Dynamic vs. Condenser:
The most common kind of mics are the condenser and the dynamic microphones. These are two different architectures in construction. To be brief about the difference, dynamic microphones have the same construction as most loudspeakers you find, only that it’s in reverse. The features are usually that they are a little dull compared to condenser but very durable and practical. They are also more resistant to feedback, which is very important live.
The condenser type however, is extremely clear in its’ sound and typically more accurate. They are usually a bit fragile and they need a current to work. Most condensers use phantom power, a current sent out by the mixer but there are also models with a built in battery. Because they easily feedback and they are very often fragile, you are more likely to find them in a studio. They are very common for overhang micing on drums where you want the clear ambience sound.
The DI box is actually not a microphone but a kind of amplifier. You use it for example when someone wants to connect a guitar directly into the mixer. There by the name ‘DI’ – Direct Input. The reason is that the guitar microphones are made to be used with a high impedance microphone input and if you connect it to the line input in the mixer, it will need a line input level and it affects the sound in a bad way.
What actually happens if you put it in the line input is that you take the microphone signal from the guitar (which is already very low) and damp it 20dB (about 100 times) just to amplify it again with the preamp in the mixer. It’s like taking a slice out of a cake and baking a new for the gap, instead of baking a cake right away.
You connect the guitar or bass (any instrument used with an amplifier (50K Ω)) to the DI box and then you connect the box to the mixer. Don’t forget to turn the power on the DI boxes on.
3-1 rule: Remember to always have at least three times the distance to the closest sound source as the source you are micing, for example: A singer stands in front of a speaker. To mic the singer up, make sure the speaker is at least three times the distance as the microphone is from the singers mouth.
If you follow this rule, you will have almost no feedback and no phase problems.
Many guitars have built in microphones, which usually sounds quite bad unless you have a really expensive model. To use this mike you have to connect a DI-box and then plug it in to the DI-box by jack cable. Don’t forget the phantom power. Both of the DI-boxes in the café need it. (Also works with electric guitars and basses)
Piano/synth: Use the Di-box, same procedure as the guitar. In case of a real piano, put two mikes inside it angled towards the strings.
‘A’ above middle ‘C’ is exactly 440 Hz
Bass: Try to use an amplifier as the PA in the café is not the best suited for this. If you want to mike the amp or line it, make sure the 100 Hz roll of button is pressed. You cannot play bass very loud in the café PA.
A 4-string bass’ frequency-range is approximately 41 Hz to 98 Hz
Drums: It is a big thing to mike drums up and it usually takes about 8 channels but in the café, you only have to put a mike in the kick drum and it isn’t necessary. It is a very small place.
Vocal hints: If you are using a dynamic microphone, try boosting a lot at about 16 KHz. This area is important for hearing the lyrics properly (vowels). Avoid the area between 3K and 10K, this is where the dreaded ‘S’ sound lurk.
Human voices are roughly in the range of 80 Hz to 1100 Hz
Guitar/Bass hints: The 250 Hz area is very important especially for bass. Usually you want to cut some away but if you cut too much away, you loose the ‘punch’ of the sound.
Different kinds of bass sounds:
- To get the disco style of sound, make sure to have a lot of boost around 90 Hz.
- To get the slap-bass sound, cut away all the mid and adjust at about 250 Hz until it sounds cool
- To get the 70’s rock bass, boost at 125Hz and 1 KHz.
Guitar lowest (E) string : 82 Hz
Bass lowest (E) string: 41 Hz
Amp = Amplifier
Aux = Auxiliary
DI = Direct Input
EQ = Equalizer
FB = Fall Back (monitor)
Hz = Hertz = Unit of frequency
K = Kilo = 1000
Mic = Microphone
Monitor = The loudspeaker pointing towards the musician
Ohm = Ω = Electrical resistance
Pan = Panning
PFL = Pre-Fade Listen