live acoustic guitar rig
electraluxx
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#1
10th October 2012
Old 10th October 2012
  #1
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Thread Starter
live acoustic guitar rig

I want to perform live with a KM184 or AKG414 mic on my acoustic and play through a portable but decent preamp. The preamp would feed into the PA. Any suggestions? I would like something strong, portable, and fairly priced, light (I bike to most gigs) and certainly under 1G. I was thinking the FMR RNP or something from Grace Design as a higher end unit. I don't want to show up at a gig and find out that the 48v isn't working and be stuck with a then worthless mic. It's happened.

I already have a CountryMan DI. Awesome! But it works best in full band situations. I want to try to get a better sound for solo or small acoustic ensemble performances.

As well, if ya'll want to chime in with eq's or compressor pedals, etc., feel free to do so. I just want to up the live rig.
#2
10th October 2012
Old 10th October 2012
  #2
Gear addict
 
CrankyChris's Avatar
 

184s and 414s are a bit pricey for playing out. Feedback problems, smoke, drunks, feedback issues, you're exhausted at the end of a show - hard to care about properly handling/storing mics, you're worrying more about protecting the mics than your performance, diminishing returns with the crap sound system the club has, did I mention feedback?....on and on.

There are many reasons why NOT to play live with those mics. I would go with something along the lines of a K&K Trinity. It has a transducer and an internal mic. You can adjust as necessary - and each venue always throws some new hurdle at you and if you're going in with a mic alone (even if it's just an sm57) you're going to run into problems. I promise.

I know that doesn't answer your question, but I just can't recommend using those mics in a live situation unless you're in AKUS and you're cutting a new live record. And in that case I'd go with a Neve 1072.
electraluxx
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#3
10th October 2012
Old 10th October 2012
  #3
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Thread Starter
Thanks. I actually already own those mics. Yea, they're expensive. I might regret playing with them. I've done a few gigs with the KM 184. And didn't have any feedback problems at all. As writen, I only use this setup for solo or small ensemble gigs, double bass and a mandolin or piano (gosh, ensemble is a prescious word). So it doesn't get very loud. The venues probably hold about 40-50 people in general.

I notice a lot of live recording by Doc Watson and Norman Blake were done with a SM57. I guess the playing matters more than the mic.http://static.gearslutz.com/board/im...ilies/wink.gif

Robbie Fulks, Chicago flat picker master (Just a fan!) uses an KM 184.

Really, my need is to break out of the DI route. So any advice is greatly appreciated. I want to do my best to circumvent the PA as best as possible.
#4
10th October 2012
Old 10th October 2012
  #4
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Steve_B's Avatar
 

Don’t do it. If you are even thinking about situations where the phantom power might be an issue, using a pickup and DI is not going to be the limiting factor.

Save your microphones for recording and stick to the DI. Ignore the fact that you read somewhere that someone said that pickups on acoustic guitars suck compared to microphones. They were not talking about typical live gigs.
electraluxx
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#5
11th October 2012
Old 11th October 2012
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_B View Post
Don’t do it. If you are even thinking about situations where the phantom power might be an issue, using a pickup and DI is not going to be the limiting factor.

Save your microphones for recording and stick to the DI. Ignore the fact that you read somewhere that someone said that pickups on acoustic guitars suck compared to microphones. They were not talking about typical live gigs.
I didn't read anything anywhere. The pickup to the DI sucks live. I know from personal experience. It is pronounced when you perform solo. DI in a band setting it's fine. I'm not debating if whether or not to perform with a mic. I am inquiring what would be a good set up with a microphone.
#6
11th October 2012
Old 11th October 2012
  #6
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Steve_B's Avatar
 

You asked for people to chime in and I did. If you want to go your own way which is different to that which I think would be better then go ahead.

If the pickup sucks though, why not get one that doesn’t? If you are willing to use expensive microphones and spend quite a lot on preamps, why not just upgrade your pickup?

Unless you are playing at venues where the audience is sitting quietly and listening appreciatively, promoters are willing to fulfil any rider request with regards PA specifications and you have the personnel to get the best from that equipment, a microphone is unlikely to be the best option, or to put it the other way round, the best set up for a microphone would be to leave it at home. As I hinted at before most acoustic guitar sounds (assuming they are of decent quality) are spoiled by bad PA systems rather than not using a microphone.

If I have to use a microphone I just use a M201 placed somewhere in front of the guitar.

