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Fiddle Lovers Online


Sep 27, 2021 - 8:06:47 AM
110 posts since 1/21/2017

Just wanted to get some feedback, pun intended, from any of you that normally play your fiddle into a mic. Dynamic, not condenser, and even better, a 57. I'm wondering if i am playing too close. I usually run our own sound, so it's not always easy to gauge what it's sounding like through the mains. I also sing into the same mic, and I have a weak voice so I'm usually right on it to sing, and when I'm playing fiddle, I guess I might have it about 6 or 8 inches away from the mic. Folks always seem to have positive comments about the sound, but the reason I'm asking is that I saw some people playing this weekend, and the fiddler was playing into a 57 and she must have been 3 feet away and it sounded fine. I realize there are LOTS of variables in a scenario, I guess I'm just wondering what others experiences are.

Sep 27, 2021 - 8:30:09 AM
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2419 posts since 10/22/2007

It depends on where you run the input. I'm usually about 3 inches rather than 3 feet away. If I ran the input up so you could hear me 3 feet away, it would start a feedback loop. That person in the example may have had a wireless pickup besides the mike.
Typically I run a pickup (in the bridge). That way I can move around.

Sep 27, 2021 - 8:38:25 AM

gapbob

USA

776 posts since 4/20/2008

Microphones have a "bass proximity effect."

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proximity_effect_(audio)

I suppose if you were to play on a fiddle without great bass, it could improve that, if you were aware of how it sounded to others.

Sep 27, 2021 - 9:28:25 AM
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530 posts since 3/1/2020

If you’re only using the one mic to capture the sound, it’s usually better to be close in order to get better sound definition. Your articulation becomes fuzzier as the mic is farther away, so the playing can lose character. Getting too close can mean too much bow and surface noise get picked up, but the point where that occurs is closer to the mic than you might expect. Also, close mics keep you on your toes more, as mistakes and intonation problems are much more obvious.

In the early radio days, groups would often gather around one mic in a semicircle. As opportunities for breaks or solos arose, players would step closer to the mic to be picked up more clearly. This setup contributed a lot to the way those old recordings sounded, and I’ve been impressed by modern groups that have made a conscious effort to do the same.

Sep 27, 2021 - 9:48:06 AM

110 posts since 1/21/2017

quote:
Originally posted by farmerjones
If I ran the input up so you could hear me 3 feet away, it would start a feedback loop.

I know, me too. That's why I was surprised to see that.

Sep 27, 2021 - 9:54:06 AM

110 posts since 1/21/2017

quote:
Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful

If you’re only using the one mic to capture the sound, it’s usually better to be close in order to get better sound definition. Your articulation becomes fuzzier as the mic is farther away, so the playing can lose character.


That what I've always thought too. It sounds like I'm on the right track. Thanks

Sep 27, 2021 - 11:31:07 AM
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LukeF

USA

98 posts since 10/15/2019

My experience with dynamic mics is you have to be within a few inches from the mic, but with condenser mics, you can be further away, maybe 6 -12 inches.

Sep 27, 2021 - 12:41:03 PM

1873 posts since 12/11/2008

When fiddling I always liked to be about a couple feet from my microphone, whatever brand of mike it happened to be. Best combination of tonal balance and natural ambience.

Sep 27, 2021 - 12:41:24 PM

1873 posts since 12/11/2008

When fiddling I always liked to be about a couple feet from my microphone, whatever brand of mike it happened to be. Best combination of tonal balance and natural ambience.

Sep 27, 2021 - 12:50:03 PM

1613 posts since 4/6/2014

Scenario: Fiddle sat down at table
Accordion sat down at table
Bass standing behind Table
Guitar standing behind table
Venue: Small but rowdy pub
Kit: All with small individual combo's

Fiddle: Electret mic close mic' on fiddle Eg : Bartlett sort of thing over the f holes of the fiddle into your own combo

Vocals: Just sing (or shout in my case) into your fiddle mic it's about the right distance from your mouth and doesn't pop because you are singing or shouting from behind at an angle

If you need more re-enforcement, go into a small mixer with eq and monitor the output through closed headphones, ( And mix until it sounds ok), and then give the sound engineer (if there is one), or main amp a lead out from that.

