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Thread: Live condenser mc

  1. #1
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    Default Live condenser mc

    I need to buy a condenser mic for live use . I t is for single micing 2 to 3 instrumentalists who are also singing. I have used a Shure Sm27 and it worked really well. I am leaning towards buying one of those. Does anyone have any other suggestions. I am looking at under 400$. $300 or less would be better. Small Pa, no monitors. Not very loud at all.
    Is there any advantage to running 2 mics ? If so, large or small diaphragm, or a combo?
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live condenser mc

    The only advantage I can see to having two mics is that the instruments can step off for a solo. Usually the mandolin is close enough in height to the single mic but the guitars and banjos seem to work well with that second mic off to the side.

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    Default Re: Live condenser mc

    That is a good point Mike. I see a lot of Bluegrass groups do this.Thanks!
    Last edited by Carleton Page; Jun-28-2012 at 2:19pm.

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    Registered User Doug Edwards's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live condenser mc

    If you can find them, the Shure KSM 109's work really good. Used one for the whole group when I was with the band. Thy ran about $200 each.

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    In The Van Ben Milne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live condenser mc

    If adding spot mics to your setup, consider the Beyerdynamic m201.
    Doug's suggestion of the ksm109 is also a good one, I just prefer the sound of a quality dynamic mic over a condenser for this application.
    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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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live condenser mc

    local group puts 2 side address AKG LD cardioid condensers side by side
    on a single mic stand,
    so 5 singing heads don't have to bang into each other.
    that picks up instruments (except bass) and voices.

    [more comment about the functional arrangement of the Mics, stagecraft,
    than about brand specifics]
    arranging the sensitivity patterns to widen the area ,
    but keep the fall off at the edges to keep from 'hearing' the mains.
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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    Default Re: Live condenser mc

    I've had good results with the AT Pro-37. It's under $200. If you want to spend a bit more, the Rode NT-5 is a great mic for stringed instruments.

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    Registered User mandobassman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live condenser mc

    Give these a try. I have been using them with 2 bands for the past 6 years. They are wonderful for live use. Don't let the price fool you. They sound seriously good on stage. We use one 990 large diaphragm for vocals and the 991 small diaphragm for mandolin. The banjo player uses his own mic. No feedback issues to speak of and they pick up beautifully. You can get the package of two mics at Guitar Center for $79, and I found them here on Amazon for $79 FOR BOTH MICS!!!

    http://www.amazon.com/MXL-990-991-Re...ds=mxl+990+991

    http://www.guitarcenter.com/MXL-990-...41-i1126981.gc
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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live condenser mc

    yea MXL give you a lot for modest money.. don't need to spend all the gig income
    to surrender it to the music store ..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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    Default Re: Live condenser mc

    I'll look into the MXL. Do you think a small diaphragm like the at pro 37 would work for the whole band?In a single mic situation? I have been meaning to pick one of those up anyway.

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    garded
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    Default Re: Live condenser mc

    I bought a Beyer 260 a couple of years ago with the idea of recording with it. But it was the first nice mic I ever ran into on stage and thought about using is live. Problem was it being a ribbon it's not as hot as my condensers. With a tip from someone on the Cafe I bought the Fethead(not Fathead) FET inline phantom powered booster for it, and wow, it rocks now. Really nice sounding for my mando, very smooth, and with the Fethead I don't have to worry about having enough gain, or bad wired cords frying it because of the phantom power. The Fethead runs on phantom, but blocks phantom to the mic. Not cheap, but great instrument mic with a LDC. Sounds good with banjo, guitar too. Not tried fiddle yet.

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    Registered User mandobassman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live condenser mc

    Quote Originally Posted by Ctone View Post
    I'll look into the MXL. Do you think a small diaphragm like the at pro 37 would work for the whole band?In a single mic situation? I have been meaning to pick one of those up anyway.
    I don't think the Pro 37 will give you the pickup pattern needed to get the whole band. It's a cardioid pattern and is designed for off-axis rejection. I use the MXL 990 in two different bands. I play mandolin in one and bass in the other. When I play bass, I stand to the right of the mic, facing the audience, and sing almost directly into the side of the mic. I'm picked up just as well as the others, who are singing more in front of the mic. I doubt you would be able to do that with a cardioid pattern. Players who are off center won't be picked up as well. Our mandolin player uses the MXL 991 by himself, because he seldom sings. When I play mandolin, I play and sing into the 990. I can be directly in front or slightly off center and be picked up the same. You won't be disappointed with the 990 & 991. Our mandolin player had a mic that he used for years and was convinced there was nothing better. He used my 991 one time and went so nut over it he went out and bought the set himself. Now our guitarist, our mandolinist, and I each have the 990 & 991 package. That's 6 very good-sounding condensers for under $240 total.
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    In The Van Ben Milne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live condenser mc

