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Somehow I don't know that for me personally I'd want to take a step backwards with a dynamic mic of any type over a mid grade condenser mic like my Audio Technica ATM-350. I'm not really a fan of the amplified tone of the ATM-350, but I think going into the EV N/D 468 might be a step backwards for me.
 

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Somehow I don't know that for me personally I'd want to take a step backwards with a dynamic mic of any type over a mid grade condenser mic like my Audio Technica ATM-350. I'm not really a fan of the amplified tone of the ATM-350, but I think going into the EV N/D 468 might be a step backwards for me.
Yeah dynamics are too colored.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The Electrovoice N/D 468 here in the UK is about £135, that doesn't seem a great amount. I don't know the price of the other mics, perhaps it represents good value for money.
 

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Nobby, thank you for posting the link here. I would love to get feedback from the sax community on this piece.

The backstory is that Marc contacted me to ask for mic recommendations. He listed a few mics he had tried and NOT liked. I personally wanted to try dynamics first only because putting a condenser on an open stage seems like an invitation for problems, because condensers usually have more "reach" than dynamics. So, I sent Marc the four dynamics from my personal locker that seemed most suitable. Now we're soliciting input for a second round of tests.

I welcome discussion here or on the recordinghacks site, but if anyone has specific mics to recommend, please do leave a comment directly on Marc's story, so I can point the vendors at it and get some evaluation mics shipped out.

Hopefully the wider sax community can benefit from this process. (Unless everyone else has found a mic they're happy with already?)
 

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Somehow I don't know that for me personally I'd want to take a step backwards with a dynamic mic of any type over a mid grade condenser mic...
For LIVE work? I always assumed a condenser mic was great for studio recording, but not so good for live playing. Maybe that's a poor assumption.

Regarding the article, what I thought was interesting is Mark's view that the SM57 is just about the worst mic you can use. I'm not a big fan of the 57 either, but a lot of players use them and like them. I've heard saxes miked with a 57 and they didn't sound bad, so I'm wondering why it gets such a low assessment in that article.

My very favorite dynamic mic for sax is the RE-20. I haven't tried any of the 4 mics reviewed above, but they do seem to be reasonably priced.
 

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I just realized that the OP had posted the URL to Marc's blog entry. He and I went back and forth a few times to get more clarity on the "space" vs "depth" issue. The revised version of the piece is on my site, with links to microphone info:
http://recordinghacks.com/2011/10/17/the-quest-for-the-ultimate-live-sax-microphone/

My contacts at Shure and Earthworks have posted comments with suggestions for mics to try.
 

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Mike selection and resultant sound through a PA depends on MANY variables including distance from sax bell, and the whole PA chain. head-room before feedback, etc. etc. To me mikes always sound better when you keep a distance above the bell if the set-up allows it.

I use often Beta 57 with Mackie (newest pre-amp model) and QSC 12" speakers in a group with e-piano
with very good audience friendly results with nice smooth sound. I also use sometimes one of my Neumann spot mikes TLM103 condenser which sounds better if we are recording as well. not to mention it looks good to on the gig in the right setting. but this is very expensive for sure. However a great recording mike to have in the arsenal.


But this is very pricey for sure but do look good on the gig.
 

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Regarding the article, what I thought was interesting is Mark's view that the SM57 is just about the worst mic you can use. I'm not a big fan of the 57 either, but a lot of players use them and like them. I've heard saxes miked with a 57 and they didn't sound bad, so I'm wondering why it gets such a low assessment in that article.
A 57 IS about the worst mic you can use on a tenor. Every single player I've heard through one sounded horrible. People still use them because 1. they may not know better 2. some players just aren't too picky about equipment or how they sound (seriously) 3. the appreciation for a natural reproduction of acoustic instruments have been killed by years of all that is wrong with amplified music - it seems it's getting better though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Very interesting comments, I use a Shure 57 and have done for years, because I thought it was the correct mic to use. Perhaps its time to look at something else.
 

