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Microphone Bubble

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Microphone Bubble

Postby denno » Tue Sep 04, 2018 4:32 pm

Yeah, what do I mean by that?
I am a singer and talker in a quartet band. I project much better when I'm singing.
I'm also a mic-kisser, though rather not have to be.

But in one club some years ago, the really good sound guy had the stage set up so y'could be a foot from the mic and it would pick up everything. (And not feed back.) Everything ran through his master board, there were perfect monitors.

I'm currently videorecording us and one thing I notice is the tremendous drop-off if I am away from the mic at all. (Using 58; gonna try 58-beta and see if anything is different.)

I want a bigger, more sensitive BUBBLE around the mic for singing and talking.

Can't ask the aforementioned guy, as he is a late guy. I don't even remember what the mics were, but my bandmates might.

Is this a magic mic setup or a synthesis of equipment, acoustics, engineering, tea leaves...

I play plugged-in acoustic guitar and try for acoustic tone. We have banjo through the board, pedal steel through its own amp, bass and lead guitars ditto. I am not sure to what extent the guys run any of their instruments through the board, as they chase me away.

I am also an old guy (unsure whether that's "classic" or "antique" --- gotta look it up) who came up as a folk solo and a barstool jukebox. The guys have been trying to teach me to keep it down to the backbeat for years. I have to relearn (or learn) from the vids how to make my remarks and so forth in an audible fashion under band circs....so part of it is my personal delivery technique.

But can you guess what the late Jeff was doing?

Thanks,
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Re: Microphone Bubble

Postby Wonks » Tue Sep 04, 2018 6:25 pm

Beta 58A, being supercardioid rather than cardioid like the SM58 will, have an even tighter pick-up pattern, so off to the sides will be even worse for fall-off. The Beta has a slightly higher output then the SM, but that jut means less gain needed on the desk to produce the same level of signal.

You can't break the laws of physics, with sound levels tailing off in an inverse-square law as you move away from the sound source, so something must have been done to get that effect. Double the distance from the mic, and the sound level at the mic drops off by a factor of 4. The further away you are from a cardioid or super/hypercardiod mic, the less of the bass proximity boost you get, which can also make the vocals sound a lot thinner. Omni mics don't suffer from proximity boost, but the pickup pattern isn't good for loud live stage work

There were some dynamic mics, made by AKG, the D202 and then the D222 and D224 that were designed with two diaphragms to stop any proximity effect. This allowed the vocal timbre to remain unaffected as you moved away or got closer to the mic, with only the volume changing, so you didn't need to adjust the channel EQ as people moved around (th mics were used a lot in TV studios for this very reason) . They are no longer made, but Shure brought out a similar mic a few years ago, the KSM9. It's not cheap, and it's not suited to everyone's vocals, but it has that lack of proximity affect that can improve the FOH sound for someone who moves around the mic a lot.

My theory, given that the level stayed pretty constant within that 12" zone from the mic, is that a compressor was used, probably with quite a low threshold and a reasonable compression ratio to effectively bring up the quieter sounds when more distant from the mic and match them with the level when near the mic.

Compression has drawbacks when used live, as the extra make-up gain involved within the compressor (or back at the desk), increases the risk of feedback. When a lot of compression is applied, it can also make the vocals sound less dynamic and strangely flat.

So I guess the sound guy probably used some of those AKG mics and some compressors. Assuming he always did the sound with a fixed rig in that venue, he'd also have had a lot of time to set his stage up, using 31-band graphic EQs to notch out problem frequencies on the FOH and on the monitors when using the compressors. But it does take time to do this properly (and you can still get feedback problems), and you'll need to use different settings in every venue.

It really is a lot simpler to just accept the limitations of the mic and learn to stay at the same distance away and not move your mouth off to the side.
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Re: Microphone Bubble

Postby denno » Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:20 pm

Thanks. i will see if the guys remember the mics.
Sound levels were not necessarily the same in the bubble, but I could be farther away and still picked up.

Probably back with more to say...gotta give meds to the puppies!
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Re: Microphone Bubble

Postby James Perrett » Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:35 pm

I would suggest that just the right amount of compression combined with sensible stage volume levels and plenty of space on stage would do it. By kissing the mic you also possibly force the gain on the microphone channel to be lower than it need be in order to avoid distortion.

If you work with a sound engineer maybe just try backing off from the mic for your next soundcheck so that the engineer has to increase the gain if you are to be heard. If the experiment ends in too much feedback you'll have to go back to your old ways for the gig but, if stage levels are sensible, you may find that you can be heard without having to kiss the mic.
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Re: Microphone Bubble

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:40 am

I think Wonks meant the Shure KSM8 Dualdyne as opposed to the KSM9........

