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Microphones Sax mic options for playing in a small combo

Di in France

Senior Member
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France
Hi all, I hope I can get some advice here.
I've started playing with a little combo (drummer, keyboards and sometimes a guitar) and I don't want to have to overblow trying to be heard. I wonder what my best options are in microphones?
There are so many options out there, including clip on mics, I don't know where to start.
 

Colin the Bear

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I think the cherub is worth a look. Otherwise it's snuggle up to a mic stand.
 

rhysonsax

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If just starting out I would definitely begin by borrowing a dynamic vocal mic (e.g. Shure SM58) and play with that on a stand. If you can't borrow one, then they are widely available new and second hand. Obviously a PA system (mixer, amp, speakers and maybe foldback/monitor speakers) will be necessary, but I started out by inputting to the keyboard player's amp, which worked OK.

As well as the sax being heard you may have to think about hearing yourself and the other instruments. I like to use the 'SoundBack' reflector which clips onto your mic and bounces back some of the sax's sound to your ears. Or make your own from a sheet of Perspex.

Good luck

Rhys
 

Profusia

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Congrats on forming your little combo Di - I'm seriously envious. I REALLY want to find 2 or 3 people to do some nice small ensemble jazzy stuff with and take it in turns improvising etc. How did you manage to find them?

Any group soundfiles coming our way soon?

And please do let us know how the mic thing works out in the end as I'm sure I'll have the same question soon enough :)
 

rhysonsax

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EV Raven!!!
The SM58 sounds awful if you don't have ultra expensive gear and a great tech. The Raven is basically "plug'n'play".

http://www.electrovoice.com/product.php?id=88
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trk...C0.XEV+Raven&_nkw=EV+Raven&_sacat=0&_from=R40

I haven't heard of the EV Raven, but that is not my experience of the SM58 at all. A great workhorse of a mic that is an industry standard and gives fine sounds for the sax when playing live. It also records surprisingly well.

Rhys
 

Fraser Jarvis

Well-Known Member
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1,917
I haven't heard of the EV Raven, but that is not my experience of the SM58 at all. A great workhorse of a mic that is an industry standard and gives fine sounds for the sax when playing live. It also records surprisingly well.

Rhys
Yes, agree with Rhyse, I've used SM58 both live and on recording sessions without any bother at all...
 

thesaxman71

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1,687
1 of my microphones (i'm not selling by the way, it is just too good i got to keep it) which i strongly recomend you look into would be great for your new combo is an AUDIX OM-3, very,very good mic, it has the fullness and is VERY good quality and tone clarity overall, it has the quality of way more expensive mics, i have had many other microphones, sure sm58, sm57, beta, beyer, senheisser, akg etc etc and for the price equivelant mic of them others then this OM-3 blows them ALL away. just pop it in a stand and off you go. I think a radio mic would be excessive if it is for just a small combo, in my opinion.also they have a 3 year warranty and 30 day money back period, not bad.have a look here http://www.thomann.de/gb/audix_vocal_microphones.html
ps
if you want to hear the quality and clarity of the mic then i recorded "in a sentimental mood" (on my youtube) using it as my other crazy-expensive-mic was otherwise occupied!
 
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Di in France

Senior Member
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France
Thanks for all the info guys.
Thomas, I was introduced to a guy who plays keyboards by a friend of a friend. I went over with my saxes for a session and he then asked me would I play at his friends gallery opening with him and his friend who is a drummer. They've both been gigging for a long time, so I was in good hands - scared stiff as I've never done anything like this before, but I really enjoyed it.
When we'd finished the gig, he asked me did I want to continue and perhaps try to find more gigs, so we'll see how it goes.


I have a shure m58 mic, I've had it for ages, but haven't really used it - I use my zoom H2n to record as it's simple enough for me to understand. ;}
The keyboard player seems to have all the equipment required, he sings so has a mic set up. He mentioned that I might need a mic, but wasn't too sure how to mic up a sax.


I don't know if it will be necessary, but I don't want to be overblowing trying to get myself heard. Would it be normal practice to have a mic for the sax with only a keyboard and drummer?
 

ArtyLady

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Essex
Thanks for all the info guys.
Thomas, I was introduced to a guy who plays keyboards by a friend of a friend. I went over with my saxes for a session and he then asked me would I play at his friends gallery opening with him and his friend who is a drummer. They've both been gigging for a long time, so I was in good hands - scared stiff as I've never done anything like this before, but I really enjoyed it.
When we'd finished the gig, he asked me did I want to continue and perhaps try to find more gigs, so we'll see how it goes.


I have a shure m58 mic, I've had it for ages, but haven't really used it - I use my zoom H2n to record as it's simple enough for me to understand. ;}
The keyboard player seems to have all the equipment required, he sings so has a mic set up. He mentioned that I might need a mic, but wasn't too sure how to mic up a sax.


I don't know if it will be necessary, but I don't want to be overblowing trying to get myself heard. Would it be normal practice to have a mic for the sax with only a keyboard and drummer?

