix preamp - I'm really happy with this sound. It's quite 'direct', by which I mean it sounds a bit like you've got your ear right next to the guitar, but, once it goes through a PA into a room the 'space' is added by the room if that makes sense?

    Although it doesn't sound 'like my guitar but louder' it does sound and feel like an acoustic instrument and seems to work through a variety of setups.

    I would imagine that your gigging situation is a bit different to a lot of us Michael - you have a name and reputation for acoustic fingerstyle and your audience is expecting a certain kind of performance and tone. I assume you rarely have to walk on stage at the beer tent stage at a folk festival and be setup and singing in less than five minutes through a Peavy PA with monitors from the 90s...
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  • maltingsaudiomaltingsaudio Frets: 1128
    From the other end of the multicore, mics on acoustics are nearly always a pain in the arse especially if you want your guitar loud in the monitors. The piezo went a long way to solving this issue but has a certain sound although more modern systems with mics and piezo’s are getting a lot better. 

    IMHO I would see  the ATM 350 system your looking at as a get out of jail system for a live gig, far too inelegant and cumbersome to use as a permanent replacement for an installed system.

    Nearly all the acoustic players I have worked with have installed systems on their guitars, those that haven’t have tended to play seated and I’ve put condensers round them on stands.
    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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  • Lewy said:
    Hello all,

    I've been pondering this one as I recently reviewed an Audio Technica mic for Guitar.com. How many of you are happy with your plugged in pickup sound? Is a mic on your guitar something you've looked into? I'd be intrigued to find out. 

    You can read the review here if you'd like https://guitar.com/review/accessories/audio-technica-atm350gl/ 

    How many of you demand that level of detail on stage? Do you use a clip on mic or a stage mic on a stand? Let me know!

    all the best

    Michael

    I don't recall a time when I've ever been in a position to demand anything on stage!  

    On the couple of occasions a year when I play on a stage that has a sound engineer and a listening audience, I'll opt for a mic. Ideally my Ear Trumpet Myrtle covering both vocals and guitar, bluegrass single-mic style. 

    All other times, I plug in (always using the K&K pure mini and Pure XLR preamp). When I used to play Nationals with fingerpicks I used mics a lot more often because the overall loudness of the source is enough to make it practical in more settings. 

    I've tried clip on mics (K&K Meridian and DPA 4099G) and found that whilst they can sound great, the manufacturers' claims about feedback rejection are seriously overstated and they don't offer more in this regard than a mic on a stand. You can move around with them, obviously, but actually I think that the fixed position of the mic in relation to the instrument makes for a more two dimensional sound compared to a performer moving their instrument even slightly or unintentionally in relation to a fixed mic on a stand.

    As for whether I'm happy with my plugged in sound or not - I'm happy enough with it for it to not throw me off playing-wise. The Pure Mini doesn't sound like "my guitar but louder" but it feels right. I'm not sure what's going on physically to make that happen but it seems to respond the same way my guitar does acoustically and that's good enough from me. Any other types I've tried - mag soundhole, piezo UST (*spits*) have all felt like it was harder to play.
    Thanks for your comment @Lewy those Ear Trumpet mics are particularly interesting, Molly Tuttle certainly uses them to great effect and it has to be said they look gorgeous... I'm looking forward to trying out the range at some point soon! 

    Yeah feedback rejection is so reliant on the context onstage that mic companies really should no better than to make claims like that. It might work on a silent stage at Carnegie Hall, but you will run into problems elsewhere!

    To be honest the K+K is the backbone of any really great acoustic sound I've heard in the past decade or so. It's not the most natural sound but there's something really pleasing about the slightly spongey response (I grew up on piezos UST's so anything that works better than that is going to get my vote!) I've tried the newer DPA 4099 which is much better than the previous model, but as I play seated I'm much happier with a mic (or two) on a stand.
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  • jackorion said:
    I've done a couple of gigs playing into a single LDC for vocals and guitar but they were in situations with a quiet sit down 'folk club' style audience. I'd be more than happy to play more gigs like that but the reality is they are few and far between.

