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Concertina Microphones


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I am looking to attach Dual microphones to my concertina to play through a 15 watt Amp. ( Small guitar amp ). I have searched on this forum and Microvox seems to be the one of choice . However the web site is not responsive . I have been looking at some lapel mics . Would they be any good. Otherwise have you any suggestions . Many thanks for reading.

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One of the issues with "lapel" mics is that the are generall Omni-directional (ie: Not  just from one focussed direction), and therefore, will pick up lots of ambient sound, leading to a bigger risk of feedback. I bought a myers system( https://www.myerspickups.com/pickups/the-feather-series ), which I've never used due to 1) The Covid situation preventing any musical gatherings and 2) I haven't worked out a system (that doesn't include velcro glued to my box(es)) which won't compromise the woodwork surface of my boxes. I did have a thought about using the endbolts to "clamp" a metal/plastic surface on to which I might attach the mics, but I think I'm just going to forget the whole clip on thing and stick with a couple of Shure SM57s or my Sony stereo mic (get in touch if you want to discuss further :) )

 

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Posted (edited)

I'm still in the speculative phase too, so I haven't tested what I'm about to describe. Listen to my suggestions at your own peril.

 

I've been considering a pair of Audio Technica PRO 35's. Sound tech isn't an area I have a lot of expertise in, so maybe someone else can chime in with why that is or isn't a good mic choice.

 

My plan for attaching them is to rig up a surface for the clips that can be fastened to the concertina by the strap bolts (probably just pieces of padded aluminum bar with bolt holes). That way I can have a quick, tool-free way to take everything off or put it back on, and I can avoid permanent modifications to the instrument.

 

At the moment, what I'm actually doing is just pointing a single mic (not certain what model since it's not my gear, but probably akin to an SM57) at the center of the bellows. This has apparently worked well enough for the band I play with, although it's hard for me to judge since I'm not in the audience.

Edited by schult
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2 hours ago, paaudio said:

One of the issues with "lapel" mics is that the are generall Omni-directional (ie: Not  just from one focussed direction), and therefore, will pick up lots of ambient sound, leading to a bigger risk of feedback. I bought a myers system( https://www.myerspickups.com/pickups/the-feather-series ), which I've never used due to 1) The Covid situation preventing any musical gatherings and 2) I haven't worked out a system (that doesn't include velcro glued to my box(es)) which won't compromise the woodwork surface of my boxes. I did have a thought about using the endbolts to "clamp" a metal/plastic surface on to which I might attach the mics, but I think I'm just going to forget the whole clip on thing and stick with a couple of Shure SM57s or my Sony stereo mic (get in touch if you want to discuss further :) )

 

Many Thanks for your kind offer of further help. Very much appreciated.

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1 hour ago, schult said:

I'm still in the speculative phase too, so I haven't tested what I'm about to describe. Listen to my suggestions at your own peril.

 

I've been considering a pair of Audio Technica PRO 35's. Sound tech isn't an area I have a lot of expertise in, so maybe someone else can chime in with why that is or isn't a good mic choice.

 

My plan for attaching them is to rig up a surface for the clips that can be fastened to the concertina by the strap bolts (probably just pieces of padded aluminum bar with bolt holes). That way I can have a quick, tool-free way to take everything off or put it back on, and I can avoid permanent modifications to the instrument.

 

At the moment, what I'm actually doing is just pointing a single mic (not certain what model since it's not my gear, but probably akin to an SM57) at the center of the bellows. This has apparently worked well enough for the band I play with, although it's hard for me to judge since I'm not in the audience.

Many Thanks for the advice .  I really appreciate the help !!!!

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6 minutes ago, Lachal said:

Many Thanks for your kind offer of further help. Very much appreciated.

 

7 minutes ago, Lachal said:

Many Thanks for your kind offer of further help. Very much appreciated.

 

7 minutes ago, Lachal said:

Many Thanks for your kind offer of further help. Very much appreciated.

The Myers Feather 2..Seems to be the solution .

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Posted (edited)

Revisiting this topic for about the hundredth time...

 

I used to play with Microvoxes.  I found them unreliable - I think I had 3, and they all went bad - and I found the sound somewhat harsh.