Maintain as much of the individual combo sound as possible

Other than that gather around good ribbon mic and swap places ala loads of BG bands.

Edited by - pete_fiddle on 09/27/2021 13:00:17

Sep 27, 2021 - 2:33:15 PM

9409 posts since 3/19/2009

An anecdote.. At my first Agusta Old Time Week.. we were separated into groups in which strong and weak musicians were playing together. Some weak musicians were bashful about getting close to a mic.. The instructor said, "It is funny, but the closer you get to the mic the less you'll be heard.'' A couple of the musicians took his words to heat and moved right up to the mic... I had to laugh..

Sep 27, 2021 - 6:04:23 PM

JonD

USA

27 posts since 2/12/2021

6 to 8 inches would be as close as you'd want to get for a fiddle. Couple feet could work and could actually sound great live, but you couldn't get away with that with other instruments in proximity.

@ fiddle pete- " ...gather around good ribbon mic and swap places ala loads of BG bands." -?? Do any bluegrass bands sing/play around a ribbon mic on stage? That seems a bit chancy!

Sep 27, 2021 - 6:31:06 PM
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110 posts since 1/21/2017

quote:
Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful



In the early radio days, groups would often gather around one mic in a semicircle. As opportunities for breaks or solos arose, players would step closer to the mic to be picked up more clearly. This setup contributed a lot to the way those old recordings sounded, and I’ve been impressed by modern groups that have made a conscious effort to do the same.


Yeah, I played for 10 years in an oldtime/bluegrass band around a single AT4033 and loved it. So much freedom. But there are so many times when it's just not practical. It's often just easier to run dynamics and not have to constantly be listening for ringing or explaining to folks why you can't turn it up any louder.

Sep 27, 2021 - 6:46:41 PM

2769 posts since 9/13/2009

I use lot's of different set-ups. Not really a one size fits all... depends on the venue (the stage and room); and individuals. Can't really just copy what see others do, it's a bit of apples/oranges. Best results are understanding some basic principles of sound.

One comment mentioned, many folks have various misunderstandings or myths about condenser vs dynamic mics on stage; from issues close vs distance micing, to feedback; to polar patterns.

---------

Gain before feedback, how loud you can turn up the sound... both in monitors and mains; is often a primary issue. The further away you are, the less your GBF. Follows inverse square rule. But besides mic, also has to account for reflections, room distances (ceiling/walls), polar pattern, frequency response... speaker/monitor placement.

GBF issues aside, even if lower volume situations, not worried about feedback...  differences between close vs distance micing; distance and axis angle still affects the tone, frequency response. How much depends on mic specs. Many mics can sound a bit thin in low/mids as distance increases (omni pattern has little to no proximity boost, and retains full freq at distance). Besides proximity affect, is affect/feel of air and presence; has to do with how much what part of the full instrument... is being miced; distance gives a more smoother natural full balance of instrument; close give a bit of directness, in your face sound.

If you are playing with others... you also have  to account for some other aspects; bleed from others; and possible comb filtering issues  as well as EQ, how things sit in the overall mix.
;-
 

Sep 27, 2021 - 7:11:31 PM

DougD

USA

10290 posts since 12/2/2007

@JonD - Maybe in the UK, but over here I don't think many BG bands "gather around a good ribbon mic" - at least I've never seen one. Most bands that use the "one mic" (or slightly augmented) approach around here use something like an AT4033 or those "old timey" looking steampunk Ear Trumpet mics.

Edited by - DougD on 09/27/2021 19:12:36

Sep 27, 2021 - 7:52:29 PM

2769 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle

Scenario: Fiddle sat down at table
Accordion sat down at table
Bass standing behind Table
Guitar standing behind table
Venue: Small but rowdy pub
Kit: All with small individual combo's

Fiddle: Electret mic close mic' on fiddle Eg : Bartlett sort of thing over the f holes of the fiddle into your own combo

Vocals: Just sing (or shout in my case) into your fiddle mic it's about the right distance from your mouth and doesn't pop because you are singing or shouting from behind at an angle

If you need more re-enforcement, go into a small mixer with eq and monitor the output through closed headphones, ( And mix until it sounds ok), and then give the sound engineer (if there is one), or main amp a lead out from that.