    Currently my plugged in setup is a K&K Pure Mini combined with an internal DPA 4061 which is then blended by a Felix preamp - I'm really happy with this sound. It's quite 'direct', by which I mean it sounds a bit like you've got your ear right next to the guitar, but, once it goes through a PA into a room the 'space' is added by the room if that makes sense?

    Although it doesn't sound 'like my guitar but louder' it does sound and feel like an acoustic instrument and seems to work through a variety of setups.

    I would imagine that your gigging situation is a bit different to a lot of us Michael - you have a name and reputation for acoustic fingerstyle and your audience is expecting a certain kind of performance and tone. I assume you rarely have to walk on stage at the beer tent stage at a folk festival and be setup and singing in less than five minutes through a Peavy PA with monitors from the 90s...
    Hello @jackorion, do you post on the Acoustic soundboard under the same name? Nice to see you on here!

    Now, the Felix is a great piece of kit, I am very happy to hear you're getting on with one. I'm assuming you're also using it to feed phantom to the DPA? I can imagine that is a very pleasing combination. The K+K internal mic is good but not DPA good to my ears. 

    It's true, I do play in a variety of different contexts, some of which involve me dying inside when I see that the only sound reinforcement for me to use while demonstrating an instrument worth hundreds of thousands of pounds is a single dented Shure SM57. I used to take one of the old DPA 4099's around with me but they tend to fall off guitars with asymmetric bodies/Manzer Wedges like my Kostal MD and as such I now opt for the k+k mini and a pair of Gefell M300's on stage where possible. 
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  • From the other end of the multicore, mics on acoustics are nearly always a pain in the arse especially if you want your guitar loud in the monitors. The piezo went a long way to solving this issue but has a certain sound although more modern systems with mics and piezo’s are getting a lot better. 

    IMHO I would see  the ATM 350 system your looking at as a get out of jail system for a live gig, far too inelegant and cumbersome to use as a permanent replacement for an installed system.

    Nearly all the acoustic players I have worked with have installed systems on their guitars, those that haven’t have tended to play seated and I’ve put condensers round them on stands.
    I couldn't agree more @maltingsaudio, unless you're using in-ears then onstage acoustic sound is a world of hurt, depending on context I'd actually be happier to go full pickup than mic - certainly if wedges are the only foldback on offer. I'd even (Judas!) look into a non-acoustic option for really loud gigs (the Yamaha silent series or, if my shoulder was feeling up to it, a Gibson Chet Atkins or something like that.)




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  • jackorionjackorion Frets: 25
    jackorion said:
    I've done a couple of gigs playing into a single LDC for vocals and guitar but they were in situations with a quiet sit down 'folk club' style audience. I'd be more than happy to play more gigs like that but the reality is they are few and far between.

    Currently my plugged in setup is a K&K Pure Mini combined with an internal DPA 4061 which is then blended by a Felix preamp - I'm really happy with this sound. It's quite 'direct', by which I mean it sounds a bit like you've got your ear right next to the guitar, but, once it goes through a PA into a room the 'space' is added by the room if that makes sense?

    Although it doesn't sound 'like my guitar but louder' it does sound and feel like an acoustic instrument and seems to work through a variety of setups.

    I would imagine that your gigging situation is a bit different to a lot of us Michael - you have a name and reputation for acoustic fingerstyle and your audience is expecting a certain kind of performance and tone. I assume you rarely have to walk on stage at the beer tent stage at a folk festival and be setup and singing in less than five minutes through a Peavy PA with monitors from the 90s...
    Hello @jackorion, do you post on the Acoustic soundboard under the same name? Nice to see you on here!

    Now, the Felix is a great piece of kit, I am very happy to hear you're getting on with one. I'm assuming you're also using it to feed phantom to the DPA? I can imagine that is a very pleasing combination. The K+K internal mic is good but not DPA good to my ears. 

