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drbekken
03-17-2015, 03:16 AM
I asked this question once before, but I kinda lost the thread...

If I should use one microphone in live performance, which would you recommend?

I am thinking about one mike to capture both ukulele and vocals, 'bluegrass style', in a solo setting. Just ukulele and vocals, no band, drums and the like.

Then I could bring the mike to any gig, and plug it into the PA available. Old school, I know.

Anyone?

deschutestrout
03-17-2015, 03:35 AM
I've used this with great results http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/B-2-PRO.aspx I also use it as my recording mic. Its a dual diaphragm condenser mic. Many options out there, but for $150 (Musicians Friend), it's an awesome mic. You'll need a phantom power box (found mine used on eBay for pretty cheap). If there are several musicians, set it back a bit and it will pick up everyone ...

kissing
03-17-2015, 04:25 AM
Studio condenser microphones are generally not considered to be suitable for live, stage performance.

For live performance, you want some good dynamic microphones. The "legendary" microphone for live performance would be the Shure SM58, perhaps coupled with the Shure SM57 for the instrument.
It is the staple workhorse of the performing musician. Great quality, indestructible and not particularly expensive.

Condenser microphones are almost always for recording.
There does exist a very special category of condensers for live performance - but these are very, very specific models made for that purpose and tend to be expensive.

deschutestrout
03-17-2015, 04:48 AM
Studio condenser microphones are generally not considered to be suitable for live, stage performance.


Condenser microphones are almost always for recording.


"Generally" and "almost" are important words here. From Behringer's site "Ideal as main and support microphone for studio and live applications--perfect for acoustic instruments and overhead etc.".

I agree that this mic is primarily designed for recording, but doubles nicely as a mic for performance, where you want a single mic catching vocals and instrument. I know, from experience with this mic. ;).

Your Shure recommendations are rock solid, but OP said he wanted a SINGLE mic ... and, a mic such as this is the ticket.

drbekken
03-17-2015, 05:06 AM
Ok, thanks. I already have the SM58....maybe I should just add the SM57 and see how that works!

deschutestrout
03-17-2015, 05:11 AM
Ok, thanks. I already have the SM58....maybe I should just add the SM57 and see how that works!

Thumbs up to that idea!

ukulelekarcsi
03-17-2015, 05:37 AM
Both SM58 and SM57 need to be fairly close to the sound source and are directional (you have to play INTO them, not beside them), which I find takes some practice.

If the noise is coming from people, playing unamplified can be the better way to go. Turning up your volume will likely result in more background noise. If the noise is coming from traffic, other sound systems, ... well then electrickery can help you out.

bnolsen
03-17-2015, 06:02 AM
have you already tried with the SM58? if so what did you or didn't you like about just that mic?

From what I understand, if you remove the wind shield on the sm58 it gets closer to performing like an sm57 so you can try that as well, although perhaps not for a live gig.

here's a quick youtube with the b2pro. read the description, he talks about sensitivity being an issue with the b2pro compared to a shure beta sm57a.

In fact you may want to look into a higher end shure dynamic mic in the sm57/58 family.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZVW9VctWQI

Tootler
03-17-2015, 08:02 AM
I think Kissing is a little out of date. There are more robust condenser mics available these days.

I went to a uke festival in Holland last October and the PA was based on SM58s for vocals but sound for ukes was condenser mics. Top of the bill was Del Rey and she performed with just a single condenser mic. I've since seen Phil Dolman do the same. In both cases the sound was clear and natural. Del Rey's description was "transparent", a term that summed it up. As a result of that when I had a gig recently I tried using a single condenser mic. Mine is a shure PG81 pencil mic and it takes a battery so no need for phantom power which my Samson personal PA does not have. It worked really well. A friend of mine who was in the audience said the sound was clear and the uke came over well. I stood back abt 12-18 inches from the mic. The Shure PG81 is one of their "budget" condenser mics but it's quite robust and we use them for micing acoustic instruments in our ceilidh band.

Phil Dolman is a UU member so you could PM him and ask him what mic he uses.

fabioponta
03-17-2015, 08:43 AM
Shure PG81. Great for all: voice and uke

deschutestrout
03-17-2015, 08:51 AM
I've played many small outdoor venues with 3+ musicians and vocalists with that Behringer ... folks considered it "magic" as the sound was an amplified, natural sound like we were sitting in a living room. Large venues, I did experience some feedback issues. Recording, it's absolutely killer. Depends a lot on what you intend to use it for, what size venues, recording, etc.

