Microphone(s) setup for live classical guitar ensemble

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Microphone(s) setup for live classical guitar ensemble

Postby harry » Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:52 pm

Hello,
I direct a few guitar ensembles at a couple high schools I work at.
I was wondering how I should mike them up for live performances. In particular, a group of 8-10? (my other group of 25 is much easier to hear)
The main issue I'm having is not being able to get any decent volume before feedback.
What mics would you recommend? I was thinking omni mics would be the go. In the past I've just put
up a few vocal mics on each section.. As you might have guessed this doesn't work so well.
The players are just learning proper classical technique (not capable of getting much volume out of their Right Hand technique.) The guitars are also quite cheap and lacking
in volume.

One of the groups has a performance coming up at the darebin arts centre, they will have 2x jbl eon 10" powered and a small mixer at their disposal..

Thanks in advance!
h.a.r.r.y.a.r.v.a.n.i.t.i.s
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Re: Microphone(s) setup for live classical guitar ensemble

Postby mylesgm » Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:39 pm

tight group of players with wide cardioid condenser between each pair of players is probably how I would go but I've only worked with pro guitar ensembles so not sure of the issue of quiet playing, most classical guitarists I know are pretty dynamic.

I wouldn't bother using dynamics at all and omnis will be a disaster for feedback. Make certain of course that the JBLs are behind the mics as far as they can be and pointed away from the musos.
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Re: Microphone(s) setup for live classical guitar ensemble

Postby stosostu » Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:59 pm

I recently used an Legend Axis 6 (cheap LDC) (http://www.legacymusic.com.au/products/ ... iew&id=103) on an acoustic duo, violin, guitar, banjo, and mandolin all with no piezos, and was surprised how far away from the mic they could be and still get decent pickup, though for 8 - 10 players you would probably need 2 or 3 mics. As above, dynamics and omnis won't cut it, dynamics because they are really only suited to close micing and omnis because the gain before feedback would be very low.
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Re: Microphone(s) setup for live classical guitar ensemble

Postby Chris H » Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:36 pm

I 2nd what Myles suggested. Usually a good quality SDC. Some have more reach and they are the ones to use. I haven't used the mic Bob suggested but of the Legacy brand I have found this one has great reach and seems to mix the overall stage sound very well when using just two to mic the stage of acoustic instruments.
http://www.legacymusic.com.au/products/index.cfm?id=25
For every extra mic you have open on stage the gain before feedback diminishes a bit so to a point, less is better. What I aim for is, In every component of the live sound maximize gain before feedback.

With this in mind, don't eq the mics for sound, rather set everything up as best you can to increase gain before feedback, with your system, then with the eq flat on the desk, bring each mic up individually to the point of feedback, then pull the frequency out a bit with the parametric channel eq that the mic is starting to take off on. Do this for each mic with the other's muted and you will raise the overall gain before feedback.
Having a well designed PA is also critical for maximizing gain before feedback. Any speaker system with processing to achieve a flat response will not be as effective as a speaker system that by quality of design and components achieves a flat response. Mike at Lorantz (http://www.lorantz.com.au/) gave me a free lecture on the details a year ago.....If you know Mick you will know what I mean :D , and most of what he said went way over my head, but I take his word for it as he is a amongst the top in the world on the subject. If needed tuning the PA to the room will help raise gain before feedback as well, but avoid over eq' ing.
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Re: Microphone(s) setup for live classical guitar ensemble

Postby harry » Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:44 pm

Thanks for your reply guys,

Really good ideas, i was thinking along those lines (sdc, cardiod, eq feedback out with mid band of eq)

Funnily enough, i ran a concert last week and found that nt5's sounded slightly better, yet they ran into feedback before the crappy no-name wireless mics did... go figure..

In the end, i found that we have 3 omni mics suspended above the stage (for dialogue) and lowering them down to within 3 feet of the guitars worked really well - less feedback than with the cardiod mics..

Somehow i think as crazy as it sounds - the omni thing is better because it picks up the whole sound being made by the group of guitars.. in any case i'm gonna do more testing for next weeks concert

Tomorrow i'm trying out 4 sdc's (2 octavas, 2 nt5s) and will see how it goes with one on each pair of guitars, and compare feedback when using omnis over cardiod (oktava with both capsules..)

Honestly considering investigating (for a later date) whether i could fit piezo pickups (decent ones) to all of the instruments.. piped into a big mixer..
I'm always surprized that the crappy fishman system in my throwabout Aria Classical Guitar produces a decent sound - even when plugged into an electric guitar amp (big no no)

cheers

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