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Syncopepper

Heh??? What's that???

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Posted (edited)

I have come to that time in life when I have trouble hearing through the background level. This is causing me problems when playing in sessions or jams (or in bars). I cannot hear myself which is fatal for me on my 56 key EC.  I hoped that an Android app might allow me to clip my cell phone to my belt as a hearing aid but all those I have tried had significant sound delay.

 

I wonder if there might be any dedicated devices that are alternative options? Perhaps some sort of amplifier (hearing aid) that I could plug earbuds into with a volume control. Clipped to the shirt or the belt it would be near to the reeds whether standing and sitting. As most earbuds don't have a lot of sound isolation perhaps I could hear the other musicians and adjust the volume of my own instrument. I'm afraid that scheme that would have to be attempted to predict how all those variables shake out.

 

Any advice on a more sane solution, or general comment, would be appreciated. 🤓

Edited by Syncopepper
correction

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first advice (although admittedly not covering the issue in its entirety) is to position yourself in a corner, thus benefiting from the walls reflecting the sound of your instrument in multiple ways...

 

best wishes - 🐺

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Posted (edited)

I'd suggest  getting a louder concertina.   Being of a certain age myself  I also  have this problem.

 

My  Rosewood ended Wheatstone  (model 5)   was fine for  Irish sessions in  County  Clare,   but  on moving to France  and playing in dance bands  with  melodeons  and  various french bagpipes  I just could not  hear  my EC.  I tried  clip-on  microphones  for each end  ,plugged into a guitar amplifier  placed  just behind me... it sort of worked  but was a cumbersome  set up that interfered  with  the   the  rest of the  band's amplification.

 

So,  I  cast around for  a louder  box  and I can now hear  what I am playing  in almost  any situation.  A good  model 22 or 24 Wheatstone, or try  a  metal ended  Lachenal New Model .

 

There  are types of  ear plugs  made  for musicians, which will cut down  excessive noise  levels  and may be  of some use  in your situation.  I  carry  a small supply  of cotton wool  and  use it to  block  the over loud  sounds  coming from other instruments......  this is sometimes  effective.

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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Do a search for industrial ear plugs.  There are many versions that allow close conversational sound to be heard while blocking machine or factory noise.  A quick glance showed a product called Plugfone that is blue tooth enabled.

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Posted (edited)

I'm dealing with the same problem in a big noisy session, which includes a microphone and amp for singers and tune leaders, in a noisy bar.  Although my Kensington is plenty loud for others to hear, I can't hear much, especially in the higher frequencies.  I'm experimenting right now with a Vox Amplug.  I have a set of Microvox M400 microphones and power supply.  The Amplug is a very small unit (The power supply and Amplug clip to my belt) which plugs into the output jack of the Microvox system, and powers earbuds or headphones. It's originally intended for quiet electric guitar practice.  I put one earbud in and turn up the volume just enough so that I can hear myself while still hearing everyone else.  Still fooling around with volume levels, but seems promising.

Edited by Bill N

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Glad to see I'm not the only one with this problem....   Some of the solutions look interesting.

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I'm curious about whether using the Amplug is working well with the Microvox system at loud sessions. Which Vox Amplug are using  - there seem to a number of models of the Amplug. Thanks to Bill N for suggesting this for loud sessions.

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Doug Cowan said:

I'm curious about whether using the Amplug is working well with the Microvox system at loud sessions. Which Vox Amplug are using  - there seem to a number of models of the Amplug. Thanks to Bill N for suggesting this for loud sessions.

I tried to find the "Clean" model, but settled for the AC30. It has a variety of settings including reverb, delay and tremolo effect (which are fun to fool around with in the headphones) but has one setting which seems reasonably "clean" for my intended use.  The unit itself works very well with the Microvox gear.  I'm at the trial and error stage now with volume/gain, 1 vs. 2 earbuds and left vs. right ear trying to come up with the best combination whereby I can hear both myself and the session. It's working pretty well, but there's room for tweaking I think.  I'm using a cheap pair of airline earbuds- I think I'll try to find a better quality, comfortable single bud.   I should mention that I normally wear hearing aids, but the din of this session overwhelms them on all settings.  Those with unimpaired hearing might experience this differently.