It depend's how loud they are - I wouldn't think just the two of them would be particularly loud - if you have to overblow to be heard then you will need to be mic'd - just set up your Shure mic on a stand that should be fine.
 

Colin the Bear

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I'm sure you know that the sound doesn't just come out of the bell. An omnidirectional mic placed a little way over the bell will pick up the sound coming from the tone holes too. Don't be afraid to experiment to find the sweet spot.
 

aldevis

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The 58 is a great microphone to have in your bag. Even a 57, sometimes. I have never been too keen of the sound it gives, so maybe the Raven is an alternative.
The biggest advantage of the Raven, is that it looks cool; an essential quality across the Channel.
Maybe Tzadik has some recording using it.

ArtyLady's clip-on is a great professional mic, but I would not start with a clip-on, unless you play with noisy bands and good PAs.
I bought an ultracheap clip-on for noisy bands: it does the job but does not drive me crazy.
This company is great for audio equipment that "does the job".
http://www.studiospares.com/

if you decide to invest serious money, the EV RE20 is a dream, but it is quite bulky and heavy.
 

jazzdoh

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Di a lot depends on the places you have to play,if its tiny i sometimes prefer to play with no mic,but if it needs one i use the SM57 as a wired mic and have no complaints about its performance,also use a Samson Airline 77 wireless and this too is a fine mic especially at the price it is.
Not come across the Raven until this thread.
 

Linky Lee

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In my experience of drummers it pays to have a mic!

It's great that you've got all the gear you need (except maybe a boom stand and reflector). Even if you don't use it as the primary audio for some gigs or rehearsals it gives you flexibility and can help you spread your sound more or provide some foldback if necessary.

As for how to place the mic. put it a foot or so away depending on spill/sensitivity and point towards your left hand keys.
 

tzadik

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Friulandia, Italy
I was in the same situation... I had to choose a mic, easy to manage, easy to carry around.
I used many time 58/57 and Beta 57... always had problems: they all tend to sound muddy in the low register and they are too much sensitive to movements: if you move half inch from the mic, in your monitor you easily feel a -5dB attenuation.
So, that's good for a singer (he/she can manage well the mic distance from his/her mouth)... it's good if the source doesn't move (like a guitar amp, snare drums...)... not to good for a horn player.

I had many mouthpiece. For the price, the Raven has a sort of Shure sound with the muddiness, the boxy response in the midrange and it has a very open top end (almost like a stage condenser mic)... it's more sensitive (hotter output) so it helps to keep a warmer sound because you don't need the huge gain Shures need to work. Being more sensitive and using less gain I can reduce the feedback tendency and still having more freedom.
The Raven simply has a broader sound... it has been designed 30 years after the 58, so I guess they learn something in between.

Ok that the 58 is a standard... but it's 30+ years old mic, it's almost antiquated.
From mics, I want definition, open top end... and a natural response: the 58 simply doesn't have these features itself.
It's not problem at all... it's just a matter of tastes.

If you like a natural/neutral sounding mic, you have to buy a mic which sounds natural/neutral.
If you like a midrangy and/or tonally closed sounding mic... you have to buy a midrangy and/or tonally closed sounding mic.
I don't care so much which is a standard mic in industry or not... I use my ears to choose what I like best.
The best for me can't be the best for you.

(I also own a Raven... and a RE27N/D, the big brother of the RE20. For me, the RE27N/D is the best live mic for saxophone ever made, better than the RE20).
 

Di in France

Senior Member
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619
Locality
France
Thanks again for all the information. I can't afford to shell out a lot of cash for a mic right now, so I'm going to get a stand for the shure m58 and see how we go. I'm probably getting ahead of myself as we've only done one gig and it's very early days, but your comments have given me lots to ponder. :thumb:
 

daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
Messages
3,303
I'll start by saying EV...... mines the EV RE320 mic.I use this for jazz gigs and anything where i'm not using a clip on mic.Plus I now record with it.Its the best mic I've had or used period.Nearly £300.00 but its soooo worth it.Plus I sold my 2 well used SM57/8's and got a Samson CS mic.£57.00 and you get 2 heads,1 for instuments and 1 for vocals.This is my back up stand mic now.Why well its nicer,warmer than a Shure SM57/58.I would advice anyone to get 1 at that price.Great build,great box and a great sound.Watch out on ebay also as theres a lot of fake Shure mics flying about !!!!!!!!

But again i'll end by saying EV..........
 
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daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
Messages
3,303
I'll start by saying EV...... mines the EV RE320 mic.I use this for jazz gigs and anything where i'm not using a clip on mic.Plus I now record with it.Its the best mic I've had or used period.Nearly £300.00 but its soooo worth it.Plus I sold my 2 well used SM57/8's and got a Samson CS mic.£57.00 and you get 2 heads,1 for instuments and 1 for vocals.This is my back up stand mic now.Why well its nicer,warmer than a Shure SM57/58.I would advice anyone to get 1 at that price.Great build,great box and a great sound.Watch out on ebay also as theres a lot of fake Shure mics flying about !!!!!!!!

But again i'll end by saying EV..........

Look at that bad boy EV and the great 2 head Samson CS
 

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