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Need a great mic for live Tabla
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11th February 2008
Old 11th February 2008
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GuitarRuss's Avatar
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Question Need a great mic for live Tabla

I am working with a tabla player now who wants to buy a mic for live use. He is playing over all sorts of different styles and sometimes needs to play with a kit drummer which means he needs a mic that is good for avoiding feedback. As many of you already know this kind of micing can be a bit of a nightmare between the feedback and lack of crisp tone on the tablas.

So the priorities for this mic are: Good solid tone, low feedback and if it's good for studio that is a bonus but not a priority. The budget is less than $350 but if there is a mic for cheaper that's great too.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
11th February 2008
Old 11th February 2008
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Martin Kantola's Avatar
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Had a similar problem. Tricky one indeed. Ended up building a custom mike system. Pretty happy with the results, not perfect but in comparison a SM57 is much more prone to feedback. And it has a very crisp attack. Not sure I can share all the details here, send me a PM if you want to know more.

11th February 2008
Old 11th February 2008
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videoteque's Avatar
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The AKG has been named here several times for Tabla, but it was for recording (no live) and it isn't less than 350$ (maybe used??).

I love tabla, Trilok Gurtu is a genious!!!
11th February 2008
Old 11th February 2008
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Bob Bickerton's Avatar
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Location: Nelson, New Zealand
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I recently used two Sennheiser e614s on tabla to give a (slightly) stereo effect but one would do fine. They're a nice little mic for the price.

11th February 2008
Old 11th February 2008
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Baithak is offline
A Fan of the EV mics.

I do a lot of Tabla recordings and for live
work, it is hard to go wrong with the EV
RE16 or the RE27. The 16 is a bit more
focussed being hyper card, the 27 is a bit
more edgy and has more gain so it is
especially useful for giving a nice hi-eq boost
(defeatable). The variable-D thing really
does do its trick. Highly recommended.

As an aside, if you are recording a tabla
and have no budget issues, the best tone
I have obtained is with a DPA 4011 followed
closely by the AKG 414. Of course in a live
situation these could give you bleed and

Good luck.
11th February 2008
Old 11th February 2008
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cleantone's Avatar
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In my limited live tabla recording experiences I had great luck with an akg c1000. Seriously. I mention this because it is in your budget, at least I think it is.

In fact here is a video I "produced" (i.e. playing with new camera) that had Mike Dillon on Tabla:

11th February 2008
Old 11th February 2008
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Jungle Jazz is offline
I don't have much experience working with tablas, but for bongos, I've had good experience with the Audio Technica AT3031. It's got a well defined pattern, a pretty natural sound, and it has a pad and roll off should you need it. You should be able to get a pair of them in your price range. You might also consider the ATM450 for a budget SDC.
11th February 2008
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d_fu's Avatar
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IMHO a single 414 between the drums is all you need...
If the budget won't allow that, get a Beyer M201. Excellent mic for Tabla as well...

12th February 2008
Old 12th February 2008
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Jim vanBergen's Avatar
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I really like the KM184 or KM84i on tabla. In the under $400 range, how about the AKG 451, or 391?

For the, the key to no feedback for Tablists is using very low monitoring, careful placement of microphone and monitors, and a lot of experimenting with the player to understand what their particular feel is.

Hope this helps!
14th February 2008
Old 14th February 2008
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Djembe's Avatar
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If the music is traditional, any of the previously mentioned mics would be fine for tabla (although not so sure about the C1000). Another mic that works very well because of it's directionality is a 441.

If the music requires lots of foldback, clip-on mics are the only way to go. Because tabla is such a relatively quiet instrument, and the player needs to hear himself well, feedback is always a problem when playing with loud instruments.

A pair of AKG C418 clip-ons are a little over budget new, but do pop up fairly often 2nd hand for well under the budget. They work very well on tabla.

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