Mics for Indian music

Discussion in 'Live Sound' started by davidinoz, Apr 16, 2006.

  1. davidinoz

    davidinoz Guest

    Recently I mixed a show with a traditional Indian band (Congas, a double ended drum, harmonium, tamborine, shaker and vocal). Unfortunately I only had dynamic mics and although I got a resonably good sound it was a struggle to get enough volume before feedback. The room was timber and glass and very live. The stage seemed to resonate at about 200Hz which didn't help at all. Does anybody have experience mixing this type of music? What mics would you use?
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    davidinoz, you used only dynamic Mike's and although you got a reasonably good sound it was a struggle to get enough volume before feedback? Well DUH!

    First, you used the correct and the best microphones for that job. Dynamic microphones are more bandwidth limited, which is better for PA purposes than their condenser cousins.

    Second, you don't use the same mix for recording as you do for PA period! That's what you use your additional auxiliary sends for. You develop a separate mix for the PA system than you do for your recording. You may even have the ability to choose between pre-fader or post fader sends?

    Third, resonance at 200 hertz can be dealt with an equalizer if it affects the PA or the recording.

    Fourth, for this kind of job I would most definitely choose SM57/beta 57, SM58/beta 58 for most everything. If I wanted to use better condenser microphones, I would put those out also for the recording but not necessarily for the PA feed. You don't have to turn everything on, on your mixer. This comes under the heading of knowledge, experience, technique to know how to best deal with this difficult situation. It seems as though you've done most everything correctly with the exception of sharing your recording mix with the PA system. Keep them separate next time through the same mixer. Use different subgroups or selectively chosen sends to generate a separate PA mix from your recording mix.

    You're making progress
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Moderator

    Feb 23, 2005
    I missed something here. I didn't see any mention of this guy doing a recording while mixing the live sound. As far as the 200Hz resonance is concerned, while a decent EQ is certainly helpful, so is the proper placement of the house and monitor speakers. You have to keep the house sound AWAY from the walls as much as possible. Large glass windows/walls will definitely add resonances at that range of the spectrum (200Hz).The mic's pick-up pattern will also determine where the stage monitors (if you used them-no mention) should be positioned. If the mics are like regular 57/58s, these are cardioid, and the rear of these mics tend to have the maximum rejection. If the the mics are "hypercardioid" (Betas, etc), many times the maximum rejection is at the side of the mic. This is where the monitors should be "fired at". Does your mixer have "low-cut" filters? These will also help remove any stage resonances.
    Also, I have found that the Rode NT5 makes a pretty good mike for distant-mic'ing in live sound applications. It DOESN'T have that low-mid "fatness" that the Shures are known for, hence they don't "woof" or "howl" as easily when the gain is up. They also hold up under pretty adverse conditions. Another alternative to that is the Audix i5, which I've used for all sorts of percussion, especially latino-type stuff that I run into all the time here in sunny Florida. They are a great compromise between a 57 and a condenser. Finally, if you DID use stage monitors, do you have the ability to "flip" their phase? A lot of times, that will help kill the low-mid "howl" (150-300Hz) of the system...
  4. davidinoz

    davidinoz Guest

    Thanks for the responses.

    My original question is purely to expand my knowledge as the job has been done and a lot of things were beyond my control.

    Sorry for the confusion Remy, there was no recording involved just PA. I should have given more detail I guess. I was hired purely as an operator for this job and had no choice of equipment. The job was actually a wedding reception and the band was family and friends of the couple, not professional musicians.

    PA was 2 W's and 2 mid/highs (15+2"horn), 3000 watts to drive it. Monitors were 3 15+horn wedges. Desk was 32 channel Yamaha which I'm pretty familiar with. 4 32 band EQ's and a couple of compressors. Mic's were AKG 770's and 880's.

    Problems I faced
    1. No insert cables so I couldn't use the eq's over subgroups or use the compressors.
    2. Very live room, all timber stage that seemed to have a life of it's own.
    3. Position for P.A. speakers was limited to allow access to emergency exits. I would have liked them a little more foward and spread apart a little more.
    4. The band insisted on putting the wedges across the front of the stage because "it looks better". This is probably why they couldn't hear themselves very well :lol: I gave up trying to convince them to move them and concentrated on house sound.
    5. Mics. I've used AKG's before and they are fine on a guitar amp or as tom mics but they are just not up to quieter percussion instruments it seems.
    6. I am very unfamiliar with traditional Indian music and had no idea how to mix it :lol: The other guests seemed to think it was good so I must have done something right. :lol:

    comments in no particular order -
    I set the eq's 1 for FOH and 1 for each of 2 monitor sends (centre wedge for vocal and harmonium and outer wedges for percussion). 80Hz cut switches were on on all channels. I did find a piece of carpet to put under the congas which seemed to help a little. There was some very savage eq-ing of instruments and the system to get a reasonable level. The system was capable of gut shaking volume as proved by the DJ after the band finished.