    It's true, I do play in a variety of different contexts, some of which involve me dying inside when I see that the only sound reinforcement for me to use while demonstrating an instrument worth hundreds of thousands of pounds is a single dented Shure SM57. I used to take one of the old DPA 4099's around with me but they tend to fall off guitars with asymmetric bodies/Manzer Wedges like my Kostal MD and as such I now opt for the k+k mini and a pair of Gefell M300's on stage where possible. 
    Hi Micheal - yep that's me!

    Yeah the Felix is awesome - I am using it to power the DPA and then I split the two sources to individual channels before mixing them and sending a single XLR to the desk.

    I've not heard the K&K internal mic to compare but I'm happy with the DPA (I managed to snag two for £170 on eBay!) - to be honest it sounds kind of awful on it's own (I guess it's not really designed to be inside a guitar), pretty boomy and a bit midrangey, but when it's combined with the K&K (and I've HPF'd out all the boom) it adds just enough 'realness' to the tone of the K&K to make a difference. 
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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 2950
    Mostly I've been working the mixer end of the cable for acoustic reproduction. Different situations will provide differing problems and opportunities.

    In a theatre with a listening audience and a solo guitarist, getting the absolute best tone will involve at least one dedicated guitar mic. Typically I would still get the bulk of the volume from an internal pickup and add 'air' to the sound with the mic.

    When the player is part of a band and other instruments with wedge monitors are involved, a mic might be employed as well, often not fed into the monitors and generally more pickup in the overall tone.

    In a loud environment or a small stage with other musicians, the mic becomes a distraction and is often left as a nice to have rather than essential.

    If there is no built in pickup, you can have a great sound or hear yourself amid the noise, but rarely both.

    With Pickups the quality of the Desk Eq and the loudspeaker configuration (as well as the nut holding it all togethr ;-0 ) is as important, if not more so than the Quality of the mic placed near the guitar.

    When I've been playing on stage and encountering 'lesser' PA systems, I've used my Mesa Rosetta pedal to ensure I feed a good signal well Eq'd to the PA.


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  • jackorion said:
    jackorion said:
    I've done a couple of gigs playing into a single LDC for vocals and guitar but they were in situations with a quiet sit down 'folk club' style audience. I'd be more than happy to play more gigs like that but the reality is they are few and far between.

    Currently my plugged in setup is a K&K Pure Mini combined with an internal DPA 4061 which is then blended by a Felix preamp - I'm really happy with this sound. It's quite 'direct', by which I mean it sounds a bit like you've got your ear right next to the guitar, but, once it goes through a PA into a room the 'space' is added by the room if that makes sense?

    Although it doesn't sound 'like my guitar but louder' it does sound and feel like an acoustic instrument and seems to work through a variety of setups.

    I would imagine that your gigging situation is a bit different to a lot of us Michael - you have a name and reputation for acoustic fingerstyle and your audience is expecting a certain kind of performance and tone. I assume you rarely have to walk on stage at the beer tent stage at a folk festival and be setup and singing in less than five minutes through a Peavy PA with monitors from the 90s...
    Hello @jackorion, do you post on the Acoustic soundboard under the same name? Nice to see you on here!

    Now, the Felix is a great piece of kit, I am very happy to hear you're getting on with one. I'm assuming you're also using it to feed phantom to the DPA? I can imagine that is a very pleasing combination. The K+K internal mic is good but not DPA good to my ears. 

    It's true, I do play in a variety of different contexts, some of which involve me dying inside when I see that the only sound reinforcement for me to use while demonstrating an instrument worth hundreds of thousands of pounds is a single dented Shure SM57. I used to take one of the old DPA 4099's around with me but they tend to fall off guitars with asymmetric bodies/Manzer Wedges like my Kostal MD and as such I now opt for the k+k mini and a pair of Gefell M300's on stage where possible. 
    Hi Micheal - yep that's me!

    Yeah the Felix is awesome - I am using it to power the DPA and then I split the two sources to individual channels before mixing them and sending a single XLR to the desk.

