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strumsilly
01-10-2011, 06:19 AM
looking for a microphone for group singing and playing. any suggestions ?

Ukulele JJ
01-10-2011, 06:29 AM
What are you going to plug it into? Do you want a USB mic or a regular XLR one?

JJ

Howlin Hobbit
01-10-2011, 06:36 AM
if you're looking to play live and for a single microphone to handle such a chore, a large-diaphragm condenser is the ticket. brand new they cost anywhere from about $100 to multiple thousands. I have a used Audix CX112 that cost me < $300 and is quite good.

do pay attention to its pickup pattern. mine is a cardioid and doesn't pick up hardly anything from the back side of the mike. perfect for avoiding those nasty feedback squeals.

knadles
01-10-2011, 07:17 AM
For what use? If live, I'd strongly consider individual mics. Anything wide enough to comfortably pick up multiple performers is going to be more prone to feedback.

If you're recording and want that old-school bluegrass feel of everyone gathered around one mic, you want an omni. The cheapest, best sleeper deal around is the EV 635A. It's designed as a news interview mic, but don't let that fool you, it's for real and one of the better sounding omnis you're going to find for less than 300 bucks. You can often find them used on eBay for less than 50. I bought two a few years ago I think for $30 each. The outsides were beat to crap, but they work and sound fine.

The EV RE-50 is essentially the same mic, but with more crap installed to make it more resistant to handling noise. That'll work too, but they're usually a little more money.

Hope that helps,
-Pete

strumsilly
01-10-2011, 07:27 AM
thanks all. I should have been more specific. it's for a children's group singing live at my church, going into a PA. need one mike because it has to be set up and taken down quickly.

knadles
01-10-2011, 07:27 AM
Just checked eBay. It looks like the 635As are running a little hot right now. If the price goes over $75, I'd consider just getting a new one. Try fullcompass.com, but don't buy it from their web site. Call them. You'll usually get a better deal when they aren't limited by that "minimum advertised price" BS.

knadles
01-10-2011, 07:28 AM
thanks all. I should have been more specific. it's for a children's group singing live at my church, going into a PA. need one mike because it has to be set up and taken down quickly.

How big is the group?

Ukuleleblues
01-10-2011, 09:12 AM
Try an MXL990. Need Phantom Power as with all condenser mics. You can find them for 59 with free shipping now.

Ukulele JJ
01-10-2011, 10:00 AM
thanks all. I should have been more specific. it's for a children's group singing live at my church, going into a PA. need one mike because it has to be set up and taken down quickly.

Ah. Well maybe you should take a look at something like the Zoom H4n? It has multiple mics in one unit, can plug into your PA, and can digitally record the whole shebang at the same time.

The downside is that it's $300. But you'll use it for many, many other things after this particular gig, so maybe that's not so bad.


JJ

Doug W
01-10-2011, 10:01 AM
How old are the kids?

haole
01-10-2011, 10:40 AM
Tripping Lily uses a single mic for the whole band and it sounds fantastic. Wonder what type it is?

KamakOzzie
01-10-2011, 05:09 PM
Tripping Lily uses a single mic for the whole band and it sounds fantastic. Wonder what type it is?

It is a custom built mic. It uses a Rode housing with a Neuman element.
BTW - I bought my Brunkalla from Monica.

Bill

knadles
01-10-2011, 06:03 PM
It is a custom built mic. It uses a Rode housing with a Neuman element.

Hmm. Bit fancier than what most people are using around here. :)

Howlin Hobbit
01-11-2011, 07:54 AM
Anything wide enough to comfortably pick up multiple performers is going to be more prone to feedback.
Feedback squeals are a fact of life as long as there are stage monitors--I even mentioned the problem in my previous post. But "more prone to feedback" is not the same as "will for sure feed back."

The simplest solution? Remove the monitors from the equation, remove the feedback. (There are other ways to do this but they take some pre-thought and/or a decent sound person willing to tweak a bit during sound check.)

It's not always possible to remove the monitors (playing somewhere with their own sound system and/or and inflexible sound man or playing a huge room that needs the extra volume springs to mind). But you can tell the sound person to turn the monitors OFF during your set.

Now you have to listen to each other and play as an ensemble. The bonus here is that you make better music that way.

Del Rey (http://delreystevejames.com/onemicstand.html) and others are all happily using one mike (http://www.crownaudio.com/mic_web/onemic2.htm) (or possibly as much as two when the band grows to 5 or 6 members) and they're doing fine. Hell, everybody before WWII used one mike!