 

Ironically, I got the idea from a a friend who plays an English guitar at a session I go to that regularly features 5 or 6 concertinas and 2 melodeons!

Edited by Bill N

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Here's what it looks like:

IMG_0127.JPG

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I have no idea if this would work for you.  I have recently taken to wearing earplugs designed to cut out super loud noises in concert situations.  The brand I found were called Eargasms, but there are many other brands.  It seems to cut down the amplified sounds, but I can still hear myself and conversations.  Some of the sessions I play in have begun to mike and occasionally I find myself sitting next to a particularly loud banjo, accordion or bohran. It may not be enough for you, but I recommend wearing  them in any really loud situation like an amplified concert or working with power tools, so having a pair on hand might be good anyway.

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Many thanks for several interesting avenues to pursue. To define my issue more precisely performing with a stage monitor isn’t a problem. My problem occurs in informal groups with no amplification.

 

I have found it helpful to use the space around me to amplify but often can’t control that variable. I do find myself cupping my ears these days. (but not while playing) The earplug approach is one I can attempt. I have a pair of those for loud music environments. I will have to dig around for them and report back. Also the Amplug option seems to be close to what I was envisioning.

 

I have a rosewood New Model but have been able to try several metal-ended Aeolas in one sitting recently. Generally their handling and reed quality were similar to the New Model but the usual differences of volume and brightness sets the new model off. For accompaniment it’s a better match for me.

 

In a senor epiphany moment I just realized I have an accordion reeded instrument that is playable. I wonder if that would cut through the auditory fog?

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Where do you hold your instrument while playing? If it's close to you lap you could try holding it higher. If you bend your elbows it should come up almost level with your face.

 

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6 hours ago, Clive Thorne said:

Where do you hold your instrument while playing? If it's close to you lap you could try holding it higher. If you bend your elbows it should come up almost level with your face.

 

That‘s what I‘m doing sometimes for a brief moment in order to make certain what I‘m actually playing.

 

Extending that approach over an entire session or so might prompt a conflict with your neighbours as the concertina will be even louder for them...

 

Best wishes - 🐺

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Syncopepper said:

several metal-ended Aeolas

I agree with what Geoff said earlier. If you can, try a Wheatstone Model 22 or 24. I find Aeolas to be quite “polite” tonally, on the whole. Model 22s or 24s can sound significantly more “pushy”.

 

Steve

Edited by Lofty
Punctuation correction

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Lofty said:

I agree with what Geoff said earlier. If you can, try a Wheatstone Model 22 or 24. I find Aeolas to be quite “polite” tonally, on the whole. Model 22s or 24s can sound significantly more “pushy”.

 

Steve

Indeed  Steve   ,you beat me to it.  The design of the Aeola  is more genteel, that  all notes should have  similar  tonal  qualities and  equal  carrying power.

 

  Whilst  a  metal ended Aeola  will   hold its own  against a  Rosewood  New Model Lachenal,  a metal ended  New Model  or  a Wheatstone  model 22 or 24  can   shine  through  a lot more background  noise.

 

Recently I had  a  very good Rosewood  New Model  and it sat in my double  concertina box  as a back up  just in case  my  model 22  broke  a spring  in the middle of a gig,  but it never got used  in anger  because  it  is  not  as loud.  For playing at home  or  for a quieter session  the  wooden ended New Model  is  ideal... in fact  my LOUD  Model 22  is  almost never  played in the house, unless  I want to  duet with  our dog.

 

Not all Model 22's /24's  are the same.  In the early days  they had  very shallow  'flat' reedpans, which   gave  the instrument  speed  and volume...  Later  the  tapered reedpan  was adopted which  helps to  balance  out the  sounds in a similar way to  the Aeola.  At what date the design  was changed  I'm not sure  but I do know  that my flat reedpan  type was made  about 1898  and Alistair  Anderson's  concertina is the  same vintage.

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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