For really small venues where the audience is sitting quietly, you could probably get away without any amplification.

Why use one pickup when 5 will do.
#7
11th October 2012
Old 11th October 2012
  #7
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thebennyd's Avatar
 

electraluxx
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#8
11th October 2012
Old 11th October 2012
  #8
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_B View Post
You asked for people to chime in and I did. If you want to go your own way which is different to that which I think would be better then go ahead.
I sincerely appreciate your feedback. I simply am planning to use a mic and looking for that feedback in particular.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_B View Post
If the pickup sucks though, why not get one that doesn’t? If you are willing to use expensive microphones and spend quite a lot on preamps, why not just upgrade your pickup?
I use a K&K pure mini via a Countryman. I'm very happy with this setup when performing with a band. I also own a LR Baggs active pickup in a second guitar. Also very nice though it does sound like the magnetic pickup it is. Really, I'm impressed with the quality of built in pickups but for solo shows I would like to use a mic setup as it sounds better. I suspect that is why most folks use mics when recording acoustic guitar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_B View Post
Unless you are playing at venues where the audience is sitting quietly and listening appreciatively,
Often, I am and they are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_B View Post
promoters are willing to fulfil any rider request with regards PA specifications and you have the personnel to get the best from that equipment,
Rider? Huh? I'm lucky if the bar tender knows how to turn the PA system on.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_B View Post
If I have to use a microphone I just use a M201 placed somewhere in front of the guitar.
Thanks, helpful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_B View Post
For really small venues where the audience is sitting quietly, you could probably get away without any amplification.
Sometimes, but not really. I do perform solo at coffee houses but some venues just need a PA of some sort. If you are NYCer or familiar with the local venues, think of Brooklybn Rod and Gun, Barbes, Jalopy, LIC Bar or Union Hall (though they have a wonderful PA system and always provide a competent sound person.

All the same, I am not trying to be contrary but actually trying to get a few recommendations on what could be done with a mic and basic preamp. Really, I am just looking for preamp suggestions. I appreciate that some may feel this is excessive but as a performer I want to hear a nice acoustic sound out of my instrument. To me, it is worth it.
electraluxx
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#9
11th October 2012
Old 11th October 2012
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebennyd View Post
Tried the K4? Not exactly what you had in mind, but perhaps a bit of a happy medium? Mr. Neve helped Mr. Taylor on the design.

https://www.taylorguitars.com/taylor...d=1011&page=1#
I haven't tried this but do own a Taylor 12 stinger with the CE system. It sounds awesome. Of my pickup systems, this is the best. Thanks for the tip. Will check out the K4.
electraluxx
Thread Starter
#10
11th October 2012
Old 11th October 2012
  #10
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Thread Starter
Why use one pickup when 5 will do.
Jon Gomm - Topeka - YouTube

Boy, that is sensational playing, tapping. Where do all those pickups go??????

Thanks for the video.
#11
11th October 2012
Old 11th October 2012
  #11
Lives for gear
I have to go with the others here, I'd prefer a mic that I can get closer to the guitar and move around without messing things up. I think DP makes a mic that clips onto the guitar and you can aim it at the 12th fret area. I know AMT has an amazing guitar mic that mounts in the sound hole, pointing at the strings and sounds nearly as good as micing with an LDC/SDC combo. For my Taylor, though, I went with the Dual Source system, the mic sounds really good.

As to preamps, interesting question. If I REALLY want to sound good, I either haul along the Dtar Mama Bear (uses impulse responses from real instruments to blend with the sound from the pickups), or else a fully parametric EQ. For your situation, assuming the mic is settled, something clean like the RNP, True or Grace preamps, into a DBX 242 and maybe into a mild compressor like the ART Pro VLA, or the RNC.

I haven't ever used one but the Dtar Equinox seems like it could be a cool, 1 size fits all solution...
#12
11th October 2012
Old 11th October 2012
  #12
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Steve_B's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by electraluxx
Rider? Huh? I'm lucky if the bar tender knows how to turn the PA system on.
This sort of sums up what I was trying to say. The weak link is probably not your pickup. Also, it can be difficult for the performer to hear accurately what is happening out front even when everything is ideal.

Additionally, at most gigs there is little time to set up and experiment. I am all for experimentation, but it helps to know what you are trying has a reasonable chance of success before relying on it at a gig.

If there are any venues that you play where the owner/sound person has a reasonable clue and is helpful, use that situation to try your microphones but keep the DI plugged in too. Even better would be the use of a PA where your time is devoted to experimentation. That way any snags or problems don’t impact on the gig.

