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Use same condenser mic for bluegrass live set up?

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Use same condenser mic for bluegrass live set up?

Postby dph9254 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:10 am

I’m in a 5 piece bluegrass band - guitar, mandolin, banjo, dobro, upright electric. Three of us do most of the vocals. We want to simplify sound set up down from 8 channels. We’ve just tried one condenser (AT 2035), one instrument mic for the dobro, one SM58 as vocal mic for bass player, and then the input line for the bass. So 4 channels total. Seemed to work fairly well, but at times the vocal from from the 58 seemed separated from the other vocals. I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be better to switch the 58 out for another condenser.
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Re: Use same condenser mic for bluegrass live set up?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:56 am

dph9254 wrote:Seemed to work fairly well, but at times the vocal from from the 58 seemed separated from the other vocals.

Well, it would, wouldn't it? The bass singer is presumably crooning into the 58 from a close distance, whereas everyone else is singing at a mic some considerable distance away. So the two vocal contributions will have very different perspectives, and the ear will latch on to the bass vocals as being closer and therefore more significant.

I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be better to switch the 58 out for another condenser.

Not really, because the same perspectives issue will remain. You could try EQ-ing the bass vocal mic to make it less dominant, and/or try using a reverb processor to add some acoustic room space around the bass vocal to help it move back into the mix.

But fundamentally, it is always going to be very hard to blend vocals captured on a close mic those from a distant mic.

If you're going for the single-mic bluegrass approach commit to it, and move the players around the stage to enable everyone to sing into the mic from the same distance (stepping forward slightly for solos etc).

H
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Re: Use same condenser mic for bluegrass live set up?

Postby dph9254 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:06 am

Thank you.
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Re: Use same condenser mic for bluegrass live set up?

Postby Tim Gillett » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:10 am

In addition and for the same reason Hugh mentioned, the guitar, mando and banjo may also sound distant because like the other two vocals, they too arent close miced.

Using a single mic to capture a number of more distant instruments and voices also means the mic's gain probably needs to be turned up, possibly risking feedback issues, and making it generally harder for the performers to hear the mix the audience hears, unless of course you have a dedicated sound mixer guy in the audience.
So there's more than one good reason to close mic each instrument and voice especially in a public address situation.
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Re: Use same condenser mic for bluegrass live set up?

Postby dph9254 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:47 pm

Could be that the pick-up field on the AT2035 is just not large enough. Is there a different condenser mic someone might suggest other than the AT 2035? Maybe one that's more designed for live sound - and one that doesn't break the bank! Bluegrassers play for 10s of dollars you know.
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Re: Use same condenser mic for bluegrass live set up?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:19 pm

The ‘Bluegrass’ technique you describe is a soundman’s nightmare and I’ve rarely seen it used successfully. Few Bluegrass musicians I’ve met appreciate the inverse square law.

The first question to ask is; will you be performing in concert situations and presenting to listening, i.e. silent, audiences, on stages with no ambient noise, through exceptionally high quality sound systems and with no or little monitoring? If not, you’ll be struggling to get enough gain before feedback.

Using a mic with a wider pick-up pattern to the AT2035, will result in less gain before feedback. Picking a microphone with a flatter frequency response will help.

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Re: Use same condenser mic for bluegrass live set up?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:31 pm

These guys do it with some success https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatful_of_Rain_(British_band) The bass player, Phil Jones was a regular on here but I haven't seen him post recently (and can't remember his forum name). If you're still lurking Phil your advice would be welcome?

They use an Ear Tumpet Labs 'Louise' mic and reported a significant improvement over the AT 4033 they had been using previously.....

I'd concur with Bob though, it needs a listening audience and some careful choreography to make it work.

Edit :- found this youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFfgUGsOHgY

Doesn't really reflect a true live gig but it does sound as if the recording was live.....
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