    Quote Originally Posted by mandobassman View Post
    I don't think the Pro 37 will give you the pickup pattern needed to get the whole band. It's a cardioid pattern and is designed for off-axis rejection. I use the MXL 990 in two different bands. I play mandolin in one and bass in the other. When I play bass, I stand to the right of the mic, facing the audience, and sing almost directly into the side of the mic. I'm picked up just as well as the others, who are singing more in front of the mic. I doubt you would be able to do that with a cardioid pattern.
    The MXL website lists the 990 as a cardioid pattern mic (oddly enough the Accompanying graphic appears to indicate supercardioid).
    What polar pattern were you under the impression this mic had Larry?
    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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    Default Re: Live condenser mc

    It all depends on how you are using your mic's. Using the LDC as the main mic, and then a smaller mic, or mic's off to the side for solo's, while everybody else stays on the LDC, just about anything can work as a "wing" mic and not add to the feedback problem.

    But if you just want a larger field where everybody doesn't have to go so far, yeah two LDC's will work. Because you can't run monitors with LDC's, I feel like I'm taking a shower with a raincoat on. None of the other people I work with can get used to IEM's, I've ditched the LDC's all together in favor of dynamics for vocals and condensers/ribbon for instruments. I'm sure mandopete is laughing his butt off at me saying that as I was a real proponent of LDC's. Now I can run hot monitors and everybody is happy, including me. Without monitors, I overplay and can never get in the zone. But that's just me.

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    Default Re: Live condenser mc

    Eventually I will have one of everything. Won't I?

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    Registered User JimRichter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live condenser mc

    For the last 10 years, I've used a KSM27 (older version of the SM27). I have found the Shure KSM series to be reliable, transparent, and affordable. I've used it (and several others I've had) for numerous gigs, concerts, and recording sessions. I really wouldn't invest in anything else if the tonal improvement is marginal.

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    Registered User mandobassman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live condenser mc

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Milne View Post
    What polar pattern were you under the impression this mic had Larry?
    I don't know for sure. I was more of an assumption on my part. I was under the impression that the long thin type of condensers were more for close mic'ing. I use the MXL 990 every show and sing almost directly into the side of it and I didn't you would be able to do that with the Pro 37. In any case the 990 is a significantly cheaper mic and sounds excellent on stage.
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    Registered User mandobassman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live condenser mc

    Quote Originally Posted by TonyP View Post
    ...Because you can't run monitors with LDC's, I feel like I'm taking a shower with a raincoat on. None of the other people I work with can get used to IEM's, I've ditched the LDC's all together in favor of dynamics for vocals and condensers/ribbon for instruments....Without monitors, I overplay and can never get in the zone. But that's just me.
    It's interesting the differences in opinions on this. I'm exactly the opposite of Tony. One of the main reasons I like the LDC is because you can't run monitors. I have always hated the sound of monitors, especially if someone else is in control of them. Most of the time I either can't hear them or they're too flippin' loud, in which case I usually under-play because I can hear too much of my self. Not having monitors allows me to control my dynamics with the other players more easily, instead of being influenced by the monitor volume. One of the main complaints I hear about the use of LDC's, from those who haven't had experience with them, is feedback. I have been using LDC's for the past 11 or 12 years and seldom have feedback. I was always fighting feedback issues with monitors when I used separate mics..
    Larry Hunsberger

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    Registered User mandobassman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live condenser mc

    Quote Originally Posted by JimRichter View Post
    For the last 10 years, I've used a KSM27 (older version of the SM27). I have found the Shure KSM series to be reliable, transparent, and affordable. I've used it (and several others I've had) for numerous gigs, concerts, and recording sessions. I really wouldn't invest in anything else if the tonal improvement is marginal.
    The only LDC mic I have ever had go bad was a Shure KSM 44. I just stopped working one day. Unfortunately, it wasn't mine and the owner contacted Shure to get a repair estimate and it was $800 to REPAIR it. It cost almost that much new. Hardly what I would call "affordable". The MXL 990 is $79 new and it sounds excellent.
    Larry Hunsberger