Ukulele players (with certain notable exceptions) aren't rock acts, they're acoustic acts. Further, they're--again, in the main--not playing huge rooms, so they don't need to crank it way up and use monitors just to hear themselves above the roar.

If you've just spent somewhere in the high-three figures to low four figures for a beautiful ukulele, chock full of resonant, woody tone, subtle dynamics, etc. why would you want to mix it like it was a cheap plank of an electric guitar?

</rant>

knadles
01-12-2011, 07:35 AM
Feedback squeals are a fact of life as long as there are stage monitors--I even mentioned the problem in my previous post. But "more prone to feedback" is not the same as "will for sure feed back."

Howlin',

Sorry, but I have to go on a rant of my own here... :)

With all due respect, I have a secondary job doing live sound and a degree in audio/acoustics. I can assure you that feedback squeals are not and should not be a fact of life, even with monitors. The problem is that there is a lot of crappy gear out there and a lot of crappy sound people with no training beyond "I have a subscription to EQ magazine" or "no one else volunteered to do it." With a properly chosen microphone and some judicious use of equalization, you can get a whole lot of gain before feedback--enough for a rock band and therefore more than enough for a group of people playing acoustic instruments.


The simplest solution? Remove the monitors from the equation, remove the feedback. (There are other ways to do this but they take some pre-thought and/or a decent sound person willing to tweak a bit during sound check.)

If the sound person isn't willing to tweak during sound check, he or she should be replaced. What is his or her job if not to tweak?


It's not always possible to remove the monitors (playing somewhere with their own sound system and/or and inflexible sound man or playing a huge room that needs the extra volume springs to mind). But you can tell the sound person to turn the monitors OFF during your set.

Now you have to listen to each other and play as an ensemble. The bonus here is that you make better music that way.

I agree. There are many cases in which using monitors would not be appropriate, and a small acoustic ensemble is less likely to need them than the Rolling Stones. But you have to take into account a variety of factors, including whether or not the performers can even hear each other. In a performance on stage at an open-air fest with 3,000-5,000 people wandering around, even a small group might need some foldback to hear what they're doing. The flip side is not to use monitors if you don't need them. Appropriate is the key word here. No one should hire a carpenter who only owns one saw, nor hire a sound person who offers the same approach in a coffee house or an arena.


Del Rey (http://delreystevejames.com/onemicstand.html) and others are all happily using one mike (http://www.crownaudio.com/mic_web/onemic2.htm) (or possibly as much as two when the band grows to 5 or 6 members) and they're doing fine. Hell, everybody before WWII used one mike!

True, but the expectations of pre-WWII audiences were different, the rooms were often designed with acoustics in mind (they had to be, because the SR systems of the day were nearly useless), and the performers universally knew how to listen to each other--an area in which many folks fall short these days.


Ukulele players (with certain notable exceptions) aren't rock acts, they're acoustic acts. Further, they're--again, in the main--not playing huge rooms, so they don't need to crank it way up and use monitors just to hear themselves above the roar.

True, but as the uke gains acceptance in the mainstream, I suspect we'll start to see more players and groups show up in larger places. The shift will require a certain level of adaptation and an open mind.

In any event, to get back to the original poster, I'd consider an Oktava 012 if it's in his budget. The Oktavas are notorious for poor quality control, but the Sound Room (http://oktava.com) (I have no connection) buys the culls from a contact in Russia and tests them to ensure they meet certain standards. The cardioid model has a wide pickup and the mic will come in handy on vocals, sax, violin, or piano.

If that's too much money, an SM-57 is the Bic pen of microphones and should probably work fine. Micing kids is always a challenge though, because some will be screamers and others will be too shy to open their mouths. Put the mic a couple feet higher than their heads, aim it down, and arc them around it. If they need to sing with a piano or CD, drop a monitor in front of them and feed them only what they need to hear. But don't fold the mic back to them; it'll only increase your odds of feedback and they won't be paying attention anyway.


If you've just spent somewhere in the high-three figures to low four figures for a beautiful ukulele, chock full of resonant, woody tone, subtle dynamics, etc. why would you want to mix it like it was a cheap plank of an electric guitar?