    I've not heard the K&K internal mic to compare but I'm happy with the DPA (I managed to snag two for £170 on eBay!) - to be honest it sounds kind of awful on it's own (I guess it's not really designed to be inside a guitar), pretty boomy and a bit midrangey, but when it's combined with the K&K (and I've HPF'd out all the boom) it adds just enough 'realness' to the tone of the K&K to make a difference. 
    Yeah, that's often been my impression of internal mics, they're sighting the wrong side of the soundboard! they can work very well in a blend though
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  • ESBlonde said:
    Mostly I've been working the mixer end of the cable for acoustic reproduction. Different situations will provide differing problems and opportunities.

    In a theatre with a listening audience and a solo guitarist, getting the absolute best tone will involve at least one dedicated guitar mic. Typically I would still get the bulk of the volume from an internal pickup and add 'air' to the sound with the mic.

    When the player is part of a band and other instruments with wedge monitors are involved, a mic might be employed as well, often not fed into the monitors and generally more pickup in the overall tone.

    In a loud environment or a small stage with other musicians, the mic becomes a distraction and is often left as a nice to have rather than essential.

    If there is no built in pickup, you can have a great sound or hear yourself amid the noise, but rarely both.

    With Pickups the quality of the Desk Eq and the loudspeaker configuration (as well as the nut holding it all togethr ;-0 ) is as important, if not more so than the Quality of the mic placed near the guitar.

    When I've been playing on stage and encountering 'lesser' PA systems, I've used my Mesa Rosetta pedal to ensure I feed a good signal well Eq'd to the PA.


    All good points @ESBlonde, I'm a big believer in using a k+k for headroom and the mic for detail and air as you said. It's all a compromise and the performer very often has the worst sound in the house! 
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  • TrudeTrude Frets: 471
    Does anyone have experience of using these?

    http://www.eartrumpetlabs.com/

    They seem to be the de-facto choice these days for single-micing acoustic ensembles (Bluegrass style) and claim to be very feedback-resistant.  I know a 3-piece old-time string band, and have seen a video of them using a single ETL Myrtle in a fairly noisy pub and getting good results.  Looks really cool too!
    Trading feedback here
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  • LewyLewy Frets: 1019
    edited October 16
    Trude said:
    Does anyone have experience of using these?

    http://www.eartrumpetlabs.com/

    They seem to be the de-facto choice these days for single-micing acoustic ensembles (Bluegrass style) and claim to be very feedback-resistant.  I know a 3-piece old-time string band, and have seen a video of them using a single ETL Myrtle in a fairly noisy pub and getting good results.  Looks really cool too!
    Yep, I’ve got a Myrtle. They are more feedback resistant than other LDCs but only a bit. Truthfully, I think 80% of the appeal of them is aesthetic and if they looked like an AT4033a (the previous go-to bluegrass single mic) they wouldn’t be nearly so popular. 
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  • TrudeTrude Frets: 471
    @Lewy  ;Ah yes - sorry, I forgot this was covered earlier in the thread.  Mixed this one up with another forum I was reading I think!
    Trading feedback here
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  • Those Ear Trumpet labs mics do look very lovely...
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  • LewyLewy Frets: 1019
    edited October 16
    Those Ear Trumpet labs mics do look very lovely...

    Indeed they do, and one shouldn't dismiss the presentational element from the audience point of view, or that settling down in front of one (or stepping up to it depending on your thing) does impart a certain vibe for the performer too. 

    Being clinical about it though, you could practically get similar performance from a Rode NT1a at a fraction of the cost - in fact two of the most ardent revivalists of single mic playing - Steve James and Del Ray - do use that cheap mic when they tour. They are masters of playing without needing  foldback, though, and Steve James is also a master of telling people in the audience to STFU if they're making too much noise :)
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  • Lewy said:
    Those Ear Trumpet labs mics do look very lovely...

    Steve James is also a master of telling people in the audience to STFU if they're making too much noise :)
    A rare and useful skill 
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