Maintain as much of the individual combo sound as possible

Other than that gather around good ribbon mic and swap places ala loads of BG bands.


Not sure how practical that set up is for most folks. But brings up a few points.

For many stages... many often use a lav type, small electret condenser (omni) on fiddle; then a separate vocal mic. Many lavs come with little gooseneck attach to instrument...  not sure aimed at f-hole is best, as can get a bit too much mid woofy/muddy, lack clarity (and can run into body resonance feedback)... I typically would aim more toward bridge, but at 2-4 inches picks up more of the top. Alternatively can clip to strings behind the bridge, gives more GBF. Of course a piezo bridge PU gives more GBF,  but some folks have problem with dialing in that sound.

As far as playing with closed headphones... possible, but probably not what most folks want to do from a visual aspect... but along those lines good IEM system, (in ear monitors) are definitely a good option for many bands... eliminate any issues stage monitoring. That said, IEM or headphone don't always work quite as easy breezy as folks might think.

Other than that gather around good ribbon mic and swap places ala loads of BG bands.

You might be confused as to the mic they are using; by the looks. While some older photo or film might in studio, radio or TV set; might be ribbons... but as likely not. Ribbons are by nature bi-directional figure 8. (there are rare exceptions). More likely they used a mic with omni or cardioid pattern. Most what you see on stages today are likely large diaphragm condensers with a typical cardioid or pattern. (a few use wide cardioid). Not to say that figure 8 or omni can't work, and will see some use that for specific setups. As well some dynamic mics (cadioid or omni) can work just fine for single mic setup; and see some use those.

Can't tell the mic innards and specs by the looks... that is whether Dynamic/condenser/electret/ribbon (or if passive, active, tube, FET, tranformerless)... or polar pattern... nor diameter/small diameter.

Edited by - alaskafiddler on 09/27/2021 19:57:46

Sep 27, 2021 - 8:38:50 PM

JonD

USA

27 posts since 2/12/2021

quote:
Originally posted by DougD

@JonD - Maybe in the UK, but over here I don't think many BG bands "gather around a good ribbon mic" - at least I've never seen one. Most bands that use the "one mic" (or slightly augmented) approach around here use something like an AT4033 or those "old timey" looking steampunk Ear Trumpet mics.


Yeah, ribbons are also a bit too delicate to risk on a live stage normally...one plosive too close and it's time to re-ribbon! Somebody on the banjo hangout mentioned a bluegrass band that uses an RCA44 body with a condenser mic inside for that 'old timey' look!

I use an Ear Trumpet 'Louise' condenser for group mic'ing on occasion and it can sound great (or not, depending...on a lot of things!). Used it yesterday as a matter of fact, for fiddle/guitar/banjo/bass in an outdoor venue. Worked well although we had to mic up the bass separately as it wasn't quite up high enough in the mix. But it's great for being in close to your (fully vaccinated) bandmates, and for simple setup/teardown!

Sep 28, 2021 - 12:54:56 AM

1613 posts since 4/6/2014

quote:
Originally posted by alaskafiddler
quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle

Scenario: Fiddle sat down at table
Accordion sat down at table
Bass standing behind Table
Guitar standing behind table
Venue: Small but rowdy pub
Kit: All with small individual combo's

Fiddle: Electret mic close mic' on fiddle Eg : Bartlett sort of thing over the f holes of the fiddle into your own combo

Vocals: Just sing (or shout in my case) into your fiddle mic it's about the right distance from your mouth and doesn't pop because you are singing or shouting from behind at an angle

If you need more re-enforcement, go into a small mixer with eq and monitor the output through closed headphones, ( And mix until it sounds ok), and then give the sound engineer (if there is one), or main amp a lead out from that.

