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solo guitar amplification

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solo guitar amplification

Postby David Caswell » Sun Dec 15, 2019 11:17 am

Hi Everyone,
if you could give some advice on improving my setup then I’d be grateful.
I play classical guitar and mostly need only modest amplification. My current system is very simple and utilizes gear that also doubles as recording equipment:
mic is a dpa 4060
pre is a dav bg1
feeding a pair of fbt promax 10 active speakers.

I was thinking of adding an active wedge monitor, daisy chaining it with the other two speakers. I have to sit behind the speakers as being an omni mic it gives feedback. Will a wedge monitor be a possible addition, or will feedback be too severe given that the dpa is an omni?
I really like this mini mic, the sound is very true to natural sound of the guitar, and it can be bluetacked to the front of the guitar..so there are no intrusive mic stands needed. Also being an omni, placement is not so critical as would be with a hyper..having said that I did once try a schoeps mk41 and thought this was a great mic for the job, just hugely expensive!
So I guess my questions are: do I need to change mic, would it benefit to have a small mixer instead of the dav, and could a wedge monitor be added to the current setup?
Thank you for any help that you can give and Merry Christmas to all,
David Caswell
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Re: solo guitar amplification

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Dec 15, 2019 11:32 am

Hi David, I think your rig is close to the best you could have but my inclination would be to change the mic for a DPA 4099 with the guitar kit. As you point out positioning is more critical than an omni would be but it should improve gain before feedback significantly. If you want to use a wedge I think it would be the most practical practical answer. I have used a 4099 on a very nice Fylde steel strung guitar and it sounded very good indeed once the position was sorted. WRT to a monitor I would look at the TC VoiceSolo fx150 personal monitor, relatively inexpensive, pretty good sounding, and would work as a standalone PA for small gigs. I would also suggest the Bose S1 Pro but, while it has battery power it lacks phantom power for your DPA mics so probably not what you need. Both can work as a 'more me' monitor and both have usable (very decent in the case of the TC) reverb.

As with anything of this nature you need to go and demo the kit before buying to be sure it meets your expectations.
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Re: solo guitar amplification

Postby Wonks » Sun Dec 15, 2019 12:06 pm

Or maybe consider using an in-ear monitoring system, which wouldn't introduce any extra risk of feedback.

The drawback is that you'd probably need another mic to give you some ambience feedback, which your current setup wouldn't allow as you'd need the ability to mix the two mic signals.

If this interests you, but you want to keep the signal path as clean as possible, then maybe consider dropping the DAV BG1 and swapping to a small high-end mixer like the SSL SiX? This would allow you to mix the ambient mic with the guitar mic for the IEM system, and send just the guitar sound to the FOH speakers.

You'd probably want to use either a wired or UHF wireless IEM system, as the 2.5/5MHz Wi-Fi versions can add latency that could put you off your playing (though some do have only a 3-4ms delay).
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Re: solo guitar amplification

Postby Kwackman » Sun Dec 15, 2019 12:38 pm

David Caswell wrote:Will a wedge monitor be a possible addition, or will feedback be too severe given that the dpa is an omni?

If you're playing solo, why would you want a wedge?
Unless you're playing in a very noisy venue where you can't hear your guitar directly, it only adds further complication and, as you've already spotted, the possibility of howl round.
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Re: solo guitar amplification

Postby ef37a » Sun Dec 15, 2019 7:02 pm

Kwackman wrote:
David Caswell wrote:Will a wedge monitor be a possible addition, or will feedback be too severe given that the dpa is an omni?

If you're playing solo, why would you want a wedge?
Unless you're playing in a very noisy venue where you can't hear your guitar directly, it only adds further complication and, as you've already spotted, the possibility of howl round.

That occured to me as well Kwacks. But if foldback is really needed how about one of those really wee but high quality powered speakers from Canford? Put it on a mic stand a few cms from preferred lug.

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Re: solo guitar amplification

Postby Wonks » Sun Dec 15, 2019 7:21 pm

That would still be dodgy with regards to feedback with an omni mic. Plus it doesn't look that great when you're a solo performer sitting down.
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Re: solo guitar amplification

Postby David Caswell » Sun Dec 15, 2019 10:58 pm

Thanks to everyone for the help and advice.
The reason for wanting a wedge monitor is that the gigs are sometimes in relatively noisy environments. Being behind the speakers can make it feel as though there is no amplification, leading to playing with undue force. I’ve noticed on gigs where the gear is provided by the organisers, with wedge speakers. that it leads to a much more relaxed feeling when playing.
My initial idea was to just add another fbt speaker, as they are designed to work as wedges as well, but the tc looks a good model and rather cheaper! I’ve also always been a fan of tc reverb for guitar. The idea of in ear monitoring had never even occurred to me, so I’ll certainly look into that.
I’ll also look at the dpa 4099. There is a review on youtube by Doug Young, he likes the mic but seems to prefer mixing it with an internal pickup for his favoured sound.