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Live condenser mc

    I've used the MXL 990 on stage and recording run through an ART tube pre into the board or an acoustic guitar amp. I am very happy with it. I don't mind in ear monitors and I don't mind close micing with dynamic mics and floor monitors either , it all depends on the space you are playing in and the noise level you have to deal with. However to those who feel they can't hear themselves the way they want to in monitors, quality of equipment being considered, If you sound too loud in the monitors then you are in fact too loud and vice versa. Maybe you just don't like the way you really sound. Now I know feedback at certain frequencies can make getting a quality monitor mix difficult but that is no excuse. As a performer you must comunicate to me , the sound guy, just what you want the monitor mix to sound like because once you let me know how you want it to sound on stage that is how I'm going to try and make it sound out front, just louder. Now if you want your band to sound different out front than on stage I can try but don't really have much of a reference point. Back to the point the shure is a better microphone but that 990/991 package will do the job well for most stage applications and is great for home recording as well.
    Jim Richmond

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    Registered User Justus True Waldron's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live condenser mc

    I have an audio technica AT2035 that I picked up a couple months ago and have been using as the single mic for my band. I have used Neumann U87s and U89s, and am most familiar (and experienced) with the AKG c414. While the AT doesn't have the character of a Neumann and isn't QUITE as clear as the AKG, it is still very very impressive to me given that it cost $150. I've used it for both recording and gigging so far and am quite happy with it. I really don't feel the need in a live situation to have any more mic than this.... it really works good. I think the biggest problem most people have with the one mic setup is their band... You can't always train everybody, but thankfully the guys I play with have taken to it in a hurry and it works real well for us!
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    garded
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    Default Re: Live condenser mc

    It's interesting the differences in opinions on this. I'm exactly the opposite of Tony. One of the main reasons I like the LDC is because you can't run monitors.
    I think you would be surprised Larry that my opinion of monitors until recently was pretty much the same as yours. And if we are on anybody but Paul Knight's PA, monitors are still horrible.

    I've always hated wedges, I literally can't hear them. And after delving into the physics of it, I know why. Some of us are more effected by phase problems, and I'm totally in that camp. Anything on stage mixing with the mains and the room in different time alignment with the mains just drives me nuts. My being out of tune, or anybody else in the band is also nails on a chalkboard.

    That's another reason I can't run without monitors. Without monitors what I'm hearing is the backwash from the mains(mostly lows/mid lows) with reflections of the mid's and hi's bounced back. So they are absolutely out of time/phase with everything. Like I said lots of folks are not bothered by this, me, all I hear is rolling mush. It's very distracting and there's enough distraction when playing live as it is.

    IEM's were heaven to me, no room mush, just the house mix, all in as close to realtime as you could get. But the folks who are not bothered by hearing rolling mush, can't STAND it and it drives them to distraction. So I'm always in the minority. But at a local bluegrass fest the soundman who's a bluegrass bass player(Paul Knight) had come up with the fix. Monitors directly behind the mains, aiming back at the band. Total heaven to everybody. And because it's outdoors, he had enough room to put the mains far forward, with monitors directly behind, and no room to reflect and build up feedback. He keeps a big AKG LDC and a bunch of Neumann dynamic's on stage to be able to do the single mic, or separates, or a mix. Seamless, no feedback, perfect sound.

    So through my "adventures" with doing sound I now use SRM150's attached to the same stands as the mains, aimed back at the band and crossed over above 1k so no bottom build up that's typical of wedges. If it's outside, I can still run a LDC as there's enough room to isolate the mains. And indoors can experiment, and scale up or down as needed. I would rather carry some extra gear than to be stuck with one setup now.

  23. #23
    Registered User mandobassman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live condenser mc

    Tony, I like that idea and I can see why it would work. Unfortunately, we seldom play anyplace where there's enough room to place mains/monitors far enough away from the LDC to not have some feedback issues. I guess I have been working without monitors for so long that I'm just used to it and it has become my preference. Every place that we play where someone else is running sound, we just tell them "no monitors". With one exception: The Sellersville Theater in Sellersville, PA. Every time we have played there they set up monitors for us and we always expect problems, and every time they get full clean monitor sound with no feedback. I have no idea how they do it. But even though it is good clean monitor sound, I still prefer not to hear it. The sound coming back at me really throws me off a little. We play in a close enough proximity to each other to hear just fine and it allow me to balance with the other guys better.
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  24. #24
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live condenser mc

    Another vote for the MXL 990. Sixty buxx right now at Musician's Fiend. I've had two for over two years, and get mucho use out of them.
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    Default Re: Live condenser mc

    just wanted to add another vote for the MXL...I bought the package deal 990/991 last week. So far the 991 has good gain before feedback for my mandolin/acoustic guitar on a loud stage with drums, electric bass, several singers, etc. I haven't even tried the 990 yet, but the 991 alone appears to be worth the price. If the 990 is functional at all, it will be a bonus.
    Of course way too early to say how long they will last, but microphones in general, and condensors specifically need to be handled carefully anyway.

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