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Your Front Ensemble: Mic’ing, Mixing, & Modern Sounds Marcus Neudigate


Reprinted from Missouri School Music


mixing, speakers, and a variety of other factors in-between. We’ll work through the process all the way from choosing the right microphones to mixing your full sound. Your Front Ensemble is about to get dialed-in.


C


Microphones: For our purposes, we’ll consider the two types of microphones you might use for mic’ing your front ensemble: Dynamic microphones and Condenser microphones. In a nutshell: • Dynamic Microphones: Close range (6-8”from source), sturdy, relatively inexpensive, no power needed


• Condenser Microphones: wider frequency response, more range, requires phantom power, more delicate than dynamic mics


• Condenser microphones are ideal for the keyboard instruments, picking up clarity in both attack and resonance: this is especially noticeable when varying mallet selections throughout your show. Dynamic microphones can be used for acoustic keyboards, but lack the clarity achieved with condenser mics. Marimbas often need 2 microphones to pickup the entire range of the instrument, while vibraphones only require 1. Microphones are not often used for xylophone or glockenspiel, but rare cases where they are needed, 1 microphone should do the trick.


TEMPO


reating a well-produced live sound is a delicate balance between microphones,


Microphone Recommendations:


• Highest Recommendation - Audio Technica AT2035


• Budget-ShureSM57 • Extreme Budget - Shure PGA57 • Runners up - Shure PGA98H, Audio Technica PR037


• The Audio Technica AT2035 is a large diaphragm condenser microphone that includes a shock mount with purchase. The quality and price of the AT2035 makes it a top choice for many top ensembles in the activity, from high school to DCI and WGI.


Mounting: Properly attaching microphones to


keyboard instruments will give you the best pickup pattern, while simultane- ously reducing unwanted noises (frame noise, pedal noise, etc.). Mounting mi- crophones under the keyboard is the best option for balancing attack and resonance, while maintaining a clean cabling system.


Mounting Options:


• Highest Recommendation - Keyboard’s manufacturer clamp + desk stand


• Runner up - Manufacturer clamp + gooseneck


• Budget - Bungee ball tie + Velcro cable ties


• ***For Clip-on Mics - Metal L-bracket


The manufacturer clamps for your


keyboards (Adams clamps for Adams keyboards, Yamaha clamps for Yamaha


42


Placing microphones in the correct position is just as important as choosing the microphone. The right microphone in the wrong position will not produce


MAY 2017


keyboards, etc.) are designed to attach to the keyboard frame to mount ac- cessories. The company OnStage sells a telescoping microphone desk stand that is perfect to use for attaching AT2035’S and supplied shock mount to your key- board. The desk stand is stable and not likely to move during keyboard. **Ya- maha vibraphones require the OnStage Posi-Lock Side Mount Boom to attach below keyboard. The keyboard’s manufacturer clamp


can be combined with a gooseneck mic attachment and a microphone-specific clip to attach the Shure SM57, Shure PGA57, and Audio Technica PR037. For clip-on microphones, you can tape or zip-tie a small metal L-bracket on the underside of your frame. For the most budget friendly option, loop Velcro ca- ble ties around your microphone while attaching bungee ball ties. Use a series of bungee ball ties to hang the micro- phone from keyboard rails, which will allow the microphone to dangle freely under the keyboard.


This also acts as a shock mount,


but can be very inconsistent after travel - ***not recommended for the AT2035.


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