Unless you intend to buy some preamps anyway, don’t go down that route until you have tried the microphones on their own. If you are still convinced that a microphone is the best way to go buy one of the cheap Chinese type (I’d probably go with a SDC). The subtleties of more expensive microphones will be lost in noisy venues with bad PAs and it hurts less when it gets dropped.

Re: clip on mics. There are quite a few pickups that combine the under the bridge piezo with an internal microphone.
electraluxx
Thread Starter
#13
11th October 2012
Old 11th October 2012
  #13
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_B View Post
Also, it can be difficult for the performer to hear accurately what is happening out front even when everything is ideal.
Ain't that the truth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_B View Post
Re: clip on mics. There are quite a few pickups that combine the under the bridge piezo with an internal microphone.
It sounds like this is the way to go.

THanks all for your recommendations and advice.
#14
12th October 2012
Old 12th October 2012
  #14
Gear Head
 

Hello,

"I want to perform live with a KM184 or AKG414 mic on my acoustic and play through a portable but decent preamp."

Check out this link where Bob Brozman discusses what he uses for house sound, and why.

It might have some info that will help you.
http://www.bobbrozman.com/soundhints.html

He's speaking about National resonator guitars but I believe his advice can be applied to acoustic guitars in general.

Stu

Last edited by Stuartd; 12th October 2012 at 12:51 AM.. Reason: Fix Link.
#15
12th October 2012
Old 12th October 2012
  #15
Gear addict
 

At the places you mention, a great mic pre is going to do very little to improve the sound. The bigger issues are speakers and engineers. That said, something like a Midas XL42 would give you a lot of eq options to work with as well as a decent mic pre. You could run the DI into one side, the mic into the other, and then get the engineer to blend it. I would say 50/50 is a good place to start.
#16
12th October 2012
Old 12th October 2012
  #16
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Igotsoul4u's Avatar
i have been impressed with the fishman aura in my martin. It really sounds amazing. Not really a preamp solution but I have been blow away by my plugged in sound no matter what I plug it into. Most music stores do 30 day return so It could be worth a try. Might be able to get an aura installed. It would be awesome to own the mics you mentioned, but they are pricy and delicate.
#17
12th October 2012
Old 12th October 2012
  #17
Lives for gear
The aura system is also available as a stand alone processor. The only problem with it is, unlike the Dtar processor, you really need to have a guitar that there's an image FOR for it to work the best...
#18
12th October 2012
Old 12th October 2012
  #18
Lives for gear
I hate guitar pickups, and I like playing on mics whenever possible.

Both my guitars have a K&K Western Trinity pickup, which has an undersaddle pickup and a condenser mic. I spent some time at home with the EQ inside the preamp to match the onboard mic to sound like a studio mic on a stand. This involved rolling off a bunch of bass.

I still prefer to play on a microphone when possible. I have used SM 57, AKG 535EB, and Sennheiser 441. I like them all. Position the microphone from below if you have a floor monitor. (I wrote a blog post about all this stuff which includes a couple of photos here.)

I'm rarely singing lead, so I can concentrate on playing with the mic. It's much harder if you aren't focussed on your guitar and you may hit the mic.

I love playing with the mic because I can vary the distance as a volume and tone control. But if you need to run around on stage then you'll need something onboard.

With the K&K I can split the signal or blend it on the preamp. This allows for different balances for monitors and mains (e.g. mostly mic in the mains for tone, more pickup in the monitors for better volume before feedback).

I don't think an expensive preamp or other processor is going to do much for you, but I can recommend this small mixer: ZED 10FX which is the smallest one I know with a mid-band sweep EQ. If you ever need more volume before feedback you'll need a graphic EQ.
#19
13th October 2012
Old 13th October 2012
  #19
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mesadude's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by M4-10 View Post
I hate guitar pickups, and I like playing on mics whenever possible.
one of the reasons for this, is that a guitar just doesn't work on the "standard" (sucky, cold, undynamic) BSS 133 DI..

if you take that same pickup and put it through a Groove Tubes Brick, or a Manley Tube DI, you'll have a totally different outcome..

i ALWAYS use the brick on acoustic guitars, and it's absolutely marvelous;
even stopped adding the KM184, because i always end up only using the DI signal..

but you do need a good dynamic and warm DI.. no behringer DI100 crap..
#20
13th October 2012
Old 13th October 2012
  #20
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Steve_B's Avatar
 

How can a DI box be undynamic. Unless the box is acting as a compressor the relative dynamics between loud and quiet will remain the same coming out as going in. If they added or took away anything from the signal it would be the same with any other instrument plugged into them.

