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Hey everyone.

I wanted some suggestions for a microphone for performances. I play a resonator guitar and a Martin flat-top and sing. I want one mic that will nicely pick up both the guitars and the vocals for a coffeehouse size show. I plan to get a pickup for the Martin so that I can boost the volume on that as necessary.

Thanks,
Dan

Tags: microphone

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You may want to isolate your vocals and guitar from unwanted crowd noise.Micing your vocals and guitar together would probably require a condensor mic(s) which generally are very sensitive.This may not be your best option.
Perhaps try a sound hole pick-up (Fishman Rare Earth Pro-Rep 102) and a good dynamic vocal mic ( I like the Heil PR 35). This combo is very predictable for most any environment.I'm not sure about your resonator though.
There are tons of options available to you and most have different tastes. Happy shopping !!!!
A good condenser mic (e.g., Shure SM81 or a Neumann KM184) would work but Foss38 is right about picking up crowd and background noise if you use one mic for both. I've seen someone pull off using only one mic (Samuel James) but the club was quiet and the sound tech was outstanding. (Samuel was great too!) You might find that keeping a good balance between guitar and vocals without amplifying ambient noise in the club is difficult.

A better option would be to use a condenser for guitar (I use an SM81) and the best vocal mic you can afford. You can close mic for vocals so that mic doesn't pick up background noise. A small diaphragm condenser mic like the SM81 is directional so it will pick up the guitar. Because you can keep it close you don't need as much gain and the mic will not pick up as much ambient noise. The ratio of guitar to ambient will be high enough to sound good. Less problem with feedback too.

You can control the guitar tone and dynamics by moving the guitar relative to the mic while you are playing. Bob Brozman does this to great effect. He explains the process in detail on his web site: http://www.bobbrozman.com/soundhints.html. Bob's tips are focused on resonator guitars but I've used his advice with wood body guitars as well with excellent results.

Good luck!

JMAC
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a mike over a pickup? Foss88 and JMAC both reference crowd noise with a mike. However, I've never been happy with the sound I get from my Taylor 314-CE (with the Fishman system, not the Expression system) when I've plugged in. I attribute that to the amps I have, which are relatively inexpensive and intended for electric guitars.
The best live, acoustic sound imo, will be from a mic. It captures the air and nuance better than a pick-up. I use both a pick-up and a mic panned slightly opposite on the board. For rhythm I'll back away from the mic a bit. When it's time for a solo, closer proximity to the mic is in order.

Richard

John J. Cebula said:
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a mike over a pickup? Foss88 and JMAC both reference crowd noise with a mike. However, I've never been happy with the sound I get from my Taylor 314-CE (with the Fishman system, not the Expression system) when I've plugged in. I attribute that to the amps I have, which are relatively inexpensive and intended for electric guitars.
That's a great suggestion Rich. I started using a condenser for recording and think I wanna go that route for live stuff. Never thought about using both/panned!!!
Without a doubt, the most accurate method of sound reinforcement for an acoustic guitar is to properly mic it with quality microphone(s). Having said that, there are some significant considerations which must be taken into account when considering that option. In anything other than a pristine studio environment, you will encounter the problems of feedback and bleed. These problems can often be overcome, with excellent results. However, you will always be maneuvering around them. Depending on the venue, it may not even be possible to overcome these problems without significantly impeding your performance.

The most popular compromise is to use an acoustic guitar pickup. Unfortunately (and IMHO), they don't reproduce the natural sound of an acoustic guitar very well. A really good one, EQ'd and preamped just right, can sound OK. Good enough for many scenarios. In my experience, the UST (undersaddle transducer) is the worst sounding option available (and interestingly enough, the most popular!)

What I do live is to use a UST pickup, and pipe it though a Fishman Aura pedal. This makes my guitar sound amazingly like a properly miked-in-a-studio guitar, but with none of the complications of dealing with a mic setup onstage. It's not perfect, but I think it sounds incredibly close.
For vocals, I roll w/ the Shure Beta 58a.

I'm jonesin to try the setup I recently saw in this PBS show with James Taylor. Check it out.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/episodes/james-taylor-one-man-band/vi...

Someone on another site suggested it might be an Audio-Technica (PRO 35 or an ATM 350). Though I can't see me spending $500 on this, the ATM 350 might be pretty cool. You'd have to add a mount to your guitar. I know the thought of modifying your baby makes most people cringe. Not me though. I'm not scared about that. :)
Ooo! Just checked Guitar Center. Looks like this bad boy retails for about $250! Might have to TELL my wife "can I get it?"! ;)

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Audio-Technica-ATM350--CONDENSER-INSTRU...
Update to my post. I think I might have found what Taylor used. http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/4099G

Check out the video too.

VERY EXPENSIVE (for me anyway). I think I'll try to rig up my Audio-Technica mic I have on a boom. I'll post a "how-to" if it works out.

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