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Interesting thread and perhaps the topic for a new one what's your stage mic setup. Pesonally I like the Samson radio mics for the Sax (link below) which is a condensor mic and my Partner uses a specialist flute mic which unfortunately is a wired mic for her flute. The characteristics of condensor mics is built into the design and general purpose ones can be very sensitive over a reasonable distance but I can nonestly say for my 2 pence that I can stand in front of the PA speaker with little chance of feedback unless I get within a foot of the cone with mine and have the freedom to move around.

http://www.samsontech.com/samson/products/wireless-systems/airline-77/airline77wind/
 

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A 57 IS about the worst mic you can use on a tenor. Every single player I've heard through one sounded horrible. People still use them because 1. they may not know better 2. some players just aren't too picky about equipment or how they sound (seriously) 3. the appreciation for a natural reproduction of acoustic instruments have been killed by years of all that is wrong with amplified music - it seems it's getting better though.
I tend to agree with you (maybe not the worst mic, though) and I find most mics to be way too bright for a sax (always have to roll back the highs). The one exception to that I've found is the RE20.
 

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I tend to agree with you (maybe not the worst mic, though) and I find most mics to be way too bright for a sax (always have to roll back the highs). The one exception to that I've found is the RE20.
+1

Of the mics I've tried (both condenser and dynamic), which admittedly is not many, the RE20 is the only one I did not have to roll back the highs with EQ to better match the "real" sound of my tenor.
 

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... I'm not really a fan of the amplified tone of the ATM-350, but I think going into the EV N/D 468 might be a step backwards for me.
The ATM350 is one of the most natural sounding clip mics on the market. If you need a natural sound of horn, it's a great choise.
Them, you also have to consider from what loudspeakers the sound comes out.

I personally use the ATM350 very often... but I still prefer a large diagram dynamic mic, like RE20 (I own a RE27N/D).
 

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Marc is a decent horn player and a pretty nice guy...but we all have opinions, as far as mics for live work I've used quite a few in 50 years and my favorite is the MD 421 or it's newer cousin.
 

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This was an interesting article all around. I'd like to share a recent concert experience with you. I went to a Terrence Blanchard concert. Everything was miked, including Terrence and the drums. Terrence was also using recordings of a poet as part of his compositions, so he had a mixer on stage. He was also using effects on his horn. He was using a clipon mic of the sort that Miles was using during his last few years. Terrence paced around the stage as he was playing, almost as if he was at a party and chatting with each of the players with his horn. He also did some subtle harmonies (I suspect he was using a Telecon voicelive), and some tasteful reverb.

Brice Winston, on the other hand, was using a large diaphragm condenser mic on a stand (it may have been an AKG 3000B, but there are a lot of mikes that look similar), and had to stand in just the right place, which, skilled player that he is, knew exactly where that was. However, there were many times where he was hanging out in the back, and didn't make it to the mic to play his line. At these times the blend of the players was off. I found myself thinking that a clipon would have been much better, and then Brice, too, would be free to move around. Other than this, I never noticed him 'playing the mic'--his distance always seemed pretty consistent.

Concerning mic choice---well, there are rules of thumb, and there are situations where one 'bends' the rules for one reason or another. When doing sound, I've used everything from 57/58s, 421s, and sometimes a player will bring in his own favorite mic. I always used what the artist was most comfortable with. I recall doing sound for Joanne Brackeen when Ravi Coltrane was playing with her at a concert at a university. Ravi brought this huge old mic (nope, I still don't know what it was) and asked (ASKED!) if it was OK if he used it. I said sure. He sounded great through it, but I don't think it was any worse or better than the 421 that I had originally set up for him to play through.
 

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Hi guys im new to this forum. i am a professional engineer and saxophone player. i have always used stationary microphones instead of wirelesses systems live. and in the studio I have everything from an akg c12 - Telefunken elm251, Manley gold ref. etc... and in the studio it really depends on the player and the preamp chain (251-a manley vox box & ''1176 4 me). live is no different of course, but in clubs etc...i've found that the pa is usually pretty cheap and guys that run them are even cheaper. So you need all the help you can get! i've found that the Shure SM7b is hands down the best live mic. it's much better than the huge RE20 although they sound similar it's not as sterile as the 20. It has excellent feedback rejection, plus it doesn't cost an arm an a leg (i think they're 350 now). Narada Michael Walden told me that Michael Jackson used it as his vox mic in the studio! and he wouldn't record without them. i've used it for everything in the studio as well as live. it is my all purpose "go to" mic of choice and in my opinion one of the best all around mics and the best live on stand sax mic.....check it out i'm sure you'll dig it!!!! What is anyones opinion on wireless mics 4 sax. I have used sennheiser, ev, and shure hand helds. and they all have there up's and downs but never a sax mic. Wi5??? opinions???
 

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Any comments on the Beta 57 as it relates to alto and tenor? I use one and have found it bright, yes, but seems to be better able to represent alto. Tenor seems to be not picked up as well, or maybe not as fully as the alto.
 
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