Maintain as much of the individual combo sound as possible

Other than that gather around good ribbon mic and swap places ala loads of BG bands.


Not sure how practical that set up is for most folks. But brings up a few points.

For many stages... many often use a lav type, small electret condenser (omni) on fiddle; then a separate vocal mic. Many lavs come with little gooseneck attach to instrument...  not sure aimed at f-hole is best, as can get a bit too much mid woofy/muddy, lack clarity (and can run into body resonance feedback)... I typically would aim more toward bridge, but at 2-4 inches picks up more of the top. Alternatively can clip to strings behind the bridge, gives more GBF. Of course a piezo bridge PU gives more GBF,  but some folks have problem with dialing in that sound.

As far as playing with closed headphones... possible, but probably not what most folks want to do from a visual aspect... but along those lines good IEM system, (in ear monitors) are definitely a good option for many bands... eliminate any issues stage monitoring. That said, IEM or headphone don't always work quite as easy breezy as folks might think.

Other than that gather around good ribbon mic and swap places ala loads of BG bands.

You might be confused as to the mic they are using; by the looks. While some older photo or film might in studio, radio or TV set; might be ribbons... but as likely not. Ribbons are by nature bi-directional figure 8. (there are rare exceptions). More likely they used a mic with omni or cardioid pattern. Most what you see on stages today are likely large diaphragm condensers with a typical cardioid or pattern. (a few use wide cardioid). Not to say that figure 8 or omni can't work, and will see some use that for specific setups. As well some dynamic mics (cadioid or omni) can work just fine for single mic setup; and see some use those.

Can't tell the mic innards and specs by the looks... that is whether Dynamic/condenser/electret/ribbon (or if passive, active, tube, FET, tranformerless)... or polar pattern... nor diameter/small diameter.


... Not playing with headphones on, just setting initial levels, or for an engineer if you need more re-enforcement than just individual combo's. Pretty standard practice.. Combo's into a mixer, main amp and monitors i would say..
I was just making the point that i used my fiddle mic for vocals (shouting etc) as well at small gigs. But you are right about the f hole thing, now i think of it , i mounted mine on the tail piece and pointed it at the back of the bridge. Most natural sounding standard  electrets are omni, so it picked my voice up ok, issues with feedback at larger gigs though. At really loud bass and drum gigs i used an electric fiddle. And all the sh....kit you need with that....yuck
Sep 28, 2021 - 9:20:51 AM

25 posts since 6/12/2015

I think as close as you can get is fine for fiddle and a SM57 (usually the fiddle is too quiet in my experience), but I would recommend backing up some (6 to 8 inches) when you sing.

Sep 28, 2021 - 9:49:33 AM
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DougD

USA

10290 posts since 12/2/2007

@JonD - I happen to have an RCA 44B, but it would have to be a pretty special occasion for me to take it out these days. My Dad was a broadcasting engineer who started out at CBS in the mid 1930's and he told me that ribbon mics were never used outdoors. If you look at photos from that era you never see them outside a studio, or a very few live shows.
I think you can buy empty reproduction shells these days, and possibly with a condenser capsule already installed - been a long time since I've looked.
The third Highwoods record was recorded in 1977 with that mic as a center channel for banjo, guitar, bass and lead vocals, with two left and right mics for the fiddles. Some of that from a compilation CD is on YouTube - check out "Pig Ankle Rag," "Way Out There," or "Meeting in the Air" if you want to hear what it sounds like. That was a long time before the recent craze for the "one mic" approach!
That mic was also used for the vocal on the attached song. It has an immediacy and intimacy that's unique, depending how you use it. Its also nice to be able to face the person you're singing with.


Sep 28, 2021 - 5:57:56 PM

JonD

USA

27 posts since 2/12/2021

Hey Doug that is one tasty track, both vocals and guitar (old D-28?). I love ribbon mics & have a few but not an RCA!
I should take this opportunity to mention, off-topic, that I saw the Highwoods play in about '75 or so in Richmond, Indiana, during a campus music festival of sorts. Blown away, bought that first LP, have loved your music ever since!
Jon

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