Suggestions for microphones/amp/pa for gigs?

Hi All,
Ive got a few gigs coming up and will need to have some kind of amplification. The guitarist has an all in one PA system a maui 5 (like the Bose system but cheaper). We had a practice session at the weekend with drums and bass and i used this PA with just one mic a sennheiser e845. Everything was working but i was getting hardly anything from the vibes through the system (The mic was above the vibes and fairly close). So what mics would be best to use and should i still use the Maui or go through a different amp?

Thanks !

Tim

This is always a tough question. I recommend searching this site for posts by Steve Shapiro - an expert on this topic. Based on information from Steve I have ended up placing mics under the instrument vs. the common approach of placing them above. I have three of the AMT mics they sell for vibraphone, but instead of mounting them on the instrument (anything mounted on the instrument seems to introduce a thumping sound) I built a stand (that is completely separate) to hold all three under the instrument. I then feed these mics into a mixer and then out to powered speakers. While you do lose some sound by placing them underneath, they also pick up a lot less stage noise so the sound they do get is mostly vibraphone. I also think it would be best to have your own amp if possible. Here's a link to one of Steve's posts: https://www.vibesworkshop.com/forum-topic/more-amplification-getting-nat...

Hi pcheckel,
thanks for your comment. I will take a look at Steve's posts and thanks for the link. Are the mics you have the amt ADX51's?
I've very quickly tried my mike under the vibes but it does tend to pick up noise from the foot pedal.
tim

Hi Tim - The mics I have are AMT VP2. I bought them quite a few years ago when they sold three as a set (vs. two today). They're good mics, but since I no longer use them mounted directly on the frame, I would likely look elsewhere today - and I think they're kind of expensive. I understand the issue with pedal noise - I'm in a constant battle to seek out rattles and squeaks and figure out ways to get rid of them. I do think instrument noise is something you at least have a chance of fixing/controlling...but when the mics are mounted above you can get into stage situations where your mics are picking up more cymbal/sax/? than vibraphone. I run the three mics into a small Mackie mixer and then out to JBL powered speakers. Here's a pic of my mic stand - I raise it up so it's just a few inches under the dampener bar.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1q19BjVfGbi-UeehB1Ry11DLMBABlFIuo

thanks for the photo of your setup - looks cool. The AMTVP2's dont seem to be available in the uk and , as you said, quite expensive. Im only a beginner but starting to get gigs so not sure if i can justify the price tag yet!

Here is my set up for easy gigs on small clubs (If you play in festival or larger venues the organiser should provide a good PA system with mics etc.)
2 shire sm 57 placed underneath the instrument on 2 little bass drum mic stands that goes thought the PA system of the club. Those are cheap dynamic mics but they do a great job 'cause you don't get other instruments sounds.
I tried also expensive condenser mic like Neumann km184 but you get a lot f the other instrument rather than the vibes sound.

If there's no PA in the venue I use a small amp for acoustic instrument called Schertler Jam 150 that has also has phantom power and a couple of good reverb/delays.

In the studio I have different mics I use 2 mics: AKG 414, neumann KM184 or even better U87, Octava mc012.

hope this help.

Thanks Giovanni, that's very helpful!

tim

do you get any noise from the pedal when you have the mic's underneath?

tim

There is, in my opinion, no one single best solution for this. It really depends on the room and the situation.

That said, any solution that will give you good coverage of the whole axe will likely involve at least two mics, so the Maui 5 may not do the trick.

Hi Randy,
yes i reckon i will need to go the two mic route, just a bit expensive at the moment!
tim

If you are working as a vibist, the money spent on things which have an effect on your sound, such as mics, mallets, and keeping your axe in good condition will all pay back in time. Or, to look at it from the flip side, you won't lose any gigs due to sounding crappy through no fault of your playing technique.

Since you have this system available with only one input, you may want to get yourself a small mixer. That way, you could plug in two mics and run the output to that system and be in business. If you go that route, be sure to get a mixer that can supply phantom voltage because, eventually, you will want condensor mics and they will need that to work properly.

Hi Randy,
last night i tried using a Shure c606 and rode NT1A mike underneath the vibes and through a mixer (with phantom power). Sound was better but still not particularly loud (the rode was better that the Shure). Would i see an improvement if i bought the audix adx51 mic's? I dont have a problem spending the money but the trouble is i dont want to be spending £200 per mic and they dont do a good enough job. Any other mic's that i should consider or are the ADX51's good?

Maybe start with different mallets. Something like the Malletech Albrights will get more sound out of the axe and you won’t need as much amplification.

Where are you in relation to the speaker? Maybe get further away to avoid feedback while getting more gain.

I’ve played with loud funk bands with just a pair of the NT1A s over the instrument.

I use the Joe Locke quick flys which cut through quite well, i have a set of the medium Stefan Harris mallets but the mediums which are not as "positive' as the quick flys. Interesting that you have used the nt1a's, wasn't sure if they would work as they are a vocal mic

To my way of thinking, there really isn’t anything that makes a mic only useful as a vocal mic or an instrumental mic. There are some mics, such as an AKG 112 that are designed for low frequencies and others like the Earthworks SR25 that can handle crazy transients like a gunshot.

The Rode NT1A is a large cap condenser, which is a good choice for full range instruments in general. I don’t prefer it for vibes in a studio setting because it seems to mute some of the highest of highs compared to other mics. But, in a live setting, that tends to be a warmer sound and generate less feedback. Also, it has decent off-axis rejection; if you are coming from above and the drummer is behind you, that matters. It does tolerate spikes well and seems to be road worthy.

I do roll off the bottom end a bit. I also tend to pan my axe slightly to the opposite side of the stage, which both reduces feedback and evens out the sound because there is more acoustic sound than across the way.

The speaker array may be adding to your stress, perhaps. A speaker with much more directional output may help you get more gain before feedback.

The Joe Locke mallets certainly sound great and are very nicely balanced for playing, but even Joe is most comfortable with pickups in addition to mics, so I suspect they may not be a super loud mallet. Not sure which Stefon Harris mallets you are talking about; if you don’t mean the new ones from Mallettech, they may also be great sounding and good to play but not as loud as you want in some settings. Loud mallets tend to be either harder or heavier than you might otherwise choose. Physics rules the day.

I recommend the AMT Vibe Microphones. I think they are incredible and do a great job.

Just remember, every mic bleeds, if you set up with a really loud band, there's very little you can do, no matter where you put the mics. Don't care what anyone says. I've micd all over the instrument. In a loud band there's not much you can do.

With a not loud band there's tons you can do. I know all the solutions here are good, I've heard them all before. I endorse and even sell the AMT mics. I helped develop them about 10 years ago and just love them.

my 2 cents.

Thanks for the reply Tony.
Yes they look amazing but as a beginner vibes player i cant justify the cost at this stage. If i start getting some more paid gigs then that might change!
I liked Giovanni's setup with two shure sm57's on drum mike stands under the vibes, this would sit better for me price wise.
I was also looking at the Rode NT5's but its all starting to confuse me now!!

t

yes it's confusing. all the things mentioned here if used by especially a pro will work. so pick whichever!

Two Shure SM81's mounted separately on cheap tripod snare drum bases with a mic rod inserted. Currently I use one Shure KSM27 underneath facing straight up under the C above middle C. This works pretty good for one nighter bar and restaurant gigs.