It seems to be an area of compromise:
omni gives the most natural sound, and mic placement is not too critical...but it does give bad feedback issues..
hypercardioid is perhaps not such a good sound and placement is more critical, but feedback is not such as issue..
changing guitar to one with onboard pickups, such a takamine, reduces feedback even further, but means that you have to play on a different instrument, maybe not so much to to your liking..
I think that any of the above are preferable to using a mic on a stand, where it is all to easy to wander from the mic, especially in a long set...
Thanks again for the help and for floating a few ideas..
Kind regards,
David Caswell
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Re: solo guitar amplification

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sun Dec 15, 2019 11:21 pm

So a solution that you've touched on already is to use an alternative mic/pickup just for monitoring.

If your preferred guitar does not have a pick-up, one possibility is to use an AKG C411 stick-on microphone and feed that to the monitor (assuming you don't want to compromise your guitar by installing a pick-up).

Of course, this isn't a perfect solution as you can still create feedback, but the threshold is much higher. Also, you'll be hearing the compromised sound of the C411, so would need to take that into consideration.

However, it strikes me that if you are playing a venue where it's noisey enough to require monitoring, then the nuances of playing your preferred guitar over the Takamine would be entirely lost on the audience anyway!!!!

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Re: solo guitar amplification

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:26 am

Yup, playing any acoustic guitar live is a string of compromises. The TC VoiceLive is a cracking little box, I've even seen one used as a piano monitor on an acoustic gig, I have three and have even used two for FOH and one as a monitor on an open mic session. Bob's suggestion of using a different system for monitoring is pragmatic and should work well if you can live with the sound of the second mic/pickup. Some of the Gypsy Jazz guys use the C411 or an AT831B stuck in a foam block attached to the soundboard. Neither are as accurate as your DPA or the 4099 but they can work pretty well so might be worth a try and you may find it good enough to use as the main system.
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Re: solo guitar amplification

Postby ef37a » Mon Dec 16, 2019 10:29 am

Wonks wrote:That would still be dodgy with regards to feedback with an omni mic. Plus it doesn't look that great when you're a solo performer sitting down.

"Dodgy" but maybe workable? Could be positioned behind him, facing up to fire at back of head. Would not be seen and if close the level could be quite low and not worsen ring?

Just throwing 'em out there y'know!

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Re: solo guitar amplification

Postby Rob Kirkwood » Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:32 pm

Given that you usually only need 'modest' amplification, might be worth looking at swapping out your FBTs for a single line array column system? These generally have a pretty wide dispersion with relatively even spread, and can be placed behind you - so act as monitor as well as PA, with the benefit that you get to hear exactly what the audience hears.

However, you might still run into problems using an omni mic (I've only ever used cardiod vox & guitar pickup with this sort of system), but it would cut down on the amount of separate stuff you need to carry and set up.

This link shows the kind of thing I'm talking about...
https://www.thomann.de/gb/column_systems.html

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Re: solo guitar amplification

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Dec 16, 2019 2:22 pm

This might be a good solution, I only have experience of the Bose L1 Compact, and it was a while ago, but it was extremely feedback resistant when placed behind the performer and sounded very good indeed. My only concern would be whether it would go loud enough for your noisier gigs. And it ain't cheap. I am dubious about the other 'mini line arrays' as there is a huge amount of DSP going on in the Bose and they seem to be the leaders in this tech.
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Re: solo guitar amplification

Postby CS70 » Mon Dec 16, 2019 3:36 pm

Bob Bickerton wrote:However, it strikes me that if you are playing a venue where it's noisey enough to require monitoring, then the nuances of playing your preferred guitar over the Takamine would be entirely lost on the audience anyway!!!!

My guess would be the nuances would be more for the player than the audience - and not necessarily sonic ones. Especially with acoustic guitar, it's a little painful to play a song born on one guitar with a very different instrument... lots of things tend to feel wrong and detract from the performance, both in the physicality of the instrument and the way it responds.

But of course as you guys say, acoustic guitar live is always a bit of a compromise..
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Re: solo guitar amplification

Postby ef37a » Mon Dec 16, 2019 3:48 pm

Not REALLY ot! But,
In my yoof there was a Sitar recital at the technical college where I did my C&G electronics.

They decided it needed a bit of reinforcement so two Quad ESLs were positioned either side of the stage and driven from Quadll valve amps.

Do not know what the mics or pres were but it sounded bloody good! Stoney silence for the artist of course! I doubt anyone thought to record it.

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