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I could use some mic advice. I play sax as well as clarinet and flute on a lot of my gigs. For the last few years I've been using an Audio Tecnica clip on mic for live gigs. I clip it to a mic stand and it's worked really well for clarinet as well as sax and flute. It just died. I went back to my SM 57 and I need something else. I need a mic that will work well for clarinet. If it can do that I shouldn't have a problem with flute or sax. Ideally I would like to bring just one mic with me to gigs. I'm usually dealing with idiots running the sound board so even on a good day when there are monitors and a seperate monitor mix (quite rare) no matter how hard they try, I will never have the same volume or presence as the vocals.
ANy reccomendations?


Mike
 

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What kind of music are you playing? What kind of venues are you playing? what is your budget?

Realistically, you will probably get the best results by using two mics. One for saxophone and clarinet, and another especially for flute.

Re: the "idiots running the sound board" you might try to look at things from a different perspective. The sound engineer is there to run the mix for the whole group. Some engineers are better than others, just like some musicians are better than others.

I'm a full time sound engineer; I make my living by running live sound for bands and theatre productions, studio recording, theatrical sound design, and general stage hand stuff. I take offense at your "idiots" comment, and request that you retract it.

I can mic anything just about as well with an SM57, and I can with a Neuman KM184. It's all about your ears, and the position that you choose.

I'm sure Hakukani will be along shortly to give you a better answer.
 

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My appologies for lumping everyone into the idiot category. I freelance and play anything from an r &b gig one night to a klezmer gig the next. The best sound is always done with an engineer running the board. I live in New York and many of the gigs I do don't use a sound man. Instead the band leader brings the sound system which is usually inadequate for the gig. It may be loud, but there are no monitors or if there are there is only one mix and it is all vocals. Even if the horns are in the mix, we are getting killed by the shear volume of the vocals and so we end up not using any monitor.
I guess the idiots I'm referring to are the bandleaders that think they know what they're doing. so in short, an SM57 will not give me what I need for clarinet or flute. I don't want to shove the clarinet bell in the mic (sounds awful) . I need something that will get the whole clarinet in the pattern.

Mike
 

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There's a certain percentage of the players around here who will tell you to get another clip on mic, cause they "wanna move around". Myself, as a saxophone player AND sound tech prefer a good mic on a stand. I don't need to run all over the stage Eddie Van Halen style like some of the younger kids here think they need to. So I prefer the regular mic on a stand.

Standard mics for the kinds of gigs you are referring to are: Shure SM81, Sennheiser MD 421, EV RE20. Of those, I think the SM81 will work best for all three instruments, the flute being the major factor. Of course that will mean having the mic on a boom, or goose-neck, and coordinating with the sound tech to mute the mic when you adjust it (or you can get an inline power mute, and do it yourself Pro Co mute siwtch).

But, I think your best bet is to still go with a two mic set up: one for saxophone/clarinet, and one for flute. In which case I would recommend the 421 for saxophone/clarinet, and the Audix ADX10-FL for flute.
 

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JCBigler said:
I don't need to run all over the stage Eddie Van Halen style like some of the younger kids here think they need to. So I prefer the regular mic on a stand.
You may not choose to move around, but some of us (even those who are no longer younger kids) choose to be mobile on stage. It's not a question of thinking we need to, it's a performance choice that I think we should be allowed to make. Your statement there is possibly just as much in need of retraction as the original "idiots running the sound board" one. I would not have been able to enjoy the small success I have performing if I had to stand motionless in front of a microphone, surely a sound engineer working in theatre should understand the realities of a lively stage performance and the reasons for the use of clip on mics for some shows.
 

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Pete Thomas said:
You may not choose to move around, but some of us (even those who are no longer younger kids) choose to be mobile on stage. It's not a question of thinking we need to, it's a performance choice that I think we should be allowed to make. Your statement there is possibly just as much in need of retraction as the original "idiots running the sound board" one. I would not have been able to enjoy the small success I have performing if I had to stand motionless in front of a microphone, surely a sound engineer working in theatre should understand the realities of a lively stage performance and the reasons for the use of clip on mics for some shows.
Not to mention the fact that companies like DPA (Danish Pro Audio) make a mic that can either clip on the horn or mount on a stand and smoke the dynamic mics mentioned. They also have quite a price tag to go with. The DPA really compares to some of the finest large diaphragm studio condensers around. Clip on for live can also be great in tight spaces and makes for a clean looking stage. Having the anchor of a wired mic can also be quite nice and classy in a mature "old school" kind of way. If your in NYC, go to a shop where you can try a few things. Always go for the sound. You should know when you play through something if it sounds like you.
 

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JCBigler said:
I'm sure Hakukani will be along shortly to give you a better answer.
No, JC, you always give good answers--and it's against IATSE rules to 'villify or traduce' our union brothers. Anyone who does sound for musicals, by definition, knows what they're doing, or they don't work in theater very long;).

Personally I've never liked clip-ons for flute. Of course, I don't like to play flute very much, and only play it when I have to.

DPA are great, but pricey mics. I know a few years ago, when they were still B&k, there was some question as to their reliability and sturdiness for live applications.

I play in a 'little big band' where instead rows of saxes, bones, and trumpets, we set up in a line straight across. Sometimes it's hard to hear with 8-9 horns in a row, so I asked the leader, a trumpet player, why he set up that way. He replied that he had spent his career (he's 80) in the back row, and now wanted to be up front.

I feel the same way about playing into a stand mic. I played in R&B and blues bands for years standing stock-still in front of a mic, and I just don't want to do that anymore.

That being said, I use the AT clip on mic. AKG makes a good one. AMT Roam1 is also good.

