Skip to main content

Mic type and placement

I have a Fostex MR-8 MKII that I have been practicing my coffee shop act out on. I have a pair of MXL condensor mics that I am experimenting with, and I want to ultimately only use one mic through the Fostex and then out to an ampmonitor. I am hoping to be able to capture my acoustic guitar (or mandolin) and vocals adequately considering my budget approach - also at times there might be one or two others gathered around the single mic - Grand Ol' Opry style. I have found that overall the 990 sounds better than the 991 for capturing both instrument and vocals.

The question: what is the best mic type and placement for my needs ? A cool retro mic suggestion would be greatly appreciated - However, I am on sort of a budget !


BobRogers Thu, 03/01/2007 - 16:49
I may be wrong, but from your post I'm gonna assume that you don't have a lot of experience running a PA, especially from the stage. In the coffee house circuit you are going to be dealing with tiny stages, bad acoustics, crazy feedback problems. I admire your desire to work with acoustic instruments, but it's hard, and not the way I'd start out.

I'd close mic all vocals with sm58s. No one more than an inch from a vocal mic. I'd find some way to run all the instruments direct - even if it means those ugly as sin Dean Markley magnetic pickups. If, after a bunch of gigs played that way you have figured out how to get a good balance on the monitors and the mains and can get through a show without squealing like a pig, you can try micing the guitar and mando with the MXLs.

moonbaby Fri, 03/02/2007 - 07:49
Very good advice, indeed. There is also the issue with the mics that you will be splitting the signal (hopefully with a dedicated box suitable for that purpose) to the recorder and to the PA, correct? If you were hoping to use insert points and/or line outs on the recorder, you are in for a rude awakening there. All sorts of nasty noise and distortion/clarity issues when you "jerry-rig" like that. And., like Mr. Rogers said, cofeehouses can be brutal on a performers' sound. You mentioned that you wanted a "retro look". Well, Shure makes a copy of their "Elvis mic" (the 55SH)
that essentially is a modern SM58 cartridge in a classic chrome housing.
Something to consider. Also, if you decide to do this gigging longterm, I would advise you to think about getting your own MONITOR system. It doesn't have to be fancy, just effective in the venues where you have to deal with whatever crap they have on the house. At least your stage sound will be relatively consistent, and that really helps with the comfort factor of your performance.