    Overall I was reasonably happy with the job - it was by no means a disaster- but I just would have liked to have given the band a little more volume. I've mainly used standard mic's in the past (57's 58's and the frowned upon AKG's) for live stuff and would like a few more examples of other choices. I've used CS1000's for overheads, what about those for percussion? I'll also check out the Audix i5.
  5. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Moderator

    Feb 23, 2005
    Hey, Dave:
    Keep the following in mind. You don't put the graphics across the subgroups. They go on the outputs to the house and monitors. However, compressors are ideal candidates for the sub inserts.
    AKG mics are not my favorites, either, but, like all gear there are good models and bad ones. I stay clear of the C1000 you mentioned. Unless I want to mic a babbling brook, no thank you. And not all Shures are God's gift to Remy. I have found the SM series pretty good, but the Beta series is more "iffy", and the PG series is a joke...I like Audio Technica and Audix models where I used to use Shures...different strokes....
    And don't ever let the wedding guests be the judge of your mix...they're DRUNK! Glad things worked out for you. Live sound is a whole other ball of wax, eh?
  6. davidinoz

    davidinoz Guest

    No disrespect intended but I have often used eq's on subgroups to tame "difficult" instruments without affecting the whole system. Very useful on wireless mics in theatre work for example.

    Not sure what you mean by this comment? Frequency response?

    I agree with you on the shures - I'm much happier using SM's than betas, they just seem more consistant. Audio Technica are a little pricy here and I'm unlikely to see them on a live system (I mostly work with other peoples equipment as an operator) but I will check out the Audix models if they are available here.

    Yes they are drunk but they are also the ones the show is for - so their opinion is important :lol: "good job" from a drunk is better than "you suck" from a sober person :lol:

    And yes - live sound is a whole different scene to recording. No second chances and if something goes wrong you better fix it quick. :lol:
  7. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Moderator

    Feb 23, 2005
    The "babbling brook" reference was because the C1000 generally gets panned around this site except when somebody uses it as a "nature mic". I, too have found this to be the case. We have a pair in the studio, and it really doesn't sound very good on instruments (too rough a top end), but it works OK to record in the field, like for background sounds, samples, effects, etc. for those on a budget.
    As far as the graphics thing, I can see where that might be the case for theater. I use Sabines and a parametric in the sub inserts for that. But I regularly see folks with music systems patch too many graphics in to fix problems that should be fixed in a different manner-like proper mic'ing techniques and speaker placement- and they end up with severe phase anomalies. This ends up causing more problems than it's solved. You are also putting another couple of opamps into the signal path, and, especially if they're "budget" EQ's, this leads to less headroom and "smeared" transients.
    When I'm hired to do a wedding, it's usually by the entertainment coordinator for the wedding planner or the Ritz, Marriott,etc. I care what THEY think because they are my repeat customers, and they are the ones paying me the $$$. THEY are sober and I want THEM to be happy with the sound. Never had one complaint from them. I HAVE had complaints by the drunks who sat in front of the sub woofer or main stack and then whine that the sound was "too loud" , or (my favorite) stagger up to me, point to the board, and say,"Hey, what is that, a keyboard?". I figure that nobody (and that includes me) who has gotten a bit "tipsy" at a wedding doesn't really have a grasp of reality, and their opinion, good or bad, doesn't mean crap.
  8. davidinoz

    davidinoz Guest

    All very good points you make there. I can see what you mean about too many graphics in the signal path. Unfortunately I often don't get to choose the equipment I'm working with but I will keep in mind what you said about using parametrics instead.

    BTW my reference to the drunk and sober thing was really a joke - of course the customer forking out the cash is the one to please.
  9. AUD10

    AUD10 Active Member

    Mar 20, 2005

    Hi David,

    Can you list which mics you have and I will try and recommend which ones to use for each instrument.

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