Steveperrywriter
03-17-2015, 09:13 AM
"In a one-mic shootout between the Shure SM57 and the SM58, I'd go with the SM57, particularly for lower singing voices. They use the same condenser; the difference in coverage and response is all in the screen design. Unless you're right up on the mic (which you're not, when mic'ing both instrument and voice) the difference isn't going to be appreciable. This whole "the 57 is for instruments and the 58 is for voices" deal is overblown."

I agree with this. If the uke I am using has a pick-up, the 57 is my vocal mike, and I put a pop-filter foam cover on it. Works fine.

Ukejungle
03-17-2015, 09:42 AM
I worked for a Sound Company for years - the Shure 58 was used for vocals ( the Gold Standard) and the 57, we used for miking guitar amps and also tom toms, snares, high hats. The 57 has a pretty flat response, much more than the 58, which has "boost" in the low end (Bass).

Condensers are very nice but can be fragile.

anthonyg
03-17-2015, 10:08 AM
The one microphone solution you are talking about is a, large diaphragm omni-directional condenser microphone. Various brands but that's the type you are looking for. You will need a VERY quiet stage (definitely no drums) and preferably a quiet audience.

Or you could add another cardioid/super cardioid (tight pattern) microphone just for the ukulele. For all the talk of a Shure SM-57 being an instrument microphone, its not a good microphone for acoustic instruments. Its really about amplifying on stage amps or drums. I use an Audix VX5 as an instrument microphone. Much better natural response. Seek advice in a good shop.

Anthony

drbekken
03-17-2015, 10:48 AM
A lot of valuable info here...thank you so much!

Ukuleleblues
03-17-2015, 12:29 PM
I use these all the time; Nady Spc-15 (http://www.musiciansfriend.com/condenser-microphones/nady-spc-15-condenser-microphone?rNtt=spc-15&index=2) They are condensers with a narrower pattern than most. We position it between the uke and our head. The sound is very natural. I've tried alot of other setups but for ease of setup and natural sound I like these. They will function on 9-52 volt phantom. If your amp or PA does not have phantom power I have used these successfully:

Behringer PS400 (http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PS400)

Art Tube MP (http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/TubeMP)

TC Helicon Mic Mechanic (http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/VTMM)

They sell a two pack (http://www.musiciansfriend.com/condenser-microphones/nady-spc-15-condenser-microphone-buy-2-save?rNtt=spc-15&index=1) of the SPC-15s

I have also used the MXL 990 (http://www.musiciansfriend.com/condenser-microphones/mxl-990-condenser-microphone-with-shockmount?rNtt=mxl%20990&index=4)

We just use 1 990 between us instead of 2 SPC-15s. Feed back control is more difficult with the 990.

If I need a stage monitor I will position a small monitor off to the side toward my ear, sometimes I will use a stand and point it at ear level.

I don't play uke at classic rock stadium levels, so I can mitigate feedback.

The ease of set up and natural sound from the uke is what I like. A favorite setup is a PW50(built in phantom power), monitor stand, 1 Spc 15, mic cable and mic stand. If 2 of us play, I duplicate the mic, cable and mic stand. It is a nice sounding set up.

Booli
03-17-2015, 08:23 PM
One thing to remember- is that there is significant overlap (about 90%) in the frequency range output by both the human voice, and any scale length of ukulele, and as such, and 'vocal' mic will work fine as an 'instrument' mic for ukulele. (I have personally confirmed this myself with a audio spectrum analyzer).

Unless you have a situation that is the 'exception', any marketing-speak on the label could be regarded as hype.

Having said that, for a vocal dynamic mic I prefer the Electrovoice ND/767a (~$129 USD), which tends to have a warmer sound than the Shure SM57/58 and their 'Beta' flavors, and being that I am 'blessed' with a limited baritone singing voice, this mic tends to cut through a dense wall of sound easily, without requiring lots of EQ when playing with a larger group, and when playing solo, it tends to carry the sound in a more 'penetrating' way to the speakers than the Shure counterparts.

As per what I said above, it also works great to amplify the ukulele in the case of playing an instrumental set. The ND/767a also rejects feedback a bit better than the Shure mics, and is a bit more sensitive then they are, both on paper (in the maths) and in use on stage.

Also, whatever mic you use, you can mitigate/enhance it's flaws/functions with a decent preamp. Some inexpensive options for a TUBE mic preamp that I have used to good effect are the ART Tube MP (and others in this series), and it's slightly cheaper copy - the Behringer MIC-200. They both supply phantom power if you are using a condenser mic, as well as act as a direct box, and the vacuum tube *may* sound a bit warmer and less harsh than using a solid-state preamp. You can run the output of any of these preamps into a guitar amp or PA system without any problems as you can adjust the output impedance to match the equipment it is going to plug into via the 'output level' control.

drbekken, if you already have a Shure mic, but find the sound lacking, you can get one of these preamps I mentioned here for ~$50 USD new @ Amazon, B&H Photo and many other sellers, and see how it improves the sound for you. These are also frequently available used on eBay for cheap for when folks eventually upgrade to a fancy tube preamp, like a Manley, Focusrite or Grace Design model.