I agree, but keep in mind there are plenty of electric guitars that rise above the level of "cheap plank" as well. ;)

Peace,
-Pete

EDW
01-12-2011, 07:37 AM
This may be of interest:

http://delreystevejames.com/onemicstand.html

Howlin Hobbit
01-12-2011, 10:46 AM
Sorry, but I have to go on a rant of my own here...
reads like more of a "support and extend" of my rant. probably not going to get upset. ;-)


. . .feedback squeals are not and should not be a fact of life, even with monitors. The problem is that there is a lot of crappy gear out there and a lot of crappy sound people with no training beyond "I have a subscription to EQ magazine" or "no one else volunteered to do it." With a properly chosen microphone and some judicious use of equalization, you can get a whole lot of gain before feedback--enough for a rock band and therefore more than enough for a group of people playing acoustic instruments.
yep. and I'd love to have you as my sound guy all the time. I do get great sound guys (and gals), and pretty often too. but I also play with oddball burlesque shows in punk rock venues. guess how the sound guy is going to mix that?


If the sound person isn't willing to tweak during sound check, he or she should be replaced. What is his or her job if not to tweak?
again, no argument. but the reality is if you're trying to go out and scrape up a living with the whole musicianer silliness, you need to plan for all different situations.

this is why, even though I'm a huge fan of the acoustic instrument well-miked, I also own a ukulele with a pickup.


. . .keep in mind there are plenty of electric guitars that rise above the level of "cheap plank" as well.
of course! all the more reason not to mix your instrument like a cheap plank. ;-)

knadles
01-12-2011, 11:16 AM
Howlin',

I didn't really mean my rant was against you. :) I just get frustrated sometimes with what appears to be a sometimes passive acceptance of lower standards. I used to work in the construction biz--installing ceramic and quarry tile. It drove me up the wall when someone would say "oh, ceramic tile cracks and breaks--that's just the way it is." I heard that a lot. 99 times out of 100, cracked tile or grout means the installer blew it. The truth was, it didn't have to be that way and a competent installer would have done it right, but a lot of people enter that field because it looks like something you could learn out of a how-2 book. Or by trial and error.

It's the same with sound. There are so many useless sound people out there...musicians are trained to accept feedback as a way of life. How often do we see someone walk up to a microphone in a movie and there's a burst of feedback? Sheesh. I saw a friend's rock band a few months ago and the system was howling all night. I felt like running up there and knocking the sound guy out of the way. There's no excuse for such things. If you aren't good at your job, either learn how to do it better or find a different line of work.

I consider myself merely decent at live sound. I studied with a guy who, in my opinion, is something of a Mozart when it comes to such things. He showed me what's possible and I spend my time trying to achieve 10 percent of that. :)

-Pete

Ukuleleblues
01-12-2011, 11:28 AM
You guys sound like you know what you are talking about.

What steps do you go through when you set up a sound system once all the connections are made? How do you set up the gain, line levels , control feedback with placement/EQ, monitor placement, etc.

I have to all of this myself and sometimes it takes me an 1.5 hours to set up the system and get it decent. I ask my band mates to go out and listen and they start dancing and don't give me any input on what they hear..... they don't really understand what I am doing. Any tips would help.

knadles
01-12-2011, 01:27 PM
Ha! That's a lot more than I can describe right here. The best thing is to build a relationship with a sound person who has good results and shadow him or her for a bit. If you want some how-2s, the Yamaha Sound Reinforcement Handbook is a good resource.

I'll give you a quick tip on setting the gain that may save you some headache. Run your power amps flat out--all the way up. Set the master fader on your mixer at 0 (that's zero near the top, not all the way off), the channel faders at 0 and the trims (mic gains) at the top of the channel strips all the way down. With the band playing, raise the trims to the level you want and try to get a good balance.

There's more, but that will get you started. The thing you want to avoid is up/down/up gain going through the gear. The signal should stay as level as possible, which will give you the most stability and the least noise. The little amplifiers behind the trims are generally the highest quality circuits on the board, since they have the hardest job. Get your level set right with them and keep the faders handy for the big moves or to deal with any problems that pop up. And remember that all musicians are at least 10dB quieter during sound check than they will be once the show starts, no matter how much they insist they're playing "just like" they plan to for the audience.

Hope that helps,
-Pete

franulele
01-12-2011, 02:10 PM
An interesting advice on using just 1 mic http://www.crownaudio.com/mic_web/onemic2.htm

KamakOzzie
01-12-2011, 05:26 PM
Ha! If you want some how-2s, the Yamaha Sound Reinforcement Handbook is a good resource.

-Pete

That's a great reference, Pete. I've had it for years.
Pardon me, but it struck me funny when I read that, kinda like telling someone to learn music theory. (but for P.A. systems);)

Bill