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Mic for a Live Mandolin

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by BobRogers, Aug 16, 2007.

  1. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I'd like some suggestion for micing a mandolin live. The mando player in our praise band has been using an Ovation mandolin that has a pretty usable pickup system. Unfortunately he likes to jam with people down by the New River and ... well to make a long story short we are going to have to mic another mando on Sunday. I just threw an extra 58 at him last night and it sounded pretty good (better than the pickup actually). Questions:

    1. What is the best way to go if we stick to micing the mandolin long term? Dynamic, LDC, SDC? Specific recommendations?

    2. What should I throw at it this Sunday from my collection with approximately zero time for a sound check? Choices are SM57 or 58, Rode NT5, AKG C414

    Some info on our live sound situation that might help. (Please don't laugh.) We are a large band playing "Contemporary Christian" (think 70's rock if you are unfamiliar). Low to moderate rock volumes. All instruments are through the PA, but bass, keys, and electronic drums have their own amps with low stage volume. We are spread out wide and thin at the front of the sanctuary. We only have one monitor mix (maybe two in the future, but there is no way to give the mandolin an individual mix).

    Just as an aside - a mandolin is a great addition to this type of band. Stays out of the way of the guitars and keys. Sits well in the mix. For us it gives a little special SW Virginia flavor.
  2. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    I like to combine the DI (if it has one) and a mic. I have had good luck with an AT 4040 on a mando. If it's a good instrument (loud and well played, too), you should have a lot of options. The worst is if they move around a lot (and the DI can be a lifesaver in this department.)

    SD mics are nice, as well. I've used the SP C4's a few times as well, with pretty good results.
  3. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Hi, Bob:
    I have to deal with mandolins in a very similar manner as you are. I do live CC on Friday nights at a very large facility (2500+), and on Sundays at a much smaller facility on a 'mobile basis' as their permanent site is under construction. Plus, I have recorded many bluegrass groups over the years.
    Personally, I like SDCs. At the 'big gig', I have the use of Shure SM81s for acoustic instruments, and that works well on the custom-made 'F'-type mandolin played there. Our board is a Midas Heritage 3000, so the onboard pre is fine for the detail and definition required.
    On the mobile gig, I use one of my NT5s on an ancient no-name 'A'-style
    (teardrop, but with 'F' holes) mando that the music director (a former luthier) did a great job setting up. That goes into an A&H GL2400, which is OK. If I want better detail for recording that, I have a Grace 101 ready.
    I have also had good results with a fairly obscure mic, the E-V RE-200. This is a front-address mid-sized capsule (about the size of a nickel) 'real'
    (i.e., externally-polarized element) condenser that they still list on their website. I bought a couple about 5 years ago from a church that was upgrading to DPA mics (!). The larger capsule is great on "oval-hole" mandolins and mandolinos, with their added bass. You can sometimes find e-bay deals on these (I paid $200/pair!).
    Finally, the A-T 4041 is good on anything you'd use an SM81 on. Check out the post by Tom Bethel, "Mics and Stuff" in Buy&Sell. He listed some gear for sale, including (3) AT4041 at around $169 apiece. This was in the last week or so, and he had the e-bay address on it. PM him, see what he's got left. Tell him I sent you....I want another one myself!
    And you're right about what a mandolin can add to the fray. Sweet music!
  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Used the NT5 in church today, and it went very well. Experimented with the sound from the f-hole vs. something closer to the strings. I liked the woodier sound by the f hold, but I let him experiment. I was playing keys and didn't really notice what he settled on. But he sounded good in the mix. Thanks for the help.
  5. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    The NT-5 is a very under-rated mic, IMHO. I bought mine to replace a pair of AKG C452EBs that were stolen many years ago. Very close sound. And then they come out with the NT-55 !!!! Now I have to figure out how to score a pair of THOSE!!!!

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