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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Live sound in the General forums; Hi Patrick, I think that you missed my point. The proximity effect is (only) the bass boost and happens when ...
  1. #31
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Re: Live sound

    Hi Patrick,

    I think that you missed my point. The proximity effect is (only) the bass boost and happens when you are very close to the microphone. This is a well known phenomena. I use the SM57 (when a dynamic mike fits the venue better - like if it looks like it is going to rain) attached to my music stand so there is a foot or more between me and the mike and little proximity effect if any at all. It is of little significance if I am 12", 15" or 20" away from that microphone, the sound is consistent and the sound engineer has no grief. I can move closer when muted and still need no help from the mix board. That is what I was talking about. I never play at a microphone from the side and don't know anyone else that does either. No one uses my microphone except me - not even at a wedding.

    What I personally prefer is the AKG condenser clipon that I mentioned. I have never found any condenser mike that gave me freedom to move except the clipons. This to me is the best solution for sound, no feedback and ability to back off on long gigs. For players that like to dance around in the studio, I have even seen the recording engineers use 2 microphones to insure a fairly even pickup. I generally sit still except when using/changing mutes.

    Quote Originally Posted by trickg View Post
    Rowuk, this seems to be one time when you might not be completely on top of the subject at hand.

    Cardioid is a pattern of microphone pickup - it's not limited to dynamic microphones - there are condensers that pick up in a cardioid pattern as well, and it basically means that the pickup pattern is good at side and rear rejection. The clip on Shure Beta 98 I use is a condenser mic that utilizes a cardioid pickup pattern. My current vocal mic, a Shure Beta 87, is a super cardioid mic, but it's also a condenser mic, not a dynamic microphone.

    Regarding proximity effect, that is less about whether you are playing directly into the mic and more about the distance you are from the mic. The Shure SM57/58 are known for their low end boost with close proximity (i.e., distance) but due to the fact that they are also cardioid pattern microphones, they are also effected by whether you are on or off axis, meaning whether or not you are playing directly into the mic head vs playing off at an angle.

    With the proximity effect, I find that dynamic mics absolutely are sensitive to the distance between the bell and the mic. Back when I was primarily using an SM57 or 58 for my horn mic (we used 58s in the Latin band) I did a bit of "mic dynamics" - I could effectively decrescendo by backing away from the mic, and I could crescendo by moving in toward it. Typically I'd want to be pretty much up on it, 6 inches or so away from it. Also, due to the proximity effect of those mics, if you moved in too closely, it would drastically color the sound with the low end boost that the 57/58 are known for. With vocals, utilizing the proximity effect of the 57/58 can be a good thing though because the sound pressure levels are lower, and it can add a nice richness to your voice.

    Regarding the cardioid pickup pattern, and being either on or off axis, a lot of people don't understand that and it's apparent when you watch someone speak or sing into one - they don't realize that by holding the mic vertically and speaking or singing at the side of the mic head that they get a great deal of coloration of the sound, not to mention a drop off of mic level, by doing so. It's also VERY apparent when we give the mic to people at weddings for their speeches and toasts - it's unreal the number of people who will drop a cardioid pattern mic to below the middle of their chests (and sometimes lower) and have no clue that the sound doesn't just magically descend from their mouths into the microphone. The only thing that saves us is that we're able to jack the gain up to capture it without causing feedback, thanks to some good compression, gating and EQ that prevents it.

    For live sound, the simplest solution is a cardioid pattern dynamic microphone such as an SM57. Gain structure is easier to control, and it's less sensitive to how much ambient sound is in the room.
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  2. #32
    Utimate User trickg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003

    Re: Live sound

    Possibly, but part of what you posted wasn't quite accurate, and I felt that it was important to break it apart and explain it. Microphones, to the uninitiated, can be a little confusing. At one point I assumed that dynamic and cardioid mics were one and the same, which they aren't. While dynamic mics are often cardioid in their pickup pattern, and condenser mics, due to their sensitivity, are good as omnidirectional microphones, it's not absolute.

    Like you, I've enjoyed using a quality clip-on mic with my Shure Beta 98, that gives me a lot of freedom. I'm not bound to a single mic point. I get to dance around, and play whatever direction suits me, and since the whole thing is a wireless using (which I usually clip on to a headphone hanger I attach to my vocal mic stand) in theory, I can wear the pack and roam around. However, that's an expensive option for someone on a budget - that system is currently going for around $550 US, although the mic itself can be had for $210. With that said, I wouldn't want to use a clip-on condenser unless I had faith in the PA system and sound guy/gal.
    Patrick Gleason

    "What we do in life echoes in eternity"
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    - Maximus Decimus Meridius

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