These tube mic preamps tend to take ANY mic and make it 'hotter' (i.e., more sensitive), but you will need to play around with the settings and mic placement a little, in order to get the sound that you like the most. The main point is that if your mic is lacking in tone or sensitivity, these preamps can really help a lot.

I've personally use them for years as a panacea for many live and recorded 'sound' and impdeance-matching problems.

ksiegel
03-17-2015, 11:06 PM
I use Shure SM58 mics, mostly because I got them used from an audio company my wife used to work for, very cheap. They are workhorses, and I send them through a Soundcraft Notebook 124 mixer, which works nicely as a preamp - some basic EQ, and a little gain control.

I also recently bought an MXL 990/991 combo from Musician's Friend, and I am quite impressed. They are condenser mics, and need phantom power; the 990 is a big ol' thing, the type that a group of bluegrass players would crowd around to sing, and the 991 is a smaller, more directional mic. I brought them to a recent Open Mic, and we set them up - just about every performer wanted to use the MXL mic rather than the old audiotechnia and shure mics we normally use. The sound was crisper, more natural, and - here's the important part - you don't have to "eat" the mic.

So I used them at the Farmers Market gig I played last month - a louder venue, and tighter quarters for setup. The MXL mics worked so well! I wish I hadn't forgotten them last Sunday - I could really tell the difference. I still used the 991 for my instrument, as well as plugging in, but as a budget pair of mics (I think MF sells the kit for $99 US, but I got mine on sale for $79), the price is right. (OK, I got my SM58s for $20 each, WITH a 20' cord so that price was even more right, but they were used...)



-Kurt

drbekken
03-18-2015, 05:24 AM
I am grateful for all this info. As I said, I have the SM58, but never really used it for anything but vocals. Somehow, I don't really like the sound you get from installed pickups. I play mostly solo piano gigs, but thought I should add a few baritone uke numbers to the act. Or soprano, for that matter. I will experiment a little, I teach music in college, and we have some equipment to fool around with. Mahalo, isn't that the word?

bnolsen
03-18-2015, 06:53 AM
how do you mic pianos? or you play digital direct to amp/pa ?

drbekken
03-18-2015, 08:46 PM
how do you mic pianos? or you play digital direct to amp/pa ?

Sometimes, quite often really, I play digital stage pianos provided by the club or the festival where I play. They are plugged into whatever PA system available, usually with good monitoring. I always tell the promoter that if a good acoustic piano is not available, I prefer a Roland RD-800 or something similar. Nowadays, my only working digital piano is a Yamaha p-35, which is actually far, far better than the low price may indicate. I bought it in desperation right before a gig when my last Roland broke down, and I kept it. It works wonderfully for small, intimate gigs and sounds great. As a matter of fact, I played it last night at a jazz duo concert with the Dutch guitarist Menno Gootjes, who is currently a member of the progressive rock band Focus.If I get to play an acoustic, the piano is quite often miked with mikes pointing directly at the strings at hammer level; where the hammers strike the strings. For that purpose, a Shure SM58 works quite well, if one of these special instrument mikes that I can't name is not available.

phil_doleman
03-19-2015, 12:50 AM
I gave up plugging in last summer, and use a single, large diaphragm condenser mike to pick up uke and vocals. Despite what people (and some sound engineers!) will tell you, these things are fine on stage, you just have to know how to handle them both from an engineer's point of view and as a performer. Bluegrass bands use them all the time.

First of all, don't get too close. Stand at least a foot away. Raise or lower the mic to get the appropriate mix between vocals and uke (though if you hold the uke quite high that won't help much!). You need to project- being timid is no good, you have to move some air! Get used to playing as if there is no mic there and you're trying to fill the room.

On the technical side, ask the sound engineer to turn off the monitors. That's right, completely off. They will just cause feedback. While your at it, also ask for the reverb and compression to go as well, for the same reason. A good engineer will 'ring out' the room- that is they will turn up until feedback occurs, then EQ it out (or they'll have a feedback killer that will do it for them), and keep doing that until the mic is loud enough and feedback free. The final thing to consider is that if it really doesn't seem to be working, there's feedback everywhere, etc. then it's probably just too loud, and the guy on the desk should admit that you are not a thrash metal band and turn it down a bit.

Oh, of course a condenser will need pahntom power. In case the desk doesn't supply it, I carry a cheap little external power supply.

