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My duo partner and I are putting together our first sound system. We have two guitars and two voices. You can hear us on Youtube by searching "Paul and Do Mi" (in quotes).

This is our first system. We will likely save up later for higher-end stuff, but we want something for coffeehouse gigs now. We have a (long-term loan) Berenger 180W power mixer and are looking at 12-inch non-powered speakers.

I am comparing the Sennheiser E838 and E835 and the Shure Beta 58A. Does anyone have knowledge of any of these mics? I tried the 838 and the Beta at the Guitar Center (both much better than the Shure 58, enough that I knocked it off my list). I can afford two 838s right now at their sale price; would have to wait for the Betas, but I want something that's decent.

Researching online it sounds as if the E838 is good, although I'm a little nervous that it's described as being for singers in loud bands, developed to cut through high onstage levels. That's not our situation, playing acoustic music with two people. I'm enough of a beginner that I'm not entirely trusting my own impressions singing with it in the store.

The E835, which I haven't tried, sounds as if it may be just as good as the E838--and maybe better if it's not made for loud bands?

All input welcome! Thanks!!

Do Mi

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Replies to This Discussion

For a coffeehouse gig - and pretty much any gig..... the sure bet (some pun intended) is the Shure SM58 dynamic mic. It's the decades old standard and can handle the wear and tear. I have two that are about 25 years old and still work. The cables will go way before these mics.

And if you want to mic instruments on the stage then take a look at the Shure SM-57!

Either one will run you about $100 plus tax.

John
Get an SM58, it's not the industry standard for nothing. I use an AKG D5 and a 58 and while I was real keen on the D5 when I first got it I'm drifting back to the 58 just because it's a sound that I recognise as will most people that are listening to you. Engineers know the 58 as well so if you're ever at a gig with someone else's PA you know what you'll get.
You say that the E838 and the beta sounded better than the 58, this may have something to do with the gear at the shop (maybe even the operator), I'd be doing some more testing before writing it off. The main advantage with the beta is that it has a higher output level which is more likely to overdrive the crappy Behringer pre amps anyway.
Get a 58 , save your money and get a decent desk. If you feel like upgrading your mic down the track you'll always have a use for the 58, or someone will.
Well, I am just an old "show biz trooper" but I used a Shure SM57 (actually an instrument mic) like the rest of the world through the 70's and 80's and 90's, but I finally came around to the old stage workhorse, the Shure SM58! It has a beautiful little "presence" bump that just make vocals shine. Now I know that there are a hundred more to choose from now a days, but they just work for me...they are just like an old Timex watch...they can take a licking and keep on ticking! Matter of fact they can take as much abuse as you can throw at them and keep on ticking! I understand the Beta versions of the SM 57 and 58 are supposed to be better, but I just like the old standbys. That's my 2 cents! Thanks for the question, Edward

Oh yeah, one other thing...they have a cardioid pickup pattern, which basically means you have to be right in front of it to be heard, but that's the secret of keeping it loud and not having it feedback! We have about 6 of them in the roadcase, although we only have three singers...they are cheap, only about a $100 bucks each, and they never quit...we have extras in case they get lost, not broken! Edward
Well! Maybe I wrote off the 58 too soon--the beta just sounded so much better, but it's true that I haven't tried the 58 anywhere else, and maybe I shouldn't be trusting the Guitar Center salesman quite so much...

Thank you for all the quick responses!!

Still thinking...

Do Mi
Hmm, you know... My immediate instinct was to suggest the 58. And for all the same reason everyone else here has already mentioned. And it's still a recommendation.

But, I forgot about a mic that I have and I do like it as much as the 58. It's the Samson Q7 and cost is about $90. Its very much on the same level as a 58 construction wise and sound wise. It is a little warmer in my opinion.

To sweeten the deal (which is why I bought the Q7) is Samson has a value pack consisting of a Q7, boom mic stand, mic clip, mic cable AND a nice carrying case for about $130. And it's quality stuff!

If you are looking to compare another mic to the 58 then I think the Q7 would be an excellent choice. Guitar Center doesn't carry Samson though but Sam Ash does. Hopefully there is one in your area (usually if there's a Guitar Center a Sam Ash is not too far away).
I've got both 58 and Beta 58s. The Betas are a tad hotter which is a characteristic I enjoy. Shure mics are also one of the most robust on the market. They'll last your whole career.

The Berenger sys sounds a little light weight and entry level. I'd go for something a little more powerful. Better off having it in reserve than not having it at all. For the money they are OK for stationary use but are rather fragile on the road. Invest in a road worthy case for your PA head.

The Guiter center is a good place to see and touch and try out gear. You should educate yourself before you go in there. They are salesmen and their job is to sell you the stuff.
Okay, since everybody in the world is enthusiastically recommending the SM58, and I can actually afford it (especially since I found a deal on Musician's Friend including cables and stands), I'm going for it. Wish us luck polishing up our two hours of music!
Hmmm, $104 at Musician's Friend with a stand and cable is pretty good!
That's what I thought!
Good Luck
Okay, next question!!!

When we upgrade our mixer, what should we look for? Should we stick with a power mixer/amp/PA and nonpowered speakers or switch? We're hoping the low-end Berenger will carry us for a bit, but my mother-in-law is interested in helping and has asked for model numbers (!) so we need to do some real daydreaming here, without going more powerful or fancy than we need.

Advice?

Do Mi

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