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Re: Microphone Bubble

Postby ef37a » Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:27 am

Can I suggest a high quality headset, noise cancelling mic? The sort of thing Kylie pranced about with.

I would also guess the "bubble" guy was pretty **** hot on the faders as you moved?

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Re: Microphone Bubble

Postby denno » Wed Sep 05, 2018 6:34 am

Thanks for all remarks ongoing.

Hmmmm. I have long threatened the guys, who are capital instrumental sidemen, but tend to drift offa the mic in mid-syllable, with "Britney Spears" headsets......

Izzat a lot of dough?
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Re: Microphone Bubble

Postby ef37a » Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:01 am

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Re: Microphone Bubble

Postby Wonks » Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:36 am

Bob Bickerton wrote:I think Wonks meant the Shure KSM8 Dualdyne as opposed to the KSM9........

Bob

I did indeed!
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Re: Microphone Bubble

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:33 am

If you did go down the headword microphone route, the best one I came across for sound quality and rejection of feedback was the AKG C520 - and I tried quite a few at the time.

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Re: Microphone Bubble

Postby Wonks » Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:19 am

The drawback is that you can't say anything off mic unless the FOH engineer is very good at turning their fader down when that person isn't singing.
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Re: Microphone Bubble

Postby ef37a » Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:49 am

Wonks wrote:The drawback is that you can't say anything off mic unless the FOH engineer is very good at turning their fader down when that person isn't singing.


Good point ^ so, one of these..https://cpc.farnell.com/neutrik/nc3fxs/ ... SwQAvD_BwE

In the sky'?

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Re: Microphone Bubble

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:06 pm

Or even better these foot operated units from Orchid http://orchid-electronics.co.uk/balanced_mic_mute.htm, we have a couple and they’re very good.

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Re: Microphone Bubble

Postby Music Wolf » Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:22 pm

I tried a C520 for a while but went back to a more conventional mic having mastered singing and playing without the need to keep looking at the fretboard (when I say 'mastered singing' I mean that I could sing just as badly whether I was playing the guitar at the same time or not). I recall that the C520 required a belt worn pack, presumably a specific phantom power unit (I no longer have it so I can't check). I wasn't able to power it straight from the desk.

The point being - that pack had a gain control and a switch (although quite difficult to see).

I also have an Orchid Electronics mic mute (lite version) http://orchid-electronics.co.uk/Mic_Mute_lite.htm and I can confirm that they work very well. Not completely silent switching but fine in practice.
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Re: Microphone Bubble

Postby denno » Thu Sep 06, 2018 12:49 am

Here's what one of the guys remembers.

Most of the mics were Shure 58's and 57's.
They had some EV's too I think. You might have sung thru one of those.
Natch, he ran EVERYTHING thru the board.
Most 'acoustic' instruments were run direct.
Of course electric guitars and basses brought their own amps.
He put a mic in front of my little amp. Bass would usually be sent via a line out or DI box.
Bands that played really loud with big amps (of which there were quite a few) had to have those loud instruments set lower in the main mix so the sound level in the room would even out. From his perch in the back he could hear the entire room very, very well.

The monitors and any recording output could be mixed separately from the mains.
He had lots of separate monitors, so could control the sound pretty well to please each musician.
The main speakers were hung way up high above the stage which made it possible to turn up the mics plenty.S.

Headset'll remain a dream........
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Re: Microphone Bubble

Postby ef37a » Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:48 am

denno wrote:Here's what one of the guys remembers.

Most of the mics were Shure 58's and 57's.
They had some EV's too I think. You might have sung thru one of those.
Natch, he ran EVERYTHING thru the board.
Most 'acoustic' instruments were run direct.
Of course electric guitars and basses brought their own amps.
He put a mic in front of my little amp. Bass would usually be sent via a line out or DI box.
Bands that played really loud with big amps (of which there were quite a few) had to have those loud instruments set lower in the main mix so the sound level in the room would even out. From his perch in the back he could hear the entire room very, very well.

The monitors and any recording output could be mixed separately from the mains.
He had lots of separate monitors, so could control the sound pretty well to please each musician.
The main speakers were hung way up high above the stage which made it possible to turn up the mics plenty.S.

Headset'll remain a dream........

That sounds like a pretty ideal PA setup. Having the main speakers well isolated from the stage gives you much better "gain before ring" than most situations where speakers are ON stage front or at best just off to the sides. The sound man therefore had a good margin for increasing gain as you "went off" optimum pickup and he was on top of everything all the time it seems so he could ride the gains. Without an experienced sound tech on the faders you will not get such luxurious coverage with a "plonk it and hope" rig.

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