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Mics and amps and mixers...oh my



 
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Yoshinori76
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Joined: 13 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:23 pm    Post subject: Mics and amps and mixers...oh my Reply with quote

Hey guys

I've recently started a brass band a la Youngblood or Soul Rebels or No BS! And we're definitely wanting to mic everyone for balance. So what would be the best clip on mics for trumpets, trombones, saxes and what would be the best equipment for the Sousaphone and drum set?

That kind of PA's are we looking into, what monitors and what amps and mixerboards? I know that is a load of questions. Any help would be great


Justin
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spyke
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

I’m more of an in-the-studio guy, but I recommend against clip on mics wherever they can be avoided. For live horns I’m really into the shure SM7b and the new AEA KU5A. Even a regular SM57 is much better than a clip in mic. For the drums, there are great drum mic bundles out there from Miktek, Telefunken USA, Lewitt, Shure, Sennheiser, and others. Any of those would do well.

For monitors, I use Ultimate Ears pro custom in ear monitors, which is the safest for one’s hearing.
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Yoshinori76
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know clip on mics aren't the best but for a horn flashing and moving group I think we'll need clip on.

I'll definitely look into the mics you suggested

Thank you!
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Speed
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Joined: 13 May 2015
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Location: Mississippi

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

After using a Shure SM 57 for many years, I recently switched to a Shure Beta 98, which I use with a clip. The Beta 98 is a far superior sounding mic to the 57, as it should be. It costs over twice as much. That said, a 57 is pretty much standard fare for horn players.

You mentioned wanting to mix everyone. Your stumbling block could be finding the right soundman. In my experience, soundmen who are competent at mixing horns are few and far between.

Before you start buying PA gear - for which you will easily spend thousands of dollars - you may want to consider contracting with a sound company to provide the front of house and monitor systems, as well as the soundman. That's not inexpensive, but you will likely learn a lot about what you need and don't need. Plus, the sound contractor will have the PA set up when you get there without your having to load it at your home, unload it at the gig, set it up properly ("properly" being the key word) and loading it out at the end of the gig. They definitely earn their fee.

If you use clip on mics, I assume you will be going wireless. Be aware that there is a big price range in the wireless units. The less expensive ones tend to have fewer channels than the more expensive ones. If you are going to have a lot of wireless things on stage, be careful that your electronics have sufficient channels.

There seems to be a trend toward powered speakers. In years past, we used a mixing board, which fed rack mounted power amps, which fed passive speakers.

Your most simple rig? Powered mixer with enough channels to run vocals and horns through it. Have your guitar, bass and keys play through their own amps, but not the PA. When you're playing big enough rooms that the drums need to be mic'd and the bass needs subwoofers, you'll be making enough money to hire a sound company or buy more PA. Put a couple of passive speakers - 1-12 and a horn should suffice - on tripod stands and a couple of wedges on the floor. The powered mixer should have monitor capabilities and be able to push a pair of front of house speakers plus a pair of wedges. If one of your bandmates says he can't hear everything, tell him to turn down his volume.

I know that sounds simplistic, but I've started doing some gigs like that with a 9 piece group, and the band sounds great. We've even done an outdoor gig with it, and it provided plenty of coverage. It forces everybody to listen to each other, as well as to control their volume.

Take care,
Marc Speed
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zaferis
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This, I think, will be a bigger project than you anticipate...

First of all he sound engineer can make or break you.. there are few that are good and amplify/balance the sound to fit the venue while maintaining the what the ensemble wants to sound like. Way too many, make everyone sound like a Disco-tech or overly pop sound-heavy on the bass.

Sure 57's are pretty standard.. the issue that comes up is keeping your players at a good distance.. the quality of sound can be affected by how close you are. I see most players don't want to be close enough, so their sound is not well represented at the board.

Audio Technica Pro 35 clip on is quite nice.. can be wired or wireless.. they provide a good sound, are pretty durable, inexpensive and being clip on, you can move around while providing a consistent feed to the board.

Then the sound system can be a big deal. Venue size has an impact. Having a system that is flexible enough to work well in a bar, a concert hall, a gym and outdoors is challenging.
I like the idea of hiring a sound company until you grasp what you're truly looking for. However be prepared to tell them exactly what you want - just because you own or bring 6 subwoofers, doesn't mean you MUST use them. Sound reinforcement for a combo, rock band, rock band with horns, country or jazz band is wildly different.
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it's all brass and drums then I'd think you should be able to balance without reinforcement. Obviously that will change if you start playing larger venues.

FWIW I like my AMT ROAM 1 wireless rig as well as any I've seen. It's very nice to not have to worry about any belt pack or associated wire. Note that this particular model is obsolete and the replacement is fairly steep.
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Brad361
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zaferis wrote:
.........
First of all he sound engineer can make or break you.. there are few that are good and amplify/balance the sound to fit the venue while maintaining the what the ensemble wants to sound like. Way too many, make everyone sound like a Disco-tech or overly pop sound-heavy on the bass.
......