Oh, and make sure whoever set up the PA has put the main speakers IN FRONT of the performer, not behind (the times I've seen that...)!

Dynamic mics really won't cut it. You'd need one for the voice, one for the uke and you need to be very close to both. This is when people complain of being tied to the mic stand and not free to move. I move around a lot and the mic still picks me up. In fact, I move around deliberately in order to change the sound.

I use a pretty cheap generic Chinese mic. It works great and I'm not that upset if it gets damaged as I drag it around the country. It's also easily replaceable. I've also used a Rode NT-1 and it sounded lovely.

Here I am at a recent gig, using the single mic setup.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqRgrlRxWPw

Ukuleleblues
03-19-2015, 01:50 AM
Phil that was great advice. I've tried plugging the instruments in and I will switch between 1 concert, 1 soprano, baritone, guitar and dulcimer. What a mess with the cables, eq of each due to pickup differences, plugging unplugging. etc.

Two dynamic mics work but it feels like punishment in school, "Young man, you go stand by those mics for the next hour and don't you move".

Feedback is the only issue. I still plug in my guitar as I run it through an effects box, so I need to hear it. Some times I"ll use an ear bud monitor hardwired to the mixer.

Hms
03-19-2015, 01:57 AM
I saw Del Rey and Adam Franklin at the GNUF last year.
They played around a single microphone, using the bluegrass style of moving into and away from the mic to control volume. They sounded superb in this large theatre venue.. I asked Del after what the mic was, it was the MCA SP1 which cost about $45!
She also uses a Rode NT-1.
Del has an interesting article on stage mic use here:
http://www.onemicstand.com/
h

ps Nice one Phil!

phil_doleman
03-19-2015, 07:36 AM
Thanks!
I played a club with Del and Adam. There was nothing on the stage bar a mic stand and the one mic, which we all used. Me on my own, and as h says, Del and Adam together, mixing themselves live by moving around the mic. It sounded great, none of the horrible, wearing pickup sound that seems to have become the norm nowadays.

Ukuleleblues
03-19-2015, 07:39 AM
I saw Del Rey and Adam Franklin at the GNUF last year.
They played around a single microphone, using the bluegrass style of moving into and away from the mic to control volume. They sounded superb in this large theatre venue.. I asked Del after what the mic was, it was the MCA SP1 which cost about $45!
She also uses a Rode NT-1.
Del has an interesting article on stage mic use here:
http://www.onemicstand.com/
h

ps Nice one Phil!Great article.

Hms
03-19-2015, 11:42 AM
Phil,
Is that you Rob C taropatch?
Sounds loverly.
H

phil_doleman
03-20-2015, 06:05 AM
Yes, it is. Love it!

puja joshi
10-08-2018, 08:28 PM
Is a condenser microphone good for vocals?

kissing
10-09-2018, 01:18 AM
Is a condenser microphone good for vocals?

Your question is as broad as "Is a knife good for spreading butter on bread?"

It all depends on which condenser mic, connected into what equipment and for use with vocals where (live performance? studio recording? in the bedroom? karaoke?)

What kind of use are you looking to get from your microphone?


The traditional view is we find more condensers being used for recording in controlled environments (like a room or studio) for their sensitivity, and more dynamic mics being used on the stage due to their robustness. Either types can be used for vocals - it just depends on what specific models you're interested in and how you will use it and what your budget is.

Bill Sheehan
10-09-2018, 03:30 AM
Shure PG81. Great for all: voice and uke

Ditto's on the Shure PG ("Performance Gear") 81 condenser. Takes a single "AA" size battery (which seems to last forever), and will pick up both your voice and your uke nicely if you kind of aim it somewhere between the two and stand back 18 inches or so. Not real expensive either!

kissing
10-09-2018, 03:23 PM
Might as well give my answer here. My pick would be a Shure SM57 or SM58 coupled with a Shure X2U (XLR to USB adapter).

I primarily record music on my computer, so that adapter will allow me to connect those mics to my computer.

And they are also legendary mics for performance, should the need arise.

puja joshi
10-09-2018, 08:08 PM
Your question is as broad as "Is a knife good for spreading butter on bread?"

It all depends on which condenser mic, connected into what equipment and for use with vocals where (live performance? studio recording? in the bedroom? karaoke?)

What kind of use are you looking to get from your microphone?


The traditional view is we find more condensers being used for recording in controlled environments (like a room or studio) for their sensitivity, and more dynamic mics being used on the stage due to their robustness. Either types can be used for vocals - it just depends on what specific models you're interested in and how you will use it and what your budget is.

Okay. Thank you so much for the information.