 

The turning point for me: we were playing on a big professional stage with serious sound guys.  They hooked up the Microvoxes, at my request, took a listen and immediately unplugged me.  The Shure KSM137s they used instead - on low stands, one pointed at each end -  produced much truer sound and more gain, and I wasn't tied down by cables and a belt pack.  I bought two and have used them happily ever since.  

 

For home recording, two Shure 57s do a good job (I don't use the condenser mics because I have a toddler in the house, and they're too expensive to risk).

 

The Microvoxes win points for convenience and price, but I've never encountered a sound engineer who didn't try to talk me into using standard condenser mics.  Oh, and I just hated getting tangled up in the cables.

 

I realize there are some applications where having clip ons might make sense - busking with a portable amp, maybe - but not for me. Simple solutions are sometimes the best.

 

As an aside, I have a friend who's a well known recording engineer. He has recorded may concertinists - and argues that a single really good condenser mic, pointed at the center, is the preferred solution. Of course, he is recording in an acoustically optimized studio, not a stage with noisy dancers,  but it's one more data point in this ongoing discussion.

Edited by Jim Besser
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13 hours ago, Jim Besser said:

Revisiting this topic for about the hundredth time...

 

I used to play with Microvoxes.  I found them unreliable - I think I had 3, and they all went bad - and I found the sound somewhat harsh.

 

The turning point for me: we were playing on a big professional stage with serious sound guys.  They hooked up the Microvoxes, at my request, took a listen and immediately unplugged me.  The Shure KSM137s they used instead - on low stands, one pointed at each end -  produced much truer sound and more gain, and I wasn't tied down by cables and a belt pack.  I bought two and have used them happily ever since.  

 

For home recording, two Shure 57s do a good job (I don't use the condenser mics because I have a toddler in the house, and they're too expensive to risk).

 

The Microvoxes win points for convenience and price, but I've never encountered a sound engineer who didn't try to talk me into using standard condenser mics.  Oh, and I just hated getting tangled up in the cables.

 

I realize there are some applications where having clip ons might make sense - busking with a portable amp, maybe - but not for me. Simple solutions are sometimes the best.

 

As an aside, I have a friend who's a well known recording engineer. He has recorded may concertinists - and argues that a single really good condenser mic, pointed at the center, is the preferred solution. Of course, he is recording in an acoustically optimized studio, not a stage with noisy dancers,  but it's one more data point in this ongoing discussion.

Cheers Jim...An informative read !!!

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I use AKG C 516mls then into a battery powered preamp for most performances. I totally feel better about not being locked in between 2 boom stands. I am upgrading as soon as I feel like live shows happening again. I will be purchasing DPA 4099s and I have a rack mount dual channel mic preamp. It requires AC power, so will be exploring a few options for battery powered preamp. I also will keep the AKG setup for smaller venues or easier to travel.

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1 hour ago, Lawrence Reeves said:

I use AKG C 516mls then into a battery powered preamp for most performances. I totally feel better about not being locked in between 2 boom stands. I am upgrading as soon as I feel like live shows happening again. I will be purchasing DPA 4099s and I have a rack mount dual channel mic preamp. It requires AC power, so will be exploring a few options for battery powered preamp. I also will keep the AKG setup for smaller venues or easier to travel.

 

The AKGs are excellent mics.  Good condenser mics make all the difference in terms of pure sound with concertinas. Stands vs clip ons - a matter of personal preference and personal stage logistics.  I prefer stands because I'm a klutz and always get tangled up in the cables, and I switch back and forth between CG and GD instruments, and sometimes the baritone - often in the middle of dance medleys. So clip on condensers don't work for me.  But they're a fine solution for many, and there's no comparison between the excellent sound they produce and the sound of Microvoxes.

 

I'm not familiar with the DPAs, but looking at the specs on Sweetwater, they look great.  Expensive, but good sound doesn't come cheap.  My Shure KSM137s were 300 dollars each, but well worth the investment.

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True Jim, I sell high performance home audio as a career and natural sound is very important. I know that many people play casually or occasionally on a stage or pub gig, and the cost of top shelf microphones are not a good investment. I associate to relative cost of 2 or 3 nice concertinas as the subject that I am trying to amplify to an audience, and want something that delivers a consistent sound to the audience. The AKGs are very nice for the price, and the DPAs are significantly better. 

