Which mic for acoustic bands and room sound

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by DaphneBlue, Apr 16, 2019.

  1. DaphneBlue

    DaphneBlue Tele-Meister

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    The title of this thread isn't meaning anything, I know.

    Here's what I would like to do:

    I'd like to have some input on microphones that can catch a band playing acoustic, for example, or quiet electric amps (1-5w) and that you can simply put in front of them. I know some of them can catch the room and you just have to play with them in order to create dynamics.

    I've seen some old mics that are spherical but I don't know their names, of course.

    What are the types of mics I should look into?

    Thaaaaaanks!
     
  2. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Meister

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    Hmmm, a Shure SM58 is probably the most common general purpose mic (and has that spherical shaped capsule on the end). I wonder if that’s the mic you’re referring to? They have been industry standard vocal mics for quite a while. I don’t usually use em on my acoustics, though.

    A really similar mic is the Shure SM-57. I have had better luck with those on acoustics and guitar amps. Although, I have heard that the only major difference between the SM57 and the SM58 is the shape of the capsule. Apparently it is enuff to make a functional difference?

    Condenser mics (large and small diaphrams) are pretty good at replicating acoustic instruments. Using condensers in a live concert setting gets tricky when there is crowd noise. A good condenser is just about sensitive enough to capture fly farts. I was running a Shure SM-137 condenser for a bit, but there were too many extraneous noises getting picked up by the mic.

    Also, cheapish condensers sound really dry and cold to my ears. I’ve been told that if you want a warm organic sounding condenser be prepared to spend more than $200-$300. I did have better results pointing the SM137 behind the bridge of my acoustic, instead of near the hole or 12th fret.

    The more instruments you have the more difficult it is to keep them isolated, but if you are just gonna place 1 proximity mic somewhere out in front of the band that might not be a huge concern. If bleed through is a concern, you wanna be careful to find mics with good side-rejection or adjustable polarity patterns.

    If you are going for studio recording with basically zero crowd noise you can use more sensitive (and more pricey) gear. I’ve seen quite a few guys run a pair of AKG condensers in an xy configuration with one pointed at 12th fret and one at the soundhole. That is the most common way I’ve been mic’ed up in a studio.

    You mention getting “room sound.” The general rule of thumb is that closer your mics are to the instruments the less sound of the room you will capture. The further away the mic gets from the source the more artifacts the room will impart. Some folks like to combine close and far mic’ing so they can blend the two together. Sorta like blending wet and dry signals in an effects loop.

    For my electric amps I like running a Sennheiser e609. It drapes over the cab so you don’t need a mic stand.

    If you are just trying to get a casual recording from a band, it might be worth mentioning portable recorders. I’ve got a Sony PCM D100 that works great. Seen a buncha people with Tascams that worked, too. I have also had a lot of luck with those Zoom portable video and audio recorders.
     
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  3. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

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    Are you talking about using one mic to capture the whole band? Then the players move in and out to adjust their volume? Like the old bluegrass bands used to do.
     
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  4. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Ear Trumpet Labs?

    pricey but old-time vibe

    Carter Vintage Guitars uses them for their videos, I think, could be wrong
     
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  5. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Friend of Leo's

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    You could just use a pcm linear recorder like a Olympus ls 20m or a zoom.
    They do a good job of capturing a live performance without a lot of effort or cost..
     
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  6. DaphneBlue

    DaphneBlue Tele-Meister

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    Exactly what I am thinkin' about!
     
  7. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

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    I don't have a great deal of recording experience, but I find the trouble with more sensitive microphones, the ones that capture more fidelity, might have the disadvantage of picking up unwanted sounds and noise. So for a podcast it's a waste of money to have a great microphone unless you can keep out the traffic noise from outside the window (or the air conditioner, or people shifting in their seats). For a live performance you might have trouble avoiding feedback with particularly sensitive microphones. While I might put a medium or large diaphragm condenser microphone on a cello for recording, I wouldn't try it for a live PA. That's the reason there are tried and true microphones like the SM57 or SM58 (similar dynamic types not condensors) because they have a predictable sound and you can place them close to the source without much bleeding say from one amplifier to another).

    On the other hand, the microphones that are built into hand-held recorders like the Zoom might be what you're looking for in terms of picking up the music and maybe a little of the room (they settings for front, rear, or 180 degree recording). These handy little units are unobtrusive which also has a benefit (the artists know about it obviuosly but the whole rig is less cumbersome).

    But if you're plugging into a separate rig for recording that's a different story. Which brings up the issue - what are you recording with? There are microphones that go directly into a USB port on a computer for home recording, whereas traditional mics would have to be plugged into something with a mic preamp or a digital interface in order to get the signal into your computer for recording.

    Have you tried speaking to one of the sales people at a reputable retailer? In the States we have Sweetwater Sound - not sure if they ship internationally though but I bet they'd be helpful anyway.
     
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  8. Obelisk

    Obelisk Tele-Afflicted

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    A cheap and dirty way of doing this would be to find some EV 635A mics. They are omnidirectional and take eq really well. They work great as ambient mics. Affectionately known as the "Buchanan Hammer" the 635A was originally specified as handheld interview mic for reporters. They later became a staple for field recording because they were designed to be virtually indestructible to any weather condition. The urban legend is they were used to help nail together the stage at Woodstock hence the nickname. You've seen them dozens of times in your life as they were a TV and radio standard for decades. In fact they are still made today. They won't pickup too much of the room and they aren't too bright. If you look around enough, you might be able to find perfectly functional EV 635A for $50 and under. I have a trio of them and think they work for many applications. I like condenser mics for many types of recordings, but they sometimes pick up too much of a room. If the room is bad sounding, then the condenser only picks up more of that unflattering sound. I would go with a dynamic mic for what the poster is talking about.

    635a.jpg
     
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  9. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Afflicted

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    Shure SM or Beta58's ... then you need a few ambient mics. You will probably be alright.

    I use GLS ES58's and C09's ... u just have to make sure that they aren't being bumped into.
    Unless you are using higher end recording equipment this stuff works fine.
     
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  10. Norris Vulcan

    Norris Vulcan Tele-Meister

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    One mic only ? A decent condenser with Omni pattern. Rode NT 2A or NT 2000 are hard to beat for the money.
    Omni pattern picks up in a circle around the mic, so a group can perform around it.
    The rest is mic technique. A good sensitive condenser will pickup whatever you hear, noisy neighbours and all. The sensitivity describes how quiet a sound can be picked up - more sensitive, more pickup - but also more background noise, easier to overload with loud sources like drums.
     
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  11. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    Some Bluegrass Bands use one condenser mic on stage for 4 or 5 instruments and 3 singers. It’s tough to do without feedback. All the performers need to be within 4-5 ft of the mic. When an instrument takes the lead they move closer to the mic. The 3 Vocalists will move closer to the mic and are close enough to each other no monitors are needed to sing harmony.
     
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