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amplifying live acoustic middle-eastern band Condenser Microphones
Old 14th February 2013
Gear interested

Thread Starter
amplifying live acoustic middle-eastern band

hello, i play in a middle-eastern type band. we have vocals, azeri tar, kamanche, tombak and oud. in case you don't know what those are then here are two videos:

Ha-Orvim - Video by Shmulik Balmas - MVI_1588.MOV - YouTube

condensers and everything but flat boring sound:
‫???? ?????? - ?????? ????? ????? Orvim Ensemble - Igrig Bayati Shiraz‬‎ - YouTube

i play oud (the triangular-esque instrument, similar to a lute, on the right in both videos). my biggest problem is more volume/less feedback, and also EQing, how to make it as full as it sounds acoustically.
we had a show yesterday in a small bar/restaurant. the space was small and crowded and at the bar on the other side there were some people making noise. all the other instruments worked well with dynamic mics (sm57 and 58). for the oud it was complicated because the lower fequencies kept feedbacking so the volume couldn't go high enough in the mix.

there are many things i'm not sure how to approach. i would rather avoid using a pickup as it never sounds as natural as a mic, what should i do? maybe a combination of pick up (what kind?) and mic would work better? even when we played in a quiet venue the sound-guy used condensers the oud still didn't "come out" as much as the other instruments.

most soundguys here don't know too much about amplifying these instruments so i need to know more myself. for example would anyone know the typical frequency curve of an oud? i assume it is mainly in the low-high mids, and the feedbacking frequency somewhere between 100-400 hz (depending on room etc)? when eq-ing an oud are there any general rules to follow?

i want to add that when we rehears we play acoustic and we sound very tight and together but on stage everything changes and i feel like many small details are lost and there is always a danger of everything sounding too thin. this is also something i need to learn to deal with.
Old 14th February 2013
Deleted User
You might look at the DPA mic's specialy the 4099 . I've used them on violins harps guitars and lot's of other instruments but not yet on the instruments in the video .
They are not cheap but do the trick most of the time
Old 14th February 2013
Lives for gear
jetboatguy's Avatar

another condenser mic that has impressed me for live use.. especially the gain before feedback scenario is the Neumann KM184.. one thing that does not impress me about them though, is that they are relatively fragile.. I have a busted KM184 mic that needs a new diaphragm, cause the metal they use is cheap ass and thin.. drop it on a hard floor and the mic is toast !
Old 14th February 2013
Lives for gear
Middle-Eastern and Indian music is usually a challenge for sound reinforcement because you are taking very quiet instruments and trying to make them very loud.

I recommend a sensitive microphone, probably a condenser. Place it where the Oud is loudest. Angle it in such a way that it is not only facing away from any monitor, but also so that it is angled off any reflection of monitor sound off the oud. So if the monitor is in front of you near your feet, angle the microphone upwards a bit rather than horizontal or downwards.

If you know how to ring out a mic/speaker, a graphic equalizer will really help, possibly as an insert on the Oud's channel instead of on the main mix. I mic my double bass, and when necessary I bring a small 1 channel mixer to use as a preamp for the mic I use, then run the output through a graphic equalizer, then send that signal to the house. In sound check I ask the sound guy to bring up the volume slowly, then use my graphic EQ to notch out feedback on the bass channel only (I use 2 EQs and do this for monitors and mains, or I use in ear monitors).

If you don't want to go through all that trouble then mic and monitor placement is most important, but you have to be realistic. Consider bringing up the oud before other instruments to as loud as it can go without ringing, then bring the other instruments in to balance with that. Then don't increase the volume. If the crowd is too loud then that's too bad. But generally I've found that if an audience is louder than the band then they soon feel awkward and get quieter.

One last solution: Put a pickup on the oud. Use it in conjunction with the mic. Use the pickup in the monitor. In the mains put as much mic as you can without ringing, and make up the difference between achieved volume and desired volume with the pickup.
Old 14th February 2013
Gear interested

Thread Starter
thanks guys. i have two MXL 603 condensers, i could try using one but sometimes the stage is too loud. i've hear shur beta57A recommended for oud but also would probably work only in low noise situations.

Timo Beckman suggested a clip on mic, i have no experience with those, i guess it would have better gain before feedback than a normal condenser?
Old 14th February 2013
Lives for gear
Originally Posted by yaniv m View Post
Timo Beckman suggested a clip on mic, i have no experience with those, i guess it would have better gain before feedback than a normal condenser?
It will have the same "gain before feedback". But it will require less gain! Because you'll be closer to the source of the sound.
Old 16th February 2013
Deleted User
Just get in touch with the local people from dpa in your country and try to arange a demo preferbly at a live performance situation .
Old 22nd February 2013
Lives for gear

BagDpa 4060 on the oud....
Old 22nd February 2013
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Ike Zimbel's Avatar

All good suggestions. Let's not forget the High Pass Filter. Engaging the HPF on the desk might buy you some gain before feedback in the LF region.
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