This, multiplied by.....a lot. Another problem I’ve run into more than once, is the sound guy’s personal sound preferences. On multiple occasions, I have had a sound guy bury me in the mix because he didn’t happen to like a lead trumpet sound. Another guy happened to play guitar, guess which instrument was WAY over balanced?

I’m not making a blanket indictment of sound engineers, the one my current band hired about a year and a half ago does a very good job, IMO. But a bad or very opinionated one can really be a problem. It can be very frustrating to have a great gig, only to be buried by the sound man.

And now that I’ve driven the OP’S original thread into the ditch......😐

Brad
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Speed
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2018 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I checked out the bands you mentioned - Soul Rebels and Youngbloods BB. If you are going to produce a band like that, you are likely to play a lot of venues where the only reason you need to mic anything is for the leader to announce the songs to the audience. If everybody lines up in a straight line, some of you may have a little trouble hearing somebody on the other end of the line. It's a LOT easier to solve that problem by lining up in sort of a relaxed quarter moon shape than to try to mic everybody and run it back through monitors. The guys in the middle can typically hear everything pretty well. It's the ones on the outsides that have trouble hearing the players opposite them. Using that quarter moon shaped line up, you eliminate that problem.

If you're booking that band into venues that are large enough to require sound reinforcement, the venue will either have its own PA and monitors, or you will be in a financial position to hire a sound company.

I will admit to being a gear head and having a storage unit full of PA gear, so the advice I'm giving you is based on my having learned these lessons the hard (and expensive) way.

Good luck with the band. It sounds like a world of fun. I visit New Orleans frequently and run across some pretty happening brass bands there.

Take care,
Marc Speed
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Mmmatt
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am going to approach this as bar owner and a halfassed sound man. Until a couple months ago I owned a bar and we featured music quite often. It was usually me running sound unless I had other responsibilities for the night in which I would hire someone.

My bar was about 1800 sq ft of open space. Tall ceilings and very live. My capacity was 79 but 100 people was not uncommon for a show. I hired jazz combos, soul bands with horns, and sometimes large brass bands. Also rock, blues, jambands, bluegrass, Western swing, folk, alt-country, and you name it. Lots of variety.

Nearly every time the band did their own sound and PA it was horrible. Not too many guys can mix from the stage. Sound guy is key. I ultimately got my own PA and all the bands loved playing there because the room sounded great and my PA was tweaked for the room. When you are mixing a show, you are fighting the resonancies in the room, the crowd noise, and often times the musicians themselves. Guitar players are the worst!

I very rarely miced drums, or guitar/bass amp and never once miced a horn. When you get into 200 ish person venues is when you need to start thinking about that. The large brass band that I had booked a few times were so loud I actually had people leave! I stopped booking them for that reason. Their typical MO for bar shows was a powered megaphone in leiu of PA. Just for talking and announcing of course but it worked well.

That all being said, if you are looking to buy a PA, I would look at the Makie 12" 2-way powered mains and a beheringer x-air mixer. You likely won't need monitors unless you are playing bigger rooms. This setup is only 3 items to carry to a gig. Plus a bag for mics and cables and a laptop. The biggest advantage of the x-air is that it is controlled via a laptop or tablet through wifi. The mixer sits on stage and sends out it's own proprietary wifi single to link with your device. This means no snake on stage or stretched to the back of the venue and the sound man can wonder all over the venue to make adjustments for different parts of the room. Powered mains means that you don't have any amps to carry.

You probably can get by micing horns per section. If you are micing by section I would use Omni mics. Mics are typically omnidirectional, cardioid, subcardioid, or hypercardiod. These are polar patters and determine the directionality of the mics. Omnis are 360 degrees, cards are about 180, sub-ccards or supercardiods are closer to 90 and hypers are more like 30 degrees. There is more to it than that, but that is the basics. Sm 57s and sm 58s are both cards and by far the most common mics on the planet. Because omnis have such a wide patern, they are great for section micing and will provide a more even mix of the section. The rub is that they can pick up things you don't want such as the monitors or the mains which will cause feedback. This should not be a problem with horns though because the sound from the bell is far louder than a voice or flute or something and so the gain levels are going to be far enough below that threshold.

For Omnis, if you can afford earthworks, they are fabulous. Otherwise you may want a mic that has multiple caps or otherwise adjustable polar paterns. There is a company called Studio Projects that makes some very nice mics on the cheap. The C4 mics come as a stereo pair and come with card, Omni, and hyper caps for about $350 per pair. They are very nice mics for the money and are about the size of a magic marker so not real noticible on stage. These types of mics are condenser mics which require phantom power but as such give you higher spl handling ability. Sm57/58s are dynamic mics and don't require phantom power. All but the cheapest mixers will have phantom.

Hope this helps!
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