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Having 2 mics pointed at each end seems logical, but unless they are quite close, or you are in a fairly well acoustically damped room (or outdoors ) the distance between the mics can cause very noticeable comb filtering, as both mics pick up sound from the other side slightly later than the closer mic.  ( causing interference of sound waves that happen at frequency multiples of the separation distance 1x2x3x etc.) Center location in front keeps things equal and having a coaxial x/y mic preserves the stereo aspect without comb filtering.  Listening through headphones connected to the mixer or monitor lets you hear what other people are hearing or you are actually recording.  Without them, you are not likely to hear what is happening at the mics.  Even good mics can be blamed for poor fidelity that really is the result of comb filtering.

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43 minutes ago, Dana Johnson said:

.) Center location in front keeps things equal and having a coaxial x/y mic preserves the stereo aspect without comb filtering.  Listening through headphones connected to the mixer or monitor lets you hear what other people are hearing or you are actually recording.  Without them, you are not likely to hear what is happening at the mics.  Even good mics can be blamed for poor fidelity that really is the result of comb filtering.

 

That's interesting.  Are you suggesting 2 mics in a crossed pattern, center of bellows?

 

In a live sound situation - ie a noisy dance hall - I'm wondering if you get enough gain with that placement. I've heard it suggested as a good solution for home recording, but never tried it.

 

Comb filtering: what is the characteristic sound of that kind of interference? How do I determine if it's affect my recordings?

 

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What Dana suggests - and I've seen him use it in live recording situations - is also done for some acoustic "classical" recording I've participated in (chamber music). Avoids the phasing issues he mentions and, depending on the pickup pattern of the mic, gives good stereo separation. Or so I'm told, I'm not a recording engineer, but the recordings sounded good. 😎

 

Ken

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1 hour ago, Ken_Coles said:

What Dana suggests - and I've seen him use it in live recording situations - is also done for some acoustic "classical" recording I've participated in (chamber music). Avoids the phasing issues he mentions and, depending on the pickup pattern of the mic, gives good stereo separation. Or so I'm told, I'm not a recording engineer, but the recordings sounded good. 😎

 

Ken

 

I supposed it makes sense. The built in mics on a Zoom H4N are crisscrossed; I'm going to try using that as my audio interface for recording and see if it makes a difference.

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1 hour ago, Ken_Coles said:

What Dana suggests - and I've seen him use it in live recording situations - is also done for some acoustic "classical" recording I've participated in (chamber music). Avoids the phasing issues he mentions and, depending on the pickup pattern of the mic, gives good stereo separation. Or so I'm told, I'm not a recording engineer, but the recordings sounded good. 😎

 

Ken

 

I use this set-up (Sterling Audio SL230MP Matched Pair, Medium Diaphragm Condenser Microphones) at home for recording and jamming on Jamulus or JamKazam:

 

mics.jpg

 

Once, when I was JamKazamming with Jody Kruskal, he told me it sounded like I was playing two instruments, the left and the right. I think that answers the “stereo separation” question.

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I'd never heard of "comb filtering" before, but now that you mention it I remember recording in a studio where the engineer did the crossed mic thing in front of the bellows and it resulted in an excellent sound. And it also minimized any clatter from the buttons and pads that would have occurred if the mics were closer to or facing each end.

 

One nice advantage of having stationary mics is the ability to easily switch back and forth between different instruments, and it allows you to fade in and out and do doppler effects that are impossible with mics hardwired onto the instrument.

 

Gary

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2 hours ago, David Barnert said:

 

I use this set-up (Sterling Audio SL230MP Matched Pair, Medium Diaphragm Condenser Microphones) at home for recording and jamming on Jamulus or JamKazam:

 

mics.jpg

 

Once, when I was JamKazamming with Jody Kruskal, he told me it sounded like I was playing two instruments, the left and the right. I think that answers the “stereo separation” question.

 

A couple of questions for those of you using an X-Y mic setup like this: how far are you positioning the mics from your instrument? Are you using this setup in a live environment (particularly with other instruments), or just home/studio recording?

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