If you want to go with an expensive boutique DI, then That is fine, but there is nothing wrong with either the BSS or Behringer active DI boxes. Don’t Rubbish them because you prefer something else. It is like saying that a Taylor guitar is crap because you are into Martin guitars.
#21
14th October 2012
Old 14th October 2012
  #21
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mesadude's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_B View Post
How can a DI box be undynamic.
Bad and cheap transfo's..

just take 10 different DI-boxes, and put them all on the bench.. plug in guitar and compare..

you'll be amazed..

and yes, off course it's the same with every instrument plugged in..

just do the test.. you'll never want to use a 133 (or behringer, they sound exactly the same) again..
Ik did like the BSS 116's.. a lot better then what they're trying to push now..

and expensive boutique? i picked up my brick for 150$..

i don't RUBBISH anything.. what do i care what you use at at least 3000miles away from me..
all the rubbishing has been done by BSS themselves.. they ruined a perfectly good 116 and made it into a 133

just sharing my experience..

I actually DID compare 10 different DI boxes in an AB-test..
that day i swore never to use the BSS again..
together with the beringher the worst on the shelf..
Absolute winner was the Radial JDI and J48 (didn't go boutique on that test)
#22
14th October 2012
Old 14th October 2012
  #22
Gear addict
 

Best way in my (but quite experienced) opinion....
Good pickup through Avalon 5 DI
KM 184 in front...blend to taste.....
Cut the lowend on the 184 at 140 to 160hz....check the phase on the 184...and good stereo reverb...
enjoy
#23
14th October 2012
Old 14th October 2012
  #23
Gear addict
 

and ....414 can sound even better, but in live situation it's a bit harder to deal with....cheers
#24
14th October 2012
Old 14th October 2012
  #24
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Steve_B's Avatar
 

@mesadude

I'm curious to know what the rest of your PA system is? I'm guessing it must be pretty high end.
#25
14th October 2012
Old 14th October 2012
  #25
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#26
16th October 2012
Old 16th October 2012
  #26
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mesadude's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_B View Post
@mesadude

I'm curious to know what the rest of your PA system is? I'm guessing it must be pretty high end.
I don't own a PA system.. only "peripherals". (live rack contains Amek CIB, Slate Dragon, API2500 and Amek 9098 busscomp; FX-rack contains Ensoniq DP4, Line 6 Echo Pro and Eventide Eclipse; and than some mic's and DI's..)
work as a freelance engineer only.

But most of the times i have the luxury of working on L'Acoustics, CODA, Meyer, D&B, Adamson, JBL (VTX or Vertec v5),..
so yes, i'm kinda spoiled..

I also used to work as a Sales Engineer for Digico, so i know my way around..

@ Martinalan: very good choice.. works like a charm..
#27
16th October 2012
Old 16th October 2012
  #27
Will use anything...
 
ssaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by martinalan View Post
Yup. Combine that with a good under-bridge pickup (through a good DI - mesadude is spot on there) and you will have an absolutely first-rate system that will provide the best of both worlds and cover all styles.
#28
21st October 2012
Old 21st October 2012
  #28
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Steve_B's Avatar
 

@mesadude

With that sort of PA gear you must be playing at some high profile events; it is not typically what you would find at a local pub or club. Do you have any links to clips of your performances?
#29
21st October 2012
Old 21st October 2012
  #29
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mesadude's Avatar
 

You'd be surprised.
Here in Belgium we are spoiled when it comes to gear..
Even the smaller companies have a Digico desk and a small dvdosc or kara set..
Theaters are stuffed with D&B, used to be Meyer 10 years ago..
Now ,due to bad distributor Meyer is virtually non-existent here..
Stuff like VRX and even EAW these days are considered for amaturs or "struggling" companies..

Strange country here.
Even stranger is, when you go 50miles north, into The Netherlands, there still is a very big EV, Martin Audio and EAW marketshare..
#30
21st October 2012
Old 21st October 2012
  #30
Will use anything...
 
ssaudio's Avatar
 

Yup, the average club gig in Belguim, Holland and even Switzerland, has excellent kit - Scandinavia too.
France is a bit hit and miss, Germany, fairly poor. The rest are so, so...
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