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Jim Besser

Microvox mics and foot pedals

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After much agonizing, I am going back to my Microvox  concertina mics.  We're doing a return engagement at a big venue, and the last time we played there, mics on stands didn't have sufficient gain,  and I had to pull out the Microvox to get adequate volume

 

I've had 3 Microvox setups in the past, and they've all failed in the same way.  After a while,  the volume control starts making static noises when adjusted and the on-off switch makes a popping sound.  This is unacceptable when playing on a big PA, but I do need to shut off the mics, or at least turn the volume all the way down, because I switch instruments a lot, often in the middle of medleys.  The sound of velcro ripping is not a good thing when highly amplified!

 

My question: has anybody used a foot volume pedal with a Microvox?  If so, what should I be looking at?

 

All I want here is a way to mute the Microvox while switching instruments, without any pops or static when making the switch.

 

And - demonstrating my ignorance about pedals - how is it set up?  I use the standard Microvox setup - belt pack --> quarter inch cable --> DI box --> XLR to the system.  How does a pedal figure into that scheme?

 

Thanks in advance!

Edited by Jim Besser

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It's really a question you should ask Stefan (below)- he uses an array of pedals, but he's not posted here for a while. My gut feeling though is that it would go between the belt pack and DI box? (If you got a combined volume and wah wah pedal, you could have a lot of fun...)

Cheers,

Adrian

 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, adrian brown said:

It's really a question you should ask Stefan (below)- he uses an array of pedals, but he's not posted here for a while. My gut feeling though is that it would go between the belt pack and DI box? (If you got a combined volume and wah wah pedal, you could have a lot of fun...)

Cheers,

Adrian

 

Ha, that's all I need.  Actually, we already have a wah wah on the accordion, and a tangle of pedals on the 'zouk and electric guitar.  Think I'd better limit myself to just volume!

 

 

FH_Mar2017_pedals.jpg

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Hi Jim,

 

you could replace the microvox battery box and DI with a version that has a longer-lasting volume control and an XLR output like http://orchid-electronics.co.uk/contact_mic.htm

 

You could also replace the DI in your existing setup with a foot mute switch like  http://orchid-electronics.co.uk/Muting_DI_Box.htm

 

Or put an XLR mute after the existing DI http://orchid-electronics.co.uk/balanced_mic_mute.htm

 

or perhaps the simplest, just add a guitar kill switch (lots of different makes available) between the microvox box and the DI.

 

It’s difficult to mute electret mics directly without a pop.

 

Mitch

 

Edited by Howard Mitchell-Borts

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5 minutes ago, Howard Mitchell-Borts said:

 

you could replace the microvox battery box and DI with a version that has a longer-lasting volume control and an XLR output like http://orchid-electronics.co.uk/contact_mic.htm

 

You could also replace the DI in your existing setup with a foot mute switch like  http://orchid-electronics.co.uk/Muting_DI_Box.htm

 

Or put an XLR mute after the existing DI http://orchid-electronics.co.uk/balanced_mic_mute.htm

 

It’s difficult to mute electret mics directly without a pop.

 

 

 

Wow, the replacement Orchid box looks like what I need, but it doesn't look like they sell these in the US.  I'm wondering if there are any alternatives.

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I believe Orchid will ship to the US. I have no connection to them but have been using their DI boxes for years.

 

I don’t know of any other electret mic DI boxes with phono (RCA) inputs. Lots with tiny qg (min XLR) connectors if you fancy making adapters. 

 

I use a Fishman pocket blender (or sometimes its larger cousin) modified to put electret power on both inputs. This provides  a mute and XLR out but needs a Y lead on the input to connect 2 mics. 

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Hi Jim, for years, I've used the Microvox setup and plugged it directly into my Korg Toneworks pedalboard AX30G for live amplified gigs.

 

This 25 year old Korg unit has proved versatile and rugged. It was designed as a multi-effect guitar pedal board though it works a treat for concertina, sporting 16 user programable voices. Yes, it also mutes the concertina silently without a pop and provides knobs for signal volume matching, a very useful feature for basic mixing. It looks like you can get something like this vintage unit for $30 to $230 on ebay.

 

I've programed three concertina voices on mine. One called Dry for use in big echoy halls. Then there is Dry Attack which I use for solos, it's more aggressive and highly compressed which makes the low notes sound as loud as the high ones. The third voice is called Horn and it's good for smaller settings or outdoor events where some spacial enhancement and reverb is required. These three settings have served me well and they each have their uses. They all sound like me. No overt audible effects or distracting artifacts. Then...

 

There is this cool pressure peddle. I've set it so that the harder I step on it, the wider a duplicate and sharper note is played. This way I can dynamically play a dry to wet musette sound of my choosing. Very useful. When I stomp on it, I sound like a Leslie revolving organ and everybody screams from the dramatic tremolo. This effect allows me to come forward in the band mix without increasing my db. When I use it sparingly, sometimes just a touch, it's like magic to bring myself forward in the mix without being louder and suffering from feedback. Using this feature, I'm able to command the room with my sound or slide into the background to blend with the band. Makes me feel empowered, which of course, I am.

 

 

Edited by Jody Kruskal

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On 9/30/2018 at 1:41 AM, Jody Kruskal said:

Hi Jim, for years, I've used the Microvox setup and plugged it directly into my Korg Toneworks pedalboard AX30G for live amplified gigs.

 

 

Thanks, Jody, that's helpful. I hadn't planned on going to processing, but I can see the advantages, and if it also allows for muting, all the better.

 

Do you find that sound techs are able to deal with your setup without too much angst?

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Just as another alternative what about putting a simple A/B switch in the chain? I’ve got a Boss AB2 on my bouzouki which works a treat and is completely silent even without anything plugged into the ‘off’ socket, but there’s loads available. 

 

That would make the chain 

Microvox belt pack >> 1/4 inch cable >> AB pedal >> 1/4 inch cable >> DI box >> xlr >> sound engineer’s gubbins 

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4 hours ago, Steve Mansfield said:

Just as another alternative what about putting a simple A/B switch in the chain? I’ve got a Boss AB2 on my bouzouki which works a treat and is completely silent even without anything plugged into the ‘off’ socket, but there’s loads available. 

 

 

Wow, that actually looks like a good option, but I just placed an order for something else.

 

After a long talk with a sound consultant, I'm going to try this - a muting DI box with preamp, very basic EQ. 

 

My reasoning: it should solve the muting problem; it provides a small measure of the sound customization that Jody talked about; and it has a second output that can go to my Hotspot personal monitor. 

 

Aside from the muting issue, my biggest problem on stage is hearing myself amid the clamor of a very loud band (drums, electric guitar, a horn section and an accordion generally playing in the same register as me).

 

If this works, I can have a direct feed from my Microvoxes, thru the Tonebone DI box,  to the personal monitor, mounted on a stand right next to me, and maybe actually hear myself for a change!  

 

In the meantime, I am still hoping to buy the Orchid power supply for the Microvox, which appears to be a little more solid, but they're not responding to my emails, and there are no dealers in the US. I have 3 sets of perfectly good Microvox mics, and three dead or dying power supplies.

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I guess in most cases a small mixer would be fine. It would need 2 XLR input channels with phantom power. Most have an IQ, some have a knob to silence all output, or you could turn down the main-volume. Some have effects too, if you like to add some reverb.

A mixer like that IS a DI Box with preamps and EQ.

Here is an example: https://www.thomann.de/de/the_t.mix_micromix_1_usb.htm

 

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