I use the samson airline77 wireless system with samson's wind instrument mic. This works on my saxes. I don't play much clarinet, so I can't comment on that.
For flute, I would think that the Audix ADX10-FL clip on would be a decent choice (although I have no personal experience with them).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I appreciate the advice. I'm not against the clip on. My AT served me well for a long time. For r&b gigs, they're great. The problem is that 99% of my gigs right now are doubling. I've toyed with brining 2 mics in the past. What ends up happening is that the bandleader freaks out and turns both mics down to almost nothing.
What is the difference between the SM81 and PG 81? Does anyone know anything about the AT 2020 or pro 37?

Thanks
 

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The PG line (stands for performance gear) is their budget line. The give their cheapo mic numbers similar to the SM line, so that n00bs who don't know any better look at the package and think: "hey, it's got the same number as this more expensive one, but at a third the cost, it must be just as good!"

I'm sure they're fine mics for what they are, but you may not get some features (the SM81 has a variable pad and low roll off, I don't think the PG81 has the same. Also it is probably not built to the same quality standards as the SM line, the paint my fleck off, the grill may dent more easily, the capsule may break more easily, and it will probably distort at a lower decibel level, and the frequency response may not be as flat on the PG line.

In essence, if you don't want to use your 57, the PG81 isn't going to be much of an improvement--if any.

The AT 2020 is a medium diaphragm side address condenser mic. I've never used it. Some people I've talked to have said that, for a $100 condenser mic, it's okay--but then again, it's a $100 condenser mic. At that price I wouldn't waste my money on it. for an entry level side address, large diaphragm condenser mic, I would recommend the AT 3035, should be about $200.

Again I haven't heard the Pro 37. I have a pair of AT 3031's though, which are a good entry level small diaphragm condenser. I would recommend spending the few bucks extra and getting the 3031 over the Pro 37. The 3031 is much below the level of the SM81, however, and if you can swing the cash the SM81 is a much better mic.
 

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Mike c said:
I've toyed with brining 2 mics in the past. What ends up happening is that the bandleader freaks out and turns both mics down to almost nothing.
Unfortunately, there's no easy solution to this.

1) The band can hire a full time sound tech, and let him or her actually mix your shows, with a proper PA, console and mic setup.
2) The band leader can learn how to run a sound board, and mix from the stage.
3) You can get a small two channel mixer and plug your two mics into it and mix yourself from the stage.
4) Get a couple of those mute switch boxes I mentioned earlier, and only unmute the mic which you need.

5) Try to make due with one mic. Again, I stress that this is probably the least desirable situation. With one mic, you only have one channel that you can set up for three different instruments. The flute is likely going to need a different EQ, and gain structure set up than your saxophone and clarinet, which can probably survive with the same EQ and gain structure.

Personally, I think, from what you have told me that it's time for your band to find a good, reliable sound engineer, and transfer over the duties of reinforcement to him or her. It will solve many problems and let the people on stage concentrate on their job, which is to make music.
 

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Mike c said:
For the last few years I've been using an Audio Tecnica clip on mic for live gigs. I clip it to a mic stand and it's worked really well for clarinet as well as sax and flute. It just died.

so even on a good day when there are monitors and a seperate monitor mix (quite rare) no matter how hard they try, I will never have the same volume or presence as the vocals.
ANy reccomendations?


Mike
Hi Mike,
A few thoughts occurred to me after my original response.

1. If you are complaining about how the sound is run with reference to your horn, then how do you know the Audio Technica clip worked really well as you described?
2. Maybe the issue with the guy running sound is the sound your sending him? The old rule in sound mixing is "bad sound in, bad sound out".

I'm not saying that is the case with you at all, so please don't think I'm bashing. But, there is nothing worse then trying to play through a bad mic or electronic set-up. I've seen a lot of great players with some of the finest, most expensive horns, mpcs, and training around sound horrible because they won't spend the bread on a descent mic rig. The old saying "it's only as good as the weakest link" truly applies. The fact is, we live in a age that pretty much demands amplification. It's really worth making the investment to sound good. The better signal you send out, I would think the more they would turn it up. A bad mic can sound really shrill and with no presence. When we play, our ears close up a bit from the pressure, so it's hard to be objective. Anyway, food for thought. if your interested, I can send you a list of equipment that has worked well for me over the years.
 

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chknbon said:
My choice for clarinet is AKG C1000S, but it's too hot/loud for tenor.
Oh, good God no. Seriously, the C1000 is one of the worst mics I've ever heard. I had to use one for my show this summer, and would cringe every time I turned that channel on. But, that's what the designer speced, so I had to use it.

I was using it for off stage vocals, three to five people singing into it--operatic style about four feet away. It definitely WAS NOT too hot. It just sounded like ****.
 

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JCBigler said:
Oh, good God no. Seriously, the C1000 is one of the worst mics I've ever heard. I had to use one for my show this summer, and would cringe every time I turned that channel on. But, that's what the designer speced, so I had to use it.

I was using it for off stage vocals, three to five people singing into it--operatic style about four feet away. It definitely WAS NOT too hot. It just sounded like ****.
The only thing worse than designers are choreographers, IMHO.:);)

I agree that the 1000 is the worst thing in the AKG stable of mics, not to mention they're about the size of a horse's member.

I have used the the pro 37. It's a 'cheap' knockoff of the km184. It's about the same size. The frequency response on them varies quite a bit, as they are AT's 'budget' line. I never used them as a close mic. I used them as area mics for chorus. They aren't very long, and so aren't as obtrusive or insanely long as an sm81. If you can audition or handpick them, you can get a decent mic for a low price. Not sure about wind noise if you used one on flute.
 
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